On Precipitation and Other Matters
H.P.B. Explains How, and Why, Outer
Contacts With Mahatmas Became Impossible
Helena P. Blavatsky
Helena Blavatsky, partial view of a statue made by Ukrainian sculptor Alexey Leonov
A 2016 Editorial Note:
The following letter describes the karmic mechanisms by which human ignorance - freely active within the theosophical movement -, made outer contacts with Masters of Wisdom impossible. It also shows that relationship and cooperation between close friends and co-workers are not supposed to be necessarily easy. Theosophical work must be done under Karmic conditions and is therefore always probationary.
The text was initially published by W. Q. Judge in the March 1893 edition of “The Path” magazine. It was later reprinted at “Theosophy” magazine in May 1949 and November 1961. It is included in volume two of “Theosophical Articles”, by H.P. Blavatsky, published in 1981 by Theosophy Company, Los Angeles.
A partial version of the same letter was published in “The Theosophist”, Adyar, India, in August 1931, being examined at “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles, November 1949, pages 16-17. It is a much shorter version, but it adds one significant passage to the text.
The editors of “Theosophy” say in its May 1949 edition that the text is “evidently a letter of H.P.B.’s to Wm. Q. Judge” (p. 294). The inference, made from the partial versions and the evidences then available, proved wrong. According to the transcription of the whole letter published in 1982 by “The Eclectic Theosophist”, it was addressed to the Countess Constance Wachtmeister. 
While taking advantage of the important contribution made by “The Eclectic Theosophist”, we remain with the basic text of the letter as published at “The Path”. We add in footnotes the passages of philosophical importance which were partially omitted by William Q. Judge. In one or two instances, we follow the transcription of “The Eclectic” as to italics and other factors, which, whenever important, we indicate in footnotes.
We preserve Judge’s omission of personal names and other elements that are unimportant from the point of view of philosophical students. There is a fine line to be kept by editors as they publish personal correspondence of a private nature, whose authors do not live any longer. They must remember that there is a great although sometimes subtle difference between an editor and a mere ransacker who looks for trivia while aiming at shallow-minded readers.
Besides, in the study of theosophy, one must avoid being attached to short term personal issues. The fact that the following letter was not meant for verbatim publication was certainly taken into consideration by its first editor, W.Q.J. And we also see no reason to avoid focusing the letter in its rightful philosophical aspect. In that, we follow the editorial line established by H.P.B. herself.
Our decision is also in harmony with the views of editors who posthumously published private writings of other and previous philosophers. A good example is given by Ernest Naville in his edition of the “Journal” (Diary) of the French Philosopher Maine de Biran (1766-1824).  Naville acknowledges that difficult choices are many, but says that they are unavoidable as one edits (with a philosophical mind) informal writings of a private nature.
While it is important to present the text’s best possible rendition, it is a fact that among the main questions about the following letter these two must be included:
1)Are theosophists of the present generations taking due advantage of its decisive content and meaning? 2)Are they, for instance, acting so as to reduce the present distance existing between the theosophical movement and the Masters of the Wisdom?
These are issues to be carefully observed both now and along the way towards the year 2075, and beyond.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
 “The Eclectic Theosophist”, 1982, number 68, March-April edition, page 6, under the title of “Blavatsky Letters: To Countess Wachtmeister”. While “Theosophy” magazine thought the letter was addressed to W.Q. Judge, the editor of “HPB Collected Writings”, Boris de Zirkoff, believed it was addressed to Ms. Marie Gebhard. In their Introductory Note, the editors of “The Eclectic” say:
“For the historical researcher, as well as for theosophical readers generally, we should point out that the reference made to this Letter in Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. VII, in the section Chronological Survey, xxiv, item under Jan. 24, is in error. The ‘important letter written by H.P.B.’ - this one to which we are now referring - was not to Mrs. Marie Gebhard but to Countess Wachtmeister. In a letter from Mme. Gebhard to A.P. Sinnett, she refers to this as follows: (‘The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett’, TUP, Letter No. CLXXX, p. 346, in the Section titled ‘Miscellaneous Letters’): ‘The enclosed is from H.P.B. telling how all the phenomena occurred. It is in answer to a letter of the Countess written while here to O.L. saying we did not believe in all the letters coming from the Masters and other phenomena, and if she could refute the charges. Send the letter back to Wurzburg to the Countess when you have read it. You must use your own discretion as to whom you had better show the letter to start....’.”
