Mahatma Letter No. 3b
|A. P. Sinnett
|H. P. Blavatsky
|October 20, 1880
|a valley in Kashmir
This is Letter No. 3b in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 3b in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.
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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes
My "dear Brother,"
This brooch No. 2 — is placed in this very strange place simply to show to you how very easily a real phenomenon is produced and how still easier it is to suspect its genuineness. Make of it what you like even to classing me with confederates.
The difficulty you spoke of last night with respect to the interchange of our letters I will try to remove. One of our pupils will shortly visit Lahore and the N.W.P. and an address will be sent to you which you can always use; unless, indeed, you really would prefer corresponding through — pillows. Please to remark that the present is not dated from a "Lodge" but from a Kashmir valley.
Yours, more than ever,
Reverse side, marked as envelope
A. P. Sinnett, Esq.
Context and background
The Mahatma knew that the Sinnetts and guests and some friends were planning a picnic that day on the top of a nearby hill. Just before leaving for the picnic, Sinnett wrote a note to the Mahatma and gave it to H.P.B. to transmit.
While the group was eating the picnic lunch, H.P.B. suddenly seemed to be listening to something unheard by the rest of them. Then she told them that the Master was asking where they would like to find the object which he had taken away with him the night before.
Sinnett emphasizes in The Occult World that he had not told H.P.B. about this experience of the night before or of the note which he had found on the hall table. There had been no conversation with her about it at all. Further, she had not been out of his sight — or that of Mrs. Sinnett’s — until the party left for the picnic. In fact, she had been with Mrs. Sinnett in the drawing room all morning because she had been told occultly to go there and stay. She had grumbled about it (as she never hesitated to grumble when told to do something which she did not understand), but she obeyed.
At the picnic, after she had repeated the Mahatma’s question, she took no part in the conversation, nor did she make any suggestion concerning where they might ask to find the object.
Quite spontaneously, Mr. Sinnett, after a moment’s reflection, said he would like to find this object inside a cushion against which one of the ladies was leaning. He comments in The Occult World that, in view of their previous experience, a more natural choice might have been a tree, or buried in the earth, but his eye fell on the cushion and it seemed to him this might be a good selection.
Mrs. Sinnett immediately said, “Oh no, let it be inside my pillow!” Mr. Sinnett realized that this was an excellent choice, since he knew the pillow had been with her in the drawing room all morning and thus not out of her sight.
H.P.B. then asked the Mahatma, by her own methods, whether that would do, and received an affirmative reply. Thus it is seen that there was complete liberty of choice and nothing could have been planned in advance. Patience Sinnett was told to put the pillow under her rug, which she did with her own hands. After about a minute H.P.B. said the pillow could be opened. She had not been near it or touched it in any way.
Opening the pillow was no easy matter. Sinnett did it with his penknife, which took quite a while, as the pillow was securely sewn all around and had to be cut stitch by stitch. When one side of the cover was ripped open, it was found that there was still another case in which the feathers were stuffed. This, too, was sewn around all the edges.
Finally, the pillow was open, and Patience searched among the feathers. The first thing she found was a small 3-cornered note in the Mahatma’s familiar script (Letter No. 3B). While Sinnett was reading it she searched further through the feathers and found the brooch referred to in the note — the object which the Mahatma had taken away during the previous night (called Brooch No. 2 to differentiate it from an earlier phenomenon in which a brooch lost by Mrs. Hume was recovered. See The Occult World, pp. 68-92).
This brooch was one belonging to Patience Sinnett; it was very old and familiar. She usually left it on her dressing table when it wasn’t being worn. Interestingly enough, it now bore the Mahatma’s initials. The reference to “the difficulty you spoke of last night” indicates that the Mahatma had listened to the dinner-table conversation the previous evening in which Sinnett had expressed concern about the interchange of letters after H.P.B. left Simla.
Physical description of letter
ML-3B is on a full-size sheet of white paper. The writing is in the same ink and as in ML-3A, the signature is in a different script and slightly darker ink. Part of it has a slight reddish tinge. The paper has been folded both ways so as to make a square and then folded twice diagonally. On one of the triangular folds is the following:
- A. P. Sinnett, Esq.
- c/o Mrs. Sinnett
Commentary about this letter
The Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett by George Linton and Virginia Hanson suggests: "The second paragraph refers to teh question of how correspondence with the Mahatma was to be carried on after HPB left Simla, which she expected to do soon." Some of the difficulties are noted in Mahatma Letter No. 5, or number 4 in the Barker numbering.
For more details of the circumstances surrounding the letter, see The Occult World, written by Alfred Percy Sinnett in 1881, page 70.
- George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 39.