Mahatma Letter No. 140

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People involved
Written by: H. P. Blavatsky
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Written on: unknown
Received on: March 17, 1886
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: Würzburg
Received at: London
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 140 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 141 in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

March 17th, 1886.

My Dear Mr. Sinnett,

Do anything you like. I am in your hands. Only I cannot see what harm there could be were the lawyers to be told that it is a lie my being Mme Metrovitch or Mme any one except myself. It would prevent them and put a stop to their addressing letters to me in that name; for surely they are not such fools as not to know that this open libel is against law. It is because the Bibiche bamboozled them into the belief that I was



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really a bigamist and a trigamist that they did it. Well very soon I may receive a letter addressed to me in the name of Mrs. Leadbeater or Mrs. Damodar or perhaps be accused of having had a child by Mohini or Bowajee. Who can tell unless something is refuted.

But this is all trifles. There is something unutterably disgusting and sickening to me in the idea of any concealment of names. I hate incognitos and changing names. Why should I give you more bother than you



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already have with me? Why should you lose time and money to come and meet me? Don't do this. I will send the things beforehand and come out with Louise quietly second class, passing the night at Bohn or at Achen (Aix la Chapelle) or somewhere on the road. Lodgings will be dear at Ostende in June, not before. Besides I can go somewhere near-by. I do not know when I will leave here. May be on the 1st, may be on the 15th. I have paid till that date.

Why shouldn't Mrs. Sinnett come with Dennie? Where's the harm and why should she not stop with me if I find



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good lodgings? I would never be happy unless she was with me for what's the use of her being in other lodgings? Only discomfort for her and vexation of spirit for me.

I have written to my aunt and sister giving them Redway's address. The letters will all be addressed to you to his care, only for Madame B: under your name. However, I really care little for letters or no letters. There's a long article in my praise and glorification in the Russian papers in which I am called "the martyr of England." That's comforting and makes me feel as though



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I were indeed a "grand Russian Spy!" Say, do you know — but then you will never believe it. Well don't, but some day you will be forced to, Gladstone is a secret Roman Catholic convert. That's sure. Make of it what you will, you cannot change facts. Ah, poor England; and foolish, blind are those who seek the destruction of the T.S.!

Well, I must say a few words in this respect. You say "we are almost past praying for . . . paralyzed and helpless. The French and German branches of the T.S. are practically dead. The London movement can only be revivified at some future period, etc." You are asked: How is this?



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You are not dead. The Countess lives. Two or three fellows around you breathe, so far. The Society in India is flourishing and can never die. In America it is becoming a grand movement. Dr. Buck, Prof. Coues, Arthur Gebhard with a few others are helped because they move, and show their utmost contempt for whatever is said, printed, howled in the streets. Oh, do try and be intuitional — for pity's sake do not shut your eyes and because you cannot see objectively do not paralyze subjective help which is there living, breathing, evident. Does not all around you show the indestructibility of the Society, if we see how the fierce waves raised by the Dugpa-world have been for the last two years heaving and spreading and



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beating ferociously around the Society to break, what? only the rotten chips of the "Ark of the Deluge." Have they carried away anyone really worthy of the movement? Not one. You suspect that the "Masters" want to put an end to the movement? They see you do not understand what they are doing and feel sorry for it. Are they to be blamed for what happened, or we, ourselves? If the Founder of the Society and the Founders or Presidents of the Branches had ever kept in view the fact that it is not so much the quantity we are in need of, but the quality, to make the Society a success half of the disasters would have been avoided. There were two paths before the L.L. as before any other branch when you took up its mangled fragments and rebuilt them into the growing successful body it was: that which led to the formation of a secret, arcane Society of studying practical occultists; the other an open and fashionable body. You have always preferred the latter.



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A chance was given to all of you in the formation of an inner group: you would not assert your authority and left it to the nominal President — who shook on his legs at every gentle breeze from within and without, ruined and then deserted it. Every such attempt was either repelled or, if realized, had such a strong element of sham in it that it proved a failure. It was found impossible to help it and it was left to its fate. There is an Asiatic proverb: "You may cut the serpent of wisdom in hundred pieces so long that its heart, which is in its head, remains untouched, the serpent will join its bits and live again." But when the heart and head seem everywhere and are nowhere, what can be done? The L.L. having taken its rank and place among public bodies it had to be judged by its appearances. It is not enough to laud the Body and Branches, as schools of morality and wisdom and benevolence, for they will always be judged by the outward world by their fruits not by their pretensions — not by what they say but by what they do. The Branch was always in need of efficient workers; and, as in all organizations the work devolved upon the very few. Out of those few one only had a definite object in view, pursued it firm and unwavering — yourself. Yet your natural reserve and the strong element of worldly Society within the Occult body, the sense of English individuality and propriety in each member, prevented you on the one hand from asserting your rights as you ought



