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Leadbeater on why Mahatma Letters should not be published

Sep 18, 2011 01:26 AM
by Anand Gholap

C.W. Leadbeater on why Mahatma Letters should not be published


Anand Gholap

Below are extremely important passages written by Mr. C.W. Leadbeater regarding 
Mahatma Letters. Publication of Mahatma Letters was forbidden by Mahatmas for 
various reasons. Below we see those reasons and also disastrous implications 
if they were published.
"I have mentioned various ways in which messages are received from the unseen 
world, but there is still another type of communication which is perhaps of 
more immediate interest to some of our students, and that is the message or 
instruction occasionally given by a Master of the Wisdom to His pupils. Such 
messages have been sent at intervals all through the history of our Society. 
They have, however, been of many different kinds, and have come in diverse 
ways. Some have been public? addressed, that is to say, to all enquirers; others 
have been intended for certain groups of students only ; yet others have been 
strictly private, containing advice or instruction to a single pupil. A vast 
amount of what, now that it is systematized, we usually call Theosophical teaching, 
came to us in the shape of phenomenally-produced letters, written (or rather 
precipitated) by order of one or other of the Brotherhood to which our Masters 

Students should, however, bear in mind that those early letters were never 
intended as a complete statement of the ancient doctrine ; they were the answers 
to a number of heterogeneous questions propounded by Messrs. Sinnett and Hume. 
By slow degrees the outlines of that doctrine began to emerge from this rather 
chaotic mass of revelation, and Mr. Sinnett tried to reduce it to some sort 
of order in his Esoteric Buddhism.
Each of his chapters is an able statement of the information received on one 
branch of the subject, but naturally there are many links missing. Madame Blavatsky 
herself essayed the same gigantic task in her monumental work The Secret Doctrine; 
but, wonderful as was the erudition she displayed, the arrangement was still 
imperfect, and she so over-weighted her volumes with quotations from scientific 
(perhaps sometimes only quasi-scientific) writers, and with more or less corroborative 
testimony from all kinds of out-of-the-way sources, that it was still almost 
impossible for the average man to grasp the scheme as a coherent whole. We 
owe an immense debt of gratitude to Messrs. B. Keightley, A. Keightley, G. 
R. S. Mead and, above all, to our President (Annie Besant), for their long 
and arduous labour of systematization and re-arrangement; indeed, it was not 
until the last-mentioned author (Annie Besant) published The Ancient Wisdom 
that we had before us a clearly comprehensible statement of Theosophy as we 
now understand it.
It was not the intention of our Masters that those original letters should 
be published; indeed, in one of them the Chohan Kuthumi quite clearly stated: 
" My letters must not be published" ; and later in the same epistle: " The 
letters were not written for publication or public comment upon them, but for 
private use, and neither M. nor I would ever give our consent to see them thus 
handled." Mr. Sinnett promised that at his death he would leave these letters 
to our President for preservation in the Society's archives; but most unfortunately 
he either changed his mind or forgot to do this, and so they fell into the 
hands of one who thought himself wiser in this matter than the Masters, and 
therefore did just what They had forbidden, though They had given clear warning 
that to do so "would only be making confusion worse confounded . . . would 
place you in a still more difficult position, bring criticism upon the heads 
of the Masters, and thus have a retarding influence on human progress and the 
Theosophical Society ". This is very readily comprehensible to an ordinary 
intellect when we see how much of purely personal matter and of advice on questions 
of merely temporary interest those early letters contain ; still more so when 
we remember that Madame Blavatsky said of them :                                                                                                   
"It is hardly one out of a hundred occult letters that is ever written by 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 supervision. 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." 
(Lucifer, vol. iii, p. 93.)
Furthermore, in order to enable him to estimate aright the value in detail 
of these letters, I most strongly recommend the student to re-read carefully 
another of Madame Blavatsky's definite statements on this sub­ject, printed 
on page 617 et seq. of the Centenary number of The Theosophist, in which she 
clearly explains that the " direct supervision " mentioned above was not always 
exercised, but that a chela was ordered to satisfy correspondents to the best 
of his or her ability. I am not for a moment maintaining that the information 
given in some of those letters was not of the very greatest value and importance 
to us ; on the contrary, it was the beginning of the whole Theosophical revelation 
; but I do say, having seen the originals, that there are some unquestionably 
obvious mistakes in detail, and some statements that no Master, with His almost 
omniscient knowledge, could possibly have made ; and I have no doubt that the 
reasons for such errors are precisely those which Madame Blavatsky gives us."

According to H.P. Blavatsky, mistakes in precipitation of letters are quite 
possible due to various reasons. Below are the paragraphs of H.P. Blavatsky 
from her article Precipitation. These paragraphs explain the process of precipitation 
and why mistakes can happen in this process.

?The work of writing the letters in question is carried on by a sort of psychological 
telegraphy; the Mahatmas very rarely write their letters in the ordinary way. 
An electromagnetic connection, so to say, exists on the psychological plane 
between a Mahatma and his chelas, one of whom acts as his amanuensis. When 
the Master wants a letter to be written in this way, he draws the attention 
of the chela, whom he selects for the task, by causing an astral bell (heard 
by so many of our Fellows and others) to be rung near him, just as the despatching 
telegraph office signals to the receiving office before wiring the message. 
The thoughts arising in the mind of the Mahatma are then clothed in word, pronounced 
mentally, and forced along the astral currents he sends towards the pupil to 
impinge on the brain of the latter. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents 
to the palms of his hands and the tips of his fingers, which rest on a piece 
of magnetically prepared paper. As the thought-waves are thus impressed on 
the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean of ákas, (permeating every 
atom of the sensuous universe) by an occult process, out of place here to describe, 
and permanent marks are left. . . .

>From this it is abundantly clear that the success of such writing as above 
described depends chiefly upon these things: (1) The force and the clearness 
with which the thoughts are propelled and (2) the freedom of the receiving 
brain from disturbance of every description. The case with the ordinary electric 
telegraph is exactly the same. If, for some reason or other the battery supplying 
the electric power falls below the requisite strength on any telegraph line 
or there is some derangement in the receiving apparatus, the message transmitted 
becomes either mutilated or otherwise imperfectly legible. The telegram sent 
toEngland by Reuter's agent at Simla on the classification of the opinions 
of Local Governments on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, which excited 
so much discussion, gives us a hint as to how inaccuracies might arise in the 
process of precipitation. Such inaccuracies, in fact do very often arise as 
may be gathered from what the Mahatma says in the above extract. "Bear in mind," 
says He, that "these letters are not written, but impressed, or precipitated??"

To turn to the sources of error in the precipitation. Remembering the circumstances 
under which blunders arise in telegrams, we see that if a Mahatma somehow becomes 
exhausted or allows his thoughts to wander off during the process, or fails 
to command the requisite intensity in the astral currents along which his thoughts 
are projected, or the distracted attention of the pupil produces disturbances 
in his brain and nerve-centres, the success of the process is very much interfered 

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