Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.


Two Letters from H.P. Blavatsky 
to Dr. Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden 

The following two letters from H.P. Blavatsky to Dr. Wilhelm
Hübbe-Schleiden have never before been published.  The originals of
these letters are preserved in the following collection:

Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden Papers,
Niedersächsischen Staats- und
Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen
[State Library of Lower Saxony and
the University Library of Goettingen],

Göttingen, Germany

Our grateful thanks to Baerbel Mund of Niedersaechsische Staats- und 
Universitaetsbibliothek for providing us with copies of the letters 
and giving us permission to publish the following transcriptions. 


Historical Note on the Two Letters

On March 31, 1885, H.P. Blavatsky left India for Europe, settling first in Italy. In late July 1885, HPB left Italy and after stopping briefly in St. Cergues, Switzerland, arrived in Wurzburg, Germany, toward the middle of August. There she settled down to work on The Secret Doctrine. Late in the year, while writing the new book, HPB was joined by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister, who became her companion and helper. Their quiet, productive life was interrupted, however, by the arrival on the last day of the year of a copy of the Hodgson-SPR Report.

On January 1, 1886, HPB wrote to A.P. Sinnett about the arrival of the Report against her:

"Last evening as we were at tea Professor [Carl W.] Selin made his appearance with the famous and long expected report of S.P.R. under his arm. I read it, accepting the whole as my Karmic New Year's present --- or perhaps as the coup de grace of 1885. . . . I am called in it 'publicly and in print' forger about 25 times, trickster, fraud etc. and a Russian spy to boot. . . . " The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, Letter 57, p. 134-5

On the same day Countess Wachtmeister also wrote Mr. Sinnett about Professor Selin's visit: 

"Professor Selin brought Madame yesterday evening a nice New Year's gift in the shape of the S.P.R. book. You may imagine what a lively time we had of it. Palpitations of the heart, digitalis, etc. I did not bless him for coming and undoing my work of the last few weeks. He took it very philosophically and said it was only right that Madame should know what it said against her. Madame wanted to write off letters of protest right and left, but I have prevented her doing so. . . . The only safe course to pursue is this I think, that you and Dr. Hubbe [Schleiden] denounce the whole thing as slanders and lies, that the papers should be signed by every Theosophist and copies sent to all the members of the S.P.R. . . . "  LBS, Letter 125, p. 270.

On January 4, HPB received a letter from Professor Selin.  Countess Wachtmeister described the contents of this letter:

"[HPB] . . . is terribly upset to-day, has received a brutal letter from Selin telling her he resigns because he looks upon her and the whole Society as a fraud, that he does not believe in the Masters and that he thinks that 'Isis' has been plagiarised from other books." LBS, Letter 127, p. 272.

Later in another letter to Mr. Sinnett, HPB penned these words:

"I know Hubbe [Schleiden], psychologised by Sel[lin,] is shaky. He is an unfortunate little nervous, weak man. Sellin made him believe that it was Olcott who cheated him with Mahatma's letter in the railway carriage!! Unfortunate Olcott. Where's the line of demarcation between his being a credulous fool and a knave! . . . " LBS, Letter 62, p. 157

For biographical information on W. Hübbe-Schleiden (1846-1916), see HPB's Collected Writings, Volume VII, pp. 375-377.  No biographical information is available on Carl W. Sellin (or Selin).

Letter 1 (dated Jan. 4, 1886) is a brief one in which HPB tells Dr. Hubbe-Schleiden about the receipt of Dr. Sellin's "brutal" letter.

In Letter 2 to Dr. Hübbe-Schleiden, HPB tries to answer some of the charges and accusations made against her by Richard Hodgson in his Report.  This letter is undated but may have been written at about the same time as HPB's letter to Sinnett (dated Jan. 6, 1886).  See The Mahatma Letters, Letter 140  (Letter 139, pp. 453-457 in the Chronological edition). 

The transcription of HPB's two letters to Dr. Hübbe-Schleiden is given below

--- Daniel H. Caldwell, Blavatsky Archives editor, April 7, 2000.

.

Letter 1

[Transcribed from Cod. MS W. Hübbe-Schleiden 33 (UNI Gottingen).]


