Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

The Collapse of Koot Hoomi

[by the Rev. George Patterson]

[Originally published in The Madras Christian College Magazine (Madras, India),
September 1884, pp. 199-215 and with a Postscript on pp. 241-242.]

For more than five years now the Theosophical movement has been before the world, and none can deny that it has had a remarkable history. Passing rapidly from the initial stage of abstract philanthropy and religious antiquarianism, its leaders were transformed into the prophets of a new religion, the bearers of a new revelation of absolute truth. The hidden wisdom of the ancients, long lost behind the mists of worldliness and sensuality, was once more breaking upon the world, revealed by those exalted beings who had raised themselves above the restraints of time and place, and who sat as gods of this present world, guiding the currents of its forces at their will. In these latter days the Mahatmas have again spoken through their chosen vessel Madame Blavatsky, and with such power and authority that their words have not been in vain. From end to end of India the fame of Koot Hoomi has been spread, and the marvels done in his name have had all the effects of miraculous seals upon the utterances of his agent. One by one, Indian sceptics have bowed their heads before the Mahatmas, and a distinguished Indian journalist - Mr. Sinnett, formerly of the Pioneer, rather a noted man in unbelieving circles, has humbled himself to be the inspired redacteur of Koot Hoomi’s cosmogony. Among the natives of India the success of the movement has been still more marked. It flatters Hinduism in two very subtle and acceptable ways; first by extolling the ancient Aryan wisdom which the Theosophical Society has come to unearth; and, secondly, by showing modern Hinduism to the world as the only living religion besides Buddhism that still stands on friendly terms with the voices of the great beyond. The oracle at Delphi has been dumb for many a cen-


tury, by Urim and Thummim there is no response, but the shrine of Koot Hoomi still exists and the oracle of the Adyar is not dumb. No wonder that ardent Hindus press into the society, and look forward to the day when India shall stand in the forefront of spiritual advancement, dictating laws to the nations from a new Sinai of which Madame Blavatsky shall be the new Moses.

But the foundation of the whole enthusiasm is undoubtedly the phenomena, not miracles, as the Theosophists are careful to tell us, but simply exhibitions of a knowledge of nature more profound than modern man has attained. It is not to Madame Blavatsky’s skilful and persuasive words, but to the evidence of his senses that Mr. Sinnett ascribes his conversion. Every foot of the pathway which led him from scepticism to faith was paved with phenomena. He believes in the existence, power and authority of the Mahatmas because he has seen such sights and heard such words as can only be explained on the hypothesis that they exist. But what if the phenomenal foundation be destroyed? What if these signs and wonders are proofs of something very different? No doubt the Theosophical system will remain to us still, but how altered in character; how shorn of all its splendour! Instead of a message from beings of supernal wisdom and power, we shall have only the private thoughts of a clever but not over scrupulous woman.

We have said this much because we are now convinced that the time has come for declaring the real nature of these phenomena. We believe that those who read to the end of this article will agree with us that, instead of proving the existence of the Mahatmas, they prove that deeds have been done not only short of the miraculous, but also short of the honest. On such subjects it is always pleasanter to be silent. So long as the leaders of the Theosophical movement could be spoken of with respect, they received that respect in the pages of this magazine, and now that we must a different tale unfold, we had rather hold our peace. But our duty to the public, which both in its Native and in its European contingents, has been so completely hoodwinked, demands that we speak out. What follows is serious matter, quite as serious to us as to Madame Blavatsky. We have weighed the responsibility and resolved to take it up. After satisfying ourselves by every precaution that the sources of the following narrative are genuine and authentic, we have resolved in the interests of public morality, to publish it.

A few words of explanation are required, regarding the manner


in which the papers quoted below came into our possession. It is no secret that peace has not been unbroken at the head-quarters of Theosophy since the departure of Col. Olcott and Mme. Blavatsky for Europe. M. and Mme. Coulomb, who have been with the leaders almost since the date of their landing in India, living at head-quarters on the most familiar terms, have recently been expelled from the society for infidelity to the cause. From letters and other documents in Mme. Blavatsky’s hand-writing, left with strange recklessness in the possession of the Coulombs, the following selections have been made. These together with Mme. Coulomb’s explanations are the authorities on which the conclusions of this article depend. Most of these letters are written in French, a few only in English. We give the originals in each case, but to those in French, we add for the benefit of readers unacquainted with that language, as literal a translation as the idiom of the two languages will allow. We ought also to state that the portions omitted deal with purely private matters with which the public has no concern.

Readers of the Occult World are familiar with phenomena in which Madame Blavatsky’s cigarettes and cigarette-papers play an important part. In the presence of the enquiring company, a cigarette or a cigarette-paper is peculiarly marked or torn across so as to be recognizable again. It is then despatched by the agency of occult forces (1) to some distant place, and the enquirers are told where they will find it. Telegraphic communication renders the verification of the exploit easy. Here is a phenomenon of this kind, apparently got up for the benefit of a gallant officer.


