Mahatma Letter No. 16

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Quick Facts
People involved
Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: H. S. Olcott, "a friend"
Written on: Feb. 11-18, 1881, per MKN
Received on: March 1, 1881
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Galle, Ceylon
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 16 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 107 in Barker numbering. In Letter No. 16, Mahatma Koot Hoomi offers reassurance to A. P. Sinnett that he is trying to calm down the agitated Helena Blavatsky. See below for Context and background.

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A. P. Sinnett, Es.
[Tie Space]



  • Barker notations on envelope: CVII and 189
  • Other notation: 319

Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

My dear Ambassador --

To quiet the anxiety I see lurking within your mind, and which has even a more definite form than you have expressed, let me say that I will use my best endeavours to calm our highly sensitive - not always sensible old friend, and make her stop at her post. Ill health resulting from natural causes, and mental anxiety have made her nervous to an extreme degree and sadly impaired her usefulness to us. For a fortnight past she has been all but useless, and her emotions have sped along her nerves like electricity thro' a telegraphic



Page 2

wire. All has been chaos. I am sending these few lines by a friend to Olcott so that they may be forwarded without her knowledge.

Consult freely with our friends in Europe and return with a good book in your hand and a good plan in your head. Encourage the sincere brethren at Galles to persevere in their work of education. Some cheering words from you will give them heart. Telegraph to Nicolas Dias Inspector of Police Galle that you a member of the General Council of the Theosophical Society are coming (the date and name of steamer given) and I will cause H. P. B. to do the same to another person. Think



  • "...our friends in Europe, etc." Mr. Sinnett was about to depart for London in March 1881, where he would publish his first book The Occult World.
  • Galles, now spelled Galle, is a city and district in southwest Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Page 3

on the way of your true friend.

K. H. and ___.



Context and background

A. P. Sinnett received this letter while he was at Galle, Ceylon, on his way back to England for a holiday.

In Old Diary Leaves, Henry Olcott gave an account of HPB's agitation:

It had been arranged that I should return alone to Ceylon and begin the collection of a National Education Fund to promote the education of Buddhist boys and girls. The scheme had - as H. P. B. assured me - the full approbation of the Mahatmas, and her own concurrence had been strongly expressed. Thereupon I had written to Ceylon and made all necessary arrangements with our friends. But, on 11th February, as it seems, H. P. B. fell out with me because I would not cancel the engagement and stop and help her on the Theosophist. Of course, I flatly refused to do anything of the kind, and as the natural consequence she fell into a white rage with me. She shut herself up in her room a whole week, refusing to see me, but sending me formal notes of one sort or another, among them one in which she notified me that the Lodge [White Brotherhood, or Mahatmas] would have nothing more to do with the Society or myself, and I might go to Timbuctoo if I liked. I simply said that my tour having been fully approved of by the Lodge, I should carry it through, even though I never saw the face of a Master again; that I did not believe them to be such vacillating and whimsical creatures; if they were, I preferred to work on without them. Her ill-temp burnt itself out at last.[1]

According to Margaret Conger's chronology, this is 22nd letter in sequence, whereas Mary K. Neff considered it to be number 14.

Physical description of letter

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

Fine, carefully formed lettering in dark blue ink, on a single sheet of rippled white paper.[2]

Publication history

This letter is presented as number 107 in the first three editions of The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett transcribed and compiled by A. T. Barker.

Commentary about this letter

Joy Mills comments about Letter No. 16:

Although very brief, Letter 16 is interesting for several reasons. First, it was received by Sinnett in Ceylon when he and his family were en route to England; however its transmittal was through Olcott rather than through HPB. The transmittal note accompanying the letter is found in LBS (page 363), with Sinnett's own record as to the day and time it was received. That note reads: "Dear O., Forward this immediately to A. P. Sinnett, and do not breathe a word of it to HPB. Let her alone, and do not go near her for a few days. The storm will subside. K.H.L.S."[3]

She continues:

The opening paragraph of Letter 16 refers to HPB's condition at the time and indicates why the communication is sent via Olcott. KH was apparently eager to communicate with Sinnett during his stopover in Ceylon so he could urge Sinnett to encourage the Buddhist education for which Olcott himself was also to travel there. KH even tells Sinnett the person he is to contact (via telegraph) in Galle. The identity of "another person," whom the Mahatma will have HPB contact, is unclear - perhaps a chela resident in Ceylon or even a Brother known to KH.[4]

The signature may return to Djual Khul, to the one mentioned as "another person" or to the chela who transmitted the letter to Olcott.[5] She goes on to identify the "friends in Europe" mentioned on page 1 as Lord Lindsay, Dr. Wyld, and members of the London Society.[6]


  1. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, Second Series, 1878-83 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 293-294.
  2. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 57.
  3. Joy Mills, Reflections on an Ageless Wisdom, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 2010), 52.
  4. Ibid, 53.
  5. Ibid, 53.
  6. Ibid, 54.