Mahatma Letter No. 55

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Quick Facts
People involved
Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Dates
Written on: unknown
Received on: March 24, 1882
Other dates: none
Places
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Allahabad, India
Via: none

This is Letter No. 89 in Barker numbering. This letter concerns the young English medium, William Eglinton (1857-1933), who went to India with the avowed purpose of investigating Theosophy.See below for Context and background.

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Cover sheet

Letter about contemplated Vega incident.

Received at Allahabad March 24th, 1882.

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NOTES:

Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

Private.

Good friend, I will not, in sending forth the letter, reiterate again the many remarks that might be made respecting the various objections which we have the right to raise against Spiritual phenomena and its mediums. We have done our duty; and, because the voice of truth came thro' a channel which few liked, it was pronounced as false, and along with it — Occultism. The time has gone by to argue, and the hour when it will be proved to the world that Occult Science instead of being, in the words of Dr. R. Chambers — "superstition itself," as they may be disposed to think it, will be found the explanation and the extinguisher of all superstitions — is nearby. For reasons that you

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NOTES:

  • Dr. R. Chambers probably refers to Robert Chambers (1802 – 1871), a Scottish publisher, geologist, evolutionary thinker, author and journal editor who was highly influential in mid-19th century scientific and political circles.

Page 2

will appreciate, though at first you will be inclined to consider (in regard to yourself) unjust, I am determined to do that, for once, which hitherto I have never done; namely, to personate myself under another form, and, perhaps — character. Therefore, you need not grudge Eglington [sic] the pleasure of seeing me personally, to talk with me, and — be "dumbfounded" by me, and with the results of my visit to him, on board, "The Vega." This will be done between the 21st and the 22nd of this month and, when you read this letter, will be a "vision of the past," — if Olcott sends to you the letter to-day.

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NOTES:

Page 3

"All things being are in mystery; we expound mysteries by mysteries" — you may perhaps say. Well, well; to you as to one forewarned it will not be one; since, for several reasons — one more plausible than the other — I take you into my confidence. One of them is, — to save you a feeling of involuntary envy (the word is queer isn't it?) when you hear of it. As he will see somebody quite different from the real K.H., though it will still be K.H. — you need not feel like one wronged by your trans-Himalayan friend. Another reason is, to save the poor fellow from the suspicion

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Page 4

of boasting; the third and chiefest, though neither least nor last, is, that theosophy and its adherents have to be vindicated at last. Eglington [sic] is going home; and, were he upon his return to know nothing of the Brothers, there would be a sore day of trial for poor old H.P.B. and H.S.O. Mr. Hume, twitted us for not appearing to Eglinton. He chuckled and defied us to do it before Fern and others. For reasons which he may or may not be able to appreciate — but that you will — we could not or rather would not do so, as long as E. was in India. No less had we very good reasons to forbid H.P.B. to either correspond with him, or take too much

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Page 5

notice of him in the Theosophist. But now that he is gone, and will be on the 22nd, hundreds of miles away at sea; and that no suspicion of fraud can be brought against either of them, the time for the experiment has come. He thinks of putting her to test — he will be tested himself.

Thus, my faithful friend and supporter, keep yourself prepared. As I will recommend Eglington [sic] to recommend in his turn, to Mrs. Gordon discretion and that the good lady may feel inclined to carry it on too far and take it a la lettre, I furnish you beforehand with a bull

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NOTES:

  • a la lettre means "literally" in French.
  • bull refers to a statement or decree.

Page 6

for her, calculated to unseal her lips.

Now for Mr. Hume. He has worked for us, and is certainly entitled to our consideration — so far. I would fain have written to him myself, but that the sight of my familiar characters may produce a diversion in his feelings — for the worse — before he goes to the trouble of reading what I have to say. Will you kindly undertake the delicate task of notifying him of what I now write to you? Tell him that there are persons — enemies — who are anxious to catch the "old lady" at CHEATING, to entrap her, so to say, and that for that very reason I am determined to settle the question

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Page 7

and have it once for ever at rest. Say to him that profiting by his suggestion and advice I, — K.H., will appear to Eglington [sic] in propria persona as in actu at sea, between the 21 and 22 of this month; and that, if successful in bringing the rebel who denies the "Brothers" to his senses, Mrs. Gordon and consort — will be notified of the fact immediately. That's all. We have, waited on purpose to produce our experiment until his departure, and now — WE MEAN TO ACT.

Yours ever,

K. H.

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NOTES:

  • "in propria persona" means to represent oneself in court without assistance of an attorney, from the Latin for "in ones own proper person."
  • "in actu" is a Latin phrase meaning "in the very act"

Page 8

Till the 25th of March, Mr. Sinnett is expected to keep his lips closed as they will be in death — three score and ten hence. Not a soul, but Mrs. S., your good lady, must know one word of this letter. This I expect of your friendship, and now put it to test. To Mr. Hume — you may write just now, so that the letter might be received by him on the 24th, in the afternoon. Your future depends on this, — your silence.

K. H.

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NOTES:

  • Till the 25th of March. On the 24th, when the Vega was 500 miles out at sea, letters were transmitted from the Vega to Bombay; and from there (along with some other items), to Howrah, to the home of Col. and Mrs. Gordon.

Context and background

This letter concerns the young English medium,William Eglinton (1857-1933), who went to India with the avowed purpose of investigating Theosophy. He had heard of Madame Blavatsky and the “Brothers” and he wanted to find out for himself whether she was reliable and the Brothers real beings, or whether the whole thing was a hoax. He refused to believe in the “Brothers” because his “Guide” (Ernest) had not informed him of their existence, and he considered H.P.B. just another medium who pretended to be something higher. In India he was at this time staying with Lt. Col. William Gordon and Mrs. Gordon, who lived in Howrah, a suburb of Calcutta. However, Eglinton saw nothing of either Col. Olcott or H.P.B. all the time he was in India and was not to meet them until two years later, when they were in London. A. O. Hume became interested in him and considered inviting him to Simla; it seemed that the Mahatmas themselves had some thought of bringing him there for training, since they were trying to find someone who could act for them in place of H.P.B. This did not work out and Eglinton remained in Calcutta while he was in India. He returned to England sailing on March 15, 1882, on the SS Vega, still skeptical concerning the existence of the Mahatmas. On the 22nd, some hours after the Vega had left Ceylon (its first port of call out of India) Master K.H. visited Eglinton in his Mayavi-Rupa and they had a long conversation. See The Vega Incident.

Physical description of letter

The original is in the British Library, Folio 3. George Linton and Virginia Hanson described the letter this way:

KH script in blue ink on two sheets of white paper, folded note fashion.[1]

Publication history

Commentary about this letter

Notes

  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), 108.


Additional resources