Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

The Mahatmas and Their Instruments.

[Part II]

Madame Blavatsky and the Masters. -
Mahatma Portraits and Their Painter.

By L. C. L.
[Laura C. Holloway]

[Reprinted from The Word (New York), July 1912, pp. 200-206.]

From old note books dated over a quarter of a century ago are taken the following extracts from letters written by the Mahatmas K. H., and M. to various chelas of the Theosophical Society. Some of them are taken from letters already made public, others are from personal letters and notes received during the Spring and Summer of the year 1884.

The book referred to in some of the extracts given below is "Man; Fragments of Forgotten History," then in course of preparation.

From K. H.

You want a definition, Child, of "Spirit." Inflowing force will define it as well as any other term.

From K. H.

Why must you be so faint-hearted in the performance of your duty? Friendship, personal feelings and gratitude are no doubt noble feelings, but duty alone leads to the development you so crave for. Try to show them the truth for the last time. I desire you to go to -----; I desire you to change magnetisms as little as you can.

From K. H.

The feeble efforts of a life are contemptible indeed when compared to the results of an eternity (a word of which you hardly have a conception) and the sum total of all actions is of no account compared to the future. But shall you, because you have this future, in which to act and to create, refuse to go forward now? Divided nature - hesitate before acting.

The book is a project undertaken; why not complete it? Its existence will depend upon you for you alone can create it, and the materials are in no other hands. But should you refuse to go on - do not deceive yourself with the false idea that you are unable to do what you have done.

The real reason is loss of confidence and you are responsible for the influence that you permit others to exert over you. Shall you be tried in the balance and be found wanting? Will you go back to the old conditions of things in America? It is our wish to take you out of them.

From K. H.

The greatest consolation in and the foremost duty of life, child, is not to give pain, and avoid causing suffering to man or beast. It requires no acute intelligence to put two and two in the present situation and see it makes four. On the one hand we have one who has suffered greatly to serve ourselves and cause; one even suspected, ever condemned, and who is now being crucified by Public Opinion on the tree of infamy. Right at her side stands one of those for whom she has so suffered; the indirect cause of it, yet one who at the first glimpse of false appearance would not hesitate to suspect her himself. Nevertheless, this man also has suffered, he merits consideration, and ought to have his doubts solved. To satisfy him and thus help the cause in its present very complicated situation, we who are forbidden to use our powers with Europeans can act but thro’ our chelas or one like H. P. B. We can get at him but thro’ those two channels. Where are the chelas strong enough to help us without the aid of our own powers? One is many thousand miles away, the other, the adept, is here. An answer through the former would necessitate two months. But she (H. P. B.) refuses most positively to lend herself henceforth to such services. She is right. She demands it in the name of her Karma and therefore not to be ordered against her will. Her self sacrifices were so ill requited and it would be cruelty and abuse of power to subject her to new persecutions.

From K. H.

(From a letter to Col. Olcott from K. H.) ----- Should find in her own intuitions all the proof needed that we (the Mahatmas) are satisfied with her book, her first attempt at expounding occult doctrine. Be kind and brotherly to her always. She is honest, candid, noble-minded and full of zeal. Do not criticise; her faults are those of her, and your country.

Upasika (H. P. B.) is sick, so you must do as I tell you. Read them aloud to her (the chapters of "Man" already finished), or, have Mohini do so, successfully, to relieve you, and to H. S. O. "M" will follow it with D. K. (Dyual Khool), and stop you through her when correction is needed. You have done a good work, child. I am satisfied. Be strong; do not think of home; all is well that ends well. Trust to the future and be hopeful.

From the Master K. H. to H. P. B.

Leave her strictly alone. You have no right to influence her either way. Whether she goes, or remains, her subsequent fate is in her own hands. I cannot answer the same questions over and over again. I said to her, Try- and shall say no more. You may tell her this - that for one so emphatically determined in some of her moods; one who asserted so often that she was ready at a moments notice to go to Tibet in search of me, saying "Here I am - will you teach me Master?" - if only she knew she would thereby gain the knowledge sought. She acts with remarkable inconsistency. It is -----'s magnetism - the coming letter and the one received - that upsets her. I did not want to seem too hard to forbid all intercourse for the time - and these are the results.

