[Reprinted from Light (London), September 1, 1883, p. 392]
To the Editor of "LIGHT"
SIR, -- In a communication that appeared in your issue of July 21st, "G. W., M.D.," reviewing "Esoteric Buddhism," says: "Regarding this Koot Hoomi, it is a very remarkable and unsatisfactory fact that Mr. Sinnett, although in correspondence with him for years, has yet never been permitted to see him." I agree with your correspondent entirely; and this is not the only fact that is unsatisfactory to me. On reading Mr. Sinnetts "Occult World," more than a year ago, I was very greatly surprised to find in one of the letters presented by Mr. Sinnett as having been transmitted to him by Koot Hoomi, in the mysterious manner described, a passage taken almost verbatim from an address on Spiritualism by me at Lake Pleasant, in August, 1880, and published the same month by the Banner of Light. As Mr. Sinnetts book did not appear till a considerable time afterwards (about a year, I think), it is certain that I did not quote, consciously or unconsciously, from its pages. How, then, did it get into Koot Hoomis mysterious letter?
I sent to Mr. Sinnett a letter through his publishers, enclosing the printed pages of my address, with the part used by Koot Hoomi marked upon it, and asked for an explanation, for I wondered that so great a sage as Koot Hoomi should need to borrow anything from so humble a student of spiritual things as myself. As yet I have received no reply; and the query has been suggested to my mind. -- Is Koot Hoomi a myth? or, if not, is he so great an adept as to have impressed my mind with his thoughts and words while I was preparing my address? If the latter were the case he could not consistently exclaim: "Percant qui ante nos nostra dixerunt."
Perhaps Mr. Sinnett may think it scarcely worth while to solve this little problem; but the fact that the existence of the brotherhood has not yet been proved may induce some to raise the question suggested by "G. W., M.D." Is there any such secret order? On this question, which is not intended to imply anything offensive to Mr. Sinnett, that other still more important question may depend. Is Mr. Sinnetts recently published book an exponent of Esoteric Buddhism? It is, doubtless, a work of great ability, and its statements are worthy of deep thought; but the main question is, are they true, or how can they be verified? As this cannot be accomplished except by the exercise of abnormal or transcendental faculties, they must be accepted, if at all, upon the ipse dixit of the accomplished adept, who has been so kind as to sacrifice his esoteric character or vow, and make Mr. Sinnett his channel of communication with the outer world, thus rendering his sacred knowledge exoteric. Hence, if this publication, with its wonderful doctrine of "Shells," overturning the consolatory conclusions of spiritualists, is to be accepted, the authority must be established, and the existence of the adept or adepts -- indeed, the facts of adeptship -- must be proved. The first step in affording this proof has hardly yet, I think, been taken. I trust this book will be very carefully analysed, and the nature of its inculcations exposed, whether they are Esoteric Buddhism or not.
The following are the passages referred to, printed side by side for the sake of ready reference.
Extract from Mr. Kiddles discourse, entitled "The Present Outlook of Spiritualism," delivered at Lake Pleasant Camp Meeting on Sunday, August 15th, 1880.
"My friends, ideas rule the world; and as mens minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world advances. Society rests upon them; mighty revolutions spring from them; institutions crumble before their onward march. It is just as impossible to resist their influx, when the time comes, as to stay the progress of the tide.
And the agency called Spiritualism is bringing a new set of ideas into the world -- ideas on the most momentous subjects, touching mans true position in the universe; his origin and destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal; of the temporary to the Eternal; of the finite to the Infinite; of mans deathless soul to the material universe in which it now dwells -- ideas larger, more general, more comprehensive, recognising more fully the universal reign of law as the expression of the Divine will, unchanging and unchangeable, in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now, while to mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on this material plane; &c., &c., &c.
Extract from Koot Hoomis letter to Mr. Sinnett, in the "Occult World," 3rd Edition. p. 102. The first edition was published in June, 1881.
Ideas rule the world; and as mens minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world will advance, mighty revolutions will spring from them, creeds and even powers will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their irresistible force. It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide. But all this will come gradually on, and before it comes we have a duty set before us: that of sweeping away as much as possible the dross left to us by our pious forefathers. New ideas have to be planted on clean places, for these ideas touch upon the most momentous subjects. It is not physical phenomena, but these universal ideas that we study; as to comprehend the former, we have first to understand the latter. They touch mans true position in the universe in relation to his previous and future births, his origin and ultimate destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the Eternal, of the finite to the infinite; ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognising the eternal reign of immutable law, unchanging and unchangeable, in regard to which there is only an ETERNAL NOW: while to uninitiated mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on this material speck of dirt, &c., &c., &c.
New York, August 11th, 1883.
[BAO Editor's Note: A transcription of the original K.H. letter that Mr. Kiddle refers to can be found in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. See Letter 6. A somewhat poor reproduction of a portion of this letter in KH's actual handwriting can be found at http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/hpb-spr/plate16.jpg.]