Two Letters from H.P.
to Dr. Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden
The following two letters
from H.P. Blavatsky to Dr. Wilhelm
Hübbe-Schleiden have never before been published. The originals of
these letters are preserved in the following collection:
Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden Papers,
Niedersächsischen Staats- und
[State Library of Lower Saxony and
the University Library of Goettingen],
Our grateful thanks to Baerbel Mund of Niedersaechsische Staats-
Universitaetsbibliothek for providing us with copies of the letters
and giving us permission to publish the following transcriptions.
Historical Note on the Two Letters
On March 31, 1885, H.P. Blavatsky left India for Europe, settling first in Italy. In
late July 1885, HPB left Italy and after stopping briefly in St. Cergues, Switzerland,
arrived in Wurzburg, Germany, toward the middle of August. There she settled down to work
on The Secret Doctrine. Late in the year, while writing the new book, HPB was
joined by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister, who became her companion and helper. Their
quiet, productive life was interrupted, however, by the arrival on the last day of the
year of a copy of the Hodgson-SPR
On January 1, 1886, HPB wrote to A.P. Sinnett about the arrival of the Report against
"Last evening as we were at tea Professor [Carl W.] Selin made his appearance with
the famous and long expected report of S.P.R. under his arm. I read it, accepting the
whole as my Karmic New Year's present --- or perhaps as the coup de grace of 1885.
. . . I am called in it 'publicly and in print' forger about 25 times, trickster, fraud
etc. and a Russian spy to boot. . . . " The Letters of H. P.
Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, Letter 57, p. 134-5.
On the same day Countess Wachtmeister also wrote Mr. Sinnett about Professor Selin's
"Professor Selin brought Madame yesterday evening a nice New Year's gift in the
shape of the S.P.R. book. You may imagine what a lively time we had of it. Palpitations of
the heart, digitalis, etc. I did not bless him for coming and undoing my work of the last
few weeks. He took it very philosophically and said it was only right that Madame should
know what it said against her. Madame wanted to write off letters of protest right and
left, but I have prevented her doing so. . . . The only safe course to pursue is this I
think, that you and Dr. Hubbe [Schleiden] denounce the whole thing as slanders and lies,
that the papers should be signed by every Theosophist and copies sent to all the members
of the S.P.R. . . . " LBS, Letter 125, p.
On January 4, HPB received a letter from Professor Selin. Countess Wachtmeister
described the contents of this letter:
"[HPB] . . . is terribly upset to-day, has received a brutal letter from
Selin telling her he resigns because he looks upon her and the whole Society as a fraud,
that he does not believe in the Masters and that he thinks that 'Isis' has been
plagiarised from other books." LBS, Letter 127, p. 272.
Later in another letter to Mr. Sinnett, HPB penned these words:
"I know Hubbe [Schleiden], psychologised by Sel[lin,] is shaky. He is an
unfortunate little nervous, weak man. Sellin made him believe that it was Olcott who
cheated him with Mahatma's letter in the railway carriage!!
Unfortunate Olcott. Where's the line of demarcation between his being a credulous fool and
a knave! . . . " LBS, Letter 62, p. 157.
For biographical information on W. Hübbe-Schleiden (1846-1916), see HPB's Collected
Writings, Volume VII, pp. 375-377. No biographical information is available on
Carl W. Sellin (or Selin).
Letter 1 (dated Jan. 4, 1886) is a brief one in which HPB tells
Dr. Hubbe-Schleiden about the receipt of Dr. Sellin's "brutal" letter.
In Letter 2 to Dr. Hübbe-Schleiden, HPB tries to answer some
of the charges and accusations made against her by Richard Hodgson in his Report. This letter is undated
but may have been written at about the same time as HPB's letter to Sinnett (dated Jan. 6,
1886). See The Mahatma Letters, Letter 140 (Letter
139, pp. 453-457 in the Chronological edition).
The transcription of HPB's two letters to Dr. Hübbe-Schleiden is given below.
--- Daniel H. Caldwell, Blavatsky Archives editor, April 7,
[Transcribed from Cod. MS W. Hübbe-Schleiden 33 (UNI Gottingen).]
