TO THE THEOSOPHISTS
[The following statement by H. P. B. exists in manuscript form in the Adyar Archives. The main body of the text is in a handwriting that has not been definitely identified, but may be that of Bawajee. The title, the words “Gentlemen and Brothers,” and a notation above the title containing the two words, “in Correspondence,” are in H. P. B.’s own handwriting. At the conclusion of the statement, “fraternally yours,” H. P. B.’s signature and the date are also in her own handwriting. It may be that this letter was intended for the Correspondence Section of The Theosophist, but was not published therein, and, as far as is known, has never appeared in print since.
The letter deals with the book entitled Man: Fragments of Forgotten History. By Two Chelas in The Theosophical Society (London: Reeves and Turner, 1885, Second Edition, 1887). It was written by Mohini Mohun Chatterji, the “Eastern Chela,” and Mrs. Laura Langford Holloway, the “Western Chela,” apparently at the house of the Arundales in London. From a letter of H. P. B.’s written to William Quan Judge, and dated January 27, 1887, as well as from her letter to Col. H. S. Olcott, dated July 14, 1886, it would appear that she had nothing to do with the writing of this book, and indeed was opposed to the whole venture.
H. P. B. made copious notes embodying a large number of corrections to be incorporated in the Second Edition of Man. The MS. of these corrections was in A. P. Sinnett’s hands, and its transcription is included in The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, pp. 254-261. However, these corrections did not become incorporated in the Second Edition of the book, as careful comparison of the text plainly shows. Further information concerning this book can be found on pp. 93, and 245 of the above mentioned Letters.—Compiler.]
Gentlemen and Brothers,
Having received and still receiving a number of letters from Theosophists asking me for the meaning of the great discrepancy between the doctrine of Rings and Rounds in Esoteric Buddhism and Man,—and enquiring which of the doctrines I approve of and accept, I take this opportunity to declare the following.
There is a mystery connected with the writing and publication of MAN which I am not at liberty to make public in all its details. But since my name is in it and that the book is inscribed to me—I become indirectly responsible for its contents. Therefore shall I try to explain as much as I am permitted to.
MAN is the production of two “Chelas” of whom one the “Eastern Chela” was a pucka disciple, the other the “Western Chela”—a candidate who failed. I could certainly never recommend the book as a standard work on Theosophy as it now stands, but ask the Theosophists to have patience and bear with it until it comes out in its second corrected edition. The “Western Chela” left it in a chaotic half-finished condition and went away from London, leaving the “Eastern Chela” in a very perplexed state. Those who had ordered the book to be written to try the psychical developments of Chela and Candidate—would have nothing more to say about it. Finding himself alone and left to his own resources, unwilling to meddle more than he could help with the MS. of his ex-colleague, the “Eastern Chela” did the best he could. It was found impossible to publish it as it stood: he finished those portions he had undertaken, rewrote many of the passages from the pen of the other amanuensis and left it to stand or fall upon its own merits. In justice, we must say that, with the exceptions of those portions that relate to the Rounds, Root-races and Sub-races in which there is a most terrible confusion, there is nothing incorrect in the book. On the contrary, there is much of very important information in it, but on account of the confusion above described, it cannot be recommended as a book of reference. In the Secret Doctrine, all the errors and misconceptions shall be explained away and corrected, I hope.
H. P. Blavatsky
November 7, 1885.