Letter to the Editor, of the “Bombay Review”
The Pioneer, Allahabad, September 20, 1880
To the Editor, SIR,—
Would you oblige me by giving a wider publicity than it would otherwise receive to the following reply which I have addressed to one of the Bombay papers, in reference to certain misrepresentations that have been circulated concerning the Theosophical Society in the local press.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
To the Editor of the Bombay Review.
Since my arrival here on a visit to friends, I have received an extract from the Bombay Review concerning the Theosophical Society generally and myself in particular. You say that very many of its most influential members have lately withdrawn from the Society. In reality six members only have withdrawn—they being among the least influential—from what after all is but one of the many branches of a society, the importance of which is quite independent of our efforts at Bombay. The withdrawal of these members has nothing to do with matters of opinion, nor with the aims and objects of the Society, and merely arose from private disagreements, occurring during our absence in Ceylon, between a lady guest of mine and another lady, who though she certainly came with Colonel Olcott and myself from America in the first instance, has taken no part whatever, as matters have turned out, either in forwarding our enterprise or in sharing any of its expenses. The incident is quite unimportant in itself, but misapprehensions injurious to our Cause may spring from the Press comments on the transaction. The Review says that our association thrives financially; that the initiation fees from our members must yield a considerable sum; and that the Theosophist must be “a remunerative branch of theosophy.” Permit me to explain that the initiation fees of new members in India—about 50 members only have paid—amount to Rs. 500 in the course of the last 18 months. This would, on your hypothesis, which is groundless in itself I may add, have yielded us an income of about Rs. 28 a month, on which to support the Society, ourselves, and our late friends, Mr. Wimbridge and Miss Bates. As for the Theosophist, the 900 paying subscribers require 900 copies of the publication, and as they only pay 8 annas a month each, the margin of profit would hardly tempt ordinary newspaper proprietors. If the Theosophist succeeds in always paying its way, I am amply satisfied. I may add that Colonel Olcott and I have spent from our own private sources for the support of the Society and its representatives, since we left America for Bombay, some Rs. 20,000, without counting considerable sums expended by Colonel Olcott during the three years previous to our leaving and since the Society’s foundation.
One other point: my attention has been drawn to the fact that Colonel Olcott’s name appears as attached to the designation of a Hindu firm concerned with some trading enterprise. The easy answer is that Colonel Olcott has never derived one rupee of benefit from it. As a Commissioner from the American Department of State, charged with the promotion of trade between India and the United States, he merely hoped to advance, by permitting the use of his name, the success in America, where his name might be a recommendation, of a business of international traffic carried on here by a member of the Theosophical Society in whom he was interested. As the arrangement has been understood, Colonel Olcott will, on his return to Bombay, rectify the matter.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.