Further response to the article is planned to be provided in due course

About False and True Mahatmas*

Sergey Kuvaev

*Translated by E. Turley

This article is a response to the criticism of my report “Sources of Information about the Religion and Culture of Tibet in "The Mahatma Letters,"” which was presented at the conference “Tibetology and Buddhology at the Intersection of Science and Religion” organized in 2020 by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The text that formed the basis of this response is authored by E.V. Turley, the academic secretary of the non-governmental organization “National Roerich Committee” and a translator of theosophical literature; the text of his review also included fragments of another critical review written by another translator of H.P. Blavatsky, V.V. Bazyukin. Although at the moment the review of E.V. Turley, addressed to the editorial staff of the conference proceedings, has been published neither in it, nor elsewhere, I nevertheless consider it necessary to give a detailed answer to all the critical remarks expressed in it, at the same time supporting the conclusions of my research with materials not voiced in the report, and also not related to the topic of Tibetan vocabulary in the “Letters of the Mahatmas” directly.

I would like to note that in his review E.V. Turley considered it possible to resort to some personal arguments, namely, he appealed to the fact that since I myself am a Buddhist, I could have therefore spoken out somewhat less categorically about phenomena that do not find confirmation from the side of modern natural sciences. Therefore, I hope that some deviation from the academic genre in this answer of mine will not be perceived as something unacceptable.

Distorted editions

As an undoubted merit of E.V. Turley's review, it should be considered that he gave the correct numbers of several letters according to Barker's numbering instead of those that were indicated by me. For obvious reasons, there is no scientific publication of the ML in Russian, therefore, as an auxiliary material, I used the edition of “The Mahatma Letters” published in 1998 by the Agni publishing house, associated with the Samara Roerich Center for Spiritual Culture. On the back of the title page of this edition is the imprint of Barker's English edition of 1926; and, since the publication does not contain any explanations from the editor of the publication, Yu. Rodichev, informing about the change in the composition and numbering of letters, alas, I decided in vain that I could use it for an initial search of the material, without then rechecking the numbers indicated in it by the original edition.

I am partially indebted to the mentioned Samara edition of the ML for the fact that I suggested a Tibetan origin for the word “akhu,” having seen in it the Tibetan “a khu” (uncle). The expression in which it occurs there sounds like “Meanwhile the akhu tries to fascinate K.H. by her portraiture” [Letters ... 1998: 409]. That is the indication of the sex of the “seducer,” which Turley quite rightly points out, referring to the English original, was lost in the Russian translation. Thus, the list of Tibetan vocabulary in “The Mahatma Letters,” originally compiled by me, naturally lost one position.

However, Turley himself in vain showed confidence in modern translators of sources on the early history of Theosophy. It is about his attempt to prove that Blavatsky voiced her neologism “cho-khan” not as “chohan,” but as “kogan.” The method he decided to use for this was, it would seem, quite fair: to clarify this issue he proposed to turn to the text of the series of essays “From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan,” written by Blavatsky in Russian, where this term is really mentioned. He himself instead turned not to the first lifetime editions of “The Jungles” in the magazines “Moskovskie vedomosti” (“Moscow Gazette”) and “Russky vestnik” (“Russian Bulletin”) but considered it sufficient to borrow the necessary quotation from the text of the preface to the new edition of the “Secret Doctrine” translated by V.V. Bazyukin. It is curious that Bazyukin, when working on this translation of his, as he himself especially notes, tried to use exactly such transcriptions of terms that Blavatsky herself gave in the Russian text of “The Jungles.” It is also, it would seem, quite an appropriate translation technique. But for some reason, instead of the text of the first editions of the 1880ies, he, most likely, used some of the editions of “The Jungles” of the last decades, in which pro-Roerich editors often arbitrarily edit some words, bringing them into line with how they were pronounced and written down by H. Roerich, without informing the readers about it. Neither Bazyukin himself, nor Turley did not explain what kind of publication it was.

If we open the issue of the Russky vestnik dated February 1886, we will see that the word of interest to us, both in the main text and in the footnote, is written as “dyan-chokhan” [Radda-Bai 1886: 811]. It is not surprising that Vs. Solovyov, who, unlike H. Roerich, personally communicated with Blavatsky and had the opportunity to hear this word firsthand, spelled this same pronunciation in his famous book “A Modern Priestess of Isis” [Solovyov 1893-II: 132] and essay on the Theosophical teaching [Solovyov 1893-II: 67]. However, Roerich did not immediately come to the “kogans”: in her “Chalice of the East,” a collection of excerpts from “The Mahatma Letters” published in 1925, this word appears in the English transcription “Chohan” [Roerich 1925: 234].

While writing this text, I myself almost fell once again into the trap of defective Roerich editions, which, as we see, poses a danger even for venerable Roerichs’ followers. Having set out to find out how the Roerichs pronounced the word “bde ba can” (which is present in the English transcription of “Deva-Chan” in the first books of the Agni Yoga cycle, as well as in the “Chalice of the East,” I found that in some modern editions the form “devakhan.” In particular, in such a transcription we see this word in the publication of H. Roerich's recordings from the 1920ies, carried out by the Sfera publishing house in 2006. I was already prepared to refer to this transcription as an additional argument in favor of the fact that H.I. Roerich falsely interpreted the combination “ch” in the transcription of Tibetan words as meaning the sound “k.” It seemed that the case here is similar, however, having already convinced myself from my own bitter experience that the Roerichite editions cannot be trusted, I decided to check with a photocopy of the original recordings ‒ fortunately, today there is such an opportunity ‒ and, as it turned out, not in vain. The original is “Devachan.”

It is quite curious that in one of Roerich's diary notebooks from 1951 there is a writing “Chohan” [Roerich 1951: 72] ‒ probably towards the end of her life she nevertheless realized that she had read this word incorrectly before. In view of the foregoing, all of Turley's subsequent arguments about kagans, kohens, etc., turn out to be vain and extremely shaky. In his extremely problematic etymologization, he comes to appeals to ‒ neither more nor less ‒ titular denominations of Kievan Rus, trying to bring at least some semblance of scientific substantiation under the curious reading of the word “cho-khan” by Helena Roerich. However, the degree of scientific character of these attempts can be assessed at least by the fact that the author of the review, among other things, hints at the possible belonging of the word “kogan” to the mythical language “senzar,” which in Theosophy is described as a kind of lingua franca of “initiates” of the whole world and goes back ... to Atlantis.

As for the story about the verification of Tibetan terms from the “Secret Doctrine” with the help of the Tibetan Mingyur Dorje, if he heard the notorious “cho-khan” as “kagan” or “kogan,” then it is not surprising that he did not recognize in it neither the original neologism chos mkhan nor anything more or less intelligible. It is possible that the Roerichs did not at all consider it necessary to voice this word in front of the Tibetan, considering it, like Turley, either Turkic or “Senzar.” Not considering it possible to put forward equally bold hypotheses regarding the origin and meaning of this word, I can add only one thing. It seems that by composing the Tibetan words “chos” and “mkhan” on the basis of data from Köppen's book, Blavatsky was thus trying to copy the Russian expression “spiritual instructor,” “ghostly father.” This version perfectly matches the context of the phrase from her letter, quoted by me in the article and collated with Köppen's phrase; moreover, it is with the words “spiritual instructor” that she begins her explanation of who the “Chohan” is. However, I do not insist on my assumption.

At the end of the topic of defective publications that give a false idea of the sources, it should be noted that the early and modern Theosophical publications in this respect differ little from the Roerichite ones. This once again shows that researchers of these topics inevitably need to refer to primary sources, using available modern publications mostly for preliminary orientation.

It remains to add that the word combination “chos mkhan,” or rather its unabbreviated form “chos kyi mkhan po,” is occasionally found in genuine Tibetan literature in the meaning of “expert on the doctrine,” but its existence as a kind of official, fixed title is an invention of Blavatsky. At the same time, along with this neologism, quite standard Tibeto-Buddhist titles were mentioned in the ML. So, several times in the transcription of “shaberon” the title “zhabs drung” is used. It migrated to the ML from the second volume of Isis Unveiled, to where, in turn, it came from the memoirs of Huc [Blavatsky 1877: 604-605], just as the Mongol title “hobilgan” (khoovilgaan) [Huc 1852: 121]. In her book, Blavatsky used it in an enthusiastic retelling of a story from Huc about the telepathic communication of a certain lama with a shaberon, and also on several other occasions. In the ML, this title, together with “khobilgan,” turned into one of the highest titles of the “Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood,” second only to “Maha-Chohan.” However, the same high title in the ML was awarded to one “dugpa-shammar” ‒ a sorcerer, a thief and a drunkard. Knowing that Bhutan is the main stronghold of the “black sorcerers,” “dugpa,” and having read in Bogle [Narratives ... 1879: 191-192] that one of the three highest hierarchs of Bhutan bears the title “Lama Shabdong,” she sarcastically awarded this title (“Shapa-tung Lama”) of a fictional neighbor of “Koot Hoomi,” who traded in black magic (No. 20c). Whether she realized that both “shaberon” and “Shabdong” were transcriptions of the same word, I cannot judge.

Remarks of doubtful propriety

Getting acquainted with the rest of the critical remarks expressed in the review by E.V. Turley, I could not get rid of the thought that its author did not fully comprehend the structure of my research, in particular, what goals I had in mind, what tasks I set myself and what methods I used. These remarks, referring to random elements of the text, are haphazard and would not be able to refute the conclusions drawn in the article even if they were all accurate. I don’t presume what exactly was to blame for that - either haste, or reassessment of one's own knowledge in the fields of the Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism, or the underlying self-confidence, based on belief in the reality of theosophical “mahatmas.” Whatever it was, it affected his statements in a very unfavorable way.

For example, commenting on my words about the origin of “dhyani-buddhas” and “dhyani-bodhisattvas” in the writings of Blavatsky from the book of Köppen, Turley adds that for the first time these terms appeared in European literature in the beginning of the XIX century. He also cites instances of the word “gylong” being mentioned before Markham's edition. But why? Indeed, firstly, in the light of my hypothesis, it was not necessary to find out when this or that term used in the ML first appeared in European literature. What had to be done was to show that every one of the Tibetan terms and words found in the Letters go back to only a few European books published before the creation of the letters “from Mahatmas,” which was successfully accomplished. Secondly, no indication that Blavatsky was familiar with the books mentioned by Turley has been found. Whereas the evidence that she knew the books I mentioned in the article (in this case, the books of Köppen and Markham) are given in abundance. In addition, even if one day it turns out in some way that the author of the ML used exactly the books indicated by Turley, this, again, will not harm the general conclusions of my research but will only clarify them.

