The Signature of Koot Hoomi in Mahatma Letter IV

By Ingmar de Boer on June 26, 2018 at 10:26 pm

In “The Orthography and Pronunciation of ‘Koot Hoomi’”1 we have derived a Sanskrit orthography of the name, as kuthumi or kuṭhumi, written in devanāgarī as कुथुमि or कुठुमि.2 There is however another source for the orthography of the name, in Mahatma Letter IV (Chronologically No. 5).3 KH’s signature is written there, besides in roman script, in devanāgarī:

The first thing we may notice looking at the signature, is that it is not a rendering of Sanskrit, but of a modern Indian language like Hindi, where the implicit a- or shwa-sound in consonants is dropped under specific circumstances. Without accounting for this shwa deletion, the signature would read kuṭhahūmī lālasiṅha. There are some peculiarities to the letters, probably due to the specific hand of KH, but if we interpret the signature, rendering it in standard devanāgarī, it is written कुटहूमी लालसिंह, and, accounting for shwa deletion, it would read kuṭhūmī lālsiṅh in roman (IAST) transliteration.

There are three differences to what we have found earlier:

  1. The ṭh sound in “Koot Hoomi” is not written using the single consonant ṭha, but using the two consonants ṭa and ha. Perhaps this might suggest a different origin than the Sanskrit kuthumi/kuṭhumi, contrary to the reference to the Viṣṇupurāṇa in The Theosophist.1, 2
  2. The u-sound in “Hoomi” is long instead of short, making the accent shift to the syllable “Hoo”, in accordance with the common pronunciation.
  3. The i-sound in “Hoomi” is long instead of short.

There are other signatures of KH in the Mahatma Letters in other interesting-looking scripts, and perhaps more information on the orthography and correct pronunciation is to be derived from those.


  2. R. Ragoonath Row, “The Puranas on the Dynasties of the Moryas and the Koothoomi” in The Theosophist Vol. V No. 3 (December 1883), p. 99, later published in “Five Years of Theosophy” p. 482-484, and still later in CW VI, 40-42
  3. The Theosophy Wiki:



Category: Mahatma Letters | 3 comments

  • Nestor David Morales says:

    Dear Ingmar de Boer: According to the English Tibetan Dictionary Online ( another meaning of the word “sku” is “person of high rank”, and maybe in this mode it is used by Gendun Choepel.
    Another question that seems interesting to me is his theory about the Dravidian origin of the name “Kuthumi”, could it be close or identical to “Kuthumbai”, one of the Tamil Siddhas?

  • Dear Nestor David Morales, Thank you for your nice contribution. It again shows how interesting critical publications like Arthur Lillie’s sometimes can be for researchers or theosophists in general.

    The suggestions do not immediately make sense to me:

    sku btu med
    sku thon mi
    sku thu mi
    sku thu med

    The word sku is of course known among theosophists as “principle” or “body”, for example as in chos sku for dharmakāya. However if the suggestions are only based upon the sound, there are more syllables sounding like “ku”, than just sku.

  • Nestor David Morales says:

    The title or name Koot Hoomi= Kuthumi or sKu-thu-med?
    Mme. Blavatsky wrote:
    “The name of Rishi Koothumi is mentioned in more than one Purana, and his Code is among the 18 Codes written by the various Rishis and preserved at Calcutta in the library of the Asiatic Society. But we have not been told whether there is any connection between our Mahatma of that name, and the Rishi, and we do not feel justified in speculating upon the subject. All we know is, that both are Northern Brahmans, while the Môryas are Kshatriyas.” (Blavatsky, H. P., Collected Writings vol. VI)
    Sinnett wrote in The Occult World:
    “My correspondent is known to me as Koot Hoomi Lal Sing. This is his “Thibetan Mystic Name”—occultists, it would seem, taking new names on initiation—a practice which has no doubt given rise to similar customs which we find perpetuated here and there in ceremonies of the Roman Catholic church.”
    For his part Master K. H. wrote to Hume:
    “Moved by regard for her, I consented even telling her she might give you all my Thibetan mystic name, and — I answered our friend’s letter.”(Mahatma Letter No. 11)
    But, the same H.P. Blavatsky in Lucifer (October1888) wrote:
    “the personage known to the public under the pseudonym of “Koot Hoomi,” is called by a totally different name among his acquaintance. The real names of Master Adepts and Occult Schools are never, under any circumstances, revealed to the profane; and the names of the personages who have been talked about in connection with modem Theosophy, are in the possession only of the two chief founders of the Theosophical Society.” (Article Lodges of Magic by Blavatsky.)
    Therefore, we can infer, Koot Hoomi was actually the Tibetan mystical name or title of this Master and the name that he allowed to be used by Blavatsky and chelas (disciples), but his real name never being divulged.
    In the pamphlet “Observations on Mr Lillies “Koot_hoomi_Unveiled” by President of the London lodge
    Although Mr. Lillie mav he ignorant of the fact, Koot Hoomi is a family name in Kashmere, where the revered Mahatma who hears this name was horn. It is the name of a Hindoo Rishi, who is mentioned in more than one Purana. His code is one of the eighteen codes, written by various Rishis, and which are preserved at Calcutta in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society. Mr. Monier “Williams refers to this code under the name of Kuthumi (see “ Indian “Wisdom,” p. 305). The name Koot Hoomi is also used in Tibetan, and it signifies the entrance to the adytum where the secret boot is kept, and, also, the keeper of the gate of the sanctuary.”
    ( Pag. 13 )
    This assertion, whose probable source is HPB or one of the KH chelas (Damodar, Mohini, etc.) could mean the following: The name or title given to this Mahatma contains a double meaning: in Sanskrit it corresponds to the name or patronym of an old Rishi, but in Tibetan it is the title of his Office. May be: sKu-btu-med, Sku-Thon-Mi or sKu-Thu-Mi.
    About the Tibetan version of the name “Koot Hoomi”, I can cite the afirmations of celebrated ex-monk Tibetan intellectual Gendun Choepel in his book ‘Serki Thangma’ or ‘Field/Surface of Gold’:
    “Another new religion like this has also emerged, whose founder is a Russian woman called Blavatsky. I think that she is some sort of amazing natural or self-produced yogini but whatever the case, she’s someone who has attained magical abilities. Starting from her childhood, the Tibetan lamas Mura [mu ra, i.e. Morya] and Kutumey [sku thu med, i.e. Koot Hoomi= ‘The Cloakless One’?] took her under their charge in her dreams. Then, after some time, she saw their faces [directly] in visions, after which she eventually met them in the flesh and spoke with them person-to-person and they gave her counsel on every manner of gross and subtle affairs.”
    Could our respected brothers David Reigle and Ingmar de Boer, as scholars of the Sanskrit and Tibetan languages, tell us their opinions about it?

  • Leave a Reply