 Italics are used in words underlined by H.P.B. in her manuscript.
 After describing his philosophical priority and his decision to avoid both trivia and repetitions, Naville says: “…Tel est le but qui m’a servi de guide dans mon choix, au milieu des hésitations inséparables d’un travail de cette nature.” See “Journal”, by Maine de Biran, Être et Penser, Cahiers de Philosophie, 41, November 1954, publiée par Henri Gouhier, Éditions de la Baconniére - Neuchatel (Suisse), 252 pp., see p. XIII. The book is available in PDF in our associated websites.
On Precipitation and Other Matters
Helena P. Blavatsky
[Note by W. Q. Judge:]
[The following is the greater part of a letter written by H. P. Blavatsky some years ago at a time when, subsequent to the Psychical Research Society’s Report on Theosophical phenomena, not only the public but fellow members of the Society were doubting her, doubting themselves, doubting the Adepts. Its publication now will throw upon her character a light not otherwise obtainable. Written to an intimate and old friend for his information and benefit, it bears all the indicia of being out of the heart from one old friend to another. Those who have faith in her and in the Masters behind her will gain benefit and knowledge from its perusal.]
Now what you advise me to do, I have for the last three or four years attempted most seriously. Dozens of times I have declared that I shall not put the Masters any worldly questions or submit before Them family and other private matters, personal for the most part. I must have sent back to the writers dozens and dozens of letters addressed to the Masters, and many a time have I declared I will not ask Them so and so.
Well, what was the consequence? People still worried me. “Please, do please, ask the Masters, only ask and tell Them and draw Their attention to” so-and-so. When I refused doing it _______ would come up and bother, or ________, or someone else. Now it so happens that you do not seem to be aware of the occult law - to which even the Masters are subject Themselves - whenever an intense desire is concentrated on Their personalities: whenever the appeal comes from a man of even an average good morality, and all the desire is intense and sincere even in matters of trifles (and to Them what is not a trifle?): They are disturbed by it, and the desire takes a material form and would haunt Them (the word is ridiculous, but I know of no other) if They did not create an impassable barrier, an Akashic wall between that desire (or thought, or prayer) and so isolate Themselves. The result of this extreme measure is that They find Themselves isolated at the same time from all those who willingly or unwillingly, consciously or otherwise, are made to come within the circle of that thought or desire. I do not know whether you will understand me; I hope you will. And finding Themselves cut off from me, for instance, many were the mistakes made and dangers realized that could have been averted had They not often found Themselves outside the circle of theosophical events. Such is the case ever since . . . , throwing Their names right and left, poured in torrents on the public, so to say, Their personalities, powers, and so on, until the world (the outsiders, not only Theosophists) desecrated Their names indeed from the North to the South Pole. Has not the Maha Chohan put His foot on that from the first? Has He not forbidden Mahatma K. H. to write to anyone? (Mr. ________ knows well all this.) And have not since then waves of supplications, torrents of desires and prayers poured unto Them? This is one of the chief reasons why Their names and personalities ought to have been kept secret and inviolable. They were desecrated in every possible way by believer and unbeliever, by the former when he would critically and from his worldly standpoint examine Them (the Beings beyond and outside every worldly if not human law!), and when the latter positively slandered, dirtied, dragged Their names in the mud! O powers of heaven! what I have suffered - there are no words to express it. This is my chief, my greatest crime, for having brought Their personalities to public notice unwillingly, reluctantly, and forced into it by ________ and ________.
