Mahatma Letter to H. S. Olcott - LMW 1 No. 18

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Written by: Koot Hoomi
Received by: Henry Steel Olcott
Sent via: unknown 
Written on: unknown
Received on: 4 April 1884
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: Railway carriage
Via: unknown

This letter is Letter No. 18 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series. Mahatma Koot Hoomi gives advice instructions to Henry Steel Olcott about the situations in London and Adyar.[1]

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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

Beyond asking you to tell Mr Sinnett that I have received all his letters (that of February 15th included) but have had not even a moment’s time to give him, I have nothing of the nature of a ‘commission’ for you to execute at London. That, of course, is M’s province; and he has, under the orders of the Maha Chohan, left you the widest discretion in the full knowledge that you will vindicate the policy of the Society.

If you will recall our conversation of the second night at Lahore, you will



Page 2

observe that everything has happened at London as foretold. There have always been in that quarter latent potentialities of destructive as well as of a constructive nature, and the best interests of our movement required the bringing of all to the surface. As your charming new friends at Nice who frequent Monte Carlo and the gambling cercles would say, the players have now — cartes sur table. Those who have been so perplexed and puzzled over our policy as regards the London Lodge will understand its neces-



  • cercles is French for "circles" or social groups.
  • cartes sur table is French for "cards on the table" or making plain one's position.
  • policy as regards the London Lodge refers to the Mahatmas' recommendation that Dr. Anna Kingsford's esoteric Christian approach to teaching Theosophy would be better suited to the people of London rather than the esoteric Buddhist approach espoused by Alfred Percy Sinnett.

Page 3

-sity better when they become better acquainted with the very occult art of drawing out the hidden capacities and propensities of beginners in occult study

Do not be surprised at anything you may hear from Adyar. Nor discouraged. It is possible — tho’ we try to prevent it within the limits of karma — that you may have great domestic annoyances to pass thro’. You have harboured a traitor and an enemy under your roof for years, and the missionary party are more than ready to avail of any help she may be induced to give. A regular conspiracy is on foot. She is maddened



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by the appearance of Mr Lane Fox and the powers you have given to the Board of Control. We have been doing some phenomena at Adyar since H.P.B. left India to protect Upasika from the conspirators.

And now act discreetly under your instructions, depending rather upon your notes than your memory.


Francesca Arundale note:

The above read by us at London on the 7th April 1884.

F. Arundale

Olcott note:

Dropped in railway carriage, April 5th, 1884, as I was reading a lot of letters from L.L. The particulars about the Kingsford-Sinnett quarrel. This letter fell just as I was noting a paragraph in B.K.’s letter about the Mahatmas. Present in the railway carriage only Mohini and myself.




  • Board of Control refers to a committee appointed by Colonel Olcott to supervise the Adyar headquarters while he and Madame Blavatsky went to Europe.

Context and background

Mr. Jinarajadasa provided these notes about this letter:

Transcribed from the original at Adyar. At its end, in Colonel Olcott’s handwriting is the following note: ‘Dropped in railway carriage, April 5th, 1884, as I was reading a lot of letters from L.L. The particulars about the Kingsford-Sinnett quarrel. This letter fell just as I was noting a paragraph in B.K.’s letter about the Mahatmas. Present in the railway carriage only Mohini and myself, H.S.O.’ (See also Old Dairy Leaves, Third Series, pp.90, 91.)[2]

Physical description of letter

According to Mr. Jinarajadasa, the original letter is at the Adyar headquarters of the Theosophical Society.

Publication history

This letter was published in 1919 as Letter 18 in the first edition of Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1881-1888, later known as the First Series.[3] It has kept this designation as Letter 18 throughout all editions. It was also reproduced with a facsimile in Did Madame Blavatsky Forge the Mahatma Letters?[4]

Commentary about this letter

C. Jinarājadāsa used this letter to write about the the agency of the Masters of the Wisdom in mitigating such harmful events as the Coulomb conspiracy:

If the Masters foresaw the attack, why did they not prevent it? The answer is already given by the Master: "within the limits of karma". Mistakes made by even their most trusted agents must come to their due results. With delicate hints and subtle warnings, but of such a nature as not to force the will of their agent, the masters do indicate possible danger. But if the hint is not taken and an error in technique is made, they will not interfere to prevent the consequences.

There is a second reason why the Masters – once that the effect is set in motion by a cause – only watch, and do not interfere. It is to "divide the sheep from the goats", to use the Christian simile. The Masters have utilize the disturbances among the Society's members to see who are those who stand for principles and who for persons. when the Society is attacked from without, or the clashes of their personal karmas make bitter divisions among the members, the Masters note that those for whom Theosophy – the "Cause of Truth" – is closely associated with a personality, leave the Society at a crisis, because their faith in the integrity of that person is shaken, owing to what appear to be proofs of his unworthiness; but they note also that there are others, for whom the Great Philosophy, and especially the work for Universal Brotherhood, are based on principles, and not on persons. These latter stand by the Society in every emergency, an carry on the crippled work. It is to select these for greater fields of service that the Adepts, however much they regret the confusion in the public mind and the waste of energy of the members in unfraternal life, allow without interfering the interplay of the karmic forces of the members.

For the future of the Society depends upon those who put first loyalty to the Theosophical ideals, and then only afterwards devotion to persons whom they revere as leaders and teachers.[5]

Additional resources


  1. C. Jinarajadasa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 2011), 46-47, 149.
  2. C. Jinarajadasa, 147-148.
  3. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1881-1888. Adyar, Madras, India; London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1919. Foreword by Annie Besant; transcribed and compiled by C. Jinarajadasa.
  4. C. Jinarājadāsa, Did Madame Blavatsky Forge the Mahatma Letters? (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1934), 11-14.
  5. C. Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters to C. W. Leadbeater (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1941), 28.