The first to speak about this mysterious place was Master Morya, who in a letter he wrote to Mr. Sinnett in October 1881, pointed out the following:

« At a certain spot not to be mentioned to outsiders, there is a chasm spanned by a frail bridge of woven grasses and with a raging torrent beneath.

The bravest member of your Alpine clubs would scarcely dare to venture the passage, for it hangs like a spider's web and seems to be rotten and impassable. Yet it is not; and he who dares the trial and succeeds — as he will if it is right that he should be permitted — comes into a gorge of surpassing beauty of scenery — to one of our places and to some of our people, of which and whom there is no note or minute among European geographers.

At a stone's throw from the old Lamasery stands the old tower, within whose bosom have gestated generations of Bodhisatwas. It is there, where now rests your lifeless friend [Master Kuthumi]. »
(Mahatma Letter 29, p.219)


Helena Blavatsky, in a letter she wrote to Mrs. Mary Hollis Billings, dated October 2, 1881, gave more details about that mysterious place:

« Kuthumi is now gone to sleep for three months to prepare during this Sumadhi or continuous trance state for his initiation, the last but one, when he will become one of the highest adepts.

Poor Kuthumi, his body is now lying cold and stiff in a separate square building of stone with no windows or doors in it, the entrance to which is effected through an underground passage from a door in Toong-ting (reliquary, a room situated in every Thaten (temple) or Lamisery; and his Spirit is quite free.  An adept might lie so for years, when his body was carefully prepared for it beforehand by mesmeric passes etc.

It is a beautiful spot where he is now in the square tower.  The Himalayas on the right and a lovely lake near the lamisery.  His Chohan (spiritual instructor, master, and the Chief of a Tibetan Monastery) takes care of his body.  Morya also goes occasionally to visit him.  It is an awful mystery that state of cataleptic sleep for such a length of time. »
(The Theosophical Forum, May 1936, p.345)


Although the physical access to that place is reserved only for the Adepts and their disciples, there were also members of the Theosophical Society who visited him through his astral body, and one of them was C. Ramiah who narrated his experience in two letters which were published in the Theosophist magazine:

« My age is 51 years; and this circumstance I mention to show that I have not the enthusiasm of youth, nor its inseparable flights of imagination. I note down the incidents in the order of their occurrence to me, and the reader is at liberty to draw what conclusion he pleases.

I am a Brahmin of the orthodox faith, and I have been brought up by my parents in the belief of the existence of one great Personal God, and of numerous other minor gods whose powers over nature and elements are extensive, and who have gradually worked up their ways by a knowledge of occult philosophy.

In the year 1860 or 1861, I had occasion to visit the town of Trivellum in North Arcot District and halted in the chuttrum near the Pagoda. I liked the place much; and something about the aspect of the place struck me that it must have been sanctified by the presence of a Mahatma in its neighborhood. If time had allowed, I would have stayed there much longer, but my business required me to leave it the same evening.

In the year 1864 I was working in another district when one night in a dream I saw a Mahatma seated high in the air with a very brilliant star for his ring, and he pointed me out to his Chela standing near, and beyond this, nothing further occurred.

In the year 1873 my father died and in his last moments he told me that "he had in his mind one or two particular things to communicate, but which he was powerless to do at that moment, and, if the Mahatmas wished, they would communicate with me in the course of time."

About the year 1880, one night, I was carried in my dream to a rural village at the foot of a great chain of mountains; and there I saw a Mahatma dressed in a Buddhist’s gown and hood, with bare feet. I at once prostrated myself at his feet, when he bade me rise, placed his two hands on my head, and directed me to persevere in the mode of life I have been following. A few months rolled away and nothing particular occurred.

In the year 1881, the newly established Theosophical Society attracted the attention of all people; and hearing that a Mahatma was favorably disposed to its successful working, I prayed that I may be favored with faith. I repeated this prayer every night; and it so happened that one night, in my dream, I was carried to the same chain of mountains, when I perceived the same Mahatma (who already appeared to me in the Buddhist’s gown) standing on an isolated rock; and there was a deep chasm between him and me.

Not being able to go nearer, I prostrated on the ground, when I was ordered to rise and was asked what I wanted. I repeated the prayer that I wanted to know more of faith, when, to my surprise, a large volume of brilliant fire burst forth from his breast with several forked tongues, and a few particles of fire flew in my direction and they were absorbed in my person. The Mahatma disappeared after this, and here ended my second dream.

As time rolled on, I became less and less selfish, am disposed to look upon the whole humanity, animals and men, as part of myself, and am more and more anxious to learn and become useful to the world at large within my limited means and knowledge, of which there is not much.

In the middle part of the year 1883, one night, I was carried in my dream to a great chain of mountains when some one led me into their recesses. There I found a great rock temple in the form of a hall of oblong size, and I perceived the same Mahatma, who had shown himself to me on the two previous occasions, seated on a low stool with a shrine opposite to him, and there were two rows of Mahatmas, one on each side, all dressed in Buddhist’s gown except the Chief.

I prostrated as usual and was ordered to rise. I was then told to go round the shrine, and some one led me round, and there I found two or three ladies in deep devotion.

