Mahatma Letter No. 71

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Quick Facts
People involved
Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Written on: unknown
Received on: August 12, 1882
Other dates: none
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Simla, India
Via: none

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

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Cover sheet

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



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(Not for publication)



  • 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!



  • Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy.

Context and background

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


  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