Editor, Canadian Theosophist: - May I draw attention to one or two points in regard to
Mr. H. R. W. Coxs excellent defence of H.P.B. against the most recent attack. The
first deals with a statement in your August number.
On pages 173-4 Mr. Cox discusses the problem of the Hindu who met a certain scholar
named Fechner, and quotes Mr. Basil Crumps Evolution. The main points are
these: In The Mahatma Letters, p. 44, the Master K.H. mentions a conversation he
had "one day" with a certain "G. H. Fechner", but does not say when or
where it took place. Mr. Crump, in Evolution, informs us that C. C. Massey, once a
leading Theosophist, received information from Leipzig that a Professor Fechner, living
there, remembered having met a Hindu at some unnamed period and having heard him lecture.
The Hindu also visited Professor Fechner. The Professor said that the name of the Hindu
was Nisi Kanta Chattapadhyaya, and that he was not particularly conspicuous. Mr. Massey
seems to have thought that he had, in this way, received independent evidence of the
presence of the Master K.H. at Leipzig in the earlier seventies, for he explains the
reason that Professor Fechner did not know the name Koot Hoomi by a very reasonable
"In case it may be wondered why he [the Master K.H.] used a different name, it may
be mentioned that when members of this Order have to travel in the outer world they always
do so incognito."
Mr. Cox appears to agree with Massey, or he would not quote the above remark in his
defence of H. P. Blavatsky against the Messrs. Hares charges.
Unfortunately Nisi Kanta Chattopadhyaya and the Master K.H. are two different persons,
and the argument is therefore not valid, useful as it would be if confirmed. The former
was a well-known Hindu gentleman, Principal of the Hyderabad College and author of sundry
interesting works on Oriental, philosophical, and other subjects. He was evidently
interested in Theosophy, for he presented Katherine Tingley, when she was in Bombay in
1896, with an autograph copy of one of his books, now in the Oriental Department of the
Theosophical Library at Point Loma, California.
The first article or chapter in this book is called "The Reminiscences of the
German University Life," and it is a report of a lecture by Dr. N. K. Chattopadhyaya
on April 30, 1892 at Secunderabad. In this chapter he says:
"I once met Prof. Gustav Fechner, the author of a book called
"Psycho-Physik" in which he has enunciated certain laws whose importance . . . .
is as great as Newtons Law of Gravitation . . . . I had the privilege of escorting
the old sage home and on the way he asked quite a number of questions about the Yogis and
the Fakirs of India . . . Seeing more of him by and by I came to discover that he
was quite a mystic, and had actually written a book called the "Zend-Avesta" a
masterly exposition of Vedantic pantheism in the light of modern science."
The "Sage" was, of course, the famous Gustav Theodor Fechner.
Turning to The Mahatma Letters, we find that the Masters conversation
"one day" was held with a certain G. H. Fechner, and, as mentioned above,
it was not connected with Leipzig. Question: was the Master K.H. referring to some unknown
Fechner whose initials were G. H. and not G. T. and who has not been identified? That
seems highly improbable. Is it more likely that the H. is a mere slip of the pen or even a
typographical error, and that the Master really referred to the eminent philosopher, with
whom he had a short conversation, probably so short that it had been quite forgotten by G.
T. Fechner, who only recollected N. K. Chattopadhyaya.
However this may be, Professor Gustav T. Fechners message to C. C. Massey cannot
be used as if it related to the Master K.H., because the Professor definitely states that
his Hindu was Chattopadhyaya, and the latter positively confirms the fact. We have learned
from other sources that the Master spent some time in Germany, but I am not aware that
Leipzig is mentioned in Theosophical literature in that connection. In the Sinnett
letters, H. P. Blavatsky says:
". . . Wurzburg. It is near Heidelberg and Nurenberg, and all the centres one of
the Masters lived in, and it is He who advised my Master to send me there. . ." (p.
My second point relates to what the Hare Brothers call the "notable
admission" by H. P. Blavatsky in connection with alleged Mahatma letters sent by her
to importunate claimants for advice on their personal, worldly affairs - not connected
with Theosophy. Was she justified in sending them to those persons in the way she did,
or not? The "prosecuting attorneys" have decided in the negative, and are trying
to persuade the world that her action was not ethical. The falsely-entitled
"admission" is the strongest argument they have, and it cannot be ignored
without leaving them in possession of a position from which they could make further
unfounded assaults. Why have some of the defenders of H.P.B. left it untouched when there
is a completely satisfactory answer? Mr. Cox, and Dr. Irene B. Hudson, in her excellent
pamphlet "Who Wrote the Mahatma Letters?" Answered, are to be
congratulated on having made a serious reply, even if it may be open to the criticism
This reply depends for its force upon certain discrepancies between the version of the
H.P.B. letter to some Elberfeld Theosophists given in Mr. Judges Path, vii.
381, and that published by Mr. C. Jinarajadasa in The Early Teachings of the Masters and
reprinted in The Theosophist, Aug., 1931. The critical sentences occur only in the
Adyar version, and if it could be proved that they were cunningly interpolated between
H.P.B.s genuine sentences, a la Coulomb, the Messrs. Hares argument
would of course be destroyed because there would be "no case." The Coulomb
forgeries were, however, as the acute French observer, L. Dramard, pointed out in 1885,
"sickeningly banal" and platitudinous, resembling the directions given by a cook
to a valet in regard to some vulgar rake-off. - the obvious work of a rogue. H. P.
