Letter from H. P. Blavatsky
to the editors of the Moscow News
For the information of the Editors.
I was promised through Elizaveta Alex[androvna] Ladyzhenskaya to send me printed chapters From the Caves, etc. from the first day of their appearance; I was promised The Vestnik in January, but I still do not have it. The first chapters appeared in early December, and now it is March – and I have not yet got a line. I do not want to make difficulties for the respected editorial board and do not ask for the daily Moskovskie Vedomosti (well, I have no time to read them), but I only humbly ask to send me clippings with my own articles; not because of the author's vanity or something else, but just because of prosaic, but very necessary information, without which I cannot proceed writing From the Caves. From the first chapter I began to write without any rough copy, and having written I immediately sent the written away, sometimes without even looking through it, as every minute is precious to me. It is not surprising, therefore, that I have forgotten what I wrote about, and even some names. Although I keep a kind of diary and describe the true one and all – the true and truthful incidents, and my personages are not fictitious, but those whom I meet here every day, but having changed some names (at their request), I completely forgot who I called whom; and except “the Thakur”, one of whose names is really “Gulab Sing”, I don't remember the others. Also, I absolutely cannot remember which places and which of the customs and manners of the Hindus I have already described and which I have not. That way, there will be confusion – and it will not be my fault. I do not have a single line from that rough copy left. I am still writing by guesswork, without any positive instructions from the editors and without knowing, neither what, nor how much, they need.
I humbly ask the respected editorial staff of The Moskovskie Vedomosti – which I don’t know at all, and its respected editors and publishers – of whom I don’t have the slightest idea, – to take all this into account, solve all of my problems and – if they want the continuation and end of From the Caves – send me clippings from the first five chapters.
Meanwhile, I stay in hopeless situation with holy faith in those, whom I do not know,
- deeply respecting them – all indiscriminately,
Bombay. February 29, 1880.
Letter from H. P. Blavatsky
to M. N. Katkov
[Second half of April 1884,
<...> I say that because my story about the Blue Mountains will arouse great interest in your readers, I am sure of that. In Nice I read something from it to our Russians – General Cozen, N. A. Lvov, Princess Volkonskaya and other members of our Theosophical Society, and they all asked me to publish it as soon as possible. Without boasting – et sans rougir – the entire Russian colony in Nice, including even my rather evil-speaking friend – Ekaterina Alekseevna – “Veuve Tchelicheff” (Chelithcheva), – they seem to be extremely interested in my letters (From the Jungles) and all ask to continue writing them. Mais – comment faire? As for The Letters, they will wait, but The Blue Mountains are asked to be published immediately, but there is a difficulty, which allow me to explaine. Much of concerning “incredible” (only in the eyes of skeptics) and wonderful phenomena is omitted by you, rather not by you, – if Nikolay Aleksandrovich Lvov is telling the truth, – but by your partner (I forgot his last name), someone in your Synod, some kind of a spiritual persona. Well, you, or someone else, but the fact is that in The Blue Mountains I have to talk about these subjects constantly. Their entire religion, i. e. Toddas, Badag-Mulakurumbas – une tribu qui habite les Sommets des arbres dans les forêts vierges des collines du Mayssour – is founded on witchcraft, and all rituals are terrible mysteries with extraordinary manifestations. I have attended them twice personally, and if anything could make me believe the medieval tales of a Witches' Sabbath, it is the rituals of the Kurumbas.
Well, what will it be, if you omit all this, leaving only geographical and ethnological descriptions? Everything will be lost, because I give there the idea in which Dr. Charcot de la Salpêtrière also believes, with whose patients in La Salpêtrière I saw exactly the same manifestations in his Grande Hystérie and Hystéro-Épileptiques. In our Parisian Theosophical Society there are many disciples of Dr. Charcot, doctors who are trying to find out about the ultimate nature of these demonical possessions, and I was told when I went to the clinic with them that the doctor did not dare to write the whole truth about these phenomena; that he, Charcot, is absolutely convinced of the intimate connection of physiological functions with the psychological, undiscovered and unknown secrets of the human spirit and his inner double, “son double, ou perisprit” . Perhaps even Charcot and Vangiroux will join us. Crookes, a member of the council of our Theosophical Society in London – the London Lodge – told me last week in London at lunch in his apartments: “I have reached the limits of the known, exact physics in Science. What I want is to be taught Occult physics – by the Mahatma Koothoomi”. Crooks and Myers, the members of the Royal Society, correspond with him, who I refer to in The Jungles as Gulab Lal Sing. Therefore, our Theosophy is not superstition and stupidity, invented by the founders of our Society, i. e. me and Colonel Olcott. It is the idea of Dr. Charcot that I express in The Blue Mountains.
