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A Masterpiece of Editorial Forgery

 

The False Letter Which John Algeo And
His “Experts” Published As Letter Seven


Carlos Cardoso Aveline
 
 
 
 
 
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The following text reproduces Chapter Nineteen of
the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical
Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, The
Aquarian Theosophist, Portugal, 255 pp., 2013.
 
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“In each instance the individual traitor
and enemy was given his chance, and but
for his moral obliquity might have derived
incalculable good from it to his personal Karma.”
 
(A Master of the Wisdom, in “The Mahatma
Letters”, Letter XCI-b, T.U.P. edition, p. 416)
 
 
 
“If we would look at the bodily H.P.B. as a mirror
which reflected from above and from below as well,
giving back to each who confronted it his own reflection
according to his nature and power to perceive, we might get
a better understanding of her nature. To the discriminative,
it was a well of inspiration; in it the commonplace, the
Judas, the critic, and every other saw himself reflected.”
 
(Robert Crosbie)
 
 
 
It has been shown already that in the book “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky - Volume I”, some 20 per cent of the letters are not only fake, but libelous.
 
As he was including the slanders in this volume, Mr. John Algeo decided for some reason that it was better not to consult with the international president of the Adyar Society, Radha Burnier. At the time he was still the international vice-president of the Society, and Mrs. Burnier could have helped him make better decisions.
 
It is possible that in the future John Algeo’s volume will be remembered as a relatively clever attempt to include in the works of HPB the letters clumsily forged by Vsevolod Solovyof and Eleanor Sidgwick.
 
One of the shining pieces of forgery in that volume deserves special attention. The famous Solovyof “letter” in which Helena P. Blavatsky is presented as offering her services to the Russian secret police constitutes Letter seven in the John Algeo collection. Since its absurd publication as part of the “Collected Writings” of HPB required a high degree of political courage and astuteness, it may be said that in one sense this action constitutes a masterpiece of pseudo-theosophical forgery.
 
It is not our purpose to discuss which conscious intentions motivated John Algeo and his Editorial Committee, as they decided to include such a letter in their volume.[1]  As to intentions, each student should rather observe his own. It is useless to condemn this or that personality. We must discuss facts, although one may infer parts of causes and aspects of motives.
 
Vsevolod Solovyof, Eleanor Sidgwick, Alex Coulomb, Emma Coulomb and others fabricated much more than just false letters. As we saw in previous chapters, they created an alternative Helena Blavatsky, a fraudulent and dishonest “double” of hers, a sort of astral voodoo doll through which to attack the heart of the theosophical movement
 
What Algeo and his Committee of theosophical pundits tried to do is something different from what Solovyof did. They made an attempt to revive and to adopt those falsehoods in the name of the theosophical movement, and to give them a semblance of legitimacy by publishing that sort of material as if it had been indeed written by Helena Blavatsky. 
 
They humbly tried to accommodate in the center of the magnetic aura of the movement that strange and subtle voodoo doll - an artificial image of HPB - created to attack her real image, and to isolate and cause harm to those sacred skandhas present in the living aura of the theosophical effort, which were given to mankind by great Sages in conjunction with HPB’s own skandhas. 
 
The spiritual ignorance of such editors may be in the future their best defense in the Legal Court of their own consciences.
 
Algeo and his Committee acted, therefore, as an auxiliary line for those who despise the Cause of the theosophical movement. It must be said in their defense that they did not make the forgeries themselves. They have chosen to play a role which is more subtle than that. They but tried to spread and legitimize those lies among their fellow theosophists and before the wider public, while posing as experts
 
Although they have created a difficult karmic situation for themselves, it is not too late for them to redeem their trajectory. One first step for them to recover their common sense could be making a sincere meditation upon these words written by Robert Crosbie:

“If we would look at the bodily H.P.B. as a mirror which reflected from above and from below as well, giving back to each who confronted it his own reflection according to his nature and power to perceive, we might get a better understanding of her nature. To the discriminative, it was a well of inspiration; in it the commonplace, the Judas, the critic, and every other saw himself reflected.” [2]

These are useful sentences for Dr. Algeo and his assistants to meditate upon. But Ms. Radha Burnier could also think about these words and reflect upon the karma of letting the main founder of the movement be freely slandered by her close colleague. For the Law of Karma did not cease to operate, and a few years after the omission of president Radha Burnier there was a fraudulent attempt of electoral coup d’état against her leadership in Adyar, which was minutely organized by Dr. Algeo’s closest friends and allies. 
 
