Mahatma Letter No. 10

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Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: H. P. Blavatsky
Written on: unknown See below.
Received on: After December 1, 1880 See below.
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: Umballa, India
Received at: Allahabad, India
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 10 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 5 in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

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Cover sheet

No. 5

Answer to Meerut letter



Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

My Dear Friend,

I have your letter of November 19th, abstracted by our special osmosis from the envelope at Meerut, and yours to our "old lady" in its half empty registered shell safely sent on to Cawnpore, to make her swear at me. . . . . But she is too weak to play at the astral postman just now. I am sorry to see that she has once more proved inaccurate and led you into error; but this is chiefly my own fault, as I often neglect to give her an extra rub over her poor sick head, now, when she forgets and mixes up things more than usual. I did not ask her to tell you "to give up the idea of the A.I. Branch as nothing would come of it," but — "to give up the idea of the Anglo-Indian Branch in co-operation with Mr. Hume, as nothing would come of it." I will send you his answer to my letter and my final epistle and you will judge for yourself. After reading the latter, you will please seal and send it to him, simply stating that you do so on my behalf. Unless he asks the question you better not let him know you have read his letter. He may be proud of it, but — should not.

My dear, good friend, you must not bear me a grudge for what I say to him of the English in general. They are haughty. To us especially, so that we regard



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it as a national feature. And, you must not confound your own private views — especially those you have now — with those of your countrymen in general. Few, if any — (of course with such exceptions as yourself, where intensity of aspirations makes one disregard all other considerations) — would ever consent to have "a nigger" for a guide or leader, no more than a modern Desdemona would choose an Indian Othello nowadays. The prejudice of race is intense, and even in free England we are regarded as an "inferior race." And this same tone vibrates in your own remark about "a man of the people unused to refined ways" and "a foreigner but a gentleman," the latter being the man to be preferred. Nor would a Hindu be likely to have such a lack of "refined ways" disregarded in him were he "an adept" twenty times over again; and this very same trait appears prominent in Viscount Amberley's criticism on the "underbred Jesus." Had you paraphrased your sentence and said: — "a foreigner but no gentleman" (according to English notions) you could not have added as you did, that he would be thought the fittest. Hence, I say it again, that the majority of our Anglo-Indians, among whom the terms "Hindu" or "Asiatic" is generally coupled with a vague yet actual idea of one who uses his fingers instead of a bit of cambric, and who abjures



  • Desdemona and Othello refer to an interracial marriage in The Tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare.
  • Viscount Amberley was John Russell (1842-1876), a liberal Member of Parliament from Nottingham who was an atheist and wrote a book called Analysis of Religious Belief.
  • Cambric is a lightweight, closely woven, plain cotton cloth ideal for handkerchiefs, linens, shirts, and so forth.

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soap — would most certainly prefer an American to "a greasy Tibetan." But you need not tremble for me. Whenever I make my appearance — whether astrally or physically — before my friend A. P. Sinnett, I will not forget to invest a certain sum in a square of the finest Chinese silk to carry in my chogga pocket, nor to create an atmosphere of sandal-wood and cashmere roses. This is the least I could do in atonement for my countrymen. But then, you see, I am but a slave of my masters; and if, allowed to gratify my own friendly feeling for you, and attend to you individually, I may not be permitted to do as much for others. Nay, to tell truth, I know I am not permitted to do so, and Mr. Hume's unfortunate letter has contributed much to it. There is a distinct group or section in our fraternity who attend to our casual and very rare accessions of another race and blood, and who brought across the threshold Captain Remington and two other Englishmen during this century. And these "Brothers" — do not habitually use floral essences.

So the test of the 27th was no test phenomenon? Of course, of course. But did you try to get, as you said you would, the original MSS. of the Jhelum dispatch? Though our hollow but plethoric friend,



  • "Captain Remington and two other Englishmen". According to Boris de Zirkoff one of these two Englishmen may have been Captain Seymour, "a wealthy and well-educated man, took up the Brahmanical creed and became a yogin."[1]
  • "The test of the 27th" refers to a phenomenal communication mediated by H.P.B. (See below Context and Background). Apparently Sinnett had not yet obtained a copy of the telegram, so he was not entirely convinced. Later, he did get a copy and the circumstances became incontrovertible.

Page 4

Mrs. B., were even proved to be my multum in parvo, my letter-writer, and to manufacture my epistles, yet, unless she were ubiquitous or had the gift of flying from Amritsar to Jhelum — a distance over 200 miles — in two minutes, how could she have written for me the dispatch in my own hand-writing at Jhelum hardly two hours after your letter was received by her at Amritsar? This is why I was not sorry that you said you would send for it, for, with this dispatch in your possession, no "detractors" would be very strong, nor even the sceptical logic of Mr. Hume prevail.