On the shrine I observed a very brilliant substance resembling phosphorus, in a dark place irregularly coiled like a serpent, and I expressed a wish to know what it was; and one of the ladies then opening her eyes told me that the shrine is earth, to which state all our physical bodies must be brought down sooner or later, and the brilliant substance is the spirit, or essence, or "Jyoti" which moves all universe. I came back to the Chief, and after prostrating before him once more, I left the place which was said to be "Harthayery", by one of the Mahatmas standing (1).

I have had no dreams since then, but I perceive a change coming over me as if my inward man is trying to fly upwards; and I have now a very sincere desire to proceed to the Tibetan mountains in search of the Mahatmas.

I was thinking over these dreams, and at last my mind became so heavy with these thoughts that I prayed to the Mahatmas for relief. In my dream again about two months ago, I was told to go to Mr. T. Subba Row, the worthy President of the Madras Branch of the Theosophical Society, and to him I went after the voice repeated itself a second time. To him I explained my whole experience, and he kindly asked me to call at the Head-Quarters of the Theosophical Society in order to see if I could recognize the features of the Mahatma who appeared to me in my dream.

I went thither the same evening, and at about 4 p.m., the "Shrine" doors were opened, and to my surprise I identified in the photo of the Illustrious Mahatma K. H. the exact features of the Mahatma of my dreams. With my hands joined in a state of supplication, and with the words "O Mighty God" on my lips, I went down on my knees, and in an hour afterwards I became a fellow of the Theosophical Society.

11th August, 1884.

After identifying the Mahatma of my dreams with the Mahatma K. H., whose picture graces the shrine at Adyar Head-quarters (as mentioned in the September number of the Theosophist), I resolved to call to my mind the form of the Mahatma, and after a few determined trials I succeeded in impressing my mind with his exact features, not omitting even the Buddhist’s gown and bare feet.

I willed this often, and each time the features became more and more clearly defined. At one time the Mahatma appeared seated, oftentimes standing, and on a few occasions he appeared standing on an elevated place; and in my efforts to approach him from the low land, in which I then fancied I was, he extended his hand as if to help me in climbing up. All the above were visions in open day time during my hours of prayer, and they were not dreams.

As time rolled on I observed the features of the Mahatma to wear an expression of sorrow, and this I thought was due to my sinful life. A change, however, came over me soon, and to my extreme regret I perceived that mental clouds intervened between the Mahatma and me, hiding him altogether from my view; and they followed each other in rapid succession.

When they were dispersed by an effort of the will, the internal light which enabled me to see the Mahatma with my mind’s eye became so intense and displayed such variegated colors, that I was not able to see any thing. On other occasions this same internal light became so unsteady that an effort to see him pained the mind’s eye.

I felt very sorry for the above interruption, when one day, while in prayers, I perceived a ray of light of golden hue shine within me, and as I followed it, it grew in intensity, and the golden hue was diffused all over in me. It did not however stop here, and it extended itself to the whole earth, and even went beyond it, lighting up as far as the mind’s eye can reach or comprehend. In this light I perceived worlds moving and all sorts of matter and human and other forms moving in this ocean of light.

The vision was splendid to behold, and after a lapse of about five minutes the light gradually contracted itself to the original single ray, and in the light which it diffused, I perceived the sublime and glorious form of the Mahatma. I must, however, add here that so long as this ray of light of golden hue was seen by me, neither the clouds, nor the intensely strong light with variegated colors, nor unsteadiness of light, disturbed the vision.

I have no control over this splendid ray of light as it appears when I am unaware, and does not appear when I want it to appear. Its duration is also not fixed nor its intensity either.

I mentioned all this to my esteemed friend Mr. Subba Row, and he advised me to see well and distinguish what objects I saw in that glorious light, and I did not waste the advice.

One day while at prayers the golden ray of light appeared, and in seeing through it I perceived the figure of the Mahatma; and as I found my mind’s eye upon him he receded. I followed him, and steadily he walked over an ascent, and then I perceived that a mountainous country was at hand. He went up mountains and down again, now turning to the right and then to the left, until at last he came upon a broad river and then disappeared.

Instinctively I walked alongside of the bank of the river in the hope of finding a ford, and came to its narrowest part. There was a rude bridge of reeds here spanning the river, and trusting myself to the protecting care of the Mahatma, who brought me so far, I made a venture, and before I was aware of my dangerous position, I found myself on the other side.

Here was up and down hill work again, and when I perceived that I was much exhausted, a large lake was disclosed to my view, the margin of which was graced with clusters of beautiful trees, with a sprinkling of rudely built houses on the shore; and on my nearer approach I perceived they were inhabited (2).

Thirsty and hungry, I ventured into the house nearest to me, and with one voice all the inmates greeted me and made me participate in their meals. After this, they clothed me in a gown and hood of pale yellow color, and after similarly clothing themselves, they took me to the rock temple in "Husthagerry" (described in the September number of the Theosophist) where to my surprise and infinite joy I found the Mahatma K. H. seated before the altar on the same low stool as before. We all prostrated before him, and thus ended this interesting vision.

About the latter part of last August I was in prayers as usual when the golden ray of light having appeared the Mahatma stood in it in all his glory. He receded again, and I followed him close, and after traversing the same path over mountains as before, he disappeared at the lake. There were no persons living on the borders of the lake and the houses were all empty. Without knowing the why or the wherefore I tried to reach the rock temple, but I missed my way.

