Mahatma Letter No. 103b

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Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Written on: unknown
Received on: January 1883
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Allahabad, India
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 103b in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 91b in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

I got out the letters of C.C.M. and yourself and gave the former to Mr. Olcott to answer. Thus one half of the "damaging" accusation is disposed of and explained away naturally enough. Poor woman! Incessantly and intensely engrossed with one ever working thought — the CAUSE and Society — even her carelessness and lack of memory, her forgetfulness and distraction are viewed in the light of criminal acts. I have now again "osmosed" his answer to return it with a few more words of explanation that should come from me.

The deduction of Mr. Massey that "the adept foresight was not available" in sundry noted cases of theosophical failure is but the restatement of the old error that the selections of members and the actions of Founders and Chelas are controlled by us! This



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has been often denied, and — as I believe — sufficiently explained to you in my Darjeeling letter, but objectors cling to their theory despite all. We have no concern with, nor do we guide the events generally: yet take the series of names he quotes and see that each man was an useful factor toward producing the net result. Hurrychund drew the party to Bombay — although they had prepared to go to Madras, which would have been fatal at that stage of the Theosophical movement; Wimbridge and Miss Bates gave an English complexion to the party and caused from the first much good by causing a bitter journalistic assault upon the Founders which brought on reaction; Dayanand stamped the movement with the impress of Aryan



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nationality; and lastly Mr. Hume — who is already the secret and may well become the open foe of the cause — has aided it greatly by his influence and will promote it more despite himself, by the ulterior results of his defection. In each instance the individual traitor and enemy was given his chance, and but for his moral obliquity might have derived incalculable good from it to his personal Karma.

Mrs. Billing is — a medium, and when that is said all is said. Except this, that among mediums she is the most honest if not the best. Has Mr. Massey seen her answer to Mrs. Simpson, the Boston medium that the questions — very compromising no doubt for the New England prophetess and Seer — should be brought forward as evidence of her guilt? Why — if honest has she not exposed pro bono publico all such false mediums? — may be the question asked. She tried to warn



  • Mrs. Simpson refers to R. C. Simpson, who was a celebrated slate-writer and test medium from Boston.
  • pro bono publico is used to mean "in the public good".

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her friends repeatedly; result: "friends" fell off and she herself was regarded in the light of a slanderer, a "Judas." She tried to do so, indirectly, in the case of Miss Cook (junior). Ask Mr. Massey to recollect what were his feelings in 1879, at the time he was investigating the materialization phenomena of that young lady, — when told by Mrs. Billing — guardedly, and by H.P.B., — bluntly, that he was mistaking a piece of white muslin for a "spirit." In your world of maya and kaleidoscopic change of feelings — truth is an article rarely wanted in the market; it has its seasons and very short ones. The woman has more sterling virtues and honesty in her little finger than many of the never distrusted mediums put together. She has been a loyal member of the Society from the time she joined it, and her rooms in New York are the rallying centre where our theosophists meet.



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Her loyalty, moreover, is one that costs her the regard of many patrons. She also, unless closely watched by "Ski" can turn a traitor — precisely because she is a medium, though it is not likely she would do it — withal she is incapable of either a falsehood or deceit in her normal state.

I cannot control a feeling of repugnance to going into particulars about this, that, and the other phenomenon that may have occurred. They are the playthings of the tyro and if we sometimes have gratified the craving for them (as in Mr. Olcott's and in a lesser degree your own case at the beginning, since we knew what good spiritual growth would come of it) we do not feel called upon to be continually explaining away deceptive appearances, due to mixed carelessness and credulity, or blind skepticism, as the case may be. For the present we offer our knowledge — some portions of it at least — to be



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either accepted or rejected on its own merits independently — entirely so — from the source from which it emanates. In return, we ask neither allegiance, loyalty, nor even simple courtesy — nay, we rather have nothing of the sort offered since we would have to decline the kind offer. We have in view the good of the whole association of earnest British theosophists and care little for individual opinions or the regard of this or that member. Our four year old experience has sufficiently delineated the future of the best possible relations between ourselves and Europeans to make us still more prudent and less lavish of personal favours. Suffice then for me to say that "Ski" has more than once served as carrier and even mouthpiece for several of us;



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and that in the case Mr. Massey alludes to, the letter from "a Scotch Brother" was a genuine one to deliver which to him mysteriously we — the "Scotch" Brother included — refused point blank, as, notwithstanding Upasika's passionate prayers to make a few exceptions in favour of C. C. Massey, — (her "best and dearest friend," one whom she loved and trusted so implicitly, that she actually offered to accept one year more of her long, dreary exile and work far away from her final goal would we but consent to gratify him with our presence and teachings — as notwithstanding all this, I say, we were not allowed to waste our powers so ruthlessly. Madame B. was therefore, left to send it by post, or if she preferred it, to go by "Ski"M. having forbidden her to exercise her own occult means. Surely no crime can be imputed to her — unless absolute and



  • The "Scotch" Brother was probably Master Hillarion, who was then in Scotland.