Naturally you imagine that the "nameless revelation" — which now re-echoes in England — would have been pounced upon far more eagerly than even it was, by the Times of India, if it revealed the names. But here again, I will prove you wrong. Had you first printed the account, the T. of I. could never have published "A day with Madame B.," since that nice bit of American "sensationalism" would not have been written by Olcott at all. It would not have had its raison d'etre. Anxious to collect for his Society every proof corroborative of the occult powers of what he terms the 1st Section, and seeing that you



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remained silent, our gallant Colonel felt his hand itch until it brought everything to light, and — plunged everything into darkness and consternation! . . . "Et voici pourquoi nous n'irons plus au bois," as the French song goes.

Did you write "tune"? Well, well; I must ask you to buy me a pair of spectacles in London. And yet — out of "time" or out of "tune" is all one, as it seems. But you ought to adopt my old fashioned habit of "little lines" over the "m's." Those bars are useful, even though "out of tune and time" with modern caligraphy. Besides, bear in mind, that these my letters, are not written but impressed or precipitated and then all mistakes corrected.

We will not discuss, at present, whether your aims and objects are so widely different from those of Mr. Hume's; but if he may be actuated by "a purer and broader philanthropy," the way he sets to work to achieve these aims will never carry him beyond pure theoretical disquisitions upon the subject. No use now in trying to represent him in any other light. His letter that you will soon read — is, as I say to himself, "a monument of pride and unconscious selfishness." He is too just and superior a man to be guilty of petty vanities; but his pride climbs like that of the mythical Lucifer; and, you may believe me — if I have any



  • Et voici pourquoi nous n'irons plus au bois is a phrase from a French song meaning "And this is why we will no longer go to the woods."
  • "little lines" over the "m's." refers to KH's practice of writing a horizontal bar (a diacritical marking called a macron) over the letter "m" to distinguish it from the similar "n." Here are examples from this same letter:

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experience in human nature — when I say, that this is Humeau naturel. It is no hasty conclusion of mine based upon any personal feeling, but the decision of the greatest of our living adepts — the Shaberon of Than-La. Of whatever question he touches his treatment is the same: a stubborn determination to make everything either fit his own foregone conclusions or — sweep it away by a rush of ironical and adverse criticism. Mr. Hume is a very able man and — Hume to the core. Such a state of mind offers little attraction, as you will understand, to any of us who might be willing to come and help him.

No; I do not and never will "despise" any "feeling" however it may clash with my own principles, when it is expressed as frankly and openly as yours. You may be, and undoubtedly are, moved by more egotism than broad benevolence for mankind. Yet as you confess it without mounting any philanthropical stilts, I tell you candidly that you have far more chances than Mr. Hume to learn a good bit of occultism. I, for one, will do all I can for you, under the circumstances and restrained as I am by fresh orders. I will not tell you to give up this or that, for, unless you exhibit beyond any doubt the presence in you of the necessary germs it



  • Au naturel is French for "in his natural state."
  • Shaberon of Than-La probably refers to the Maha Chohan, as Shaberon denotes a superior Adept.

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would be as useless as it would be cruel. But I say — Try. Do not despair. Unite to yourself several determined men and women and make experiments in mesmerism and the usual so-called "spiritual" phenomena. If you act in accordance with prescribed methods you are sure to ultimately obtain results. Apart from this, I will do my best and — who knows! Strong will creates and sympathy attracts even adepts, whose laws are antagonistic to their mixing with the uninitiated. If you are willing I will send you an Essay showing why in Europe more than anywhere else a Universal Brotherhood, i.e., an association of "affinities" of strong magnetic yet dissimilar forces and polarities centred around one dominant idea, is necessary for successful achievements in occult sciences. What one will fail to do — the combined many will achieve. Of course you will have — in case you organise — to put up with Olcott at the head of the Parent Society, hence — nominally the President of all the existing Branches. But he will be no more your "leader " than he is the leader of the British Theos. Society, which has its own President, its own Rules and Bye-laws. You will be chartered by him, and that's all. In some cases he will have to sign a paper or two — 4 times a year the accounts sent in by your Secretary; yet he has no right to interfere either with your administration or modes of



Page 8

action, so long as these do not clash with the general Rules, and he certainly has neither the ability nor the desire of being your leader. And, of course, you (meaning the whole Society) will have besides your own President chosen by yourselves, "a qualified professor of occultism" to instruct you. But, my good friend, abandon all notion that this "Professor" can bodily appear and instruct you for years to come. I may come to you personally — unless you drive me off, as Mr. Hume did — I cannot come to all. You may get phenomena and proofs, but even were you to fall into the old error and attribute them to "Spirits" we could but show you your mistake by philosophical and logical explanations; no adept would be allowed to attend your meetings.

