RE: is K. H's letter of 1900 to Besant real?
Oct 11, 2005 05:16 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
10/11/2005 11:02 AM
Re is K.H's letter of 1900 to Besant real?
Dear K and friends:
I would like to place before you some of the Masters' words on this subject
of their sending letters or notes to various students in the early days of
the THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT.
I do this so as to make it clear to all. It is a "problem" created by our
almost entire reliance on physical evidence.
The Master shows in some detail the way in which this "phenomena" is
As to "proof" I would suggest that the only appropriate source for this lies
in the nature of the suggestions and recommendations offered.
As to whether the recipient (s) adopted them is an entirely different matter
and the pages of history alone record that. At this distance in time we may
all look back and form our own evaluation. As I see it, there can be no
"authoritative verdict" offered in such cases.
I offer these as they relate primarily to "precipitated letters." But, the
moral laws relate to anything offered by H P B or others that have relation
to Theosophical matters - and to such a book as The VOICE OF THE SILENCE, to
letters, notes, the basis for the "Judge Case," etc...
On: PLAGIARISM OF TEXTS
Their "AUTHENTICITY" ?
"But there is another, and a far worse condition implied. For all that the
recipient of "occult" letters can possibly know, and on the simple grounds
of probability and common honesty, the unseen correspondent who would
tolerate one single fraudulent line in his name, would wink at an unlimited
repetition of the deception. And this leads directly to the following. All
the so-called occult letters being supported by identical proofs, they have
all to stand of fall together. If one is to be doubted, then all have, and
the series of letters in the "Occult World," "Esoteric Buddhism," etc.,
etc., may be, and there is no reason why they should not be in such
case--frauds, "clever impostures," and "forgeries," [ see M L, pp. 307, 410,
414, 419-424, 431 ] such as the ingenuous though stupid agent of the
"S.P.R." has made them out to be, in order to raise in the public estimation
the "scientific" acumen and standard of his "Principals."
HPB--"Lodges of Magic" HPB Art. I. p. 291-2
Mr. Judge wrote:
"Some years ago H.P.B. was charged [ by A.P.Sinnett ] with misuse of
Mahatmas' names and handwritings, with forgery of messages from the
Mahatmas, and with humbugging the public and the T.S. therewith. Those
charges had floated vaguely about for sometime...afterwards, writing on the
subject in "Lodges of Magic" [ HPB Articles 1, p. 291 ] in LUCIFER [Vol. 3,
p. 92-3] the question of genuineness or the opposite of such messages was
dealt with, and what she wrote is here presented for reconsideration. It
covers two matters.
First, it proves out of her own mouth what the PATH not long ago said that
"if one letter has to be doubted then all have" to be doubted. Hence if the
Letter to some Brahmins ["Prayag Letter" -- MAHATMA LETTERS, p. 461-3 --] is
a fraud, as Col. Olcott and another say, then all the rest are, also.
Second, it applies precisely to the present state of affairs in respect to
messages from Masters, just as if she had so long ago foreseen the present
and left the article so that tyros in occultism, such as the present
agitators are, might have something to show them how to use their judgment.
The portion selected from her article reads:
We have been asked by a correspondent why he should not "be free to suspect
some of the so-called 'precipitated' letters as being forgeries," giving as
his reason for it that while some of them bear the stamp of (to him)
undeniable genuineness, others seem from their contents and style, to be
imitations. This is equivalent of saying that he had such an unerring
spiritual insight as to be able to detect the false from the true, though he
has never met a Master, nor been given any key by which to test his alleged
The inevitable consequence of applying his untrained judgment in such cases,
would be to make his as likely as not to declare false what was genuine and
genuine what was false. Thus what criterion has any one to decide between
one "precipitated" letter, or another such letter?
Who except their authors, or those whom they employ as their amanuenses (the
chelas and disciples) can tell? For if hardly one out of a hundred "occult"
letters that is ever written in the hand of the Master, in whose name and on
whose behalf they are sent, as the Masters have neither need nor leisure to
write them; and when a Master says: "I wrote that letter" it means only
that every word in it was dictated by him and impressed under his direct
Generally they make their chela, whether near or far away, write (or
precipitate) them, by impressing upon his mind the ideas they wish
expressed, and if necessary aiding him in the picture printing process of
precipitation. It depends entirely upon the chela's state of development,
how accurately the ideas may be transmitted and the writing-model imitated.