If she has not learnt yet the fundamental principle in occultism that every idle word is recorded as well as one full of earnest meaning, she ought to be told as much, before being allowed to take one step further. I will not tell you her future; nor should you try to see. You know it is against the rules.

Anyhow you must not regret the three months lost, your and our own efforts, and M’s time wasted in the case, if it all ends in a failure. You will have help; the only sufferer will be herself. I regret it deeply. I would if I could develop this richly gifted nature, quiet and soothe in the bosom of the eternal Truth the sensitive soul ever suffering from self inflicted wounds. I can do nothing, if she does not help me by helping herself. Try to make her realize that in occultism we can neither go back nor stop. That an abyss opens behind every step taken forward. Be kind and gentle with her, whatever happens. She suffers, and patience was never a word for her. She would be made a regular Chela before she showed herself fit even for a probationary candidate. "I am not a chela," she keeps on saying - ignorant of having pledged herself as one unconsciously and when out of the body. Oh, if I could have the assurance only that the book will be finished! Indeed? Thus while fretting over the short period before her in the future, she loses hour after hour, day after day, instead of working at it in the present and thus finish it.

Mahatma M. to H. P. B.

It is impossible for K. H. to trouble every moment for the most unimportant matters. This must stop. Why should she not have confidence in what you say, but must needs have autographs from Masters. She was told to publish it simultaneously here and across water, but has still less confidence in herself. Had she been docile to advice given her; had she avoided to fall daily under magnetic influence that, after first experiment, dragged her down from the lofty plane of seership to the low level of mediumship, she would have developed by this time sufficiently to trust in herself with her visions. All you women are "Zin Zin" fools to yourselves and to please a kind and affectionate friend, ready to sacrifice your own salvation.

The house-Upasika will find that reverential friendship does not exclude pig-headedness, envy and jealousy. The Patal-Upasika will soon ascertain the dangers during development of mixing a western magnetism. Warn her once more, and if she does not heed - no more. If advice is asked - then it ought to be followed. You may tell her that if she stops for some time with you then I can help her on behalf of K. He surely has no time just now. Did not she, herself, feel that after she had sat near ----- for half and hour or so her visions began changing character? Ought this not be a warning for her? Of course she is serving a purpose and knew it in - but was made to forget by the other two magnetisms.

Take her with you to Schmiechen and tell her to see. Yes, she is good and pure and chela-like; only terribly flabby in kindness of heart. Say to Schmiechen that he will be helped. I myself will guide his hands with brush for K.’s portrait.

From K. H.

Courage and fidelity, truthfulness and sincerity, always win our regard. Keep on child, as you have been doing. Fight for the persecuted and the wrong; those who thro’ self sacrifice have made themselves helpless whether in Europe or China. I will correspond with you thro’ her, but not unless you keep to yourself faithfully the secret. You may show the letters but never reveal the way they come to you. You will have to pledge yourself solemnly to that effect before I begin. Blessings on you, Child, and keep off shells.


The Portraits of the Mahatmas

As had been promised by the Mahatmas, Mr. Schmiechen, a young German artist then residing in London, was to paint their portraits. And, at the appointed time, a number of Theosophists gathered at his studio. Chief among Mr. Schmiechen’s guests at that first sitting was H. P. B. who occupied a seat facing a platform on which was his easel. Near him on the platform sat several persons, all of them women, with one exception. About the room were grouped a number of well-known people, all equally interested in the attempt to be made by Mr. Schmiechen. The most clearly defined memory of that gathering, always in the mind of the writer, is the picture of Madame Blavatsky placidly smoking cigarettes in her easy chair and two women on the platform who were smoking also. She had "ordered" one of these women to make a cigarette and smoke it, and the order was obeyed though with great hesitation, for it was a first attempt and even the mild Egyptian tobacco used was expected to produce nausea. H. P. B. promised that no such result would follow, and encouraged by Mrs. Sinnett, who was also smoking, the cigarette was lighted. The result was a curious quieting of nerves, and, soon all interest was lost in the group of people about the room, and only the easel and the hand of the artist absorbed her attention.

