Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

A.P. Sinnett's Deposition to the
Society for Psychical Research

Reprinted from an unpublished draft of the First Report of the Committee of the Society for Psychical Research, Appointed to Investigate the Evidence for Marvellous Phenomena offered by Certain Members of the Theosophical Society preserved in the Archives of the Society for Psychical Research.  Sinnett's deposition was not included in the published First Report.---Editor.]

This online edition published by permission of
the Society for Psychical Research, London.

Meeting at No. 14, Dean's Yard, Westminster,
Friday, June 13th, 1884.
Present:  J. Herbert Stack, Esq., and E. Gurney, Esq.

Mr. A. P. Sinnett was examined.

MR. GURNEY: Will Mr. Sinnett be good enough to describe some phenomena which have come under his notice, and which exclude the idea of Madame Blavatsky having been concerned in producing them?

MR. SINNETT: With reference to that I would ask the attention of the Committee to a phenomenon which I have described in “The Occult World.”  Here is the original letter which I shall speak of, and that may suggest some questions.  The phenomenon, though a somewhat small one, is to me particularly interesting as an illustration of the production of writing by precipitation, in a closed envelope, and under circumstances which appear to me to defy the suspicion that any person who was present could have been concerned in it.  The letter is one which I wrote to Koot Hoomi, one afternoon, in my house at Allahabad.  I wrote on the spur of the moment, and I asked the Mahatma a question in regard to something I had previously written to him about.  Having completed the note, I put it into an envelope, and took it to Madame Blavatsky, who was sitting in the drawing-room with my wife.  I said to her, “Will you get that taken, if you can, and get me an answer?”  She put the letter into her pocket, and rose to go to her room.  All the windows were open, as is usual in India.  As she passed out I walked to the drawing-room door.  She was out of my sight for but an instant of time when she cried out, “Oh, he has taken it from me now.”  I will undertake to say that she was not out of my sight for ten seconds.  Having uttered that exclamation, she returned to the drawing-room, and we then proceeded together to my office at the back of my house.  I went on with what I was doing, and she simply lay on the sofa in my full view.  She remained there, perhaps, for between five or ten minutes, when, suddenly lifting her head from the pillow, she pointed to it and said, “There is your letter.”  I should mention, as a little fact which may bear upon occult physics, that the moment before I distinctly heard a peculiar rushing sound through the air.  It was, I think, the only occasion on which I had heard such a sound, and she asked me afterwards if I had heard it.  The letter lay on the pillow, the name which I had written on the envelope being scratched out, and my own name written immediately above it.  The envelope was unopened, and in precisely the same state, with the difference I have mentioned, as when I gave it to Madame Blavatsky.  I cut the envelope open, and found inside an answer to the question which I had asked the Mahatma.  I will hand the letter to the Committee for their perusal, though I do not care that it should be published.  (Letter handed in.)

MR. STACK: We are distinctly to understand that between the time of your giving the letter to Madame Blavatsky and your getting this answer, Madame Blavatsky was out of your sight for a few seconds only?

MR. SINNETT: Certainly.  She was going into her bedroom to get the letter taken.  The attention of the Mahatma had been already attracted to the thing, and the moment Madame Blavatsky got the letter into her magnetism he took it.  Although it is a small thing in its way, it is, I think, impossible to conceive an illustration of this particular kind of phenomena that is more perfect, because there was no interval during which the writing inside the letter could have been improperly produced.  Before we went together to my office, no other person had entered the room at all.  That is a point of some importance, because there are people who would believe that a letter, dealt with by somebody else, might have been passed to Madame Blavatsky.  But no other person at all came into the room; we were entirely alone during the whole of the interval.

MR. GURNEY: And the doors shut?

MR. SINNETT: I think not.  In India doors are never shut, for that matter.

MR. GURNEY: But you are certain that nobody entered?

MR. SINNETT: Absolutely certain.