The book The Voice of the Silence warns students about the karma of inaction:

“Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin. Thus saith the Sage.  Shalt thou abstain from action?  Not so shall gain thy soul her  freedom.”[3]

Radha Burnier said and did nothing besides admitting that the Solovyov-Sidgwick letters are spurious. No clear defense of HPB came from Adyar or, for that matter, from the Pasadena Society.


To interrupt such a deafening silence, we may listen to HPB herself. It is not difficult to know what the Old Lady would have to say about the situation. HPB wrote in a letter to a friend:

“While my enemies tear me to pieces the Adyar people play at ‘hide and seek’ - they pretend to be dead - oh! the poor miserable cowards!! (….) I tell you I suffer more from theosophical traitors than from the Coulomb, Patterson or even the S.P.R.” [4]

According to the Algeo letter number seven, the founder of the modern theosophical movement wanted to work for the “Third Section”, the infamous Russian secret police. As soon as the Algeotic book was printed, the corporate leaders of the Adyar Theosophical Society in the United States were proud to announce the inclusion in the volume of such a fake letter, as if it were authentic. In its edition of January / February 2004, “The Quest” (the magazine of the Society in the U.S.A.) announced in a double-page advertisement:

“This collection contains controversial and colorful letters such as: one written to the director of the Russian secret police in which HPB offers to join their ranks...” [5]

Dr. Maria Carlson, who is a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas-Lawrence, wrote this about that text ascribed to HPB:

“In 1988, in the archival section of the respected Moscow journal Literaturnoe obozrenie (Literary Revue), two Russian scholars published a highly provocative letter purporting to be from Helena Blavatsky to the Chief of the Russian secret police, written at the very end of 1872.” [6]

The scholars are B. L. Bessonov and V.I. Mil’don. Bessonov claimed to have located the letter in the Moscow’s Central State Archives of the October Revolution, but he apparently did not explain why should such a letter be in a Museum dedicated to facts starting in 1917.
 
Although her article is clearly hostile to H.P.B., Dr. Maria had to admit, referring to the two scholars:

“Unfortunately, nothing is said in Mil’don’s and Bessonov’s publication about the verification of handwriting, the provenance of the letter (how did it end up in an archive devoted to events following 1917?), or any other attempts at authentication.” [7]

That makes perfect sense from the viewpoint of this kind of scholarship. An investigation about the origin of the “letter” would lead to the conclusion that it was forged, and that was clearly not the intention of such “scholars”. They distinguish themselves for being unconcerned with the truth or falseness of what they publish.
 
In the letter, Dr. Algeoʼs voodoo doll says she fakes contacts with spirits and, “by means of this little trap”, she is able to discover “the hopes, plans and secrets of the most reserved and serious individuals.” This, then, would be useful for the secret police. [8]
 
The fictional “HPB” tells the Russian secret police she had been offered during long negotiations with the Vatican an annual bribe of 20,000 to 30,000 francs in exchange for working as a secret agent to the Pope. As there was not a final agreement, the “Blavatsky” of Mr. Algeo took 5,000 francs as a bribe from a Roman Cardinal, while promising him she would work for the Pope in the future. Then she mellifluously adds that she would prefer to take money from Russia’s secret police, out of love for her country. [9]
 
The Algeotic astral voodoo doll confesses being a thief and a gambler. She says:

“In 1853 in Baden-Baden, having lost at roulette, I acquiesced to the request of an unknown gentleman, a Russian who had already shown interest in my activities. He offered me 2,000 francs if I could find a way to obtain two German letters (the contents of which were unknown to me) which had been very cleverly hidden by the Polish Count Kailecki, then in the service of the Prussian king. The gentleman was a military man. I was penniless, any Russian had my sympathy, I was unable to return to Russia at that time, and that was horribly bitter to me. I agreed, and in three days I obtained those letters, with great difficulty and considerable danger. Then the gentleman informed me that it would be better for me to return to Russia, that I had sufficient talent to be of use to my country, and that should I at some point choose to change my life style and embark upon serious work, I had but to approach the Third Section and leave my name and address.” [10]

There is no need to reproduce here the whole collection of slanders gathered in that “letter”. It suffices to say that the text goes on along the same level as in the examples shown above.
 
