Mahatma Letter No. 104

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Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Written on: unknown
Received on: February 2, 1883
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Allahabad, India
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 104 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 25 in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

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Cover sheet

Devachan Notes Latest Additions. Received Feb. 2nd, 1883.



Page 1 transcription, image, and notes


(1) Why should it be supposed that devachan is a monotonous condition only because some one moment of earthly sensation is indefinitely perpetuated — stretched, so to say, throughout aeons? It is not, it cannot be so. This would be contrary to all analogies and antagonistic to the law of effects under which results are proportioned to antecedent energies. To make it clear you must keep in mind that there are two fields of causal manifestation, to wit: the objective and subjective. So the grosser energies, those which operate in the heavier or denser conditions of matter manifest objectively in physical life, their outcome being the new personality of



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each birth included within the grand cycle of the evoluting individuality. The moral and spiritual activities find their sphere of effects in "devachan." For example: the vices, physical attractions, etc. — say, of a philosopher may result in the birth of a new philosopher, a king, a merchant, a rich Epicurean, or any other personality whose make-up was inevitable from the preponderating proclivities of the being in the next preceding birth. Bacon, for inst: whom a poet called —

"The greatest, wisest, meanest of mankind" —

might reappear in his next incarnation as a greedy money-getter, with extraordinary intellectual capacities. But the moral and spiritual qualities of the previous Bacon would also have to find a field in which their energies could



  • A poet. Alexander Pope, in Epistle IV of his Essay on Man, refers to Sir Francis Bacon as "the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind" (281-282). This character reference of Bacon's is referred to in many other essays.

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expand themselves. Devachan is such field. Hence — all the great plans of moral reform, of intellectual and spiritual research into abstract principles of nature, all the divine aspirations, would, in devachan come to fruition, and the abstract entity previously known as the great Chancellor would occupy itself in this inner world of its own preparation, living, if not quite what one would call a conscious existence, at least a dream of such realistic vividness that none of the life-realities could ever match it. And this "dream" lasts — until Karma is satisfied in that direction, the ripple of force reaches the edge of its cyclic basin, and the being moves into the next area of causes. This, it



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may find in the same world as before, or another, according to his or her stage of progression through the necessary rings and rounds of human development.

Then — how can you think that "but one moment of earthly sensation only is selected for perpetuation"? Very true, that "moment" lasts from the first to last; but then it lasts but as the key-note of the whole harmony, a definite tone of appreciable pitch, around which cluster and develop in progressive variations of melody and as endless variations on a theme, all the aspirations, desires, hopes, dreams, which, in connection with that particular "moment" had ever crossed the dreamer's brain during his life-time, without having ever found their realization on earth, and which he now finds fully realized



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in all their vividness in devachan, without ever suspecting that all that blissful reality is but the progeny begotten by his own fancy, the effects of the mental causes produced by himself. That particular one moment which will be most intense and uppermost in the thoughts of his dying brain at the time of dissolution will of course regulate all the other "moments"; still the latter — minor and less vivid though they be — will be there also, having their appointed plan in this phantasmagoric marshalling of past dreams, and must give variety to the whole. No man on earth, but has some decided predilection if not a domineering passion; no person, however humble and poor — and often because of all that —



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but indulges in dreams and desires unsatisfied though these be. Is this monotony? Would you call such variations ad infinitum on the one theme, and that theme modelling itself, on, and taking colour and its definite shape from, that group of desires which was the most intense during life "a blank destitution of all knowledge in the devachanic mind" — seeming "in a measure ignoble"? Then verily, either you have failed, as you say, to take in my meaning, or it is I who am to blame. I must have sorely failed to convey the right meaning, and have to confess my inability to describe the — indescribable. The latter is a difficult task, good friend. Unless the intuitive perceptions of a trained chela come to the rescue, no amount of description — however graphic — will help. Indeed,



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— no adequate words to express the difference between a state of mind on earth, and one outside of its sphere of action; no English terms in existence, equivalent to ours; nothing — but unavoidable (as due to early Western education) preconceptions, hence — lines of thought in a wrong direction in the learner's mind to help us in this inoculation of entirely new thoughts! You are right. Not only "ordinary people" — your readers — but even such idealists and highly intellectual units as Mr. C. C. M. will fail, I am afraid, to seize the true idea, will never fathom it to its very depths. Perhaps, you may some day, realize better than you do now, one of the chief reasons for our unwillingness



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to impart our Knowledge to European candidates. Only read Mr. Roden Noel's disquisitions and diatribes in Light! Indeed, indeed, you ought to have answered them as advised by me through H.P.B. Your silence is a brief triumph to the pious gentleman, and seems like a desertion of poor Mr. Massey.