Dear Mikhail Nikiforovich, we do not believe in devils, or miracles, or anything, other than science. But it is that science, the keys to which are only in the hands of initiated Hindus – Brahmans. We, Theosophists, alone can help (modern) science to solve the greatest mysteries of the invisible world by means of the former. We are not spiritualists. We deny (and destroy) all spiritualistic theories about these spirits – knocking, talking, etc., as well as the possibility of “materializing” grannies and mothers-in-law. That is why professors Butlerov and especially Wagner and <...> us. All this is again to the fact that you have a completely wrong notion about us and Theosophy, and therefore you omit so much from what I write.
But let’s come nearer the subject! And so, let me tell you directly and frankly, Lvov and especially General Kozen discourage me from publishing this in The Russkiy Vestnik. They say that you will again have to omit a lot that will make the story lose interest. They offer me to publish it either in The Vestnik Evropy, or in another magazine. But I refused them outright. You published my letters when nobody knew me then, you paid me accurately, my uncle respected and loved you as few people did, and if you yourself do not refuse to accept my Letters and Stories, then, of course, I'm not going to give up The Russkiy Vestnik – the best monthly magazine in Russia. But I want to know in advance – what will you allow and what will you not allow me to write? I can not write at my own risk. The money I make from magazines is the only one I can call my own. Our society is rich, but I have no right to a single penny of it. The main Council sent me here to be treated, well, I am being treated: but I need my own money. My uncle loved Russia so much that he died with 3 rubles in his pocket! And my dear sister, Vera Zhelikhovskaya, is almost starving in Odessa with her 6 children, with her talent! If I don't need it personally, then she needs my money. Forgive me for going into such details with you, whom I have no honour to know personally. But I, respecting you, as all honest people in Russia do – I do not want you to think about me that I [<...> am greedy for] money. Therefore, I reveal my soul, as in front of my own conscience.
Therefore, I humbly ask you – while I am not far, in Paris, if you really need my articles and you are going to print The Blue Mountains etc. in The Russkiy Vestnik, then let's draw up something like a contract, certificate or agreement. Would you send someone of your friends in Paris to me? Could you write what and how much I should write per year? Would you obligate me and thereby save me from my own laziness, or rather negligence? This way would be better for the business and you and me. Would you tell me, I ask you (I do not understand this subscript calculation) – how much I can get for each page or printer’s sheet (<...> je crois?) in The Russkiy Vestnik? And when would you wish to get Three Months in the Blue Mountains? Would you write and order everything in detail. Then, immediately upon receipt of your letter, I will leave for my friend Countess d'Adhémar in Enghien, where she promises to hide me in her chateau and drive out all these hundreds of Parisian talkers who eat up the soul and my time here from morning till night! In less than two or three weeks I will finish the manuscript (rewrite it that is) and send it. And if you don’t write, then it’s not worth starting.
Your secretary wrote to me before the printing of The Jungles in The Russkiy Vestnik that after the publishing the Letters will be published in special books. They have been published, haven’t they? They write to me from Russia that they are sold at every railway station, and I have not seen a single one yet! They also write from Nice that now our Russians, having acquainted with me, are subscribing The Jungles, and that the book is “sold like hot cakes.” Would you be so kind to order to send at least one such book to the address (in the heading of the letter). And also that No. of The Russkiy Vestnik where the last pages of From Caves and Jungles are printed – I don't even know where they end!
Although I have no idea, how much money you owe me in your office, but I know that you owe me something. If you could order to end the scores and start new ones from The Blue Mountains, I would be extremely grateful to you.