All theosophical biographers of H.P.B. and historians of the Adyar Society show that Vsevolod Solovyof tried to infiltrate the theosophical movement and - upon failing - he turned against it. No theosophical historian gives credit to Vsevolod Solovyof’s “stories” against H.P. Blavatsky.[11] Few important Adyar leaders before John Algeo showed such a public disrespect for her, or for the facts.
 
In order to publish the slanders regarding the Russian Secret Police, Algeo and his Committee must have carefully avoided reading the volume “Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”. It would be too risky for their editorial policy to do that, for there one can easily see the truth about the matter. Referring to the “Russian Spy” theory, H.P. Blavatsky wrote in February 1887, in a letter to Mr. Alfred P. Sinnett, who was an Englishman:
 
“And to think (….) that your Govt. here and in India is so stupidly short sighted as not to see, that not only I am not, nor even was a Russian Spy - but that the very prosperity, progress and welfare of the T.S. depends on everything in India being quiet for years to come. (…..) I love my countrymen and country dearly - but I love India and Master still more, and my contempt for the stupidity of Russian Govt. and diplomacy knows no bounds.”[12]
 
HPB herself commented on the Solovyof letter which she was accused of having written and sent to the Russian secret service:
 
“He [Solovyof] said that he had seen in the Secret Dept., documents in which I had offered myself as a Spy of the Russian Govt. (.......) He pretends to have translated verbatim my Russian letters to him and Mad. De Morsier has them in a large dossier. Now I wrote to himonly three letters from Würzburg in answer to his - and what Mr. G-----d says about the text, is all an invention from beginning to the end. Solovyof is either crazy or acts so because having compromised himself with his offer of espionage to me he is now afraid I should speak and compromise him at St. Petersburg. And so I will, I swear.” [13]
 
Then HPB reveals the level of personal ethics of Mr. Solovyof:
 
“I will make the story of the man who accuses me of immorality in my youth, known to the whole world - and show him living with his wife’s sister whom he seduced, and passing her off for a legitimate wife!” [14]
 
Elsewhere, HPB made some frank commentaries about people who believe, or pretend to believe, in that “fraud and spy theory”. She wrote:

“Those (…..) will have to explain what even my traducers of the Padri class and Psychical Research Society have been unable to explain to this day, viz., the motive for such fraud. They will have to explain why, instead of taking and making money, I gave away to the Society every penny I earned by writing for the papers, why at the same time I nearly killed myself with overwork and incessant labour year after year, until my health gave way, so that but for my Master’s repeated help, I should have died long ago from the effects of such voluntary hard labour. For the absurd Russian spy theory, if it still finds credit in some idiotic heads, has long ago disappeared, at any rate from the official brains of the Anglo-Indians.”  [15]

She did not mention Algeotic[16] heads.
 
A Master of the Wisdom warned Alfred P. Sinnett in 1884 regarding false letters ascribed to HPB. Writing about the attacks which were being made by the “Ecclesiastical England and the official Anglo India” against the theosophical movement, a Master wrote:
 
“The air is full of the pestilence of treachery (.....). Every infamous device is to be employed in the future as it has in the present to discredit us as its promoters, and yourselves as its supporters. For the opposition represents enormous vested interests, and they have enthusiastic help from the Dugpas - in Bhootan and in the Vatican!”
 
A few lines below, the Master clarifies:

“They may try to shake still more than they already have your confidence with pretended letters alleged to have come from HPB’s laboratory, and others, or with forged documents showing and confessing fraud and planning to repeat it.”  [17]

The facsimile of these words is at the opening of Part Two in the present volume.
 
