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First Letter of the MasterMaster K.H. was Leadbeater's very great success. Leadbeater was reminiscing that he wrote a letter to the Master K.H. In that letter it was said that "his one great wish has been to become chela but it would be almost impossible without going out to India". Then Leadbeater entrusted the letter to medium William Eglinton and his "control" Ernest. He talked later:
"I waited for some months, but no reply came, and whenever I went to Eglinton's séances and happened to encounter Ernest I always asked him when I might expect my answer. He invariably said that my letter had been duly delivered, but that nothing had yet been said about an answer, and that he could do no more."Leadbeater received a reply on the morning of October 31, 1884. The letter of the Master K.H. was to be posted in England, on envelope it was typed "Kensington" (it is a postal district in the west of London) and "OC-30-84" (it is the date).
Master Kuthumi replied in this letter:
"Last spring — March 3rd — you wrote a letter to me and entrusted it to 'Ernest'. Tho' the paper itself never reached me — nor was it ever likely to considering the nature of the messenger — its contents have. I did not answer it at that time, but sent you a message through Upasika.In the book Jinarajadasa gave about thirty detailed commentaries to statements of the Master's first letter.
In that message of yours it was said that, since reading Esot. Bud: and Isis your 'one great wish has been to place yourself under me as a chela, that you may learn more of the truth.' 'I understand from Mr. S.' you went on 'that it would be almost impossible to become a chela without going out to India'. You hoped to be able to do that in a few years, tho' for the present ties of gratitude bind you to remain in this country. Etc.
I now answer the above and your other questions.
(1) It is not necessary that one should be in India during the seven years of probation. A chela can pass them anywhere.
(2) To accept any man as a chela does not depend on my personal will. It can only be the result of one's personal merit and exertions in that direction. Force any one of the 'Masters' you may happen to choose; do good works in his name and for the love of mankind; be pure and resolute in the path of righteousness (as laid out in our rules); be honest and unselfish; forget your Self but to remember the good of other people — and you will have forced that 'Master' to accept you.
So much for candidates during the periods of the undisturbed progress of your Society. There is something more to be done, however, when theosophy, the Cause of Truth, is, as at the present moment on its stand for life or death before the tribunal of public opinion — that most flippantly cruel, prejudiced and unjust of all tribunals. There is also the collective karma of the caste you belong to — to be considered. It is undeniable that the cause you have at heart is now suffering owing to the dark intrigues, the base conspiracy of the Christian clergy and missionaries against the Society. They will stop before nothing to ruin the reputation of the Founders. Are you willing to atone for their sins? Then go to Adyar for a few months. 'The ties or gratitude' will not be severed, nor even become weakened for an absence of a few months if the step be explained plausibly to your relative. He who would shorten the years of probation has to make sacrifices for theosophy.
Pushed by malevolent hands to the very edge of a precipice, the Society needs every man and woman strong in the cause of truth. It is by doing noble actions and not by only determining that they shall be done that the fruits of the meritorious actions are reaped. Like the 'true man' of Carlyle who is not to be seduced by ease — 'difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, death are the allurements that act' during the hours of trial on the heart of a true chela.
You ask me — 'what rules I must observe during this time of probation, and how soon I might venture to hope that it could begin'. I answer: you have the making of your own future, in your own hands as shown above, and every day you may be weaving its woof. If I were to demand that you should do one thing or the other, instead of simply advising, I would be responsible for every effect that might flow from the step and you acquire but a secondary merit. Think, and you will see that this is true. So cast the lot yourself into the lap of Justice, never fearing but that its response will be absolutely true.
Chelaship is an educational as well as probationary stage and the chela alone can determine whether it shall end in adeptship or failure. Chelas from a mistaken idea of our system too often watch and wait for orders, wasting precious time which should be taken up with personal effort. Our cause needs missionaries, devotees, agents, even martyrs perhaps. But it cannot demand of any man to make himself either. So now choose and grasp your own destiny, and may our Lord's the Tathâgata's memory aid you to decide for the best.
The second Letter of the MasterJinarajadasa stated that Leadbeater wrote "his second letter to the Master K.H., in reply to the Master's communication, and took it with him to London. Here we have the story of the next events in this striking drama from Mr. Leadbeater himself." Leadbeater was reminiscing that he wished to say in answer to this that "his circumstances were such that it would be impossible for him to come to Adyar for three months, and then return to the work in which he was then engaged; but that he was perfectly ready to throw up that work altogether and to devote his life absolutely to Master's service". Ernest having so conspicuously failed him, he knew of no way to get this message to the Master but to take it to Blavatsky, and as she was to leave England on the following day for India, Leadbeater rushed up to London to see her.