Of course you ought to write your book. I do not see, why in any case it should be impracticable. Do so, by all means, and any help I can give you I will. You ought to put yourself immediately in correspondence with Lord Lindsay, and take the Simla phenomena and your correspondence with me as the subject. He is intensely interested in all such experiments, and being a theosophist and upon the General Council is sure to welcome your



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overtures. Take the ground that you belong to the T.S., that you are the widely known Editor of the "Pioneer," and that, knowing how great an interest he takes in the "spiritual" phenomena you submit to his consideration the very extraordinary things which took place at Simla, with such additional details as have not been published. The best of the British Spiritualists could, with proper management, be converted into Theosophists. But neither Dr. Wyld, nor Mr. Massey, seem to have the requisite force. I advise you to confer personally with Lord Lindsay upon the theosophical situation at home and in India. Perhaps you two might work together: the correspondence I now suggest will pave the way.

Even if Madame B. might "be induced" to give the A.I. Society any "practical instruction" I am afraid she has remained too long a time outside the adytum to be of much use for practical explanations. However, though it does not depend upon me, I will see what I can do in this direction. But I fear she is sadly in need of a few months of recuperative villagiatura, on the glaciers, with her old Master before she can be entrusted with such a difficult task. Be very cautious with her in case she stops with you on her way down home. Her nervous system



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is terribly shaken, and she requires every care. Will you please spare me needless trouble by informing me of the year, date, and hour of Mrs. Sinnett's birth?

Ever yours sincerely,

Koot' Hoomi Lal Singh



Context and background

According to George Linton and Virginia Hanson,

HPB had recovered sufficiently from her attack of fever to resume her travels, and the Founders were on their way south, planning to visit with the Sinnetts in Allahabad on their way to Bombay. The letter was posted at Umballa (or Ambala) where they were at the time, and it seems safe to assume that it was transmitted through HPB, based on KH's statement in ML-98 (9)and the fact that it is on the paper and in the ink that she normally used for this purpose.[2]

This is the first letter to be received by A. P. Sinnett in which the letter itself and the signature are in the same script. It seems doubtful that it was transmitted through H. P. Blavatsky. It is possible that Master K.H. had a chela in Amballa who performed this service for him.

Before Sinnett left Simla, he sent a registered letter to H.P.B. at Amritsar, to be forwarded to the Mahatma K.H. (This was in addition to the short note about the “Pillow Incident” mentioned in Mahatma Letter No. 4.)

H.P.B. received the registered letter on October 27 and sent it on to K.H. by occult means as soon as she received it; the time was fixed by the postal register as 2:00 p.m. The Mahatma K.H. was on board a train (in what is now Pakistan) en route to see her.

He received the letter at 2:05 p.m. near Rawalpindi. At the next station (Jhelum) he got off the train, went into the telegraph office, and wrote out a telegram of acknowledgment to Sinnett, which was, of course, dated and filed by the telegraph agent.

The Master also instructed H.P.B. to return to Sinnett the envelope in which the letter had been received, which showed the date and time of the registration. At first, Sinnett could not understand why he was to save this old envelope but save it he did, and later he saw the connection: the date and time of the letter’s registration and the date and time of the sending of the telegram showed that the letter could not have reached him by other than occult means. Later, the Mahatma asked Sinnett to get the handwritten copy of the telegram, which Sinnett finally did, and it is among the Mahatma Letters in the British Museum. Thus Sinnett was made aware that H.P.B. had managed a very quick transmission of his letter across some hundreds of miles.

Thus, it seems, the Mahatma K.H. was willing to give Sinnett another bit of proof of his existence, and something of his powers. The whole incident is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence anywhere in the literature.

Physical description of letter

The original is in the British Library, Folio 1. According to George Linton and Virginia Hanson, the letter was written:

In dull black ink on both sides of five full-sized sheets of rippled white paper. The full signature appears at the end of the letter, but the "Lal Singh" has been crossed out. The upper hook on the "K" is looped to the right.[3]

Publication history

Commentary about this letter


  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. III (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1995), 152.
  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), 48.
  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), 48.