The Theosophical Society in America

Esoteric World Chapter 12

Chapter 12

India 1882–1884

In May 1882, the Founders bought a large estate in southern India on the Adyar River, near Madras and moved the Theosophical Headquarters there at the end of the year. This center soon became the radiating point for worldwide activity. During 1883, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott traveled from Adyar to various outlying districts, founded Branches, received visitors, conducted an enormous correspondence with inquirers, and filled their journal with valuable and scholarly material. The main purpose of that material was to revitalize the dormant interest on the part of Indians in the spiritual worth of their own ancient scriptures and culture.

At this time, many Indians and Westerners had contact, either by writing or in person, with the Mahatmas. Colonel Olcott practiced mesmeric healing on a wide scale until February 1884, when he left for London to petition the British Government on behalf of the Buddhists of Ceylon. H. P. Blavatsky, then in poor health, decided to travel with him to Europe.

12a. A. P. Sinnett, December 1882–March 1883, Adyar, Madras, India [Sinnett 1886, 255, 257–8]

On the 16th of December 1882, a farewell entertainment was given by native friends to the founders of the Theosophical Society, just before their departure from Bombay to take up their residence at Adyar, Madras, where a house had been purchased for the Society by subscription.

The house at Madras was a great improvement on the cramped and comfortless bungalow at Bombay. Madras is a station of enormous extent, straggling along seven or eight miles of the seashore. Adyar is a suburb at the southern extremity, through which a small stream finds its way to the sea, and just before it reaches the beach spreads out into a broad shallow expanse of water, beside which the Theosophical house stands in extensive grounds. Here we found Mme. Blavatsky and her heterogeneous household comfortably installed when my wife and I visited her on our way home [to England] from India in March 1883.

The upper rooms of the house were her own private domain. [One of these rooms] just built was destined by Madame to be her "occult room," her own specially private sanctum. She had especially devoted herself to decorating a certain hanging cupboard to be kept exclusively sacred to the communications passing between [the] Masters and herself, and bestowed upon it the designation the Shrine. Here she had established some simple occult treasures, two small portraits she possessed of the Mahatmas, and some other trifles. The purpose of this special receptacle was of course perfectly intelligible to everyone familiar with the theory of occult phenomena. A place kept pure of all "magnetism" but that connected with the work of integrating and disintegrating letters, would facilitate the process, and the "shrine" was used for the transaction of business between the Masters and the chelas.

12b. William Q. Judge, December 1882, Adyar, Madras, India [Judge 1890, 1892]

The Headquarters of the [Theosophical] Society in India are in a suburb of Madras called Adyar, so named from the Adyar river [which] runs past the building, washes, indeed, the base of the wide piazza at the back. The building is made of brick and plaster, painted white, except some rooms erected upon the roof. The grounds comprise about twenty-one acres, bounded in front of the house by a large grove of trees, on the back by the river, and on one side by the main road leading out of Madras. There are numerous mango trees in the compound between the house and the main road, and these afford a grateful shade, their spreading branches covering great distances around their trunks.

[The picture gives] the point of view as you come up the drive from the entrance gate. It shows the front of the building as it faces the compound. The porte cochere is seen in perspective. It gave a grand air to the front. The whole building was of a white color, appearing at a distance like a marble structure, but in reality is constructed of brick plastered white, as is very usual in India.

Just appearing over the ornamental balustrade which encloses the roof is the front of HPB’s own room, which led into the shrine room shown in the second picture. Her room was an addition to the building, and in a way served to join the two towers which rise at the back corners at either end. The stairs of the tower illustrated [in the second picture] were the means of communication with her apartment, although the other tower had also a stairway.

That part of the compound extending from the entrance gate on the highway was full of mango trees, and through them the driveway brought you up to the house and under the port cochere. Alighting there, a short flight of steps took you up to the entrance hall, where the floor was of black and white marble. Here there were two tables, sofas, and some chairs, and on the floor many a night slept Damodar K. Mavalankar, together with several others.

Part of the end of the building on the side near the main road is given [in the second picture]. It is a continuation of the corner seen in the first cut. The tower finished the river end of the building, and the river itself can be just seen at the back. On the top is the occult room with the extension or verandah. The roof of the "occult room" was slanting and tiled in red, the plaster being tinted yellow. In this was the shrine. It was entered from the other side, and, being a few feet lower than the rooms used by HPB, a short flight of steps ran down into it. In the tower is a winding brick stairway.