In addition, the word “gylong” from the letter about “a goat and a Chohan” interested me not in itself but in the combination of “young gyloong.” This word was found in the end of the XIX century in almost every publication devoted to Tibetan Buddhism, therefore, trying to find out the specific book from which Blavatsky copied it, in the light of the tasks set, would be no more fruitful than, say, trying to find out from which book she borrowed the words “Tibet” or “Lhasa”(however, as for the specific transcription of Lha-Ssa from the ML, there is one such in the book of Huc). As for the combination “young gyloong,” it is already more characteristic and recognizable. It turned out that such a combination is adjacent in the letter of a “mahatma” with the toponym Pari-Jong, and both of them are in the index to Markham's collected works, which Blavatsky repeatedly quoted in articles written on her own behalf.

One more: Turley points out that the words Kiu-t-an, Na-lan-da and Dha-ra-ni in letter No 92, taken from the index to Beal's book, are given differently in Barker's first edition. But I never claimed that this was Barker's spelling. According to Barker, only the letter number was indicated in the text of the report, as in all other cases of citing the ML in the text of the article. In the handwritten original of this letter, these words appear exactly as I quoted them.

When E.V. Turley discusses the theoretical possibility of reducing the word “byang chub sems' dpa” to “byang chub” in Tibetan texts, it is clear that the Tibetan language is a completely new and practically unfamiliar area for him. In any case, this is precisely the conclusion that can be drawn when, as evidence of the “contextual use of “byang chub” meaning “bodhisattva,” he cites an article from Hopkins' dictionary, where “byang chub sems' dpa” also means “a hero with respect to contemplating enlightenment; one ['s?] intent on full enlightenment,” which Turley awkwardly translates as “a hero, or person, in the context of meditative enlightenment; the intention of complete enlightenment.” However, Hopkins’ explanation is not some alternative meaning of the word “byang chub sems dpa',” but nothing more than its literal translation from Tibetan. “Byang chub” in this phrase, of course, is the Awakening (Bodhi) and not something else.

Another example given by Turley to support his hypothesis is “byang chub spyod pa” (bodhisattva behavior). It is short for “byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa.” It is no more appropriate to deduce from this that “byang chub” can mean “bodhisattva” in the Tibetan language than to believe that, since there is “psycho hospital,” the meaning of the word “psycho” is equal to the meaning of the word “psychoneurological.” The meanings of these words, of course, correlate with each other, but they can in no way be called identical. And, of course, when Turley notes that not only “byang chub sems dpa'“ (bodhisattva), but also “byang chub sems” (bodhichitta) is sometimes abbreviated to “byang sems,” this in no way negates the fact that “byang chub sems dpa'“ does not shorten to “byang chub.”

Some justification for his attempt, however, may be the fact that in a certain context the word “byang chub” can still seem to be an abbreviation for bodhisattva even for experienced translators from Tibetan. For example, the Gelug school has a text called “skyabs' gro sems bskyed” (“Taking refuge and generating bodhicitta”; known as “Itgel” in Mongolia), which is widely used in personal and collective religious practice by both monks and lay people. In the section of this text dealing with generating bodhicitta, there is a line “sangs rgyas byang chub yid kyis zung.” Buryat lamas Zhargal Urabkhanov and Bair Ochirov considered it correct to translate this line as “I will always keep buddhas and bodhisattvas in my mind” [Instructions ... 1998: 21].

Meanwhile, other Buryat lamas, Tengon and Tenchoy, did not find such thinking acceptable and translated the line literally: “I hold on to Buddha-Bodhi with my mind” [Texts… 2004: 28], although not quite transparently. As for the publication of this text, made by the Mongolian datsan Idgaachoidzinlin with the participation of the teacher of the Mongolian Buddhist Institute B. Soronzonbold, in it we see a version of “Burkhany bodiyg setgeleeree barimui,” that is, “Hold on to the Buddha's Awakening with your mind” [Tibdennamdag 2019: 1]. In another modern translation of the interpretation of the text of “Itgel” by Changkya Khutukhta II Ngawang Losang Chöden, we see the same version: “Aguu burkhany bodiyg setgeleeree barmoi” [Agvaanluvsanchoidan 2013: 3] (the initial “aguu,” that is “great,” is inserted here to observe the anaphoric rhyme, traditional for Mongolian poetry). All in all, all the other Mongolian translations of “Itgel” I know follow this pattern, which is undoubtedly the most successful, meaningful and contextually appropriate. According to it, the line in the “unabridged” Tibetan original should have looked like “sangs rgyas kyi byang chub yid kyis zung,” that is, the author deliberately omitted in it not the second half of the word “byang chub sems' dpa” and the particle “rnams,” which denotes the plural, but only one possessive particle “kyi.” I believe that this example can give some idea of how the practice of abbreviations in Tibetan can lead to discrepancies even in such a seemingly uncomplicated text, which is recommended for every believer to read every day.

But even if E.V. Turley ever manages to find and demonstrate some cases when “byang chub” in Tibetan texts should be absolutely accurately interpreted as an abbreviation of the term “byang chub sems' dpa” (bodhisattva), then how will this help him to substantiate the appropriateness of the use of this word, abbreviated in such an unusual way, in the letter “from mahatma Koot Hoomi”? The reason why abbreviations are used in Tibetan poetry is quite clear ‒ to keep the same number of syllables per line. As a rule, the techniques of these abbreviations are standard and therefore do not cause significant difficulties for readers in most cases. But why should “mahatma Koot Hoomi” present to Sinnett a term that he did not know before in an atypically truncated form, which in this form, moreover, coincides with another important term, and thus inevitably misleads his correspondent? Although “Koot Hoomi” loved to decorate his extremely verbose letters with a poetic quote, he still wrote them not in verse but in prose. He had no need to shorten this term.

Let me remind you that, according to the results of my research, in such a truncated form the word migrated to the letter of the “mahatma” from the publication of Della Penna's report. This report gives the characteristic transcription and transliteration of the word “byang chub,” and we find these same characteristic forms in a slightly modified form in the letter. Moreover, the contexts coincide: in Della Penna “byang chubs” “train and instruct the bodies of the reborn lamas” [Narratives ... 1879: 329], while in Blavatsky/“Koot Hoomi” they “pass from the body of one great Lama to that of another ‒ as Lhas or disembodied Spirits.” About “Lha” as about gods receiving an award through “transmigration into other bodies” Della Penna writes a few pages above [Narratives ... 1879: 320]. Another character of Blavatsky, the hero of the article “Doctrines of the Holy Lha” ‒ “Gelung from the Inner Temple” ‒ also, by “accidental” coincidence, familiar with Della Penna's text from the 1879 publication, uses the same truncated version. The complete transcription of this Tibetan word is never found either in the ML or in other works of Blavatsky.

Just as there was no practical benefit in systematically shortening “byang chub sems' dpa” to “byang chub,” there was no practical use in shortening “chags rabs” to “chh-rab.” Turley tries to present the comic incident with the appearance of this chh-rab in the “Cosmological Notes” as if in fact it was not the author of the original text (Blavatsky/Morya) who had ignorantly copied it from Jaeschke's dictionary [Jaeschke 1866], but either Hume, or Sinnett, for some unknown reason, abbreviated the originally correctly written word when rewriting, for some reason using this dictionary, or they themselves chose from it Tibetan analogs to some concepts for which “Morya” did not indicate them.

Meanwhile, the use of this dictionary without the control of their “instructors” was unlikely for Hume and Sinnett even because throughout all the time of Hume's “cosmological” correspondence with “Morya” (August-October 1881) Blavatsky was just visiting Hume's house [Oddie 1997: 139] and undoubtedly discussed with him and Sinnett the details of the letters she herself gave them.

Moreover, one turns to dictionaries not in order to write a word in an abbreviated form but quite the opposite ‒ to find out how a certain unfamiliar word is spelled correctly and what it really means. And why would the correspondents of the “mahatmas” suddenly shorten the word that they see for the first time in their lives? To forget in a while how it should sound? No ‒ as Hume corresponded with Morya, so Sinnett then copied the materials of their correspondence for himself just so that the “teaching of the mahatmas” would be available to them in maximum clarity and completeness. Is it needless to say that not a single Tibetan word in Sinnett's copy is abbreviated anymore, except for this ill-fated “chh-rab”? And, by “accidental” coincidence, it is exactly the same abbreviation in Jaeschke's dictionary.

Moreover, it is known that Hume, unlike Blavatsky, tried to seriously study the languages of British India, and also that he was initially skeptical of the “mahatmas” and their teachings, not hesitating to subject them to very sarcastic and witty criticism. Therefore, had Jaeschke's dictionary been in his hands, it would have been him, and not me, who would probably be the first to make public all the numerous linguistic absurdities reflected in the text of the Notes ‒ “chang,” “chyang-mi-shi-khon,” “chh-rab” and other disappointing borrowings from it.

Frankly, it would be very tempting to assume that Blavatsky, who was visiting Hume, fabricated letters addressed to him “from Morya,” using a dictionary from his own library, the library of a lover of Eastern linguistics. However, the first sign of the use of this dictionary in the ML ‒ “ber-chhén” in a pseudo-Tibetan proverb ‒ appeared back in February 1881, that is, six months before these events. And Blavatsky, who usually changed the transcriptions of Tibetan words she borrowed from sources available to the general public, would certainly not have risked reproducing Jaeschke's transcription practically unchanged, knowing that Hume could easily double-check all this.

It is very likely that Blavatsky learned about the existence of the dictionary by Jaeschke, as well as that he made in Kyelang a certain number of its autolithographic copies, all from the same collection of Markham [Narratives ... 1879: cviii]. Having procured one of these copies, she kept this fact in secret, as well as the fact of her possession of Lewin's Tibetan language manual.

In a word, the attempt to transfer the responsibility for the infelicitous copying of data from Jaeschke's dictionary from “mahatma Morya” to his correspondents looks very weak. In addition, among other letters “from the adherents of the Secret Doctrine” there are examples of feckless copying from Jaeschke which cannot be explained by the interference of excessively initiative “students.” One such example is found in Blavatsky's article “Doctrines of the Holy Lha,” which she wrote under the guise of a compilation of materials from “several letters and manuscripts,” allegedly sent by some “Gelung of the Inner Temple – a disciple of the Secret Doctrine” and translated from Tibetan [Blavatsky 1894: II]. These materials were intended to refute some of the “Western misconceptions” reflected in the book by A. Lillie “Buddha and Early Buddhism” and in the report by Della Penna, published by the same Markham.

