We publish the following letter from “H. X.,” [A. O. Hume] under a strong personal protest. Another paper signed by several Chelas—all accepted pupils and disciples of our Masters––that immediately follows it, will show to our readers that we are not alone in feeling pain for such an ungenerous and uncalled-for criticism, which we have every right to consider as a very one-sided expression of a merely personal opinion. If it is never fair or just in a European to judge of an Asiatic according to his own Western code and criterion, how much more unfair it becomes when the same standard is applied by him to an exceptional class of people who are—owing to their recognized learning, wondrous powers, and especially their great purity of life—exempted from judgment even by their own people—the teeming millions of Asia, of whatever nation, religion or caste. Our correspondent must surely be aware of the fact, known to every child in India, viz., that they, whom the numberless masses of Asiatics call Mahatmas—“great souls”—and reverentially bow to, are subject to neither the tyranny of caste, nor that of social or religious laws. That so holy are they in the eyes of even the most bigoted, that for long ages they have been regarded as a law within the law, every ordinary and other law losing its rights over such exceptional men. Vox populi, vox Dei, is an old proverb showing that the intuitions of the masses can rarely fail to instinctively perceive great truths. Nor can we really see any reason, why a hitherto unknown and profoundly secret Fraternity, a handful of men who have strenuously avoided coming in contact with the outside world, who neither force themselves upon, nor even first volunteer their teachings to any one—least of all Europeans—why, we say, they should be so unceremoniously dragged out before the gaze of a perfectly indifferent public (that is neither interested nor does it generally believe in their existence) only to be placed in a false light (false because of its great incompleteness) and then cut up piecemeal by one dissatisfied student for the supposed benefit of a few who are not even lay chelas! However, since it is the pleasure of our MASTERS themselves, that the above criticism should be placed before the Areopagus of a public, for whose opinion they must care as much as the great Pyramid does for the hot wind of the Desert sweeping over its hoary top—we must obey. Yet, we repeat most emphatically that, had it not been for the express orders received from our great BROTHERS, we should have never consented to publish such a—to say the least—ungenerous document. Perchance it may do good in one direction: it gives the key, we think, to the true reason why our Brothers feel so reluctant to show favours even to the most intellectual among the European “would-be” mystics.


[Note: here followed a long Letter by A. O. Hume, which was itself followed by a Letter of Protest signed by a group of chelas.]