Damodar’s room was in this tower at the top as you came up the narrow stairs. A corridor, as you might call it, ran across the back of HPB’s rooms from tower to tower, open to the river and giving a view of the little island opposite and the long bridge which carries the highway across the river.

This [third illustration] is reproduced from a photograph of the back of the building taken from the little island. It shows the other tower, companion to that in which was Damodar’s room. The lower floor under the roof was the back part of the middle of the building, and was occupied by the Theosophist magazine. Trees and shrubs almost hid the view. A plastered embankment ran for a short distance along this side so as to protect the foundations.

These pictures give a very correct idea of the house when HPB lived in it.

12c. Damodar K. Mavalankar, April 1883, Adyar, Madras, India [Damodar 1907]

Last night was a memorable one. Narasimhulu Chetty and myself were seated on a chair quite close to Mme. Blavatsky’s bed, fanning her and talking together, so as gradually to induce sleep in her. Suddenly Mme. B. gave a start and exclaimed, "I feel him [Mahatma Morya]." She enjoined on us strictly not to leave our places, nor to get excited, but remain where we were and be perfectly calm and quiet. Suddenly she asked for our hands and the right hand of each of us was held by her.

Hardly two minutes had elapsed and we saw him coming from the screen door of Mme. B.’s bed-room and approaching her. His manner of walking was so gentle that not a footstep, not the slightest sound, was audible; nor did he appear to move, by his gestures. It was only the change of position that made us see he had come nearer and nearer. He stood exactly opposite Mme. B.—not quite an arm's length from us. We were on this side of the bed; he on the other.

You know I have seen him often enough to enable me to recognize him at once. His usual long white coat, the peculiar Pagri [turban], long black hair flowing over the broad shoulders, and long beard were as usual striking and picturesque. He was standing near a door, the shutters of which were open. Through these the lamplight, and through the windows which were all open, the moonlight, were full upon him. And we being in the dark, i.e., having no light on our eyes—we being turned against the windows through which the moonlight came—we could see distinctly and clearly.

He held out and put his hands twice over Mme. B.’s head. She then stretched out her hand which passed through his—a fact proving that what we saw was a mayavi rupa [apparitional body], although so vivid and clear as to give one the impression of a material physical body. She immediately took the letter from his hands. It crumpled, as it were, and made a sound. He then waved his hands toward us, walked a few steps, inaudibly and imperceptibly as before, and disappeared! Mme. B. then handed the letter to me, as it was intended for me. Never shall I forget last night’s experience; so clear, so vivid and tangible it was!

12d. Henry S. Olcott, August–September 1883, Ootacamund, India [Olcott 1900, 2: 463–6; and Olcott 1929, 3: 11, 18]

I went to Ootacamund to rejoin my dear colleague HPB, at the hospitable home of Major-General and Mrs. Morgan. The railway ends at the foot of the Nilgiri Hills, and the traveler proceeds up the well-metaled mountain road in a horse tonga, or two-wheeled mail cart drawn by a pair of galloping ponies. The ride up is simply charming, and passing through forests, by banks of flowers, and past swarms of lovely painted butterflies, the air grows cooler and cooler, until midway one is obliged to stop at the rest house and change one’s light tropical costume for heavy woolens and even put on a topcoat. At almost every turn in the winding road splendid panoramas of scenery present themselves to view, while one finds Ootacamund a lovely village of picturesque houses, spreading over the foot slopes of the grassy and forest-covered adjacent hills, the roads lined with roses, the enclosures joyous with lilies, verbenas, heliotropes.

At the tollgate on the Coonoor Road, HPB met me in company with our dear Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Batchelor, and others of the family, the General being absent from home temporarily. My old "chum" seemed really overjoyed to see me and rattled on in her affectionate way like one who greets a long-absent relative. She was looking well; the champagne-like mountain air set her blood to leaping through her body, and she was in the highest spirits about the civilities that were being shown her by some of the high officials and their families. She worked off some of her excitement that same night by keeping me up until 2 a.m. to read proofs and correct her MS! What an amusing creature she was when in the mood; how she would make a roomful of people hang on her lips as she would tell stories of her travels and adventures in search of the wonderworkers in Magic and Sorcery; and their eyes open in amazement when she would, now and again, ring some astral bell, or make some raps, or do some other minor phenomenon!