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frenzied devotion to a great Idea and those whom she regards as her best and truest friends, may now be imputed as an offence. And now, I hope, I may be relieved of the necessity of going into detailed explanation about the famous Massey-Billing letter affair. Let me only point out to you what is the impression made on anyone with a fair unbiassed mind who would happen to read Mr. Massey's letter and the lame evidence contained therein. (1) No clever medium bent on carrying out a plan of deception previously concocted, would have the idiotic idea of producing, and placing before him with her own hands, any article (minute-book in her case) in which the tricky "phenomenon" was to take place. Had she known that "Ski" placed the letter inside that book there are 99 chances out of 100 that she



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would not have brought it to him herself. It is over twenty years that she made of mediumship her profession. A fraud and an unscrupulous deceiver in one thing, she must have been in many. Among hundreds of enemies and still more skeptics she passed triumphantly and unscathed the most crucial tests producing the most wonderful mediumistic phenomena. Her husband is the only one — he who ruined to now dishonour her — who accuses her with documentary proof in hand of being a trickster. H.P.B. wrote to him the most violent letters of reproach and insisted upon his expulsion from the Society. He hates her. What's the use of seeking for further motives? (2) Mr. Massey is but half a prophet when telling — he supposes "you will be told that these things were occult forgeries (!)" No; the message on the back of Dr. Wyld's letter is in her



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own hand-writing, as also the first portion of the letter copied and now quoted by him for your benefit — the most damaging portion in his opinion — and no harm in it as far as I see, and as explained already. She does not want him to know that she used "Ski" whose entity he was known to distrust, the shortcomings and crimes of several other "Skis" having been fathered on the real "Ski," and Mr. Massey unable to recognise one from the other. In her loose, careless way she says: "Let him think what he likes but he must not suspect you have been near him with Ski at your orders." Thereupon, Mrs. B. the "clever impostor" hardened and "experienced in deceit" does precisely that, which she is plainly asked not to do i.e. goes near him and hands to him the very book in which Ski had placed the letter! Very clever; quite so. (3) He argues that,



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"even if otherwise conceivable (the occult forgery) the later contents of the letter were inconsistent with the supposed object, for it went on to speak of the T.S. and of the adepts with as much apparently genuine devotion etc. etc." Mr. Massey, I see, makes no difference between an "occult" and a common forger such as his legal experience may have made him acquainted with. An "occult" forger a dugpa would have forged the letter precisely in this tone. He would have never become guilty of being carried away by his personal grudge, so as to deprive his letter of its cleverest feature. The T.S. would not be shown by him "a superstructure upon fraud," and it is "the very opposite impression" that is its crown. I say is for half of the letter is a forgery and a very occult one. Mr. Massey may perhaps believe me since it is not that portion which



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concerns him that is denied (all with the exception of the words "mysterious" and (or some other still more mysterious place") — but "the later portion," just that one which "Billing himself reluctantly admitted" as giving "the very opposite impression." "L.L" is nobody living or dead. Certainly not "Lord Lindsay," since he was not known to H.P.B., nor had she then nor had she ever since the least concern about his "Lordship." This portion bears so much the impression of clumsy fraud upon its face that it could have deceived but one whose mind was already well prepared to see fraud in Mrs. Billing and her "Ski". I have done, and you may show this to your friend Mr. Massey. Whatever his personal opinion about myself and Brothers can in no way influence the promised "teachings" through your friendly agency.


K. H.



Context and background

The circumstances this letter refer to are obscure. From the contents, we may gather that one of the Adepts, probably Master Hillarion who was at the time in Scotland, and who is therefore mentioned here as the "Scotch Borther," wrote a letter to C. C. Massey. Blavatsky had asked the Masters to deliver it themselves, but they declined to waste their powers "so ruthlessly." They told Blavatsky that she could send it by regular mail (since she was not allowed to used her powers at this time) or could give the letter to one of Mrs. Hollis Billing's spirit guides, "Ski", to be delivered by occult means. Blavatsky chose this course of action.

Ski placed the letter inside a minute-book that Mrs. Hollis Billing handed to C. C. Massey, without knowing that there was a letter inside. However, in Mrs. Massey's eyes this was very suspicious, and assumed the letter had been produced by Mrs. Hollis Billing herself.

However, it seems that the letter was not delivered in its original form, since the Master says that half the letter was an occult forgery.

Physical description of letter

The original is in the British Library, Folio 3. According to George Linton and Virginia Hanson, the letter was written:

ML-91B is on three sheets of heavy smooth folded note paper, in dark blue ink in small script; blotched appearance and a somewhat different calligraphy from early letters.[1]

Publication history

Commentary about this letter


  1. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 170.