The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

from the Mahatmas M. & K. H.

Transcribed, Compiled, and with an Introduction by A. T. barker


Second & Revised Edition (html and PDF eBook only; print version in preparation). The 2nd Edition is currently available in softcover only. Electronic version ISBN 1-55700-086-7. This edition is dedicated as a public domain work for the benefit of the world. For ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in this html version of the text.

Publisher's Note:

This Second & Revised Edition is very nearly verbatim with Trevor Barker’s 1926 Second Edition, and includes his Prefaces, Introduction, and Mars and Mercury essay. Text of the Letters has been checked against photographic copies of the originals (see Barker's two Prefaces for his editorial objectives), and transcription errors, as well as changes which depart from the originals beyond normal copy editing, have been corrected. Uncertain readings have been left as Barker transcribed them, and the Letters’ transliterations of foreign terms are unchanged.  Editorial notes and corrections by TUP are enclosed in “curly” brackets ({}) and pertain mostly to dates and names for purposes of identification. Two Mahatma Letters, not included by Barker, are also reproduced:

1. First Letter of K.H. to A. O. Hume
2. View of the Chohan on the T. S.

Chronological Ordering: Barker arranged the Letters in seven sections for reasons given in his first Preface.  The present edition follows his arrangement rather than chronologically because the dating of many Letters remains uncertain, and references in TUP and other publications are to his editions and Letter numbering.  To follow the Letters in an approximate chronological sequence, a reference line indicating the next and previous Letters has been appended to each. These are based on Margaret Conger’s Combined Chronology for Use with the Mahatma & Blavatsky Letters to A. P. Sinnett (TUP, 1973).

Barker’s short article, “The Writing of the Mahatma Letters,” is also included because of its intrinsic value, as well as relevant material from the Combined Chronology. 


Contents

NOTE: Files of each letter are named according to the letter number assigned by A. T. Barker in his first and second editions, given in Arabic numerals, as in ml-#.htm. To go directly to a particular letter, change the last section of the current URL from ml-hp.htm to the file name reflecting the number of the letter. For example, to go to Letter 5, type ml-5.htm; for letter 24b, type ml-24b.htm, etc. For a detailed description of the contents of each letter, see the Table of Contents.


Compiler's Preface

It will be seen, if reference is made to the "Contents" that the letters have been arranged in 7 Sections and an Appendix. The former contain nothing but Mahatma letters, while in the latter some letters have been added from three pupils of The Mahatmas M. and K.H. —: H. P. Blavatsky, T. Subba Row, and Damodar K. Mavalankar, not only for their intrinsic merit, but because they help to make clear questions arising in the main part of the book which would otherwise be left obscure.

The seven Sections suggest themselves as more or less natural divisions, but it should be remembered that as letters in one section often contain matter which also relates to the other Sections, considerable overlapping is unavoidable. However, an attempt has been made and that is the best that can be said.

The contents of each Section are arranged where possible chronologically, in the order of their receipt. The reader must bear in mind that with only one or two exceptions none of the letters were dated by the writers thereof. On many of them, however, the dates and places of receipt have been noted in Mr. Sinnett's handwriting, and these appear in small type immediately under the Letter Numbers.

It should be understood clearly that unless otherwise stated:

1. Each letter has been transcribed direct from the original.

2. Every letter was written to A. P. Sinnett.

3. All footnotes are copies of notes which appear in and belong to the letters themselves, unless signed (Ed.) in which case they have been added by the compiler.

Throughout this volume there are a great many words used which belong to Buddhist, Hindu, and Theosophical terminology. Those who are unfamiliar with such terms are referred to the excellent glossary in H. P. Blavatsky's "Key to Theosophy" and also to "The Theosophical Glossary," a separate publication by the same author. The reader is asked to believe that the greatest care has been taken in the work of transcription; the whole MS. has been checked word for word with the originals, and everything possible done to prevent errors. It is however probably too much to expect that the printed book will contain no mistakes, they are almost inevitable. In case any doubt should arise in the reader's mind as to whether any particular passage has been correctly copied from the original, the compiler wishes to intimate, that he will be happy to deal with any correspondence on the subject addressed to him care of the Publishers.

In conclusion the compiler's thanks are due and most gratefully acknowledged to those who by their assistance have made his task possible of accomplishment. — A. T. B.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

Some explanation is due to the reader as to why a revised edition of this book has been considered necessary, and also as to the nature and extent of the corrections made in the text of the original edition. The book was offered to the public in good faith as an accurate transcription of the original documents, verbatim and without omission. Having had occasion recently to check certain letters with the originals, the Compiler made the discovery that an unduly large number of errors had somehow crept in, so many in fact as to necessitate a complete and thorough revision of the whole work from beginning to end.

The result of rechecking the text with the originals has disclosed the following: —

I. The majority of the differences are petty and trifling, affecting in no way the sense of the passages concerned — i.e., a question of capitals, punctuation, etc. Abbreviations are sometimes written out in full, e.g., "through" instead of "thro'"; and words sometimes take the place of numerals, e.g., fourth instead of 4th. There are also five or six instances of mistakes in paragraphing.

II. On the other hand there is a long list of corrections which unfortunately do affect the meaning: — (a) words wrongly italicised; (b) words omitted or wrongly transcribed, and (c) most serious of all, Letter No. 13, in which one page of the original was transcribed out of its proper position, necessitating the rearrangement of Answers 4 and 6.

The original intention was to present the letters in print exactly as in the originals, and the present Edition is an attempt to realize the original intention as far as it is practically possible. But it must be borne in mind that the material has to be arranged for the Press, for which the originals were not written — and a minimum amount of editing is essential to make the volume readable. The corrections made in the Revised Edition as compared with the first edition are therefore as follows: —

(a) Punctuation. Where the printed text differs from the originals to the detriment of the latter, correction has been made in accordance with the originals. In a few sentences, otherwise devoid of it, punctuation has been added to make the passage more easily comprehensible.

Capitals have been altered in accordance with originals as far as possible, but it is frequently difficult to determine whether a capital was intended or not, and the Compiler has used his discretion in this particular.

Abbreviations. Where these have been written out in full they have not been changed.

Numerals. Where the text has the exact equivalent in words no change has been made.

Paragraphs have been altered in two or three places where it could be done without affecting the pagination.

Spelling. Where a word is correctly spelt in the text and obviously misspelt in the original no change has been made.

(b) Omissions and Italics. All words previously omitted have been inserted and all mistakes in italics and words wrongly transcribed have been corrected.

Occasionally a word will be found in small square brackets; this always indicates that the word is not in the original but is necessary to the comprehension of the passage.

Notes. Where a note on the envelope or cover of a letter has been omitted, this has been included either under the Letter No. or as a footnote.

Sanskrit. In Letters No. 1, 4, 132, and 87, a phrase in Sanskrit or oriental characters occurs under the signatures.

In Letter No. 59, the Sanskrit equivalents of the words "Mahakasha" and "gunas" have been added as in the originals and also a word in Letter No. 85.

Letter No. 13. Answers 4 and 6 have been re-arranged in accordance with the original.

Appendix. Three fragments in K.H.'s writing inadvertently omitted in the first edition have been added, and the treatment of the Mars and Mercury controversy has been slightly changed.

Index. This has been revised in accordance with the corrected text.

It is with the greatest regret and concern that the Compiler has to confess that the inefficiency of his work has rendered the revised edition necessary, and in extenuation it can only be said that the difficulties of transcription were very great. He alone is to blame for the mistakes made, and considers that his action in revising the whole work is the only one consistent with his duty and responsibility. — A.T.B.

January, 1926.



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