Leadbeater talked that "it was with difficulty that he induced her to read the letter, as she said very decidedly that such communications were intended only for the recipient". He was obliged to insist, however, and at last she read it and asked him what he wished to say in reply. He answered to the above effect, and asked her how this information could be conveyed to the Master. She replied that he knew it already, referring of course to the exceedingly close relation in which she stood with him, so that whatever was within her consciousness was also within his when he wished it.
"She then told me to wait by her, and not to leave her on any account. I waited patiently all through the afternoon and evening, and even went with her quite late at night to Mrs. Oakley's house, where a number of friends were gathered to say farewell Madame Blavatsky sat in an easy chair by the fireside, talking brilliantly to those who were present, and rolling one of her eternal cigarettes, when suddenly her right hand was jerked out towards the fire in a very peculiar fashion, and lay palm upwards. She looked down at it in surprise, as I did myself, for I was standing close to her, leaning with an elbow on the mantelpiece; and several of us saw quite clearly a sort of whitish mist form in the palm of her hand and then condense into a piece of folded paper, which she at once handed to me, saying, 'There is your answer'."Every one in the room crowded round, of course, but H.P.B. sent Leadbeater away outside to read it, saying that he must not let anyone see its contents. The letter read:
"Since your intuition led you in the right direction and made you understand that it was my desire you should go to Adyar immediately, I may say more. The sooner you go the better. Do not lose one day more than you can help. Sail on the 5th if possible. Join Upasika at Alexandria. Let no one know that you are going, and may the blessing of our Lord and my poor blessing shield you from every evil in your new life. Greeting to you, my new chela.
Two brief Messages from the MasterThe author wrote that during the trip from Ismailia to Cairo, Blavatsky received a precipitated message from the Master K.H., in which there was some words for Leadbeater:
Ceylon Leadbeater became first principal of the Buddhist High School (today Ananda College). In this time at Colombo he received from Blavatsky a letter containing Master's addendum which was precipitated during passing through the post. The Master K.H. said in the addendum that he is "pleased with" Leadbeater.
CriticismMax Müller (Indologist and philologist) wrote that if "Mrs. Blavatsky would have tried to confess openly her small faults and indiscretions, instead sending letters through the air from Tibet to Calcutta, and from Calcutta to London, she might still do much good".
Patterson wrote about theosophical occult phenomena, "What if these signs and wonders are proofs of something very different?... Instead of a message from beings of supernal wisdom and power, we shall have only the private thoughts of a clever but not over scrupulous woman."
A member of the SPR and a research worker of paranormal phenomena Richard Hodgson wrote in The Age:
"I was enabled while in India to secure various Mahatma documents for my own examination, and after a minute and prolonged comparison of these with Madame Blavatsky's handwriting, I have not the slightest doubt that all the documents which I thus had the opportunity of examining were, with the exception of one, written by Madame Blavatsky. The one exception, in my opinion, was unquestionably written by Mr. Damodar, one of her confederates; it is a document which Madame Coulomb asserts she saw being prepared by Mr. Damodar when she peeped through a hole — apparently made for spying purposes — in the wooden partition separating Mr. Damodar's room from the staircase. Further inquiries concerning the 'Mahatma' writing remain to be made from professional calligraphic experts in London. I may allude, however, to some specimens of the K.H. writing furnished by Mr. Sinnett for examination; the K.H. writing possessed by Mr. Sinnett is particularly important, because it is upon this that Esoteric Buddhism, with its large claims, is confessedly founded; and Mr. Netherclift, the calligraphic expert, has confidently expressed his opinion that the K.H. documents thus coming from Mr. Sinnett were undoubtedly written by Madame Blavatsky. How far the K.H. letters received by Mr. Sinnett emanated from the brain of Madame Blavatsky, how far she was assisted in their production by confederates, how much of their substance was plagiarized from other writers, are questions which closely concern the intellectual ability of Madame Blavatsky, and which lie somewhat outside the present brief sketch."Of course it should also be added that the SPR later rejected Hodgson's findings. In 1986, Vernon Harrison, a research worker of disputed documents and member of the SPR, did a research on the Hodgson report. According to Harrison's examination, the Hodgson Report is not a scientific study, it "is flawed and untrustworthy" and "should be read with great caution, if not disregarded." Harrison stated:
"I cannot exonerate the SPR committee from blame for publishing this thoroughly bad report. They seem to have done little more than rubber-stamp Hodgson's opinions; and no serious attempt was made to check his findings or even to read his report critically. If they had done so (...) the case would have been referred back for further study. Madame H.P. Blavatsky was the most important occultist ever to appear before the SPR for investigation; and never was opportunity so wasted."Harrison says about the Hodgson Report that "whereas Hodgson was prepared to use any evidence, however trivial or questionable, to implicate HPB, he ignored all evidence that could be used in her favor. His report is riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity."
