Mahatma Letter No. 71

From Theosophy Wiki
(Redirected from MLB19)
Jump to: navigation, search
Quick Facts
People involved
Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Dates
Written on: unknown
Received on: August 12, 1882
Other dates: none
Places
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Simla, India
Via: none

This is Letter No. 19 in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

< Prev letter chrono  Next letter chrono >  
< Prev letter Barker  Next letter Barker >

Cover sheet

Attached to Proofs of Letter on Theosophy. Received August 12th, 1882.


71-0_Cover_sheet_6254_thm.jpg

NOTES:

Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

Yes; verily known and as confidently affirmed by the adepts from whom —

"No curtain hides the spheres Elysian,

Nor these poor shells of half transparent dust;

For all that blinds the spirit's vision

Is pride and hate and lust..."

(Not for publication)

71-1_6256_thm.jpg

NOTES:

  • Yes; verily known... is a comment to a statement by Sinnettt that the facts about life after death are "as known to the adepts and affirmed by them with as much confidence as the motions of the planets are affirmed by astronomers to be what they are."
  • This verse is a modified version of the original, appearing in the poem "A Hymn from the Inner Life" by Spiritualist Thomas Lake Harris, published in 1848.[1]
Non-verbatim versions of the verse were later published, unattributed, by Randolph in his book Seership (1870),[2] and by Henry Kiddle in his book Spiritual Communications (1879).[3]

Page 2

Exceptional cases, my friend. Suicides can and generally do, but not so with the others. The good and pure sleep a quiet blissful sleep, full of happy visions of earth-life and have no consciousness of being already for ever beyond that life. Those who were neither good nor bad, will sleep a dreamless, still a quiet sleep; while the wicked will in proportion to their grossness suffer the pangs of a nightmare lasting years: their thoughts become living things, their wicked passions — real substance, and they receive back on their heads all the misery they have heaped upon others. Reality and fact if described would yield a far more terrible Inferno than even Dante had imagined!

71-2_6257_thm.jpg

NOTES:

  • Exceptional cases... is a response to Sinnett's statement, "victims of accident sometimes though rarely, and those of suicide, can communicate with us through mediums."
  • Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy.

Context and background

The “Letter on Theosophy” to which these two notes are attached is addressed to Stainton Moses in London, intended for publication in the magazine Light, a journal of the Spiritualists in that city. Sinnett had sent the proofs to the Mahatma K.H. for his comments.

In the proof of the second of the letters meant for Stainton Moses, Sinnett makes the statement: "I find it difficult to explain a condition of things under examination . . . for want of a previous acquaintance on your part with the occult doctrine . . . regarding the mode in which Nature rewards and punishes her children for their acts in this life. . ." At the point of mention that Moses does not have a "previous acquaintance" with the occult doctrine, Sinnett has inserted a parenthetical comment: "(the actual state of the facts, that is to say, as known to the adepts and affirmed by them with as much confidence as the motions of the planets are affirmed by astronomers to be what they are). . ." In the marginal comment by the Mahatma K.H., following the words "as known to the adepts. . ." he has added the words which open this Letter No. 71. "Yes, verily known and as confidently affirmed by the adepts from whom. . ."

Sinnett wrote further in his letter: "Now the victims of accident sometimes though rarely, and those of suicide, can communicate with us through mediums, and that which communicates is the real entity of the once living man, barring a few exceptional circumstances, of which hereafter. . ." At this point appears the Mahatma’s marginal comment: "Exceptional cases my friend. . ."

A further interesting item is a short letter in K.H.’s handwriting, addressed to Sinnett and received by him on August 22, 1882, about ten days after No. 71 was received. It is found in LBS on p. 365, Letter 201. The Mahatma says: "I have made a few alterations and caused a footnote to be appended to your 'Letters.' Anyhow, there is always danger, I see, of finding our ideas substituted by concrete and false images in the minds of your readers. If you succeed in giving them only relative, not absolute, truth, you will have conferred upon the public a great boon."

Physical description of letter

The original is in the British Library, Folio 1. According to George Linton and Virginia Hanson,

This letter, as APS comments, consists of two marginal notes attached to proofs of a letter on Theosophy (by APS). The notes are on odd-sized scraps of paper, in blue pencil, having a grained appearance. The first sheet contains the verse of poetry. The second contains the remainder of the text.[4]

Publication history

Commentary about this letter

Notes

  1. The Univercœlum and Spiritual Philosopher, vol. II, No. 17, Sept. 23, 1848, p. 267.
    The original verse reads:
    "No curtain hides from view the Spheres Elysian,
    But this poor shell of half-transparent dust;
    And all that blinds our spiritual vision;
    Is pride and hate and lust."
  2. See online version here
  3. See online version here.
  4. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 125-126.


Additional resources