Jan. 4, 1886
My dear Mr. Hubbe Schleiden
I just received a letter from Prof. Sellin. What is it about? That he was
going to leave the Society I saw it when he was here. But what is it he says
that his only hope was that the Elberfeld phenomena should prove true but that
"Hubbe's depositions were to the effect that even those phenomena were false"
or to that effect. He says that he believes no more in the Mahatmas, that the
whole Society is a fraud, & that he feels certain that not a few dozen only, of
members shall resign but the whole Society will crumble in a few weeks. Now please
kindly let me know what is all this. If Prof. Sellin chooses to believe that my
Master is Babula (!!) & all His letters were written by that boy who does not
know one letter of English & that I am a "Russian Spy" & the sole author
of Isis Unveiled plagiarized from somebody & also the author of Mahatma K.H.'s
letters all good & right. But that you should make depositions to
the effect that the Elberfeld phenomena were false when I was unable to write one word in
my own handwriting for three weeks, when there let alone forge letters in the
handwritings of Mahatmas who do not exist this is something new
until you have told me that you did say so over your own signature
I cannot believe you did.
Will you please if you ever had any friendly feelings for me write to me & explain
all this. Mr. Sellin's letter is very brutal & I shall not answer
it. But I hope you are not as he is & that at any rate you shall not
condemn me before you hear what I have to say. What is it about everyone
resigning? Those who believe in Hodgson's Report better resign this is sure.
But I can assure you, that the Society shall never fall.
Yours sincerely as ever
Please do not feel afraid of hurting me. Write the truth; if I could bear the letter
of Sellin I can bear anything. But I want the Truth.
[Transcribed from Cod. MS W. Hübbe-Schleiden 33, Nr. 2 (UNI
To Doctor Hubbe-Schleiden, President of the German T.S. & others.
If the scientific evidence of experts in handwriting is accepted
against my word & denial which it is sure to be by all those who do not know
all the circumstances attending the phenomena now proclaimed fraudulent as well as Mr
Sinnett and some others do then it becomes utterly useless for me to try &
defend myself. There are fifty cases on record of mistakes made by scientific
experts and innocent people sentenced for forgery. To call forgery the
Mahatmas letters is absurd; for, to be forged, the handwriting so
forged must be existing somewhere in this phenomenal world; and if I have invented the
two writers then I must have invented their alleged handwritings also
and in such case it is my own handwriting or handwritings & it is not forged.
But this is immaterial. Once I am pronounced a Russian spy I may as
well be called a forger and accept the whole.
Now take away the said scientific evidence & what remains ? Not one single
fact proven against me except on circumstantial evidence as the Reporter calls
it; this evidence being built on the calumnies & malicious suggestions of bitter
enemies for years; on an evidence, that in the case of the Coulombs was gradually prepared
by her for five years; in that of Wimbridge & Bates (who owe us 1500 rupees for five
years also, & being far richer now than we have ever been, want to justify their
indelicate action), based on hatred & Desire of revenge ever since Miss Bates was
expelled from the Society for libellous slanders, lying and scandals & Wimbridge left
after her. All the adverse testimony picked bit by bit by Mr Hodgson is from our
worst enemies Damodars uncle & Wimbridges partners & bosom
friends & a few sceptical theosophists shaky from the first. On this, the
Reporter builds an act of accusations 200 pages long. Scraps of papers are stolen
from my desk & writing papers; scraps and bits of writing disjoined &
meaning anything one likes to invent pilfered from Damodars desk by
the Coulombs. (such as the few lines in my handwriting translated from some Russian
paper for Mr Sinnetts Pioneer probably, & the bit of Masters
handwriting to Damodar). On this & the adverse testimony of enemies, the
suspicion of sceptics & so forth I stand accused of the most abominable, predetermined
deception, ten years of fraud, lying, acting, machinations, intrigues, that would
necessitate whole days of forging in three or four different handwritings in
languages of which neither I, nor Damodar (my supposed confederate who is in Tibet and
cannot defend himself) know the first word! If confederates there must be,
then it is not Damodar only who must be shown as one but a dozen more who can forge both
Masters handwritings, write in eight or nine languages and dialects & be
thoroughly versed in the Masters ways and style. Who forged Mahatma KHs letter to Dr. Hubbe Schleiden. Is it Col.
Olcott who was with him ? And if it is I, who endowed with prevision and
clairvoyance wrote or prepared it beforehand, then it is Col Olcott who must have played
the trick of throwing it or making it appear behind Doctor Hubbe S. in the railway
carriage ? Go on, throw vile suspicion & mud at the most honest man
living, at a man who is the Soul of honour, of unselfishness, kindness, benevolence &
philanthropy, who is incapable of keeping anything secret when asked for he blushes to his
ears at the smallest suspicion of an untruth or anything to be concealed. Go on,
gentlemen of the Theosophical Society ruin his reputation and kill him in his
honour as I am killed in mine.
