Part II: Will The Real Master Morya Please Take His Turban Off



    "In all, about nine or ten persons testified to having seen the Mahatmas: Annie Besant, Henry Olcott, Damodar Mavalankar, Isabel Cooper-Oakley, William Brown, Nadyezhda Fadeyev, S.R. Ramaswamier, Justine Glinka and Vsevolod Solovyov. Franz Hartmann said that while he never actually saw them, he felt their presence." Marion Meade in her biography Madame Blavatsky, The Woman Behind The Myth, 1980, p. 497.

I remember reading this statement by Meade some fifteen years ago and exclaiming to myself, "Oh Marion Meade, you haven't done your homework!" Off the top of my head, I could count at least twenty-five people who testified to having seen the Mahatmas during H.P.B.'s lifetime. And despite Meade's statement to the contrary, Hartmann had testified that he had actually seen one of the Mahatmas. Apparently Meade had never carefully read two of the titles listed in her own bibliography: Geoffrey Barborka's The Mahatmas And Their Letters (1973) and Franz Hartmann's Report Of Observations, etc. (1884); both titles prove Meade didn't know what she was writing about concerning Hartmann.

It is a historical fact that more than twenty five people testified to having seen the Mahatmas during H.P.B.'s lifetime. Whether these testimonies are true or not, of course, is another question and issue. But how does K. Paul Johnson in his three books handle these testimonies? I have already shown in Part I that Johnson uses what can be called a "double standard" in assessing some of these accounts. In reply to my criticism that Johnson ignored certain testimonies of Olcott's encounters with the Master Morya, Johnson outlined what constitutes in reality a higher standard for assessing evidence and pointed out that I was not following it. Yet within his own previously published writings, Johnson uses a lower standard of assessment and accepts "at face value" at least four accounts by Olcott. It is my contention that by Johnson's own use of this lower standard, the other accounts by Olcott of meeting the Master Morya in Bombay and elsewhere should also be accepted at face value.

As also related in Part I, Johnson devotes pp. 59-62 of The Masters Revealed to Henry S. Olcott's 1875-76 meeting with Ooton Liatto and another Adept. In summarizing this account, Johnson writes that ". . . there is little doubt that two real adepts visited Olcott in New York." (p. 62) I should tell the reader that I also agree with Johnson's estimation of Olcott's testimony. Therefore, in light of Johnson's own criteria and standards as illustrated in this Ooton Liatto incident and the three other accounts discussed earlier in this paper, I submit for consideration the following additional incidents involving the Master Morya.

In a Sept. 30, 1881 letter addressed to A.O. Hume, Olcott relates what had just happened three days before:

    "...on the night of that day [Sept. 27th, 1881] I was awakened from sleep by my Chohan (or Guru, the Brother [Morya] whose immediate pupil I am)....He made me rise, sit at my table and write from his dictation for an hour or more. There was an expression of anxiety mingled with sternness on his noble face, as there always is when the matter concerns H.P.B., to whom for many years he has been at once a father and a devoted guardian. . . ." (Quoted in Hints On Esoteric Theosophy, No. 1, 1882, pp. 82-83.) 

This incident occurred while Colonel Olcott was staying at Colombo, Sri Lanka. Is this Brother Morya (dictating notes to Olcott) a good example of Johnson's "fictitious Tibetan persona"? Or is this Brother a real adept and Master (similar to the real adept Ooton Liatto whom Johnson is willing to believe visited Olcott in New York)?

In The Mahatma Letters, Morya himself refers to this visit:

    "O[lcott]'s memo...was written on the 27th [of Sept., 1881]....K.H. thought of asking me to go and tell O[lcott] to do so....At the same time as I delivered my message to O[lcott], I satisfied his curiosity as to your [Sinnett's Simla Theosophical] Society and told [Olcott] what I thought of it. O[lcott] asked my permission to send to you these notes which I accorded...." (Letter No. 29 in the chronological edition; also Letter 29 in the 2nd and 3rd editions.)

In his diary for Jan. 29, 1882, Colonel Olcott pens this brief entry of another encounter with the same Master:

    "M[orya] showed himself very clearly to me & HPB in her garden....she joining him they talked together...."

Using Johnson's own "Ooton Liatto" criteria and standards, could we not accept this account at face value as evidence of the real Master Morya visiting Olcott and HPB at Bombay T.S. headquarters?