Well, now to other things. You and the Theosophists have come to the conclusion that in every case where a message was found couched in words or sentiments unworthy of Mahatmas it was produced either by elementals or my own falsification. Believing the latter, no honest man or woman ought for one moment to permit me, such a FRAUD, to remain any longer in the Society. It is not a piece of repentance and a promise that I shall do so no longer that you need, but to kick me out - if you really think so. You believe, you say, in the Masters, and at the same time you can credit the idea that They should permit or even know of it and still use me! Why, if They are the exalted Beings you rightly suppose Them to be, how could They permit or tolerate for one moment such a deception and fraud? Ah, poor Theosophists - little you do know the occult laws I see. And here ________ and others are right. Before you volunteer to serve the Masters you should learn Their philosophy, for otherwise you shall always sin grievously, though unconsciously and involuntarily, against Them and those who serve Them, soul and body and spirit. Do you suppose for one moment that what you write to me now I did not know for years? Do you think that any person even endowed with simple sagacity, let alone occult powers, could ever fail to perceive each time suspicion when there was one, especially when it generated in the minds of honest, sincere people, unaccustomed to and incapable of hypocrisy? It is just that which killed me, which tortured and broke my heart inch by inch for years, for I had to bear it in silence and had no right to explain things unless permitted by Masters, and They commanded me to remain silent. To find myself day after day facing those I loved and respected best between the two horns of the dilemma - either to appear cruel, selfish, unfeeling by refusing to satisfy their hearts’ desire, or, by consenting to it, to run the chance (9 out of 10) that they shall immediately feel suspicions lurking in their minds, for the Master’s answers and notes (“the red and blue spook-like messages”, as ________ truly calls them) were sure in their eyes - again 9 times out of 10 - to be of that spook character. Why? Was it fraud? Certainly not. Was it written by and produced by elementals? NEVER. It was delivered and the physical phenomena are produced by elementals used for the purpose, but what have they, those senseless beings, to do with the intelligent portions of the smallest and most foolish message? Simply this, as this morning before the receipt of your letter, at 6 o’clock, I was permitted and told by Master to make you understand at last - you - and all the sincere, truly devoted Theosophists: as you sow, so you will reap……..
It is ALL YOU, Theosophists, who have dragged down in your minds the ideals of our MASTERS, you who have unconsciously and with the best of intentions and full sincerity of good purpose DESECRATED Them by thinking for one moment and believing that THEY would trouble Themselves with your business matters, sons to be born, daughters to be married, houses to be built, etc., etc. And yet, all those who have received such communications being nearly all sincere (those who were not have been dealt with according to other special laws), you had a right, knowing of the existence of Beings who you thought could easily help you, to seek help from Them, to address Them, once that a monotheist addresses his personal God, desecrating the GREAT UNKNOWN a million of times above the Masters - by asking Him (or IT) to help him with a good crop, to slay his enemy, and send him a son or daughter; and having such a right in the absolute sense, They could not spurn you off and refuse answering you, if not Themselves, then by ordering a Chela to satisfy the addressers to the best of his or hers [the chela’s] ability. How many a time was I - no Mahatma - shocked and startled, burning with shame when shown notes  from Chelas exhibiting mistakes in science, grammar, and thoughts expressed in such language that it perverted entirely the meaning originally intended, and having sometimes expressions that in Thibetan, Sanscrit, or any other Asiatic 1anguage had quite a different sense. As in one instance I will give.
