Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Strictly Private & Confidential

The Esoteric Section 
of the Theosophical Society

[This short letter dated May 14, 1889 has never been republished 
or reprinted since it was first issued privately.]

H.P. Blavatsky having learned that Professor Elliot Coues (1) of Washington D.C. calls himself “Perpetual President of the Esoteric Theosophical Society of America”, feels it necessary to warn the members of the Esoteric Section of the T.S. of which she is the Head, that Professor Coues is not even a member of her Section.

1. The Head of the Section desires therefore, to inform all members of the E.S. that Prof. Coues has no authority, except his own, for assuming such a title; that he is not, & never has been, a member of Esoteric Section to which you belong; & that no papers, documents, memoranda or teachings given in this section must be shown or communicated to him.

2. Having learned that a memorandum dated March 17th 1889, relating to the duty which is incumbent on members of the E.S. to defend the T.S. & its leaders, has got into the hands of Col. Bundy of the Religio-Philosophic Journal, the Head of the Section desires to say that should any Member of the E.S. know how this has happened, it is his duty to communicate at once with the Council (vide memorandum appended to Instruction No 2).  Should such a breach of faith ever occur again, the Esoteric Section will at once be broken up & all further instruction cease.  It is therefore the duty of all who desire its continuance to exercise the greatest possible care & circumspection.

3. In order to prevent any mistake or deception arising as to membership in the E.S., the Head of the Section has selected the following Passwords: ---

The member desiring to ascertain whether another person belongs to the E.S. will first say “Dhyani” to which the person addressed (if a member of the E.S. will reply “Pura”.  The questioner must then say “Satri”, to which the reply will be “Asoph”.

No member must ever speak or discuss the teachings given in the E.S. or any of its confidential documents with any person to whom he has not previously given these Pass-words, & received from him the correct replies as given above.

The Head of the Section

(signed) H.P. Blavatsky

For the Council

     Bertram Keightley :>

14 May 1889


(1) For background information on Elliott Coues, see:  Sylvia Cranston's biography HPB, chapter titled "A Conspiracy Underway," pp. 370-378; also The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950, Chapter XI, "The Coues-Collins Charges," pp. 143-155.  For Coues' views on Madame Blavatsky, see "Blavatsky Unveiled!"