MR. STACK: Can you give us an account of the actual delivery of a letter in your presence?


MR. STACK: When Madame Blavatsky was not there?

MR. SINNETT: No, but it has so occurred to others.  It was at Bombay, on my return to India, after my visit to England in 1882, I think, or in 1881.  I had been expecting a letter from Koot Hoomi, but on my arrival at Bombay I did not find one awaiting me at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society there.  I had written, asking him several questions.  I had got in late at night, and on the following morning I was walking about the verandah talking to Madame Blavatsky.  We went into a room which I had occupied as a bedroom during the night --- a big room, with a large table in the middle of it.  I sat down while we were talking, and she occupied another chair at a considerable distance from me.  I said, “Why on earth have I not had a letter in answer to mine?”  She replied, “Perhaps he will send it to you.  Try to exercise your will-power; try to appeal to him.  Ask him to send it to you.”  I retorted, “No, I will wait his time; he will send sooner or later, no doubt.”  At that moment a packet fell before me on the table.  I was a large envelope containing, at least 30 pages of manuscript --- heavy draft paper.  The packet only came into view a few feet --- two perhaps --- above the table, though I do not attach much importance to the precise distance, as in a case of that sort the eye cannot be certain to a foot.  The room was brilliantly light, this being in the morning.

MR. GURNEY: Did Madame Blavatsky know that you had written a letter and were expecting an answer, before this conversation with her?

MR. SINNETT: Certainly; but the point to which I attach importance in this case is that the thing happened in broad daylight in a room which I had myself occupied the previous night, and which I had been in and out of during the whole of the morning.  Everything occurred fully before my eyes.  It is impossible that Madame Blavatsky could have thrown the letter with her hand.  All the circumstances are incompatible with that.  I was not writing at the time, but talking to her, so that the idea that she could have thrown the letter is simply preposterous.

MR. STACK: You were talking to her, in fact, when the letter appeared?

MR. SINNETT: Yes, and she was sitting fully in my view.  Nobody else was in the room, which was a large one.  The occurrences which I have described are merely two out of a great number that have happened to me.  I could go on relating similar examples almost ad nauseam.  Here is another letter, which was dealt with under circumstances somewhat different, but interesting in every way.  This letter is one which Mr. Hume originally sent to me to be transmitted to the Brothers, but he wished me to read it first.  Forwarding it, he asked me in a private note first to read it, next to seal it up, and then to give it to Madame Blavatsky.  I complied with that request.  Besides closing the envelope with gum, I sealed it.  I handed the letter to Madame Blavatsky and received it back the same day, finding, when I cut it open, many sheets of writing inside.

MR. STACK: You cut the envelope open?

MR. SINNETT: Yes; the fastenings and seals were absolutely intact.  On opening the letter I found several sheets of the Mahatma’s writing, having reference to the matter to which the letter alluded.  There were also a number of marginal notes on the folded letter itself.

MR. GURNEY: Where had the letter been in the interval?

MR. SINNETT: That I cannot say.  I gave it to Madame Blavatsky, who was stopping in the house at the time, and it was in her possession for several hours.  This case, as a phenomenon, is less valuable than the last.

MR. STACK: But, so far as you observed, the envelope was absolutely intact?

MR. SINNETT: Absolutely.

MR. GURNEY: Still, I am afraid that people who could suspect Madame Blavatsky would be able to suspect that she might have a fac simile of your seal.

MR. SINNETT: But still the case has a certain amount of importance, having regard to the exercise of similar power in other cases.  Here is another case.  I enclosed a letter to the Mahatma in an envelope, and gave it to Madame Blavatsky, and the envelope was afterwards returned to me with this letter inside.  (Letter produced.)  As before, the envelope was quite unopened, but the difference is that the original letter had gone altogether, and a reply alone returned.

MR. GURNEY: But it is very easy to open envelopes and close them again as if they had not been opened.