After traversing many mountains and dangerous valleys, I came upon a broad tableland and at some distance I perceived a cluster of fine tall trees beneath the shadow of which there stood a neat house facing eastward. Thither I went, and at its entrance I saw Mahatma K. H. seated alone, and my mind told me it was his own house. I mentioned this curious vision to Mr. Damodar K. Mavalankar, and he told me that I must try and see what more I can; and this resolve I at once made (3).

Three or four days after this interview, the same vision appeared to me, and facing the house of the Mahatma K. H. there appeared another cluster of trees with a house under, with a distance of about a mile or two between the houses; and there was also a small temple with a circular dome half way between them. This other or second house I learnt by intuition belonged to another Mahatma (4).

There was no exchange of words between the Mahatma and myself in any one of the visions.

I am sorry I am not an artist or I would have sent you a sketch of the scenery of the two houses with the picturesque temple half way between the houses.

4th September, 1884.


The editor (Blavatsky) added the followings endnotes:

  1. The correspondent probably means an altar and not a shrine. But the details he gives of the Jyoti (flame) seem to correspond to what is alleged to exist in a certain temple in Thibet. The flame symbolises what the Hindu philosophers know as paramjyoti, which is sometimes represented by the Buddhists as the "yellow Sun in the lotus."
  2. The correspondent could not have described the place more accurately, if he had seen it physically. If he had persevered a little and gone further, only a short distance, he might have seen a certain place allowed to be visited only by initiates. Perhaps to prevent his approaching it his course might have been diverted on the way.
  3. This is a correct description, as far as it goes, of the house of the Mahatma.
  4. This description corresponds to that of the house of the other Mahatma, known to Theosophists.

(Ramiah’s testimony was published in Supplement to The Theosophist, September, 1884, p.125-126, and October, 1884, p.138-139)


Another member of the Theosophical Society who also reported having visited this place was the writer Franz Hartmann who wrote the following:

« In the year 1886, after my return from India, I made, accidentally, the acquaintance of the wife of a German laborer. This woman was without any better education that than of her class, but in possession of extraordinary occult powers.

She could cure diseases at a distance, could heal wounds, ulcers, and sores, and could stop bleeding without seeing the patient, merely by “sympathetic” remedies, for instance by putting a blood-stained rag, coming from the patient, into a pot which contained sulphate of iron, after which the bleeding would cease.

This woman had never heard of what is called “psychometry,” so I concluded to try an experiment. I gave her a letter which I had received in a mysterious manner in India. It was a so-called “occult” letter, supposed to come from a Mahatma in Tibet, and was received through H.P. Blavatsky.

I asked the woman to hold the letter to her forehead and tell me what she saw. She did so and gave me a description of a Buddhist temple with a gilded roof, inscriptions, etc., and also of people whose dress she described. All this was afterwards published in the Theo sophist and verified by Blavatsky.

The event seemed very inexplicable to me, especially as I at that time had some cause to doubt the genuineness of at least some of the “occult letters” received by me at Adyar. I remembered afterwards, that, some months before, I had seen myself during a “dream” in a Buddhist temple in Tibet, and this vision was so vivid, that on the moment of awakening I still seemed to hear the voices of the white-robed persons with whom I had spoken in that place. »
(Occult Review, May 1907, p.280-281)



Bhavani Shankar Ganesh Mullapoorkar was one of the first Hindus to join the Theosophical Society when it was installed in India, and about this encounter with Master Kuthumi, he mentioned the following:

« The recent attack made by the Christian Missionaries connected with the "Christian College Magazine," to prove the falsity of occult phenomena by imputing them to the fraudulent tricks of Madame Blavatsky, forces upon me the duty of relating some of my experiences, so that the educated public may have a fair opportunity to draw their own conclusions concerning these phenomena after weighing all the evidences for and against their genuineness. My experience of these phenomena commenced so early as 1881, when the Head-quarters of the Theosophical Society were not removed from Bombay to Adyar, Madras. While I was at Bombay, I have had several occasions to visit its Head-quarters at Breach Candy.

My first encounter with Master Kuthumi was on the night of the 13th July 1881, in a bright moonlight, we were engaged in a talk with Madame Blavatsky as usual in the same verandah. Monsieur Coulomb and Madame Coulomb were present on the spot as also all the persons of the house and Madame Blavatsky's servant.

While we were conversing with Madame B., the Mahatma, known as Mr. Sinnett's Correspondent and the Author of the letters published in "The Occult World," made his appearance in his "Mayavi Rupa" or "Double," for a few minutes.

He was clad in the white dress of a "Punjabee" and wore a white turban. All of those, who were present at that time, saw his handsome features clearly and distinctly, as it was a bright moonlight night.

On the same night, a letter was drafted to the "London Spiritualist" about our having seen the Mahatmas. As we were reading the letter in question, the same Mahatma showed himself again.

The second time when he made his appearance, he was very near us, say at the distance of a yard or two. At that time, Monsieur and Madame Coulomb said, "Here is our Brother," meaning the Mahatma. He then came into Madame Blavatsky's room and was heard talking with her and then disappeared.

Mr. Coulomb and Mrs. Coulomb signed the letter drafted to the London "Spiritualist," testifying to the fact of their having seen the "Mahatma." Since Madame Coulomb now says that the Mahatmas are but "crafty arrangements of muslin and bladders" and her husband represented the Mahatmas.