"A man in the way to learn something of the mysteries of nature seems in a higher state of existence to begin with on earth than that which nature apparently provides for him as a reward for his best deeds."

Perhaps "apparently" — not so in reality. When the modus operandus of nature is correctly understood. Then that other misconception:



  • Modus operandi is a Latin phrase used to describe the normal or habitual way of working of something or someone.

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"The more merit, the longer period of devachan. But then in Devachan . . . all sense of the lapse of time is lost: a minute is as a thousand years . . . à quoi bon then, etc."

This remark and such ways of looking at things might as well apply to the whole of Eternity, to Nirvana, Pralaya, and what not. Say, at once that the whole system of being, of existence separate and collective, of nature objective and subjective are but idiotic, aimless facts, a gigantic fraud of that nature, which meeting with little sympathy with Western philosophy, has, moreover, the cruel disapprobation of the best "lay-chela". A quoi bon, in such a case, this preaching of our doctrines, all this uphill work and swimming in adversum flumen? Why should the West be so anxious then to learn anything



  • à quoi bon means what's the use, the good (of doing)?
  • adversum flumen is a Latin phrase meaning "against the stream".

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from the East, since it is evidently unable to digest that which can never meet the requirements of the special tastes of its Esthetics. Sorry outlook for us, since even you fail to take in the whole magnitude of our philosophy, or to even embrace at one scope a small corner — the devachan — of those sublime and infinite horizons of "after life". I do not want to discourage you. I would only draw your attention to the formidable difficulties encountered by us in every attempt we make to explain our metaphysics to Western minds, even among the most intelligent. Alas, my friend, you seem as unable to assimilate our mode of thinking, as to digest our food, or enjoy our melodies!



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No; there are no clocks, no timepieces in devachan, my esteemed chela, though the whole Cosmos is a gigantic chronometer in one sense. Nor do we, mortals, — ici bas même — take much, if any, cognizance of time during periods of happiness and bliss, and find them ever too short; a fact that does not in the least prevent us from enjoying that happiness all the same — when it does come. Have you ever given a thought to this little possibility that, perhaps, it is because their cup of bliss is full to its brim, that the "devachanee" loses "all sense of the lapse of time" and that it is something that those who land in Avitchi do not, though as much as the devachanee, the Avitchee has no cognizance of time — i.e., of our earthly calculations of periods of time? I may also remind you in this connection



  • ici bas même means "even down here (on earth)".

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that time is something created entirely by ourselves; that while one short second of intense agony may appear, even on earth, as an eternity to one man, to another, more fortunate, hours, days, and sometimes whole years may seem to flit like one brief moment; and that finally, of all the sentient and conscious beings on earth, man is the only animal that takes any cognizance of time, although it makes him neither happier nor wiser. How then, can I explain to you that which you cannot feel, since you seem unable to comprehend it? Finite similes are unfit to express the abstract and the infinite; nor can the objective ever mirror the subjective. To realize the bliss in



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devachan, or the woes in Avitchi, you have to assimilate them — as we do. Western critical idealism (as shown in Mr. Roden Noel's attacks) has still to learn the difference that exists between the real being of super-sensible objects, and the shadowy subjectivity of the ideas it has reduced them to. Time is not a predicate conception and can, therefore, neither be proved nor analysed, according to the methods of superficial philosophy. And, unless we learn to counteract the negative results of that method of drawing our conclusions agreeably to the teachings of the so-called "system of pure reason," and to distinguish



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between the matter and the form of our knowledge of sensible objects, we can never arrive at correct, definite conclusions. The case in hand, as defended by me against your (very natural) misconception is a good proof of the shallowness and even fallacy of that "system of pure (materialistic) reason." Space and time may be — as Kant has it — not the product but the regulators of the sensations, but only so far, as our sensations on earth are concerned, not those in devachan. There we do not find the a priori ideas of those "space and time" controlling the perceptions of the denizen of devachan in respect to the objects of his sense;



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but, on the contrary, we discover that it is the devachanee himself who absolutely creates both and annihilates them at the same time. Thus, the "after states" so called, can never be correctly judged by practical reason since the latter can have active being only in the sphere of final causes or ends, and can hardly be regarded with Kant (with whom it means on one page reason and on the next — will) as the highest spiritual power in man, having for its sphere that WILL. The above is not dragged in — as you may think — for the sake of an (too far stretched, perhaps) argument, but with an eye to a future discussion "at home," as you express it, with students



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and admirers of Kant and Plato that you will have to encounter.