[The Piece of Plaster Plaque Phenomenon]

MR. SINNETT: Quite so: But the case of the sealed envelope is quite complete.  In none of the cases were the phenomena performed as tests; the letters were passed forwards and backwards for the sake of the information they contained.  There is another matter which I should like to bring under the notice of the Committee, because I have here the original document bearing several signatures.  I have referred to it in the second edition of “The Occult World.”  This was done as a phenomenal test, and it is one of the very few things which the Brothers have done to oblige me, to give me some indication that they can treat matters in an abnormal way.  At Allahabad one evening, at a few minutes before eight o’clock, I found a note from one of the Mahatmas with whom I had corresponded.  It told me to look about in my library and I should find something which he had sent me.  I looked in the drawer where I generally kept all the letters relating to occult subjects, and there I found a piece of plaster plaque --- it was a corner broken off.  The Mahatma’s initials were written upon it in lead pencil.  The note which I had found from him led me to believe that this had to do with some occurrence that had just happened in Bombay.  I telegraphed to Bombay, inquiring if any special phenomenon had recently occurred there.  In the course of the post I got back the following statement, signed by several people who were present when the phenomenon occurred: ---

At about seven in the evening the following persons: (1) Madame Blavatsky, (2) Tukaram Tatia, (3) Gula Christna Deb, (4) Mula-varman Nath-varman, (5) Damodar K. Mavalankar, were seated, at the dining table, at their tea, in Madame Blavatsky’s verandah opposite the door in the red screen, separating her first writing-room from the long verandah.  The two halves of the door of the writing-room were wide open, and the dining table being about two feet from the door, we could all see plainly everything in the room.  About five or seven minutes after, Madame Blavatsky gave a start.  We all began to watch.  She then looked all around her and said, “What is he going to do?” and repeated the same twice or thrice without looking at or referring to any of us.  We all suddenly heard a knock, a loud noise as of something falling and breaking, behind the door of Madame Blavatsky’s writing-room, when there was not a soul there at the time.  A still louder noise was heard and we all rushed in.  The room was empty and silent; but just behind the red cotton door, where we had heard the noise, we found fallen on the ground a Paris plaster mould representing a portrait, broken into several pieces.  After carefully picking the pieces up, to the smallest fragments, and examining it, we found the nail on which the mould had hung for nearly 18 months, strong as ever in the wall.  The iron wall-loop of the portrait was perfectly intact and not even bent.  Mr. Mula-Varman was sitting in the arm-chair, the portrait hanging behind his head just two inches by exact measurement.  When it fell he was startled more than the others, as the noise was just behind his back.  The only way in which it could fall was if any one would take it off the nail and throw it violently down.  But there was no one to do this.  We spread the pieces on the table, and tried to arrange them, thinking they could be glued, as Madame Blavatsky seemed very much annoyed, as the mould was the work of one of her friends in New York.  We found that one piece, nearly square and of about two inches, in the right corner of the mould, was wanting.  We went into the room and searched for it, but could not find it.  Shortly afterwards Madame Blavatsky suddenly arose and went into her room, shutting the door after her.  In a minute she called Mr. Tukeram Tatya in, and showed to him a small piece of paper.  We all saw and read it afterwards.  It was in the same handwriting in which some of us have received previous communications, and the same familiar initials.  It told us that the missing piece was taken by the Brother whom Mr. Sinnett calls the “Illustrious,” to Allahabad, and that she should collect and carefully preserve the remaining pieces.  We did so.  Madame Blavatsky said he only joked when he said he had taken it to Allahabad, and would not lose his power over such meaningless trifles and phenomena.  She, therefore, made us search again for the piece.  But we all felt certain that the “Maha Sahib” was really bent upon doing something.  To the moment that we rushed into Madame Blavatsky’s room to see what had fallen, we were alone in that part of the building, M. and Madame Coulomb being in Poona and the servants all down stairs.  Babula came into the writing-room after we had gone there, as he heard some noise.  It was physically impossible for any one to have been in the room before, nor could any one have remained there without our seeing him, since the portrait was hung in a corner between a cabinet and the wall, and there is no place to hide, even for a cat.  The portrait bore the name “E. Wimbridge,” and we find that out of these letters the missing piece must contain the letters “g” “e.”  Madame Blavatsky, on inquiry, ascertained from the servants that all the furniture had been cleaned and dusted two days before, and the portrait was intact then, as well as her own which hangs close by.

