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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Smith, John

(1822-1885). One of the early recipients of a communication from one of the Mahātmas. Born in Scotland in 1822, he received the degrees of M.A. and M.D. at the University of Aberdeen. He taught chemistry for five years at Marishall College in Aberdeen before he moved to Australia upon appointment to the chairs of Chemistry and Philosophy of Physics at the University of Sydney, New South Wales. He was appointed to the Board of National Education in 1852 and the Council of Education in 1866; he was elected President of the latter nine times. He married during a visit to Britain in 1871. He joined The Theosophical Society (TS) in 1882 at Sydney.

In 1882 Smith met Helena P. BLAVATSKY at Bombay when he received a brief communication from a Master. He was one of the few persons who attempted to secure evidence of the validity of the letters said to be from the Masters. He did so by having a letter from himself carefully stitched shut by a double thread of colored silk in such fashion that it would be impossible to open and restitch the letter closed without disclosing that the operation had been carried out. The experiment failed to the extent that, according to Blavatsky, the Brothers disliked being subjected to such a test. However, according to Smith, he subsequently received his stitched letter back and careful examination convinced him that the stitching had not been tampered with. He opened this original letter and found inside it a communication from a Master in the same handwriting as that of the first letter he received from a Master.

Smith died on October 12, 1885.

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