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to have done, and caused the rest to separate from you wide and apart, each determining to act as he or she thought best, to secure his own salvation and satisfy his aspirations, "working Karma out on a higher plane" as the foolish phrase goes now among them. You are right in saying that "the blows that have been struck at the movement" have been "all emanating from the consequences of the deputations from India"; you are wrong in thinking that (1) these consequences would have been as disastrous, had not the Hindu element been mixed up with the European and strongly helped and urged on toward mischief by the female element in the L.L.; and (2) that "the higher powers wish to arrest the growth of the Society." Mohini was sent, and at first won the hearts and poured new life into the L.L. He was spoiled by male and female adulation, by incessant flattery and his own weakness — your reserve and pride left you passive when you ought to have been active. The first bomb-shell from the Dugpa world came from America; you welcomed and warmed it in your own breast, you drove the writer of this more than once to the verge of despair, your thorough-going, sincere earnestness, your devotion to truth and the "Masters" having been made powerless for the time being, for discerning the real truth, for sensing that which was left unsaid for it could not be said and thus leaving the widest margin for suspicion. The latter was not unfounded. The Dugpa element triumphed fully at one time — why? because you believed in one who was sent by the opposing powers for the destruction



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of the Society and permitted to act as she and others did by the "higher powers," as you call them, whose duty it was not to interfere in the great probation save at the last moment. To this day you are unable to say what was true, what false — because there is no spot made apart, separated from the Society and consecrated to the one pure element in it, love and devotion to the truth whether abstract or concreted in the "Masters" — a spot in which no element of individuality or selfishness would enter — a real inner group is here meant. The Oriental group has proved a farce. Miss A. cares more for the chelas (?) than the Masters; she is blind to the fact that those who were (and yet think they still are) most devoted to the Cause, Masters, Theosophy, call it by whatever name — are those that are the most tried; that she is now being tried, that it is her last trial and that she does not come out of it as a conqueror, it seems. "In the absence of any means of communicating directly with them I can only judge by signs" — you say. The signs are evident. It is the great supreme trial all round. He who remains passive will lose nothing, but will not gain one tittle, when it is over. He may even cause his Karma to slide him gently back on the path he has already been climbing. What you sorely lack is Olcott's blessed self-confidence and — pardon — his vulgar but all powerful cheek. One need not give up tact and culture to have it. It is a many faced Proteus that can have either of his faces or cheek turned to the enemy and force



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him to cow. If the L.L. is composed only of six members — the President the seventh; and this daring "vieille garde" faces the enemy coolly, not allowing him to know how many you are, and impressing him with outward signs of a multitude by the number of pamphlets, convocations and other distinct, material proofs that the Society has not been shaken, that it has not felt the blows, that it snaps its fingers in the enemy's face, you will soon win the day; you will have exhausted the enemy before it tires out the Society to its last member. All this can be easily achieved and no "smashing disasters" would really affect it, if its members had intuition enough to see what "the higher powers" really wish, what they can or cannot prevent. Spiritual discernment is what is most wanted. "It is not so much a question of saving what remains of the Society — as of recommencing the movement at some future time." Fatal policy. Follow it, and you will have broken by that (future) time, every invisible yet powerfully vital thread that links the L.L. with the ashrums beyond the great mountains. Nothing can Kill the L.L. except that one thing — Passivity. Know this, you who confess that you "have no heart for the present to be giving lectures and addresses." "Work underground" — it is the best you can do — but not in silence — if you would not kill the Society and your own personal aspirations with your own hand. All are not speakers in the L.L. and very lucky, or it would be a Babel. All are not wise, but those who are ought to share with the rest. Combine to make things complete.



  • vieille garde means "old guard"
  • Babel refers to the multiplicity of languages in the city of Babel in the Biblical account, Genesis 11:1-9.

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Make your activity commensurate with your opportunities and do not turn your face away from the latter, even from those that are created for you. "Fling the burning brands apart, and they will quickly go out; rake them together and they will glow, burst into flame, and shoot sky-ward with ruddy brightness." So shall the L.L. shine out if demoralization is kept at distance, if its lights are not allowed to burn and die out as isolated and intermediate points of lights, but are clustered and focalized into full ruddiness by the hand of its President, and if this hand is not allowed to drop the banner entrusted to it. Human dirt never sticks, nor does it soil the flame it is flung against. It only sticks hard to the marble, to the cold heart that has lost the last spark of the Divine flame. Yes indeed, the "Masters" and the "Powers that be" would call and guide many and many a sad, lonesome and weary one in this fair land of occult, psychic theosophy to gather with them around their altars. Two are bodily there already, who have won their day and found the alleged "Invisibles" — each by his own path. For the teachings of the "Order" are like precious stones — whatever way turned, light and truth and beauty flash forth, and will guide the weary traveller in search of them, if he but stops not on his way to follow the will-o'-wisps of the illusive world, and remains deaf to public rumour.

Now do, for pity sake — do try to arouse for once your intuitions if you can. I do suffer for you and would do anything to help you. But you prevent me. Pardon this and try to recognise the foreign from my own words.

H. P. B.



Context and background

Physical description of letter

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

In HPB's handwriting, on both sides of three folded sheets of letter paper.[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), 212.