Strange to relate that though the amateur smoker considered herself an onlooker it was her voice which uttered the word "beginner," and the artist quickly began outlining a head. Soon the eyes of everyone present were upon him as he worked with extreme rapidity. While quiet reigned in the studio and all were eagerly interested in Mr. Schmiechen’s work, the amateur smoker on the platform saw the figure of a man outline itself beside the easel and, while the artist with head bent over his work continued his outlining, it stood by him without a sign or motion. She leaned over to her friend and whispered: "It is the Master K. H.; he is being sketched. He is standing near Mr. Schmiechen."

"Describe his looks and dress," called out H. P. B. And while those in the room were wondering over Madame Blavatsky’s exclamation, the woman addressed said: "He is about Mohini’s height; slight of build; wonderful face full of light and animation; flowing curly black hair, over which is worn a soft cap. He is a symphony in greys and blues. His dress is that of a Hindu - though it is far finer and richer than any I have ever seen before - and there is fur trimming about his costume. It is his picture that is being made, and he himself is guiding the work."

Mohini, whom all present regarded with love and respect as the gifted disciple of the revered Masters, had been walking slowly to and fro with his hands behind him, and seemed absorbed in thought. Few noticed his movements, for he was at the back part of the large apartment and his footsteps were noiseless. But the amateur smoker had followed his movements with earnest glances, for she was noting a similarity of form between the psychic figure of the Master and himself, and, as well, a striking resemblance in their manner.

"How like the Master Mohini is," she confided to her friend beside her; and, looking toward him she saw him watching her with an expression of much concern on his face. Smiling back an assurance to him that she would make no further revelations, she glanced toward the artist and caught the eyes of the Master, who stood beside him. The look was one she never forgot, for it conveyed to her mind the conviction that her discovery was a genuine fact, and henceforth she felt justified in believing the Mahatma K. H. and Mohini the chela, were more closely related than she had before realized. In fact, that Mohini was nearer the Master than all others in the room, not even excepting H. P. B. And, no sooner was this conviction born in her mind than she encountered a swift glance of recognition from the shadow form beside the easel, the first and only one he gave to anyone during the long sitting. H. P. B.’s heavy voice arose to admonish the artist, one of her remarks remaining distinctly in memory. It was this: "Be careful, Schmiechen; do not make the face too round; lengthen the outline, and take note of the long distance between the nose and the ears." She sat where she could not see the easel, nor know what was on it.

All who are familiar with the copies of the two portraits of the Masters painted by this artist, will recall the look of youth that is upon the face of K. H. It is a look not of youthfulness, but of youth itself; not of youthful inexperience and lack of years, but of life - full and abounding life that is ever young, and of self-control so great as to control not only expression, but nerves and muscles as well. Transparent seemingly as was his body, yet powerful beyond the conception of those who have not seen on the astral plane, was the mental and spiritual strength of man. A being in whom was fulfilled every ideal men have conceived of - manhood glorified. A finished product in fact, upon whom the privilege of resting one’s sight was an inexpressible delight. No real likeness of such a Being could ever be taken: could ever be more than a shadowy outline of the Real Man.

How many of the number of those in the studio on that first occasion recognized the Master’s presence was not known. There were psychics in the room, several of them, and the artist, Mr. Schmiechen, was a psychic, or he could not have worked out so successfully the picture that was outlined by him on that eventful day.

The painting of the portrait of the Master "M" followed the completion of the picture; both were approved by H.P. B., and the two paintings became celebrated among Theosophists the world over. They are a source of inspiration to those who have had opportunity to study the wonderful power and expression depicted in them by Mr. Schmiechen.