This is a letter from H. P. Blavatsky to Countess Constance Wachtmeister reprinted verbatim et literatum and in full, portions of which only, as far as we know, have hitherto been published.1 These were in the Introduction by C. Jinarajadasa to the book edited by him, The Early Teachings of the Masters, 1923, The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India, and the same year by The Theosophical Press, 826 Oakdale Avenue, Chicago. These two are only slightly different in spellings, punctuation and grammar. W. Q. Judge in The Path, Vol. VII, March, 1893, also published this letter, under the title “H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation,” but the first paragraph was omitted, as well as nine lines later indicated by dots, and certain proper names throughout for which blanks were inserted.
We are indebted to Jean-Paul Guidnette Montreuil, France, for sending us a copy which, he informs us, is made from the original edition of Reminiscences now in the personal library of the late Jacques Heugel, a nephew of Countess Wachtmeister. M. Guignette also sent us a copy of the letter written in H.P.B.’s own handwriting on paper folded 8 1/2 x 5 1/2. Of this we reproduce here only the last page.
For the historical researcher, as well as for theosophical readers generally, we should point out that the reference made to this Letter in Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. VII, in the section “Chronological Survey,” xxiv, item under Jan. 24, is in error. The “important letter written by H.P.B.”—this one to which we are now referring—was not to Mrs. Gebhard but to Countess Wachtmeister. In a letter from Mme. Gebhard to A. P. Sinnett, she refers to this as follows: (The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, Letter No. CLXXX, p. 346, in the Section titled “Miscellaneous Letters.”):
“The enclosed is from H.P.B. telling how all the phenomena occurred. It is in answer to a letter of the Countess written while here to O.L. saying we did not believe in all the letters coming from the Masters and other phenomena, and if she could refute the charges. Send the letter back to Würzburg to the Countess when you have read it. You must use your own discretion as to whom you had better show the letter to start . . .”
And now let H.P.B. speak for herself.—The Editors [The Eclectic Theosophist, March-April, 1982]
The following is the greater part of a letter written by H. P. Blavatsky some years ago at a time when, subsequent to the Psychical Research Society’s Report on Theosophical phenomena, not only the public but fellow members of the Society were doubting her, doubting themselves, doubting the Adepts. Its publication now will throw upon her character a light not otherwise obtainable. Written to an intimate and old friend for his information and benefit, it bears all the indicia of being out of the heart from one old friend to another. Those who have faith in her and in the Masters behind her will gain benefit and knowledge from its perusal.—[W.Q.J., The Path, March, 1893]
My dear Countess,
In the “Coulomb: Blavatsky” letters (first series of Sept 1884) there is one addressed by me to that woman from Paris the only one which, with the exception of mispunctuation and two or three words that change the sense & make me utter thus a fib, instead of making it what it is,—a quotation from her letter—I say (as far as I remember the words—“If to save the Society (i.e. the work of the Masters Their creation) and do it good I had to go in a public square & declare publicly & to the hearing of the whole world that I AM AN IMPOSTER and FRAUD I would do so without one moment of hesitation. So would I now, at any day.