Blavatskys style is always lively and impulsive, as Dramard remarks, and in the
disputed passages in the Gebhard letter we find every ear-mark of her quick wit and,
perhaps, her ingrained disregard to Mrs. Grundy and her shortsighted criticisms! They are
in no way "confessions" of deceitful and misleading acts, as any unprejudiced
person can see, and there is no need to dispute their authenticity. Without going into a
detailed discussion of one of Mr. H. R. W. Coxs objections (page 32 of his pamphlet Who
Wrote the March-Hare Attack on the Mahatma Letters?), for which there is no room here.
I would suggest that it seems to be sufficiently answered by a careful study of
page 231 of The Mahatma Letters.
It is not my business to prove the authenticity of the Adyar version, even if the
original was available; both versions may be authentic so far as they go. Each contains
paragraphs or words missing in the other. But any attempt to dispute the Adyar version
must present a satisfactory reason for an outside and fraudulent interpolation of the
repudiated sentences. Why should any Theosophist desire to accentuate the possibilities of
criticism of H.P.B. by inserting remarks that might be twisted by her enemies into fresh
slanders? Why should it have been published at all, when the Path version was open
to all, and was much more complete as a whole? No member of any kind of Theosophical
Society has any interest in besmirching the reputation of the great Founder, quite the
contrary. This objection seems fatal to the position taken by those who more than suggest
that the alleged interpolations are spurious.
In The Theosophist, Aug., 1931, Mr. Jinarajadasa says on page 616:
"Extracts from a letter dated Wurzburg 24/1.86 copied by Mrs. F. Gebhard. . .
though not so long, the Adyar manuscript contains certain most important sentences omitted
in Mr. Judges version . . . The omissions however need explaining, since in other
respects, even often in punctuation and in italicising, the two versions are evidently
copies from one common source."
Is it possible that the original letter from which Mrs. F. Gebhard copied is still in
existence? Or cannot the Adyar copy be seen and photographed? Surely no member of the
admirable Gebhard family would have faked any part of the letter!
Have our friends who wrote the pamphlets noticed or given attention to the fact that
the Path copy has had at least one passage eliminated? The hiatus is
represented by the three extra periods at the end of the long paragraph on page 382. The
Adyar version fills this gap, and the missing lines contain a remark in keeping with the
sentiments expressed in the disputed lines, i.e., "answers by chelas and novices -
often something out of my own mind, [italics H.P.B.s] for the Masters would
not stoop for one moment to give a thought to individual private matter . . ."
Why may not the other sentences have been omitted as being liable to misinterpretation
by critics of the type of the Messrs. Hare, even though no hiatus is indicated?
If, then, the Adyar copy be authentic, as I am inclined to believe unless convincing
reasons are adduced to the contrary, what is the true interpretation of H.P.B.s
impulsive remarks - not "confessions" - which the Hare Brothers have tried so
gleefully to turn to their advantage without publishing the long and exhaustive letter
that makes the position clear?
In this letter, H. P. Blavatsky is earnestly, nay passionately, protesting against the
desecration of the ideal of Masters by the self-seeking crowd of suppliants who were
worrying them, "haunting" them as she half-jestingly says, in regard to their
debts, the domestic affairs, and the like. In some cases, the Masters would order her or
another chela to "satisfy the addressees to the best of his or her ability" as
she says. She clearly understood and explained that she had a kind of power of attorney, a
carte blanche, to "satisfy" the clamorous petitioners by giving the best
advice in her power in the Masters name, as she felt sure she knew what he would say
if consulted. Anyone who wishes to do so may believe that she committed a serious error in
judgment by not telling the recipients that the letters were not actually precipitated by
an Adept or always dictated by him, but as she says were "written by His order and in
In several places the Masters explain that they rarely write with their own hands. For
instance, the Mahatma K.H., on page 296 of The Mahatma Letters, says:
"Another of our customs, when corresponding with the outside world, is to entrust
a chela with the task of delivering the letter or any other message; and if not absolutely
necessary - to never give it a thought. Very often our very letters - unless something
very important and secret - are written in our handwritings by our chelas. . ."
On page 232 he says,
"In noticing Ms opinion of yourself expressed in some of his letters - (you
must not feel altogether so sure that because they are in his handwriting,
they are written by him. . .)"
When the Gebhard letter is read without malice aforethought it becomes
clear that nothing was farther from H.P.B.s intention than wilful deception, for, as
she says, she always believed she was acting "agreeably to Masters
intentions." She straightforwardly says in the important footnote (ignored by the
prosecuting attorneys) that she realized that sometimes she had mistaken the Masters
intentions, and adds the pathetic protest.
"Pick up stones, Theosophists, pick them up brothers and kinds sisters, and stone
me to death with them for trying to make you happy with one word of the
Masters." (The Theosophist).
It is necessary to remember that the answers to the exasperatingly importunate
petitioners to which she refers were purely personal, and had nothing to do with
Theosophical teachings or with The Mahatma Letters.
Much more can be said, but I have already trespassed sufficiently on your space; but I
will ask leave to close with an excellent paragraph by a distinguished outsider, Mr.
Geoffrey West, published in The Aryan Path, May 1934. Writing of H. P. Blavatsky,
"Her character was compounded of contradiction. In some directions profoundly
perceptive, in others she seemed almost wilfully blind . . . She totally lacked ordinary
discretion! Faced by either superior skepticism or open-mouthed gullibility she would
pull the legs of her audience mercilessly, quite careless of the charges of
fraud she might sometimes thereby invite. She defied convention and laughed at if she did
not ignore the gossip she provoked. Thus she laid herself open at times to the gravest
suspicions, and yet, with them all, one turns from a study of her life with the final
impression of a fundamentally honest, a deeply serious and sincere personality, possessed
of, at once, courage, will and purpose. . ."
Charles J. Ryan.
General Offices, Theosophical Society,
Point Loma, California.