Mahatma Letter of Sinnett to/from KH - undated

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Written by: Koot Hoomi, A. P. Sinnett
Received by: A. P. Sinnett, Koot Hoomi
Sent via: unknown 
Written on: 1881 or 1882
Received on: unknown
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: probably Allahabad
Received at: unknown
Via: unknown

This letter has not been published previously. A. P. Sinnett wrote to Mahatma Koot Hoomi, who added a note and gave the original to H. P. Blavatsky to preserve. Sinnett seems emotional as he writes of his relationship with KH.

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

Note written in blue-green pencil on page 8:

Keep this two letters
you may need them



Page 1 of Sinnett letter transcription, image, and notes

[torn on top ... some writing missing]

I must write to you, at once, my loved and honoured friend, so that you may not be left in doubt as to my appreciation of all your last letter contains. I am startled and aghast however, at the notion that my claims on you which have grown into larger proportions than you may have foreseen when you first took notice of me, may put a heavier drag on you than the end to be achieved, -- the partial enlightenment of so earthy a person as myself -- may be worthy of. But you must be the judge of this. It would be a sort of affectation in me to say “throw me over” because to be thrown over now would be very painful, -- and yet I would say “throw me over” if persevering means any larger peril than would be symbolized by merely loitering on the way. I am certainly very appreciative of your friendship, but whether I am equal to fully profiting



Page 2

[paper torn on top – words missing]

by it [missing words] confident.

This is going to be a brutally egotistical letter I see and yet I never felt less egotistical than at this moment. I want to set forth the situation as it presents itself to me. It divides into two aspects first of all: – the possibility of my usefulness as an agent in the communications perhaps to be made to the world now by you and your colleagues, and my private expectations accruing to me from no merit of my own but arising out of your spontaneous goodness. Now I do think, sinking all affectation of modesty - that I could be useful if communications are to be made. To be useful I must naturally be enlightened a good deal and probably told things not generally told to outsiders. I should appreciate the honour of being so made use of, – delight in it, – but for such work, as I at present understand it I should not necessarily have to accomplish special self development. But if the persons who have to decide the question, do not think that my usefulness would be fairly proportioned to the risks run, whatever they may be, in my partial enlightenment



Page 3

3 [at top of page]

there is necessarily an end of that line of development. As regards my private hopes or expectations there would still remain the bright possibilities resting on your personal regard. But, - subject to the possibility that the neophyte in this case is not worth the master’s sacrifice, [deleted dash] in which case... I can’t bring myself to write the idea out.... there are two ways in which these may develop,- either in purely intellectual education, or in some partial swimming in occult waters, so to speak, with your help. I am not forgetful of the theory that in occultism once started you must go to the end, but if there can be any question of privileges that might be accorded to me, there is some condition of things possible which is a medium course between stopping entirety outside occultism and going entirely inside. Now if you are successful in some future plaidoyer on my behalf would the amount of contact with me that this might involve be injurious to you, and if so would the injuriousness be in any way lessened by physical purification on



Page 4

my part, because there would then be a distinct object in view, saving you injury, in pursuit of which I could go in for an amount of self discipline otherwise repulsive to my present instincts.

I am not expressing myself well tonight. I feel a great deal that words would either coldly fail to convey or caricature. As an Englishman I shrink from highly coloured language especially used in addressing the person concerning whom one’s emotions may be highly coloured. But I often wish very much you could (or would for very likely you could) take cognisance of my reflections about you and the whole of this situation and the gush of emotion in which these sometimes culminate. It is horrible the notion of my dragging you down in any way, by holding onto promises given me by you in an impulse of kindly sympathy with my aspirations. I have had this on my mind a great deal since last night. [punctuation may be a period with a squiggle]

And yet I want also to point out – tho’ it sounds like a selfish urging of my claims which it is not for all this is subject to the idea imperfectly expressed overleaf,– that the



Page 5

reference to a distinction I drew at Simla between being a member of the TS and a Theosophist; seems if I may say so with due submission to whoever made it, not quite just. For at that time I could not but be cautious still, whereas later, (after my correspondence with you had begun) when the Census was taken at Allahabad in February if I remember the date correctly, I wrote myself down Theosophist on the paper which invited me officially to declare my “religion”, I also arranged to have my name published on the list of the Council and have never since shrunk from drawing the distinction above mentioned the other way. I have freely called myself a Theosophist, tho’ I have been careful to point out to others whom I wished to interest in the subject, that by joining the Society they would not necessarily become more than members thereof. This is a most important distinction to keep in view (in my opinion[)]



  • The Census taken at Allahabad in February was in 1881.[1][2]

Page 6

if we are to do anything in the way of bringing in Anglo Indians, one can rarely induce people to jump right into unknown waters all at once – And there is a good deal to live down in connexion with the Society as I know you are willing to acknowledge. However of that more anon; and from Simla I want to ask you more about the great epicyclical scheme over which I have been brooding a great deal, and the prospects of which as far as I yet understand them have seemed rather gloomy. If the “curse of unconscious transmigration” can only be escaped by so few it makes one ill to think of the plight of the many – even supposing there were an outside chance of pulling through oneself. But this is so crudily expressed that it will perhaps make you think I understand the scheme even less than I DO. I will write again about that very soon, relying always on your kind acceptance of more and more letters – and meanwhile I will finish this one entirely without any questions!! Did you expect ever to have



Page 7

such an epistle from the incarnate note of interrogation ?.

I described myself as your “trouble-some protégé” the other day, but I did not realise how troublesome I might be.

Ever your grateful




Page 8

KH added a notation in blue-green pencil:

Keep this [sic] two letters
you may need them



Context and background

Physical description of letter

Four sheets of paper were written on both sides. Sinnett wrote using dark blue ink, and the notation by K.H. are in his usual blue pencil. The top of the first sheet of paper is torn off, so the very top of page 1 and page 2 are missing. 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.

Sinnett is emotional and troubled while writing this letter. On several pages, and especially the top of page 4, he crosses out words and inserts words above the text, in a way that is rarely seen in his other letters. He even says "I am not expressing myself well tonight," and since, as a writer and editor, written words were his special expertise, it is clear that he is distressed.

There are a few clues about the date of this letter:

  • It must have been written some months after the mentioned Census in February, 1881.
  • On page 6 Sinnett mentions his intention to write from Simla, implying that he intends to go there. It was the custom of the Sinnetts to live in Simla during the hot summer months, but otherwise stay at Allahabad where The Pioneer offices were located, placing this letter in the late spring of 1881 or 1882.
  • The phrase "curse of unconscious transmigration" was mentioned on page 10 of Mahatma Letter No. 20, which Sinnett received on August 5, 1881, so the current letter probably follows that date.

Additional resources


  1. See History of Census in India. The previous census was in 1872 and the next in 1891.
  2. As of April 2022, this 1881 Census is not yet available through any genealogical sites.