Mahatma Letter No. 53

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Written by: H. P. Blavatsky
Received by: A. P. Sinnett
Sent via: unknown
Written on: March 17, 1882
Received on: March 18-20, 1882
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: Bombay, India
Received at: Allahabad, India
Via: unknown 

This is Letter No. 53 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It corresponds to Letter No. 136 in Barker numbering. See below for Context and background.

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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes - left side

March 17th.

My dear Mr. Sinnett,

Your invitation read with surprise.

Not "surprise" at myself being invited, but surprise at you inviting me again, just as if you had not had enough of me! Now what good can I be to any one in this world, except to make some stare, others to speculate upon my cleverness as an impostor, and the small minority to eye me with the feeling of wonder generally in store for "monsters" exhibited in museums or aquariums. This is fact; and I had enough proof of it, not to run again my neck into the halter if I can help it. My coming to stop with you even for a few days, would be only a source of disappointment to yourself, and one of torture to me.

Now, you must not take these



Page 1 - right side

words en mauvaise part. I am simply sincere with you. You are and have been, — especially Mrs. Sinnett, for ever so long — my best friends here; but it is just because I consider you as such, that I am forced to rather give a momentary than a prolonged annoyance to you: rather a refusal, than an acceptance of the kind invitation. Besides — as a medium of communication between yourself and K.H. (for I suppose you do not invite me pour mes beaux yeux, alone?) I am utterly useless now. There is a limit to endurance, there is one to the greatest self-sacrifice. I have worked for them faithfully and unselfishly for years, and the result was, that I ruined my health, dishonoured my ancestral name, got reviled by every green-grocer from Oxford Street, and every fishmonger from Hungerford market — who had become a C.S. and — finally did no



  • en mauvaise part means "in a bad sense". Sinnett should not take it ill that HPB is turning down the invitation.
  • pour mes beaux yeux means "for my beautiful eyes".
  • C.S. indicates a British Civil Servant.

Page 2 - left side

good to them, very little to the Society and none at all to either poor Olcott or myself. Believe me, we are better friends with several hundred miles between us than — a few steps. Besides this, Boss says there's a new development hanging over our heads. He and K.H. put their wise heads together and are preparing to work as they tell me. We have but a few months left until November and if things are not entirely whitewashed until then and fresh blood poured into the Brotherhood and Occultism — we may just as well go to bed all of us. Personally for myself it is a matter of very little moment, whether it is so or not. My time is also fast approaching when, my hour of triumph will strike. Then is it, that I also, may prove to those who speculated about me, those who believed as those who



  • November 1882 marked the end of the first septenary period of the Theosophical Society’s existence.

Page 2 - right side

disbelieved that none of them approached within 100 miles of the area of truth. I have suffered hell on earth, but before I leave it, I promise myself such a triumph, as will make the Ripons and his Roman Catholics, and the Baly's and Bishop Sargeant with their Protestant donkeys — bray as loud as their lungs will bear. Now, do you really think that you know ME my dear Mr. Sinnett? Do you believe that, because you have fathomed — as you think — my physical crust and brain; that shrewd analyst of human nature though you be — you have ever penetrated even beneath the first cuticles of my Real Self? You would gravely err, if you did. I am held by all of you as untruthful because hitherto I have shown the world only the true exterior Mme. Blavatsky. It is just as if you complained of the falseness of a moss and weed covered, and mud-covered, stony and rugged



Page 3 - right side

rock for writing outside I am not moss covered and mud-plastered; your eyes deceive you for you are unable to see beneath the crust," etc. You must understand the allegory. It is not boasting for I do not say whether inside that unprepossessing rock there is a palatial residence or an humble hut. What I say is this: you do not know me; for whatever there is inside it, is not what you think it is; and — to judge of me therefore, as of one untruthful is the greatest mistake in the world besides being a flagrant injustice. I, (the inner real "I") am in prison and cannot show myself as I am



Page 3 - left side

with all the desire I may have to. Why then, should I, because speaking for myself as I am and feel myself to be, why should I be held responsible for the outward jail-door and its appearance, when I have neither built nor yet decorated it?

But all this will be for you no better than vexation of spirit. "The poor old lady is crazy again —" will you remark. And let me prophecy that the day will come when you will accuse K. H. too of having deceived you; for only failing to tell you what he has no right to tell anyone. Yes; you will blaspheme even against him; because you always secretly hope



Page 4 - left side

that he may make an exception in your favour.

Why, such an extravagant, seemingly useless tirade as contained in this letter? Because, the hour is near; and that after having proved what I have to, I will bow myself out from the refined Western Society and — be no more. You may all whistle then for the Brothers. — Gospel.

Of course it was a joke. No; you do not hate me; you only feel a friendly, indulgent, a kind of benevolent contempt for H.P.B. You are right there, so far as you know her the one who is ready to fall into pieces. Perchance you may find out yet your



Page 4 - right side

mistake concerning the other — the well hidden party. I have now with me Deb; Deb "Shortridg" as we call him, who looks a boy of 12, though is past 30 and more. An ideal little face with small cut delicate features, pearly teeth, long hair, almond cut eyes and a Chinese-tartar purple cap on the top of his head. He is my "heir of Salvation" and I have work to do with him. I cannot leave him and have no right to, now. I have to make over my work to him. He is my right hand (and K. H.'s left one) — at imposture and false pretence.

And now — God bless you. Better not be angry at anything I may do or say; only as a friend, a real friend, I say to you, so long as you have not changed your mode of living, expect no exception.

Yours truly




  • Shortridg. The surname Shortridge can be traced back to the Old English word sceort which means short. The original bearer would have been known as the short one, because of his low stature.

Page 3 - top right

My sincere love to Mrs. Sinnett and a kiss to dear little Dennie.



Context and background

This is a letter from H.P.B. to Sinnett. Olcott and Bhavani Rao had just left Allahabad for other cities on their tour, and the Sinnetts had invited H.P.B. to visit them. The letter seems primarily concerned with explanations of why she cannot — or does not propose to — accept the invitation.

Physical description of letter

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

HPB to APS on two folded sheets of letter paper in black ink.[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), 105.