A Masterpiece of Editorial Forgery
The False “HPB Letter” which Dr. John Algeo and his Experts Published as Letter Seven
In each instance the individual traitor and enemy was
given his chance, and but for his moral obliquity might have
derived incalculable good from it to his personal Karma.
(A Master of the Wisdom, in “The Mahatma
Letters”, Letter XCI-b, T.U.P. edition, p. 416)
If we would look at the bodily H.P.B. as a mirror
which reflected from above and from below as well,
giving back to each who confronted it his own reflection
according to his nature and power to perceive, we might get
a better understanding of her nature. To the discriminative,
it was a well of inspiration; in it the commonplace, the
Judas, the critic, and every other saw himself reflected.”
(Robert Crosbie, in the book “The Friendly Philosopher”)
It has been shown already that in the volume called “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky – Volume I”, which was edited by John Algeo, some 20 percent of the supposed letters are not only fake, but also libellous.
One can only wonder why, as he was including those fake texts in his volume, Mr. Algeo felt he should not consult with the international president of the Adyar Society, Mrs. Radha Burnier. At the time he was still the international vice-president of the Society, and Mrs. Burnier could have helped him make better decisions. In her view, those texts are “obviously spurious”.
It is possible that in the future Dr. Algeo’s volume will be remembered as a clever attempt – almost scholarly in appearance – to include in the theosophical literature, and in the very works of H.P.B., the letters clumsily forged by two outstanding enemies of the theosophical movement, Vsevolod Solovyof and Eleanor Sidgwick.
One of the shining pieces of forgery in that volume deserves special attention. The famous Solovyof letter in which H.P.B. is presented as offering her services to the Russian secret police constitutes Letter seven in the Algeo collection. As it was necessary to exercise some “political astuteness” to include it in the volume, it must be said that in one sense at least its editing and publishing in “The Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky” is indeed a masterpiece of pseudo-theosophical forgery.
It is not the purpose of the present text to discuss which intentions motivated Dr. John Algeo and his Editorial Committee, as they decided to include such a letter in their unfortunate volume.  As to intentions, each student should rather observe his own. It is useless to condemn this or that personality. We must discuss facts, although we may infer parts of causes and aspects of motives.
It is the whole school of thought of pseudo-theosophy and its editorial “procedures” that we must investigate and understand in order to get rid of it, at least in those circles where there is a significant respect for truth and for theosophy. And this naturally includes the Adyar Society.
Vsevolod Solovyof, Eleanor Sidgwick, Alex Coulomb, Emma Coulomb and others fabricated much more than just false letters. They created an alternative Helena Blavatsky, a fraudulent and dishonest “double’ of hers, a sort of astral voodoo doll through which to attack the heart of the theosophical movement.
What Dr. John Algeo and his Committee of theosophical pundits are trying to do is something different from what Solovyof did. They are only trying to revive and to adopt those old falsehoods in the name of the theosophical movement, and to give them a semblance of legitimacy, by publishing that sort of material as if it had been indeed written by Helena Blavatsky.
Thus, they are humbly trying to accommodate in the center of the magnetic aura of the movement that strange subtle voodoo doll – an “alternative” image of H.P.B. created to attack her real image, and to isolate and cause harm to the sacred skandhas present in the center of that aura. Of course, the spiritual ignorance of such editors will be in the future their best defense in the Legal Court of their own consciences.
Dr. Algeo and his Committee are, therefore, only acting as an auxiliary line for those who despise both truth and the Cause of the theosophical movement. It must be said in their defens that they did not make the forgeries themselves. They have chosen to play a role which is more subtle than that. They but try to spread and legitimize those lies among brother theosophists, and they do this using the name of a theosophical society and a theosophical publishing house.
Those obviously false texts are weapons in an attempt to promote a character assassination, as anyone who takes the trouble to see them will know. Perhaps unconsciously to themselves, Dr. Algeo and his assistants are helping the enemies of the theosophical movement. Although they have created a difficult karmic situation for themselves, it is not too late for them to redeem their trajectory. It is not too difficult, either, as this article is being published in 2010. One first step for them to recover their common sense is to make a sincere meditation upon these words written by Robert Crosbie:
“If we would look at the bodily H.P.B. as a mirror which reflected from above and from below as well, giving back to each who confronted it his own reflection according to his nature and power to perceive, we might get a better understanding of her nature. To the discriminative, it was a well of inspiration; in it the commonplace, the Judas, the critic, and every other saw himself reflected.” 