Our joint desk work went on and the hard labor was diversified with her bright talk and frequent grumblings at the cold. Certainly with cause, for the mercury marked forty degrees more of cold than we feel on the plains, the houses are heated with wood fires in open fireplaces, the winds blow in gusts down the open throated chimneys, filling the rooms with smoke and dusting one’s paper and books with fine ashes. HPB wrote in a fur coat, with a woolen shawl on her head and her feet wrapped in a travelling rug—a funny sight. Part of her work was the taking from dictation, from her invisible teacher, of the "Replies to an English F.T.S." That she was taking down from dictation was fully apparent to one who was familiar with her ways.

[On September 16th] we two left beautiful Ooty in tongas for Coimbatore [and then on to Pondicherry]. We left Pondicherry for Madras, September 23rd, and got home that afternoon, rejoiced to see the dear place again.

12e. William T. Brown, September–December 1883, India [Brown 1884, 5–7, 10–11, 12, 13, 15–17]

I sailed [from England] for India upon the 25th of August. [On September 29th] I reached the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras, and was welcomed by Madame

Blavatsky, the learned author, editor, and Corresponding Secretary. I was established in a bungalow, situated beautifully by the riverside, and felt at home in a very short time.

In regard to Madame Blavatsky, never before have I met anyone who evidences such vast and varied learning, nor one who is more large hearted.

One evening, shortly after my arrival at Adyar, some letters were being sent by Chelas to their Masters, and I was permitted to enter the "Occult Room" and see the process going on. The letters were put into an almirah, in a richly ornamented recess called by some "the Shrine." There were some seven of us then present, four of whom were Chelas. These gentlemen, after placing their letters as aforesaid, offered up incense and prostrated themselves according to the Hindu manner of evincing devotion and respect. In about two minutes Madame, who was standing by my side in an attentive attitude, received a psychic telegram, and indicated that the answers had come to hand. The almirah was accordingly opened, and, in place of the letters "posted," others were there, enclosed in Tibetan envelopes and written on Tibetan paper. D[amodar] K. M[avalankar] (a Chela of the Master Koot Hoomi) discovered something more than was expected, and exclaimed, "Here is a letter from my Master to Mr. Brown." I then received from his hands a memorandum, written with blue pencil.

I need scarcely say how honored and grateful I felt at being noticed by the Mahatma, whose teachings had so strongly impressed me. I rose, and going forward, reverently said, "Mahatma Koot Hoomi! I sincerely thank you." Immediately all those present in the room said, "There's a bell—did you hear it?" I said that I had not. Madame B. then expressed regret that I had not observed the Master’s acknowledgement of having heard my words, and said "Oh Master! let us hear the bell, once more, if it be possible." We stood silently for about a minute and then there was distinctly heard by all of us (myself included) the sound of a bell.

After a railway journey [from Madras] of six and twenty hours, I joined Colonel Olcott at the town of Sholapur. I shall confine myself to speaking of a few of the places on our journey [to Northern India] which call for special mention.

We arrived at Jubbulpore [and] on the evening of the lecture, Colonel Olcott, Damodar, several fellows of the Society, and I drove together to the place of the public meeting. There the Colonel delivered an impressive address to a large audience. During the lecture some three or four majestic figures had attracted my particular attention. They did not seem to hang upon the lips of the speaker, as did the rest of the audience, but remained calmly dignified, occasionally only exchanging pleasant glances. I was not surprised to learn afterwards that some Mahatmas had been present at the meeting in astral form.

And now let us proceed to Allahabad. At this ancient city a most stirring lecture was delivered. Here I saw and recognized the Mahatma [Koot Hoomi].

Although I was enabled to look at him but for a minute, I knew that it was he and recognized him by his portrait, which I had scrutinized some weeks before. On our return to the bungalow at which we were being entertained, my impression was corroborated by Damodar, who volunteered the remark that his master had been there. Damodar, I may remark, had not been at the lecture.

The place to which our narrative really next pertains is the city of Lahore. Here, as elsewhere, Colonel Olcott delivered stirring addresses to large audiences; but Lahore has a special interest, because there we saw, in his own physical body, Mahatma Koot Hoomi himself.