As I mentioned in the article, the entire Tibetan vocabulary of this article by Blavatsky/Gelung of the Inner Temple (minus “chang chub”) is also entirely borrowed from Jaeschke's dictionary. Here, all the transcriptions given in the dictionary were also copied from it more or less correctly. However, in one case, along with the correct transcription of the term, an inaccuracy made by Jaeschke in the translation of this term penetrated into the text of the Gelung, and this “expert on the Secret Doctrine” did not correct it in any way.

In the text of this Gelung, it is said, in particular, that a person who has reached the highest degree of spiritual perfection is no longer subject to reincarnation – “Henceforth he is free from the danger of 'Dal-jor,' human rebirth; for the seven forms of existence – only six are given out to the uninitiated – subject to transmigration have been safely crossed by him.” In Jaeschke: “dal-jór དལ འབྱོར (scr. दुरालभः) lit. slow of difficult to be obtained, viz. the being born as a human being, regeneration as man, which is considered as the most desirable form of existence of all the six subjected to transmigration, of do-wa.” (Note that not only the transcription and the general meaning are exactly the same here but also the expressions “forms of existence” and “subject[ed] to transmigration”).

Although Jaeschke's cited Sanskrit word “durālabhaḥ” is indeed translated as “difficult to be obtained,” its Tibetan counterpart is “rnyed dka’,” and by no means “dal ‘byor,” which translates as “freedom and riches.” At the same time, none of these expressions means human birth as such. Both of them refer to the teaching of “auspicious birth” (an integral part of the “Stages of the Path” system), which describes the birth that is best suited for the practice of the Dharma. Human birth is only one of a set of “riches” (‘byor), and that alone, according to Tsongkhapa's words from “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment,” is not enough: it also needs a full monastic community in a country; one needs to be mentally and physically complete; not to commit the so-called atrocities of immediate retribution; to have faith in the teachings of the Buddha. These are the five “personal” riches, and the five “objective” ones are the coming of the Buddha into the world, teaching the Dharma by him; its preservation; familiarizing others with it; and mercy. As for the eight “freedoms” or “deliverances” (dal), this is non-birth in hell; not being born as a hungry ghost (preta); an animal; a god; an adherent of false views; an idiot or a dumb; in a country where there is no monastic community; in a country where the preaching of the Buddha's teachings was not heard [Tsongkhapa 1994: 130-134].

In Tsongkhapa's “Great Treatise,” as in all other works following the system of the “Stages of the Path,” it is proposed to realize in oneself the presence of these “freedoms and riches” as an extremely favorable combination of circumstances, which, moreover, is very difficult to acquire. On the basis of this realization, one should immediately begin to practice the Dharma, without allowing these precious riches to be wasted [Tsongkhapa 1994: 135-137]. Of course, the life of Tsongkhapa himself was considered an example of such behavior, and therefore in the famous text of guru yoga associated with his image – “Hundred Deities of Tushita” (dga' ldan lha brgya ma) – a special reason for joy is precisely the fact that, “in this degenerated time,” he himself “listened extensively and attempted many [practices] and, by abandoning the eight [worldly] dharmas, qualified freedoms and richness as meaningful” (dal 'byor don yod byed).

By what meaning are they qualified by the “Gelung of the Inner Temple, a disciple of the Secret Doctrine”? If he, speaking about the “danger of dal-djor,” instead of this expression used a literal translation of the expression “birth as a man” (e.g. mi skye), then, perhaps, his passage would have some meaning within his own paradigm. But how absurd the statement about the “danger of freedoms and riches” for the saints is! It turns out that it is dangerous for them to be born where the preaching of Buddhism sounded, it is dangerous not to commit “atrocities of immediate retribution” (like the murder of a mother or an arhat); it is dangerous not to be born an adherent of false views (such as disbelief in the law of action and fruit); it is dangerous not to be born an idiot.

No matter how many “careless disciples” you may insert between the “Gelung” and Blavatsky (be they “unauthorized clarifiers,” “inept astral copyists” or ignorant translators), but it was she who was the person from whom the final version of this article came out. It was Blavatsky, not possessing knowledge of the Tibetan language and the basics of Tibetan Buddhism (and the doctrine of “auspicious birth” refers, of course, to it), ignorantly copied the content of Jaeschke's inaccurate dictionary entry.

This favorite technique of the supporters of Theosophy – shifting responsibility for the flaws in texts of “mahatmas” onto some unknown disciples – I will touch upon below. Here I can diversify the poor arsenal of the advocates of the authenticity of the “mahatmas” with a new version. Perhaps the “Gelung” and Blavatsky did not correct the inaccuracy in the dictionary not because they did not notice it, but because there was no inaccuracy? What if Jaeschke, over the years of his missionary activity in Lahul, somehow became familiar with the “Bas-pa Dharma ‒ Secret Doctrine” and, therefore, gave in the dictionary an interpretation of the term “dal 'byor” in accordance with its “esoteric,” hidden meaning? It is not without reason that even the word Bas-pa (sbas pa – “hidden, hidden”), which in translation into English entered the title of Blavatsky's main work, she took from it!

This would perfectly explain why his dictionary was so readily used by the “Gelung,” “Koot Hoomi,” “Morya,” and Blavatsky, and why the “librarian-archivist of Dalai and Panchen Lamas,” by his own admission, in his youth attended not Drepung or Gaden but the missionary school where Jaeschke worked. It would also become clear why this dictionary eluded the attention of scholars of Theosophy for so long – it can be seen that the “Indo-Tibetan Brothers” confiscated on the spot most of the copies of the dictionary that Jaeschke made in Kyelang so that the esoteric truths contained in it did not become known to the profane masses before their due time!

About the mother tongue of the “mahatmas”

In his review, E.V. Tourley unreasonably suggested that I consider it indisputable that the Tibetan language should have been native to both “mahatmas.” I can say that it would be rather rash on my part to believe that the “Kashmiri brahman Koot Hoomi” and the “Kshatriya-Rajput Morya” (as Blavatsky herself described them) might have Tibetan as their mother tongue.

In light of this, by the way, the attempt by B.S. Grechin to find a certain Tibetan etymology for these names seems superfluous. Having made some assumptions about the name of Koot Hoomi (in fact, taken by Blavatsky from a fresh English translation of Vishnu Purana [Vishnu ... 1866: 60-61], and after it was quickly revealed, mercilessly distorted by her in order to disguise this), Grechin, meanwhile, rightly noted that there are a lot of options for decomposing this name into some Tibetan components. With a slightly greater degree of confidence the task was approached by the well-known Tibetan ex-monk Gendün Chöpel, who, in his notes from the middle of the XX century “deciphered” the names of the teachers of the “Russian woman Balabsiki” (ba la bsi ki), heard by ear, as Mura (“mu ra”, the name of one of the medicinal herbs used in Tibetan medicine) and Kutumey (“sku thu med” – “body without the lower parts of a robe”). However, had the “official” portraits of these characters, approved by Blavatsky herself, caught Gendün Chöpel’s eye, he would hardly have suspected his compatriots in them.

According to Turley, the fact that the Tibetan language was not native to the “Mahatmas” could, to some extent, excuse the linguistic errors revealed in the ML. In some other case this consideration could be called fair. However, as I have shown, in the texts of the letters there is absolutely no evidence that their author, be it “mahatmas” or Blavatsky, could in general somehow speak Tibetan in isolation from reference literature. The nature of the mistakes made when copying from this literature indicates that they were made by a person who is not familiar not only with the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language but even with the writing system.

As for the Tibetan writing, on the whole it is several times simpler than its sister Devanagari, which the “mahatmas” simply could not help but know, since, as it was claimed, they knew Sanskrit. What prevented them from spending a few days on its acquisition? Let me remind you that adolescent novices in Mongolia, Kalmykia and Buryatia coped with this – and many of them, coming later to study at the monasteries of Tibet, mastered the Tibetan language no worse than the indigenous Tibetans.

Both of these “mahatmas” too are said to have visited Tibet from time to time. It was as if Blavatsky herself was there. How and with whom could they communicate there if they were not able to reproduce a single Tibetan word without looking at some English book before? Only in “senzar” and exclusively “with own fellows”? But after all, all three of them make it quite transparent that they are however familiar with Tibetan, and not bad at that. Blavatsky claims to be involved in the translation from Tibetan of letters from the “Gelung of the Inner Temple” and in the analysis of its difficult-to-translate idioms; “Morya” casually uses the vernacular “dzing dzing” and sprinkles Tibetan terms in the materials of the “Cosmological Notes”; “Koot Hoomi” recognizes the speech of its “Chohan” as Tibetan and understands its meaning (No. 50, No. 54), cites Tibetan proverbs and also seems to be translating from Tibetan (No. 11). Of course, all these details do not correlate with the actual level of proficiency of the Tibetan language by all the “three” shown in the study.

By the way, a photocopy of the letter containing the “Tibetan” (actually Kabyle) proverb about a cat and a rat allows us to note one curious detail that sheds some more light on Blavatsky's “creative method.” As I showed in the article, sometimes she wrote letters on behalf of “mahatmas,” composing them on the go, without careful preliminary thought. Adding colorful details to them from among those that came to hand or came to mind, she, as a rule, slightly distorted them in order to cover up her tracks. So from this copy it is clear that at first Blavatsky undertook to rewrite the proverb from Hodgson without changes. However, having rewritten half of it, she suddenly decided that it was worth modifying it somehow, and wrote the epithet gracious above the line in front of the word cat, which was absent in the original. The second similar addition, “ugly,” she wrote in front of “rat” right away in the course of rewriting the second half of the proverb.

Another pictorial example of trying to appear in the eyes of her readers as an expert in the Tibetan language with what came to hand is found in Blavatsky's article “Reincarnations in Tibet,” published in 1882 in “The Theosophist.” In this article, written almost entirely based on materials from the book of the same Markham (that is, Bogle, Manning and Della Penna), Blavatsky “clarifies” the name of the Pugdal monastery in Zanskar:

“We are well aware that the name is generally written Pugdal, but it is erroneous to do so. “Pugdal” means nothing, and the Tibetans do not give meaningless names to their sacred buildings. We do not know how Csömo de Korös spells it, but, as in the case of Pho-ta-la of Lha-ssa loosely spelt “Potala” – the lamasery of Phäg-dal derives its name from Phag pa (phäg – eminent in holiness, Buddha-like, spiritual; and phaman, father) the title of “Awalokiteswara,” the Boddhisatwa who incarnates himself in the Dalaï Lama of Lha-ssa. The valley of the Ganges, where Buddha preached and lived, is also called “Phäg-yul,” the holy, spiritual land; the word phag coming from the one root – Phä or Phö being the corruption of Fo – (or Buddha) as the Tibetan alphabet contains no letter F.” [Blavatsky 1882: 147].