Now, what you advise me to do, I have for the last three or four years attempted most seriously. Dozens of times I have declared that I shall not put the Masters any worldly questions or submit before Them family & other private matters personal for the most part. I must have sent back to the writers dozens & dozens of letters addressed to the Masters & many a time have I declared—I will not ask Them so and so. Well what was the consequence. People still worried me “Please, do please ask the Masters” only ask & tell Them and draw Their attention to so & so. When I refused doing it Olcott would come up and bother, or Damodar or someone else. Now it so happens that you do not seem to be aware of the occult law—to which even the Masters are subject Themselves: “Whenever an intense desire is concentrated on their personalities; whenever the appeal comes from a man of even an average good morality, & all the desire is intense and sincere even in matters of trifles (and to Them what is not a trifle!)—They are disturbed by it, & the desire takes a material form & would haunt Them (the word is ridiculous, but I know of no other) if They did not create an impassable barrier, an akasic wall between that desire (or thought, or prayer) & so isolate themselves. The result of this extreme measure is, that They find Themselves isolated, at the same time from all those who willingly or unwillingly, consciously or otherwise, are made to come within the circle of that thought or desire. I do not know whether you will understand me. I hope you will. And finding Themselves cut off from me, for instance, many were the mistakes made & damages realized that could have been averted had They not found Themselves outside the circle of theosophical events. Such is the case ever since, owing to Mr. Sinnett’s suicidal (for all of us) desire to make Their existence, names & deeds public he wrote the Occult World & that Olcott like a horse getting rid of the bit in his mouth threw Their names right & left, poured in torrents on the public so to say, Their personalities, powers & so on, until the world (the outsiders, not only Theosophists) desecrated Their names indeed from the North to the South Pole. Has not the Maha Chohan put his foot on that from the first? Has He not forbidden Mahatma K.H. to write to anyone? (Mr. Sinnett knows well all this.) And have not since then waves of supplications, torrents of desires & prayers poured unto Them? This is one of the chief reasons why Their names & personalities ought to have been kept secret & inviolable. They were desecrated in every possible way by believer & unbeliever, by the former when he would critically and from his worldly standpoint examine Them—(the Beings beyond & outside every worldly if not human law!), & when the latter positively slandered, dirtied dragged Their names in the mud! O powers of heaven—what I have suffered there are no words to express it. This is my chief, my greatest crime, for having brought Their personalities to public notice unwillingly reluctantly & forced into it by Mr. Sinnett and Olcott. Well, now to other things.
You & the Theosophists have come to the conclusion that in every case where a message was found couched in words or sentiments unworthy of Mahatmas it was produced either by elementals or my own falsification. Believing the latter, Countess, no honest men & women ought for one moment to permit me such a fraud to remain any longer in the Society. It is not a piece of repentance & a promise that “I shall do so no longer” that you need, but to kick me out—if you really think so. You believe you say in the Masters & at the same time you can credit the idea that they should permit or even know of it and still use me? Why, if They are the exalted Beings you rightly suppose Them to be how could They permit or tolerate for one moment such a deception & fraud? Ah poor Theosophists—little you do know the occult laws I see. And here Bawajee & others are right. Before you volunteer to serve the Masters you should learn their philosophy for otherwise you shall always sin grievously though unconsciously and involuntarily against Them & those who serve Them soul body & spirit aye—to spiritual & moral not only physical death. Do you suppose for one moment that what you write to me now I did not know it for years? Do you think that any person even endowed with simple sagacity let alone occult powers could ever fail to perceive each time suspicion when there was one, especially when it generated in the minds of honest, sincere people unaccustomed to, and incapable of hypocrisy? It is just that, which killed me, which tortured & broke my heart inch by inch for years, for I had to bear it in silence & had no right to explain things unless permitted by Masters & They commanded me to remain silent. To find myself day after day, facing those I loved and respected best, between the two horns of the dilemma—either to appear cruel, selfish, unfeeling, by refusing to satisfy their hearts’ desire, or, by consenting to it, to run the chance (9 out of 10) that they shall immediately feel suspicion lurking in Their minds for the Master’s answers and notes (“the red and blue ‘spook-like’ messages,” as Bawajee truly calls them)—were sure, again 9 times out of 10—unless relating to some philosophical highly serious question—to be of that spook character. Why? Was it fraud, Certainly not. Was it written by and produced by Elementals? never. It was delivered & the physical phenomena are produced by Elementals used for the purpose, but what have they, those senseless beings, to do with the intelligent portions of the smallest and most foolish message! Simply this, as this morning before the receipt of your letter, at 6 o’clock, I was permitted & told by Master to make you