Letter №11


Letter №11 (ML-28)

Mahatma K.H. - A.O. Hume

After December 1, 1880

Pages - 22.

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My dear Sir,

If no other good ever came of our correspondence than that of showing us once more how essentially opposed are our two antagonistic elements — the English and the Hindu, our few letters will not have been exchanged in vain. Sooner can oil and water mingle their particles than an Englishman — however intelligent, noble-minded and sincere to be made to assimilate even the exoteric Hindu thought, let alone its esotericspirit. This will, of course provoke you to a smile. You will say — "I expected this." So be it. But if so, it shows no more than the perspicacity of a man of thought and observation who intuitively anticipated an event which his own attitude must precipitate. . . .

You will pardon me if I have to speak frankly and sincerely of your long letter. However cogent its logic, noble some of its ideas, ardent its aspiration, it yet lies here before me a very mirror of that spirit of this age, against which we have fought during our whole lives! At best it is the unsuccessful endeavour of an acute intellect trained in the ways of an exoteric world, to throw light

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on, and judge of the modes of life and thought in which it is unversed, for they belong to quite a different world from that it deals with. You are no man of petty vanities. To you it is safe to say: "My dear friend, apart from all this, study your letter impartially; weigh some of its sentences, and on the whole you will not feel proud of it." Whether or not you will ever fully appreciate my motives, or misconceive the true causes which make me decline for the present any further correspondence, I yet am confident that some day you will confess that this last letter of yours under the garb of a noble humility, of confessions of "weaknesses and failings, shortcomings and follies" was yet — no doubt quite unconsciously to yourself — a monument of pride, the loud echo of that haughty and imperative spirit which lurks at the bottom of every Englishman's heart. In your present state of mind, very likely even after reading this answer, you will hardly perceive, that not only have you entirely failed to understand the spirit in which my last letter was written to you, but even, in some instances to catch its evident sense. You were preoccupied by one single, all-absorbing idea; and, failing to detect any direct reply to it in my answer, before taking time to think it over, and see its general

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not personal applicability, you sat down and accused me right away of giving you a stone when you asked for bread! No need of being "a lawyer" in this or any previous existence to state simple facts. No need to "make the bad appear the better cause" when truth is so very simple and so easily told. My remark — "you take up the position that unless a proficient in arcane knowledge will waste upon your embryonic Society an energy . . ." etc: — you applied to yourself, whereas it was never so meant. It related to the expectations of all those who might desire to join the Society under certain conditions exacted before-hand and that were firmly insisted upon, by yourself and Mr. Sinnett. The letter as a whole was meant for you two, and this special sentence applied to all in general.

You say that I have "to a certain extent mistaken" your "position," and that I "clearly misunderstand" you. This is so evidently incorrect that it will suffice for me to quote a single paragraph from your letter to show that it is you who have entirely "mistaken my position" and "clearly misunderstood me." What else do you do but labour under an erroneous impression, when, in your

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eagerness to repudiate the idea of having ever dreamt of originating a "school" you say of the proposed "Anglo-Indian Branch" — "it is no Society of mine. . . . I understood it to be the wish of yourself and chiefs that the Society should be started and that I should assume a leading position in it." To this I replied that if it has been constantly our wish to spread on the Western Continent among the foremost educated classes "Branches" of the T.S. as the harbingers of a Universal Brotherhood it was not so in your case. We (the Chiefs and I) entirely repudiate the idea that such was our hope (however we might wish it) in regard to the projected A.I. Society. The aspiration for brotherhood between our races met no response — nay, it was pooh-poohed from the first — and so, was abandoned even before I had received Mr. Sinnett's first letter. On his part and from the start, the idea was solely to promote the formation of a kind of club or "school of magic." It was then no "proposal" of ours, nor were we the "designers of the scheme." Why then such efforts to show us in the wrong? It was Mad. B. — not we, who originated the idea; and it was Mr. Sinnett who took it up. Notwithstanding his frank and honest admission to the effect that being unable to grasp the basic idea of

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Universal Brotherhood of the Parent Society, his aim was but to cultivate the study of occult Sciences, an admission which ought to have stopped at once every further importunity on her part, she first succeeded in getting the consent — a very reluctant one I must say — of her own direct chief, and then my promise of co-operation — as far as I could go. Finally, through my mediation, she got that of our highest Chief, to whom I submitted the first letter you honoured me with. But, this consent, you will please bear in mind, was obtained solely under the express and unalterable condition that the new Society should be founded as a Branch of the Universal Brotherhood, and among its members, a few elect men would — if they chose to submit to our conditions, instead of dictating theirs — be allowed to begin the study of the occult sciences under the written directions of a "Brother." But a "hot-bed of magick" we never dreamt of. Such an organization as mapped out by Mr. Sinnett and yourself is unthinkable among Europeans; and, it has become next to impossible even in India — unless you are prepared to climb to a height of 18,000 to 20,000 amidst the glaciers of the Himalayas. The greatest as well as most promising of such schools in Europe,

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the last attempt in this direction, — failed most signally some 20 years ago in London. It was the secret school for the practical teaching of magick, founded under the name of a club, by a dozen of enthusiasts under the leadership of Lord Lytton's father. He had collected together for the purpose, the most ardent and enterprising as well as some of the most advanced scholars in mesmerism and "ceremonial magick," such as Eliphas Levi, Regazzoni, and the Kopt Zergvan-Bey. And yet in the pestilent London atmosphere the "Club" came to an untimely end. I visited it about half a dozen of times, and perceived from the first that there was and could be nothing in it. And this is also the reason why, the British T.S.does not progress one step practically. They are of the Universal Brotherhood but in name, and gravitate at best towards Quietism — that utter paralysis of the Soul. They are intensely selfish in their aspirations and will get but the reward of their selfishness.

