Mahatma Letter to H. S. Olcott - LMW 2 No. 10

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Written by: Serapis Bey
Received by: Henry Steel Olcott
Sent via: unknown 
Written on: unknown
Received on: unknown
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: probably Boston
Via: unknown

This is Letter No. 10 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series. In it Mahatma Serapis Bey offers encouragement to Henry Steel Olcott and support for Helena Petrovna Blavatsky during to her brief marriage to Michael C. Betanelly.[1] Letters 9-20 of this series are closely related.

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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

I followed you, Brother mine, all the day of yesterday. My sympathy was with you and you have the approval of the Brotherhood. As I have said before, the rules of the Lodge are positive. The three of you have to work out your future yourselves. Our sister’s present is dark but her future may be bright yet. All depends on yourself and herself. Let your Atma work out your intuitions. Follow your soul’s suggestions and you will enter the wished for port, the so desired object will be attained, and the future of three immortal souls well acted. You must not part with Elena if you desire your initiation. But through her you may be enabled to conquer the trials of initiation. They are hard and you may yet despair more than once, but do not I pray thee. Remember some men have toiled for years, for the knowledge you have obtained in a few months. Fear not, immortal man, scorn the evil whispers of the double-visaged Janus called public opinion. Remain firmly linked together and try to inhabit the same places where her fate guided by the wisdom of the Brotherhood may lead her to. Try to secure for yourself a good situation. You will succeed. Try to help the poor broken-hearted woman and success will crown your noble efforts. Sow healthy grains and choose your soil and the future will reward you by unexpected harvests. Have faith, Brother mine, and when the least expected your eyes may open to such a glorious sight as would dazzle any ordinary mortal. Try to help her find the money needed . . . for the 3rd of next month; give her a chance of showing . . . her noble disinterested generosity and who can tell what may be the result. Her money is certain to return into her hands—it will be easy for you to find that loan for her on such security. O poor, poor Sister! Chaste and pure Soul—pearl shut inside an outwardly coarse nature. Help her to throw off that appearance of assumed roughness, and any one might well be dazzled by the divine Light concealed under such a bark.

My brotherly advice to you REMAIN IN BOSTON. Do not forsake her cause, your own happiness, the salvation of your younger brother. Try. Seek and ye will find. Ask and it will be given ye. Use your will power and may the benediction of Truth and the Divine Presence of Him the Inscrutable be upon thee and help thee to open thy intuition. Watch over her, Brother mine – forgive her outburstings of passion, be patient, merciful, and charity bestowed on another will return to thee a hundredfold nobly.

Brotherly love and greeting to thee,




  • Lodge refers to the Brotherhood of Adepts.
  • The three of you refers to H. S. Olcott, H. P. Blavatsky, and Elbridge Gerry Brown.
  • well acted is Mr. Jinarājadāsa's interpretation of two words that are unclear in the original.
  • Elena refers to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
  • try is an exhortation that appears frequently in the Mahatma letters.
  • double-visaged Janus refers to the two-faced Roman god who looks to the future and to the past.
  • nobly is Mr. Jinarājadāsa's interpretation of a word that is unclear in the original.

Context and background

Mr. Jinarājadāsa provided this background information on the series of letters numbered 9-20:

The letters which follow, all written by the Master Serapis, deal with certain incidents in the life of H.P.B., of which there has been scarcely any mention. Colonel Olcott describes in Old Diary Leaves the Philadelphia marriage of H.P.B., but evidently he has forgotten the true reason for it, for the account he gives of H.P.B.’s explanation of it differs from that given by the Master S. The man whom H.P.B. married was little better than a workman. He had lately come to America from Tiflis in Russia, and had built up a small business as an importer and exporter. He was sincerely drawn to Spiritualism, and evidently in the beginning was desirous of helping H.P.B. to carry out her great schemes to found a spiritual philosophy. On the strict understanding that his privileges as husband would only consist in making a home for her, so that she might carry out the plan of the Brotherhood, H.P.B. married him, though a woman of her aristocratic nature must have felt intensely humiliated to be linked to such a peasant. There was a stipulation that, even though married, she should retain her own name of Blavatsky. After H.P.B. left him, he obtained a decree of divorce, so that when she started for India, the sad incident of the second marriage was utterly closed...[2]

Physical description of letter

The original of this letter is preserved at the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai, India, according to Mr. Jinarājadāsa. He wrote:

Five of the letters of the Master Serapis were received through the post, and their envelopes still remain, and bear the postmark. Four of them were posted in Philadelphia and one in Albany. Colonel Olcott received them in New York at his house, or in Boston care of the Postmaster. Seven of the letters are written on green paper with black ink.[3]

Publication history

Commentary about this letter

Mr. Jinarājadāsa provided this commentary:

Throughout these letters about H.P.B., there are several references to the “Dweller on the Threshold.” This mysterious phrase occurs in Zanoni. It is evident that challenging the Dweller, and risking one’s very existence in the process, is one of the trials of the Initiate. There is no clue in the letters showing of what type were the dangers which confronted H.P.B., so that her very life was at stake.

These letters to Colonel Olcott from the Master S. mention incidents in H.P.B.’s inner life. As none have a right to peer inquisitely into the workings of the soul, I have omitted all references to such incidents, extracting out of the letters only such teachings as seem to me to have value to earnest students.[4]

Additional resources


  1. C. Jinarājadāsa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series (Adyar, Madras,India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1925), 27-29.
  2. C. Jinarājadāsa, 21.
  3. C. Jinarājadāsa, 22.
  4. C. Jinarājadāsa, 21-22.