A Message from a Mahatma, Dictated to HPB
Helena P. Blavatsky
Looking at a Himalayan landscape: a painting by Nicholas Roerich
A 2018 Editorial Note
We reproduce below all the philosophical contents of the Prayag Letter, written to Mr. Alfred P. Sinnett and received by him in November 1881.  The letter contains a dictated message from H.P.B.’s own Master regarding “belief in God and other superstitions”.
Such belief, the Master explains, prevents true contact between a theosophist and higher levels of consciousness.
The Letter is published under the number 134 at the TPH-Adyar Edition of the Mahatma Letters. It is Letter CXXXIV in the 1926 edition (T. Fisher Unwin Ltd., in London, UK) or TUP edition (Pasadena). It constitutes Letter 30 in the Chronological Edition (Philippines).
Students can see in the text the frankness and severity which are characteristics of a true spiritual teacher. After transcribing the message, H.P.B. writes about a few short term topics of no philosophical interest, which we do not include here.
The message from the Master was reproduced by H.P.B. in one paragraph only. In order to make it easier for students to have a contemplative view of the text, we have divided it into several smaller paragraphs. We add explanatory footnotes.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
Prayag Letter – Faith in God is a Superstition
Helena P. Blavatsky
Dehra Dun. Friday. 4 th.
Arrived only yesterday, last night late from Saharampur. The house very good but cold, damp and dreary. Received a whole heap of letters and answer yours first.
Saw at last M. and showed him your last or rather Benemadhab’s on which you have scratched a query. It is the latter Morya answers. I wrote this under his dictation and now copy it.
I wrote to Sinnett my opinion on the Allahabad theosophists. (Not through me though?) [1] Adetyarom B. wrote a foolish letter to Damodar and Benemadhab writes a foolish request to Mr. Sinnett. Because K.H. [2] chose to correspond with two men, who proved of the utmost importance and use to the Society they all – whether wise or stupid, clever or dull, possibly useful or utterly useless – lay their claims to correspond with us directly – too.
Tell him (you) [3] that this must be stopped. For ages we never corresponded with anyone, nor do we mean to. What has Benemadhab or any other of the many claimants done to have a right to such a claim? Nothing whatever. They join the Society, and though remaining as stubborn as ever in their old beliefs and superstitions, and having never given up caste or one single of their customs, they, in their selfish exclusiveness, expect to see and converse with us and have our help in all and everything.
I will be pleased if Mr. Sinnett says, to everyone of those who may address him with similar pretensions the following:
The ‘Brothers’ desire me to inform one and all of you, natives [4], that unless a man is prepared to become a thorough theosophist i.e. to do as D. Mavalankar [5] did, – give up entirely caste, his old superstitions and show himself a true reformer (especially in the case of child marriage) he will remain simply a member of the Society with no hope whatever of ever hearing from us.
The Society, acting in this directly in accordance with our orders, forces no one to become a theosophist of the IId. Section [6]. It is left with himself and at his choice. It is useless for a member to argue ‘I am one of a pure life, I am a teetotaller and an abstainer from meat and vice. All my aspirations are for good etc.’ and he, at the same time, building by his acts and deeds an impassable barrier on the road between himself and us.
What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats, of esoteric Buddhism and of Sang-gyas to do with the Shasters and Orthodox Brahmanism?
There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis and Saddhus leading the most pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error, never having had an opportunity to meet, see or even hear of us.
Their forefathers have driven away the followers of the only true philosophy upon earth away from India [7] and now, it is not for the latter to come to them but to them to come to us if they want us. Which of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika [8] as they call us? None.
Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward. Mr. Sinnett and Hume [9] are exceptions. Their beliefs are no barrier to us for they have none. They may have had influences around them, bad magnetic emanations the result of drink, Society and promiscuous physical associations (resulting even from shaking hands with impure men) but all this is physical and material impediments which with a little effort we could counteract and even clear away without much detriment to ourselves.
Not so with the magnetism and invisible results proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs. Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so.
We do not find it either necessary or profitable to lose our time waging war to the unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth.
There are Dhyan-Chohans and “Chohans of Darkness”, not what they term devils but imperfect “Intelligences” who have never been born on this or any other earth or sphere no more than the “Dhyan Chohans” have and who will never belong to the “builders of the Universe”, the pure Planetary Intelligences, who preside at every Manvantara while the Dark Chohans preside at the Pralayas.
Explain this to Mr. Sinnett (I CAN’T) [10] – tell him to read over what I said to them in the few things I have explained to Mr. Hume; and let him remember that as all in this universe is contrast (I cannot translate it better) so the light of the Dhyan Chohans and their pure intelligence is contrasted by the “Ma-Mo Chohans” – and their destructive intelligence.
These are the gods the Hindus and Christians and Mahomedans and all others of bigoted religions and sects worship; and so long as their influence is upon their devotees we would no more think of associating with or counteracting them in their work than we do the Red-Caps on earth whose evil results we try to palliate but whose work we have no right to meddle with so long as they do not cross our path. [11]
(You will not understand this, I suppose. But think well over it and you will. M. [12] means here, that they have no right or even power to go against the natural or that work which is prescribed to each class of beings or existing things by the law of nature. The Brothers, for instance could prolong life but they could not destroy death, not even for themselves. They can to a degree palliate evil and relieve suffering; they could not destroy evil. No more can the Dhyan Chohans impede the work of the Mamo Chohans, for their Law is darkness, ignorance, destruction etc., as that of the former is Light, knowledge and creation. The Dhyan Chohans answer to Buddh, Divine Wisdom and Life in blissful knowledge, and the Ma-mos are the personification in nature of Shiva, Jehovah and other invented monsters with Ignorance at their tail). [13]
[1] The words “(Not through me though?)” were written by H. P. Blavatsky. The message from the Master starts at this point. (CCA)
[2] K.H. – The initials of the name used by one of the Masters of the Wisdom. (CCA)
[3] The word “(you)” was written by H.P.B. and refers to A.P. Sinnett. (CCA)
[4] Natives of India.   We must also say that at the opening of the present paragraph, the transcript  of the Letter presents an opening of quotation mark which, however,  is not closed anywhere in the text. We keep the text uncorrected. The presence of this outward imperfection in the transcript of the Master’s words serves to illustrate the fact that the outer theosophical work is done by human beings and is subject to Karma. The need to work at the same time at quite different levels of consciousness – higher and lower – makes it more difficult to avoid mistakes while fulfilling editorial tasks.  (CCA)
[5] Damodar Mavalankar. (CCA)
[6] In the first years of the theosophical movement, the Theosophical Society was divided in three Sections.  Disciples and aspirants to discipleship who were seriously committed to the goal of helping mankind and expressing the esoteric wisdom in their own lives belonged to the second Section. (CCA)
[7] Driven away from India.  Buddhism was violently persecuted and expelled from India in ancient times. (CCA)
[8] “Nastika” – “Atheist”, in Sanskrit. (CCA)
[9] Allan O. Hume. (CCA)
[10] The words “(I CAN’T)” belong to H. P. B. and are not a part of the transcription of her Master’s message. (CCA)
[11] Here the direct transcript of the Master’s words ends. In the following paragraph, in parenthesis, H.P.B. explains the words of the Mahatma. (CCA)
[12] “M.” – the first letter of the name of H.P.B.’s Master. (CCA)
[13] From this point – which is already near its end – the letter refers to short term matters of no philosophical interest. (CCA)
The Letters are available in PDF in our websites. Click to see the 1926 edition, which has the same numbers of pages as the TUP edition: “The Mahatma Letters”.
The above text was published in our associated websites in 2012 and revised and updated in July 2018.
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.