The S.S. Shannon Letter from Koot Hoomi
Nov 03, 2002 10:42 AM
by Daniel H. Caldwell
Below is most of the S.S. Shannon Letter written by Master Koot Hoomi
to Henry S. Olcott. The letter was received by Colonel Olcott on
August 22, 1888 on board the S.S. Shannon in the Mediterranean Sea.
Olcott was on his way to London. Madame Blavatsky was living in
London at this time.
In Olcott's handwritten diary for the above date, I find the
"Weather fine. Received in my cabin while dressing a [three dots
here in the form of a triangle] letter of instructions."
Again, as you approach London I have a word or two to say to you.
Your impressibility is so changeful that I must not wholly depend
upon it at this critical time. Of course you know that things were so
brought to a focus as to necessitate the present journey and that the
inspiration to make it came to you and to permit it to the
Councillors from without. Put all needed restraint upon your
feelings, so that you may do the right thing in this Western
imbroglio. Watch your first impressions. The mistakes you make spring
from failure to do this. Let neither your personal predilections,
affections, suspicions nor antipathies affect your action.
Misunderstandings have grown up between Fellows both in London and
Paris, which imperil the interests of the movement. You will be told
that the chief originator of most, if not of all these disturbances
is H. P. B. This is not so; though her presence in England has, of
course, a share in them. But the largest share rests with others,
whose serene unconsciousness of their own defects is very marked and
much to be blamed. One of the most valuable effects of Upasika's
mission is that it drives men to self-study and destroys in them
blind servility for persons. Observe your own case, for example.
But your revolt, good friend, against her infallibility -- as you
once thought it -- has gone too far and you have been unjust to her,
for which I am sorry to say, you will have to suffer hereafter along
with others. JUST NOW, ON DECK, your thoughts about her were dark and
sinful, and so I find the moment a fitting one to put you on your
Try to remove such misconceptions as you will find, by kind
persuasion and an appeal to the feelings of loyalty to the Cause of
truth if not to us. Make all these men feel that we have no
favourites, nor affections for persons, but only for their good acts
and humanity as a whole. But we employ agents -- the best available.
Of these for the past thirty years the chief has been the personality
known as H. P. B. to the world (but otherwise to us). Imperfect and
very troublesome, no doubt, she proves to some, nevertheless, there
is no likelihood of our finding a better one for years to come -- and
your theosophists should be made to understand it. Since 1885 I have
not written, nor caused to be written save thro' her agency, direct
or remote, a letter or line to anybody in Europe or America, nor
communicated orally with, or thro' any third party. Theosophists
should learn it. You will understand later the significance of this
declaration so keep it in mind. Her fidelity to our work being
constant, and her sufferings having come upon her thro' it, neither I
nor either of my Brother associates will desert or supplant her. As I
once before remarked, ingratitude is not among our vices.
With yourself our relations are direct, and have been with the rare
exceptions you know of, like the present, on the psychical plane, and
so will continue thro' force of circumstances. That they are so rare -
- is your own fault as I told you in my last.
To help you in your present perplexity: H. P. B. has next to no
concern with administrative details, and should be kept clear of
them, so far as her strong nature can be controlled. But this you
must tell to all: -- With occult matters she has everything to do. We
have not abandoned her; she is not "given over to chelas." She is our
direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and
resentment against "her many follies" to bias your intuitive loyalty
to her. In the adjustment of this European business, you will have
two things to consider -- the external and administrative, and the
internal and psychical. Keep the former under your control and that
of your most prudent associates, jointly; leave the latter to her.
You are left to devise the practical details with your usual
ingenuity. Only be careful, I say, to discriminate when some emergent
interference of hers in practical affairs is referred to you on
appeal, between that which is merely exoteric in origin and effects,
and that which beginning on the practical tends to beget consequences
on the spiritual plane. As to the former you are the best judge, as
to the latter, she.
I have also noted, your thoughts about the "Secret Doctrine." Be
assured that what she has not annotated from scientific and other
works, we have given or suggested to her. Every mistake or erroneous
notion, corrected and explained by her from the works of other
theosophists was corrected by me, or under my instruction. It is a
more valuable work than its predecessor, an epitome of occult truths
that will make it a source of information and instruction for the
earnest student for long years to come. . . .
You had better not mention for the present this letter to anyone --
not even to H.P.B. unless she speaks to you of it herself. Time
enough when you see occasion arise. It is merely given you, as a
warning and a guide; to others, as a warning only, for you may use it
discreetly if needs be. -- K.H. -- Letters from the Masters of the
Wisdom, First Series, Letter 19, 5th edition. caps added.
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