       Tookaram Tatya.
       Guala Krishma Deb.
       Malavarman Nathavarman.
       Damodar K. Mavalankar.

We came in a few minutes later, as Madame Blavatsky was arranging the fragments on the table, and saw the empty place of the missing piece and found that the letters, “g” and “e”, were missing with the piece that had disappeared.

             K. N. Shroff.
             Martundrow Vagnand.
(Signed)Dorabji H. Bharooka.”

MR. GURNEY: Do we understand that you received a letter from the Mahatma, telling you about the thing in the drawer?

MR. SINNETT: Yes, a short note.

MR. GURNEY: How did the note reach you?

MR. SINNETT: It came in an unusual way, inside a telegram --- a way which, in itself, involved the exercise of the phenomenal power.  As I was editor of a daily newspaper at the time, I found several telegrams awaiting me when I came home, and inside the envelope of one of them I found the short note from the Mahatma.

MR. GURNEY: Could the note not have been pushed inside the envelope?

MR. SINNETT: I do not think so.  The telegrams came from the telegraph office in the usual Government envelopes.  Madame Blavatsky appears to have been in Bombay at the time.  The important point connected with the transaction is that within a very short period indeed of the time when I found this broken piece of plaster in my drawer at Allahabad, the original plaster cast from which it was taken was broken at Bombay, in the presence of several people.

MR. STACK: What delay took place in answering your telegram of inquiry to Bombay?

MR. SINNETT: They answered by letter.  I received the letter in answer to my telegram; that is all I can say.  The course of post to Bombay is about two days from Allahabad.  The accuracy of the statement as to what happened at Bombay is vouched by seven persons, whose names are appended to the document.  I know several of the witnesses; they are natives of India, and very respectable people.

MR. STACK: It certainly does seem that as this letter was in answer to a telegram, nobody could, in the course of post, have written from Allahabad to Bombay and stated what had occurred in your library.

MR. SINNETT: That would have been impossible, of course.

MR. GURNEY: And then with regard to the piece which was missed out of the breakage, was it plastered on afterwards?

MR. SINNETT: There was no apparent reason for the breakage, and when the pieces were collected they would not make a complete cast, a rough triangular piece, about two inches long, being missing.

MR. GURNEY: But what I ask is whether that piece was fitted in afterwards?

MR. SINNETT: The pieces were picked up at the time at Bombay, and sent to me at Allahabad.  I had never parted with the piece at Allahabad, and when the whole thing came I found that my piece fitted in perfectly.

MR. STACK: When the incident happened did you speak of it at Allahabad?

MR. SINNETT: I spoke of it the same evening to some people in my house.

MR. STACK: Their names?  Their names would be the means of affording important corroboration.

MR. SINNETT: My wife was present, but I cannot mention anybody else, because I have no definite recollection.

MR. STACK: It would strengthen the case in the eyes of the outer world if a document like the one at Bombay had been drawn up at Allahabad also.

MR. SINNETT: From the side of Allahabad I have nothing practically to offer, except my own testimony.  The thing was performed for the purpose of conveying a phenomenal test to my mind, and it completely satisfied me; but I never thought of making any formal record of what occurred at my end.

MR. STACK: As the Brothers are occasionally willing to perform things by way of satisfactorily testing their powers, can you give, from your experience, any explanation of why they do not perform them in such a manner as to leave a complete and satisfactory record for outsiders?