My dear Mme. Coulomb,

Last night, Sunday, I wanted to show my friends a phenomenon and sent a cigarette tied up with my hair to be placed opposite Watson’s Hotel in the coat of arms (under the Prince of Wales’s statue) under the horn of the Unicorn. Captain Maitland had himself chosen the town and named the place. He spent 13 Rup. for a telegram to Police-Commissioner Grant his brother-in-law. The latter went the moment he received it and - found NOTHING.  It is a dead failure but I do not believe it, for I saw it there clearly at 3 in the morning. I am sorry for it for Capt. Maitland is a Theosophist and spent money over it. They want to tear the cigarette paper in two and keep one half. And I

(1)  "The theory is that a current of what can only be called magnetism, can be made to convey objects, previously dissipated by the same force, to any distance, and in spite of the intervention of any amount of matter." (CAPT. MAITLAND in the Occult World, 2nd Edition, p. 89, note.)


will choose the same places with the exception of the Prince’s statue for our enemies might watch and see the cigarette fall and destroy it. I enclose an envelope with a cigarette paper in it.(2)  I will drop another half of a cigarette behind the Queen’s head where I dropped my hair the same day or Saturday. Is the hair still there? and a cigarette still under the cover? Oh Dio Dio! What a pity. . . . . . . .

Yours faithfully,

[Note on the fly leaf]  "Make a half cigarette of this. Take care of the edges."

Much in this letter is obscure, because we know neither the time nor the circumstances. The language is cautious, and at times what one believer might use to another. But this much is clear: (1) that the success of the so-called transmission depends upon the presence of Madame Coulomb in Bombay, (2) that the discovery of identity between the cigarette sent in an occult manner and that to be afterwards found, depends on the duplicate transmitted by post, and (3) that the place selected is one arranged between the two ladies themselves, though the persons who get the benefit of the phenomenon are ignorant of this.

Our next letter also bears upon Bombay phenomena. The ‘King’ and ‘Dam.’ referred to in it are Messrs. Padshah and Damodar respectively, now widely known as prominent Theosophists. The letter evidently contains instructions for stimulating their faith.

Mes chers Amis,

Au nom du ciel ne croyez pas que je vous oublie. Je n’ai pas le temps materiel pour respirer - voila tout! Nous sommes dans la plus grande crise, et je ne dois pas PERDRE LA TETE.

Je ne puis ni ose rien vous ecrire. Mais vous devez comprendre qu’il est absolument necessaire que quelque chose arrive a Bombay tant que je suis ici. Le Roi et Dam. doivent voir et recevoir la visite d’un de nos Freres et - s’il est possible que le premier recoive une lettre que j’enverrai. Mais les voir il est plus necessaire encore. Elle devrait lui tom-

My Dear Friends,

In the name of heaven do not think that I have forgotten you. I have not even time to breathe - that is all! We are in the greatest crisis and I must not LOSE MY HEAD.

I cannot and dare not write anything to you. But you must understand that it is absolutely necessary that something should happen in Bombay while I am here. The King and Dam. must see one of the Brothers and receive a visit from him, and, if possible, the first must receive a letter which I shall send. But to see them [the Brothers]

(2) On a slip of paper which evidently accompanied the paper referred to, the following is written, undoubtedly in Madame Blavatsky’s handwriting: "Roll a cigarette of this half and tie it with H.P.B.’s hair. Put it on the top of the cupboard made by Wimbridge to the furthest corner near the wall on your right. Do it quick."


ber sur la tete comme la premiere et je suis en train de supplier "Koothoomi" de la lui envoyer. Il doit battre le fer tant qu’il est chaud. Agissez independamment de moi, mais dans les habitudes et customs des Freres. S’il pouvait arriver quelqueschose a Bombay qui fasse parler tout le monde - ce serait merveilleux. Mais quoi! Les Freres sont inexorables. Oh cher M. Coulomb, sanvez la situation et faites ce qu’ils vous demandent.

.       .         .        .

J’ai la fievre toujours un peu. On l’aurait a moins! Ne voila-t-il pas que Mr. Hume veut voir Koothoomi astralement de loin, s’il veut, pour pouvoir dire au monde qu’il sait qu’il existe et l’ecrire dans tous les journaux car jusqu’a present il ne peut dire qu’une chose c’est qu’il croit fermement et positivement mais non qu’il le sait parcequ’il l’a vu de ses yeux comme Damodar, Padshah, etc. Enfin en voile d’un probleme!

Comprenez donc que je deviens folle, et prenez pitie d’une pauvre veuve. Si quelquechose d’inoui arrivait a Bombay il n’y a rien que Mr. Hume ne fasse pour Koothoomi sur sa demande. Mais K. H. ne peut pas venir ici, car les lois occultes ne le lui permettent pas. Enfin, a revoir. Ecrivez moi.

a vous de coeur,

Demain je vous enverrai les deux lettres. Allez les chercher a la poste a votre nom, E. Cutting = Coulomb.

.       .        .        .

P.S. - Je vondrais que K. H. ou qulqu’un d’autre se fasse voir avant le recu des lettres!

is still more necessary. The letter must fall on his head like the first, and I am begging Koothoomi to send it to him. We must strike while the iron is hot. Act independently of me, but in the habits and customs of the Brothers. If something could happen in Bombay that would make all the world talk it would be grand. But what! The Brothers are inexorable. Oh dear M. Coulomb, save the situation and do what they ask you.


I am always feverish. How can it be otherwise! Imagine! Mr. Hume wants to see Koothoomi in his astral form at a distance, so that if he complies (with his request) he may be able to say to the world that he knows he exists, and to write it in all the papers; for at present he can only say one thing, viz. - that he believes firmly and positively, but not that he knows it because he has seen him with his own eyes, as Damodar, Padshah, &c., have. Now then, there is a problem!