In answer to Mr. ________’s letter referring to some apparent contradiction in Isis. The Chela who was made to precipitate Mahatma K. H.’s reply put, “I had to exercise all my ingenuity to reconcile the two things.” Now the term “ingenuity” used for and meaning candor, fairness, an obsolete word in this sense and never used now, but one meaning this perfectly, as even I find in Webster, was misconstrued by Massey, Hume, and I believe even ________ to mean “cunning”, “cleverness”, “acuteness” to form a new combination so as to prove there was no contradiction. Hence: the Mahatma was made apparently to confess most unblushingly to ingenuity, to using craft to reconcile things like an acute “tricky lawyer”, etc., etc. Now had I been commissioned to write or precipitate the letter I would have translated the Master’s thought by using the word “ingenuousness”, “openness of heart, frankness, fairness, freedom from reserve and dissimulation”, as Webster gives it, and opprobrium thrown on Mahatma K. H.’s character would have been avoided. It is not I who would have used “carbolic acid” instead of “carbonic acid”, etc. It is very rarely that Mahatma K. H. dictated verbatim, and when He did there remained the few sublime passages found in Mr. Sinnett’s letters from Him. The rest - he would say - write so-and-so, and the Chela wrote often without knowing a word of English, as I am now made to write Hebrew and Greek and Latin, etc. Therefore the only thing I can be reproached with - a reproach I am ever ready to bear tho’ I have not deserved it, having been simply the obedient and blind tool of our occult laws and regulations - is of having  concealed that which the laws and regulations of my pledges did not permit me so far to reveal. I owned myself several times mistaken in policy, and now am punished for it with daily and hourly crucifixion.
Pick up stones, Theosophists; pick them up, brothers and kind sisters, and stone me to death with them for such mistakes.
Two or three times, perhaps more, letters were precipitated in my presence by a Chela who could not speak English and who took ideas and expressions out of my head. The phenomena in truth and solemn reality were greater at those times than ever. Yet they often appeared the most suspicious, and I had to hold my tongue, to see suspicion creeping into the minds of those I loved best and respected, unable to justify myself or say one word! What I suffered Master alone knew. Think only (a case with Solovioff’s at _______) I sick in my bed: a letter of his, an old letter received in London and torn up by me, rematerialized in my own sight, I looking at the thing. Five or six lines in the Russian language in Mahatma K. H.’s handwriting in blue, the words taken from my head, the letter old and crumpled travelling slowly alone (even I could not see the astral hand of the Chela performing the operation) across the bedroom, then slipping into and among Solovioff’s papers who was writing in the little drawing-room correcting my manuscript, Olcott standing closely by him and having just handled the papers, looking over them with Solovioff, the latter finding it, and like a flash I see in his head in Russian the thought “The old impostor (meaning Olcott) must have put it there”! - and such things by hundreds.
Well - this will do. I have told you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so far as I am allowed to give it. Many are the things I have no right to explain if I had to be hung for it. Now think for one moment. Suppose ________ receives an order from his Master to precipitate a letter to the ________ family, only a general idea being given to him about what he has to write. Paper and envelope are materialized before him, and he has only to form and shape the ideas into his English and precipitate them. What shall the result be? Why his English, his ethics and philosophy - his style all round. “A fraud, a transparent FRAUD!” people would cry out, and if any one happened to see such a paper before him or in his possession after it was formed, what should be the consequences?
Another instance - I cannot help it, it is so suggestive. A man, now dead, implored me for three days to ask Master’s advice on some business matter, for he was going to become a bankrupt and dishonor his family. A serious thing. He gave me a letter for Master “to send on”. I went into the back parlor and he went down stairs to wait for the answer.
Now to send on a letter two or three processes are used: (1) To put the envelope sealed on my forehead, and then, warning the Master to be ready for a communication, have the contents reflected by my brain carried off to His perception by the current formed by Him. This, if the letter is in a language I know; otherwise, if in an unknown tongue, (2) to unseal it, read it physically with my eyes, without understanding even the words, and that which my eyes see is carried off to Master’s perception and reflected in it in His own language, after which, to be sure, no mistake is made. I have to burn the letter with a stone I have (matches and common fire would never do), and the ashes caught by the current become more minute than atoms would be, and are rematerialized at any distance where Master was.