MR. SINNETT: I have come to a conclusion in my own mind as to why they will not do that.  It appears to me to be perfectly intelligible.  Their object in infusing some of their knowledge into the world has nothing to do with the development of physical science.  Their purpose is altogether concerned with the spiritual development of mankind.  They believe that the teaching which they are now enabled to command out of us will greatly help a large number of people in leading such lives as will conduce to the spiritual welfare of those people hereafter.  When they perform any phenomenon whatever, it is done reluctantly and to oblige those whom they conceive to be likely to serve the spiritual cause, never for the sake of proving a physical theory of any kind.  They are very desirous to advance the spiritual knowledge of mankind, but at the same time they are very anxious lest in doing so they should accidentally betray to mankind facts and secrets of nature which might be capable of being made a bad use of. Therefore, they have always refused to perform phenomena of that kind, which would afford an overwhelming proof of their powers, even to people who have no natural affinity to subjects of the sort.  They have given indirect proofs, because they are willing that people whose natural affinity to spiritual study will lead them to investigate such things, should be convinced.  But they do not want to put into the hands of even such persons such overwhelming “sledge-hammer” knowledge, of those things as would break the heads, so to speak, of the people.  They are not anxious to convert the world too fast.  They do not want to convert the world on the physical but on the spiritual plane.

MR. STACK: Still, if they have performed those things for such persons as Eglinton, why not for others who are just as high?

MR. SINNETT: I do not think that they have for Eglinton; but they have made use of his mediumship to convey proof to others.

MR. STACK: Then what we call mediumship in Europe is necessary for performing these things?

MR. SINNETT: That is one way of enabling Adepts to perform the things they do.

MR. STACK: How do you account, then, for the immense amount of spiritual phenomena alleged to have occurred in America, and in Europe, without, so far as we know, any connection with the Mahatmas?

MR. SINNETT: I account for this by the fortuitous influence on mediumship of the phenomena of the astral world --- that is to say, of that plane of Nature which is immediately above the spiritual and physical plane.  I do not conceive for a moment that more than a very small portion of the spiritualistic phenomena is produced by the Brothers.  In some rare cases the phenomenon have been so produced, but in the vast number of cases I should call them incidents of Nature.

MR. STACK: If several thousands of “incidents of Nature” have occurred in America and Europe without establishing the existence of the Brothers, why should the occurrences of such incidents in Asia be considered clear proof of the existence of the Brothers?

MR. SINNETT: All the phenomena we have been having in India hinge on the continuous purpose of correspondence.  All the phenomena that have occurred to myself, Colonel Olcott, or any other member of the Theosophical Society, have had to do with the action of two or three Adepts, whom we know by name and some personally.  The purpose in view has been the propagation of the philosophy through the Theosophical Society.  All the letters that have passed have borne on that general purpose.  There has been continuity of purpose throughout, although the phenomenal circumstances in relation to dealing with letters, to astral appearances, or to communications with the voice, have varied widely all over India.

MR. STACK: In America there are mediums who have sat with men for weeks upon weeks, and have produced phenomena which they profess to have had dictated from spirit-spheres.  Do you consider that the occurrence of these phenomena proves that the spirit teachings which come through the mediums are true?

MR. SINNETT: No, I would not argue that at all.

MR. STACK: Then, is not your argument about the Mahatmas somewhat analogous?  You seem to suggest that the incidents which you have described, and the continuity of them, all prove that what is said about the Mahatmas is true.

MR. SINNETT: I do not think that the two things are analogous, because the continuity I spoke of is only one of the factors I have alluded to.  First of all, we recognise that the continuity shows that the phenomena are not incidents of Nature.  The question is how far the intellectual purpose running through them hinges on to the personal knowledge of certain living men possessed by some members of the Society.  Madame Blavatsky for years lived in Thibet in the society of Mahatmas, and since leaving them she has been in constant communication with them.  The communications that I have received form part of the continuous communication she has received.  All my experiences are linked up inseparably with the knowledge possessed by her, Colonel Olcott, and several others of the Mahatmas as living men.