As to the creation of an anti-theosophical image of H.P.B. - an occult voodoo instrument for the sake of attacking that Initiateʼs mission to help mankind - one must remember HPB’s own words to the Countess Wachtmeister:
 
“You cannot imagine what it is to feel so many adverse thoughts and currents directed against you; it is like the prickings of a thousand needles, and I have continually to be erecting a wall of protection around me.”[18]
 
HPB’s higher self has still some karma with the theosophical movement. There is no doubt about this. There are strong practical reasons, therefore, for protecting her subtle magnetism in the living center of the aura of the theosophical movement.
 
There is no need for us to allow treason to endlessly repeat itself. In the first half of 21st century, it is the time for theosophists - including those who belong to the Adyar Society - to establish higher levels of truthfulness and ethics in every area of the movement. This should not be too difficult. 
 
Reasons to be optimistic are many. An impartial observation shows that the theosophical movement has sacred potentialities to be developed in this century. Every theosophist can TRY and help develop them. The theosophical movement is one all over the world. There is no possible separation within it, except in the outer plane of maya or illusion. Solidarity, an honest dialogue on difficult issues and a common ethical responsibility are some of the best guidelines for the future of the movement.
 
NOTES:
 
[1] The edition of “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky - Volume I” (TPH, USA, December 2003, 634 pp.) was made by John Algeo, assisted by Adele S. Algeo and an Editorial Committee which included Daniel H. Caldwell, Dara Eklund, Robert Elwood, Joy Mills, and Nicholas Weeks. Dara Eklund and Nicholas Weeks tried to warn the Editor against the use of false letters. The Editor decided he did not want to hear them. A few years after the publication of the volume with false letters, Michael Gomes wrote that he had joined such an editorial committee. Gomes made this announcement in his pamphlet “Colonel Olcott & The Healing Arts”, Blavatsky Lecture 2007, TPH, London, 52 pp., 2007, p. 49.
 
[2] Robert Crosbie, in “The Friendly Philosopher”, The Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1945, see p. 150.
 
[3] “The Voice of the Silence”, Translated and annotated by HPB, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1987, Fragment II, p. 33.  
 
[4] “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett”, facsimile edition, T.U.P., Pasadena, CA, USA, 1973, 404 pp., see Letter XLVI, p. 114.
 
[5] “The Quest” magazine, Philosophy, Science, Religion, The Arts, volume 92, number 1, January-February 2004, final pages of the edition.
 
[6] “To Spy or Not to Spy: ‘The Letter’ of Mme. Blavatsky to the Third Section”, an article by Dr. Maria Carlson, “Theosophical History” magazine, July 1995, p. 225.
 
[7] “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 226.
 
[8] “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 227.
 
[9] “Theosophical History”, July 1995, pp. 228-229.
 
[10] “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 230. 
 
[11] See Chapter 18 for more evidences on what the historians say about Vsevolod Solovyof.
 
[12] “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., Pasadena, CA, USA, 1992, p. 206.
 
[13] “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., Pasadena, p. 208.
 
[14] “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., same p. 208.
 
[15] “Why I Do Not Return to India”, by HPB, in “H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings”, TPH, volume XII, 1980, 859 pp., see pp. 161-162.
 
[16] No personal idiocy is meant here. Algeoʼs editorial practice regarding false letters is but an example among many of the systemic idiocy and brainlessness of a materialistic society, of which Algeo himself is also a victim. His idiocy is a shared quality: there is nothing original about it. His ignorance is an inheritance and was not created by him.
 
[17] “The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., Pasadena, California, 1992, 493 pp., see letter LV, p. 322. This is letter 130 in the Chronological edition (TPH-Philippines).
 
[18] See “HPB - The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement”, Sylvia Cranston, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1993, 648 pp., see p. 296.
 
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See here the 1m30s video “The Healing Chain Reaction”, with a fragment from “The Fire and Light”:
 


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A Masterpiece of Editorial Forgery




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