Understand then that I am not going mad and take pity on a poor widow. If something unheard of should take place in Bombay, there is nothing that Mr. Hume would not do for Koothoomi on his demand. But K. H. cannot come here, for the occult laws do not permit him to do so. Good bye. Write to me.

heartily yours,
H. P. B.

I will send you the two letters to-morrow. Go and ask for them at the post office in your name, E. Cutting = Coulomb.

.       .        .        .

I wish K. H. or some one else would make his appearance before the receipt of the letters!

This letter is addressed "Madame E. Coulomb & Consort, care of Damodar K. Mavlanka, my adopted Son in Buddha." It is much plainer than the last, and the specific character of the instructions


casts a flood light upon the nature of the manifestations. The falling of a letter from the sky, which, to use Mr. Sinnett’s phrase, becomes ‘materialized’ in the air, is an astounding miracle in the pages of the Occult World, but becomes plain as day when we have Madame Blavatsky’s commentary. The letter from the ‘Brothers’ is sent by post to Madame Coulomb, who introduces Padshah into the proper place and makes it fall upon his head. The confederate in Bombay is trusted with discretionary powers, if only she adheres to the habits and customs of the brothers, i.e., to an affectation of mystery. The object of the whole plot is notoriety, as is naively confessed.

The reference to Mr. A. O. Hume, in the concluding paragraph is also instructive. The problem is to give him ocular demonstration of Koot Hoomi’s existence, such as Padshah and Damodar have had. But it is evidently felt that ocular demonstration which satisfied them may not be enough to satisfy Mr. Hume. Why Koot Hoomi should prefer Bombay to Simla as a place for self-manifestation seems hard to understand, when we remember how trying the electricity-laden atmosphere of modern civilization is to the Mahatmas.(3) There can be little doubt however that it was more convenient for the sage to appear in Bombay, where the head-quarters of the Theosophical Society then were, than in Simla, where phenomena were generally produced in inconvenient private homes. This consideration seems to have more force than ‘occult laws.’

So far the letters given have shown no trace of any feeling in Madame Blavatsky but good-natured compliance with a weak hankering after phenomena, and a desire to support the honour of Koot Hoomi by somewhat peculiar expedients. The next document shows her to be equally anxious for the financial prosperity of the great society which her genius has called into existence.

Poona, Wednesday.

Ma chere Marquise.(4)

.           .            .           .            .            .           .            .            .

Now dear, let us change the program. Whether something succeeds or not I must try. Jacob Sassoon, the happy proprietor of a crore of

(3) One of the reasons most frequently given by the Theosophists here for the rare and unsatisfying nature of the Mahatmas’ visits is the supposed fact that our modern atmosphere which is strongly charged with electricity, is more trying to their constitutions than the north-east wind of North Britain is to a person with weak lungs.

(4) In the correspondence between Madame Blavatsky and the Coulombs, the gentleman is frequently addressed as ‘Marquis,’ and the lady as ‘Marquise.’


rupees, with whose family I dined last night, is anxious to become a Theosophist. He is ready to give 10,000 rupees to buy and repair the head-quarters, he said to Colonel (Ezekiel his cousin arranged all this) if only he saw a little phenomenon, got the assurance that the Mahatmas could hear what was said, or give him some other sign of their existence (?!!). Well, this letter will reach you the 26th, Friday, will you go up to the Shrine and ask K. H. (or Christopholo) to send me a telegraph that would reach me about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, same day worded thus:

"Your conversation with Mr. Jacob Sassoon reached Master just now. Were the latter even to satisfy him still the doubter would hardly find the moral courage to connect himself with the Society.


If this reached me on the 26th even in the evening - it will still produce a tremendous impression; Address care of H. Khandalawalla, Judge, POONA. JE FERAI LE RESTE. Cela coutera quatre ou cinq roupies. Cela ne fait rien. [I will do the rest. It will cost four or five rupees. That is of no consequence.]

Yours truly,
(Signed) H. P. B.

It should be noted that the points of interrogation and exclamation in this letter are Mme. Blavatsky’s and not ours. In ordinary correspondence, they would mean that the writer was laughing, and no more believed in the existence of the Mahatmas than we do. This is confirmed by the fact that she dictates Koot Hoomi’s telegram, transmits it by post, to be despatched from Madras, and so arranges matters as to be in conversation with Mr. Sassoon on or shortly before its arrival. We possess not only the letter, but the cover in which it was transmitted, bearing the following post-marks; Poona, Oct. 24th; Madras, Oct. 26th; 2nd Delivery, Adyar, Oct. 26th. As the letter was over weight and was therefore delayed till the second delivery, there would be no time to lose if the telegram was to reach Poona in the evening. No time was lost apparently, for we have a telegraph office receipt for an urgent telegram, despatched from St. Thome at 4-5 in the afternoon of October 26th, and costing Rs. 8; - the exact cost of a telegram of 32 words, like that dictated by Madame Blavatsky to the Mahatma. We have also proof in a memorandum from the telegraph office at St. Thome dated October 26th, that on that day a telegram was despatched by "Ramalinga Deb, Esq."