Thus the non-adept recipient is left in the dilemma of uncertainty, whether
if one letter is false all may not be, for as far as intrinsic evidence
goes, all come from the same source, and all are brought by the same
But there is another and far worse condition implied. All the so-called
occult letters being supported by identical proofs, they have all to stand
or fall together. If one is to be doubted, then all have, and the series of
letters in the OCCULT WORLD, ESOTERIC BUDDHISM, etc., etc., may be, and
there is no reason why they should not be in such a case,--frauds, "clever
impostures," and "forgeries" such as the ingenuous though stupid agent of
the "S.P.R." has made them out to be, in order to raise in the public
estimation the scientific acumen and standard of his "Principals"...
["H.P.B."] WQJ Articles I, p. 55
The Mahatma wrote:
"I am accused of "plagiarism." We, of Tibet and China, know not what you
mean by the word. I do, but this is no reason, perhaps, why I should accept
your literary laws. Any writer has the privilege of taking out whole
sentences from the dictionary of PAI-WOUEN-YEN-FU the greatest in the world,
full of quotations from every known writer, and containing all the phrases
ever used -- and to frame them to express his thought.
This does not apply to the Kiddle case which happened just as I told you.
But you may find, perchance throughout my letters twenty detached sentences
which may have been already used in books or MSS.
When you write upon some subject you surround yourself with books of
references etc.: when we write upon something the Western opinion about
which is unknown to us, we surround ourselves with hundreds of paras: upon
this particular topic from dozens of different works -- impressed upon the
What wonder then, that not only a chela entrusted with the work and innocent
of any knowledge of the meaning of plagiarism, but even myself -- should use
occasionally a whole sentence already existent applying it only to another
-- our own idea? I have told you of this before and it is no fault of mine
if your friends and enemies will not remain satisfied with the explanation.
When I shall undertake to write an original prize-essay I may be more
For the Kiddle business it is your own fault. Why have you printed the
OCCULT WORLD before sending it to me for revision? I would have never
allowed the passage to pass; nor the "Lal Sing" either foolishly invented as
half a nom de plume by Djwal K. and carelessly allowed by me to take root
without thinking of the consequences.
We are not infallible, all-foreseeing "Mahatmas" at every hour of the day,
good friend: none of you have even learned to remember so much."
MAHATMA LETTERS pp. 364
"From the right point of view, if you will know, it is only the expression
of another person's original ideas, some independent sentence, a thought,
which in its brief completeness is capable of being constructed into a wise
motto or maxim that could be constituted into what is regarded as plagiarism
- the pilfering of another person's 'brain property'.
There is not a book but is the shadow of some other book, the concrete
image, very often, of the astral body of it in some other work upon the same
or approximate subject.
I agree entirely with Dr Cromwell when he says that 'true talent will become
original in the very act of engaging itself with the ideas of another;' nay
will often convert the dross of previous authors into the golden ore that
shines forth to the world as its own peculiar creation.
'From a series of extravagant and weak Italian romances, Shakespeare took
the plots, the characters, and the major part of the incidents of those
dramatic works which have exalted his name, as an original writer, above
that of every other in the annals of literature.'
LETTERS FROM THE MASTERS OF WISDOM, Series I, pp 105-6
"Having been called repeatedly a "sophist," a "myth," a "Mrs. Harris" and a
"lower intelligence" by the enemies, I rather not be regarded as a
deliberate artificer and a liar by bogus friends -- I mean those who would
accept me reluctantly even were I to rise to their own ideal in their
estimation instead of the reverse -- as at present. Personally, I am
indifferent, of course, to the issue.
But for your sake and that of the Society I may make one more effort to
clear the horizon of one of its "blackest" clouds. Let us then recapitulate
the situation and see what your Western sages say of it. "K.H." -- it is
settled -- is a plagiarist -- if it be, after all a question of K.H. and not
of the "two Occidental Humourists."
In the former case, an alleged "adept" unable to evolve out of his "small
oriental brain" any idea or words worthy of Plato turned to that deep tank
of profound philosophy, the Banner of Light, and drew therefrom the
sentences best fitted to express his rather entangled ideas, which had
fallen from the inspired lips of Mr. Henry Kiddle! In the other alternative,
the case becomes still more difficult to comprehend -- save on the theory of
the irresponsible mediumship of the pair of Western jokers.
However startling and impracticable the theory, that two persons who have
been clever enough to carry on undetected the fraud of personating for five
years several adepts -- not one of whom resembles the other; -- two persons,
of whom one, at any rate, is a fair master of English and can hardly be
suspected of paucity of original ideas, should turn for a bit of plagiarism
to a journal as the Banner, widely known and read by most English knowing
Spiritualists; and above all, pilfer their borrowed sentences from the
discourse of a conspicuous new convert, whose public utterances were at the
very time being read and welcomed by every medium and Spiritualist; however
improbable all this and much more, yet any alternative seems more welcome
than simple truth.
