Letter №5


Letter №5 (ML-4)

Mahatma K.H. - A.P. Sinnett

1-5 November, 1880

Covers -1. Pages - 16.

Cover sheet


Letter №5 Cover sheet

Apparently received 5th November {1880}. Madam and Colonel O. arrived at our house, Allahabad, on December the 1st, 1880. Col. O. went to Benares on the 3rd — Madam joined him on the 11th. Both returned to Allahabad on 20th and stayed until 28th.

This note is in Sinnett's handwriting.

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Amrita Saras, Oct. 29.

My Dear Brother,

I could assuredly make no objection to the style which you have kindly adopted, in addressing me by name, since it is, as you say, the outcome of a personal regard even greater than I have as yet deserved at your hands. The conventionalities of the weary world, outside our secluded "Ashrums," trouble us but little at any time; least of all now, when it is men not ceremony-masters, we seek, devotion, not mere observances. More and more a dead formalism is gaining ground, and I am truly happy to find so unexpected an ally in a quarter where, hitherto there have not been too many — among the highly educated classes of English Society. A crisis, in a certain sense, is upon us now, and must be met. I might say two crises — one, the Society's, the other for Tibet. For, I may tell you in confidence, that Russia is gradually massing her forces for a future invasion of that country under the pretext of a Chinese War. If she does not succeed it will be due to us; and herein, at least we will deserve your gratitude. You see then, that we have weightier matters than small societies to think about; yet, the

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T.S. must not be neglected. The affair has taken an impulse, which, if not well guided, might beget very evil issues. Recall to mind the avalanches of your admired Alps, that you have often thought about, and remember that at first their mass is small and their momentum little. A trite comparison you may say, but I cannot think of a better illustration, when viewing the gradual aggregation of trifling events, growing into a menacing destiny for the Theos. Soc. It came quite forcibly upon me the other day as I was coming down the defiles of Kouenlun — Karakorum you call them — and saw an avalanche tumble. I had gone personally to our chief to submit Mr. Hume's important offer, and was crossing over to Lhadak on my way home. What other speculations might have followed I cannot say. But just as I was taking advantage of the awful stillness which usually follows such cataclysm, to get a clearer view of the present situation and the disposition of the "mystics" at Simla, I was rudely recalled to my senses. A familiar voice, as shrill as the one attributed to Saraswati's peacock — which, if we may credit tradition, frightened off the King of the Nagas — shouted along the currents "Olcott has raised the very devil again! . . . The Englishmen are going crazy. . . .

The shrill of Saraswati's peacock. In a conversation with Mme. Blavatsky about the accusation that she forged the letters, Charles Johnston mentioned this passage and told her that this was "hardly the sort of thing you would say of yourself." To this, HPB answered jokingly: "Of course not. I know I am a nightingale."

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Koot Hoomi, come quicker and help me!" — and in her excitement forgot she was speaking English. I must say, that the "Old Lady's" telegrams do strike one like stones from a catapult!

What could I do but come? Argument through space with one who was in cold despair, and in a state of moral chaos was useless. So I determined to emerge from the seclusion of many years and spend some time with her to comfort her as well as I could. But our friend is not one to cause her mind to reflect the philosophical resignation of Marcus Aurelius. The fates never wrote that she could say: "It is a royal thing, when one is doing good to hear evil spoken of himself." . . . I had come for a few days, but now find that I myself cannot endure for any length of time the stifling magnetism even of my own countrymen. I have seen some of our proud old Sikhs drunk and staggering over the marble pavement of their sacred Temple. I have heard an English-speaking Vakil declaim against Yog Vidya and Theosophy, as a delusion and a lie, declaring that English Science had emancipated them from such "degrading superstitions," and saying that it was an insult to India to maintain that the dirty Yogees and Sunnyasis knew anything about the mysteries of nature; or that any living man can or ever could perform any phenomena!

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD who wrote the Stoic work Meditations.

Vakil is a native attorney or agent.

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I turn my face homeward to-morrow.

The delivery of this letter may very possibly be delayed for a few days, owing to causes which it will not interest you for me to specify. Meanwhile, however, I have telegraphed you my thanks for your obliging compliance with my wishes in the matters you allude to in your letter of the 24th inst. I see with pleasure, that you have not failed to usher me before the world as a possible "confederate." That makes our number ten I believe? But I must say, that your promise was well and loyally fulfilled. Received at Umritsur on the 27th inst., at 2 p.m., I got your letter about thirty miles beyond Rawul Pindee, five minutes later, and had an acknowledgment wired to you from Jhelum at 4 p.m. on the same afternoon. Our modes of accelerated delivery and quick communications are not then, as you will see, to be despised by the Western world, or even the Aryan, English-speaking and skeptical Vakils.