Jan. 4, 1886


My dear Mr. Hubbe Schleiden

I just received a letter from Prof. Sellin.  What is it about?  That he was going to leave the Society — I saw it when he was here.  But what is it he says that his only hope was that the Elberfeld phenomena should prove true but that "Hubbe's depositions were to the effect that even those phenomena were false" — or to that effect.  He says that he believes no more in the Mahatmas, that the whole Society is a fraud, & that he feels certain that not a few dozen only, of members shall resign but the whole Society will crumble in a few weeks.  Now please kindly let me know what is all this.  If Prof. Sellin chooses to believe that my Master — is Babula (!!) & all His letters were written by that boy who does not know one letter of English & that I am a "Russian Spy" & the sole author of Isis Unveiled plagiarized from somebody & also the author of Mahatma K.H.'s letters — all good & right.  But that you should make depositions to the effect that the Elberfeld phenomena were false when I was unable to write one word in my own handwriting for three weeks, when there let alone forge  letters in the handwritings of Mahatmas who do not exist —  this is something new  — until you have told me that you did say so over your own signature —  I cannot believe you did.

Will you please if you ever had any friendly feelings for me write to me & explain all this.  Mr. Sellin's letter is very brutal & I shall not answer it.  But I hope you are not as he is & that at any rate you shall not condemn me before you hear what I have to say.  What is it about everyone resigning?  Those who believe in Hodgson's Report better resign this is sure.  But I can assure you, that the Society shall never fall.
 

Yours sincerely as ever
H.P. Blavatsky


Please do not feel afraid of hurting me.  Write the truth; if I could bear the letter of Sellin — I can bear anything.  But I want the Truth.
 


Letter 2

[Transcribed from Cod. MS W. Hübbe-Schleiden 33, Nr. 2 (UNI Gottingen).]


To Doctor Hubbe-Schleiden, President of the German T.S. & others.

If the “scientific” evidence of experts in handwriting is accepted against my word & denial — which it is sure to be by all those who do not know all the circumstances attending the phenomena now proclaimed fraudulent as well as Mr Sinnett and some others do — then it becomes utterly useless for me to try & defend myself.  There are fifty cases on record of mistakes made by scientific experts and innocent people sentenced for forgery.  To call “forgery” the Mahatma’s letters — is absurd; for, to be forged, the handwriting so forged must be existing somewhere in this phenomenal world; and if I have invented the two writers then I must have invented their alleged handwritings also — and in such case it is my own handwriting or handwritings & it is not forged.  But this is immaterial.  Once I am pronounced a Russian spy — I may as well be called a “forger” and accept the whole.

Now take away the said scientific evidence & what remains ?  Not one single fact proven against me except on circumstantial evidence as the Reporter calls it; this evidence being built on the calumnies & malicious suggestions of bitter enemies for years; on an evidence, that in the case of the Coulombs was gradually prepared by her for five years; in that of Wimbridge & Bates (who owe us 1500 rupees for five years also, & being far richer now than we have ever been, want to justify their indelicate action), based on hatred & Desire of revenge ever since Miss Bates was expelled from the Society for libellous slanders, lying and scandals & Wimbridge left after her.  All the adverse testimony picked bit by bit by Mr Hodgson is from our worst enemies — Damodar’s uncle & Wimbridge’s partners & bosom friends & a few sceptical theosophists shaky from the first.  On this, the Reporter builds an act of accusations 200 pages long.  Scraps of papers are stolen from my desk & writing papers; scraps and bits of writing — disjoined & meaning anything one likes to invent — pilfered from Damodar’s desk by the Coulombs. — (such as the few lines in my handwriting translated from some Russian paper for Mr Sinnett’s Pioneer probably, & the bit of Master’s handwriting to Damodar).   On this & the adverse testimony of enemies, the suspicion of sceptics & so forth I stand accused of the most abominable, predetermined deception, ten years of fraud, lying, acting, machinations, intrigues, that would necessitate whole days of forging in three or four different handwritings in languages of which neither I, nor Damodar (my supposed confederate who is in Tibet and cannot defend himself) — know the first word!  If confederates there must be, then it is not Damodar only who must be shown as one but a dozen more who can forge both Master’s handwritings, write in eight or nine languages and dialects & be thoroughly versed in the Master’s ways and style.  Who “forged” Mahatma KH’s letter to Dr. Hubbe Schleiden.  Is it Col. Olcott who was with him ?  And if it is I, who endowed with prevision and clairvoyance wrote or prepared it beforehand, then it is Col Olcott who must have played the trick of throwing it or making it appear behind Doctor Hubbe S. — in the railway carriage ?  Go on, throw vile suspicion & mud at the most honest man living, at a man who is the Soul of honour, of unselfishness, kindness, benevolence & philanthropy, who is incapable of keeping anything secret when asked for he blushes to his ears at the smallest suspicion of an untruth or anything to be concealed.  Go on, gentlemen of the Theosophical Society — ruin his reputation and kill him in his honour as I am killed in mine.