Damodar, who has been for long the leading exponent of occultism in the Theosophist
seems frequently to have required refreshment


for his faith. Here is a communication in which Madame Coulomb is entrusted with a letter (doubtless from Koot Hoomi, for Mme. Blavatsky’s own messages seem to have come through the Post Office,) to be delivered to him in a way to confirm his wavering mind.

Ma chere amie,

Je n’ai pas une minute pour repondre. Je vous supplie faites parvenir cette lettre (here enclosed) a Damodar in a miraculous way. It is very very important. Oh ma chere que je suis donc malheureuse! De toutes cotes des desagrements et des horreurs.

Toute a vous,
(Signed) H. P. B.

My dear friend,

I have not a minute to reply. I beg you to send this letter (here enclosed) to Damodar in a miraculous way. It is very very important. Oh my dear how unhappy I am! On every side unpleasantness and horror.

Yours entirely,


The next refers to the celebrated handkerchief phenomenon, which is pronounced by Madame Blavatsky herself to be a failure, but for all that is reserved for the edification of certain uncritical Maharajahs. Instructions are also given for placing Madame Blavatsky’s hair in extraordinary places, the names and localities of which are to be reported to her on her northern tour. This can only have one meaning, that her followers in distant parts are to be led on to demand the kind of phenomenon which has been carefully prepared before hand. If for example, Madame Coulomb has secreted a lock of Madame Blavatsky’s hair in the tower of the Bombay Cathedral, it will look well for her to be able to send it from Lahore by an occult method. The directions about the cigarette probably refer to the phenomena mentioned in the first letter.

Je crois que la mouchoir est un coup manque. Laissons cela. Mais toutes les instructions qu’elles restent statu quo pour les Maharajas de Lahore ou de Benares. Tous sont fous pour voir quelquechose. Je vous ecrirai d’Amritsir ou Lahore. Mes cheveux feraient bien sur la vieille tour de Sion, mais vous les mettrez dans une envelope, un sachet curieux et le pendrez en le cachant ou bien a Bombay - choisisez bon endroit et - ecrivez moi a Amritsir poste restante, puis vers le lre du mois a Lahore. Adressez votre lettre a mon nom. Rien de plus pour S. - il en a vu assez. Peur de manquer la poste, a revoir. Avezvous mis la cigarette sur la petite I believe the handkerchief is a failure. Let it go. But let all the instructions remain in statu quo for the Maharajahs of Lahore or Benares. Everyone here is madly anxious to see something. I shall write you from Amritsir or Lahore. My hair will do well on the old tower of Sion (but you should put it in an envelope - a sachet of some peculiar kind and hang it where you hide it) or even in Bombay. Select a good spot and write to me at Amritsir poste restante and then after the first of the month to Lahore. Address your letter in my name. Nothing more for S. he has seen enough. I am afraid of missing the mail so au revoir. Have


armoire de Wimb—? Faites donc quelquechose pour le vieux, il padre di Damodar. . . . . . you put the cigarette on the cupboard of Wimb—? Do something for the old man, Damodar’s father.

A few words of explanation are necessary in order that the reader may follow the meaning of the next batch of letters. At the Theosophical head quarters, Adyar, there is a shrine, or ornamental cupboard, containing a portrait of Koot Hoomi. The doors of this shrine are occasionally thrown open to the faithful, that they may adore the Master, burn incense to him, and present their requests in the form of letters. Occasionally the Mahatma honours the faith of his disciples by working what are to all intents miracles. The performance of these phenomena is, according to the Coulombs, facilitated by the existence of a back-door to the shrine, constructed in a manner which may really claim to be ‘occult.’ The first letter quoted below refers to the great saucer phenomenon of the Adyar, when as all the world knows, a saucer was broken to pieces before the spectators, and the fragments placed in the shrine. The door was shut, and when it was re-opened, it was found that the Mahatma had replaced the saucer intact. M. and Madame Coulomb affirm that they are in possession of the original saucer, which is still in a fragmentary state, and that what was produced to the faithful was simply a duplicate. But here is the letter. The reference to "domestic imbeciles" is cruel but unmistakeable.

Cher Monsieur Coulomb.

C’est je crois cela que vous devez avoir. Tachez donc si vous croyez que cela va reussir, d’avoir plus d’audience que nos imbeciles domestiques seulement. Cela merite la peine - car la soucoupe d’Adyar pourrait devenir historique comme la tasse de Simla. Soubroya ici et je n’ai quere le temps d’ecrire a mon aise, a vous mes honneurs et remerciments.

(Signed) H. P. B.

Dear Monsieur Coulomb.

This is what I think you ought to have. Try, if you think that it is going to be a success, to have a larger audience than our domestic imbeciles only. It is well worth the trouble - for the Adyar saucer might become historical like the Simla cup. Subroya is present and I have hardly time to write at my ease. My salaams and thanks to you.

H. P. B.

Since the removal of the head-quarters to Adyar, the shrine has also been used as the central post office of the Mahatmas, a plan far more rational than that in use at Bombay, where letters were made to fall through the crevices of the boarded ceiling upon the heads of such as needed to be strengthened in the faith. The query of the person interested is placed in the shrine, the doors are shut, and after a due interval, Koot Hoomi (by the back-door) puts his answer in


place of the query. It may be added that the apparatus for this operation is so ingenious, as explained by M. Coulomb, the engineer-in-chief of the Mahatmas, that none of the Society except of course those in the confidence of Madame Blavatsky have had any suspicion of its existence.