He concluded that Hodgson's case against Blavatsky is not proven, and that there is no evidence that the Mahatma Letters were written by her.
Modern CriticismLeo Klejn wrote that Blavatsky's reputation was "seriously damaged after due consideration his occult phenomena by English psychologists". A historian of esotericism Johnson speculates that the "Masters" that Blavatsky wrote about and produced letters from were actually idealizations of people who were her mentors. Many scholarly reviewers of these speculations, on the other hand, claim that these and similar books attacking Blavatsky and her claims about the existence of such masters are based on poor quality research, specious arguments, and poorly supported speculation. So, from a scholarly point of view, the existence of such masters is considered by many to still be controversial, with neither side being able to establish their claims conclusively.
- Driscoll, John T. (1912) Theosophy // The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol.14, p. 626. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- EB (1910) Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna // Encyclopaedia Britannica, ed. 1910
- French, Brendan James (2000) The theosophical masters: an investigation into the conceptual domains of H.P. Blavatsky and C.W. Leadbeater. PhD thesis, University of Sydney, Department of Religious Studies, Sydney.
- Fussell, Joseph and Poutz, Marie (1914) Theosophy // The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 407.
- Harrison, Vernon (Ph.D.) (1997) H.P. Blavatsky and the SPR, ISBN 1-55700-119-7.
- Hodgson, Richard (1885) The Theosophical Society. Russian Intrigue or Religious Evolution? // The Age (Melbourne, Australia), // September 12, 1885.
- Hodson, Sandra and Van Thiel, Mathias (1965) C.W. Leadbeater: a great occultist. OCLC 70837089.
- Jenkins, Philip (2000) Mystics and Messiahs, NYC: Oxford University Press.
- Jinarajadasa, Curuppumullage, ed. (1919) Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series, Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House.
- Johnson, K. Paul (1994) The Masters Revealed: Madam Blavatsky and Myth of the Great White Brotherhood Albany, New York: SUNY Press.
- Johnson, K. Paul (1995) Initiates of Theosophical Masters. Albany, New York: SUNY Press.
- Kalnitsky, Arnold (2003), The Theosophical Movement of the Nineteenth Century: The Legitimation of the Disputable and the Entrenchment of the Disreputable. University of South Africa. Dissertation: 443 pp.
- Kuhn, Alvin Boyd (1930), Theosophy: A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom. Ph.D. Thesis. Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 978-1-56459-175-3.
- Leadbeater, Charles Webster (1912), Inner Life, Vol. II Second ed. The Rajput Press, Chicago.
- Leadbeater, Charles Webster (1930) How Theosophy Came to Me: Autobiographical Reminiscences. Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House.
- Müller, F. Max (1893) Esoteric Buddhism // The Nineteenth Century (London), May 1893.
- NIE (1906), Theosophical Society & Theosophy // New International Encyclopedia, Vol. 19, p. 208.
- Patterson, George (1884) The Collapse of Koot Hoomi // The Madras Christian College Magazine, September 1884.
- Reigle, David (2000) Theosophy and Buddhism // Fohat, spring 2000. OCLC 37973390, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Edmonton Theosophical Society.
- Tillett, Gregory John (1986) Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854-1934), a biographical study. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Sydney, Department of Religious Studies, Sydney.
- Washington, Peter (1995) Madame Blavatsky's baboon: a history of the mystics, mediums, and misfits who brought spiritualism to America, New York: Schocken Books.
- Андреев, А.И. (2008) Гималайское братство: Теософский миф и его творцы, СПб: Изд. Санкт-Петербургского ун-та.
- Клейн, Лев Самуилович (2011) Рациональный взгляд на успехи мистики // "Здравый смысл", 2011, № 2 (59).
- Сенкевич, Александр Николаевич (2012). Елена Блаватская. Между светом и тьмой [Helena Blavatsky. Between Light and Darkness]. Носители тайных знаний (in Russian). Москва: Алгоритм. ISBN 978-5-4438-0237-4. OCLC 852503157.
- Соловьёв, Владимир Сергеевич (1890) Рецензия на книгу Е.П. Блаватской The Key to Theosophy.
- Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House. ISBN 81-7059-361-1 OCLC 637268351, 111 p. Related Subjects: Masrer's letters, Theosophy.