I hope you will kindly forgive me for the long silence and for this long and it seems – from a business point of view – very awkward letter. I know something as for Hindu philosophy, but as far as the practical side of life is concerned, I have been making a blunder since my early age. Will you be so kind as not to delay with your reply even through the secretary – I will not be offended and will be grateful anyway.
While waiting for orders, I remain with full respect and willingness to serve as much as I can in India,
To His Excellency
Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov
Letter in answer
from M. N. Katkov to H. P. Blavatsky
27 Apr. 1884
Dear Madam, Helena Petrovna!
I use the first idle minute to answer you. You cannot doubt my desire to ensure your cooperation in my publications.
I appreciate both your talent and your search in esoteric realms and do not belong to the "people of science" who believe wisdom in not wanting to know what they do not know.
I do not retreat before the reports of a purely fantastic property and if I'm at a loss, then only where the explanation begins to become some tendency, propaganda... I consider it a duty to say that at the heart of all religions I recognize the transcendental reality and do not consider it a fable; and I remain convinced that there is only one religion in which all transcendental religions find their true place and true illumination. I would have to talk about this a lot, but I must hurry with my answer, which, I'm afraid, is too late, as it is... I'm amazed and happy about how strong and alive the Russian origin is in you – so long ago having left home – which is so good affects your language and your Russian sympathies.
Accept the assurance of my respect and sincere devotion.
Letter from P. S. Grachev
Thanks to Mrs. Blavatskaya (Radda-Bai) and her letters From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan, I learned about the existence of the sublime world of Raj-Yogis and became convinced of those extraordinary gifts that they acquire in pursuit of higher spiritual goals.
Rereading these letters several times today and understanding them for myself (especially the places with your precepts), I gradually turned from a complete materialist into a believer and, having paid attention to my sinful life, I realized that I was following the wrong path.
Having realized this and discovered the true purpose of life, I tried to start my reformation and for this I made several small experiments, which seem to be successfully continuing to this day.
But feeling my inexperience in the further formation of my will, I dare to ask you to be my guide from the depths of India spiritually, and even occasionally indicate the path to goodness and truth through a spiritual conversation.
The thought of this method of communication was given to me by the incident described by Mrs. Blavatsky, where you freely spoke with one Lord of England at the distance of several thousand miles, being each in his own room.
Declaring my firm belief in such powers of the Raj-Yogis, one of the representatives of which you are, Thakur-Sahib, I beg you for a similar condescension to me, since I personally do not have the opportunity to come closer to you.
The mere awareness of your spiritual presence will increase my moral strength in the struggle with myself.
I do not write here anything else about my life, because you yourself can directly and immediately have a clearer idea of what I am and whether I deserve what I am asking now.
If you do not find it possible to honour my request, then convincingly I ask you to reply about such impossibility in a letter indicating in it the reasons why this request is paid no attention to, so that I can then eliminate unfavorable circumstances if they depend on me.
The reply (if possible – in Russian) please address to Russia, the city of Kungur, Perm province, Pavel S. Grachev, L. V. Grachev’s  house.
Expressing my deepest respect, I once again implore the Great Yogi to show his condescension to the great sinner and give him the opportunity to start another more reasonable life.
March 2/14, 1890
- Elizaveta Alexandrovna Ladyzhenskaya (1815-1883) – cousin of H.A. Gan, mother of H. P. Blavatsky. Vera Petrovna Zhelikhovskaya (1835-1896), writer, playwright, sister of H. P. Blavatsky, in essay Unexplained and Unexplained (from personal and family memories) wrote that E. A. Ladyzhenskaya was “familiar with the Katkovs” (The Rebus, 1885, No. 13, p. 126).
- The magazine Russian Herald (Russky Vestnik) is meant.
- The first five chapters of the book by H. P. Blavatsky From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan were published in The Moskovskie Vedomosti, November 30 and December 4, 5, 11, 13, 15 (No. 305, 309, 310, 315, 317, 319), 1879.
- The beginning of the letter is lost.
- And without blushing (Fr.). – Tr.
- Widow Chelithcheva (Fr.). – Tr.
