[Reprinted from Light (London), July 26, 1884, pp. 304.]
To the Editor of "LIGHT."
SIR, -- It seems to me that Koot
Hoomi Lal Singh has at once the best and worst memory in the universe. He can remember the
exact words that he wanted to "precipitate" three or four years ago, when he was
overcome with fatigue and "half asleep." But he has certainly failed to remember
what words were "precipitated," or he would not have set up his present
"explanation." That explanation in brief is this: -- He wished to make an honest
citation from Professor Kiddles address which he had heard, in the spirit, in
America. But a "boy" in Thibet who passed it on by "psychical
chemistry" bungled the words.
Let us print what really was printed in the early editions of "The
Occult World," to see how this "explanation" will bear scrutiny. Side by
side will be printed the passages from Professor Kiddles lecture.
Extract from Mr.
Kiddles discourse, Spiritualism," delivered at Lake Pleasant Camp Meeting on
Sunday, August 15th, 1880.
"My friends, ideas rule the world; and as mens minds
receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world advances. Society rests upon
them; mighty revolutions spring from them; institutions crumble before their onward march.
It is just as impossible to resist their influx, when the time comes, as to stay the
progress of the tide.
And the agency called Spiritualism is bringing a new set of ideas into
the world -- ideas on the most momentous subjects, touching mans true position in
the universe; his origin and destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal; of the
temporary to the Eternal; of the finite to the Infinite; of mans deathless soul to
the material universe in which it now dwells -- ideas larger, more Eternal, of the finite
to the infinite; ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognising more fully the
universal reign of law as the expression of the Divine will, unchanging and unchangeable,
in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now, while to mortals time is past or
future, as related to their finite existence on this material plane; &c., &c.,
Extract from Koot
Hoomis letter to Sinnett, in the "Occult World," 3rd Edition. p.
102. The first edition was published in June, 1881.
Ideas rule the world; and as mens minds receive new ideas, laying
aside the old and effete, the world will advance, mighty revolutions will spring from
them, creeds and even powers will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their
irresistible force. It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time
comes as to stay the progress of the tide. But all this will come gradually on, and before
it comes we have a duty set before us: that of sweeping away as much as possible the dross
left to us by our pious forefathers. New ideas have to be planted on clean places, for
these ideas touch upon the most momentous subjects. It is not physical phenomena, but
these universal ideas that we study; as to comprehend the former, we have first to
understand the latter. They touch mans true position in the universe in relation to
his previous and future births, his origin and ultimate destiny; the relation of the
mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the Eternal, of the finite to the Infinite;
ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognising the eternal reign of immutable law,
unchanging and unchangeable, in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now: while
to uninitiated mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on
this material speck of dirt, &c., &c., &c.
Now it will not be disputed that we have here an eulogy of Spiritualism
which has been changed into a long tirade against it. Also, it will not be disputed, I
think, that this has been done intentionally; and as it seems by some one holding the
particular views of Madame Blavatsky. The words "Divine will" have been omitted
as going counter to Theosophical Atheism. The words "touching mans true
position in the universe" have been changed into "touching mans true
position in the universe, in relation to his previous and future births." The
word "mortals" has been stultified to bring in a reference to the Spiritualists
as "uninitiated mortals." The passage, "new ideas must be planted on clean
places" is plainly intended politely to suggest that the rooms where the
"physical phenomena" of the West are exhibited, cannot be so described.
The question now arises, Who transformed the citation from Professor
Kiddle into this tirade against Spiritualists? It lies between three people, and one of
them, Koot Hoomi Lal Singh, if I read his confused explanation aright, desired to cite the
passage in partial approval of Spiritualism and not of condemnation. He wanted, he says,
to shew that the prophecies of the Spiritualists "are not always without a point of
truth in them." Two other individuals remain, Madame Blavatsky and the Thibetan
Of these two characters, one undoubtedly exists on "this material
speck of dirt," but of the existence of the "boy" we have not a tittle of
evidence. It is not absolutely impossible that a "boy" in Thibet should be a
master of the English language, but it is about as probable as that a young monk in the
South of Spain should be a master of Gaelic.
Then arises the important question of motive. All who have studied the
writings of Madame Blavatsky are aware that she is dominated by one idea. She is an
ex-Spiritualist and ex-medium, who returns constantly to her first love, less to caress
than to scold. This would give some meaning to the little girds against "uninitiated
mortals" and "physical phenomena," if we suppose that they were written by
her. But what possible motive could a "boy" in Thibet have to thus play tricks
with the writings of his guru? The rule of the guru, according to the Abbe Huc, is a
depotism tempered with a very thick stick. The boy is alleged to be in the act of studying
the phenomena of "psychical chemistry," phenomena so like "physical
phenomena" that Madame Blavatsky for half her life could see no distinction between
them. And there are three passages in the tirade that the Thibetan "boy" could
not possibly have written.
The two first of these are the girds against "creeds" and our
"pious forefathers." A Thibetan boy in training for the holy life would only
know one creed, Buddhism; and his forefathers, in his mind, instead of being objects of
"Theosophical" derision, would be the pious Buddhists who planted and watered
Buddhism in Thibet. Then we have the passage, "We have a duty to perform." Let
me ask the reader to try and frame a plausible theory to account for these words in the
mouth of the "boy." Who did he mean by "we"? He could not have meant
Koot Hoomi and himself, for he must have been well aware that he was falsifying Koot
Hoomis ideas and that the suppression of his own identity was the key-note of the
mystification. He could not have meant himself and Professor Kiddle, or himself and Mr.
Sinnett. What conceivable plurality could the word "we" have in his mind?
And now for a word about style. All who have the advantage of perusing
the Theosophist know that the literary style of Madame Blavatsky is a distinctive
one. Its peculiarity is the repetition of an idea more than once in different words in the
same sentence. Thus professor Kiddle talks about "the reign of law unchanging and
unchangeable." This has been converted into "the eternal reign of immutable
law unchanging and unchangeable." Professor Kiddle wrote: "institutions
crumble before their onward march," alluding to the march of ideas. This has been
changed to "will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their irresistible
force"; and "material plane" has been changed to "material speck
of dirt." Plainly we have here the style of diction of Madame Blavatsky; or the
"boy" is a master of refined mockery of a style of composition not often met
To sum up: --
1. It is admitted that the letter in "The Occult World"
converting an eulogy of Spiritualism into a diatribe against it, was written by some one
who knew all about Professor Kiddles lecture.
2. The Theosophists, not seeing the full force of the admission, have
stated positively that "Koot Hoomi" had nothing whatever to do with this
3. Everyone outside the light triangle of the Theosophist six-rayed
star will be quite confident that the "boy" is equally innocent.
4. The only other conclusion that can be arrived at is that the matter,
far from being, as Mr. Sinnett seems to think a matter of pure comedy, is more serious
than ever. "Never," said an old barrister, "can I tell the full force of my
case until I have heard the defence of the accused."