COMMENT ON “THE HIMALAYAN BROTHERS—DO THEY EXIST?”
[The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 3(51), December, 1883, pp. 83-86]
[The article to which the present Comment is appended is by Mohini Mohun Chatterji, F.T.S., and is one of the most important contributions to the early Theosophist. It places before the reader two entirely independent accounts of the actual existence of the Adept known under the name of Koot-Hoomi, or Koothumi. One of these accounts is by a Tibetan peddler at Darjeeling, and the other by a young Brahmachârin at Dehra-Dun. This evidence was gathered by the writer in October and November, 1882, prior to his own personal experience along similar lines, regarding which, he says, he has no right to speak in public. Both testimonies mention a group of disciples known as the Koothoompas, meaning “men of Koot-Hoomi.”
The evidence of the Brahmachârin is corroborated from an entirely different source in the same issue of The Theosophist, namely in the letter entitled “Existence of the Himalayan Mahatmas,” to which H. P. B. attached an editorial note. See further in the present volume.
Mohini M. Chatterji’s article was written on instructions from Master K.H., who was his Teacher. In a letter whose original is in the Adyar Archives, Master K. H. writes to Mohini as follows:
“I want you, my dear boy, to write an account for the Theosophist, of what the pedlar said, and the Dehra Brahmacharia. Make it as strong as you can, and have all the witnesses at Darjeeling and Dehra. But the name is written Kuthoompa (disciples of Kut-hoomi) tho’ pronounced Kethoomba. Write and send it to Upasika, Allahabad.”
Upâsika, meaning female disciple, stands for H. P. Blavatsky. The letter from which the above quotation is taken was received in November, 1882, and can be found in Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series, Transcribed and Annotated by C. Jinarâjadâsa, Adyar: Theos. Publ. House, 1925.
It would appear that Mohini’s account was not published at the time owing to the fact that another account, namely, by S. Ramaswamier, appeared in The Theosophist (see below). Its publication was delayed until December, 1883.
In connection with the above, the student’s attention is invited to two other articles of great importance, both to be found in The Theosophist: “How a ‘Chela’ Found His ‘Guru,”’ by S. Ramaswamier, F.T.S. (Vol. IV, No. 3, December, 1882, pp. 67-69), and “A Great Riddle Solved,” by Damodar K. Mavalankar,
F.T.S. (Vol. V, Nos. 3-4, December-January, 1883-1884, pp. 61-62.)
H. P. B.’s Comment on the article by Mohini M. Chatterji is as follows.—Compiler.]
EDITOR’S NOTE.—Secondary evidence is no longer necessary. On November the 20th at 10 A.M. two telegrams were received by us, dated Lahore, one from Colonel Olcott, who notified us that he had been visited in person by Mahatma “K. H.” on the preceding night; and the other—from Mr. W. T. Brown, F.T.S. of the “London Lodge,” Theosophical Society, in these words: “Visited early this morning by Mahatma K. H. who left me a silk handkerchief as a memorial, etc.!” and today 22nd having telegraphed to both those gentlemen for permission to announce the long expected event in The Theosophist, we received an answer that not only could “Master’s visit be mentioned,” but that our President, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Damodar “had another call last night near their tent, the Master being accompanied in flesh and body by brother Djual Khool.” Unless Mr. W. T. Brown, to complete the trio, be classed by our Spiritualistic friends also among the “Occidental Humourists,” the question as to real existence of the Mahatma, is pretty well settled now. One witness may be mistaken as to facts, and even a doubt may be cast upon the evidence of two witnesses. But when it comes to the testimony of three or more witnesses speaking to a fact that occurred in their presence doubt would become absurd even in a Court of Justice. We have not yet received the particulars, but since we have been notified that Mahatma K. H. on his way to Siam would most likely pass via Madras in a week or so, we have every reason to suppose that our President and Mr. Brown saw the real, living body, not merely as before—the astral form of the Master.