In a plainer language, I will now tell you the following, and, it will be no fault of mine if you still fail to comprehend its full meaning. As physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime, and its diminishing energy thenceforward to dotage and death, so the dream-life of devachan is lived correspondentially. Hence you are right in saying that the "Soul" can never awake to its mistake and find itself "cheated by nature" — the more so, as strictly speaking, the whole of the human life and its boasted realities, are no better than such "cheating".



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But you are wrong in pandering to the prejudices and preconceptions of the Western readers (no Asiatic will ever agree with you upon this point) when you add that "there is a sense of unreality about the whole affair which is painful to the mind," since you are the first one to feel that, it is no doubt due much more to "an imperfect grasp of the nature of the existence" in devachan — than to any defect in our system. Hence — my orders to a chela to reproduce in an Appendix to your article extracts from this letter and explanations calculated to disabuse the reader, and to obliterate, as far as possible, the painful impression this confession



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of yours is sure to produce on him. The whole paragraph is dangerous. I do not feel myself justified in crossing it out, since it is evidently the expression of your real feelings, kindly, though — pardon me for saying so — a little clumsily white-washed with an apparent defence of this (to your mind) weak point of the system. But it is not so, believe me. Nature cheats no more the devachanee than she does the living, physical man. Nature provides for him far more real bliss and happiness there, than she does here, where all the conditions of evil and chance are against him, and his inherent helplessness — that of a straw violently blown hither and



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thither by every remorseless wind — has made unalloyed happiness on this earth an utter impossibility for the human being, whatever his chances and condition may be. Rather call this life an ugly, horrid nightmare, and you will be right. To call the devachan existence a "dream" in any other sense but that of a conventional term, well suited to our languages all full of misnomers — is to renounce for ever the knowledge of the esoteric doctrine — the sole custodian of truth. Let me then try once more to explain to you a few of the many states in Devachan and — Avitchi.



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As in actual earth-life, so there is for the Ego in devachan — the first flutter of psychic life, the attainment of prime, the gradual exhaustion of force passing into semi-unconsciousness, gradual oblivion and lethargy, total oblivion and — not death but birth: birth into another personality, and the resumption of action which daily begets new congeries of causes, that must be worked out in another term of Devachan, and still another physical rebirth as a new personality. What the lives in devachan and upon Earth shall be respectively in each instance is determined



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by Karma. And this weary round of birth upon birth must be ever and ever run through, until the being reaches the end of the seventh round, or — attains in the interim the wisdom of an Arhat, then that of a Buddha and thus gets relieved for a round or two, — having learned how to burst through the vicious circles — and to pass periodically into the Paranirvana.

But suppose it is not a question of a Bacon, a Goethe, a Shelley, a Howard, but of some hum-drum person, some colourless, flaxless personality, who never impinged upon the world enough to make himself felt: what then?



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Simply that his devachanic state is as colourless and feeble as was his personality. How could it be otherwise since cause and effect are equal. But suppose a case of a monster of wickedness, sensuality, ambition, avarice, pride, deceit, etc.: but who nevertheless has a germ or germs of something better, flashes of a more divine nature — where is he to go? The said spark smouldering under a heap of dirt will counteract, nevertheless, the attraction of the eighth sphere, whither fall but absolute nonentities; "failures of nature" to be remodelled entirely, whose divine monad separated itself from the five principles during their life-time, (whether in the next preceding or several preceding births,



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since such cases are also on our records), and who have lived as soulless human beings. These persons whose sixth principle has left them (while the seventh having lost its vahan (or vehicle) can exist independently no longer) their fifth or animal Soul of course goes down "the bottomless pit." This will perhaps make Eliphas Levi's hints still more clear to you, if you read over what he says, and my remarks on the margin thereon (see Theosophist, October, 1881, Article "Death") and reflect upon the words used: such as drones, etc. Well, the first named entity then, cannot, with all its wickedness go to the eighth sphere — since his wickedness is of a too spiritual, refined nature. He is a monster — not a mere Soulless brute. He must not be simply



  • "Fifth principle/Animal soul." In October 1881, A. O. Hume defines the animal soul as the combination of the "astral body (Liṅga-śarīra), the "astral shape" (Kāmarūpa), and the "animal or physical intelligence," referring to the Lower manas.
  • My remarks on the margin See Eliphas Levi's article with the Master's remarks here.