How can I begin my defence when I was never allowed to see even from afar my alleged letters to the Coulombs ?  How can I deny that which I know nothing of ?  What I do know & can prove is several accusations in the Report — entirely absurd & that can not stand for one moment serious investigation.

1. That the red ink writing (is it from my Master, for I have seen the Report only for a few minutes ?) to Damodar found among his papers (by whom found ..., is it said there ?) has anything whatever to do with the Jhelum telegram to Mr Sinnett from Mahatma KH.  To begin with I was at Amritsur, twelve hours of railway from Jhelum, & Damodar in Bombay, 2,000 miles from Amritsur four days journey by rail.  The letter from Mr Sinnett to the Mahatma was received by me about 2 o’clock p.m. from Allahabad when I was at Amritsar sitting at a table surrounded by people.  I either sent it immediately or half an hour later — I cannot remember now for I have not the Occult World to refer to.  I believe I did it when the guests went away.  Any how, the telegram found later on to have been written in Master KH’s writing, in answer to that letter of Sinnett from Mahatma KH. was sent from Jhelum a few hours later, whether He had the material time to receive his letter from M.S. or not.  Now how could I have, & why should I have written in red ink to Damodar 2,000 miles away, to copy that “Jhelum” telegram.  Have I sent the red ink note flying through the air?  Well, I am willing to accept this hypothesis.  And where’s the material time in a few hours for my message in red-ink (if it was always I) to go to Damodar [1], for him to copy “original telegram” & send send [2] it back through Jhelum to Mr Sinnett in Allahabad?  Absurd, preposterously so!!  Let Hodgson try again & find some other fraudulent phenomenon to fit this documentary proof in “red ink”.  Such documents in red-ink & blue pencil Damodar received by dozens daily as every chela does — & this is why he is in Tibet, & happier than we are here.  Poor, noble, self-sacrificing boy !  Even he vilified, abused, traduced by his own uncle who has always hated him and envied  — & hated me as much ; that very uncle who has got now Damodar’s money.

“Letters” tampered with & opened?  G['s] (or Garstin’s) letter opened.  How extraordinary that M.G. should not have remarked the slightest traces of such tampering when he just received it through Mohini !  Have we not been told that he tried himself (Garstin) to find out whether his letter could not have been opened, tried with a heated knife, it was said, showed it to dozens of people for over one year; & now that it has passed thousands of times through various hands  — because one corner or [f]lap in it appears crumbled it is a proof that I had opened it! When?  How could I have the time to do it.  It was placed by Mr. G. in the shrine before his dinner about 7 in the evening.  Since that hour to the moment it was thrown upon Mohini’s head no one had left the room  — my rooms where I could have done the operation & written the answer.  My rooms were full of chelas and guests till I went to bed about 10.  The answer must have come about 7 ½. & as Mohini can testify I believe, I had not remained one moment alone.  Who did the operation & written the answer from the Mahatma, enclosed in Mr. G.’s unopened letter (glued, sealed & closed with every precaution) which letter when it was thrown among us was immediately carried by Mohini to Mr. Garstin?

How about Mr Hume’s letter from Govt House? or from Municipality (for I am sure I do not & cannot remember).  This letter was received in 1881, or 82 — .  Never was there a suspicion thrown upon that; I have never heard Mr Hume say so to any one, which he surely would have done & to Mr Sinnett the first one.  If Mr Sinnett has not heard of it from Mr Hume when he (S.) was in India & fast friends and coworkers  — then Mr Hume must have found out the mare’s nest later on three or four years after such tampering.  Now how could any one  — least of all a Mahomeddan servant remember that he had given one among thousands of such letters received by Hume precisely the letter in question  — to Babula ?  Who could remember it & why has not the servant remembered it there & then when Mr Hume was instituting the most careful inquest on that day as to who brought the letter when & how ?  Strange after thought !  Not strange for me though or Mr Sinnett who know Mr. Hume’s character so thoroughly well.