[During his first visit to Col. Olcott and W. T. Brown, in the early morning of November 20th, 1883, Master K.H. left a letter with each one of them. We find in Col. Olcott’s Diaries the following entry on that particular date:
“1.55 a.m. Koot Hoomi came in body to my tent. Woke me suddenly out of sleep, pressed a note (wrapped in silk) into my left hand, and laid his hand upon my head. He then passed into Brown’s compartment and integrated another note in his hand (Brown’s). He spoke to me. Was sent by Maha Chohan.”
The letter received by H. S. Olcott on this occasion is preserved in the Archives at Adyar. To it is attached a slip of paper with the following notation in Col. Olcott’s handwriting:
“Letter to H.S.O. formed in his own hand by Master K.H. during a night visit to him, in his camp on the Maidan outside Lahore. (See O.D.L.)”
It is probable that Col. Olcott attached this slip at some later date, as he refers in it to his Old Diary Leaves written some years after. His account, as given in this work (III Series, pp. 36-38) is as follows:
“I was sleeping in my tent, the night of the 19th, when I rushed back towards external consciousness on feeling a hand laid on me. The camp being on an open plain, and beyond the protection of the Lahore police, my first animal instinct was to protect myself from a possible religious fanatical assassin, so I clutched the stranger by the upper arms, and asked him in Hindustani who he was and what he wanted. It was all done in an instant, and I held the man tight, as would one who might be attacked the next moment and have to defend his life. But the next instant a kind, sweet voice said: “Do you not know me? Do you not remember me?” It was the voice of the Master K. H. A swift revulsion of feeling came over me, I relaxed my hold on his arms, joined my palms in reverential salutation, and wanted to jump out of bed to show him respect. But his hand and voice stayed me, and after a few sentences had been exchanged, he took my left hand in his, gathered the fingers of his right into the palm, and stood quiet beside my cot, from which I could see his divinely benignant face by the light of the lamp that burned on a packing-case at his back. Presently I felt some soft substance forming in my hand, and the next minute the Master laid his kind hand on my forehead, uttered a blessing, and left my half of the large tent to visit Mr. W. T. Brown, who slept in the other half behind a canvas screen that divided the tent into two rooms. When I had time to pay attention to myself, I found myself holding in my left hand a folded paper enwrapped in a silken cloth. To go to the lamp, open and read it, was naturally my first impulse. I found it to be a letter of private counsel, containing prophecies of the death of two undesignated, then active, opponents of the Society . . .”
The text of the letter integrated in Col. Olcott’s hand, and the facsimile of which is appended herewith, reads as follows:
“Since the commencement of your probationary term in America, you have had much to do with me, tho’ your imperfect development has often made you mistake me for Atrya, and often to fancy your own mind at work when it was mine trying to influence and to talk with yours. Of course, by your own canons of evidence you have not until now been a thoroughly qualified witness, since we have never previously— to your knowledge—met in the flesh. But at last you are, and one object in view in my making the journey from the Ashrum to Lahore was to give you this last substantial proof. You have not only seen and conversed with, but touched me, my hand has pressed yours, and the K.H. of fancy becomes the K of fact. Your skeptical action, often running into extreme conservatism—perhaps the very last trait that the careless would suspect you of—has seriously and constantly impeded your inner unfolding. It has made you suspicious—sometimes cruelly so—of Upasika, of Borg, of Djual-K. even of Damodar and D. Nath, whom you love as sons. This meeting of ours should radically change the state of your mind. Should it not, so much the worse for your future: truth never comes, burglar-like, thro’ barred windows & iron-sheathed doors.