understand at last;—you—and all the sincere, truly devoted Theosophists: as you sow, so you will reap; to personal private questions, & prayers, answers framed in the minds of those whom such matters can yet interest, whose minds are not yet entirely blank to such worldly, terrestrial questions—answers by chelas & novices—often something reflected from my own mind, for the Masters would not stoop one moment to give a thought to individual private, matters, relating but to one or even ten persons their welfare woes & blisses in this world of Maya, to nothing except questions of really universal importance. It is all you, Theosophists, who have dragged down in your minds the ideals of our masters, you, who have unconsciously and with the best of intentions, and full sincerity of good purpose desecrated Them, by thinking for one moment & believing that they would trouble Themselves with your business matters, sons to be born, daughters to be married, houses to be built, etc., etc., etc. And yet, all those who have received such communications being nearly all sincere (those who were not have been dealt with according to other special laws), you had a right, knowing of the existence of Beings who, you thought could easily help you—to seek help from Them, to address Them, once that a monotheist addresses his personal God, desecrating the great unknown a million of times above the Masters—by asking Him (or it) to help him with a good crop, to slay his enemy, and send him a son or daughter; and having such a right in the abstract sense, They could not spurn you off, and refuse answering you if not Themselves then by ordering a chela to satisfy the addresser to the best of his or hers (the chela’s) ability. How many a time was I, no Mahatma, shocked and startled, burning with shame when shown notes written in Their (two) handwritings (a form of writing adopted for the T.S. and used by chelas only never without Their special permission or order to that effect)—exhibiting mistakes in science, grammar and thoughts, expressed in such language that it perverted entirely the meaning originally intended having sometimes expressions that in Tibetan, Sanskrit, or any other Asiatic language had quite a different sense—as in one instance I will give. In answer to Mr. Sinnett’s letter referring to some apparent contradiction in Isis the Chela who was made to precipitate Mahatma K.H.’s reply put, “I had to exercise all my ingenuity to reconcile the two things.” Now the term “ingenuity” used for, & meaning candour, fairness an obsolete word in this sense and never used now, but one meaning this perfectly as even I find in Webster—was misconstrued by Massey, Hume, & I believe even Mr. Sinnett, to mean “cunning,” “cleverness,” acuteness to form a new combination so as to prove there was no contradiction. Hence: “the Mahatma confesses most unblushingly to ingenuity, to using craft to reconcile things like an acute tricky lawyer,” etc., etc. Now had I been commissioned to write or precipitate the letter I would have translated the Master’s thought by using the word “ingenuousness,” openness of heart, frankness, fairness, freedom from reserve and dissimulation, as Webster gives it, & opprobrium thrown on Mahatma K.H.’s character would have been avoided. It is not I who would have used “carbolic acid” instead of “carbonic acid,” etc. It is very rarely that Mahatma K.H. dictated verbatim & when He did there remained the few sublime passages found in Mr. Sinnett’s letters from Him. The rest—he would say—write so and so, and the chela wrote often without knowing one word of English as I am now made to write Hebrew & Greek and Latin, etc.
Therefore the only thing I can be reproached with—a reproach I am ever ready to bear though I have not deserved it, having been simply the obedient and blind tool of our occult laws and regulations—is of having (1) used Master’s name when I thought my authority would go for naught, & when I sincerely believed acting agreeably to Master’s intentions2 & for the good of the cause; and (2) of having concealed that which the laws & regulations of my pledges did not permit me so far to reveal. (3) perhaps,—(again for the same reason) of having insisted that such & such a note was from Master written in his own handwriting all the time thinking jesuitically, I confess: “Well, it is written by His order & in His handwriting, after all, why shall I go & explain to those who do not, cannot understand the truth—& perhaps only make matters worse. Two or three times, perhaps more, letters were precipitated in my presence, by chelas who could not speak English and who took ideas & expressions out of my head. The phenomena in truth & solemn reality were greater at those times than ever, yet they often appeared the most suspicious, & I had to hold my tongue, to see suspicion creeping into the minds of those I loved best & respected unable to justify myself, or say one word! What I suffered, Masters alone knew. Think only—(a case with Solovioff at Elberfeld) I sick in my bed; a letter of his an old letter received in London & torn by me, rematerialized in my own sight I looking at the thing. Five or six lines in the Russian language in Mahatma K.H.’s handwriting in blue the words taken from my head, the letter, old & crumpled travelling slowly alone (even I, could not see the astral hand of the chela performing the operation)—across the bedroom, then slipping into & among Solovioff’s papers who was writing in the little drawing room correcting my manuscript—Olcott standing close by him & having just handled the papers looking over them with Solovioff. The latter finding it and like a flash I see in his head in Russian the thought: “The old imposter (meaning Olcott) must have put it there”! and such things by hundreds.