How can I begin my defence when I was never allowed to see even from afar my alleged
letters to the Coulombs ? How can I deny that which I know nothing of ?
What I do know & can prove is several accusations in the Report entirely
absurd & that can not stand for one moment serious investigation.
1. That the red ink writing (is it from my Master, for I have seen the Report
only for a few minutes ?) to Damodar found among his papers (by whom found ..., is it said
there ?) has anything whatever to do with the Jhelum telegram to Mr Sinnett from Mahatma
KH. To begin with I was at Amritsur, twelve hours of railway from Jhelum, &
Damodar in Bombay, 2,000 miles from Amritsur four days journey by rail. The letter
from Mr Sinnett to the Mahatma was received by me about 2 oclock p.m. from Allahabad
when I was at Amritsar sitting at a table surrounded by people. I either sent it
immediately or half an hour later I cannot remember now for I have not the Occult
World to refer to. I believe I did it when the guests went away. Any how,
the telegram found later on to have been written in Master KHs writing, in answer to
that letter of Sinnett from Mahatma KH. was sent from Jhelum a few hours later, whether He
had the material time to receive his letter from M.S. or not. Now how could I have,
& why should I have written in red ink to Damodar 2,000 miles away, to copy that
Jhelum telegram. Have I sent the red ink note flying through the
air? Well, I am willing to accept this hypothesis. And wheres the
material time in a few hours for my message in red-ink (if it was always I) to go
to Damodar , for him to copy
original telegram & send send 
it back through Jhelum to Mr Sinnett in Allahabad? Absurd, preposterously so!!
Let Hodgson try again & find some other fraudulent phenomenon to fit this documentary
proof in red ink. Such documents in red-ink & blue pencil
Damodar received by dozens daily as every chela does & this is why he is in
Tibet, & happier than we are here. Poor, noble, self-sacrificing boy !
Even he vilified, abused, traduced by his own uncle who has always hated him and
envied & hated me as much ; that very uncle who has got now
Letters tampered with & opened? G['s] (or Garstins) letter
opened. How extraordinary that M.G. should not have remarked the slightest traces of
such tampering when he just received it through Mohini ! Have we not been told that
he tried himself (Garstin) to find out whether his letter could not have been opened,
tried with a heated knife, it was said, showed it to dozens of people for over one
year; & now that it has passed thousands of times through various hands
because one corner or [f]lap in it appears crumbled it is a proof that I had opened
it! When? How could I have the time to do it. It was placed by Mr. G. in the
shrine before his dinner about 7 in the evening. Since that hour to the moment it
was thrown upon Mohinis head no one had left the room my rooms where
I could have done the operation & written the answer. My rooms were full of
chelas and guests till I went to bed about 10. The answer must have come about 7 ½.
& as Mohini can testify I believe, I had not remained one moment alone. Who did
the operation & written the answer from the Mahatma, enclosed in Mr. G.s unopened
letter (glued, sealed & closed with every precaution)
which letter when it was thrown among us was immediately carried by Mohini to Mr.
How about Mr Humes letter from Govt House? or from Municipality (for I am sure I
do not & cannot remember). This letter was received in 1881, or 82
. Never was there a suspicion thrown upon that; I have never heard Mr Hume say so to
any one, which he surely would have done & to Mr Sinnett the first one.
If Mr Sinnett has not heard of it from Mr Hume when he (S.) was in India & fast
friends and coworkers then Mr Hume must have found out the mares nest
later on three or four years after such tampering. Now how could any
one least of all a Mahomeddan servant remember that he had given one
among thousands of such letters received by Hume precisely the letter in
question to Babula ? Who could remember it & why has not the
servant remembered it there & then when Mr Hume was instituting the most careful
inquest on that day as to who brought the letter when & how ? Strange after
thought ! Not strange for me though or Mr Sinnett who know Mr. Humes character
so thoroughly well.
Another bit of Mr Humes precious testimony goes as far if not further to
invalidate the whole. A square piece of Tibetan or Nepaul paper is before me covered
with Masters red-ink writing & my notes from which were actually given my
first lessons in the Secret philosophy (from which Esoteric Buddhism grew
up, in Mr Humes museum & studio in his house at Simla, in 1881 & 2 ) Mr
Sinnett & Mr Hume remember it well; they have seen it and looked & examined it may
a time. How then does Mr Hume say that the Masters did not write on such paper
till after I had been at Darjeeling where such paper, he says, can be got? I
went to Darjeeling only at the end of 1883 
more than two years after I had taught them from notes on this bit of paper. How
about this actually false evidence? The smallest thing is jumped at and made to go against
me. Mr Sinnett saying once that 30 seconds had not passed in
an interval & then 1 ½ minute had not passed is charged with a
gross contradiction & his testimony for me, becomes worthless. Mr.