Well, I put the letter on the forehead opened, for it was in a language of which I know not one word, and when Master had seized its contents I was ordered to burn and send it on. It so happened that I had to go in my bedroom and get the stone there from a drawer it was locked in. That minute I was away, the addresser, impatient and anxious, had silently approached the door, entered the drawing-room, not seeing me there, and seen his own letter opened on the table. He was horror-struck, he told me later, disgusted, ready to commit suicide, for he was a bankrupt not only in fortune, but all his hopes, his faith, his heart’s creed were crushed and gone. I returned, burnt the letter, and an hour after gave him the answer, also in his language. He read it with dull staring eyes, but thinking, as he told me, that if there were no Masters I was a Mahatma, did what he was told, and his fortune and honor were saved. Three days later he came to me and frankly told me all - did not conceal his doubts for the sake of gratitude, as others did - and was rewarded. By order of the Master I showed him how it was done and he understood it. Now had he not told me, and had his business gone wrong, advice notwithstanding, would not he have died believing me the greatest imposter on earth?
So it goes.
It is my heart’s desire to be rid forever of any phenomena but my own mental and personal communication with Masters. I shall no more have anything to do whatever with letters or phenomenal occurrences. This I swear on Masters’ Holy Names, and may write a circular letter to that effect.
Please read the present to all, even to ________. FINIS all, and now Theosophists who will come and ask me to tell them so and so from Masters, may the Karma fall on their heads. I AM FREE. Master has just promised me this blessing!!
H. P. B.
[Path, March, 1893]
 At this point, the transcription made by “The Eclectic Theosophist” has the following words, right after “as you sow, so you will reap”: “to personal private questions, & prayers, answers framed in the minds of those whom such matters can yet interest, whose minds are not yet entirely blank to such worldly, terrestrial questions - answers by chelas and novices - often something reflected from my own mind, for the Masters would not stoop one moment to give a thought to individual private, matters, relating but in one of even ten persons their welfare woes & blisses in this world of Maya, to nothing except questions of really universal importance.” And then the transcription goes on with “It is ALL…” (CCA)
 At this point, the “Eclectic” transcription says, right after “when shown notes”: “written in Their (two) handwritings (a form of writing adopted for the T.S. and used by chelas only NEVER without Their special permission or order to that effect)….. ”. Then the transcription goes on with “exhibiting mistakes….”. (CCA)
 In the version published at “The Path”, and “Theosophy” magazine, we have “His”, a typographic mistake. In the transcription, it is “Isis”, a reference to “Isis Unveiled”. (CCA)
 The episode appears at “The Mahatma Letters”. See Letter XX-c, p. 130, in the TUP edition, Pasadena, 1992, 493 pp. It is explained by the Master at Letter XXIII-b, item (20), p. 173. It is also mentioned at Letter LII, p. 289. (CCA)
 At this point of the letter, both its partial version published at “The Theosophist” (Adyar) and its verbatim transcription at “The Eclectic Theosophist” say, in a passage which was partially omitted by Mr. Judge:
“… [of having] 1) used Master’s name when I thought my authority would go for naught, and when I sincerely believed acting agreeably to Master’s intentions (*) and for the good of the cause; and 2) of having concealed that which the laws and regulations of, my pledges did not permit me so far to reveal; 3) PERHAPS (again for the same reason) of having insisted that such and such a note was from Master written in his own handwriting, all the time thinking, JESUITICALLY, I confess, ‘Well, it is written by His order and in His handwriting after all, why shall I go and explain to those who do not cannot understand the truth, and perhaps only make matters worse’.
(*) Found myself several times mistaken and now I am punished for it with daily and hourly crucifixion. Pick up stones, Theosophists, pick them up brothers and kind sisters, and stone me to death with them for trying to make you happy with one word of the Masters!”
Thus ends the transcription of the partially omitted passage. C. Jinarajadasa says that the version of the letter from which this passage comes is in the handwriting of Mrs. Mary Gebhard. The copy she made of the text was published by him in “The Theosophist”, Adyar, August 1931, pp. 617-620, under the title of “HPB’s Statement Regarding the Letters of the Masters”. According to Mrs. Gebhard, the date of the letter is January 24, 1886. (CCA)
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
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On Precipitation and Other Matters