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annihilated but PUNISHED; for, annihilation, i.e. total oblivion, and the fact of being snuffed out of conscious existence, constitutes per se no punishment, and as Voltaire expressed it: "le neant ne laisse pas d'avoir du bon." Here is no taper-glimmer to be puffed out by a zephyr, but a strong, positive, maleficent energy, fed and developed by circumstances, some of which may have really been beyond his control. There must be for such a nature a state corresponding to Devachan, and this is found in Avitchi — the perfect antithesis of devachan — vulgarized by the Western nations into Hell and Heaven, and which you have entirely lost sight of in your



  • "le neant ne laisse pas d'avoir du bon" is part of a famous quotation from French philosopher Voltaire's letter to the Marquise du Deffand November 1, 1769. It translates as "Emptiness is really full of goodness."
  • taper-glimmer refers to the light of a slim candle.

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"Fragment". Remember: "To be immortal in good one must identify himself with Good (or God); to be immortal in evil — with evil (or Satan)." Misconceptions of the true value of such terms as "Spirit", "Soul", "individuality", "personality", and "immortality" (especially) — provoke wordy wars between a great number of idealistic debaters, besides Messrs. C.C.M. and Roden Noel. And, to complete your Fragment without risking to fall again under the mangling tooth of the latter honourable gentleman's criticism — I found it necessary to add to devachanAvitchi as its complement and applying to it the same laws as to the former. This is done, with your permission, in the Appendix.



  • "To be immortal in good..." this is a quote from Eliphas Levi's article (See above).

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Having explained the situation sufficiently I may now answer your query No. 1 directly. Yes, certainly there is "a change of occupation," a continual change in Devachan, just as much — and far more — as there is in the life of any man or woman who happens to follow his or her whole life one sole occupation whatever it may be; with that difference, that to the Devachanee his special occupation is always pleasant and fills his life with rapture. Change then there must be, for that dream-life is but the fruition, the harvest-time of those psychic seed-germs dropped from the tree of physical existence in our moments of dreams and hopes, fancy-glimpses of bliss and happiness stifled in



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an ungrateful social soil, blooming in the rosy dawn of Devachan, and ripening under its ever fructifying sky. No failures there, no disappointments! If man had but one single moment of ideal happiness and experience during his life — as you think — even then, if Devachan exists, — it could not be as you erroneously suppose, the indefinite prolongation of that "single moment," but the infinite developments, the various incidents and events, based upon, and outflowing from, that one "single moment" or moments, as the case may be; all in short that would suggest itself to the "dreamer's" fancy. That one note, as I said, struck from the



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lyre of life, would form but the Key-note of the being's subjective state, and work out into numberless harmonic tones and semi-tones of psychic phantasmagoria. There — all unrealized hopes, aspirations, dreams, become fully realized, and the dreams of the objective become the realities of the subjective existence. And there behind the curtain of Maya its vapours and deceptive appearances are perceived by the adept, who has learnt the great secret how to penetrate thus deeply into the Arcana of being.

Doubtless my question whether you had experienced monotony during what you consider the happiest moment of your life has entirely misled you. This letter thus, is the just penance for my laziness to amplify the explanation.



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[Query 2] What cycle is meant?

The "minor cycle" meant is, of course, the completion of the seventh Round, as decided upon and explained. Besides that at the end of each of the seven rounds come a less "full" remembrance; only of the devachanic experiences taking place between the numerous births at the end of each personal life. But the complete recollection of all the lives — (earthly and devachanic) omniscience — in short — comes but at the great end of the full seven Rounds (unless one had become in the interim a Bodhisatwa, an Arhat) — the "threshold" of Nirvana meaning an indefinite period. Naturally a man, a Seventh-rounder (who completes his earthly migrations at the beginning of the last race and ring) will have to wait longer at that threshold than one of



  • Query 2 probably refers to the following statement found in letter 70c: "The real full remembrance of our lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle — not before."