Nor did we begin the correspondence upon this subject. It was Mr. Sinnett who, of his own motion addressed to a "Brother" two long letters, even before Mad. B. had obtained either permission or promise from any of us to answer him, or knew to whom of us to deliver his letter. Her own chief

Some 20 years ago. Scholar Joscelyn Godwin wrote: "Twenty years before 1881 would be 1861, the year in which Eliphas Levi performed the evocation of Apollonius in the presence of Bulwer- Lytton."

Quietism is a devotional contemplation and abandonment of the will as a form of Christian mysticism.

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having refused point blank to correspond, it was to me that she applied. Moved by regard for her, I consented even telling her she might give you all my Thibetan mystic name, and — I answered our friend's letter. Then came yours — as unexpectedly. You did not even know my name! But your first letter was so sincere, its spirit so promising, the possibilities it opened for doing general good seemed so great, that if, I did not shout Eureka after reading it, and thrown my Diogenes' lantern into the bushes at once, it was only because I knew too well human and — you must excuse me — Western nature. Unable, nevertheless, to undervalue the importance of this letter I carried it to our venerable Chief. All I could obtain from Him, though, was the permission to temporarily correspond, and let you speak your whole mind, before giving any definite promise. We are not gods, and even they, our chiefs — they hope. Human nature is unfathomable, and yours is perhaps, more intensely so than any other man I know of. Your last favour was certainly if not quite a world of revelation, at least, a very profitable addition to my store of observation of the Western character, especially that of the modern, highly intellectual Anglo-Saxon. But it would be a revelation, indeed, to Mad. B.

Eureka means "I have found it," supposedly exclaimed by the ancient Greek Archimedes when he discovered principle of using displacement of water to determine the volume of an irregular object.

Diogenes' lantern refers to Diogenes of Sinope, who walked the streets of Athens carrying a lantern in broad daylight, searching for an honest man.

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who did not see it, (and for various reasons had better not) for it might knock off much of her presumption and faith in her own powers of observation. It might prove to her among other things that she was as much mistaken in relation to Mr. Sinnett's attitude in this matter as your own; and that I, who had never had the privilege of your personal acquaintance as she had, knew you far better than she did. I had positively foretold to her your letter. Rather than have no Society at all, she was willing to have it upon any terms at first, and then take her chances afterwards. I had warned her that you were not a man to submit to any conditions but your own; or even take one step towards the foundation of an organization — however noble and great — unless you received first such proofs as we generally give but to those, who by a trial of years have proved themselves thoroughly trustworthy. She rebelled against the notion and assured that were I but to give you one unimpeachable test of occult powers you would be satisfied, whereas Mr. Sinnett never would. And now, that both of you have had such proofs what are the results? While Mr. Sinnett believes — and will never repent of it, you have allowed your mind to become gradually

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filled with odious doubts and most insulting suspicions. If you will kindly remember my first short note from Jhelum you will see to what I then referred in saying that you would find your mind poisoned. You misunderstood me then as you have ever since; for in it, I did not refer to C. Olcott's letter in the Bombay Gazette but to your own state of mind. Was I wrong? You not only doubt the "broach phenomenon" — you positively disbelieve it. You say to Mad. B. — that she may be one of those who believe that bad means are justified by good ends and — instead of crushing her with all the scorn such an action is sure to awaken in a man of your high principles — you assure her of your unalterable friendship. Even your letter to me is full of the same suspicious spirit, and that which you would never forgive in yourself — the crime of deception — you try to make yourself believe you can forgive in another person. My dear Sir, these are strange contradictions! Having favoured me with such a series of priceless moral reflexions, advice, and truly noble sentiments, you may perhaps, allow me in my turn, to give you the ideas of an humble apostle of Truth, an obscure Hindu, upon that point. As man is a creature born with a free will and endowed with reason, whence spring

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all his notions of right and wrong, he does not per se represent any definite moral ideal. The conception of morality in general relates first of all to the object or motive, and only then to the means or modes of action. Hence, if we do not and would never call a moral man him, who following the rule of a famous religious schemer uses bad means for a good object, how much less would we call him moral who uses seemingly good and noble means to achieve a decidedly wicked or contemptible object? And according to your logic, and once that you confess to such suspicions, Mad. B. would have to be placed in the first of these categories, and I in the second. For, while giving her to a certain extent the benefit of the doubt, with myself you use no such superfluous precautions and, you accuse me unequivocally of setting up a system of deceit. The argument used in my letter, in regard to "the approbation of the Home Government" you term as "such very low motives"; and you add to it the following crushing and direct accusation: "You do not want this Branch (the Anglo-Indian) for work. . . . You merely want it as a lure to your native brethren. You know it will be a sham, but it will look sufficiently like the real thing," etc., etc. This is a