On the afternoon of the 19th November, I saw the Master in broad daylight, and recognized him, and on the morning of the 20th he came to my tent, and said, "Now you see me before you in the flesh; look and assure yourself that it is I," and left a letter of instructions and silk handkerchief.

This letter is as usual written seemingly with blue pencil, is in the same handwriting as that in which is written communications received at Madras, and has been identified by about a dozen persons as bearing the calligraphy of Mahatma Koot Hoomi. The letter was to the effect that I had first seen him in visions, then in his astral form, then in body at a distance, and that finally I now saw him in his own physical body, so close to me as to enable me to give to my countrymen the assurance that I was from personal knowledge as sure of the existence of the Mahatmas as I was of my own.

On the evening of the 21st, after the lecture was over, Colonel Olcott, Damodar, and I were sitting outside the shamiana (pavilion or pandal [temporary, open-sided shelter roofed with bamboo matting], when we were visited by Djual Khool, the Master's head Chela, who informed us that the Master was about to come. The Master then came near to us, gave instructions to Damodar, and walked away.

On leaving Lahore the next place visited was Jammu, the winter residence of His Highness the Maharajah of Cashmere.

We enjoyed a most inspiring holiday in full view of the Himalayan Mountains.

At Jammu I had another opportunity of seeing Mahatma Koot Hoomi in propria persona. One evening I went to the end of the "compound" (private enclosure), and there I found the Master awaiting my approach. I saluted in European fashion, and came, hat in hand, to within a few yards of the place on which he was standing. After a minute or so he marched away, the noise of his footsteps on the gravel being markedly audible.

12f. Henry S. Olcott, Nov. 19–20, 1883, Lahore, India [Olcott 1929, 3: 37–9, 43–5]

[In Colonel Olcott’s diary for Tuesday, November 20, 1883, the entry reads: "1:55 a.m. Koot Hoomi came in body to my tent. Woke me suddenly out of sleep, pressed a note (wrapped in silk) into my left hand, and laid his hand upon my head. He then passed into Brown’s compartment and integrated another note in his hand (Brown’s). He spoke to me." –Editor.]

My camp was thronged with visitors during the three days of our stay, and I gave two lectures under the largest shamiana to multitudes, with great pots of fire standing along the sides to modify the biting November cold.

I was sleeping in my tent, the night of the 19th, when I rushed back towards external consciousness on feeling a hand laid on me. The camp being on the open plain, and beyond the protection of the Lahore Police, my first instinct was to protect myself from some possible religious fanatical assassin, so I clutched the stranger by the upper arms, and asked him in Hindustani who he was and what he wanted. It was all done in an instant, and I held the man tight, as would one who might be attacked the next moment and have to defend his life. But the next instant a kind, sweet voice said: "Do you not know me? Do you not remember me?" It was the voice of the Master K.H. A swift revulsion of feeling came over me, I relaxed my hold on his arms, joined my palms in reverential salutation, and wanted to jump out of bed to show him respect. But his hand and voice stayed me, and after a few sentences had been exchanged, he took my left hand in his, gathered the fingers of his right into the palm, and stood quiet beside my cot, from which I could see his divinely benignant face by the light of the lamp that burned on a packing case at his back. Presently I felt some soft substance forming in my hand, and the next minute the Master laid his kind hand on my forehead, uttered a blessing, and left my half of the large tent to visit Mr. W. T. Brown, who slept in the other half behind a canvas screen that divided the tent into two rooms. When I had time to pay attention to myself, I found myself holding in my left hand a folded paper enwrapped in a silken cloth. To go to the lamp, open and read it, was naturally my first impulse. I found it to be a letter of private counsel. On hearing an exclamation from [Brown's] side of the screen, I went in there and he showed me a silk-wrapped letter of like appearance to mine though of different contents, which he said had been given him much as mine had been to me, and which we read together.