Our readers are now prepared to understand the letters which follow. Had it been possible to furnish the public with the information its interests require without the publication of these letters, we should have preferred to suppress them, because they exhibit honoured names in a ludicrous light. From the first letter it appears not only that Madame Blavatsky writes the answers to the suppliants’ queries, but also takes the trouble occasionally to anticipate their requests.

La poste part me chere. Je n’ai qu’un instant. Votre lettre arrivee trop tard. Oui, laissez Srinavas Rao se prostener devant le shrine et s’il demande ou non, je vous supplie lui faire passer cette reponse par K. H. Car il s’y attend, je sais ce qu’il veut. Demain vous aurez une grande lettre: Grandes nonvelles. Merci.

(Signed.) H. P. B.

It is just post time my dear. I have only an instant. Your letter arrived too late. Yes, let Srinavas Rao prostrate himself before the shrine and whether he asks (anything) or not I beg you to send to him this reply by K. H. for he expects something, I know what he wants. To-morrow you shall have a long letter: Grand news. Thanks.


Most probably the Srinavas Rao referred to here is the same person who writes in the Theosophist regarding the blessed comfort and guidance he has received at the shrine, and the kind and merciful interest of the Master in his secular as well as his spiritual troubles. Perhaps our esteemed Judge in the Court of Small Causes may see less reason to congratulate himself when he knows how these comforting and delightful epistles come into existence. In the circumstances, the picture here suggested of his prostration at the shrine can hardly be called a pleasant one.

The next letter speaks for itself. It discloses a deliberate attempt to practise upon Mr. Raghunatha Rao’s well-known openness to conviction and sympathy with every good cause. A letter is sent down to head-quarters in anticipation of his expected enquiry at the oracle, and a well-deserved compliment is paid to the Dewan Bahadur in the anxiety which Madame Blavatsky displays for his thorough establishment in the Theosophic faith. Luna Melanconica is Madame Blavatsky’s ‘occult’ signature.


Ma chere amie,

On me dit (Damodar) que Dewan Bahadoor Ragoonath Rao le President de la Societe veut mettre quelquechose dans le temple. Dans le cas qu’il le fasse voici la reponse de Christofolo. Pour Dieu arrangez cela et nous sommes a cheval. Je vous embrasse et vi saluto. Mes amours au Marquis.

Yours sincerely,

Ecrivez donc.

My dear friend,

I am told (by Damodar) that Dewan Bahadoor Ragoonath Rao, the President of the Society wishes to place something in the temple. In case he should do so here is Christofolo’s answer. For God’s sake arrange this and we are triumphant. I embrace and salute you. My love to the Marquis.

Yours sincerely,

Write to me.

Whether he ever posted his letter in the cabinet, and whether the answer he received was satisfactory, the letter itself does not tell us, but his present high office in the Society seems to prove that his faith received the needed stimulus and confirmation. There has come into our possession however, a letter from the Mahatma addressed to Mr. Raghunatha Rao, but for some reason never delivered, which makes it possible that his is the case referred to in the next letter. This at least is Madame Coulomb’s account.

Tropo tardi! Cher Marquis. Si ce que "Christophe" a en main eut ete donne sur l’heure en reponse cela serait beau et c’est pourquoi je l’ai envoye. Maintenant cela n’a plus de sens commun. Votre lettre m’est arrivee a 6 h. du soir presque 7 heures et je savais que le petit Punch venait a cinq! Quaud pouvais je donc envoyer la depeche? Elle serait arrivee le lendemain ou apres son depart. Ah! quelle occasion de perdue!

Enfin. Il faut que je vous prie d’une chose. Je puis revenir avee le Colonel et c’est tres probable que je reviendrai, mais il se peut que je reste ici jusqu’au mois d’Octobre. Dans ce cas pour le jour ou deux que le Colonel sera a la maison deux que le Colonel sera a la maison il faut me renvoyer la clef du shrine. Envoyez la moi par le chemin souterrain. Je la verrai reposer et cela suffit. Mais je ne veux pas qu’eu mon absence on examine le luna melanconica du cupboard, et cela sera examine si je ne suis pas la. J’ai le trac. Il faut que je re-

Too late! Dear Marquis. If what "Christophe" has in his hands had been given in answer at the time it would have been all right, and this is why I sent it. Now it is no longer suitable. Your letter reached me at half-past six in the evening, almost seven, and I knew that the little Punch was coming at five! When could I send the telegram? It would have arrived the next day or after his departure. Ah! what an opportunity we have lost!

Let that go. I must beg a favour of you. I may return with the Colonel and it is very probable that I shall, but it is possible that I may remain here till October. In this case for the day or two that the Colonel will be at home you must send the key of the shrine to me. Send it by the underground way. I shall know it rests and that will be enough. But I do not wish that in my absence the luna melanconica of the cupboard be examined, and it will be examined if I am not there. I am on the track. I must


vienne! Mais Dieu que cela m’embete donc que maintenant tout le monde di’ici viendra me voir la. Tout le monde voudra voir et - J’EN AI ASSEZ.

.          .          .           .           .

Mais que le diable emporte je me sens malheureuse du coup manque.

come back. But, heavens! how annoyed I am that now every body here will come and see me there! Every one will want to see something and - I HAVE ENOUGH OF IT.