This daring excursion into Tibetan etymology and phonetics continues on the next page:

“In Tibetan pho and pua – pronounced with a soft labial breath-like sound – means at the same time “man, father.” So pha-yul is native land; pho-nya, angel, messenger of good news; pha-me, ancestors, &, &.” [Blavatsky 1882: 148].

The name of this monastery, which became famous in the West thanks to Kőrösi, is really ambiguous – it is either “phug dal” or “phug thar.” However, there are no discrepancies regarding the first element of this name, which so interested Blavatsky: “phug” is a “cave,” and indeed, the monastery is built around a large rocky cave of natural origin. As for the ending options, they are close in meaning, and their meaning is also clear: “dal” is “freedom, deliverance” (the monastery was used as a place for seclusion, to get away from the bustle of the world), and “thar” [pa] is “Liberation,” one of the highest fruits of Buddhist practice.

Jaeschke's dictionary contains “phug pa,” “dal,” and “thar.” So why did she declare the name meaningless? Most likely, she simply did not know or forgot that the monastery is located near the cave. Instead, she came across the word “‘phags pa.”

Thanks to this sudden discovery, Blavatsky also “reveals” to the reader that, it turns out, the name of the Lhasa residence of the Dalai Lamas, Potala, in the original also has the root “'phags,” referring to the title of Avalokiteshvara, of which the Dalai Lamas are considered to be incarnations. In fact, the name of the palace refers to the Sanskrit name of the “pure land” of Avalokiteshvara – Potalaki, therefore, not only the results of her etymological research, but the very attempt to discern Tibetan and even Chinese roots in the Sanskrit word looks completely incorrect.

Of course, both the details of Tibetan phonetics and the words “‘phags yul,” “pha yul,” “pha mes” and “pho nya,” along with their translations, are taken from Jaeschke's dictionary. An illustrative example is with the word “pho nya” – “messenger.” Jaeschke translates it as “messenger, ambassador” and also “angel,” since the Greek ἄγγελος, to which it ascends, literally means “messenger.” Why did Blavatsky need to add to Jaeschke's definition that it is a messenger of “good news”? Then, she just stated that the Tibetan “pha/pho” allegedly goes back to “‘phags,” which means “holy, good,” and without this connotation the word “pho nya” could not serve as an illustration of her claims. I will return to the interpretation of this word by Blavatsky below.

Tibetan Atlantis

In order to create the impression of a close acquaintance of her characters with Tibetan realities, Blavatsky not only fabricated pseudo-Tibetan proverbs, but also mentioned quite real Tibetan toponyms in the ML. I confess that initially I did not want to delve into the topic of Tibetan toponymy in the ML, as I thought that she could borrow it from a potentially very wide range of sources – atlases, maps, colonial press, etc. Moreover, how, and – most importantly – why was it necessary to find out in which particular source Blavatsky first came across such well-known names as Lhasa, Shigatse, Ladakh or Darjeeling, appearing in the ML? However, “The Letters” also contain a number of other Tibetan toponyms, which were hardly ever heard in British India. It turned out, however, that here too Blavatsky was not distinct in originality, pulling them out of the books already named above, and most of all – from the same collected book of Markham. The examples given below allow us to confidently state this.

Markham's collected volume contains a map of Tibet, compiled in 1876 by T. Saunders on the basis of the intelligence missions of the famous Anglo-Indian “pandits” [Narratives ... 1879: cxxxiv]. On it we find every one of the Tibetan place names from the ML: for example, Than-La from the letter No. 5 is Tangla Mt, marked on Saunders’ map north of Lhasa. The Tsangpo River (on the map – Sanpu, in the index – Tsanpu), together with its “deserted banks,” is referred to in the letter No. 43 as Tsam-Po. “Palti female monastery” (sometimes mistakenly given as Palli in editions of the ML) from the letter No. 52 is a nunnery on the island of Lake Palti, which is located south of Lhasa and is repeatedly mentioned in the book. To this monastery, according to “Koot Hoomi,” “Chohan” allegedly ordered to send the daughter of N.K. Banerjee, one of the Indian members of the Theosophical Society.

The same letter also mentions a place called Chamto-Dong “about 100 miles off Tchigadze,” in an unnamed monastery near which Banerjee's son was to be admitted. In fact, this is a lake, which on Saunders’ map is called Chomto Dong and in the index to the book appears as Chomtodong. At the time of compilation of the map (1876), it belonged to northern Sikkim, and now it is located in China and is known as Tsomo-Dramling. Why did Blavatsky's Chomto become Chamto? The thing is that on this map Saunders used several fonts – one for designating objects of natural origin, and the other for settlements. If in the first font the lowercase letters “a” and “o” differ noticeably from each other, then in the second they visually differ only in the thin letter lower tail in “a.” This made Blavatsky read the name “Chomto Dong,” to make matters worse, written on a gray background, as “Chamto Dong.” Had she, choosing where to “send” Banerjee Jr., looked not only at the map but also at the index, she would not have made this mistake. Encouraging Sinnett after the publication of Hume's skeptical article, Blavatsky, on behalf of “Koot Hoomi,” assured him that in these two lakeside monasteries Banerjee's son and daughter would eventually witness the true existence of the “mahatmas” and would be able to confirm her words. Needless to say, Banerjee’s kids ultimately never went anywhere.

However, the most characteristic example of borrowing from Saunders’ map is given by the letter No. 49. In the same letter there are already familiar “Tchang-chubs” and “Khiu-tee,” as well as Sakkya-Jong, found all in the same collection of Markham; it ends with the following passage of “mahatma Koot Hoomi”:

“From Ghalaring-Tcho Lamasery (where your Occult World was discussed and commented upon) – Heaven save the mark! will you think. I crossed to the Horpa Pa La territory, – “the unexplored regions of Turki tribes” – say your maps ignorant of the fact that there are no tribes there at all – and thence – home.”

Here “Koot Hoomi” already quite unequivocally betrays his acquaintance with this map, since a vast area on it is marked in this way: “Hor Pa; (Turki tribes); Unexplored.” And in the southwestern part of it we see Ghalaring Cho – this is how the name of the large lake Nganglaring Tso is transcribed here. It is noted that there is an island on the lake and a monastery on it; the corresponding subscript (“Monastery”) is right under the hydronym, giving the impression that Ghalaring Cho is the name of a monastery and not a lake. The word “monastery” is not found anywhere else on the map.

As for Western Tibet, in which this lake is located, in 1867 and 1868 it was visited by the “pundits” Nain Singh, Mani Singh and Kalian Singh, and information about Lake Nganglaring got on Saunders’ map from the report of one of them. By the way, it is very likely that the story of these “pundits” – specially trained Indians who incognito overcame huge distances in Tibet with a secret mission carefully hidden from others – served as one of the sources of inspiration for Blavatsky in creating images of “mahatmas” such as we know today, at least as far as their travels across Tibet are concerned, one of which is just described in this letter. At one time, this cunning operation of British intelligence gained widespread fame and recognition, even though the cartographic information provided by these “pundits” was not always accurate and required rechecking.

So, when in 1908 S. Hedin was the first of the Europeans to visit Lake Nganglaring, he especially noted that, obviously, the “pundit” who gave the information reflected on Saunders’ map had not personally been there but only reproduced other people's inaccurate stories. As it turned out, he incorrectly oriented the lake relative to the cardinal points, incorrectly indicated its shape and the number of islands, and there was no monastery at all on the lake [Hedin 1909: 403]. But where did the monastery on Lake Nganglaring Tso go, in which Sinnett's “Occult World” was vividly discussed? Well, did it go under water along with the island, like the legendary Russian city of Kitezh, like Atlantis? Those Roerichites who consider it appropriate to appeal to the history of Ancient Rus when explaining the etymology of Tibetan titles, perhaps, will take this version for consideration.

Negligent pupils

Both Turley and his predecessors, trying to justify the presence of egregious mistakes and illiterate borrowings in texts of “mahatmas,” try to explain them by the intervention of hypothetical “disciples” – according to Blavatsky's assurances, “mahatmas” often telepathically dictated or demonstrated texts of their letters to their disciples, and the latter wrote them down on paper and sent them to an addressee. It was them who allegedly made all these mistakes and not at all their impeccable teachers. Well, the “negligent pupil” technique is not new, and its inventor is none other than Blavatsky herself. For example, she used it when she had to shield “mahatma Koot Hoomi” for plagiarism found in the text of one of his letters from the American spiritualist Kiddle, which Sinnett published without prior notice or permission from the “mahatma.”

The author of the review reproaches me for not mentioning the existence of such excuses when analyzing the errors of the “mahatmas,” which in itself supposedly makes my article less objective. In fact, such a mention seemed to me completely redundant, since Blavatsky's statements about the methods of correspondence of the “mahatmas” are already known to everyone who has at least some interest in the early history of Theosophy. In addition, the initial version of the article, which I eventually had to shorten to fit the format of a conference talk, contained a presentation of several topics that touched on this issue.

One of such topics was criticism of the version of B.S. Grechin, who tried to reconcile the belief in the truthful presentation of the “incident with the goat” from the letter of “Koot Hoomi” with the fact of borrowing a phrase from Lewin's manual discovered by A. Goyios by using the method of the “negligent pupil.” Allegedly, the available copy of the letter was telepathically dictated by the “mahatma” to his disciple, and the latter, not hearing well an unfamiliar Tibetan phrase, in a hurry grabbed Lewin's manual from the shelf, hastily found in it at least something similar and, without at all bothering to make sure that his choice was correct, arbitrarily inserted the phrase into the letter. At the same time, Grechin rightly notes that in order to understand the erroneousness of this action, one could do without even knowing Tibetan – one just had to pay attention to the construction of the phrase. The disciple, however, did not do this, as if due to some exceptional haste.

