Mahatma Letter to H. S. Olcott - LMW 2 No. 36

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People involved
Written by: Morya and Serapis Bey
Received by: Henry Steel Olcott
Sent via: unknown 
Written on: unknown
Received on: unknown
Other dates: unknown
Sent from: unknown
Received at: unknown
Via: unknown

This is Letter No. 36 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series. Mahatma Morya conveys a message from Master Serapis Bey ordering Henry Steel Olcott not to deliver extemporaneous lectures.[1]

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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes

[folded triangularly,and addressed:]

H. S. Olcott,



H. S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society is henceforth forbidden to deliver extemporaneous lectures.

by order of




Context and background

Mr. Jinarājadāsa commented:

It appears that in the beginning Colonel Olcott was sometimes in the habit of appearing before an audience and saying: "What subject would you like me to talk about?" If the topic suggested was mesmerism or some similar subject on which he was an expert, all went well. But on other unprepared subjects, he was apt to be diffuse. Evidently his conception of building up a lecture was different from that of most Theosophical lecturers, as is shown by the following entry in his Diary, August 31, 1883: "Gave my second lecture to-day to about the same audience. Had a good deal of applause and they made me speak an hour and a half though I offered to stop at the end of an hour."[2]

Physical description of letter

The original of this letter is preserved at the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai, India.

Publication history

Commentary about this letter

Mr. Jinarājadāsa provided this foreword on the series of letters numbered 28-45:

I have arranged the letters which follow, so far as possible, in the order in which they were received. On some, Colonel Olcott has made a memorandum of the date. For others, I have been able to get the date from his Diaries. There are a few, however, of which I am fairly certain as to the year, because of the first script of Master M. referred to already [see Morya:Writing style], but there is no indication anywhere as to the month. Some of the letters bear no signature.[3]

Additional resources


  1. C. Jinarājadāsa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series (Adyar, Madras,India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1925), 77-78.
  2. C. Jinarājadāsa, 78.
  3. C. Jinarājadāsa, 70.