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the very last of those Rounds. That Life of the Elect between the minor Pralaya and Nirvana — or rather before the Pralaya is the Great Reward, the grandest, in fact, since it makes of the Ego (though he may never have been an adept, but simply a worthy virtuous man in most of his existences) — virtually a God, an omniscient, conscious being, a candidate — for eternities of aeons — for a Dhyan Chohan . . . Enough — I am betraying the mysteries of initiation. But what has NIRVANA to do with the recollections of objective existences? That is a state still higher and in which all things objective are forgotten. It is a State of absolute Rest and assimilation with Parabrahm — it is Parabrahm itself. Oh, for the sad ignorance of our philosophical truths in the West, and for the inability of your



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greatest intellects to seize the true spirit of those teachings. What shall we — what can we do!

[Query 3] You postulate an intercourse of entities in devachan which applies only to the mutual relationship of physical existence. Two sympathetic souls will each work out its own devachanic sensations making the other a sharer in its subjective bliss, but yet each is dissociated from the other as regards actual mutual intercourse. For what companionship could there be between two subjective entities which are not even as material as that ethereal body-shadow — the Mayavi-rupa?

[Query 4] Devachan is a state, not a locality. Rupa Loka, Arupa-Loka, and Kama-Loka are the three spheres of ascending spirituality in which the several groups



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of subjective entities find their attractions. In the Kama-Loka (semi-physical sphere) dwell the shells, the victims and suicides; and this sphere is divided into innumerable regions and sub-regions corresponding to the mental states of the comers at their hour of death. This is the glorious "Summer-land" of the Spiritualists, to whose horizons is limited the vision of their best seers — vision imperfect and deceptive because untrained and non-guided by Alaya Vynyana (hidden knowledge). Who in the West knows anything of true Sahalo-Kadhatu, the mysterious Chiliocosm out of the many regions of which but three can be given out to the outside world, the Tribuvana (three worlds) namely: Kama, Rupa, and Arupa-Lokas. Yet see the sadness produced in the Western minds by the mention of even those three! See "Light" of January 6th!



  • Sahaloka-dhātu is a Sanskrit term defined as the "world inhabited by men, earth."
  • Chiliocosm is a Buddhist term. A collection of 1000 solar systems are called Sahashri Loka Dhatu or small chiliocosm, and it is often related to the milky way.

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Behold your friend (M. A. Oxon) notifying the world of his readers that on your assumption in your "Secret doctrine" — "no graver indictment could be brought against any man by his bitterest foe" than the one you bring against us — "these mysterious unknown." It is not such bitter criticisms that are likely to draw out more of our knowledge, or to make the "unknown" more known. And then, the pleasure of teaching a public one of whose great authorities (Roden Noel) says a few pages further on, that, theosophists are endowing "shells" with simulated consciousness. See the difference one word will make. If the word "assimilated" instead of "simulated" had been written the true idea would have been conveyed that the shells' consciousness is assimilated from the medium



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and living persons present, whereas now —! But of course, it is not our European critics, but our Asiatic chelas' expositions that "seem absolutely Protean in their ever shifting variety." The man has to be answered and set right anyhow, whether by yourself or Mr. Massey. But alas! the latter knows but little, and you, — you look at our conception of devachan with more than "discomfort"! But to resume.

From Kama Loka then in the great Chiliocosm, — once awakened from their post-mortem torpor, the newly translated "Souls" go all (but the shells) according to their attractions, either to Devachan or Avitchi. And those two states are again differentiating ad infinitum -- their ascending



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degrees of spirituality deriving their names from the lokas in which they are induced. For instance: the sensations, perceptions and ideation of a devachanee in Rupa-Loka, will, of course, be of a less subjective nature than they would be in Arupa-Loka, in both of which the devachanic experiences will vary in their presentation to the subject-entity, not only as regards form, colour, and substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the most exalted experience of a monad in the highest devachanic state in Arupa-Loka (the last of the seven states) — is comparable to that perfectly subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerged to "descend into matter", and to which at the completion of the grand cycle it must return. Nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Para Nirvana.



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[Query 5] Reviving consciousness begins after the struggle in Kama-Loka at the door of devachan, and only after the "gestation period". Please turn to my responses upon the subject in your "Famous contradictions."