.          .          .         .

But the devil take it, I feel quite unhappy at having missed the opportunity.

We have here a glaring case of ingratitude and bad faith; for whether Mr. Ragoonath Rao, be the person nicknamed or not, it is plain that somebody was to be badly treated. Two other points are noteworthy. One is the perfectly natural way in which the whole affair is managed. It is all a matter of time and calculation. When letters or telegrams can supply effectively the place of occult machinery, they are used; when they cannot, they are left alone. If the 'little Punch' was coming for his answer at five in the afternoon, and the letter to Ootacamund asking for a new telegram suited to the circumstances reached its destination so late as nearly seven in the evening, it was plainly useless to send one. The other matter is important as bearing upon the character of Colonel Olcott, and the comparatively lowly position he is permitted to occupy in the organization. To those who have made his acquaintance he has always appeared not only as the official head of the Society, but as an essentially honest, though inflated and credulous man. It is a relief to find that he is at least as much in the dark as the general public. The President-Founder is shut out from the shrine (the key of which is buried in order to be out of his reach) for no other reason, so far as we can see, than that he is too honest a man to be permitted to examine ‘Luna Melanconica’s’ apparatus. Unfortunately however, just in proportion as the Colonel gains in esteem for his honesty, does he lose in his reputation as a man of sense. If this is the way in which he examines occult phenomena, what are we to say of the other manifestations which he claims to have witnessed. What, for example, becomes of his ‘People from the other world’?

Whoever the ‘man Punch’ may be, he is evidently one whom Madame Blavatsky delights to honour, for we have another reference to him in the next letter. ‘Familiar muffs’ is evidently a synonym for the ‘domestic imbeciles’ of a previous letter, and expresses with admirable brevity Madame Blavatsky’s opinion of the group of Theosophists who frequent the head-quarters.


Ma bien chere amie,

Vous n’avez pas besoin d’ attendre l’homme "Punch." Pourvu que cela soit fait en presence de personnes qui sont respectables besides our own familiar muffs je vous supplie de la faire a la premiere occasion.

Tell Damodar please, the "Holy" whistle breeches, and St. Poultice that they do not perfume enough with incense the inner shrine. It is very damp and it ought to be well incensed. . . . . . .

(Signed.) H. P. BLAVATSKY.

My very dear friend,

You need not wait for the man "Punch." Provided the thing takes place in the presence of respectable persons besides our own familiar muffs, I beg you to do it the first opportunity.

Tell Damodar please, the "Holy" whistle breeches, and St. Poultice that they do not perfume enough with incense the inner shrine. It is very damp and it ought to be well incensed. . . . . . .



But temporary embarrassments and disappointments do not weigh long on Madame Blavatsky’s spirits. In the next letter, we find her at Ootacamund, mingling with the highest society, and on a footing of intimacy with Major General Morgan, the President of the local branch of the Theosophical Society. Here is how she provides for his theosophical nourishment and edification, - her specific for what she herself calls ‘turning the General’s head.’


Ma Chere Madame Coulomb et Marquis.

Voici le moment de nous montrer - ne nous cachous pas. Le General part pour affaires a Madras et y sera Lundi et y passera deux jours. Il est President de la Societe ici et veut voir le shrine. C’est probable qu’il fera une question quelconque et peut etre se bornera-t-il a regarder. Mais il est sur qu’il s’attend a un phenomene car il me l’a dit. Dans le premier cas suppliez K. H. que vous voyez tous les jours ou Cristofolo de soutenir l’ honneur de famille. Dites lui donc qu’une fleur suffirait, et que si le pot de chambre cassait sous le poids de la curiosite il serait bon de le remplacer en ce momeni. Damn les autres. Celui la vaut son pesant d’or. Per l’amor del Dio ou de qui vous voudrez ne manquez pas cette occasion car elle ne se repetera plus. Je ne suis pas le, et c’est cela qui est beau. Je me fie a vous et je


My dear Madame Coulomb and Marquis.

This is the moment for us to come out - do not let us hide ourselves. The General is leaving this for Madras on business. He will be there on Monday and will remain there two days. He is President of the Society here and wishes to see the shrine. It is probable that he will put some question or perhaps he may be contented with looking. But it is certain that he expects a phenomenon for he told me so. In the first case beg K. H., whom you see every day, or Cristofolo, to keep up the honour of the family. Tell him that a flower will be sufficient, and that if the pot breaks under its load of curiosity it would be well to replace it at once. Damn the others. This one is worth his weight in gold. For the love of God, or of any one you please, do not miss this opportunity for we shall never have another. I am not there and that


vous supplie de ne pas me desappointer car tous mes projets et mon avenir avec vous tous - (car je vais avoir une maison ici pour passer les six mois de l’annee et elle sera a moi a la Societe et vous ne suffrirez plus de la chaleur comme vous le faites, si j’y reussis).

.          .          .           .           .

Voici le moment de faire quelque chose. Tournez lui la tete au General et il fera tout pour vous surtout si vous etes avec lui au moment du Christophe. Je vous envoie un en cas - e vi saluto.


Le Colonel vient ici du 20 au 25. Je reviendrai vers le milieu du Septembre.

