[ON HIBERNATION, THE ÂRYA-SAMÂJ, ETC.]
[The following excerpts from letters written by H. P. B. in the years 1878 and 1879 appeared in the Bombay Gazette of October 27, 1884, according to information the accuracy of which could not be ascertained. They were supposed to have been written to a Bombay gentleman. It is more than likely that this party was Hurrychund Chintamon, then President of the Bombay Ârya Samâj.]
People say very justly that I am as rude as a bear and as unfeeling as a hippopotamus . . .
If we die—save accident—of old age, it is because the tissues of the body are worn out by the wear and tear of life: the blood loses its power of free circulation; the bones get ossified, and men die. But if you have discovered the great physiological and psychological secrets of nature, and know why some animals in cold climates hibernate and sleep without awakening from 4 to 6 months in the year, without eating, drinking, or breathing either, and yet return to life full of vigor and rejuvenated; and if you learn from some fakirs the secret of being buried alive for six months and then taken out from their coffin as a corpse, which after a few manipulations comes back to life—this is historically and beyond doubt proved—then you may say that you have discovered or learnt one of the grandest mysteries of life and death. Learn to put yourself to sleep as a corpse, arrest the progress of life, of that wear and tear of the tissues; arrest, in short, the progress of all vital processes during your sleep, and then, if you sleep twelve hours every day, you may truly assert
that in six years you have lived as three years, in twenty years ten, and so on. And that some of your fakirs have this secret, without being at all learned in physiology, is an indisputable fact.
I hate dress, finery, and civilized society, I despise a ball room, and how much I despise it will be proved to you by the following fact. When hardly sixteen, I was being forced one day to go to a dancing party, a great ball at the Viceroy’s. My protests were not listened to, and my parents told me that they would have me dressed up, or rather according to fashion, undressed for the ball by the servants by force if I did not go willingly. I then deliberately plunged my foot and leg into a kettle of boiling water, and held it there till nearly boiled raw. Of course I scalded it horribly, and remained lame for six months. But I was never forced to go to a ball again. I tell you, that there is nothing of the woman in me. When I was young if a man had dared to speak to me of love, I would have shot him like a dog who bit me. Till nine years of age in my father’s regiment the only nurses I knew were artillery soldiers, and then Buddhist Kalmucks, as I already told you.
When at your suggestion to change the name of our society the Council asked A. S. [Ârya Samâj] through our President whether you would consent to have our Society affiliated with yours, the Council and many of our members kept trembling for fear till the receipt of your answer, lest you should refuse us this privilege, which we regarded as the highest honour. Your letter, full of kindness and friendly sentences, came at last, bringing the glad tidings for which they all had so much yearned. Well, this disenchanted our Council: for it had told them that not only you had no intention of rejecting our offers, but that actually you felt very happy over it, and accepted us with open arms. The two vice-presidents, and even Olcott, went about the meeting hall like three fighting cocks which had won the prize, with their crests up and tails displayed, and
their actions plainly show that they now believed that it was we the Theosophists who honoured you, instead of the reverse being the fact. One of the results was that some of the “Fellows” who had hitherto expressed the greatest willingness to go to any amount of sacrifice for the honour, turned up their noses: some left us; and others, as you have seen, had the meanness to refuse at first to give up the initiation fees of the T. S. to the Arya Samaj fund. I had to work hard to palliate the effect of your kindness. I had to make speeches to them for hours. I told them that they behaved like real donkeys: that they did not seem to take in that it was mere kindness, oriental politeness on your part: I had to remind them that the Hindoos have had a too sad experience with Europeans and English to ever be able to, either fraternize with them, or feel in any way honoured by an association with them. The honour was all on our side, as we were but bleached-out Hindoo pariahs and Soodras at best, the scum of the ancient population of India, thrown overboard by the Aryan overcrowded country: and that the mere fact that the descendants of these Aryans condescended to receive back in their ranks the descendants of their ancestor pariah and chandalas was an inexpressible honour to us alone.