The next evening, after the visits to Mr. Brown and myself, we two and Damodar sat in my tent, at 10 o'clock, waiting for an expected visit from Master K.H. The camp was quiet, the rest of our party dispersed through the city of Lahore. We sat on chairs at the back of the tent so as not to be observed from the camp: the moon was in its last quarter and had not risen. After some waiting we heard and saw a tall Hindu approaching from the side of the open plain. He came to within a few yards of us and beckoned Damodar to come to him, which he did. He told him that the Master would appear within a few minutes, and that he had some business with Damodar. It was a pupil of Master K.H. Presently we saw the latter coming from the same direction, pass his pupil—who had withdrawn to a little distance—and stop in front of our group, now standing and saluting in the Indian fashion, some yards away. Brown and I kept our places, and Damodar went and conversed for a few minutes with the Teacher, after which he returned to us and the king-like visitor walked away. I heard his footsteps on the ground. Before retiring, when I was writing my diary, the pupil lifted the portiere, beckoned to me, and pointed to the figure of his Master, waiting for me out on the plain in the starlight. I went to him, we walked off to a safe place at some distance where intruders need not be expected, and then for about a half hour he told me what I had to know. There were no miracles done at the interview, just two men talking together, a meeting, and a parting when the talk was over.

12g. Damodar K. Mavalankar, Nov.–Dec., 1883, Lahore, India and later at Jammu, Kashmir [Damodar 1883–1884]

While on my tour [of northern India] with Col. Olcott, we reached Lahore, where we expected to meet in body my Master [Koot Hoomi]. There I was visited by him in body, for three nights consecutively and, in one case, even went outside the house meeting [the Master] in the compound, re-entering the house with him, offering him a seat, and then holding a long converse. Moreover, him whom I saw in person at Lahore was the same I had seen in astral form at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society, and the same again whom I, in my visions and trances, had seen at his house, thousands of miles off, to reach which in my astral Ego, I was permitted, owing, of course, to his direct help and protection. In those instances with my psychic powers hardly developed yet, I had always seen him as a rather hazy form, although his features were perfectly distinct and their remembrance was profoundly graven on my soul’s eye and memory; while now at Lahore, Jammu, and elsewhere, the impression was utterly different. In former cases, when making pranam (salutation) my hands passed through his form, while on the latter occasions they met solid garments and flesh.

I shall not here dwell upon the fact of his having been corporeally seen by both Col. Olcott and Mr. Brown separately, for two nights at Lahore. [Later at] Jammu I had the good fortune of being sent for, and permitted to visit a sacred ashram where I remained for a few days in the blessed company of several of the much doubted Mahatmas of Himavat and their disciples. There I met not only my beloved Gurudeva [Koot Hoomi] and Col. Olcott’s Master [Morya], but several others of the Fraternity, including one of the highest. Thus, I saw my beloved Guru not only as a living man, but actually as a young one in comparison with some other Sadhus of the blessed company, only far kinder, and not above a merry remark and conversation at times.

Thus on the second day of my arrival, after the meal hour I was permitted to hold an intercourse for over an hour with my Master. Asked by Him smilingly, what it was that made me look at him so perplexedly, I asked in my turn: "How is it, Master, that some of the members of our Society have taken into their heads a notion that you were ‘an elderly man,’ and that they have even seen you clairvoyantly looking an old man passed sixty?" To which he pleasantly smiled and said that this latest misconception was due to the reports of a certain pupil of a Vedantic Swami. As to his being perceived clairvoyantly as an "elderly man," that could never be, he added, as real clairvoyance could lead no one into such mistaken notions; and then he kindly reprimanded me for giving any importance to the age of a Guru, adding that appearances were often false, etc., and explaining other points.

12h. Bhavani Shankar, January 1884, Jubbulpore, India [Theosophical Society, Report 1885, 79–80]

In the month of January 1884, I was at Jubbulpore with Brother Nivaran Chandra Mookerjee, who was then the Secretary of [the local branch of] the Theosophical Society. One night, while I was with him, I was [talking] to some twenty-seven members of that Branch and they were listening to me with great attention. On a sudden, there was deathlike silence for some time. I then felt the influence of Madame Blavatsky’s Venerated Master [Morya], and it was so strong that I could not bear it. The current of electricity generated by an electromagnetic battery is nothing when compared with that current generated by the trained will of an Adept. When a Mahatma means to show himself to a chela, he sends off a current of electricity to the chela indicating his approach. It was this influence which I felt at that time. A few minutes after, the Mahatma [Morya] was actually present in the room where the meeting of the members was held and was seen by me and Bro. Nivaran while some of the members only felt the influence. All the members would have seen him much more vividly, had it not been for the fact that he did not materialize himself much more objectively. I have seen the same Mahatma, several times in his [astral] double during my travels in the North [of India]. Not only have I seen Madame B.’s Master in his double but also my venerated Guru Deva "K.H." I have also seen Master [K.H.] in his physical body.

