Mahatma Letter of Ward to/from KH - 1883-12-14

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People involved
Written by: Samuel Ward, Koot Hoomi
Received by: Koot Hoomi, H. P. Blavatsky
Sent via: unknown 
Dates
Written on: 14 December 1883
Received on: unknown
Other dates: unknown
Places
Sent from: London
Received at: unknown
Via: unknown

This letter has not been published previously. Samuel Ward wrote to Mahatma Koot Hoomi, probably via H. P. Blavatsky. KH instructed HPB to keep the letter. Like G. B. Finch in his letter of the same period, Ward discussed the state of the London Lodge before its split, including Anna Bonus Kingsford, A. P. Sinnett, and other local leaders. Ward mentions a letter from K.H. to A. P. Sinnett that is almost certainly Mahatma Letter No. 117 (Barker number 93).

Notes to H. P. Blavatsky from K.H.

Note written in blue ink in KH handwriting at the top of the first page:

For Upasika to preserve KH

Underscores in blue ink in KH handwriting at the bottom of the fourth page:

I wrote Col. O. from Capri [underlined in blue] that I would come if you approved I got no notice until yesterday [underlined in blue] of your assent.


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NOTES:

Page 1 of Ward letter transcription, image, and notes

Note at top in blue ink in KH handwriting:

For Upasikaa to preserve KH


36 Piccadilly
14 Dec 1883

My dear and revered friend,

I have not written lately because I feared what your patience who know so fully the human causes that have arisen to sow dissension in our camp at which I fervently believe you now and then take a look of scrutiny realising at a glance more than pen can describe.

Alas! if Astronomers in the observatory are compelled to take into account what they call the “human equation” how much more needful is it to estimate that irregularity where undisciplined ambitions and mixed motives combined as perturbing forces.

I never have ceased to venerate the lofty soar of our Seeress,- but from the first I have despaired of her ever becoming a teacher to a large congregation. This arises

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NOTES:

Page 2

quite as much from the elevation of the plane her spirit has attained as from any defects inherent in her sex. I can conceive the inability of Newton or Huyghens to teach a schoolboy the binomial theorem, and my friend the late Professor Peirce of Harvard who dwelt among the Himalayan Mountaintops of the higher Analysis was noted for his incompetency to impart a spark of his love to any save the 3 or 4 exceptional students in a large class.

I think we shall tide over the difficulty, which Massey suggests might be compromised by the election of Mr. Hood or some other advanced member as President and thus retain both Mrs K and the OL’s “Boss” without the Scandal of a spasmodic disruption. He would propose to follow this up by a division of the T.S., like the British Association into branches who may pursue ‘Esoteric Buddhism’ under Sinnett,- or ‘Esoteric Christianity’ under the Seeress.

But the latter is in precarious

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NOTES:

  • Newton refers to Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) and his work in calculus, gravitation, optics, telescopes, and natural philosophy.
  • Huyghens refers to Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), a Dutch scientist and inventor who worked in the fields of classical mechanics, optics, telescopes, pendulum clocks, and the rings of Saturn.
  • Professor Peirce of Harvard may have been Benjamin Peirce (1809-1880), an American mathematician and astronomer who studied Uranus and Neptune. He helped to establish the Harvard Observatory.
  • Mr. Hood was H. J. Hood, a barrister-at-law of Lincoln's Inn, a member of the London Lodge, who had a keen interest in Spiritualism and séances involving William Eglinton and other mediums.
  • OL refers to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
  • Boss refers to A. P. Sinnett.
  • Esoteric Buddhism refers to the focus on Eastern religious focus as expressed by Sinnett in his book Esoteric Buddhism.
  • Esoteric Christianity refers to the focus on Christianity expressed by Dr. Kingsford in her book The Perfect Way; or the Finding of Christ.

Page 3

health, and resides 5 hours from London, at the pretty little Vicarage of Atcham near Shrewsbury where you may perhaps have witnessed her meditations. This remoteness of a thought leader is in itself a bar to her usefulness. There are moments in all our lives when we need Light, and encouragement – moments when one maybe on the verge of the threshold, without knowing it,- and moments of despondency when the strong hand of a vigorous and trained intellect may set one on the right path.

And like the Unpartaisch, in the German Duet,– on the Speaker of the House of Commons,- a President should have the personal magnetism of the mystery of commanding, rather as a Moderator than as a Partisan of either faction.

For this purpose I lament to say we should find Hood deficient in voice and in the “Art Napoleon.” A Barrister in extensive practice, he has by ascetic pursuits, by concentration and meditation made very considerable progress, but he has no spare vitality to exercise upon a dissentient assembly,– that Dialect of one


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NOTES:

  • Unpartaisch or Unpartaiisch is a German expression for unbiased or impartial.
  • German Duet refers to the German parliament, or Federal Diet that is known in Germany as Bundestag.
  • Art Napoleon refers to organizational abilities.
  • dissentient assembly indicates a minority faction.

Page 4

Note Underscores in blue ink in KH handwriting at the bottom of the page

that I find very difficult to understand. Mr. Finch is also according to Sinnett an advanced student in occult lore, but he is timid and inaudible, and Massey whose pen is as subtle, yet clear, as that of the most trained metaphysicians of the Schools is like an owl that shuns the Light. I think that the latter has lately increased his faith and diminished his doubts. He has never ceased to believe in Col. Olcott, and now that Lane Fox avows his thorough conversion to the Yoga philosophy, by Olcotts Edition of “Patanjali,” the sun is making its way above his horizon so long obscured by the clouds of doubt.

I esteem it an inestimable privilege to have read yesterday your exhaustive Letter to Sinnett, in which my soul took a bath and came out brightened and fearless. Now that I hear your contemplated peripateticism I groan as having suffered myself to hesitate in accepting Col. O’s invitation to attend the Annual Meeting of the T.S. the week after next.

I wrote Col. O. from Capri [underlined in blue] that I would come if you approved I got no notice until yesterday [underlined in blue] of your assent. This is no one’s fault save that both the Seeress and Sinnett rather threw

NOTE: The remainder of the letter is missing.

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NOTES:

  • Olcotts Edition of “Patanjali” refers to an edition of The Yoga Philosophy published by the Theosophical Society in Bombay, 1883.
  • peripateticism refers to Aristotelian philosophy.

Context and background

This letter was written a week before G. B. Finch wrote a letter dated December 21st on the same subject. Both were written about six months earlier than the important correspondence between members of the London Lodge (including Finch) and the Mahatmas, which was published as Letter No. 5 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series. On April 7, 1884, Mr. Finch was elected as President of the lodge, with Mr. Sinnett as Vice-President and Secretary, and Miss Francesca Arundale as Treasurer. Col. Olcott, international President of the Theosophical Society, who was visiting London with his personal secretary Mohini, granted a charter for the Kingsford-Maitland contingent to form a separate Branch, the Hermetic Lodge.

The letter from K.H. to A. P. Sinnett that Ward mentioned on page 4 is almost certainly Mahatma Letter No. 117 (Barker number 93).

Physical description of letter

One sheet of paper was folded and written on both sides. Notation by K.H. is 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 K.H. recognized it as an important communication about interactions within the London Lodge, and therefore instructed Madame Blavatsky to preserve it.

Additional resources

Notes