- Edition 1943 (2nd ed.), The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater: with a commentary by C.W. Leadbeater; Curuppumullagē Jinarājadāsa. OCLC 77179760 111 p.: facsims., ports.; 25 cm. Related Subjects: Theosophy, C.W. Leadbeater.
- Edition 1980, authors: Kuthumi; C.W. Leadbeater; Curuppumullagē Jinarājadāsa. OCLC 16907110 109 p.: ill., facsims., ports.; 25 cm. Related Subjects: Theosophy, Spirit writings.
- Last publication: Literary Licensing, LLC, 2013. This is a new release of the original 1941 edition.
- Senkevich (Indologist and philologist) proclaimed that he "created philological biography of the Master Kuthumi". // See Сенкевич (2012), p. 390.
- The originals of the Kuthumi's letters were put in the archive of the Theosophical Society in Adyar. // See Hodson and Van Thiel (1965).
- Jinarajadasa wrote, "I will let Mr. Leadbeater now take up the story", and quoted Leadbeater (1930). // See The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
- Jinarajadasa (1919), Note № 10, p. 112; see also Tillet (1986), p. 126.
- See also Washington (1995), chap. vi.
- Leadbeater (1930), chap. ii.
- Leadbeater (1912), Section 9, part iii.
- Jinarajadasa (1919), Note № 9, p. 112.
- See also Tillet (1986), p. 136.
- Jinarajadasa stated that name Kuthumi is "not the Master's personal name, but the title of his office as a high dignitary of the Koothoompa sect of Tibetan Buddhism". // The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
- "Upasika is a name often used for H.P.B. in the Letters; the word is from Buddhism, where it denotes a Lay Disciple". // Jinarajadasa (1919), Note № 11, p. 113; see also The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
- Sinnett, Alfred Percy Esoteric Buddhism, London, 1883.
- See Jinarajadasa (1919), Note № 12, p. 113; see also: Coulomb Affair.
- In his detailed commentaries Jinarajadasa described a history of the Coulomb's conspiracy vs. Theosophical Society. // See The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
- Reigle claimed that in letter from the Master K.H. to C.W. Leadbeater was used the term "Tathagata", a title of the Buddha. // Reigle (2000).
- See Jinarajadasa (1919), Note № 13, p. 113.
- See also Reigle (2000), note № 18: "A facsimile of this letter was published in The K.H. Letters to C. W. Leadbeater, by C. Jinarajadasa".
- Jinarajadasa (1919), pp. 32-5.
- The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
- Tillett wrote that Leadbeater "hoped to be able to send a reply to K.H. via Mrs. Blavatsky". // Tillett (1986), p. 138.
- Leadbeater (1930), chap. v.
- See Jinarajadasa (1919), Notes № 9, p. 112 and № 14, p. 113.
- Reigle claimed that in letters from the Master K.H. to A.P. Sinnett there is a number of references to Sang-gyas as "our Lord". // Reigle (2000).
- See Reigle (2000), note № 19: "…facsimile in The K.H. Letters to C. W. Leadbeater, pp. 50-51."
- Jinarajadasa (1919), p. 35.
- In his commentary Jinarajadasa described the method by which the Master's letters were written. // See The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater; see also Kuhn (1930), p. 155.
- The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater; see also: Tillet (1986), p. 142, Leadbeater (1930), chap. vi.
- Tillet (1986), p. 174.
- Jinarajadasa stated that, "it was Mr. Leadbeater who helped to build up the Buddhist Educational Movement in Ceylon". // The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater.
- The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater; see also Tillet (1986), p. 170.
- Müller (1893).
- i.e. Blavatsky.
- Patterson (1884), p. 200.
- But then Kuhn wrote, "A distinguished German handwriting expert later declared there was no similarity between H.P.B.'s chirography and those of the Master M. and K.H." // Kuhn (1930), p. 179.
- Hodgson (1885); see also Hodgson Report.
- Harrison (1997).
- Kalnitsky wrote, "Despite the cynicism of critics, Blavatsky continually insisted that her motives were altruistic and intended to benefit humankind." // Kalnitsky (2003), p. 384.
- Клейн (2011).
- But then Solovyov wrote, "О существовании и характере этого братства можно найти положительные и достоверные известия в книге французского миссионера Гюка, бывшего в Тибете в начале сороковых годов, значит за тридцать с лишком лет до основания теософического общества." // Соловьёв (1890).
- Johnson (1994), Johnson (1995), p. 49; see also: Jenkins (2000), pp. 41-2; Андреев (2008).