How are we to reconcile this statement with the fact that in the London "Spiritualist" of the 19th August 1881, appeared a letter signed by five witnesses, including myself, testifying to the fact of their having seen a Mahatma, while they were writing that letter; and that this document is signed by both the Coulombs?

There is, therefore, no doubt that they were with the company who signed the paper. Who was it then that appeared on that occasion as a Mahatma? Surely neither Mr. nor Mrs. Coulomb with their "muslin and bladders" nor Madame Blavatsky's servant who was also present, but the "double" of a person living on the other side of the Himalayas.

The figure in coming up to Madame Blavatsky's room was seen by us "to float through the air," and we also distinctly heard it talking to her, while all of us, including her servant and the Coulombs, were at the time, together, in each other's presence. »

(This statement was first published in Report of the Result of an Investigation into the Charges against Madame Blavatsky Brought by the Missionaries of the Scottish Free Church of Madras, and Examined by a Committee Appointed for That Purpose by the General Council of the Theosophical Society. Madras, India: Theosophical Society, 1885, p.75-80.)


Martundrow Babaji Nagnath was also one of the first Indian members of the Theosophical Society when it was installed in Bombay, and on this meeting with Master Kuthumi, he narrated the following:

« In a strong moonlight on another night, I, in company with three Brother Theosophists, was conversing with Madame Blavatsky. Madame Coulomb was also present. About eight or ten yards distant from the open verandah in which we were sitting, we saw a Brother known to us as Kuthumi. He was wearing a white loose gown or robe, with long wavy hair and a beard; and was gradually forming, as it were, in front of a shrub or number of shrubs some twenty or thirty yards away from us, until he stood to a full height.

Madame Coulomb was asked in our presence to Madame Blavatsky:

-      “Is this good Brother a devil?” as she used to think and say so when seeing the Brothers, and was afraid.

Madame Blavatsky then answered:

-      “No; this one is a man”.

He then showed his full figure for about two or three minutes, then gradually disappeared, melting away into the shrub.

On the same night again, at about 11 p.m., we, about seven or eight in number, were hearing a letter read to us, addressed to the London Spiritualist about our having seen Brothers, which one of our number had drafted, and which we were ready to sign. At this instant Mr. and Mrs. Coulomb called out and said:

-      “Here is again the Brother.”

This Brother (Kuthumi) was sometimes standing and walking in the garden here and there, at other times floating in the air. He soon passed into and was heard in Madame Blavatsky’s room talking wit her. On this account after we had signed the letter to the London Spiritualist we added a postscript that we had just seen him again while signed the letter. Kuthumi was in his Mayavi-rupa* on that evening. »

(Source: this testimony was published in Alan Hume’s book: “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No.1: Is Theosophy a Delusion? Do the Brothers Exist?”, edited by Calcutta Central Press, 1882, p.103-106)


Below is the facsimile of the letter they sent to the editor of the "Spiritualist" magazine and which appeared in the publication of August 19, 1881 (pages 88-89):

And below, I transcribe the text:

« Sir,

Will you kindly permit the undersigned members of the Theosophical Society, to say a few words concerning the existence and status of the Brothers of our First Section, whom we are proud to see associated with us in our cause, and whom we shall always be proud to look up to, though you and your correspondents like the self-styled “Adept,” (heaven save the mark!) “J.K.” may ever so vehemently ignore their very existence, or at best to pass them by, with the flippant sneer:

     -   "Oh, they are deceitful lazy beggars—at best mediums?"

You are scarcely justified in asserting that Colonel Olcott is the only testimony to "support his colleague." Such an assertion, so naively made, must not go unchallenged. We, too, have seen the Brothers, and know something about them. But the little we know is more than we can reveal. But we will say that the Brothers are no more "disembodied spirits'' than yourself or the sage “J.K.;” but our personal experience has enabled us to perceive that, though men and mortal like us, a life-long course of self-sacrifice, devotion to the highest and purest aspirations, and a complete psychic training, all these, we repeat, have enabled them to rise above the ordinary conditions of humanity, and surrounding them-selves with their own self-chosen conditions to perform what are vulgarly termed "miracles," or what with you pass for  "spiritual phenomena'' as exhibited through strong physical mediumship.

One of us, Moorad Alee Bey, knew the Brothers even before he joined the Theosophical Society. He has seen them, conversed with them, and has had other relations with them before as well as after joining the Society, but more than that (being under obligation as all of us are) he is not at liberty to say.

Mr. Damodar K. Mavalankar, Joint Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society, has repeatedly seen them, talked to them, even when Madame Blavatsky was far away in Northern India, and he at the headquarters at Bombay. He has been at the residence of some of them, and on one occasion in company with Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott. And both, Moorad Alee Bey and Mr. Damodar K. Mavalankar know “Koot Hoomi” personally.

The rest have also seen some other Brothers on various occasions. We have stated the whole truth. Further than that, those of us who know and are preparing for further initiation, having devoted their lives to that highest goal, are not at liberty to disclose.

The Spiritualists may dogmatise as much as they will. We Hindus, Parsees, and Mahomedans of India, like our forefathers ages ago, know of the existence of Raj Yogis who are neither Hath Yogis nor mediums; and who, notwithstanding the denials of the sceptics, do mostly reside in the Himalayas and beyond.