12i. Franz Hartmann, December 1883–February 1884, Adyar, Madras, India, and then later at Bombay, India [Hartmann, Report 1884, 11–2, 13–5, 28–30; Hartmann "Phenomenal" 1884]

On the evening of December 4, 1883, I arrived at Madras and was kindly received by Mr. G. Muttuswami Chettyar, who conducted me to his carriage, and away we went towards Adyar, situated in a suburb of the city of Madras, about six miles from the landing place of the steamer.

It was dark when we arrived, and the object of my dreams, who was said to possess the key that was to open before me the sanctuary of Occultism, was sitting in the lighted entrance hall, surrounded by a few friends. Poor and yet envied Madame Blavatsky, the sphinx of the nineteenth century, at once a sage and a woman. She upon whose brow shines the serene tranquility of a god, and who a minute afterwards will fly into a stew because the coffee is too hot. Her appearance neither surprised nor disappointed me. A stately figure, dressed in a loose flowing robe, she might as well have sat for the picture of one of the saints, and her kind and cordial manner at once gained my confidence.

Before retiring to rest, I expressed a desire to see the pictures of the Mahatmas, these mysterious beings, superior to man, of whom I had heard so much, and I was taken upstairs, to see the "shrine" in which those pictures were kept. The pictures represented two men with oriental features and in corresponding dress. The expression of their faces was mild and yet serene.

A week or two after my arrival at Adyar, seeing that several others, strangers as well as members of our Society, occasionally received letters from the Masters either by having them dropped from the air, thrust at them through solid walls, or sent to them through the "Shrine," I concluded to try whether I might not be equally fortunate.

Accordingly I wrote the following lines—

"Reverend Master! The undersigned offers you his services. He desires that you would kindly examine his mental capacity and if desirable give him further instructions. Respectfully yours, etc."

I copy this letter verbatim, so that the reader may not think me so silly as to trouble the "Adepts" of the Himalayas with my little private affairs. I am in the habit of keeping my own counsel, and there was not one in India or outside of San Francisco that knew anything about [my] affairs. I gave my letter to Col. Olcott and he put it into the Shrine.

A couple of days afterwards, I reasoned with myself about this matter, and thought that, if the Masters should find it worth the while to say anything to me, they would undoubtedly do so without my asking, and I therefore begged Colonel Olcott to return me my letter. Colonel Olcott would have done so, but my letter had disappeared in a mysterious manner. In its place I received another, the contents of which showed not only a complete knowledge of some of the events of my past life, but it also went into details about very private business. It will be perceived, that this letter was not given as a "test"—although it was a "test" to me—but to give me some information and advice (which afterwards proved very useful to me).

[Later] I [saw] Mahatma [Morya] in his astral form. He appeared to me, accompanied by the astral forms of two chelas. His presence left an exhilarating and elevating influence, which did not fade away until several days after.

The impaired health of Madame Blavatsky had rendered it desirable that she should have a change of air, and the physicians which were consulted, advised her to go to Europe, where Col. Olcott was called on account of some official business. Madame Blavatsky therefore resolved to accompany Col. Olcott, and having received an urgent invitation to visit the Thakore Sahib of Wadhwan and our friend Hurrisinghjee, she made up her mind to visit them before embarking at Bombay.

Two days before Madame Blavatsky left, February 5th, 1884, I went unasked up to her room to speak with her in regard to Society matters.

After this conversation, the thought came in my mind to ask her opinion in regard to a certain subject of which I had been thinking. Madame Blavatsky advised me to apply to the [Master Morya] himself, to ask him mentally, and that the Master himself would answer my question. A few seconds later she said she felt his presence, and that she saw him writing. I must say that I too felt his influence and seemed to see his face, but of course this circumstance will carry conviction to no one but myself.

Just then another lady came in, to my great annoyance, and expressed her wish to have a pair of pincers, which was needed for some purpose, and remembering that I had such a pair of pincers in the drawer of my writing desk, I went downstairs into my room to get them. I opened the drawer, saw the pincers and a few other things in there, but no vestige of any letter, as I had removed my papers the day before to another place. I took the pincers and was about to close the drawer, when—there lay in the drawer a great envelope, addressed to me in the well-known handwriting of the Master and with the seal bearing his initials in Tibetan characters. On opening it, I found a long, very kind letter treating of the identical questions about which I had just been talking with Madame Blavatsky, besides giving a detailed and satisfactory answer to the very question which had so perplexed my mind, and a satistactory explanation of certain matters, which for some time had been foremost in my mind, but of which I had said nothing at all.