Another bit of Mr Hume’s precious testimony goes as far if not further to invalidate the whole.  A square piece of Tibetan or Nepaul paper is before me covered with Master’s red-ink writing & my notes from which were actually given my first lessons in the Secret philosophy (from which “Esoteric Buddhism” grew up, in Mr Hume’s museum & studio in his house at Simla, in 1881 & 2 ) Mr Sinnett & Mr Hume remember it well; they have seen it and looked & examined it may a time.  How then does Mr Hume say that the Masters did not write on such paper till after I had been at Darjeeling where such paper, he says, can be got?  I went to Darjeeling only at the end of 1883 [3] more than two years after I had taught them from notes on this bit of paper.  How about this actually false evidence? The smallest thing is jumped at and made to go against me.  Mr Sinnett saying once  — that “30 seconds had not passed in an interval” & then 1 ½ minute had not passed” — is charged with a gross contradiction & his testimony for me, becomes worthless.  Mr. Hume says an evident falsehood something quite untrue whether deliberately or from lack of memory I do not want to say  — but he does give a piece of false testimony & everyone believes him.  Is this just or fair?  Is this charitable & gentlemanly when a whole long life reputation & the honour of a defenceless woman is at stake nay — ruined to atoms & torn to shreds.  I am accused  — of having written alone & unaided Isis, all the articles in the Theosophist, every letter of the two Mahatmas; of having invented Them and Their handwritings and Their philosophy.  Very well.  If it is shown that I had not done it for gain  — or money, since I am a beggar to day, & never had a penny of my own giving all I had from my Russian articles and novels  — some thousands of roubles to the Society;  If it is further shown that the accusation of having been a Russian spy is utterly absurd  — (the whole of India will be in a roar of laughter when they read that accusation)  — and Mr Hume & Sinnett know it too well; If these two motives are made away with why all this romance which has lasted for over 12 years?  “Fame & notoriety ”?  Would’nt I have had far more fame & glory if I had said that Isis with all its (only now found-out) faults & imperfections had been written by me ten years ago when I could not write two sentences correctly in English;  — that I was the sole author of all the philosophical articles in the Theosophist; I  — the author & the inventor of a Secret Doctrine (now found gradually corroborated in hundreds of archaic Sanskrit volumes untranslated.)   I, who now am writing the Secret Doctrine hundred times more philosophical, logical & erudite than Isis, alone, in Wurzburg, with about a dozen of books  — (mostly no books of reference at all) around me?  Would not that sole authorship of a woman getting all this unaided out of her head alone  — been ten times as marvellous & leading to fame than my fathering it upon adepts?  Had I wanted fame & name, I would have declared that all the phenomena produced by me were mine.  I might have claimed for them the same non spiritualistic or non-mediumistic origin & yet maintained that the wonderful phenomena were produced by myself alone & I would have had fame enough I can assure you.  Have I ever claimed any personal powers?  — No; except bell-ringing, raps, & other electric phenomena & occasional clairvoyance, I have never said anything but the same stereotyped phrase: "If the Masters or their chelas help me I can do so & so, if not I can do nothing by myself.”  Is this courting fame?  I was a strong, a very strong medium before Master deprived me entirely of these dangerous soul-killing powers.  Since then  — I can do nothing.

