Published by The Blavatsky Archives Online. Online Edition copyright 1999.

Letter from Mahatma Koot Hoomi
to Miss Francesca Arundale

Historical Introduction to the Letter

The following Mahatma Letter was received by Miss Francesca Arundale sometime in the middle of July 1884.  For general background information on this period of Theosophical history, see Chapter 13 of my online book The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky, especially Narratives 13f and 13 g.

In his book The Early Days of Theosophy, A.P. Sinnett, the famous receipient of The Mahatma Letters, gives more related background information:

[In June 1884] we made the acquaintance of an American lady who was for a time very conspicuous amongst us---Mrs. [Laura] Holloway---a remarkable clairvoyant and pupil of the Master K.H.  Her coming from America had been heralded by impressive stories concerning her psychic gifts and relationship with the Higher world and we found her an extremely attractive personality.  She was a guest of Miss [Francesca] Arundale's in the first instance and in June came over to stay with us. . . . At first while staying with us she was to some extent a link between ourselves and the Master K.H.  Madame Blavatsky returned to London (and to the Arundale's house) at the end of June and by degrees some troublesome friction ensued between her and ourselves. . . . On the evening of the 6th of July we had an interview with the Master K.H. through Mrs. Holloway.  On this occasion he actually took possession of her and spoke to us in the first person.  Previously she had merely a consciousness and repeated whatever he said.  I well remember the conversation, through finding its date in the Diary. . . . And the situation became entangled by a new development of "fury", according to the Diary, on the part of the O.L. [the Old Lady, meaning Madame Blavatsky] . . . Evidently she had become angrily jealous of the way in which Mrs. Holloway was becoming a link between ourselves and the Master independently of her.  She insisted on Mrs. Holloway leaving us and coming back to the Arundales. . . . Mrs. Holloway was frightened into obedience and returned to the Arundales.  She had received a (spurious) letter apparently from K.H. ordering her to remain there, and declaring that we were deceived, that she was a medium and saw falsely.  As days went on the situation became worse instead of better.  Letters passed to and fro between ourselves and the Arundales, now pretty completely under Madame Blavatsky's influence.  The name and handwriting of the Master were taken in vain more than once and I find in my wife's Diary for the 16th [of July] that we felt 'our theosophical career was approaching its end.' . . . The following morning Mrs. Holloway called on us and said 'she meant to give up the whole business in disgust.' "  (pp. 58-62.)

In another account by Mr. Sinnett, he gives more information on these events:

. . . Mrs. Holloway, a wonderfully gifted American psychic came to stay with us and ultimately went on to stay with the Arundale's. . . . Though she meant well she somehow contrived to engender a (temporary) strain of feeling between Miss Arundale  and ourselves. . . . I find a record in the diary dated the middle of July referring to some reply from the O.L. to a letter of mine "which did not soothe the situation but rendered it much worse.  In the envelope containing hers were a few lines purporting to be from K.H. saying she was right and we wrong.  Went to bed feeling that our theosophical career was approaching its end." . . . Probably the few lines in question were fabricated by the O.L. herself , as she was reckless in using the Masters' names in vain when it suited the purpose of the moment. . . . Miss Arundale and Mrs. Holloway appear to have come in to see us next morning and Mrs. Holloway is described as declaring that she meant "to give up the whole business in disgust."  (Autobiography of Alfred Percy Sinnett, pp. 27-28.)

The other side of the story is given in various sources including The Mahatma Letters.  One extract from Master K.H.'s letter (dated July 18, 1884) to Mr. Sinnett reads:

You ask me if you can tell Miss Arundale what I told you thro' Mrs. H. You are quite at liberty to explain to her the situation, and thereby justify in her eyes your seeming disloyalty and rebellion against us as she thinks. You can do so the more since I have never bound you to anything thro' Mrs. H.; never communicated with you or any one else thro' her --- nor have any of my, or M.'s chelas, to my knowledge, except in America, once at Paris and another time at Mrs. A.'s house. She is an excellent but quite undeveloped clairvoyante. Had she not been imprudently meddled with, and had you followed the old woman's and Mohini's advice indeed, by this time I might have spoken with you thro' her --- and such was our intention. It is again your own fault, my good friend. You have proudly claimed the privilege of exercising your own, uncontrolled judgment in occult matters you could know nothing about --- and the occult laws --- you believe you can defy and play with, with impunity --- have turned round upon you and have badly hurt you. It is all as it should be. If, throwing aside every preconceived idea, you could TRY and impress yourself with this profound truth that intellect is not all powerful by itself; that to become "a mover of mountains" it has first to receive life and light from its higher principle --- Spirit, and then would fix your eyes upon everything occult spiritually trying to develop the faculty according to the rules, then you would soon read the mystery right. You need not tell Mrs. H. that she has never seen correctly, for it is not so. Many a time she saw correctly -- when left alone to herself, never has she left one single statement undisfigured. (ML, Letter No. 62)

