Mahatma Letter of Sinnett to/from KH - 1883-10-09

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Written by: Koot Hoomi, A. P. Sinnett
Received by: A. P. Sinnett, Koot Hoomi, H. P. Blavatsky
Sent via: unknown 
Written on: 10 October 1883
Received on: unknown
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: unknown
Via: unknown

This letter has not been published previously. A. P. Sinnett wrote to Mahatma Koot Hoomi, who added notes and gave the original to H. P. Blavatsky, with instructions to keep the letter. This letter probably follows Mahatma Letter No. 114 and is answered by the December 1883 letter, Mahatma Letter No. 117.

Note to H. P. Blavatsky from K.H.

Note written in blue ink across the top of page 22:

Read, show Henry and keep.




Page 1 of Sinnett letter transcription, image, and notes

It was an immense relief to me, my revered and dear guardian, to find from your letter received last night, that in the midst of the painful entanglement of affairs over the Phoenix project; one spot of light has at any rate appeared and that I may hope for continued intercourse with you, whatever may be the issue of the business immediately in hand. It would have been a deep distress for me to have been cut off from all knowledge of you and from the feeling, – sustained by letters by you from time to hence – that you continue to take an interest in me. You are the focus towards which all the best aspirations of my natures tend, and it will be thro' you



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if at all, that some day I may be able to struggle up into the outer vestibules of the superior world in which you live. Relieved from the apprehension that has sat so heavily upon my pen of late when I have been writing to you, I feel induced to break out into a great many subjects of more personal and private interest than those with which we have lately been dealing; but for the present I have several remarks to make about the business matter in its latest aspects.

Where my own remarks come back to me as now quoted in your hand writing they seem to me flavoured with a nasty selfish worldly tone; but I am a morally amphibious creature half governed by prudential



  • amphibious refers to the capacity of amphibians to live on land and in water.

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considerations, (redeemed perhaps from being altogether selfish by the fact that I have others dependent on me) and half by the higher motives derived from the wish to be worthy of your friendship, and live up to the level of your best opinion of me. And then I always want to write to you in a perfectly honest way, i.e. to give you the reflection of my real feeling about the matters dealt with, so I let the selfish considerations appear where they do assert themselves rather than dress up my sentiments in false colours.

However I am ready to carry out the Phoenix program, – for the sake of doing the right thing, – on bad terms for myself if I can’t get good ones, and the only problem is how to



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make the maximum effort to bring off that business after all, compatibly with a sort of reasonable compromise as to the sacrifices involved. I do not yet see my way clearly; I can only comment freely on the whole situation and all the various courses open and trust; for picking my way among the difficulties as I advance, to whatever light may come.

The Zemindar proposals may present themselves in some bearable aspect if they do so much the better, but the risk I see in that direction, arises from the very damaging influence that is always exerted on the character and career of any English paper, which can fairly be said to be in any way “sold” to a particular



  • Zemindars or zamindars were aristocrat (typically hereditary) landlords, who held enormous tracts of land and held control over his peasants. Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja (Great King), etc.

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interest. People are always more straitlaced about the behaviour of others than they are about themselves and there would be some affectation, of course, in the disapproval that would be expressed for a paper or editor sold to the Zemindars but none the less would it impede success. Their norm of the people I should have to work with would understand the higher considerations really impelling me to make terms with the Zemindars and the mere fact that I was known to have sacrificed my independence for the sake of getting my paper floated would leave me relatively helpless, and that would tend to make the paper fail.

You suggest that if I could wait indefinitely it might be possible to carry out the original project on the lines



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first laid down. Well; in one sense of the words of course I can wait indefinitely that merely means living on here in a makeshift sort of way instead of taking a house and whatever literary engage[men]ts I can obtain by degrees and striking root in London. And the truth is I cannot but wait on indefinitely as long as it looks possible anyhow that the Phoenix may ultimately be realizable. Whatever engagements I may be obliged to accept here to live over the interval, if the capital were put down in India and the establishment of the paper were still desirable in your sight; of course I should throw up, (as soon as their terms would allow) whatever engagements I might have formed here and go out to India again in a worldly view, the indefinite



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prolongation this way of uncertainty concerning the future is uncomfortable and embarrassing, but I should be far more unhappy in thinking I had done anything to sever myself from your sympathies than any amount of such discomfort would render me. So when we work the matter out in this even you yourself cannot give me back my promise. Loyalty to you is now too deeply engraved in my nature to let me be otherwise than always ready promise or no promise to do what you direct; – or try to, – and about such matters as we are talking of there is no question about natural capacity.