“I come to you not alone of my own accord and wish, but also by order of the Maha Chohan, to whose insight the future lies like an open page. At New York you demanded of M. an objective proof that his visit to you was not a maya—& he gave it; unasked, I give you the present one: tho’ I pass out of your sight this note will be to you the reminder of our conferences. I now go to young Mr. Brown to try his intuitiveness. Tomorrow night when the camp is quiet & the worst of the emanations from your audience have passed away, I shall visit you again, for a longer conversation, as you must be forewarned against certain things in the future. Fear not and doubt not as you have feared & doubted at supper last night: the first month of the coming year of your era will have hardly dawned when two more of the ‘enemies’ will have passed away. Ever be vigilant, zealous and judicious; for remember that the usefulness of the Theosophical Society largely depends upon your exertions, and that our blessings follow its suffering ‘Founders’ and all who help on their work.
The letter is written in black ink, the original being now somewhat faded. It is on one sheet, and written on both sides. The
LETTER OF MASTER K.H. TO COL. H.S. OLCOTT—I
LETTER OF MASTER K.H. TO COL. H.S. OLCOTT—II
LETTER OF MASTER K.H. TO COL. H.S. OLCOTT—III
LETTER OF MASTER K.H. TO COL. H.S. OLCOTT—IV
reproduction is to its exact size, facsimiles I and II making one side of the paper, and III and IV the other.
In this letter, D. Nath stands for Dharbagiri Nath, known also as “Bawaji,” whose actual name was S. Krishnamachâri or Krishnamaswami. Bawaji went with H.P.B. to Europe in 1884 and 1885, but turned later against her. His name of Dharbagiri Nath gave rise to a lot of unnecessary confusion. It was originally the name of a very high Chela of Master K.H. Bawaji stood in some special occult relationship to this high Chela, being allowed to take his name as a “mystery name” when Bawaji became a probationary chela. It is probable that the high Chela of that name took possession of Bawaji’s body upon occasion until the latter failed. (Cf. The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, pp. 173, 174.) The term Upâsika has reference to H.P.B. herself. Djual-K. stands for Djual-Khool, the favorite disciple of Master K. H., who since those days has himself reached the state of Mahatmaship. The “objective proof” spoken of in the latter was the fe˜â or turban, now in the Archives at Adyar, which Master M. left with Col. Olcott as a proof that his visit to him in New York was a reality (Cf. Old Diary Leaves, I, pp. 379-80). A photograph of this turban has been published in The Theosophist, Vol. LIII, August, 1932, pp. 496-97.
The text of the letter integrated in W. T. Brown’s hand was published by him in his autobiographical pamphlet entitled My Life (printed by D. Lauber, Freiburg, Baden, Germany) which appeared in the Fall of 1885. He states on the title page that “the following pamphlet has been prepared for the writer’s acquaintances, especially in Scotland.” This pamphlet is extremely rare nowadays; we know of no other copy of it than the one on file at the Adyar Library. The following excerpt from it gives in Brown’s own words his experiences at Lahore:
“On the 19th of Nov. 1883, for instance, at Lahore I see a man who impresses me as being Koot Hoomi and on the morning of the 20th I am awakened by the presence of someone in my tent. A voice speaks to me and I find a letter and silk handkerchief within my hand. I am conscious that the letter and silk handkerchief are not placed in my hand in the customary manner. They grow ‘out of nothing.’ I feel a stream of ‘magnetism’ and lo! it is ‘materialized.’ I rise to read my letter and examine the handkerchief. My visitor is gone. The handkerchief is a white one of the finest silk, with the initials K. H. marked in blue. The letter is also in blue in a bold hand. The matter of it is as follows:—
‘What Damodar told you at Poona is true. We approach nearer and nearer to a person as he goes on preparing himself.
for the same. You first saw us in visions, then in astral forms, though very often not recognized, then in body at a short distance from you. Now you see me in my own physical body’ (that is to say I would have seen him if I had turned my head) ‘so close to you as to enable you to give to your countrymen the assurance that you are from personal knowledge as sure of our existence as you are of your own. Whatever may happen, remember that you will be watched and rewarded in proportion to your zeal and work for the cause of Humanity which the Founders of the Theosophical Society have imposed upon themselves. The handkerchief is left as a token of this visit. Damodar is competent enough to tell you about the Rawal Pindi Member.—K. H.’”