MR. STACK: The Mahatmas, as living men, may be established as well as the phenomena; but why should the world accept their teachings simply because they have the power of appearing occasionally in the astral body?

MR. SINNETT: Some of the phenomenal performances which I have been able to deal with show that the Mahatmas have the power of cognizing events by other faculties than the senses.  They have the power, certainly, of living in sentient form outside their bodies altogether.  Do not these circumstances form reasons for listening to their teachings, if we come to the conclusion that the men themselves are of high character and trustworthy in their statements?  Of course, they pass into a region of knowledge in which uninitiated persons cannot follow them.  But then, we find that their Chelas concur in justifying their statements, so far as their own knowledge goes.  If you ask any Chela, provided you can get him emancipated from the restrictions which generally seal his lips, you will find that his personal development enables him, step by step, to verify the information he receives from the Brothers.  For myself, I have simply been receiving teaching in the intellectual plane, and that is due to the fact that I am not attempting at present to become a Chela.  But Chelas are taught to verify the teaching which they obtain, and in that way all of us who have a general knowledge of their statements are led to believe that the body of information given by the Brothers is trustworthy.  I think that occult science is a science in the truest sense of the term.  It is a body of knowledge derived, in the first instance, from observations carried on over a considerable period of time by a great number of people, and codified by persons engaged in their investigation.  It appears to me to be justified in the highest sense as a science.

MR. STACK: Still, it is simply a body of belief entertained by a number of persons, who do not, as in the case of other scientific persons, offer facilities for the verification of their experiments.  So why should this be called a science more than the belief of persons, say, in the Mahdi of the Soudan should be called a science?

MR. SINNETT: They do offer opportunities of verification to persons who are ready to take the extraordinary amount of trouble necessary.

MR. STACK: But that distinguishes it from ordinary science.

MR. SINNETT: I do not think it does. Supposing an astronomer is questioned as to the justice of his conclusions with regard, say, to the marking of a particular planet.  You ask how you can verify them, and he will say only by your getting instruments like those with which he has made his observations.  They are costly, but if you obtain them and direct them, say, to Mars, you will find the same things that he observed.

MR. STACK: But the astronomer would probably lend his instruments.

MR. SINNETT: But in our case the instruments, being of a higher kind, cannot be used by another person.

MR. STACK: Then I do not see how it can be called a science.

MR. SINNETT: The difference is, that physical science is on one plane of nature, and psychic science on another.  Our instruments cannot be used by others, because it is necessary that certain faculties should be developed first, but those faculties can be developed.

MR. STACK: If the detection of untruth is guarded by 20 years or more of novitiate, you are perfectly safe from refutation.

MR. GURNEY: I can easily imagine a science in which a professor would say, “You can look through my instruments, but you will be none the wiser for having done so.”  Years might be necessary to train the faculties before you would be on a level with the professor.

MR. STACK: Still it seems to me that it is not a science until other persons have verified it.

MR. SINNETT: It appears to me that the science of mathematics affords an example in favour of the position I am assuming.

MR. STACK: Nobody throws any doubt upon the truth of mathematical theorems, although inferior mathematicians might say that they had not tested them.  But in this case one has prima facie doubt on account of its novelty.

MR. SINNETT: My answer to that is, that the Mahatmas have given out some teachings which will stand or fall on their merits.  Their phenomena are advanced as collateral guarantees, and show that the inquiry is well worth following.  As regards Adepts, their policy has been to make no efforts to convince the world, but simply to offer to it the information upon which they themselves are satisfied as to the truth, waiting to see if the mind of the present generation will be so perceptive as to recognise its power.

MR. STACK: I regard the Theosophist exactly as I regard the Spiritualists.  They have (as is alleged) proved tremendous physical phenomena entirely beyond the domain of ordinary science; but if I reject the spirit teaching of the immense mass of books I have read, why should I not reject the spirit teaching of the Mahatmas?