These are useful sentences for Dr. Algeo and his assistants to meditate upon. Dr. Radha Burnier should also think about them and reflect upon the karma of letting the main founder of the movement be freely slandered by her close colleague, her own international vice-president – at the time. For Karma Law is still operating: a few years after the omission of president Radha Burnier, there was a fraudulent attempt of electoral coup d’etat against her leadership in Adyar. It was not by mere coincidence that it was organized by Dr. Algeo’s followers.
The book “The Voice of the Silence” teaches this lesson to all theosophists:
“Sow kindly deeds and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin. Thus saith the Sage. Shalt thou abstain from action? Not so shall gain thy soul her freedom.”
It is not necessary to have mercy in this case. It is enough to have respect for truth and for the readers. But Mrs. Radha Burnier said and did nothing besides admitting that those letters are spurious. No clear defense of HPB has come yet from Adyar or, for that matter, from the Pasadena Society. To interrupt this silence, perhaps we may listen to HPB herself. It is not too difficult to know what the Old Lady would have to say about the situation. Indeed, while commenting upon this very same kind of under-cover attacks, H.P.B wrote in a letter to a friend:
“While my enemies tear me to pieces the Adyar people play at `hide and seek’ – they pretend to be dead – oh! the poor miserable cowards! ! (…) I tell you I suffer more from theosophical traitors than from the Coulomb, Patterson or even the S.P.R.” 
According to the Letter seven in the Algeo volume, the founder of the modern theosophical movement wanted to work for the “Third Section”, the infamous Russian secret police.
As soon as the Algeo book was printed, the corporate leaders of the Adyar Theosophical Society in the United States were proud to announce the inclusion in the volume of such a letter. In its edition of January / February 2004, “The Quest” (the magazine of the Society in the U.S.A.) announced in a double-page advertisement:
“This collection contains controversial and colorful letters such as: one written to the director of the Russian secret police in which HPB offers to join their ranks…” 
Dr. Maria Carlson, professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas-Lawrence, wrote this about that text ascribed to HPB:
“In 1988, in the archival section of the respected Moscow journal Literaturnoe obozrenie (Literary Revue), two Russian scholars published a highly provocative letter purporting to be from Helena Blavatsky to the Chief of the Russian secret police, written at the very end of 1872.” 
The scholars are B. L. Bessonov and V.I. Mildon. Mr. Bessonov claimed to have located the letter in the Moscow’s Central State Archives of the October Revolution, but he apparently did not explain why should such a letter be in a Museum dedicated to facts starting in 1917.
Although the article by dr. Maria is clearly hostile to H.P. Blavatsky, she had to admit, referring to the two scholars: “Unfortunately, nothing is said in Mil’don’s and Bessonov’s publication about the verification of handwriting, the provenance of the letter (how did it end up in an archive dedicated to events following 1917?), or any other attempts at authentication”. 
That makes perfect sense from the viewpoint of this kind of scholarship. An investigation about the origin of the “letter” would lead to the conclusion that it was forged, and that is clearly not the intention of such “scholars”. They distinguish themselves for being unconcerned with the truth or falseness of what they publish.
In the letter, the would-be Helena Petrovna says she fakes contacts with spirits and, “by the means of this little trap”, she is able to discover “the hopes, plans and the secrets of the most reserved and serious individuals”. This, then, would be useful for the secret police. 
The fictional “Helena Blavatsky” tells the Russian secret police she had been offered during long negotiations with the Vatican an annual bribe of 20,000 to 30,000 francs in exchange for working as a secret agent to the Pope. As there was not a final agreement, the “Blavatsky” of Mr. Algeo took 5,000 francs as a bribe from a Roman Cardinal, while promising him she would work for the Pope in the future. Then she mellifluously adds that she would prefer to take money from Russia’s secret police, out of love for her country. 
The strange astral voodoo doll created by Mr. Solovyof and used as a tool to cause harm to the movement confesses being a thief and a gambler.