In W. T. Brown’s pamphlet on Some Experiences in India, the letter quoted above is merely referred to. What became of the original is not definitely known.
Prior to his second visit, on the evening of November 20th, 1883, Master K. H. sent the following note:
“Watch for the signal: prepare to follow the messenger who will come for you.
This second brief communication, facsimile of which is appended herewith, is also in the Adyar Archives, and has an explanatory note of Col. Olcott’s attached to it, which reads:
“Note to H. S. O. from Master K. H. to prepare him for a visit in the physical body in his tent at Lahore. (See 0. D. L.)”
The account of this second meeting can be found in Old Diary Leaves, III, 41-43. The messenger spoken of was Djual-Khool. The text of both letters can also be found in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series, Transcribed and Compiled by C. Jinarâjadâsa, Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India; 4th ed., 1948, pp. 44-46. Facsimiles are from The Theosophist, August 1932, pp. 567-570, 573.
These visits of Master K. H. are also mentioned in The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, p. 72, and in Wm. Tournay Brown’s pamphlet entitled Some Experiences in India, the original of which is extremely rare. It was published by Dr. Franz Hartmann and Richard Harte, London, under authority of the London Lodge, T. S. It has, however, been reprinted in The Canadian Theosophist, Toronto, Vol. XXVIII, No. 4, June 15, 1947, pp. 117-25.
As to Wm. Tournay Brown, he was an earnest and aspiring young man from Scotland. After a long course of study pursued in Strassburg, Zurich and Edinburgh, he was graduated at the University of Glasgow, April, 1882, and went on a long holiday trip to Canada and the United States. After the trip, his health being rather precarious, he was treated and greatly helped by the eminent homeopath, Dr. Nichols, with whom he resided in London in 1883. At the house of this doctor, he met Frau Gustav Gebhard, of Elberfelt, Germany, who was a pupil of Éliphas Lévi and had come to England to be initiated into the Theosophical Society by A. P. Sinnett, who had just then arrived from India Mr. Brown soon became deeply interested in occult literature, met Mr. Sinnett and was admitted into the T. S.
He conceived a strong desire to go to India, in order to participate in the work of the T. S., and thus to draw nearer to the great Teachers themselves. He sailed on August 25, 1883. He was received with open arms by both H. P. B. and Col. Olcott. The latter, then on a protracted tour of India, took occasion to explain to him in a letter the opportunities as well as the dangers connected with his present decision and gave him some specific warnings. Mr. Brown nevertheless eagerly joined Col. Olcott on his tour, overtaking him at Sholapore.
It was during this tour that the two successive meetings with Master K. H. took place near Lahore, as described by Col. Olcott, and mentioned in the above Editorial Note by H. P. B.
Mr. Brown received from Master K. H. several communications through H. P. B. and Damodar, both before and after his tour with Col. Olcott. The spiritual opportunities facing him at the time were very unusual. He himself tells his readers that as a result of a strong desire to become a chela of the Brothers, he resolved on the evening of January 7, 1884, to present himself for probation. He was fully “warned as to the difficulties of the road” he desired to tread, and was “assured that by a close adherence to truth and trust in ‘my Master,’ all must turn out
Brown’s case, however, was one of those sad cases of which the Theosophical Movement has had a considerable number. Col.
Olcott, writing of him in his Old Diary Leaves, III, 326, says that Brown’s own account shows him unfortunately to have been “an emotional sentimentalist, quite unfit for practical life in the world. He had chopped and changed before coming to us, and has been doing it pretty much ever since; the latest news being that he has turned Catholic, taken the soutane, kept it on only a few days, became again a laic, and is now teaching in a Roman Catholic college in Madras Presidency, and married to an Eurasian widow lady of ripe age. May he prosper in his undertakings, and find that peace of mind for which he has so long been hoping.” See BROWN in Bio-Bibliogr. Index, for further details.—Compiler.]