Let us leave aside the fact that the Tibetan insert in the letter “about a goat and a Chohan” was written, of course, in the same handwriting as all the other letters “from Koot Hoomi.” The supporters of Theosophy will undoubtedly say here that since the disciples' hand was guided by the suggestion of the “mahatma” when writing them, that is why the handwriting at the same time turned out to be mahatmian. But according to Grechin's version, the disciple-receiver consulted Lewin's manual on his own initiative, and wrote the erroneous phrases into the letter not under dictation, but on his own – when the “session” had already ended. So, the handwriting of these phrases in the letter should be different from the rest of the text? Looking at the photocopy of this page of the letter, we can see that, of course, it is the same as in the rest of the letter. The photocopy also does not reflect any other traces or signs of additional writing.

Moreover, on the photocopy we see a characteristic detail not reflected in the published “Letters.” It turns out that Blavatsky first tried to copy the fragment of the phrase she needed from the textbook in Tibetan script. Seeing the Tibetan graphemes མི་ ཚར [mi tshar] opposite the phrase “kam mi tshar,” she copied them into a letter and started copying the transcription but suddenly realized that there were three syllables in it, whereas there are only two graphemes! The syllable གམ་ [gam] was typed on the top line. There was no more space to write in the missing syllable, and obviously there was no wish to rewrite the entire sheet anew. Therefore, she did not find anything better than to cross out the Tibetan graphemes in her letter, limiting herself only to transcription and “translation.”

If, as Grechin suggests, this was written by a pupil, then why would there even be a need to try copying the graphemes? These hadn't been seen live while listening to the “telepathic dictation,” had they? Well, if it was not a dictation but a rewriting from a speculative sample, then what prevented from copying the Latin transcription of this short phrase, written in familiar letters, albeit in a somewhat distorted form?

It must be said that the method of involving in the explanation of almost every mistake of the “mahatmas” of some hypothetical “negligent pupil,” for all its seeming convenience and ability to justify any mistake, in fact raises a question extremely inconvenient for Theosophists. What in general allows them to be sure that this or that statement from the letters of “mahatmas” is conveyed without distorting the meaning? Indeed, when writing each of them, exactly the same excessively proactive or inept pupil-mediator could be involved. According to Koot Hoomi's excuses for the incident with the paragraph from Kiddle, the degree of distortion of meaning in such cases can be close to one hundred percent (after the plagiarism was exposed, Koot Hoomi gave the “correct” version of the text, which, still borrowing some of Kiddle's expressions, almost completely contradicted the original version). Note, however, that until the text of the letter was published and the plagiarism was discovered, Sinnett had no doubts that this was exactly what the “mahatma” had in mind, not seeing in the text any discrepancies with his other thoughts.

Findings of recent years, including mine, have shown that for a century Theosophists considered true words of “mahatmas” that what was in fact only a defect in copying. So what allows them to be sure that no more such defects will be identified, and how to rely on “The Mahatma Letters” as an authoritative source for them, as before? The same, by the way, applies to the text of the “Secret Doctrine,” because, as it is stated, Blavatsky wrote it also sometimes copying it from some “astral” sample.

Unfruitful research

In the remark of V.V. Bazyukin, cited by Turley in his review, he suggests that if I had planned to investigate the cosmogony, ontology, hermeneutics and epistemology of the “Secret Doctrine” for falsification, as I did with Tibetan vocabulary, then the results of such a study would have been much more modest. This is a rather strange statement. Firstly, because Blavatsky did not falsify Tibetan vocabulary as such, but her (and “mahatmas”’) knowledge of the Tibetan language. The vocabulary itself there is genuine, and is taken from sources now known to us ‒ but its use, as has been shown, is extremely sloppy and ignorant. Secondly, what does Bazyukin mean by “falsification of cosmogony” and so on? With what should be compared, say, the cosmogony of Blavatsky, to make a conclusion about its truthfulness or falsity? With the real state of affairs at the beginning of the universe? What is stated on this matter in the SD is an author's version of Blavatsky, which has the right to life in exactly the same way as all other versions of religious philosophers.

Or, perhaps, it is necessary to compare the content of the SD with the text of the “Book of Dzyan,” on which it allegedly relies and which allegedly contains in a concentrated form all that cosmology and ontology that the “mahatmas” teach about? But we do not have such a book. Let me remind you that at first Blavatsky claimed that this book was part of the “Book of Kiu-Te,” that is, in the section of Tantra (rgyud sde) of the Buddhist canon. But then she “clarified” that she did not mean at all the “exoteric” section of Tantra (in which, of course, there is no such book), but again some kind of “secret” one, accessible only to a narrow circle of “initiates.” For a hundred and fifty years, enthusiasts like D. Reigle have been looking for traces of this book, but they have not yet found not only the book itself, but even at least some mention of it or a quote from it in a reliable source, i.e. outside the writings of Blavatsky and her epigones. Well, indeed, an attempt to compare the SD in view of falsification with a text that does not exist in nature cannot be nothing but unsuccessful.

But, for example, an attempt to establish the sources of borrowing all Sanskrit and Pali terms from the ML and the SD will be very fruitful. There is no doubt that the conclusions from the results of such a study will perfectly match those that were voiced by me after researching their Tibetan vocabulary. Moreover, such work with respect to individual Sanskritisms has already been partially completed, and Turley even mentions one of these words in his review (though for some reason calling it “Sanskrit-Tibetan”). This case is no less funny than the case of the notorious “chh-rab,” who turned out to be a thoughtless copy from Jaeschke's Tibetan dictionary. This is about the mysterious term “Nirira namastaka” from the publications of the ML, which was analyzed by D. Caldwell and D. Reigle.

After consulting a photocopy of the letter, Caldwell discovered that there was in fact “Nirvva namastaka” standing there. A search for this refined spelling led him to The New American Cyclopaedia of 1870, in which the whole term “Nirvvanamastaka” is hyphenated at the end of the line exactly where the author of the letter split it. At the same time, not only the term-title itself, which is quite problematic in itself, was copied into the letter from the dictionary entry but also the characteristic expression “break through the egg-shell,” referring to the bearer of this title [Reigle 2017]. As one can see, this Sanskrit word-chimera entered the lexicon of the “mahatmas” in exactly the same way as the Tibetan “kam mi tshar” and “chh-rab” ‒ that is, due to ignorance in the language, multiplied by the peculiarities of the book layout.

Despite this, both Caldwell and Reigle do not abandon faith in the reality of the “mahatmas.” How they reconcile this belief with the results of their own research is not difficult to guess. Of course, the “careless pupil” again comes to their aid, this theosophical dharmapala, the all-powerful guardian of the belief in the existence of “mahatmas.”

Undeclared sources

Another remark of Turley, indicating that he did not fully understand what and how I am proving in the article, is the remark that the source of the quotation from the epigraph to Blavatsky's article “Tibetan Teachings” is indicated by her, contrary to what I am reporting, as Kangyur. However, I have no and did not have any claims to the fact that Blavatsky's “mahatmas” (and she herself) cite Buddhist literature without naming a specific work from which a quotation is taken. There is nothing reprehensible in such anonymous quotations in themselves ‒ this is a completely standard technique in Tibetan commentary literature. The problem is that all these quotes from these works, as has been shown, were borrowed not from the conventional “Tashi Lhunpo library,” but from fresh Western publications. And these publications of Blavatsky are not indicated in any way ‒ obviously, with the aim of giving readers the impression that they are available to her and her characters directly, in the original.

In my report, due to its limited volume, not all known cases of hidden borrowing by the author of the ML of quotations from Western translations were mentioned. Thus, a fragment of the letter No. 45 beginning with “Look around ...” and ending with the words “lust and desire” is a free retelling of a fragment from Beal's book [Beal 1871: 196-197]. This was determined by D. Reigle.

From the same place [Beal 1871: 173-188] is a retelling of a large fragment of the mahayanic Parinirvana-sutra, compiled by a “mahatma” (No. 127) into several altered phrases that seemed to be the most expressive. It is very significant that the “mahatma” identifies in the letter the source of the text he cites as “Parinirvana Sutra Kiouen XXXIX,” that is, just like Beal. But whereas Beal had previously told his reader what “kiouen” is ‒ “volume, book” in Chinese, the “mahatma” leaves Sinnett in the dark about this.

Another case of defective copying from Beal is in the letter No. 16. It mentions “Djnana Prasthana Shaster,” which supposedly contains the words: “by personal purity and earnest meditation, we overleap the limits of the World of Desire, and enter in the World of Forms.” This is a word-for-word quotation from Beal's book, but he did not establish the source of this quotation, and the Djnana Prasthana Shaster is mentioned on the same page as a possible source of not this but another quotation given there [Beal 1871: 86].

Blavatsky used the fruits of the works of modern Buddhists not only to present her “mahatmas” as experts in the Buddhist canon, but also to construct Buddhist pseudo-quotations. So, in the letter No. 16 (1882) there is the following fragment:

“... none of these Skandhas is the soul; since the body is constantly changing, and that neither man, animal, nor plant is ever the same for two consecutive days or even minutes. "Mendicants! remember that there is within man no abiding principle whatever, and that only the learned disciple who acquires wisdom, in saying 'I am' ‒ knows what he is saying."”

This is a paraphrase of a paragraph from Rhys Davids's book on the life and teachings of the Buddha, published in the same year [Rhys Davids 1882: 93-94]:

“It is repeatedly and distinctly laid down in the Pitakas that none of the Skandhas or divisions of the qualities of sentient beings is the soul. The body itself is constantly changing, and so of each of the other divisions, which are only functions of the living beings, produced by the contact of external objects with the bodily organs. Man is never the same for two consecutive moments, and there is within him no abiding principle whatever.”

From this description of the doctrine of impermanence and the absence of the true “I,” made by Rhys-Davids himself, Blavatsky constructed a pseudoquote of the Buddha, stylizing it as a fragment of a certain sutra (“Mendicants! Remember…”) and, moreover, putting the words about “I am” and “the learned disciple” into his mouth.

However, the most frank evidence that Blavatsky's “mahatmas” sought to impress the readers of their letters as experts in Buddhist literature and its languages is contained in the famous “Letter about God” (1882, No. 10), which ends with a real quote from the Pali canon. After giving advice to Hume: “Read the Mahavagga and try to understand <...> what the Fully Enlightened one says in the 1st Khandhaka,” “mahatma Koot Hoomi” then says: “Allow me to translate it for you ...” and then quite close to the text rewrites a fragment of the English translation by Rhys-Davids and Oldenberg from the “Vinaya Texts” book [Vinaya 1881: 75-78], published a year earlier. That is, here the “mahatma” not only hints that he has the original text before his eyes and speaks the Pali language, but directly declares that he himself is the author of the translation given in his letter.