Well—this will do. I have told you the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth, so far as I am allowed to give it. Many are the things I have no right to explain, if I had to be hung for it. Now think for one moment—Suppose Bawajee receives an order from his Master to precipitate a letter to the Gebhard family only a general idea being given to him, about what he has to write. Tibetan paper & envelope are materialized before him & he has only to form & shape the ideas into his English & precipitate them in Master’s handwriting. What shall the result be? Why his English, his “ethics,” & philosophy—Bawajian style all round—a fraud, a transparent fraud people would cry out. And if any one happened to see such a paper before him or in his possession after it was formed—what should be the consequences. Another instance I cannot help it it is so suggestive. A man now dead, implored me for three days to ask Master’s advice on some business matter—for he was going to become a bankrupt & dishonor his family, a serious thing. He gave me a letter for Master “to send on.” I went into the back parlor, & he went down stairs to wait for the answer. Now to send on a letter two or three processes are used: (1) To put the envelope sealed on my forehead & then, warning the Master to be ready for a communication—have the contents reflected by my brain, be carried off to His perception by the current formed by Him. This, if the letter is in a language I know; otherwise (2) to unseal it read it physically with my eyes without understanding even the words—& that which my eyes see is carried off to Master’s perception & reflected in it in his own language; after which, to be sure, no mistake is made, I have to burn the letter with a stone I have (matches & common fire would never do) & the ashes caught by the current become more minute than atoms would be rematerialized at any distance where Master was. Well, I put the letter on the forehead opened, for it was in Bashya of which I know not one word—& when Master had seized its contents I was ordered to burn & send it on. It so happened that I had to go in my bedroom & get the “stone” there from a drawer it was locked in. That minute I was away, the addresser, impatient & anxious, had silently approached the door, entered the drawing-room not seeing me there & seen his own letter opened on the table. He was horror-struck, he told me later; disgusted, ready to commit suicide for he was a bankrupt not only in fortune but all his hopes, his faith, his heart’s creed were crushed & gone. I returned, burnt the letter, and an hour after gave him the answer, also in Bashya. He read it with dull staring eyes—but thinking, as he told me, that if there were no Masters I was a Mahatma, did what he was told & his fortune and honor were saved. Three days later he came to me, & frankly told me all—did not conceal his doubts for the sake of gratitude, as others did—& was rewarded. By order of the Master I showed him how it was done & he understood it. Now had he not told me & had his business gone wrong, advice notwithstanding would not he have died believing me the greatest imposter on Earth? And so it goes.
It is my heart’s desire to be rid for ever of any phenomena but my own mental & personal communication with Masters. I shall no more have anything to do whatever with letters or phenomenal occurrences. This I swear, on Masters’ Holy Names & shall write a circular letter to that effect. Please read the present to all even to Babajee. finis all, and now theosophists, who will come and ask me to tell them so and so from Masters may the Karma fall on their heads. I am free. Master has just promised me this blessing!!
Yours, H. P. Blavatsky
1. Because, however, of printing technicalities involved, the words underlined by HPB are given in italics, and those doubly underlined by her, are here in small caps.—Eds. [Eclectic Theosophist]
2. Found myself several times mistaken & now am punished for it with daily and hourly crucifixion. Pick up stones, theosophists, pick them up brothers & kind sisters & stone me to death with them for trying to make you happy with a word from Masters!