I could not ask a more judicial frame of mind in an ally than that in which you are beginning to find yourself. My Brother, you have already changed your attitude toward us in a distinct degree: what is to prevent a perfect mutual understanding one day!

That makes our number ten. This refers to the Brooch No. 1incident and the fact that 9 people had signed the published statement in support of its authenticity. In Sinnett's write-up of the incident he had mentioned the possible assistance of Mahatma K.H. thus making the tenth of those present.

Received at Umritsur on the 27th. For a description of this phenomena see Context and Background below.

Vakil refers to a native attorney or agent.

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Mr. Hume's proposition has been duly and carefully considered. He will, no doubt, advise you of the results as expressed in my letter, to him. Whether he will give our "modes of action" as fair a trial as yourself — is another question. Our Maha (the "Chief") has allowed me to correspond with both of you, and even — in case an Anglo-Indian Branch is formed — to come some day in personal contact with it. It now depends entirely on you. I cannot tell you more. You are quite right as to the standing of our friends in the Anglo-Indian world having been materially improved by the Simla visit; and, it is also true, though you modestly refrain from saying so, that we are mainly indebted to you for this. But quite apart from the unlucky incidents of the Bombay publications, it is not possible that there should be much more at best than a benevolent neutrality shown by your people toward ours. There is so very minute a point of contact between the two civilisations they respectively represent, that one might almost say they could not touch at all. Nor would they but for

Sinnett was interested in forming an Anglo-Indian Branch of the Society.

"Incidents of the Bombay publications". See Context and Background below.

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the few — shall I say eccentrics? — who, like you, dream better and bolder dreams than the rest; and provoking thought, bring the two together by their own admirable audacity. Has it occurred to you that the two Bombay publications, if not influenced, may at least have not been prevented, by those who might have done so, because they saw the necessity for that much agitation to effect the double result of making a needed diversion after the Brooch Grenade, and, perhaps, of trying the strength of your personal interest in occultism and theosophy? I do not say it was so; I but enquire whether the contingency ever presented itself to your mind. I have already caused it to be intimated to you that if the details given in the stolen letter had been anticipated in the Pioneer — a much more appropriate place, and where they would have been handled to better advantage — that document would not have been worth anyone's while to purloin for the Times of India, and therefore no names would have appeared.

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Colonel Olcott is doubtless "out of time with the feelings of English people" of both classes; but nevertheless more in time with us than either. Him we can trust under all circumstances, and his faithful service is pledged to us come well, come ill. My dear Brother, my voice is the echo of impartial justice. Where can we find an equal devotion? He is one who never questions, but obeys; who may make innumerable mistakes out of excessive zeal but never is unwilling to repair his fault even at the cost of the greatest self-humiliation; who esteems the sacrifice of comfort and even life something to be cheerfully risked whenever necessary; who will eat any food, or even go without; sleep on any bed, work in any place, fraternise with any outcast, endure any privation for the cause. . . . I admit that his connection with an A. I. Branch would be "an evil" — hence, he will have no more to do with it than he has with the British, (London Branch). His connection will be purely nominal, and may be made more so, by

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framing your Rules more carefully than theirs; and giving your organization such a self-acting system of Government as would seldom if ever require any outside interference. But to make an independent A.I.B. with the self-same objects, either in whole or apart, as the Parent Society and with the same directors behind the scenes would be not only to deal a mortal blow at the Theos. Soc. but also put upon us a double labour and anxiety without the slightest compensating advantage that any of us can perceive. The Parent S. has never interfered in the slightest degree with the British T.S., nor indeed with any other Branch, whether religious or philosophical. Having formed, or caused to be formed a new branch, the Parent S. charters it (which it cannot now do without our Sanction and signatures), and then usually retires behind the scenes, as you would say. Its further connection with the subject branches is limited to receiving quarterly accounts of their doings and lists of the new Fellows, ratifying expulsions — only when specially called upon as an arbitrator to interfere on account of the Founders' direct connection with us — etc.,

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etc.; it never meddles otherwise in their affairs except when appealed to as a sort of appelate court. And the latter depending on you, what is there to prevent your Society from remaining virtually independent? We are, even more generous than you British are to us. We will not force upon, nor even ask you to sanction a Hindu "Resident" in your Society, to watch the interests of the Parent Paramount Power when we have once declared you independent; but will implicitly trust to your loyalty and word of honour. But if you now so dislike the idea of a purely nominal executive supervision by Col. Olcott — an American of your own race — you would surely rebel against dictation from a Hindu, whose habits and methods are those of his own people, and whose race, despite your natural benevolence, you have not yet learnt to tolerate, let alone to love or respect. Think well before you ask for our guidance. Our best, most learned and highest adepts are of the races of the "greasy Tibetans"; and the Penjabi Singhs — you know the lion is proverbially a dirty and offensive beast, despite his strength and courage. Is it certain that your