Hume says an evident falsehood something quite untrue whether deliberately
or from lack of memory I do not want to say but he does give a piece of false
testimony & everyone believes him. Is this just or fair? Is this
charitable & gentlemanly when a whole long life reputation & the honour of a
defenceless woman is at stake nay ruined to atoms & torn to shreds.
I am accused of having written alone & unaided Isis, all the
articles in the Theosophist, every letter of the two Mahatmas; of having invented
Them and Their handwritings and Their philosophy. Very well. If it is shown
that I had not done it for gain or money, since I am a beggar
to day, & never had a penny of my own giving all I had from my Russian articles and
novels some thousands of roubles to the Society; If it is further shown
that the accusation of having been a Russian spy is utterly absurd
(the whole of India will be in a roar of laughter when they read that accusation)
and Mr Hume & Sinnett know it too well; If these two motives are made
away with why all this romance which has lasted for over 12 years? Fame
& notoriety ? Wouldnt I have had far more fame & glory if I had
said that Isis with all its (only now found-out) faults & imperfections
had been written by me ten years ago when I could not write two sentences correctly
in English; that I was the sole author of all the philosophical articles in
the Theosophist; I the author & the inventor of a Secret
Doctrine (now found gradually corroborated in hundreds of archaic Sanskrit volumes untranslated.)
I, who now am writing the Secret Doctrine hundred times more philosophical,
logical & erudite than Isis, alone, in Wurzburg, with about a dozen of
books (mostly no books of reference at all) around me? Would not that
sole authorship of a woman getting all this unaided out of her head alone
been ten times as marvellous & leading to fame than my fathering it upon
adepts? Had I wanted fame & name, I would have declared that all the
phenomena produced by me were mine. I might have claimed for them the same non
spiritualistic or non-mediumistic origin & yet maintained that the
wonderful phenomena were produced by myself alone & I would have had fame
enough I can assure you. Have I ever claimed any personal powers?
No; except bell-ringing, raps, & other electric phenomena & occasional
clairvoyance, I have never said anything but the same stereotyped phrase: "If the
Masters or their chelas help me I can do so & so, if not I can do nothing by
myself. Is this courting fame? I was a strong, a very strong medium
before Master deprived me entirely of these dangerous soul-killing powers.
Since then I can do nothing.
Similarity of style the same mistakes spelling,
gallicisms etc etc. Ergo I am Mah. KH & he is I . But why not
explain it in the correct way? Ask Olcott, Judge & all those who knew me in
America before I wrote Isis. They will tell you that I hardly spoke
English. That most of the pages of Isis, where there is anything worth
reading were dicated to me by Master KH. sometimes 30, 40 pages at a time
without one mistake as Olcott & Dr Wilder know; that I learned to write English with
him, the Master & spelt as he did in Isis sceptic with a K & Bakkus
instead of Bacchus & so on. Till 1868, I had ceased to speak English having
learned it in my childhood. And only from February 1868 till 70, some nine or ten
months & then for about six months I spoke only English for I knew neither
Tibetan nor Hindi, nor anything with the Mahatma. I may say I relearned
the little English I knew when I came to America in 1873 from Him. I
learned positively to write, from him while writing Isis. When I arrived
to India I began spelling sceptic (a word unfortunately too often used in our
Society) with a c having been laughed at for my previous spelling &  KH. went on spelling it in His own way. He precipitated &
wrote through me hundreds of letters before I went to America & met Olcott but
my Master protested saying it was mediumship. I actually thought the first
letter He wrote to Mr Sinnett had been written through me at Simla; only I was told by Him
I was mistaken. Nor would Mr Sinnett believe it. As to my Master
he does not know one word of English. Every letter he wrote he had to take
his English either from my head or that of one of his English speaking chelas. There
are no miracles in nature. Everything that occurs must have its cause its
effect. Then, as for proofs of my having invented the Mahatmas. For over
twenty years since 1858 to 1881 I spoke as rarely as I could of Them. I
had confided the secret to Olcott alone & Judge all the others had
half-hints. I tried to keep their personalities, names, abodes
everything secret. At Simla, when Mrs Hume & Sinnett were finally confided with
the secret also, then it was that my misfortune began. I had withstood as much as I
could the publicity & desecration of Their names. Hume & Mr Sinnett know
it. He applied to Mah. KH. & the latter gave him permission to write the Occult
World. It was the end of the century & an attempt had to be made to open the
eyes of the blindfold public & I was chosen as the victim rather the manure
for the future possible crop. But that publicity came out too brusquely, too
unexpectedly. Spiritualists & materialists protested & my enemies had to be
counted by the thousands. I begged Olcott not to mention either the Masters
names or the phenomena too openly. He was ordered by Master to leave off
speaking of Them. You might as well have tried to stop the whirlwind as Olcott in
his enthusiastic zeal. He would not. Then the Maha Chohan ordered me to tell
to Olcott that if he went on like that untold evil would come upon us. It was
in 1883 when he went to Ceylon. Again the warning came when he went with me to
Europe. I wrote to him from Paris to London Leave the S.P.R. alone.
