Mahatma Letter No. 54

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Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Written on: unknown
Received on: March 18, 1882
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Allahabad, India
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 54 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 35 in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

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Cover sheet

Letter from K.H. Received Allahabad, March 18th, 1882.



Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

You did not quite apprehend the meaning of my note, good friend, of March 11th. I said it was easy to produce phenomena, when the necessary conditions were given, but not that even the presence of Olcott and Mallapura at your house brought such an accession of force as would suffice for the tests you propose.

These latter were reasonable enough from your point of view, I do not at all blame you for asking them. I, myself, would perhaps wish you to have them — for your personal gratification, not that of the public for, as you know, conviction in these cases must be reached by individual experience. Secondhand testimony never really satisfied any but a credulous (or rather non-sceptical) mind. No Spiritualist who should read in your second edition even a narrative of the very tests you have named to me, would for one moment ascribe the facts to aught but mediumship: and your lady and yourself would probably be included by them in the sum of the mediumistic factors.



Page 2

Fancy that! No — bide your time; you are slowly gathering together the materials for what we here call, as you know, real dgiü, make the best of it. It is not physical phenomena that will ever bring conviction to the hearts of the unbelievers in the "Brotherhood" but rather phenomena of intellectuality, philosophy and logic, if I may so express it. See "Spirit teachings" by + as given out by Oxon — the most intellectual as the best educated of all mediums. Read and — pity! Do you not see then where we are "driving at" as O. says? Do you not realize that were it not for your exceptional intellect and the help to be derived therefrom the Chohan would have long ago closed every door of communication between us? Yes, read and study, my friend; for there is an object. You seemed annoyed, disappointed, when reading the words, "Impossible: no power here, will write through Bombay." Those eight words will have cost me eight days recuperative work — in the state I am in at present. But You know not what I mean: You are absolved.

You will not disguise from yourself the



Page 3

difficulties of working out your scheme of "Degrees." I wanted you to develop it at your leisure, "as the spirit moved you." For even though you should not quite succeed in forming a scheme that would fit the needs of Asia and Europe, you might hit upon something that would be good for either the one or the other, and another hand might then supply the lacking portion. Asiatics are so poor, as a rule, and books are so inaccessible to them in these degenerate days, that you can see plainly how different a plan of intellectual culture — in preparation for practical experiments to unfold psychic power in themselves — must be thought. In the olden time, this want was supplied by the Guru, who guided the chela through the difficulties of childhood and youth, and afforded him in oral teaching as much as, or more than through books the food for mental and psychic growth. The want of such a "guide, philosopher and friend," (and who so well deserves the tripartite title?) can never be supplied, try as you may. All you can do is to prepare the intellect: the impulse toward "soul-culture"



Page 4

must be furnished by the individual. Thrice fortunate they who can break through the vicious circle of modern influence and come up above the vapours!

To recur to your Degrees: Are you not drawing the lines too vaguely between the first three or four groups? What test do you apply to decide their respective mental states. How guard against mere "cramming? and copying? and substitute writing?" Many clever Jesuits might pass all your Degrees, even up to the 6th and 7th: would you, then, admit him into the second section? Remember the lessons of the past and Carter Black. It is quite possible — as Moorad Ali Bey said and Olcott confirmed to you — for one who had passed the first five stages to acquire "occult faculties" in the 6th. Nay, it can be done without the help of either — by adopting either the method of the Arhats, the Dasturs, the Yogis, or the Sufis; among each of which groups of mystics there have been many who did not even read or write. If the psychic idiosyncracy is lacking, no culture will supply it. And the highest theoretical as also practical school



  • Degrees refers to a system of degrees that APS was apparently trying to establish in the Society..[1]
  • Carter Black was a member of the British T. S. who was "expelled for slandering other members, but later rejoined.".[2]
  • A Dastūr is a Zoroastrian high priest, applied mainly to the Parsis in India.

Page 5

of this kind, is that one in which we associates — your interested correspondents — were taught.

All that precedes has been said not for your discouragement but as a stimulus. If you are a true Anglo-Saxon, no obstacle will daunt your zeal; and unless my Eye has been dimmed this is your character — au fond. We have one word for all aspirants: TRY.

And now, to your laugh in September last as to the imaginary dangers to him who produces phenomena, dangers growing in size in proportion to the magnitude of the phenomena — so produced, and the impossibility to refute them. Remember the proposed test of the Times to be brought here. My good friend, if the trifling phenomena (for they are trifling in comparison with what could and might be done) shown by Eglington provoked such bitter hatred evoking before him scenes of imprisonment owing to false witnesses what would not be the fate of the poor



  • au fond is a French phrase meaning "at the base" or "at the bottom of things".
  • William Eglinton "returned to England partly as the result of the unpleasant reception accorded him in Calcutta by thos who disapproved of his spiritualistic phenomena.".[3]

Page 6

"Old Lady"! You are yet barbarians with all your boasted civilization.

And now to Morya. [This strictly between us and you must not breathe it even to Mrs. Gordon)]. Eglington was preparing to depart leaving on poor Mrs. G. mind the fear that she had been deceived; that there were no "Brothers" since Eglington had denied their existence and that the "Spirits" were silent as to that problem. Last week then M., stalking in, into the motley crowd took the spooks by the skin of their throats and, — the result was the unexpected admission of the Brothers, their actual existence and the honour claimed of a personal acquaintance with the "Illustrious." The lesson for you and others, derived from the above, may be useful in future — events having to grow and to develop.

Yours faithfully,




Context and background

This is the letter promised by the Mahatma K.H. in his short note: “Impossible; no power. Will write thro’ Bombay.” (Mahatma Letter No. 52).

Physical description of letter

The original is in the British Library, Folio 2. According to George Linton and Virginia Hanson, the letter was written:

On three sheets of regular size white paper, on both sides, in KH script in dull blue ink.[4]

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), 107.
  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), 220.
  3. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 107.
  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), 106.