Moreover, there was in the same envelope a photograph, cabinet-size, of the Master’s face, with a dedication to me at the back.

Now, if I know anything at all, I know that my drawer contained no such letter, when I opened it, and that there was nobody visible in my room at that time. The letter, giving a detailed answer to my question, must have been written, sealed and put into the drawer in less than four minutes, while it took exactly forty minutes to copy it the next day; and finally, it treated a very difficult problem in such an elaborate and yet concise manner, that only an intelligence of the highest order could have done the same.

On the seventh of February, Madame Blavatsky, Mohini Chatterji, and myself in company of Madame Coulomb left Adyar [for Bombay]. On the way we stopped at the residence of the Thakore Sahib of Wadhwan,

I left Wadhwan on the 15th of February in company with Madame Blavatsky and Mohini. We were on our way to Bombay. A few hours before we started, Madame Blavatsky had read [an] article [of mine], corrected a few words and returned it to me. I read it carefully to see what corrections she had made, and whether I might not myself make some changes. I only found a few words corrected, folded the paper, put it in my pocketbook, deposited the pocketbook in my satchel, locked the same, entered the car [of the train] and put the satchel on my seat, where it never left me and never was out of my sight, until the event which I am about to describe occurred. We traveled on, Madame Blavatsky being in the same car. Towards evening Madame Blavatsky requested me to let her see the article again. I took it out of my satchel, unfolding the paper before handing it to her, and as I did so, imagine my surprise to find on it four long lines written on a space which was blank before, in the well-known handwriting of our Master, and in a different kind of ink than that used by Madame Blavatsky. How that writing could have been done in my satchel and during the shaking of the car, I do not pretend to explain.

Another incident occurred [at Bombay] when I was alone by myself. On the morning of the 20th of February, I received a curious Tibetan medal from our Master through Madame Blavatsky. I then accompanied her on board the steamer on which she was to sail for Europe. On my return to the shore I went into a native jewelry shop and bought a locket to deposit my medal, but could not find a chain long enough for my purpose. I then returned to my room, and paced the floor, studying what to do in regard to the chain. I finally came to the conclusion that I would buy a rose-colored silk ribbon. But where to get it, being a stranger in Bombay, that was the question. My pacing the floor brought me again in front of the open window, and there right before me on the floor lay exactly the very silk ribbon, brand new, and just the one I wanted.

  • Brown, William T. Some Experiences in India. London: London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, 1884. Selection 12e.
  • Damodar K. Mavalankar. "Echoes from the Past." Theosophist (Adyar), May 1907, 633–4. Reprinted in Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, comp. Sven Eek, 307–9. Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1965. Selection 12c.
  • Damodar K. Mavalankar. "A Great Riddle Solved." Theosophist (Adyar), December 1883–January 1884, 61–2. Reprinted in Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, comp. Sven Eek, 334–6. Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1965. Selection 12g.
  • Hartmann, Franz. "Phenomenal." Supplement to Theosophist (Adyar) 5 (April 1884): 65. Selection 12i.
  • Hartmann, Franz. Report of Observations Made during a Nine Month Stay at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar (Madras), India. Madras, India: Printed at the Scottish Press by Graves, Cookson, and Co., 1884. Selection 12i.
  • Judge, William Q. Path (New York), April 1890, p. 8, and June 1892, pp. 71–5. Selection 12b.
  • Olcott, Henry S. Old Diary Leaves: The Only Authentic History of the Theosophical Society. Vol. 2 (1878–1883). Vol. 3 (1883–1887). London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1900, 1929. Selections 12d, 12f.
  • Sinnett, A. P. Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, Compiled from Information Supplied by her Relatives and Friends. London: George Redway, 1886. Reprint New York: Ayer, 1976. Selection 12a.
  • Theosophical Society. Report of the Result of an Investigation into the Charges against Madame Blavatsky Brought by the Missionaries of the Scottish Free Church of Madras, and Examined by a Committee Appointed for That Purpose by the General Council of the Theosophical Society. Madras, India: Theosophical Society, 1885. Selection 12h.
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