Master says you shall ruin the cause thereby. I begged, I prayed him nothing
would stop him. He crammed them (the Psychists) full with the narration of the
most wonderful phenomena; he ended by making them believe he was either a lunatic or a
fool, a credulous fool. Now he has his Karma. Fame
? Why I was horrified when I read the Occult World. Mahatma KH
allowed it himself they say. The Mahatmas never forbid anything
for it would be interfering with peoples' wills & Karma. The Mahatmas laugh
at all the present row if they notice it, which I doubt, though of
course they know it. Thus having been too cautious about letting people know
of Them anything from 1858 till 1880 I am charged with having invented
them. Having been the means of making Them widely known not as They
are, but as They are not as a half measure I am now charged with
having personated Them, forged Their handwritings etc etc. Of course I have never
answered questions about Them as I would about Dr Hubbe Sch. or any one else. I
never said an untruth but I concealed much and will conceal everything
concerning Them to my dying day. I am under oath & will keep it if I had to
be publicly burnt or hung for it. Mr Hume seeing a proof of Mah. KHs inability
to read peoples character & so on because he praised the young man who was
robbing him? Poor, blind man ! Mr Sinnett was warned by the Mahatmas under a
pledge of secrecy from the beginning. Colonel Olcott also. It is Mr Hume who
forced the young man upon the Mahatmas. It is Mr Hume who fell in love with him
(the young man) with his purity, clairvoyant powers, mystical propensities; Mr Hume who
called my Master unjust, cruel & what not to refuse taking him for a
chela. Well a year after my Master wrote to him I take you on probation";
and then came out all the new probationers inner nature outside; his vile
thieving propensities, his hypocrisy & all. Mr Sinnett was warned of it.
He knew that both Mr Hume & his Secretary were being tried. And a week, before
Mr Hume found out the truth Col. Olcott was ordered by Master to expell the young man as
an embezzler. Whats the use saying what no one will understand who know
nothing of the Mahatmas ways or the laws & rules of chelaship! How
can one judge on the world standard the rules & laws of an Asiatic Brotherhood
diametrically opposite in all to European ways.
I have nothing more to say. I am ready to answer any question I can about
myself. I shall say nothing of the Masters. They are sacred to me
& I am ready to die for Them a thousand deaths if it can serve Them, or do any good to
Humanity. My open public work is there, and Theosophy the Tree can be
judged by its fruits. Hundreds of profligates, drunkards & heinous materialists
have become pure & virtuous men ; dozens have returned to their abandoned wives and
families. Ask people in India about me for one thing is true out of all
the Report I have influence in India for beyond & outside the
Society. Ask them, who has worked for five years to reconcile the natives to their
fate; to generate brotherly feelings for the English, gratitude for the good they were
doing in educating the natives, & forgiveness for the contempt & hatred shown to
the inferior race. Ask them, whether I have done good or harm
in India and then judge. The Masters name have become a household talisman
in India keeping every one from harm. The Masters have saved the English in 1857,
from being all murdered; it is They who have saved them from a revolution in India during
the Ilberts Bill and of the Masters it may be said as of God
& Christ. Had they not existed they ought to be invented
for the good, their names alone do to them who believe in Them.
Well if I have invented Them I have done good to Asiatic Humanity
thereby. Let the European Humanity in its usual Cain-like way
stone me for it.
 There was no Deb, no Bawajee at that time with us
They came one year later! Deb is a title. --- [HPB]
 The word "send" is written twice at this point in HPB's
letter. --- BA editor.
 It is hard to decipher the year; it may be
"1882." In fact, HPB was at Darjeeling in 1882. --- BA Editor.
 One or two indecipherable words occur at this point in
HPB's letter. --- BA editor.