MR. SINNETT: Because I would judge the latter intrinsically.  I cannot, at the same time, refrain from asking anyone who really studies it in any way with sympathy to attach weight to the considerations which to me have given it more than an intrinsic value.

MR. STACK: But if you ask that it be accepted intrinsically, you immediately disconnect it from phenomena.

MR. SINNETT: But not from the higher phenomena of which I have heard from people whose credibility is supported by such phenomena as I have described this afternoon.  All I know about Madame Blavatsky has convinced me that the teaching of the Brothers is trustworthy.

MR. STACK: Going back to the astronomical and geological branch of the subject, if the world in which your phenomena occurred ages ago happens to have passed away it is impossible to verify them.

MR. SINNETT: It is impossible to say that any world has passed away.  Cataclasms have occurred and altered the formation of land and water, but nothing has been actually destroyed.

MR. STACK: Geology, in the ordinary sense of the term, is based upon certain fossil remains, whilst this science would seem to be based upon something that has disappeared.

MR. SINNETT: It is based upon remains which, until we seek for them with the view of verifying the theories, we shall not discover; but I do not think that the traces will entirely disappear.  From time to time, as the world comes to recognise the inherent probability of the theories, more efforts will be made to discover the traces, and I am firmly convinced that they will be found.

MR. STACK: If the Mahatmas have a universal knowledge of science, they knew a thousand years ago what Europe has only known for the last 100 years.

MR. SINNETT: They certainly knew the absolute verities, the essential facts of science, though not the minute details of modern science, which details have rather to do with the modes of observation we employ than with the science itself.  For example, take the spectroscrope.  We talk of the lines of the spectrum.  But there are no such things as lines in nature.  The lines we speak of only concern the instrument; they have nothing whatever to do with the eternal verities of nature.  An Adept would not know the details of modern science, which details, as I say, arise out of our methods of observation.  Some people might ask, did Adepts know from the beginning of time of some specific modern discovery --- for example, the incandescent electric lamp.  But the Swan electric lamp is simply a new method of applying the facts of nature.

MR. STACK: Dealing with it as simply a fact of nature, is there any evidence whatever that the Mahatmas knew 1,000 years ago more astronomy, say, than was known to the outer world?

MR. SINNETT: I believe that in occult writings of considerable antiquity there is evidence which shows that knowledge of the kind you refer to was possessed by the persons who wrote the books.

MR. STACK: It would be very interesting if proof could be found that, even 100 years ago, any Mahatma made an anticipation of a modern discovery.  According to your notion, they ought to have known of the planet which Herschell discovered, long before he discovered it.

MR. SINNETT: No doubt.

MR. STACK: But you have no proof.

MR. SINNETT: How can we?  Though in their symbolism we can see references to knowledge which we now possess.  In connection with that particular matter, we have been told that we have not yet discovered all the planets of our own system.  That is one physical fact, and others might be cited.  When such facts are alluded to and the Adepts ask for information, they say, “What is the use of telling you?  We cannot prove it, unless you follow our methods, which are different from yours.”

MR. STACK: But as a test, might they not anticipate some astronomical discoveries that are sure to be made within the next 20 years at Washington, or Greenwich, or Paris?

MR. SINNETT: No doubt they might if they were not restrained by the other considerations which I spoke of before.  That would be a phenomenal proof of their powers, which would be calculated to convince persons unconnected with their particular line of thought too soon.

MR. STACK: I cannot understand myself why they should object to a rapid conversion.  Even with very plain phenomena, the world is rather slow to believe.

MR. SINNETT: That is a matter of policy.  Many people agree in condemning the policy on the lines you have sketched out; but still there it is, and people who, like myself, are convinced of the power of the Adepts, consider that there is ample justification for it.

The examination then terminated.