The decree is pronounced; "K.H.," whoever he is, has stolen passages from
Mr. Kiddle. Not only this, but as shewn by "a Perplexed Reader" -- he has
omitted inconvenient words and has so distorted the ideas he has borrowed as
to divert them from their original intention to suit his own very different
Well, to this, if I had any desire to argue out the question I might answer
that of what constitutes plagiarism, being a borrowing of ideas rather than
of words and sentences, there was none in point of fact, and I stand
acquitted by my own accusers. As Milton says -- "such kind of borrowing as
this, if it be not bettered by the borrower is accounted plagiary."
Having distorted the ideas "appropriated," and, as now published -- diverted
them from their original intention to suit my own "very different purpose,"
on such grounds my literary larceny does not appear very formidable after
all? And even, were there no other explanation offered, the most that could
be said is, that owing to the poverty of words at the command of Mr.
Sinnett's correspondent, and his ignorance of the art of English
composition, he has adapted a few of innocent Mr. Kiddle's effusions, some
of his excellently constructed sentences -- to express his own contrary
The above is the only line of argument I have given to, and permitted to be
used in, an editorial by the "gifted editor" of the Theosophist, who has
been off her head since the accusation. Verily woman -- is a dreadful
calamity in this fifth race!
However, to you and some few, whom you have permission to select among your
most trusted theosophists, taking first care to pledge them by word of
honour to keep the little revelation to themselves, I will now explain the
real facts of this "very puzzling" psychological mystery. The solution is so
simple, and the circumstances so amusing, that I confess I laughed when my
attention was drawn to it, some time since. Nay, it is calculated to make me
smile even now, were it not the knowledge of the pain it gives to some true
The letter in question was framed by me while on a journey and on
horse-back. It was dictated mentally, in the direction of, and
"precipitated" by, a young chela not yet expert at this branch of Psychic
chemistry, and who had to transcribe it from the hardly visible imprint.
Half of it, therefore, was omitted and the other half more or less distorted
by the "artist." When asked by him at the time, whether I would look it over
and correct I answered, imprudently, I confess -- "anyhow will do, my boy --
it is of no great importance if you skip a few words." I was physically very
tired by a ride of 48 hours consecutively, and (physically again) -- half
asleep. Besides this I had very important business to attend to psychically
and therefore little remained of me to devote to that letter. It was doomed,
When I woke I found it had already been sent on, and, as I was not then
anticipating its publication, I never gave it from that time a thought. --
Now, I had never evoked spiritual Mr. Kiddle's physiognomy, never had heard
of his existence, was not aware of his name. Having -- owing to our
correspondence and your Simla surroundings and friends -- felt interested in
the intellectual progress of the Phenomenalists which progress by the bye, I
found rather moving backward in the case of American Spiritualists -- I had
directed my attention some two months previous to the great annual camping
movement of the latter, in various directions, among others to Lake or Mount
Some of the curious ideas and sentences representing the general hopes and
aspirations of the American Spiritualists remained impressed on my memory,
and I remembered only these ideas and detached sentences quite apart from
the personalities of those who harboured or pronounced them. Hence, my
entire ignorance of the lecturer whom I have innocently defrauded as it
would appear, and who now raises the hue and cry. Yet, had I dictated my
letter in the form it now appears in print, it would certainly look
suspicious, and, however far from what is generally called plagiarism, yet
in the absence of any inverted commas, it would lay a foundation for
censure. But I did nothing of the kind, as the original impression now
before me clearly shows.
And before I proceed any further, I must give you some explanation of this
mode of precipitation. [ MAHATMA LETTERS 265, 342, 471, 480] The recent
experiments of the Psychic Research Society will help you greatly to
comprehend the rationale of this "mental telegraphy." You have observed in
the Journal of that body how thought transference is cumulatively affected.
The image of the geometrical or other figure which the active brain has had
impressed upon it, is gradually imprinted upon the recipient brain of the
passive subject -- as the series of reproductions illustrated in the cuts
show. Two factors are needed to produce a perfect and instantaneous mental
telegraphy -- close concentration in the operator, and complete receptive
passivity in the "reader" -- subject. Given a disturbance of either
condition, and the result is proportionately imperfect. The "reader" does
not see the image as in the "telegrapher's" brain, but as arising in his
own. When the latter's thought wanders, the psychic current becomes broken,
the communication disjointed and incoherent. In a case such as mine, the
chela had, as it were, to pick up what he could from the current I was
sending him and, as above remarked, patch the broken bits together as best
Do not you see the same thing in ordinary mesmerism -- the maya impressed
upon the subject's imagination by the operator becoming, now stronger, now
feebler, as the latter keeps the intended illusive image more or less
steadily before his own fancy?
And how often the clairvoyants reproach the magnetiser for taking their
thoughts off the subject under consideration?