See also the recently published Mahatma Letter to Mrs. Laura C. Holloway.

Several years later, Madame Blavatsky herself answered the charge by Sinnett and others that some of the letters from the Master K.H. were "fabricated" or "forged" by her:

We have been asked by a correspondent why he should not "be free to suspect some of the so-called 'precipitated' letters as being forgeries," giving as his reason for it that while some of them bear the stamp of (to him) undeniable genuineness, others seem from their contents and style, to be imitations. This is equivalent to saying that he has such an unerring spiritual insight as to be able to detect the false from the true, though he has never met a Master, nor been given any key by which to test his alleged communications. The inevitable consequence of applying his untrained judgment in such cases, would be to make him as likely as not to declare false what was genuine, and genuine what was false. Thus what criterion has any one to decide between one "precipitated" letter, or another such letter? Who except their authors, or those whom they employ as their amanuenses (the chelas and disciples), can tell? For it is hardly one out of a hundred "occult" letters that is ever written by the hand of the Master, in whose name and on whose behalf they are sent, as the Masters have neither need nor leisure to write them; and that when a Master says, "I wrote that letter," it means only that every word in it was dictated by him and impressed under his direct supervision.  Generally they make their chela, whether near or far away, write (or precipitate) them, by impressing upon his mind the ideas they wish expressed, and if necessary aiding him in the picture-printing process of precipitation. It depends entirely upon the chela's state of development, how accurately the ideas may be transmitted and the writing-model imitated. Thus the non-adept recipient is left in the dilemma of uncertainty, whether, if one letter is false, all may not be; for, as far as intrinsic evidence goes, all come from the same source, and all are brought by the same mysterious means.  But there is another, and a far worse condition implied. For all that the recipient of "occult" letters can possibly know, and on the simple grounds of probability and common honesty, the unseen correspondent who would tolerate one single fraudulent line in his name, would wink at an unlimited repetition of the deception. And this leads directly to the following. All the so-called occult letters being supported by identical proofs, they have all to stand or fall together. If one is to be doubted, then all have, and the series of letters in the "Occult World," "Esoteric Buddhism," etc., etc., may be, and there is no reason why they should not be in such a case---frauds, "clever impostures," and "forgeries," such as the ingenuous though stupid agent of the "S.P.R." has made them out to be, in order to raise in the public estimation the "scientific" acumen and standard of his "Principals."   "Lodges of Magic", Lucifer, October 1888.

K.H. Letter to Francesca Arundale

[Only a few excerpts from the following KH letter to Miss Arundale 
have ever appeared in print.  See Letters from the Masters of 
, First Series, 1973 edition, Appendix, Letter IV, pp. 150-151.]

Now that all of you have come to a better understanding, Mrs. H[olloway]'s letter requires no answer. Tell her from Mahatma K.H.,  repeating them as his authentic words "that he exonerates her entirely from any blame in this misunderstanding, and that even had there been unfortunate results---which would be unfortunate indeed---her karma would not have been in the least affected by them."  For she was in all this merely the hand made to toss everything in a room in confusion when trying to clean the furniture which was getting dusty and to put it in better order than it was before.

Spiritual faculties demand instruction and regulation even more than our mental gifts, for intellect imbibes wrong far more easily than good.  Mrs. H[olloway] ought to bear always in mind these lines of Tennyson:

"Self reverence, self knowledge, self control.
These three alone lead life to sovereign power." [1]

But to remember at the same time the extreme danger of self will when it is not regulated by the three above mentioned qualities, especially in a question of spiritual development. Her chief mistake---one that leads her always into trouble---is the injudicious application and at wrong times of these three qualities which she tries to underrate in herself. And her loose attitude toward this one defect in her (self will), as also a lack of firmness in controlling her great natural sensitiveness.

