Re: 1900 letter
Oct 05, 1994 09:41 AM
by K. Paul Johnson
The 1900 letter from KH was written in the margins of a letter to
Besant from B. W. Mantri, an inquirer into Theosophy who lived
in Bombay. Besant was in London at the time; the KH annotations
to the Mantri letter were either a) made in Bombay before it was
mailed b) added en route through some process normal or
paranormal or c) added in London before Besant opened the letter.
Mantri expressed confusion about the Society's tenets; thus KH's
first remark commenting on him.
What are the logical possibilities about its authorship? As far
as I can see they are fourfold: 1) Someone deliberately
perpetrating a fraud to deceive Besant, 2) KH directly
precipitating his message onto the Mantri letter 3) A person
believing himself to be in telepathic communication with KH
conspiring with Mantri or someone else to present the Master's
message in an impressive manner 4) Besant herself perpetrating a
fraud. Of these, the last seems least likely; she would not have
been inclined to participate in such a scheme in light of the
highly unflattering comments about herself. If the second is
true, it shows that Olcott's general attitude, so different from
those of HPB, Besant, Leadbeater and many others, was at this
point endorsed by the Master. In cases 1 and 3, the most likely
suspect is the person whose own views were being promoted under
the guise of Mahatmic intervention-- Olcott, acting alone or
through confederates. If it were Olcott, I think option 3 more
likely than 1. Having known KH, and occasionally believing
himself in telepathic contact with adepts, Olcott would not have
been likely to perpetrate an all-out fraud in the Master's name.
All this is so speculative that I think it best left out of the
book. I welcome other possibilities for consideration.
If the message is genuine, does it necessarily imply that the two
quoted in the earlier post-- KH to HPB, and KH to Olcott aboard
the Shannon-- were fraudulent? No. In the intervening 12-14
years, circumstances may have changed sufficiently to cause KH to
change his view-- HPB's death being of course the biggest change.
As for comments on the text of the letter. The Tibetan proverb
suggests to me that once people start believing "any old thing,"
their foolishness expands exponentially until it becomes
inevitable that cynical deceivers take advantage of them. Quite
applicable as a prophecy. What were the deluding influences?
Leadbeater had been AB's closest advisor for six years at this
time, and seems the only possible target of many of the warnings.
Point by point, they refer not only to the direction in which he
was guiding Annie at the time but the entire future course of
their relationship, right up to the Krishnamurti debacle.
Interestingly, if folks had heeded Olcott in 1892 the whole
business could have been avoided. And if they had heeded this
letter, ditto. As for leaving behind predilections for
particular religions, this may well apply to Annie's championing
of Hinduism. The LCC connection was many years in the future,
but on the other hand KH did warn that "the greatest of your
trials is yet to come."
This letter is altogether one of the most fascinating mysteries
of Theosophical history. I have to be careful to present it as
such, and keep my tentative interpretations in the background.
Any comments on what might be said about the letter are once
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