A vous de coeur,

J’ai dine chez le Gouverneur et son ler aide-de-camp. Je dine ce soir chez les Carmichaels. Elle est folle pour moi. Que le ciel m’aide!

is the beauty of the thing. I rely on you and beg you not to disappoint me, for all my projects and my future depend on you - (for I am going to have a house here where I can spend six months of the year and it shall be mine for the Society and you shall no longer suffer from the heat as you do now, if I succeed).

.         .          .           .           .

This is the proper time to do something. Turn the General’s head and he will do anything for you, especially if you are with him at the same time as Christophe. I send you a possible requisite [lit - an "in case of" (a letter from the Mahatma in case the General should want a reply?)] - and wish you good-bye.

The Colonel will be here from the 20th to the 25th.  I shall return about the middle of September.

Heartily yours,

I have dined with the Governor and his principal aide-de-camp. This evening I dine with the Carmichaels. She is mad after me. Heaven help me!

Some of this language is not very intelligible, and certainly not very nice. But the fairest interpretation of it yields the following conclusions: (1) That ‘phenomena’ are dangerous and that the General is to get as few of these as will suffice. A flower from Koot Hoomi may be enough. (2) That if his curiosity should grow by being fed, he must not be baulked. An ‘occult’ letter is apparently sent by post to be ready for this contingency. It is quite possible that Major-General Morgan travelled down the Ooty ghat in the mail-tonga that carried the letter destined by Koot Hoomi for his edification. (3) That the ‘others’ so cavalierly dismissed are probably the native supporters of the movement, the value of whose testimony to phenomenal occurrences is but lightly esteemed.

On the concluding paragraph, we make no comment, except that it was on the occasion of this Ooty visit that Colonel Olcott succeeded in drawing from the Madras Government a fatuous general order for the protection of Theosophists against persecution. We add another extract, also bearing upon Madame Blavatsky’s inter-


course with the members of Government, not from any mischievous desire to show them in a malignant light, but because we think that the perusal of these documents will go far to convince Messrs. Carmichael and Webster at least that we are dealing with genuine originals. If it is not so, we are at least giving proof of our own good faith, for the falsity of our statements can easily be ascertained by a reference to the unimpeachable authorities named. We may add that this quotation is from a note written upon the back of a letter from Mrs. Carmichael to Mme. Blavatsky.

My Dear Friend,

.          .          .           .
.         .          .           .

(Signed) H. P. B.


J’ai dine deux fois chez les Carmichaels et aujourd’hui voila qu’elle m’envoie chercher encore! J’ai trouve une place a Soubbroy dans le Secretariat. Mr. Webster et Mr. Carmichael me l’ont promis, et dites a Damodar que j’ai la promesse de Mr. Webster, Chief Secretary tout to transfer Ramaswamy to Madras.

My Dear Friend,

.          .          .           .
.         .          .           .

H. P. B.


I have dined twice with the Carmichaels, and to-day she actually sends to fetch me again! I have found a place for Subbroya in the Secretariat.  Mr. Webster and Mr. Carmichael have promised it to me, and say to Damodar that I have the promise of Mr. Webster, Chief Secretary, to transfer Ramaswamy to Madras.


We conclude with a batch of three letters, selected principally for the sake of showing that Madame Blavatsky by more than implication confesses the authorship of the Mahatma’s letters, and the perishable nature of Christofolo himself.


My Dear Mme. Coulomb,

.          .          .           .

Oh mon pauvre Christofolo! Il est donc mort et vous l’avez tue? Oh ma chere amie si vous saviez comme je voudrais le voir revivre!

.         .          .           .

Ma benediction a mon pauvre Christofolo.

a vous, toujours
H. P. B.

My Dear Mme. Coulomb,

.          .          .           .

On my poor Christofolo! He is dead then and you have killed him? Oh my dear friend if you only knew how I would like to see him revive!

.         .          .           .

My blessing on my poor Christofolo.

Ever yours,
H. P. B.





Ma chere amie,

.         .          .           .

Veuillez O sorciere a mille ressources demander a Christofolo quand vous le verrez de transmettre la lettre ci incluse par voie aerienne astrale ou n’importe comment. C’est tres important. A vous ma chere, je vous embrasse bien.

Yours faithfully,

Je vous supplie FAITES LE BIEN.


My dear friend,

.         .          .           .

Be good enough, O sorceress of a thousand resources, to ask Christofolo when you see him to transmit the letter herewith enclosed by an aerial or astral way, or it makes no matter how. It is very important. (My love) to you my dear. I embrace you.

Yours faithfully,

I beg you DO IT WELL.


13 Juillet.

Cher Marquis,

.         .          .           .

Montrez ou envoyez lui le papier ou le slip (le petit sacristi pas le grand, car ce dernier doit aller se coucher pres de son auteur dans le temple mural) avec l’ordre de vous les fournir. J’ai recu une lettre qui a force notre maitre cheri K. H. d ecrire ses ordres aussi a Mr. Damodar et autres. Que la Marquise les lise. Cela suffera je vous l’assure. Ah si je pouvais avoir ici mon Christofolo cheri!

.         .          .           .

Cher Marquis - je vous livre le destin de mes enfants. Prenez en soin et faites leur faire des miracles. Peut etre il serait mieux de faire tomber celui-ci sur la tete?

(Signed) H. P. B.

Cachetez l’enfant apres l’avoir lu.

Enregistrez vos lettres s’il q’y trouve quelquechose - autrement, non.

13th July.