This is no longer just “some expressions already in common usage in this or that Buddhological or other work,” which, as Bazyukin says, Blavatsky (like her “mahatmas”) could well have used for a Western audience to better understand her thoughts. This is the appropriation of the fruits of someone else's labor, passing off someone else's knowledge as their own. If it seems appropriate for Turley to reproach me for not mentioning in my article the names of those people who had seen the Tibetan “sku” (body) in “A-ku ‒ body” from the “Cosmological Notes” before me, even though it was quite simple for this to look into any English-Tibetan dictionary, with which everyone who has set himself such a task has successfully coped with, then should not the systematic appropriation of other people's merits by the “mahatmas” suggest their dubious honesty?

But one could probably turn a blind eye even to such cases if, along with hidden quotations from Western publications, the “mahatmas” cited at least some Buddhist literature that has not yet been translated into English. But there is nothing like that at all. Instead, the “Indo-Tibetan Brothers” willingly flaunt their knowledge of the philosophy of Hobbes, Bacon, Spinoza, Schopenhauer and Spencer, the prose of Bulwer-Lytton, Shelley, Thackeray and Shakespeare, the poetry of Coleridge, Milton, Arnold, Tennyson and Butler, as well as scabrous French songs. Despite the fact that, according to their own statements, the “mahatmas” knew the words and thoughts of all the people who lived and live, for some reason they used only those of them that happened to catch the eye of only one person ‒ Blavatsky.

Non-Buddhist Buddhism

In the ML and other early philosophical sources, the veneration of Tsongkhapa's figure by the “mahatmas” has been repeatedly declared. Among all the Tibetan mentors, it is Tsongkhapa, along with the Tashi Lama (No. 23b), who “mahatmas” honor in their letters not only by at least some attention and mention but even with membership in their “brotherhood.” The Dalai Lama is mentioned only in passing (No. 54, 98).

Well, I do not argue with the fact that Tsongkhapa was a mahatma ‒ in any case, this is how one of his traditional titles can be translated from Tibetan into Sanskrit ‒ “bdag nyid chen po” (usually preceded by the word “rje” ‒ “lord”). In general, this title, “great being,” is not so rare in Tibetan literature, where it refers to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as to some other eminent mentors. For example, this is the name of the head of the Sakya school, the main monastery of which Blavatsky, following Köppen, declared the main stronghold of the “shammars” ‒ the worst enemies of Tsongkhapa and his teachings.

So, for theosophical “mahatmas” of all Tibetan lamas, only Tsongkhapa and Panchen Lamas have indisputable authority. And yet we do not see in the ML a single quotation from their works ‒ neither direct nor indirect. There is not even the slightest mention of at least some of the teachings and provisions contained in “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment,” the “Stages of Mantra” or other famous works of Tsongkhapa. True, once in the article “Lamas and Druses” Blavatsky still advises the reader to refer to the “Great Treatise.” But for what? It turns out, to make sure that the lamas, like the Syrian Druze, have the idea that when good and evil shall come to an equilibrium in the scales of human actions, “then the breath of “Wisdom,” will annihilate in a wink of the eye just 666 millions of men. The surviving 666 millions will have “Supreme Wisdom” incarnated in them” [Blavatsky 1981: III-289]. Maybe this “esoteric Lamrim” of the “esoteric Tsongkhapa” is consistent with what “mahatma Morya” whispered to H. Roerich 70 years later: “Leave any regret for the millions condemned to death, devoid of spirit, lifeless. You can ardently say for certain that those who are deprived of spirit are real lifeless ones and cannot incarnate again” [Roerich 1953]. But in the real “Great Treatise” of the real Tsongkhapa, of course, there is and can be nothing of the kind.

In the “teaching of the mahatmas” there are a lot of other statements that directly contradict the content of Je Rinpoche's main work ‒ for example, that it is impossible for a person to be reborn as an animal, etc. I have already written about how their followers relate to the “freedoms and riches” of being born as a person. The word “stong pa nyid” (“emptiness”), denoting the most important concept, to the explanation of which Tsongkhapa devoted the lion's share of the main work of his life, is used in the Letters once, and then ‒ not in its true sense but ... “ironically” (as Turley interprets it). What can we say then about the acquaintance of the “mahatmas” with the works and teachings of some other Tibetan mentors besides Tsongkhapa?

In general, in the writings of Blavatsky, one can notice a double-natured position in relation to Buddhist literature. On the one hand, she and her characters willingly cite sutras that happened to be translated into English and fall into their hands, as an authoritative source. On the other hand, the mass of other canonical texts, such as, for example, the entire composition of the Tantra Section (“Kiu-te”), are declared by them to be just a blind for the uninitiated ‒ those seem to have “real” analogues available only to the “mahatmas” and their followers. As a rule, Blavatsky declared texts that were inaccessible to her, which, as she knew, had an important status and could potentially conflict with the teachings that she preached, to be “fake.” Thus, Blavatsky did not hesitate to classify as “blinds” and “inventions” even the most famous cycle of five treatises devoted to the doctrine of the Tathagatagarbha, which is known as the “Five Teachings of Maitreya” (byams pa'i chos lnga) [Blavatsky 1925: 195]. She learned about the existence of five short treatises of Buddha Maitreya (“Champai chhos nga”), written in verses, from a book of Schlagintweit [Schlagintweit 1863: 32]. Declaring them fictitious, she declared that the five treatises of Maitreya which are “no fiction” [mistakenly quoted as "non-fiction" - E.T.] were written in prose and accessible to her - just as, one must think, to other adherents of the “Secret Doctrine”. Apparently, they did not include dozens of Indian and Tibetan mentors who left comments not on some “secret” but on the well-known five treatises. Even such great teachers as Asanga and Atisha, as well as one of Tsongkhapa's two closest disciples, Gyaltsab Dharma Rinchen, turned out to be so short-sighted that they seriously quoted and interpreted what, according to Blavatsky, was a fiction created only to divert the eyes!

Some excuse for these simple-minded Indians and Tibetans, who were not familiar with the “Secret Doctrine” and therefore failed to recognize the “false” pentateuch of Maitreya, could be the fact that one quote from it sneaked into the “Mahatma Letters.” This is about the phrase “The only refuge for him who aspires to true perfection is Buddha alone,” which “mahatma Koot Hoomi” copied from T. Lewin's manual to the envelope of the letter No. 92. Had Lewin pointed out in his manual that this phrase comes from Ratnagotravibhāga, which is one of the five well-known and therefore “falsified” treatises of Maitreya, he could have saved Koot Hoomi from this annoying oversight. Indeed, can an adherent of the “mahatma teachings” agree that Buddha is the only refuge for those who seek the highest, without making reservations that are irreconcilable with the Buddhist doctrine of refuge in the Three Jewels? The “profaneness” of Ratnagotravibhāga is only aggravated in the stanza following the one that was recklessly quoted by the mahatma. It explains why Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are like jewels: in particular, because they are rare and supreme [Maitreya 2017: 144‒145]. That is why the Three Jewels (rin chen rnam gsum) are also called the “Highest Rarities” (dkon mchog), and it is known from the “Cosmological Notes” that by the term “Kon Chhog” the “mahatmas” called by no means Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but an “Uncreated Principle,” “Narayan ‒ Spirit brooding over the waters and reflecting in itself the Universe,” as well as “Universal Mind,” which goes far beyond the usual, “exoteric” explanations of this term by Buddhists.

It would seem that both Turley himself and Bazyukin, quoted by him, agree that the “teaching of the mahatmas” “is not at all reduced to Buddhism and is not limited to it,” or even “diverges from the exoteric, i.e. generally accepted provisions of Buddhism.” As we can see, it is impossible to argue with this, especially since it became quite obvious even during Blavatsky's life. Nevertheless, Turley makes an attempt to doubt the words that those rare truly Buddhist terms like “bde ba can,” “sems can,” “dkon mchog” and several others that come across in the “teaching of the mahatmas” are interpreted there in isolation from the Buddhist tradition. It would seem, why undermine own thesis? But here, too, Turley tries to question my words with the following confused reasoning:

“However, “Bde ba can” in the writing of “Devachan” has, among other characteristics, those of Sukhavati. It is hard to say that “Sems can” in the sense of “Animated Universe/Organized matter” (as they are reflected in the “Notes”), which is already close to one of the meanings of purusha, cannot necessarily correspond to Buddhist sattva. “Dkon mchog” in the spelling “Kon Chhog,” as mentioned above, has the meaning of Universal Mind, so that it can correspond to one of the meanings of the Buddhist dictionary, that is the Buddha as God.”

It is difficult to say how this or that transcription of the same word can influence its meaning, but, be that as it may, Buddhist Devachen (bde ba can; Skt: Sukhāvatī) is the so-called “pure land” of Amitabha Buddha, where after death only a consciousness that had previously established a close connection with him through prayers and good wishes, or thanks to someone else's help through the procedure of “transference” (pho ba), enters. At the same time, there are a number of other “pure lands” ‒ Tushita, Potalaka, Akanishta, Abhirati, etc. And theosophical “Devachan” is an obligatory intermediate state between two births, where the “Higher Ego” of every person gets after death. Thus, the theosophical teaching about Devachen not only does not correspond to the Buddhist but is practically opposite to it.

It is curious to see how “Koot Hoomi” explains the etymology of this word (No. 69):

“The meaning of the terms Devachan and Deva-loka, is identical; “chan” and “loka” equally signifying place or abode. “Deva” is a word too indiscriminately used in Eastern writings, and is at times merely a blind.”

In fact, “bde ba” is “bliss,” and “can” is a particle indicating possession; thus, literally the word is translated as “[land] endowed with bliss.” As for the Tibetan counterpart of the word devaloka, it is “lha'i khams.”

The term “sems can” (literally “[a being] possessing consciousness”; Skt. Sattva) in Buddhism is used in relation to individual living beings ‒ and not at all the universe in which they live, and not the matter of which their bodies are composed. The use of the expression “sems can” when describing “organized matter,” and, moreover, with the clarification that it is “earth, as an element” ‒ definitely does not correspond to the meaning in which this term is used in Tibeto-Buddhist literature.