We have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient Servants,

President of the Saorashtr Theosophical Society at Bhaunagar.

Joint Recording Secretary, Central Theosophical Society.

Treasurer, Bombay Theosophical Society.

Former of Theosophical Society

Assistant Recording Secretary Central Theosophical Society

Bombay, 13th July, 1881.

P.D.: as we were reading the foregoing over, a “Brother” was with us. Monsieur and Madame Coulomb, the latter Assistant Corresponding Secretary of the Central Theosophical Society, have seen him and will testify to the same.
The above Postscript is correct.
 E. Coulomb, F.T.S.
 As. Coulomb, F.T.S.



Of the writing of Isis Unveiled, let us see what reminiscences memory can bring out of the darkroom where her imperishable negatives are kept.

If any book could ever have been said to make an epoch, this one could. Its effects have been as important in one way as those of Darwin’s first great work have been in another: both were tidal waves in modern thought, and each tended to sweep away theological crudities and replace the belief in miracle with the belief in natural law. And yet nothing could have been more commonplace and unostentatious than the beginning of Isis.

One day in the Summer of 1875, H. P. B. showed me some sheets of manuscript which she had written, and said:

-      “I wrote this last night ‘by order,’ but what the deuce it is to be I don’t know. Perhaps it is for a newspaper article, perhaps for a book, perhaps for nothing: anyhow, I did as I was ordered.”

And she put it away in a drawer, and nothing more was said about it for some time. But in the month of September —if my memory serves— she went to Syracuse (N.Y.), on a visit to her new friends, Professor and Mrs. Corson, of Cornell University, and the work went on.

She wrote me that it was to be a book on the history and philosophy of the Eastern Schools and their relations with those of our own times. She said she was writing about things she had never studied and making quotations from books she had never read in all her life: that, to test her accuracy, Prof. Corson had compared her quotations with classical works in the University Library, and had found her to be right.

Upon her return to town, she was not very industrious in this affair, but wrote only spasmodically, and the same may be said as to the epoch of her Philadelphia residence, but a month or two after the formation of the Theosophical Society, she and I took two suites of rooms at 433 West 34th St., she on the first and I on the second floor, and thenceforward the writing of Isis went on without break or interruption until its completion in the year 1877.

In her whole life she had not done a tithe of such literary labour, yet I never knew even a managing daily journalist who could be compared with her for dogged endurance or tireless working capacity. From morning till night she would be at her desk, and it was seldom that either of us got to bed before 2 o’clock A.M.

During the daytime I had my professional duties to attend to, but always, after an early dinner we would settle down together to our big writing-table and work, as if for dear life, until bodily fatigue would compel us to stop. What an experience!

The education of an ordinary life-time of reading and thinking was, for me, crowded and compressed into this period of less than two years. I did not merely serve her as an amanuensis or a proof-reader, but she made me a collaborator; she caused me to utilize —it almost seemed— everything I had ever read or thought, and stimulated my brain to think out new problems that she put me in respect to occultism and metaphysics, which my education had not led me up to, and which I only came to grasp as my intuition developed under this forcing process.

She worked on no fixed plan, but ideas came streaming through her mind like a perennial spring which is ever overflowing its brim. Now she would be writing upon Brahma, anon upon Babinet’s electrical “meteor-cat”; one moment she would be reverentially quoting from Porphyrios, the next from a daily newspaper or some modern pamphlet that I had just brought home; she would be adoring the perfections of the ideal Adept, but diverge for an instant to thwack Professor Tyndall or some other pet aversion of hers, with her critical cudgel.

Higgledy-piggledy it came, in a ceaseless rivulet, each paragraph complete in itself and capable of being excised without harm to its predecessor or successor. Even as it stands now, and after all its numerous re-castings, an examination of the wondrous book will show this to be the case.

If she had no plan, despite all her knowledge, does not that go to prove that the work was not of her own conception; that she was but the channel through which this tide of fresh, vital essence was being poured into the stagnant pool of modern spiritual thought?

As a part of my educational training she would ask me to write something about some special subject, perhaps suggesting the salient points that should be brought in, perhaps just leaving me to do the best I could with my own intuitions.

When I had finished, if it did not suit her, she would usually resort to strong language, and call me some of the pet names that are apt to provoke the homicidal impulse; but if I prepared to tear up my unlucky composition, she would snatch it from me and lay it by for subsequent use elsewhere, after a bit of trimming, and I would try again.

Her own manuscript was often a sight to behold; cut and patched, re-cut and re-pasted, until if one held a page of it to the light, it would be seen to consist of, perhaps, six, or eight, or ten slips cut from other pages, pasted together, and the text joined by interlined words or sentences. She became so dexterous in this work that she used often to humorously vaunt her skill to friends who might be present.

Our books of reference sometimes suffered in the process, for her pasting was frequently done on their open pages, and volumes are not wanting in the Adyar Headquarters and London libraries which bear the marks to this day.

From the date of her first appearance in the Daily Graphic, in 1874, throughout her American career, she was besieged by visitors, and if among them there chanced to be any who had some special knowledge of any particular thing cognate to her field of work, she invariably drew him out, and, if possible, got him to write down his views or reminiscences for insertion in her book.