[Q. 6]. Your deductions as to the indefinite prolongation in Devachan of some one moment of earthly bliss having been unwarranted, your question in the last paragraph of this interrogatory need not be considered. The stay in Devachan is proportioned to the unfinished psychic impulses originating in earth-life: those persons whose attractions were preponderatingly material will sooner be drawn back into rebirth by the force of Tanha. As our London opponent truly remarks: these subjects (metaphysical) are only partly for understanding. A higher faculty belonging to the higher life must see, — and it is



  • Taṇhā is a Buddhist term that literally means "thirst," and is commonly translated as craving or desire.
  • Our London opponent refers to Mr. Roden Noel.

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truly impossible to force it upon one's understanding — merely in words. One must see with his spiritual eye, hear with his Dharmakayic ear, feel with the sensations of his Ashta-vijnyāna (spiritual "I") before he can comprehend this doctrine fully; otherwise it may but increase one's "discomfort," and add to his knowledge very little.

[Q. 7.] The "reward provided by nature for men who are benevolent in a large, systematic way" and who have not focussed their affections upon an individual or specialty, is that — if pure — they pass the quicker for that through the Kama and Rupa Lokas into the higher sphere of Tribuvana, since it is one where the formulation of abstract ideas and the consideration of general principles fill the thought of its occupants. Personality is the



  • Aṣṭa-vijñāna, in the Buddhist Yogacara tradition, refers to the "eight consciousnesses" that composes a human being. The highest of these, ālayavijñāna, could be interpreted from a Theosophical point of view as a spiritual "I".

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synonym for limitation, and the more contracted the person's ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres of being, the longer loiter on the plane of selfish social intercourse. The social status of a being is, of course, a result of Karma; the law being that "like attracts like". The renascent being is drawn into the gestative current with which the preponderating attractions coming over from the last birth make him assimilate. Thus one who died a ryot may be reborn a king, and the dead sovereign may next see the light in a coolie's tent. This law of attraction asserts itself in a thousand "accidents of birth" — than which there could be no more flagrant misnomer. When you, realize, at least, the following — that the skandas are the elements of limited existence then will you have realized also one of the conditions of Devachan which has now such



  • Renascent means being reborn; coming again into being.
  • Gestative refers to the process of development of a fetus from conception until birth.
  • Ryot or Raiyat is an Indian term for a peasant or tenant farmer.
  • Coolie, a person from Asia who was employed by the Europeans as a cheap source of labor during the 19th and early 20th century.

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a profoundly unsatisfactory outlook for you. Nor are your inferences (as regards the well-being and enjoyment of the upper classes being due to a better Karma) quite correct in their general application. They have a eudæmonistic ring about them which is hardly reconcilable with Karmic Law, since those "well-being and enjoyment" are oftener the causes of a new and overloaded Karma than the production or effects of the latter. Even as a "broad rule" poverty and humble condition in life are less a cause of sorrow than wealth and high birth, but of that — later on. My answers are once more assuming the shape of a volume rather than the decent aspect of a letter.



  • Eudæmonism is an ethical doctrine holding that the value of moral action lies in its capacity to produce happiness.

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"Writing a new book, or for the Theosophist?" Well do you not think that (since your desire is to reach not merely the most but also the most receptive minds) you had better write the former, as well as for the latter? You might put into Esoteric Buddhism — an excellent title by the bye — such matter as would be a sequel to, or amplification of what has appeared in the Theosophist, a systematic, thoughtful exposition of what was and will be given in the Journal in snatched out brief Fragments. I am specially anxious — on M's account — that the Journal should be made as much as possible a success; should be circulated more than it is now



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in England. Your new book drawing as it is sure to — the attention of the most educated, thoughtful portion of the Western public to the organ of "Esoteric Buddhism" par excellence — would thus do it a world of good, and both would prove of mutual assistance. Do not lose sight of Lillie's "Buddha and Early Buddhism" when you write it. With its host of fallacies, unwarranted assumptions and distortion of facts and even Sanskrit and Pali words, this snobbish volume had nevertheless the greatest success with Spiritualists and even mystically inclined Christians. I will have it slightly reviewed by Subba Row or H.P.B. furnishing them with notes myself, but



  • Buddha and Early Buddhism is a book written in 1881 by Arthur Lillie, a soldier in the British Army in India that became a Buddhist. His books on religion were poorly received by scholars.
  • I will have it slightly reviewed. The issue of The Theosophist in February, 1884 (pp. 125-129) publishes a review entitled "Remarks and Thoughts on Buddha and Early Buddhism" written by the chela Dharani Dhar Kauthumi. It includes some editorial notes that may come from Master K.H.