The question which chiefly perplexes me is what I ought to do myself towards floating the paper, assuming that the Zemindar scheme collapses



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If I could afford to go out to India at my own risk and go about trying to collect capital I dare say I might succeed, though I could not be certain. But that would cost so much money and time, – cutting both ways, draining my little resources and preventing me from doing anything to replenish them meanwhile, – that all things considered I cannot at present see that it is my duty to do this, i.e. I do not think you would counsel it.

I could however, begin a vast correspondence with everybody in India likely to be able in any way to promote the undertaking and try to float it that way. The only embarrassment here is that; – if I stay here, and



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while I stay, the engagement I have been on the brink of forming with the Pioneer to write letters from there and from here, will be an essential part of my income. Now that engage[men]t will be offered to me in the understanding that I have abandoned all idea of returning to India. There will be no such pledge on my part, and nothing to prevent me from throwing up the correspondentship at any future times and returning to India, but it would hardly be compatible with its continuance at all for me to be busily engaged in a correspondence all over India, aiming after all at the restoration of the scheme, the apparent abandonment of which had been the circumstance giving rise to the engagement. On the



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other hand by elaborate explanations I might be able to circumvent this difficulty, and the course here contemplated – going on with Pioneer correspondence from here and trying by letter work all the while to set the Phoenix project on its legs again, is the most practical course I can see before me. The worst of it is, that the results by such a method could only be worked out slowly, and it would not be likely that any paper could be actually started that way before the beginning of next cold weather in India.

Meanwhile Mme Blavatsky encloses a telegram from some one at Lucknow which says "Paper project settled" as if some efforts on the old lines had proved successful there. I do not feel much trust in this but it may be possible that



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if the Zemindar scheme be abandoned, her agents may within less time than I could do as much by correspondence, succeed in getting the capital on something like the old lines. Then the question to be dealt with would be, when to start the paper. To do this on the plans already constructed, i.e by means of plant and machinery got out from here, would mean a delay of six months from the date at which the capital was lodged to that at which the first number of the new paper could be issued. If such period came to an end in the middle of the hot weather at Calcutta, that would be a bad time at which to begin operations. But it might be possible to make a temporary arrangement for issuing the paper with some printing



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firm in Calcutta. To engage assistants and make editorial arrangements would not exact so long a delay as would be required to get out plant – say 3 months from the date capital was paid in.

About the 8th sphere. There is no more said in my book than appeared originally in the fragment written for the Theos[ophis]t, and I fancied that its publication there broadly gave it your imprimatur. In speculating upon the possible explanation of the apparent conflict between the obscuration theory in the book, and the state[ment] in one of your old letters quoted by Hume it suggests itself to my mind that the mystery may turn upon the survival on each planet



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even during obscuration, of a small stagnant race hemmed in in some narrow limits – say the poles, – which would at the same time keep the physical types of the human and other species alive ready for the return of the great life wave and afford stepping stones round the chain for early advanced Egos. This arrange[men]t if so would square with the Noah’s Ark legend in its larger acceptation, – (the smaller acceptation having to do with race cataclysm)

I got this idea into my head one evening ... at Elberfeld, where Mrs Gebhard at the same time thought she saw a shadowy figure in the room for a moment. Could I have been impressed at the time and was her belief as to what she saw



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well founded?

However I suspect that this matter too, even if I am right in my conjecture, – this planetary Noah’s ark arrangement, – is itself among the confidential topics. Perhaps before I can have an answer to this I may be able to write some Theosophical Essay embodying it, but in that case I will tell the Old Lady, if I sent the MS [manuscript] to her not to print it without express permission.

Another notion I have had about the Solomons Seal sign is that as spirit continues to struggle thro’ matter and free itself, the triangles may be conceived to be tending towards this position [thin triangle on top, thick triangle on bottom; within a circle] which tends the next moment to this [thin triangle on top, thick triangle on bottom – separated by a vertical line] in which the central point has



  • Solomons Seal sign refers to the hexagram of interlaced triangles depicted on the signet ring of the Biblical King Solomon. It was/is an element within the seal of the Theosophical Society.