Among examples of this sort are Mr. O’ Sullivan’s account of a magical séance in Paris, Mr. Rawson’s interesting sketch of the secret initiations of the Lebanon Druses, Dr. Alexander Wilder’s numerous notes and text paragraphs in the Introduction and throughout both volumes, and others which add so much to the value and interest of the work.

I have known a Jewish Rabbi pass hours and whole evenings in her company, discussing the Kabballa, and have heard him say to her that, although he had studied the secret science of his religion for thirty years, she had taught him things he had not even dreamed of, and thrown a clear light upon passages which not even his best teachers had understood.

Whence did she get this knowledge?

That she had it, was unmistakable.

Whence did she get it?

Not from her governesses in Russia; not from any source known to her family or most intimate friends; not on the steamships or railways she had been haunting in her world-rambles since her fifteenth year; not in any college or university, for she never matriculated at either; not in the huge libraries of the world.

To judge from her conversation and habits before she took up this monster literary task, she had not learnt it at all, whether from one source or another; but when she needed it she had it, and in her better moments of inspiration —if the term be admissible— she astonished the most erudite by her learning quite as much as she dazzled all present by her eloquence and delighted them by her wit and humorous raillery.

One might fancy, upon seeing the numerous quotations in Isis Unveiled that she had written it in an alcove of the British Museum or of the Astor Library in New York. The fact is, however, that our whole working library scarcely comprised one hundred books of reference. Now and again single volumes would be brought her by Mr. Sotheran, Mr. Marble or other friends, and, latterly, she borrowed a few of Mr. Bouton.

Of some books she made great use, for example: King’s Gnostics; Jennings’ Rosicrucians; Dunlop’s Sod and Spirit History of Man; Moor’s Hindu Pantheon; Des Mousseaux’s furious attacks on Magic, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, etc., all of which he denounced as the Devil; Eliphas Lévi’s various works; Jacolliot’s twenty-seven volumes; Max Müller’s, Huxley’s, Tyndall’s, Herbert Spencer’s works, and those of many other authors of greater or less repute: yet not to exceed the hundred, I should say.

Then what books did she consult, and what library had she access to?

Mr. W. H. Burr asked Dr. Wilder in an open letter to the Truth-seeker whether the rumour was true that he had written Isis for Blavatsky; to which our beloved old friend would truthfully reply that it was a false rumour, and that he had done as much for Blavatsky as I have above stated, had given her much excellent advice, and had, for a consideration, prepared the very copious Index of some fifty pages, from advanced plate-proofs sent him for the purpose. That is all.

And equally baseless is the oft-repeated tale that I wrote the book and she touched it up; it was quite the other way about.

I corrected every page of her manuscript several times, and every page of the proofs; wrote many paragraphs for her, often merely embodying her ideas that she could not then (some fifteen years before her death and anterior to almost her whole career as a writer of English literature) frame to her liking in English; helped her to find out quotations, and did other purely auxiliary work: the book is hers alone, so far as personalities on this plane of manifestation are concerned, and she must take all the praise and the blame that it deserves.

She made the epoch with her book, and, in making it, made me (her pupil and auxiliary) as fit as I may have been found to do Theosophical work during these past twenty years.

Then, whence did Blavatsky draw the materials which compose Isis, and which cannot be traced to accessible literary sources of quotation?

From the Astral Light, and by her soul-senses, from her teachers, the “Brothers,” “Adepts,” “Sages,” “Masters,” as they have been variously called.

How do I know it?

By working two years with her on Isis and many more years on other literary work.

To watch her at work was a rare and never-to-be-forgotten experience. We sat at opposite sides of one big table usually, and I could see her every movement. Her pen would be flying over the page, when she would suddenly stop, look out into space with the vacant eye of the clairvoyant seer, shorten her vision as though to look at something held invisible in the air before her, and begin copying on her paper what she saw. The quotation finished, her eyes would resume their natural expression, and she would go on writing until again stopped by a similar interruption.

I remember well two instances when I, also, was able to see and even handle books from whose astral duplicates she had copied quotations into her manuscript, and which she was obliged to “materialize” for me, to refer to when reading the proofs, as I refused to pass the pages for the “strike-off” unless my doubts as to the accuracy of her copy were satisfactory.

One of these was a French work on physiology and psychology; the other, also by a French author, upon some branch of neurology. The first was in two volumes, bound in half calf, the other in pamphlet wrapper. It was when we were living at 302 West 47th street — the once-famous “Lamasery,” and the executive headquarters of the Theosophical Society.

I said:

-      “I cannot pass this quotation, for I am sure it cannot read as you have it.”

She said:

-      “Oh don’t bother; it’s right; let it pass.”

I refused, until finally she said:

-      “Well, keep still a minute and I’ll try to get it.”

The far-away look came into her eyes, and presently she pointed to a far corner of the room, to an étagère on which were kept some curios, and in a hollow voice said:

-      “There!”

And then came to herself again.

She repeated:

-      “There, there; go look for it over there!”

I went, and found the two volumes wanted, which, to my knowledge, had not been in the house until that very moment. I compared the text with Blavatsky’s quotation, showed her that I was right in my suspicions as to the error, made the proof correction and then, at her request, returned the two volumes to the place on the étagère from which I had taken them. I resumed my seat and work, and when, after awhile, I looked again in that direction, the books had disappeared!