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of this more in some future letter. You have ample materials to work upon in my notes and papers. You have given but a few of the many points touched by me and amplified and re-amplified in heaps of letters, as I do now. You could work out of them any number of new articles and Fragments for the magazine, and have enough and to spare — left over for the book. And these in their turn may be followed up in a third volume later on. It may be well to always keep this plan in mind.

Your "wild scheme" with Darjeeling, good friend, as its objective point, is not wild, but simply impracticable. The time has not yet come. But the drift of your energies is carrying you



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slowly yet steadily in the direction of personal intercourse. I will not say that I desire it as much as you do, for seeing you nearly every day of my life I care very little for objective intercourse; but for your sake I would if I could, precipitate that interview. However ----? Meanwhile, be happy in knowing that you have done more real good to your kind within the two past years than in many previous years. And — to yourself also.

I am quite sure that you do not sympathize with the selfish feeling that prompts the London Branch to wish to withhold even



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their small proportion of pecuniary support — amounting to a few guineas a year — from the Parent Society. Who of the members would ever think of refusing, or trying to avoid payment of fees to any other Society, Club, or Scientific Association he may happen to belong to? It is this indifference and selfishness that have permitted them to stand by idle and calm from the first, and see the two in India giving their last rupee (and the Upasika actually selling her jewellery — for the honour of the Society) — though many of the British members are far better able to afford the necessary sacrifices than they. Mr. Olcott's sister is actually starving in America, and the poor man, loving her dearly as he does, would not



  • Pecuniary means financial or monetary.

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nevertheless spare Rs. 100 from the Society's, or rather the Theosophist's fund to relieve her with six small children had not H.P.B. insisted upon, and M. given a small sum for it.

However, I have told Mr. Olcott to send you the necessary official authority to compound the fees or make any other business agreement at London that you may think best. But remember, my very valued brother, that if poor Hindu clerks on Rs. 20 or 30 salaries are expected to help pay the Society's expenses with that fee, it is sheer injustice to totally exempt the far richer London members. Do justice, "though the heavens fall". Yet, if concessions are required to local prejudices,



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you are certainly better qualified than we, to see, and hence to negotiate according to the fitness of things. By all means put "the money relations on a better footing" than at present, if the financial wind has to be tempered for the shorn Peling-lamb. I have faith in your wisdom my friend, though you would have a certain right to be fast losing yours in mine, considering how tight the negotiations for the Phoenix-capital prove. You must have understood that I am still, and notwithstanding the Chohan's approval of my "Lay-Chela" — under last year's restrictions, and cannot bring to bear on the parties concerned all the psychic



  • Peling (phyi-gling, 'outer continent') is a Tibetan word meaning outsider or foreigner, particularly a Westerner.

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powers that I otherwise could. Besides, our laws and restrictions with regard to money or any financial operations whether within or outside our Association, are extremely severe — inexorable on some points. We have to proceed very cautiously; hence — the delay. But I do hope that you yourself think, that something has already been done in that direction.

Yes; "K.H. did" mean that the review of "Mr. Isaacs should appear in the Theosophist," and "By the Author of the Occult World", so do send it before you go. And, for the sake of old "Sam Ward" I would like to see it



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noticed in the "Pioneer". But that does not matter much, now that you leave it.

Thereupon — Salam, and best wishes. I am extremely busy with preparations of initiation. Several of my chelasGjual-khool among others — are striving to reach "the other shore".

Yours faithfully,

K. H.



  • Salām is the word for "peace" in Arabic, often used as a greeting.

Context and background

The first Devachan letter was Letter No. 68. Letters 70A, B and C dealt further with the subject. The two Englishmen submitted more questions to the Mahatma K.H. This letter is in answer to those questions.

It will be remembered that A. P. Sinnett had taken over from A. O. Hume the task of writing the series entitled "Fragments of Occult Truth" which were published in The Theosophist. These articles were based on the teachings given by the two Mahatmas, K.H. and M., through the letters.

Physical description of letter

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

KH script in blue ink, mostly on bluish-grey paper. Some white paper, which is stamped with the print of a tree, is used near the end of the letter. The script is large and flowing.[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), 172.