- Well, what can one do? (Fr.). – Tr.
- This word is in Latin letters in original text. – Tr.
- A tribe that inhabits the Treetops in the pristine forests of the hills of Mayssour. – Tr.
- Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) – a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology, famous for his work on hypnosis and hysteria. He worked and taught at the famous Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital for 33 years.
- This phrase is in English in original text.
- His double, or perisprit (Fr.). – Tr.
- William Crookes (1832-1919) – a British chemist and physicist; inventor of the Crookes tube, which was a foundational discovery that eventually changed the whole of chemistry and physics.
- This phrase is in English in original text.
- Frederic William Henry Myers (1843-1901) – a British poet, classicist, philologist, and a founder of the Society for Psychical Research.
- Alexander Mikhaylovich Butlerov (1828-1886) – a Russian chemist, one of the principal creators of the theory of chemical structure, the discoverer of hexamine, formaldehyde and the formose reaction.
- Nikolai Petrovich Wagner (1829-1907) – a Russian zoologist, editor, essayist and writer, professor of Saint Petersburg University, one of the leaders of Russian Spiritualism.
- Here the page is damaged.
- Rostislav Andreevich Fadeev (1824-1883) – major general, military historian, publicist, uncle of H. P. Blavatsky.
- “The next morning after the death [of R. A. Fadeev], some people appeared in the house, claiming to be newspaper reporters, and addressed to the household with the usual various questions. One of them wondered if the general had left a great fortune? They answered him: “3 rubles of money and a worn-out uniform.” The next day this was published in the local newspaper and reprinted in almost all Russian newspapers.” (Fadeeva N.A. Memories of Rostislav Fadeev // Fadeev R.A. Collection of Writings, vol. 1, part 1, SPb, 1890, p. 66).
- Children of V. P. Zhelikhovskaya:
- Fyodor Nikolaevich Yakhontov (1855-1922) – gunsmith, owner of a weapons workshop in Vladikavkaz.
- Yakhontov Rostislav Nikolaevich (1858-1924) – cavalry officer, general Major (1917).
- Vera Vladimirovna Zhelikhovskaya (married Johnston, 1862-1920) – writer, since 1888 the wife of the Irish sanskritologist, orientalist and theosophist Charles Johnston (1867-1931).
- Nadezhda Vladimirovna Zhelikhovskaya (married Brusilova, 1864-1938) – writer, social activist, since 1910 the wife of the high-rank officer A. A. Brusilov (1853-1926). In 1930 she left for Czechoslovakia for treatment and remained living as an emigrant.
- Valerian Vladimirovich Zhelikhovsky (1866-1888) – student of the St. Petersburg Institute of Railway Engineers, died in Odessa on May 20, 1888 from transient consumption.
- Elena Vladimirovna Zhelikhovskaya (1874-1949) – a public figure.
- Here the page is damaged.
- Here the page is damaged.
- I believe (Fr.). – Tr.
- Castle (Fr.). – Tr.
- Sergei Ivanovich Sokolov (1851-1912) – employee of the newspaper the Moskovskie Vedomosti (the Moscow News), personal secretary of M. N. Katkov, censor of the Moscow Censorship Committee, member of the Moscow Committee for the Press.
- The book From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan by H. P. Blavatsky was originally published in the Moscow News (1879-1882), then the same chapters were published in the Russkiy Vestnik (1883, No. 1-7) and issued as a separate edition: Radda-Bai. From the Caves and Wilds of Hindustan. Letters to the Motherland. M., 1883.
- The announcement of the sale of a separate edition of the book appeared for the first time in the Moscow News on December 9, 1883 (No. 341).
- Here the page is damaged.
- James Louis Lindsay (26th Earl of Crawford, 9th Earl of Balcarres, 1847-1913) – English politician, Member of Parliament (1874-1880), astronomer, fellow of the Royal Society, President of the Royal Astronomical Society (1878-1880), member of the Theosophical Society.
- See letter 29, p. : “One of such chief councilors of the Theosophical Society in London, Lord, Earl...”.
- L.V. Grachev – librarian of the Kungur public library.