Difference between revisions of "Mahatma Letter to Leadbeater - LMW 1 No. 7"
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== Commentary about this letter ==
== Commentary about this letter ==
== Additional resources ==
== Additional resources ==
Revision as of 18:49, 14 October 2019
|Written by:||Koot Hoomi|
|Received by:||Charles Webster Leadbeater|
|Received on:||31 October 1884, at midday|
|Sent from:||Kensington post office|
This letter is Letter No. 7 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series. Mahatma Koot Hoomi responds to questions from Charles Webster Leadbeater about chelaship. It is closely related to the following letter, No. 8.
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Page 1 transcription, image, and notes
Last spring – March the 3rd – you wrote a letter to me and entrusted it to “Ernest”. Tho' the paper itself never reached me – nor was it ever likely to, considering the nature of the messenger – its contents have. I did not answer it at the time, but sent you a warning through Upasika.
In that message of yours it was said that, since reading Esot. Bud. and Isis your “one great wish" had been to place yourself under me as a chela, that you may learn more of the truth. “I understand from Mr. S.” you went on “that it would be almost impossible to become a chela without going out to India”. You hoped to be able to do that in a few years, tho' for the present ties of gratitude bind you to remain in this country, etc. I now answer the above and your other questions.
1. It is not necessary that one should be in India during the seven years of probation. A chela can pass them anywhere.
2. To accept any man as a chela does not depend on my personal will. It can only be the result of one's personal merit and exertions in that direction. Force any one of the “Masters” you may happen to choose; do good works in his name and for the love of mankind; be pure and resolute in the path of righteousness (as laid out in our rules); be honest and unselfish; forget your Self but to remember the good of other people – and you will have forced that “Master” to accept you.
So much for candidates during the periods of the undisturbed progress of your Society. There is something more to be done, however, when theosophy, the Cause of Truth, is, as at the present moment on its stand for life or death before the tribunal of public opinion – that most flippantly cruel, prejudiced and unjust of all tribunals. There is also the collective karma of the caste you belong to – to be considered. It is undeniable that the cause you have at heart is now suffering owing to the dark intrigues, the base conspiracy of the Christian clergy and missionaries against the Society. They will stop before nothing to ruin the reputation of the Founders. Are you willing to atone for their sins? Then go to Adyar for a few months. “The ties or gratitude” will not be severed, nor even become weakened for an absence of a few months if the step be explained plausibly to your relative. He who would shorten the years of probation has to make sacrifices for theosophy. Pushed by malevolent hands to the very edge of a precipice, the Society needs every man and woman strong in the cause of truth. It is by doing noble actions and not by only determining that they shall be done that the fruits of the meritorious actions are reaped. Like the “true man” of Carlyle who is not to be seduced by ease – “difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, death are the allurements that act” during the hours of trial on the heart of a true chela.
You ask me – “what rules I must observe during this time of probation, and how soon I might venture to hope that it could begin”. I answer: you have the making of your own future, in your own hands as shown above, and every day you may be weaving its woof. If I were to demand that you should do one thing or the other, instead of simply advising, I would be responsible for every effect that might flow from the step and you acquire but a secondary merit. Think, and you will see that this is true. So cast the lot yourself into the lap of Justice, never fearing but that its response will be absolutely true. Chelaship is an educational as well as probationary stage and the chela alone can determine whether it shall end in adeptship or failure. Chelas from a mistaken idea of our system too often watch and wait for orders, wasting precious time which should be taken up with personal effort. Our cause needs missionaries, devotees, agents, even martyrs perhaps. But it cannot demand of any man to make himself either. So now choose and grasp your own destiny, and may our Lord’s the Tathgata’s memory aid you to decide for the best.
IMAGE TO BE
Context and background
Mr. Jinarajadasa provided these notes about this letter:
Transcribed from the original at Adyar. This and the following letter were received by C.W. Leadbeater, the former at midday of the 31 October 1884, and the latter at midnight of the same day. The first letter was received by post, and bears the London postmark, ‘Kensington, Oct. 30-84’; the second letter was precipitated on to the upturned palm of H.P.B. in the presence of C.W.L. I have reproduced in facsimile this letter and Letter 8 in my book, The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
At this time C.W.L was closely investigating Spiritualism, and was attending many of the séances of William Eglinton, one of whose spirit guides was named ‘Ernest’. Ernest assured C.W.L. that he knew of the existence of the Masters, and intimated his readiness to deliver a letter to the Master K.H. The letter was written and sent, and put by Mr Eglinton in the box kept for communications for the spirit guides. C.W.L. was notified by Mr Eglinton after a few days that the letter had disappeared from the box. At subsequent séances, when enquiry was made from Ernest as to what had happened to the letter, Ernest assured C.W.L. that it had been duly delivered.
Upasika is a more often used for H.P.B. in the letters; the word is from Buddhism, where it denotes a woman lay disciple, one who has taken the eight vows, and so is not a nun who takes two more vows in addition.
‘Caste you belong to’: C.W.L. at the time of receiving this letter was an officiating priest of the Church of England; it was at this time that an attempt was made by the Christian missionaries at Madras to wreck the Theosophical Society in what is known as the ‘Coulomb conspiracy’.
‘Our Lord’s the Tathgata’s memory’: This is a most striking phrase, understood only many long years after the receipt of the letter. It refers to incidents of past lives of long ago, when C.W.L. had seen the great Teacher face to face. It is as if the Master tried in this manner to go behind the personality of C.W.L. direct to the Ego, in whose consciousness the great truths existed as matters of direct knowledge.
Several phrases in this letter, and especially the phrase ‘Our Lord’s the Tathgata’s memory aid you to decide for the best’, appear in a letter written by the Master M., who did not know English, to S. Ramaswamier, in 1883. (See Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series, Letter 51.)
Physical description of letter
This letter was published in 1919 as Letter 7 in the first edition of Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1881-1888, later known as the First Series. It has kept this designation as Letter 7 throughout all editions.
Commentary about this letter
C. Jinarājadāsa devoted an entire book, The "K. H." Letters to C. W. Leadbeater, to an intensive analysis of the three letters received by C. W. Leadbeater. At the beginning of the commentary for the first letter he wrote:
As this letter of the Master is full of illumination to students of Occultism, I propose, after the manner of the commentators of old of the Vedas and the Upanishads, to comment on all phrases in it which require elucidation, in order to bring out the full significance of the Master's thought.
This first letter in particular provides a wealth of historical and occult information. Some details are provided in the Notes above. Here are some other major points:
- CWL felt the weight of major responsibilities as a curate in managing the routine work of the parish, since the Rector (his uncle) was often away at Oxford teaching. He was grateful to his uncle and regretted causing difficulties by departing for India.
- The Mahatmas knew what was happening in his life even though they were physically far away.
- The would-be chela sets occult forces in motion by asking to become a disciple, and can "force" the Master to accept him.
- C. Jinarajadasa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 2011), 29-32, 141-143.
- Bryce R. Covert, "Masculinity in Thomas Carlyle's On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History" in The Victorian Web.
- C. Jinarajadasa, 141-143.
- 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.
- C. Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters to C. W. Leadbeater (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1941), 15.
- Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters, 16-17.
- Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters, 16, 17-19.
- Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters, 19-20.