Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.
Letters of H.P.B. to Dr. Hartmann
[Reprinted from The Path (New York), January 1896, pp. 297-299.]
Ostende, December 5.
My Dear Doctor: (1) --- You must really forgive me for my seeming neglect of you, my old friend. I give you my word of honor, I am worried to death with work. Whenever I sit to write a letter all my ideas are scattered, and I cannot go on with the Secret Doctrine that day. But your letter (the last) is so interesting that I must answer it as asked. You will do an excellent thing to send to the Theosophist this experiment of yours. It has an enormous importance in view of Hodgsons lies and charges, and I am happy you got such an independent corroboration; astral light, at any rate, cannot lie for my benefit. (2) [See Hartmann's article describing the psychometric experiment. See also the confirmatory evidence cited in Sylvia Cranston's HPB biography, pp. 95-97. --- BA Editor.]
I will only speak of number 4, as the correctness about the other three letters you know yourself. I. This looks like the private temple of the Teschu Lama, near Tchigadze --- made of the "Madras cement"-like material; it does shine like marble and is called the snowy "Shakang" (temple) --- as far as I remember. It has no "sun or cross" on the top, but a kind of algiorna dagoba, triangular, on three pillars, with a dragon of gold and a globe. But the dragon has a swastica on it and this may have appeared a "cross." I dont remember any "gravel walk" --- nor is there one, but it stands on an elevation (artificial) and a stone path leading to it, and it has steps --- how many I do not remember (I was never allowed inside); saw from the outside, and the interior was described to me. The floors of nearly all Buddhas (Songyas) temples are made of a yellow polished stone, found in those mountains of Oural and in northern Tibet toward Russian territory. I do not know the name, but it looks like yellow marble. The "gentleman" in white may be Master, and the "bald-headed" gentleman I take to be some old "shaven-headed" priest. The cloak is black or very dark generally --- (I brought one to Olcott from Darjeeling), but where the silver buckles and knee-breeches come from I am at a loss. (3) They wear, as you know, long boots --- up high on the calves, made of felt and embroidered often with silver --- like that devil of a Babajee had. Perhaps it is a freak of astral vision mixed with a flash of memory (by association of ideas) about some picture she saw previously. In those temples there are always movable "pictures," on which various geometrical and mathematical problems are placed for the disciples who study astrology and symbolism. The "vase" must be one of many Chinese queer vases about in temples, for various objects. In the corners of the temples there are numerous statues of various deities (Dhyanis). The roofs are always (almost always) supported by rows of wooden pillars dividing the roof into three parallelograms, and the mirror "Melong" of burnished steel (round like the sun) is often placed on the top of the Kiosque on the roof. I myself took it once for the sun. Also on the cupolas of the [dagoba] there is sometimes a graduated pinnacle, and over it a disk of gold placed vertically, and a pear-shaped point and often a crescent supporting a globe and the svastica upon it. Ask her whether it is this she saw, Om tram ah hri hum, which figures are roughly drawn sometimes on the Melong "mirrors" --- (a disk of brass) against evil spirits --- for the mob. Or perhaps what she saw was a row of slips of wood (little cubes), on which such things are seen:
If so, then I will know what she saw. "Pine woods" all round such temples, the latter built expressly where there are such woods, and wild prickly pear, and trees with Chinese fruit on that the priests use for making inks. A lake is there, surely, and mountains plenty --- if where Master is; if near Tchigadze --- only little hillocks. The statues of Meilha Gualpo, the androgyne Lord of the Salamanders or the Genii of Air, look like this "sphinx;" but her lower body is lost in clouds, not fish, and she is not beautiful, only symbolical. Fisherwomen do use soles alone, like the sandals, and they all wear fur caps. Thats all; will this do? But do write it out.[See Hartmann's article describing the psychometric experiment. See also the confirmatory evidence cited in Sylvia Cranston's HPB biography, pp. 95-97. --- BA Editor.]