And the mesmeric healer will always bear you witness that if he permits
himself to think of anything but the vital current he is pouring into his
patient, he is at once compelled to either establish the current afresh or
stop the treatment.
So I, in this instance, having at the moment more vividly in my mind the
psychic diagnosis of current Spiritualistic thought, of which the Lake
Pleasant speech was one marked symptom, unwittingly transferred that
reminiscence more vividly than my own remarks upon it and deductions
So to say, (the "despoiled victim's" -- Mr. Kiddle's -- utterances) came out
as a "high light" and were more sharply photographed (first in the chela's
brain and thence on the paper before him, a double process and one far more
difficult than "thought reading" simply) while the rest, -- my remarks
thereupon and arguments -- as I now find, are hardly visible and quite
blurred on the original scraps before me.
Put into a mesmeric subject's hand a sheet of blank paper, tell him it
contains a certain chapter of some book that you have read, concentrate your
thoughts upon the words, and see how -- provided that he has himself not
read the chapter, but only takes it from your memory -- his reading will
reflect your own more or less vivid successive recollections of your
The same as to the precipitation by the chela of the transferred thought
upon (or rather, into) paper: if the mental picture received be feeble his
visible reproduction of it must correspond. And the more so in proportion to
the closeness of attention he gives. He might -- were he but merely a person
of the true mediumistic temperament -- be employed by his "Master" as a sort
of psychic printing machine producing lithographed or psychographed
impressions of what the operator had in mind; his nerve-system, the
machine, his nerve-aura the printing fluid, the colours drawn from that
exhaustless storehouse of pigments (as of everything else) the Akasa. But
the medium and the chela are diametrically dissimilar and the latter acts
consciously, except under exceptional circumstances during development not
necessary to dwell upon here.
Well, as soon as I heard of the charge -- the commotion among my defenders
having reached me across the eternal snows -- I ordered an investigation
into the original scraps of the impression. At the first glance I saw that
it was I, the only and most guilty party, -- the poor little boy having done
but that which he was told. Having now restored the characters and the lines
-- omitted and blurred beyond hope of recognition by anyone but their
original evolver -- to their primitive colour and places, I now find my
letter reading quite differently as you will observe.
Turning to the OCCULT WORLD -- the copy sent by you -- to the page cited,
(namely p. 149 in the first edition) I was struck, upon carefully reading
it, by the great discrepancy between the sentences. A gap, so to say, of
ideas between part 1 (from line 1 to line 25) and part 2 -- the plagiarized
There seems no connection at all between the two; for what has, indeed, the
determination of our chiefs (to prove to a skeptical world that physical
phenomena are as reducible to law as anything else) to do with Plato's ideas
which "rule the world" or "practical Brotherhood of Humanity?"
I fear that it is your personal friendship alone for the writer that has
blinded you to the discrepancy and disconnection of ideas in this abortive
"precipitation," even until now. Otherwise you could not have failed to
perceive that something was wrong on that page; that there was a glaring
defect in the connection.
Moreover, I have to plead guilty to another sin: I have never so much as
looked at my letters in print -- until the day of the forced investigation.
I had read only your own original matter, feeling it a loss of time to go
over my hurried bits and scraps of thought. But now, I have to ask you to
read the passages as they were originally dictated by me, and make the
comparison with the Occult World before you.
I transcribe them with my own hand this once, whereas the letter in your
possession was written by the chela. I ask you also to compare this
hand-writing with that of some of the earlier letters you received from me.
Bear in mind, also the "O.L.'s" emphatic denial at Simla that my first
letter had ever been written by myself. I felt annoyed at her gossip and
remarks then; it may serve a good purpose now.
Alas! by no means are we all "gods"; especially when you remember that since
the palmy days of the "impressions" and "precipitations" -- "K.H." has been
born into a new and higher light, and even that one, in no wise the most
dazzling to be acquired on this earth. Verily the Light of Omniscience and
infallible Prevision on this earth -- that shines only for the highest
CHOHAN alone is yet far away from me!
I enclose the copy verbatim from the restored fragments underlining in red
[these passages are printed in italics. -- ED.] the omitted
sentences for easier comparison.
(Page 149. - Barker First Edition.) ..."
MAHATMA LETTERS, Barker, pp 420-425
I hope this will satisfy you,
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 10:18 AM
Subject: Re: is K. H's letter of 1900 to Besant real?
Aren't those letters written by the master's chelas?
They often did the work for the mahatmas. Slight differences this way could
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:13 PM
Subject: is K. H's letter of 1900 to Besant real?
I question came to my mind.
I've just seen the facsimile of the letter and it doesn't seem to be K.
it's not blue, the "t" are not crossed like in the other letters and it's
a more 'round' hand writing....
can anyone present any proof about this letter being real or false?
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