Her flower is indeed a symbol:

"The heart that is soonest awake to the flower,
Is always the first to be touched by the thorns."

Let her obtain self control over her self will and her too great sensibility and she may become the most perfect---as the strongest---pillar of the Theosophical Society.

Mahatma reiterates his assertion with regard to her book. [2]  But it is not in the din and confusion of quarrels and conflicting passions that it can ever be written with its required perfection.

She was not as she thinks however, "doing nothing well and accomplishing little, for herself and others." Nothing of the kind. She had served a purpose and the unpleasant, painful scenes and events of the latter days have worked like wholesome physic on diseased bodies, and there were several such among you; with threatening germs in them of ugly mental sores, the full development of one of which might have proved mortal to the Theosophical Society at large.

If as Mrs. H. truly says, she has brought people who love her sincerely "into trouble," it is because these two were among the patients mentioned above. They had entered into a current full of magnetic contagion, full of germs of mental diseases that would have led them both---had they not been snatched from it with a strong hand---to their spiritual death. The operation could not be made without suffering and pain, but it was not the hand that was chosen for it, that inflicted it, nor was it the instrument it held---to be blamed or made responsible.

It is not Mrs. H. who compelled Mahatma K.H. to tell Mr. Sinnett that the things given him through her were false as to the source, as feeling it intuitively she had herself repeatedly warned him. The source of all the trouble comes from a few things given correctly, and Mr. Sinnett's mistake in consequence, in firmly believing that he had been in direct communication with Mahatma K.H. and his chelas through Mrs. Holloway. This, coupled with the fatal influence at work, one that even within the few last hours, and since the reconciliation has taken place, has again and once more reached Mr. Sinnett, was the real source of the poison spreading.

Loyal and devoted as he has ever been, it threatens him still, it surrounds him like a black cloud, and is approaching steadily Mrs. Holloway, as well as other members of the London Lodge. Let them all beware. Her duty toward Mr. Sinnett ought to be well known to her without asking the Mahatmas advice. Both he and his Lady [Mrs. Patience Sinnett] has overwhelmed her with kindness. She owes to them to support and encourage them with her presence; to console them in their mental suffering; to strengthen their oft-failing faith by her soul impressions. Those impressions that are made with open eyes and in the full possession of her consciousness. Never allowing herself to lose it for a single instant, for it is only then that they---the impressions---become full and trustworthy; coming as they do from the evil influences at work. Whether she will return back under their roof or not---is left entirely with her. She was told to remain in Col. Olcott's room during his absence and no more. Whether she will or not return to America now or two months later is also left to her own judgment. Remaining here she will finish the work successfully; by returning she is apt to fall under the power and influence of those who have already once misguided her and will have to lead the old life again.

She was permitted to entangle herself with another in beginning the book, by no one. It is her own weakness that did it. Her ignorance of the things said by her in trance, under the intense will of her two helpers; of orders often concealed from her when awake, and still others slightly altered when being noted down by them so as to better fit in with their desires.  Mrs. B.'s feelings can hardly be soothed except by returning to the old program, and this would prove final ruin to Mrs. Holloways's spiritual development in the right direction. Without the slightest doubt could Mrs. Holloway be prevailed upon to separate herself for a few months from any contact with her old associations and their influence, she would come out triumphant from this fiery furnace of probation.

There is no falsity or deceit in her, nor is there any selfishness, only an exaggerated sensibility with an extreme want of prompt decision and firmness when any such decision is made, and a great want of self-reverence, and too much "reverence" to personalities often far beneath herself in intellect and judgment, and a great deal lower on the plane of spirituality and purity of motives than the person who reverences. Times of exaltation, when the higher intellect can express itself, never come in trance.  Enthusiasm or another kind of exaltation is the genius of sincerity, and "Truth can accomplish no victories without it." Tell her to have patience. Let her tell Mr. Sinnett as coming from Mahatma K.H., that by his yesterday's action he has deserved well of him in every way, and that Mahatma K.H. thanks him as much as his friend K.H. does. The difference between the two will be given to Mrs. Holloway by Mahatma K.H. when the time comes.


[1]  See   Bartlett's Quotations, 1884 ed.

[2]  In the summer of 1884, Laura C. Holloway and Mohini Chatterji were writing a book on Theosophy titled Man: Fragments of Forgotten History.