As for the expression “dkon mchog,” it would be extremely interesting to know in which such “Buddhist dictionary” it is translated “the Buddha as God.” The expression “Kon Chhog” Blavatsky copied not from a “Buddhist dictionary,” but, as we already know, from Jaeschke's dictionary, where it really translates as “Most High, God.” It allowed her to present this expression as a Tibetan analogue of the “Supreme Reason.” Meanwhile, before us is another example of Blavatsky's ignorant reproduction of other people's erroneous fabrications. Literally, “dkon mchog” translates as “rare [and] supreme” and is an epithet of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, emphasizing their outstanding merits and the fact that meeting them in this world is a great rarity and great luck [see Tsongkhapa 1994: 225-238]. At that, there is no question of any “God,” “Universal Mind.” But where does Jaeschke have such an interpretation? The fact is that his predecessors in the field of Christianization of the inhabitants of Western Tibet, Catholic missionaries, saw in the Buddhist doctrine of the “Three rarest and highest” (dkon mchog gsum) a trace of the doctrine of the Trinity, in connection with which translating “dkon mchog” using the word “God” was considered missionarily appropriate. Jaeschke reflected this option in his dictionary, accompanying it, however, with a very eloquent remark: “In the mind of the people, in spite of all my theological superstitions: an otherwise unknown omniscient being, the Most High, God.” Naturally, the expression “dkon mchog” in the meaning of “Supreme Mind” or “Supreme God” occurs in no Buddhist Tibetan text proper.

I cannot but cite here one more passage by Turley, in which he tries to interpret the expression “dkon mchog.” The degree of ignorance in the Tibetan language and the basic teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, coupled with the categorical confidence in his ability to speak out about them, demonstrated in it, is comparable to that of Blavatsky herself:

“But it must be taken into consideration that “san-gye” (སངས་རྒྱས), being a calcque of the Sanskrit Buddha, combines the attributes of enlightenment and awakening. Although the origin of “K'houtchoo” is linked to “Buddha-Kleinod,” the Buddha as one of the jewels of the doctrine, which corresponds to “Dkon mchog,” there is also the consonant གང ཟག (“gang zag”), "person."”

First, the Tibetan “sangs rgyas” is not a copy of the Sanskrit “Buddha.” “Buddha” in Sanskrit literally means “awakened” or “learned,” while Tibetan “sangs” is “purified” (from imperfections, defilements) and “rgyas” is “expanded” (virtues, wisdom). Yes, the Tibetan translators decided not to translate this Sanskrit word literally, considering it more important to convey to their audience the meaning that is reflected in their proposed phrase. In the same way, they did not copy the word “Bodhi” (“Enlightenment,” “Awakening”), translating it as “byang chub.” Although “enlightenment” and “awakening” are simply Western translations of the same Sanskrit term, Turley for some reason separates them in meaning and also states, as if both of these meanings correspond to the meaning of the Tibetan words “sangs” and “rgyas.” I do not undertake to express any assumptions about what allowed him to make such conclusions.

On the other hand, it seems, it is clear why Turley proposes to discern in the crippled transcription “K'ho(n/u)tchoo” the word “gang zag,” or rather, at least some other word that does not form a completely meaningless combination with the first one, “sangs rgyas.” Let me remind you that in one of the letters of “mahatma Koot Hoomi” (No. 49), Shakyamuni Buddha is called “Sankia K'ho(n/u)tchoo, the precious wisdom.” In Köppen's book, to which a number of threads already lead from the writings of the “mahatmas”/Blavatsky (“Chohan,” “Dhyani-,” “toong-ting,” “Dugpas” and “Shammars” as opponents of the “reformer Tsongkhapa”), there is the expression “Sangdsche Kontschog, Buddha-Kleinod.” It would seem that both the English “precious” in “Koot Hoomi” and the German “Kleinod” in Köppen translate as “precious” and fully correspond in meaning to the Tibetan “dkon mchog.” “Sangs rgyas dkon mchog” is a traditional, sustainable combination, the meaning of which had already been said earlier. So why, on what grounds, did Turley need a strained version of “gang zag”? Apparently, only on the fact that “among mahatmas” the expression “dkon mchog” (“rare and supreme”), as has been shown, already means something like “the Highest Mind,” “God” ‒ “the sixth principle of the Universe.” And these concepts do not correlate with the figure of Buddha Shakyamuni. So, it was necessary to find some other version.

Finally, there is one more case of artifacts of Christian missionary work in Western Tibet getting in the writings of Blavatsky, connected with the one just described. Above, I talked about how, in the course of her dashing etymologization, she cited the word “pho nya,” taken from Jaeschke, as an example, interpreting it as “an angel, a messenger of good news.” However, Jaeschke translated not just this word with the word “angel,” but the phrase “dkon mchog gi pho nya,” literally “messenger of the rare and the highest,” which in the understanding of local missionaries, who rethought the Buddhist doctrine in the key they needed, meant “messenger of God.” Jaeschke openly points out that this expression is from the translation of the Gospel into Tibetan. However, in his dictionary, this expression is not written in transcription, but in Tibetan script, which Blavatsky did not know and therefore could not discern her “sixth principle of the Universe” in it. Instead, she, wishing to bring the word “pho nya” closer to the word “‘phags pa” (holy, noble), stated that it translates as “messenger of good news.”

In fact, the Tibetan “pho nya” (messenger, envoy, servant) has a neutral meaning, that is, it does not say anything about the nature of the messages it brings. As for the Tibetan religious literature proper, in it this word is almost most often used in the combination “gshin rje'i pho nya” ‒ “the messenger of the Lord of the Dead.” The news that the messengers of Yamaraja usually bring are usually far from pleasant, and they do not look at all like fine-looking Christian angels ‒ they are with a dark-colored body, horned, with bared fangs.

It is curious that a creature very similar to this description appeared in a vision of Helena Roerich in the fall of 1926, which she spent in Ulan Bator in anticipation of the start of an expedition to Tibet. “The strangest thing is that the creature was surrounded by a silvery glow. This creature, looking at me intently and viciously, said: “It will be worse there!” ‒ [I] realized that it was hinting about the upcoming difficulties on the way to Tibet,” ‒ Roerich wrote in her diary [Roerich 1926: spread 58‒59]. It is well known how the expedition's attempts to get to the Tibetan capital ended. It turned out that the “creature” told the truth, and the voice of “mahatma Morya,” who had repeatedly assured her throughout a year that they would triumphantly enter Lhasa as representatives of Western Buddhists and would be engaged in the reconstruction of Tibetan Buddhism, deceived her expectations.

Rudely dismissed, the Roerichs, at the suggestion of the same “Morya,” immediately became imbued with disgust for Tibet and its “Lamaism,” willingly believing the words of the “mahatma” about its imminent destruction. Therefore, the fact of the death of the old Tibet as a result of the invasion of the Chinese is perceived by today's Roerichites, familiar with the content of Helena Roerich's “secret notebooks,” with secret joy ‒ this is how the prophecy of their “Lord” was fulfilled. As for Blavatsky, she did not have such a turning point ‒ from the very beginning she treated Tibetan Buddhism with disdain, considering it possible to juggle it with fundamental concepts as she liked and making use of a relatively little knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism in the West at that time. At the same time, Tibet itself was closed to those who, wishing to check the truth of her information about the “mahatmas,” would decide to go to the Panchen Lama in Tashi Lhunpo or to the “Nganglaring-Tso monastery” and find out everything on the spot.

It seems that it is precisely to the inaccessibility of Tibet for Europeans in the 19th century that we owe to a large extent the fact that the “mahatmas,” under the pen of Blavatsky, received exactly a Tibetan residence. If during the period of her life it was not Tibet but, for example, Sri Lanka, that was isolated, then instead of “Tibetan brothers, the keepers of esoteric Buddhism in the strongholds of the Himalayas” the European public could well have learned from her about some “Ceylon brothers, who for thousands of years have kept secret knowledge on their inaccessible island.”

This is the greatest blessing

In conclusion, Turley and Bazyukin advise me to pay “close attention” to the content of the SD, rather than to explore the sources that allowed Blavatsky to create this and her other texts. First, the task of my research was to establish the sources of information about the religion and culture of Tibet contained in the “Mahatma Letters,” and through this ‒ to clarify the attitude of Blavatsky (their author) to Tibetan Buddhism and, accordingly, to concretize her role in the spread of Buddhism to the West. In view of these tasks, I did not need to attract such a source as the SD and analyze the views of Blavatsky reflected in it, especially since the SD “is not at all reduced to Buddhism and is not limited to it, which she says in detail in the introduction to her main printed work,” as, in fact, both of these translators of Theosophical literature remind.

I had no “idea of reducing the appearance of the theosophical texts of the Mahatma letters at all costs to the realization of the vain aspirations” of Blavatsky, as Turley states ‒ even because the authorship of these letters was quite satisfactorily established in the end of the XIX century. Such a subject of research in our time would be, to put it mildly, not particularly relevant. I also did not have any personal special dislike for the work of Blavatsky ‒ on the contrary, before taking up this topic, I felt a certain reverence for this figure in connection with her indirect participation in the popularization of Buddhism in Europe. Like B.S. Grechin, I believed that although the “mahatmas” did not exist exactly as described by Blavatsky, some real Tibetan lamas could well have stood behind these figures, with whom she could occasionally communicate. Alas, the analysis of the ML's Tibetan vocabulary and Blavatsky's articles did not show any signs of the reality of such communication, revealing instead the characteristic features of falsifications and forgeries, same both there and there, which, in general, is not surprising. I did not want to reveal in Blavatsky the contemptuous and indifferent attitude she concealed towards Tibetan Buddhism either. However, the facts revealed testify to this quite unequivocally.

At the same time, I do not in the least deny that Blavatsky's “Secret Doctrine” is a very original and important monument of the European religious and philosophical thought of the end of the XIX century, and in this sense it undoubtedly deserves the attention of specialists. However, I believe that the overwhelming majority of those who read and translate it today are not interested in it at all in this capacity, but see in it a source of some timeless wisdom ‒ that is, what it declares itself to be.

Why investigate the sources of the Mahatma Letters? Exactly for the same reason why E.V. Turley himself went through all the pages of books I have indicated, trying to find factual and logical flaws in my statements ‒ so that, having ascertained the degree of conscientiousness and competence of the author, he could decide whether it is possible to trust the information and conclusions contained in its text. This is a completely correct and responsible approach. But if, in relation to criticism of the Letters he does not have any questions about the need to check it, then why do the Letters themselves deserve his trust without a preliminary check?