“Similarity of style”  — the same mistakes  — spelling, gallicisms etc etc. Ergo I am Mah. KH & he is I .  But why not explain it in the correct way?  Ask Olcott, Judge & all those who knew me in America before I wrote Isis.  They will tell you that I hardly spoke English.  That most of the pages of Isis, where there is anything worth reading were dicated to me by Master KH.  — sometimes 30, 40 pages at a time without one mistake as Olcott & Dr Wilder know; that I learned to write English with him, the Master & spelt as he did in Isis sceptic with a K & Bakkus instead of Bacchus & so on.  Till 1868, I had ceased to speak English having learned it in my childhood.  And only from February 1868 till 70, some nine or ten months & then for about six months I spoke only English for I knew neither Tibetan nor Hindi, nor anything  — with the Mahatma.  I may say I relearned the little English I knew when I came to America in 1873 from Him.  I learned positively to write, from him while writing Isis.  When I arrived to India I began spelling sceptic (a word unfortunately too often used in our Society) with a c having been laughed at for my previous spelling & [4] KH. went on spelling it in His own way.  He precipitated & wrote through me hundreds of letters before I went to America & met Olcott but my Master protested saying it was mediumship.  I actually thought the first letter He wrote to Mr Sinnett had been written through me at Simla; only I was told by Him I was mistaken.  Nor would Mr Sinnett believe it.  As to my Master  — he does not know one word of English.  Every letter he wrote he had to take his English either from my head or that of one of his English speaking chelas.  There are no miracles in nature.  Everything that occurs must have its cause its effect.  Then, as for proofs of my having invented the Mahatmas. For over twenty years  — since 1858 to 1881 I spoke as rarely as I could of Them.  I had confided the secret to Olcott alone & Judge  — all the others had half-hints.  I tried to keep their personalities, names, abodes  — everything secret.  At Simla, when Mrs Hume & Sinnett were finally confided with the secret also, then it was that my misfortune began.  I had withstood as much as I could the publicity & desecration of Their names.  Hume & Mr Sinnett know it.  He applied to Mah. KH. & the latter gave him permission to write the Occult World.  It was the end of the century & an attempt had to be made to open the eyes of the blindfold public & I was chosen as the victim  — rather the manure for the future possible crop.  But that publicity came out too brusquely, too unexpectedly.  Spiritualists & materialists protested & my enemies had to be counted by the thousands.  I begged Olcott not to mention either the Masters’ names or the phenomena too openly.  He was ordered by Master to leave off speaking of Them.  You might as well have tried to stop the whirlwind as Olcott in his enthusiastic zeal.  He would not.  Then the Maha Chohan ordered me to tell to Olcott that if he went on like that untold evil would come upon us.  It was in 1883 when he went to Ceylon.  Again the warning came when he went with me to Europe.  I wrote to him from Paris to London “ Leave the S.P.R. alone.  Master says you shall ruin the cause thereby.”  I begged, I prayed him nothing would stop him.  He crammed them (the Psychists) full with the narration of the most wonderful phenomena; he ended by making them believe he was either a lunatic or a fool, a credulous fool.  Now he has his Karma.  “Fame” ?  Why I was horrified when I read the Occult World.  “ Mahatma KH allowed it himself”  — they say.  The Mahatmas never forbid anything for it would be interfering with peoples' wills & Karma.  The Mahatmas laugh at all the present row  — if they notice it, which I doubt, though of course they know it.  Thus having been too cautious about letting people know of Them anything from 1858 till 1880  — I am charged with having invented them.  Having been the means of making Them widely known  — not as They are, but as They are not  — as a half measure I am now charged with having personated Them, forged Their handwritings etc etc.  Of course I have never answered questions about Them as I would about Dr Hubbe Sch. or any one else.  I never said an untruth but I concealed much and will conceal everything concerning Them to my dying day.  I am under oath & will keep it if I had to be publicly burnt or hung for it.  Mr Hume seeing a proof of Mah. KH’s inability to read people’s character & so on because he praised the young man who was robbing him? Poor, blind man !  Mr Sinnett was warned by the Mahatmas under a pledge of secrecy from the beginning.  Colonel Olcott also.  It is Mr Hume who forced the young man upon the Mahatmas.  It is Mr Hume who fell in love with him (the young man) with his purity, clairvoyant powers, mystical propensities; Mr Hume who called my Master unjust, cruel & what not to refuse taking him for a chela.  Well a year after my Master wrote to him “I take you on probation"; and then came out all the new probationer’s inner nature outside; his vile thieving propensities, his hypocrisy & all.  Mr Sinnett was warned of it.  He knew that both Mr Hume & his Secretary were being tried.  And a week, before Mr Hume found out the truth Col. Olcott was ordered by Master to expell the young man as an embezzler.  What’s the use saying what no one will understand who know nothing of the Mahatmas ways or the laws & rules of chelaship!  How can one judge on the world standard the rules & laws of an Asiatic Brotherhood diametrically opposite in all to European ways.

I have nothing more to say.  I am ready to answer any question I can about myself.  I shall say nothing of the Masters.  They are sacred to me & I am ready to die for Them a thousand deaths if it can serve Them, or do any good to Humanity.  My open public work is there, and Theosophy the Tree can be judged by its fruits.  Hundreds of profligates, drunkards & heinous materialists have become pure & virtuous men ; dozens have returned to their abandoned wives and families.  Ask people in India about me  — for one thing is true out of all the Report  — I have influence in India for beyond & outside the Society.  Ask them, who has worked for five years to reconcile the natives to their fate; to generate brotherly feelings for the English, gratitude for the good they were doing in educating the natives, & forgiveness for the contempt & hatred shown to the “inferior race”.  Ask them, whether I have done good or harm in India — and then judge.  The Master’s name have become a household talisman in India keeping every one from harm.  The Masters have saved the English in 1857, from being all murdered; it is They who have saved them from a revolution in India during the Ilbert’s Bill  — and of the Masters it may be said as of God & Christ.  — Had they not existed they ought to be invented  — for the good, their names alone do to them who believe in Them.

Well if I have invented Them  — I have done good to Asiatic Humanity thereby.  Let the European Humanity in its usual Cain-like way  — stone me for it.

H.P. Blavatsky


Endnotes

[1] There was no Deb, no Bawajee at that time with us — They came one year later!  “Deb” is a title.  --- [HPB]

[2] The word "send" is written twice at this point in HPB's letter. --- BA editor.

[3] It is hard to decipher the year; it may be "1882."  In fact, HPB was at Darjeeling in 1882. --- BA Editor.

[4]  One or two indecipherable words occur at this point in HPB's letter. --- BA editor.