After my telling this (absolutely true) story, ignorant sceptics are free to doubt my sanity; I hope it may do them good. The same thing happened in the case of the apport of the other book, but this one remained, and is in our possession at the present time.

The “copy” turned off by Blavatsky presented the most marked dissemblances at different times. While the handwriting bore one peculiar character throughout, so that one familiar with her writing would always be able to detect any given page as Blavatsky’s, yet, when examined carefully, one discovered at least three or four variations of the one style, and each of these persistent for pages together, when it would give place to some other of the calligraphic variants.

That is to say, there would not often —never, as I now remember— be more than two of the styles on the same page, and even two only when the style which had been running through the work of, perhaps, a whole evening or half an evening, would suddenly give place to one of the other styles which would, in its turn, run through the rest of an evening, or the next whole evening, or the morning’s “copy”.

One of these Blavatsky handwritings was very small, but plain; one bold and free; another plain, of medium size, and very legible; and one scratchy and hard to read, with its queer, foreign-shaped a’s and x’s and e’s. There was also the greatest possible difference in the English of these various styles. Sometimes I would have to make several corrections in each line, while at others I could pass many pages with scarcely a fault of idiom or spelling to correct.

Most perfect of all were the manuscripts which were written for her while she was sleeping. The beginning of the chapter on the civilization of Ancient Egypt (vol. 1, chap. xiv) is an illustration. We had stopped work the evening before at about 2 A.M. as usual, both too tired to stop for our usual smoke and chat before parting; she almost fell asleep in her chair while I was bidding her good-night, so I hurried off to my bedroom.

The next morning, when I came down after my breakfast, she showed me a pile of at least thirty or forty pages of beautifully written Blavatsky manuscript, which, she said, she had had written for her by a Master, whose name has never yet been degraded like some others. It was perfect in every respect, and went to the printers without revision.

Now it was a curious fact that each change in the Blavatsky manuscript would be preceded, either by her leaving the room for a moment or two, or by her going off into the trance or abstracted state, when her lifeless eyes would be looking beyond me into space, as it were, and returning to the normal waking state almost immediately. And there would also be a distinct change of personality, or rather personal peculiarities, in gait, vocal expression, vivacity of manner, and, above all, in temper.

The reader of her book Caves and Jungles of Hindustan remembers how the whirling pythoness would rush out from time to time and return under the control, as alleged, of a different goddess?

It was just like that —bar the sorcery and the vertiginous dancing— with Blavatsky: she would leave the room one person and anon return to it another. Not another as to visible change of physical body, but another as to tricks of motion, speech, and manners; with different mental brightness, different views of things, different command of English orthography, idiom, and grammar, and different—very, very different command over her temper; which, as its sunniest, was almost angelic, at its worst, the opposite.

Sometimes my most stupid incapacity to frame in writing the ideas she wished me to put would be passed over with benevolent patience; at others, for perhaps the slightest of errors, she would seem ready to explode with rage and annihilate me on the spot!

These accesses of violence were, no doubt, at times, explicable by her state of health, and hence quite normal; but this theory would not, in the least, suffice to account for some of her tantrums.

Mr. Sinnett admirably describes her in a private letter as a mystic combination of a goddess and a Tartar, and in noticing her behaviour in these different moods, he says:

« She certainly had none of the superficial attributes one might have expected in a spiritual teacher; and how she could, at the same time, be philosopher enough to have given up the world for the sake of spiritual advancement, and yet be capable of going into frenzies of passion about trivial annoyances, was a profound mystery to us for a long while, etc. »
(Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, p.224)

Yet, upon the theory that when her body was occupied by a sage it would be forced to act with a sage’s tranquillity, and when not, not, the puzzle is solved.

Her ever-beloved aunt, Mme. N.A. Fadeef, who loved her, and whom she loved passionately to her dying day, wrote Mr. Sinnett that her strange excitability of temperament, still one of her most marked characteristics, was already manifest in her earliest youth. Even then she was liable to ungovernable fits of passion, and showed a deep-rooted disposition to rebel against every kind of authority or control. “…The slightest contradiction brought on an outburst of passion, often a fit of convulsions.”

Blavatsky has herself described in a family letter (Op. cit., p. 205) her psychical experience while writing her book:

« When I wrote Isis I wrote it so easily, that it was certainly no labour, but a real pleasure. Why should I be praised for it?

Whenever I am told to write, I sit down and obey, and then I can write easily upon almost anything: metaphysics, psychology, philosophy, ancient religions, zoology, natural sciences, or what not.

I never put myself the question: “Can I write on this subject?” . . . or, “am I equal to the task?” But I simply sit down and write. Why? Because somebody who knows all dictates to me. My Master, and occasionally others whom I knew on my travels years ago.