Dear Marquis,

.         .          .           .

Show or send him [Damodar] the paper, i.e., the slip (the small one not the large one for this latter must go and lie near its author in the mural temple) with the orders for you to supply it. I have received a letter which has obliged our dear master K. H. to write his orders also to Mr. Damodar and the others. Let the Marquise read them. That will be enough I assure you. Ah if I could only have my darling Christofolo here!

.         .          .           .

Dear Marquis - I leave the fate of my children in your hands. Take care of them and make them work miracles. Perhaps it would be better to make this one fall on his head?

H. P. B.

Seal the child after reading it.

Register your letters if there is anything in them - otherwise never mind.

The first of these according to Madame Coulomb’s account refers to an occasion when, probably in a fit of penitence and disgust, she destroyed the simple arrangement of mask, bladders and muslin that served to represent the revered Master to his disciples. If


the second letter is of a later date, Christofolo evidently did revive, and became as great and useful as before, for that letter asks for his services to transmit one of his own epistles by the aerial or astral way, or it makes no matter how. Of course, the services of Madame Coulomb, "the sorceress of a thousand resources" are indispensable, and Christofolo gives but the shelter of his venerable name.

The third letter is to our minds a plain confession under Madame Blavatsky’s own hand that ‘our dear master Koot Hoomi’s’ letters are really her own work. Everything depends upon the discretion and fidelity of the Coulombs. To them is entrusted the slip for Damodar, which is evidently a letter from Madame Blavatsky in her own name, and to them goes the enclosure from the Master which they are asked to read and then to seal. They are to take care of the ‘children’ and see that they work miracles. For apparently all depends, not on the sweet reasonableness of Theosophy, not on its principles left to germinate in the mind, not on the moral authority of Mahatmas, but on a constant repetition of childish marvels, calculated to keep the minds of Theosophists in perpetual slavery.


[A follow-up article with additional letters was published by the Rev. Patterson in the October 1884 issue of The Madras Christian College Magazine.   This will soon be reprinted and available at the Blavatsky Archives.  BA Editor.]




Since the article entitled "The Collapse of Koot Hoomi" was struck off we have received the following letter from M. Coulomb, to whom we had sent a proof of the article. We apologise to Mr. Ragunatha Rao for our error in supposing that he was still President of the Madras Branch of the Theosophical Society.


The occult letter of K. H. to Mr. Ragunatha Row (the Sanskrit one contained in the Chinese envelope, and which is in your possession) was the answer of Christofolo which was to be given to him (Mr. Ragunatha Row) as an answer to the letter he would put in the shrine. The above-mentioned letter of K. H. was enclosed in the letter which begins: "Ma chere amie. Ou me dit (Damodar) que Dewan Bahadoor . . . . ." and this letter of K. H. is the same one which you thus mention in your editorial: "There has come into our possession however, a letter from the Mahatma addressed to Mr. Ragunatha Rao, but for some reason never delivered, which makes it possible that his is the case referred to in the next letter." It is very important to point out that the answer of Christofolo ("voici la reponse de Christofolo") is K. H.’s letter above referred to, because this will prove that Christofolo and K. H. are one and the same personage.

I have also to inform you that the letter beginning "Tropo tardi! Cher Marquis. Si ce que Christophe a en main, etc." is in answer to my letter to Mme. Blavatsky in which I informed her that I did not execute the order contained in the letter "On me dit (Damodar), &c."

As to your editorial: "Whether he ever posted his letter in the cabinet, and whether the answer he received was satisfactory, the letter itself does not tell us;" the following is the explanation: Mr. Ragunatha Row did come to the shrine and put in the silver bowl a letter written in Sanskrit, but his letter was not taken from the shrine by Christofolo and consequently the answer, which is the one you have, and which ought to have been


given according to the instructions of "Luna Melanconica" ("Dans le cas qu’il le fasse voici la reponse de Christofolo") was not given; and when Mr. Ragunatha Row left the shrine finding that the Mahatma had not taken his letter and had not given him an answer, instead of taking back his letter he left it in the shrine and went. The next day I took the letter of Mr. Ragunatha Row from the shrine and sent it to Mme. Blavatsky.

Now you will ask why I did not take immediately the letter of Mr. Ragunatha Row and did not put the answer to it according to the instructions of "Luna Melanconica." Well, I did not do it, because I had too much respect for Mr. Ragunatha Row to play such tricks on him, and by not doing it I was in a dilemma for not executing the order of Mme. B. So when I sent the letter which Mr. Ragunatha Row left in the Shrine to Madame, I wrote to her, as a pretext for not putting it, that as I feared the letter of K. H. would perhaps not coincide as an answer with the letter of Mr. Ragunatha Row which was also written in Sanskrit, I did not place it in the shrine as ordered to do, but that in case she still wished after having read the letter of Mr. Ragunatha Row that I should put the letter of K. H. in the shrine to let me know it by sending me a telegram. But instead of the telegram I received her letter which begins so "Tropo tardi! Cher Marquis. Si ce que Christophe a en main eut ete donne, etc."

I must also take the liberty to observe that it is erroneous to say that Mr. Ragunatha’s faith has received the needed stimulus, because it is just the contrary, as he is no more president of the Society and he is no believer in the Mahatmas of Madame Blavatsky.

I beg to remain,
Yours truly,


7th September 1884.