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got out of his prison and can become a circle instead of a point by establishing free relations with the circle of infinity, so that as he grows he pushes the triangles far enough apart – separates by spirit sufficiently from the enthrallments of matter, – to get them into this position [thin triangle, circle, thick triangle – one on top of each other surrounded by dotted oval] when the original circle of the first drawing having become an ellipse (as in the dotted line) has supplied the side lines which make up the square. If this solution has any glimmerings of sense perhaps you will tell me. In the other case or in any indeed for even if the glimmerings are there it is very crude, it will



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probably give you some passing sensations of amusement.

I am very sorry that the Old Lady is held to be getting worse in some way that renders necessary the diversion of my correspondence from that familiar channel. Not that it matters an atom to me how letters are addressed provided they reach you, but I have a very affectionate feeling about the Old Lady and should be grieved to think she were any how getting into disgrace.

About Mrs Kingsford’s letter you enclose, I wrote to you already some time ago about my fear that she was not really loyal to the T.S. and nearly trying to annex it to her own inspirations. For some time past I have really been convinced that her selection



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as president was a mistake. She is not a general favorite and is too disloyal to "The Brothers" I fear, to realize the amalgamation between your teachings and her inspirations or visions which I hoped for at first – trying to make the best of the situation as I found it. If the Society here, as some of them wish I know, elect me president when the officers are rechosen this winter, then I dare say Mrs K will quietly drop it. If she remains president I am thinking of forming an inner circle of members who on admittance shall solemnly declare their entire belief in and loyalty to you and yours. Then all my own efforts to teach would be concentrated on this inner circle. This wretched little "Kiddle" incident will serve as a test to sift the wheat



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from the chaft [sic, chaff] in the formation of the inner circle. Has the Kiddle incident attracted your attention? I wrote to the Old Lady to ask you about it if she had an opportunity, but was reluctant to worry about in writing to you hitherto. Is there any explanation to be had, or must the matter stand as a testament suited to weak nerves of our feebless [sic, feeblest] neophytes? The worst of the situation in that case is that feeble neophytes would sometimes perhaps become strong if they were not tested.

By the bye I think I am not so truculently rebellious against the test system as you may give me credit for being, judging by several allusions you have made to the matter. I do not “revolt” against them as applied to myself, so much as I have sometimes been inclined



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to question their policy, in application to the others. And the only remark I can remember to have made in writing on the subject, – ages ago in reference to Ross Scott, – was partly due no doubt to irritation over collateral matters that I do not now remember anything about.

If you have leisure to write about any other matter than the principal business at present in hand, can you kindly tell me anything about Mrs Gebhardt’s occult prospects. There is a candidate for notice and help who may be safely tested to any extent; with nothing but her sex in her way I should think. I have written about her more than once to the Old Lady and no doubt if the matter is one you



  • Mrs Gebhardt's occult prospects is a topic addressed in a December 1883 letter, Mahatma Letter No. 117, in which KH wrote that Mary Gebhard "is a born Occultist in her intuitions."

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are disposed to refer to all I have said about it will be already brought to your attention.

In conclusion if this long budget, – which I hope you will not find quite too extravagant and tax on your patience, – I should like to say that though anyone to whom ever you look up with reverence is too far above me to be thought of as the recipient of any messages from me, – still I am very grateful for the special concession in my favour which promises to keep my communications with you still open; and if possible I should be glad if my grateful acknowledgement should be laid



  • budget is an archaic expression for a large quantity of written material.

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before Him to whom they are due.

Y[ou]r affectionate Ward
AP Sinnett



Page 22

Note written by K. H. in blue ink diagonally across the top of page 22, which is otherwise empty.



Context and background

The next known letter from K. H. to Sinnett was Mahatma Letter No. 117 (in chronological numbering system, or No. 93 in the Barker system). That is quite a long letter covering many subjects. The preceding letter must have been Mahatma Letter No. 114, that Sinnett received on October 8th.

Zemindar proposals refers to owners of large tracts of land who collected taxes and controlled peasants. H. P. Blavatsky expressed concerns about them in The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett letter number 26.

Norendro Nath Sen, a Theosophist and proprietor and editor of the Indian Mirror of Calcutta, seems to have asked Sinnett to give editorial support to some proposals by the Zamindars.

Physical description of letter

Eleven sheets of paper were written on both sides. Notations by K.H. are in blue ink. This letter is in a private collection.

Publication history

This letter has never been published before.

Commentary about this letter

The chief significance of this letter is that it is a rare example of Sinnett's side of his correspondence with the Mahatmas, and that Madame Blavatsky was instructed to show it to Henry Steel Olcott and to preserve it.

Additional resources