Mr. Algeo seems to have an affinity with this fiction character (perhaps only at the editorial level), for he still refuses to admit – in 2010 – that it is obviously false. The voodoo doll writes:
“In 1853 in Baden-Baden, having lost at roulette, I acquiesced to the request of an unknown gentleman, a Russian who had already shown interest in my activities. He offered me 2,000 francs if I could find a way to obtain two German letters (the contents of which were unknown to me) which had been very cleverly hidden by the Polish Count Kailecki, then in the service of the Prussian king. The gentleman was a military man. I was penniless, any Russian had my sympathy, I was unable to return to Russia at that time, and that was horribly bitter to me. I agreed, and in three days I obtained those letters, with great difficulty and considerable danger. Then the gentleman informed me that it would be better for me to return to Russia, that I had sufficient talent to be of use to my country, and that should I at some point choose to change my life style and embark upon serious work, I had but to approach the Third Section and leave my name and address…….” 
It is evident that the amount of common sense that Mr. Algeo and his Committee had, was not enough to lead them to the conclusion that such a letter is false. One must believe that publishing these lies expresses their best judgement. There is no need to reproduce here the whole collection of slanders gathered in that “letter”. It suffices to say that the text goes on along the same level as in the examples shown above.
All significant theosophical biographers of H.P.B. and historians of the Adyar Society show that Vsevolod Solovyof tried to infiltrate the theosophical movement and that – upon failing – he turned against it, and more especially against HPB. No theosophical historian gives credit to Vsevolod Solovyof’s “stories” against H.P. Blavatsky. Henry Olcott, Sylvia Cranston, Jean Overton Fuller, Howard Murphet and Josephine Ransom, all have a similar position with regard to Solovyof.  No important Adyar leader before John Algeo showed such a public disrespect for her.
Solovyof accused H.P. Blavatsky of having invented the whole idea of Mahatmas and the teachings of theosophy. Such an accusation is self-contradictory, for that would mean that H.P.B. had the wisdom necessary to write by herself “The Secret Doctrine”, “Isis Unveiled”, “The Voice of the Silence” and other works of almost unfathomable depth and wisdom.
According to Solovyof, H.P.B. made frauds, lied all the time and had an immoral life. And he also raised the idea of her being a Russian spy. This is the man Mr. John Algeo believes to be a good source of historical documents. Dr. Algeo and his Committee probably avoided reading the volume “Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”. It would be too risky for their editorial policy to do that, for in that volume one can easily see the truth about the matter. Referring to the “Russian Spy” theory, H. P. Blavatsky wrote in February 1887, in a letter to Mr. Alfred P. Sinnett, who was an Englishman:
“And to think (…) that your government here and in India is so stupidly short sighted as not to see, that not only I am not, nor even was a Russian Spy – but that the very prosperity, progress and welfare of the T.S. depends on everything in India being quiet for years to come. (…) I love my countrymen and my country dearly, but I love India and Master still more, and my contempt for the stupidity of Russian Govt., and diplomacy knows no bounds.”
H.P.B. herself commented on the Solovyof letter which she was accused of having written and having sent to the Russian secret service:
“He [Solovyof] said that he had seen in the Secret Dept. documents in which I had offered myself as a Spy of the Russian Govt. (…) He pretends to have translated verbatim my Russian letters to him and Mad. De Morsier has them in a large dossier. Now I wrote to him only three letters from Würzburg in answer to his – and what Mr. G—-d says about the text, is all invention from beginning to the end. Solovyof is either crazy or acts so because having compromised himself with his offer of espionage to me he is now afraid I should speak and compromise him at St. Petersburg. And so I will, I swear.” 
Then HPB reveals the level of personal ethics of Mr. Solovyof: “I will make the story of the man who accuses me of immorality in my youth, known to the whole world – and show him living with his wife’s sister whom he seduced, and passing her off for a legitimate wife!” 
Elsewhere, H.P.B. made some frank commentaries about people who believe, or pretend to believe, in that “fraud and spy theory”. She wrote: “Those (…) will have to explain what even my traducers of even the Padri class and Psychical Research Society have been unable to explain to this day, viz., the motive for such fraud. They will have to explain why, instead of taking and making money, I gave away to the Society every penny I earned by writing to the papers, why at the same time I nearly killed myself with overwork and incessant labour year after year, until my health gave way, so that but for my Master’s repeated help, I should have died long ago from the effects of such voluntary hard labour. For the absurd Russian spy theory, if it still finds credit in some idiotic heads, has long disappeared, at any rate from the official brains of the Anglo-Indians.” 