Please do not imagine I have lost my senses. I have hinted to you before now about them . . . and I tell you candidly, that whenever I write upon a subject I know little or nothing of, I address myself to them, and one of them inspires me, i.e., he allows me to simply copy what I write from manuscripts, and even printed matter that pass before my eyes, in the air, during which process I have never been unconscious one single instant. »

She once wrote her sister Vera about the same subject—the manner of her writing:

« You may disbelieve me, but I tell you that in saying this I speak but the truth; I am solely occupied, not with writing Isis, but with Isis herself. I live in a kind of permanent enchantment, a life of visions and sights, with open eyes, and no chance whatever to deceive my senses! I sit and watch the fair goddess constantly. And as she displays before me the secret meaning of her long lost secrets, and the veil becoming with every hour thinner and more transparent, gradually falls off before my eyes, I hold, my breath and can hardly trust to my senses!
. . .
For several years, in order not to forget what I have learned elsewhere, I have been made to have permanently before my eyes all that I need to see. Thus, night and day, the images of the past are ever marshaled before my inner eye. Slowly, and gliding silently like images in an enchanted panorama, centuries after centuries appear before me . . . and I am made to connect these epochs with certain historical events, and I know there can be no mistake.

Races and nations, countries and cities, emerge during some former century, then fade out and disappear during some other one, the precise date of which I am then told by . . . Hoary antiquity gives room to historical periods; myths are explained by real events and personages who have really existed; and every important, and often unimportant event, every revolution, a new leaf turned in the book of life of nations —with its incipient course and subsequent natural results— remains photographed in my mind as though impressed in indelible colours.
. . .
When I think and watch my thoughts, they appear to me as though they were like those little bits of wood of various shapes and colours, in the game known as the casse-tête: I pick them up one by one, and try to make them fit each other, first taking one, then putting it aside until I find its match, and finally there always comes out in the end something geometrically correct.
. . .
I certainly refuse point-blank to attribute it to my own knowledge or memory, for I could never arrive alone at either such premises or conclusions. . . . I tell you seriously I am helped. And he who helps me is my Guru [Master Morya]. »
(Op. cit., p.207)

She tells her aunt that during her Master’s absence on some other occupation:

« He awakens in me, his substitute in knowledge. . . At such times it is no more I who write, but my inner Ego, my ‘luminous-self,’ who thinks and writes for me. Only see. . . you who know me. When was I ever so learned as to write such things? Whence was all this knowledge? »

Readers, whose taste leads them to probe such unique psychical problems as this to the bottom, should not fail to compare the above explanations that she gives of her states of consciousness, with a series of letters to her family that was begun in the Path magazine (N.Y. 144 Madison Ave) for December, 1894.

In those she plainly admits that her body was occupied at such times, and the literary work done by foreign entities who taught me through her lips and gave out knowledge of which she herself did not possess even a glimmering in her normal state.

Taken literally, as it reads, this explanation is hardly satisfactory; for, if the disjointed thought-bits of her psychical casse-tête always fitted together so as to make her puzzle-map strictly geometrical, then her literary work should be free from errors, and her materials run together into an orderly scheme of logical and literary sequence. Needless to say, the opposite is the case; and that, even as Isis Unveiled came off the press of Trow, after Bouton had spent above $600 for the corrections and alterations that she had made in galley, page, and electroplate proofs*, it was, and to this day is, without a definite literary plan.

(* He writes me, May 17th, 1887, “the alterations have already cost $280.80, and at that rate, by the time the book appears it will be handicapped with such fearful expense that each copy of the first 1000 will cost a great deal more than we shall get for it, a very discouraging state of affairs to begin with. The cost of composition of the first volume alone (with stereotyping) amounts to $1,359.69, and this for one volume alone, mind you, without paper, press work or binding! Yours truly, J. W. Bouton.”  Not only did she make endless corrections in the types, but even after the plates were cast, she had them cut to transpose the old matter and insert new things that occurred to her or that she had come across in her reading.)

Volume I of Isis professes to be confined to questions of Science, Volume II to those of Religion, yet there are many portions in each volume that belong in the other; and Miss Kislingbury, who sketched out the Table of Contents of Vol. II on the evening when I was sketching out that of Vol. I, can testify to the difficulty we had in tracing the features of a plan for each of our respective volumes.

Then, again, when the publisher peremptorily refused to put any more capital into the venture, we had prepared almost enough additional MS. to make a third volume, and this was ruthlessly destroyed before we left America; H. P. B. not dreaming that she should ever want to utilise it in India, and the Theosophist, Secret Doctrine, and her other subsequent literary productions, not even being thought of.

How often she and I mingled our regrets that all that valuable material had been so thoughtlessly wasted!

We had laboured at the book for several months and had turned out 870-odd pages of manuscript when, one evening, she put me the question whether, to oblige our “Paramaguru” [Chohan Serapis], I would consent to begin all over again!

I well remember the shock it gave me to think that all those weeks of hard labour, of psychical thunder-storms and head-splitting archeological conundrums, were to count —as I, in my blind-puppy ignorance, imagined— for nothing.

However, as my love and reverence and gratitude to this Master, and all the Masters, for giving me the privilege of sharing in their work was without limits, I consented, and at it we went again.

Well for me, was it, that I did; for, having proved my steadfastness of purpose and my loyalty, I got ample spiritual reward. Principles were explained to me, multifarious illustrations given in the way of psychical phenomena, I was helped to make experiments for myself, was made to know and to profit by acquaintance with various Adepts, and, generally, to fit myself —so far as my ingrained stubbornness and practical worldly self-sufficiency would permit— for the then unsuspected future of public work that has since become a matter of history.

(Old Diary Leaves I, chap. XIII)