Buddha Shakyamuni himself, whose followers “Moriya,” “Koot Hoomi” and Blavatsky called themselves, advised not to take his word for it, even if out of faith and respect, but on the contrary, to check his teachings as carefully as merchants check gold in the bazaar ... Only after making sure of the truth of those of his words, which you can check, and thereby establishing whether you can trust the speaker, you should take on faith those of his words, the truth of which you are not yet able to establish for one reason or another. Actually, it is precisely this instruction of the Buddha that is reflected in one of the stanzas of the Maha-Mangala Sutta (Tib. “Bkra shis chen po'i mdo”), that is part of the “Short passages” (Khuddakapatha), which, according to “Mahatma Moriya” (No. 43), is allegedly passed down in his family from generation to generation: “Not to associate with the foolish, but to associate with the wise; and to honor those who are worthy of honor ‒ this is the greatest blessing.”

So, the Buddha advises not to honor everyone who declares himself a sage, but only those who are really worthy of respect; believe those who are worthy of faith. The decision about this worthiness should be made not according to some “call of the heart,” but based on one's own impartial consideration of the merits and merits of a person. Likewise, Tsongkhapa, who is supposedly revered by the “mahatmas,” does not say that one should follow anyone who claims to be a spiritual master and wears lama’s clothing. Providing in “The Great Treatise” a whole list of conditions that the one must meet, he notes that “if you rely without knowing how, you will not profit, but lose” [Tsongkhapa 1994: 89]. The head of Buddhist monasticism in the capital of Mongolia in the 1830s, the famous Hambo Lama Agwan-Haidav, spoke out on this matter even more categorically: “Unreasonable following [a spiritual mentor] is a sign of a fool, and it is not included in the list of conditions for receiving the Dharma.” [“Ngag dbang mkhas grub”, leaf 12a].

Please do not consider these quotes as unsolicited advice of a spiritual nature. I just wanted to show that the “exoteric” Buddha, the “exoteric” Tsongkhapa and their followers did not demand unconditional faith in themselves, even when they taught the most simple and “profane” things. Seeing the benefits for the students in this approach, they called for their trust in anyone else to rest on solid foundations. Why should blind faith be required regarding the esoteric revelations of theosophical “mahatmas,” which they declare to be incomparably more important than “moral platitudes for the common people”?

Also, I hope, these quotes will answer the question: why am I, being a Buddhist myself, and therefore, trusting some of the Buddha's teachings, which have not been confirmed by Western science until now, so categorically refuse to the “mahatmas” in trust and “the right to a miracle”? Let me remind you that initially I was not so categorical. But if the study of even such a particularity as the Tibetan vocabulary in the ML has exposed their author (or authors, whoever they are) in such an unattractive light, then not only trusting their other works, but simply being interested in them seems to me extremely doubtful business, unless, of course, one studies the history of the Theosophical movement on a professional basis. Fortunately, my own research interests only touch on this topic in passing, and I hope that after completing my excursion into the “caves and jungles” of Blavatsky's writings, I will never have to return there again.

བ་ ལབ་ སི་ ཀི་ མིང་ ལྡན་ དབུ་ མེད་ ནི

ལབ་ ལབ་ མང་ པོས་ གཞན་གྱི་ རྣ་ བ་ ཁེངས

སི་ སི་ སྒྲ་ ཆེས་ ལམ་ ནོར་ འཁྲིད་པ་ དང

ཀི་ ཀི་ བརྗོད་ ཅིང་ མུ་ སྟེག་ ལྷ་ ལ་ བསྟོད

 

སྐུ་ ཐུ་ མེད་ དང་ མུ་ ར་ ཞེས་ བྱ་ བའི

བདག་ ཆེན་ བཅོས་ མའི་ རྗེས་ སུ་ འགྲོ་ རྣམས་ ཀྱིས

རང་གི་ བསྟན་ པ་ གང་ཡང་ མི་ སྦས་ པའི

བདག་ ཉིད་ ཆེན་པོ་ བདེན་ ལ་ བརྟེན་ གྱུར་ ཅིག

 

དམ་ ཆོས་ གསལ་ ཕྱིར་ གསུངས་ རབ་ འོད་ གསལ་ ཀྱིས

མ་ རིག་ ཕུག་ གྱི་ མུན་ པ་ ཡང་ དག་ སེལ

ལོག་ ལྟའི་ ནགས་ ཚལ་ རལ་ གྲིས་ གཅོད་ མཛད་ པ

འོ་ ཅག་ དྲོངས་ ཤིག་ བླ་ མ་ འཇམ་ པའི་ དབྱངས

Sources and Literature

[Agvaanluvsanchoidan 2013] Итгэл (аврал одуулах) [Faith (taking refuge)]. 2013. [E-resource] http://www.buddhism.mn/uploads/book/itgel.pdf (28.02.2021).

[Beal 1871] Beal S. A Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese. ‒ London: Trübner & Co, 1871.

[Blavatsky 1877] Blavatsky H.P. Isis Unveiled. Vol. II ‒ Theology. ‒ New York: JW Bouton, 1877.

[Blavatsky 1882] Blavatsky H.P. Reincarnations in Tibet // Theosophist, Vol. 3, No. 6, March 1882. ‒ P. 146‒148.

[Blavatsky 1894, I] Blavatsky H.P. Tibetan Teachings // Lucifer, Vol. 15, No. 85, September 1894.

[Blavatsky 1894, II] Blavatsky H.P. Tibetan Teachings. Doctrines of the Holy “Lha.” // Lucifer, Vol. 15, No. 86, October 1894.

[Blavatsky 1925] The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett. ‒ London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1925.

[Blavatsky 1981] Lamas And Druses // Theosophical Articles by HP Blavatsky. Volumes I, II & III. ‒ Los Angeles: The Theosophy Co, 1981.

[Hedin 1909] Hedin S. Trans-Himalaya. Discoveries and Adventures in Tibet. Vol. II. ‒ London: McMillan & Co, 1909.

[Huc 1852] Huc M. Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China during the Years 1844-5-6. Vol. I. ‒ London: Office of the National Illustrated Library, 1852.

[Instructions ... 1998] Instructions for contemplating the solitary Yamantaka in retreat. ‒ Ulan-Ude: Nyutag, 1998.

[Jaeschke 1866] Jaeshcke H.A. Romanized Tibetan and English Dictionary. ‒ Kyelang in British Lahoul, 1866.

[Joffe 2018] Joffe B. Tibetan Master Meets Theosophical Mahatmas: Gendun Choepel's Reflections on Blavatsky and Theosophy. 2018. [E-resource]. // https://perfumedskull.com/2018/07/08/tibetan-master-meets-theosophical-mahatmas-gendun-choepels-reflections-on-blavatsky-and-theosophy/ (11.03.2021).

[Letters ... 1998] The Mahatma Letters {Russ.}. ‒ Samara: Agni, 1998.

[Maitreya 2017] Maitreya. Uttaratantra with commentary by Arya Asanga {Russ.}; transl. from Tibetan by A. Kugevicius; ed. A. Terentyev. ‒ Moscow: Save Tibet Foundation, 2017.

[Narratives ... 1879] Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and the Journey of Tomas Manning to Lhasa ‒ London: Trübner & Co, 1879.

[ngag dbang mkhas grub] ངག་ དབང་ མཁས་ གྲུབ སྤུ་ རིང་ ཚེ་ རིང་ འཕེལ་ ཞེས་ བྱ་ བའི་ རྩོད་ ཡིག [E-resource]. https://www.tbrc.org/#library_work_ViewByOutline-O4CZ3557204CZ355725%7CW1NLM825 (11.10.2021).

[Oddie 1997] Oddie G. Religious Conversion Movements in South Asia: Continuities and Change, 1800-1990. ‒ Richmond: Curzon, 1997.

[Radda Bie 1886] Radda Bie. From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan. Letters to the Homeland {Russ.}. Second part. Ch. III-IV / Russky Vestnik (Vol. 181), February 1886. ‒ Pp. 772‒822.

[Reigle 2021] Reigle, D. A Mahatmas' Letters Puzzle. 2017. [E-resource] http://prajnaquest.fr/blog/a-mahatma-letters-puzzle/ (02.02.2021).

[Rhys Davids 1882] Rhys Davids, T.W. Buddhism: Being a Sketch of the Life and Teachings of Gautama, the Buddha. ‒ London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1882.

[Roerich 1925] Chalice of the East. I. The Mahatma Letters {Russ.} / transl. Iskander Khanum. ‒ New York, Paris, Riga, Harbin: Alatas, 1925.

[Roerich 1926] Notebook No. 28 (12/28/1925 ‒ 02/02/1928) [E-resource] http://urusvati.group/viewtopic.php?p=18034#p18034 (8.10.2021) 

[Roerich 1951] Notebook No. 43 (08/04/1951 ‒ 10/23/1951) [E-resource] http://urusvati.group/viewtopic.php?p=16866#p16866 (03/05/2021)

[Roerich 1953] Notebook No. 12m (“Centers,” 1953‒1954) [E-resource] http://urusvati.group/viewtopic.php?p=15971#p15971 (06.03.2021)

[Schlagintweit 1863] Schlagintweit E. Buddhism in Tibet with an Account of the Buddhist Systems Preceeding It In India. ‒ London: Trübner & Cо. 1863.

[Solovyov 1893, I] Soloviev Vs. A Modern Priestess of Isis {Russ.}. ‒ Saint Petersburg, 1893.

[Solovyov 1893, II] Soloviev Vs. What is the “doctrine of the Theosophical Society” {Russ.} // Questions of Philosophy and Psychology, 1893, book. 3 (18). ‒ Pp. 41‒68.

[Texts ... 2004] Texts for daily practices {Russ.}. ‒ Moscow: Ikar, 2004.

[Tibdennamdag 2019] Түвдэннамдаг. Шашинд орохын дээд үүд — Итгэл одуулахуйн хөтөлбөр, бясалгал [Tibdennamdag. The Upper Door to Religion ‒ Disbelief Program, Meditation]. ‒ Ulaanbaatar: Idgaachoyzinlin Datsan of Gandan Tegchenling Monastery, 2019. [E-resource] https://www.mongolcalendar.com/documents/itgel.pdf  (11.10.2021)

[Tsongkhapa 1994] Je Tsongkhapa. A Great Guide to the Stages of the Path of Awakening. I. The Preparatory Part and the Stage of Spiritual Development of the Lower Personality {Russ.}. ‒ Saint Petersburg: Nartang, 1994.

[Vinaya ... 1881] Vinaya Texts. Part I. Transl. from Pali by TW Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenburg. ‒ Oxford University Press, 1881.

[Vishnu ... 1866] The Vishnu Purán: a system of Hindu Mythology and Tradition. Vol. III ‒ London: Trübner & Co, 1866.