As to the false letters ascribed to H.P.B. , one of the Mahatmas warned Mr. Alfred Sinnett about them in 1884. Writing about the attacks which were being made by the “Ecclesiastical England and the official Anglo India” against the theosophical movement, a Master wrote:
“The air is full of the pestilence of treachery. (….) Every infamous device is to be employed in the future as it has in the present to discredit us as its promoters, and yourselves as its supporters. For the opposition represents enormous vested interests, and they have enthusiastic help from the Dugpas – in Bhootan and in the Vatican!”
A few lines below, the Master clarifies: “They may try to shake still more than they already have your confidence with pretended letters alleged to have come from H.P.B.’s laboratory, and others, or with forged documents showing and confessing fraud and planning to repeat it.” 
As to the creation of an artificial anti-theosophical image of HPB – an astral voodoo doll for the sake of attacking this Initiate and her mission to help mankind, one must remember H.P.B.’s own words to the Countess Wachtmeister: “You cannot imagine what it is to feel so many adverse thoughts and currents directed against you; it is like the prickings of a thousand needles, and I have continually to be erecting a wall of protection around me.” 
H.P.B’s higher self has still a karma with the theosophical movement. There is no doubt about this. So there are various practical reasons for protecting her subtle magnetism in the center of the aura of the theosophical movement. There is no need for us to allow treason to endlessly repeat itself. In the first half of 21st century, it is the time for theosophists – including those who belong to the Adyar Society – to establish much higher levels of truthfulness and ethics in every area of the movement. This should not be too difficult. There are reasons to be optimistic.
An impartial observation shows that the theosophical movement has great and sacred potentialities to be developed in this century. Every true theosophist, wherever and however situated, can TRY and help develop them.The theosophical movement is one and the same, all over the world. There is no possible separation within it, except in the outer plane of maya or illusion.
Solidarity, an honest dialogue on difficult issues and a common ethical responsibility are some of the best guidelines for the future of the movement.
- See the article “Defending the Old Lady”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, in esoteric-philosophy.com and www.filosofiaesoterica.com .
- The edition of “The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky – Volume I” (TPH, USA, December 2003, 634 pp.) was made by John Algeo, assisted by Adele S. Algeo and an Editorial Committee which included Daniel H. Caldwell, Dara Eklund, Robert Elwood, Joy Mills, and Nicholas Weeks. It must be said that Dara Eklund and Nicholas Weeks did try to warn the Editor against the use of false letters. The Editor decided he did not want to hear them. A few years after the publication of the volume with false letters, Michael Gomes wrote that he had joined such an editorial committee. Gomes made this announcement in his pamphlet “Colonel Olcott & The Healing Arts”, Blavatsky Lecture 2007, TPH, London, 52 pp., 2007, p. 49.
- Robert Crosbie, in “The Friendly Philosopher”, The Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1945, see p. 150.
- “The Voice of the Silence”,Translated and annotated by H.P.B., Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1987, Fragment II, p. 33.
- “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett”, facsimile edition, T.U.P., Pasadena, CA, USA, 1973, 404 pp., see Letter XLVI, p. 114.
- “The Quest” magazine, Philosophy, Science, Religion, The Arts, volume 92, number 1, January-February 2004, final pages of the edition.
- “To Spy or Not to Spy: `The Letter’ of Mme. Blavatsky to the Third Section”, an article by Dr. Maria Carlson, “Theosophical History” magazine, July 1995, p. 225.
- “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 226.
- “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 227.
- “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 228-229.
- “Theosophical History”, July 1995, p. 230.
- For evidences on what the historians say about Vsevolod Solovyof, see the article “Defending the Old Lady”. A reference to this article is made at note 
- “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., Pasadena, California, 1992, p. 206.
- “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., Pasadena, p. 208.
- “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P., Pasadena, same p. 208.
- “Why I Do Not Return to India”, by HPB, in “H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings”, TPH, India, Volume XII, 1980, 859 pp., see pp. 161-162. And also “The Aquarian Theosophist”, November 2004, p. 04.
- “The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett”, T.U.P. edition, Pasadena, California, 1992, 493 pp., see letter LV, p. 322. This is letter 130 in the Chronological edition (THP-Philippines).
- These words by H.P.B. are quoted by the Countess Watchmeister in her book “Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and `The Secret Doctrine’ “. See “HPB – The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement”, Sylvia Cranston, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1993, 648 pp., see p. 296.