Here is a joint statement by seven Theosophists (including Olcott) narrating another visit Master Morya made to the T.S. Headquarters at Bombay:

    "We were sitting together in the moonlight about 9 o'clock upon the balcony which projects from the front of the bungalow. Mr. Scott was sitting facing the house, so as to look through the intervening verandah and the library, and into the room at the further side. This latter apartment was brilliantly lighted. The library was in partial darkness, thus rendering objects in the farther room more distinct. Mr. Scott suddenly saw the figure of a man step into the space, opposite the door of the library; he was clad in the white dress of a Rajput, and wore a white turban. Mr. Scott at once recognized him from his resemblance to a portrait [of Morya] in Col. Olcott's possession. Our attention was then drawn to him, and we all saw him most distinctly. He walked towards a table, and afterwards turning his face towards us, walked back out of our sight...when we reached the room he was gone....Upon the table, at the spot where he had been standing, lay a letter addressed to one of our number. The handwriting was identical with that of sundry notes and letters previously received from him...." The statement is signed by: "Ross Scott, Minnie J.B. Scott, H.S. Olcott, H.P. Blavatsky, M. Moorad Ali Beg, Damodar K. Mavalankar, and Bhavani Shankar Ganesh Mullapoorkar." (Quoted from Hints On Esoteric Theosophy, No. 1, 1882, pp. 75-76.)

From Olcott's diary for Jan. 5, 1882, I quote extracts (never before published) concerning this event witnessed by the above-named individuals:

    "Evening. Moonlight. On balcony, HPB, Self, Scott & wife, Damodar....[etc]...M[orya] appeared in my office. First seen by Scott, then me....Scott clearly saw M's face....M left note for me on table in office by which he stood...."

In this case, we have not only Olcott's word but testimony by six other people. Compare this account with the Ooton Liatto case.

To summarize the significance of these three just-quoted testimonies, I will again paraphrase Johnson's own summary of the Ooton Liatto incident: "The names M. and Morya have been equally impossible to find in biographical and historical reference books of 19th century people. While both may be pseudonyms, there is little doubt that a real Mahatma visited Olcott and others in Colombo and Bombay." This is my estimation of these three accounts. Since I am using Johnson's own "Ooton Liatto" criteria to assess the evidence, will Johnson now be willing to agree with my assessment of these incidents?

What additional light do these three accounts shed on Johnson's hypothesis concerning the Morya persona? Can a merely "fictitious Tibetan persona" be walking around and interacting with Olcott as well as being seen by six other witnesses? Furthermore, can the Mahatma Morya in these accounts be identified with Ranbir Singh? Is it plausible that the Maharaja of Kashmir was in Bombay and Colombo on these dates?

I would suggest that these accounts are simply more evidence showing the improbability and downright absurdity of Johnson's hypothesis concerning Ranbir Singh/Morya. It is my opinion that these accounts and other similar ones indicate that Johnson's Ranbir Singh hypothesis doesn't even begin to address and explain much of the Theosophical evidence/testimony concerning Morya.

I also believe that the evidence I have quoted helps to support the soundness of Dr. Algeo's observation that:

    "The parallels between Ranbir Singh and Morya are exceedingly tenuous....There is no evidence that Ranbir was in fact the model for Morya's virtues or anything else in connection with him." Italics added.

In the preceding pages, I have cited Colonel Olcott’s various meetings with Morya. Let us now turn our attention to Olcott’s narrative of meeting Maharaja Ranbir Singh at Jammu in late November 1883. Olcott gives this account in the third volume of his Old Diary Leaves beginning in a chapter titled "Reception by the Maharajah of Kashmir":

    "I broke up camp the next day---November 21 [1883]---and left Lahore for Jammu, the lower capital of H.H. the. . .Maharajah of Kashmir [Ranbir Singh], whose invitation to visit him I had accepted. . . . We reached. . .Jammu. . .and were brought on two of the royal elephants, a distance of two miles, to the huge bungalow that the Maharajah keeps for his more important guests. . . . The next morning, at 10-30, the. . .Minister. . .brought me word that His Highness begged the honour of my presence at the Palace. . . . The Maharajah [Ranbir Singh] came soon and received me with an air of kindness and stately courtesy that showed beyond doubt that I was welcome. In compliment to him I wore the woollen dress of the better class in the Punjab. . . . His first expression to Pandit Gopinath, my interpreter, was one of pleasure to see me in his national costume. A carpet and back-bolster had been spread for him on a slightly raised platform, before which we were to sit on the carpeted floor: but he dragged the bolster from there, placed it on the floor, motioned me to sit beside him, called me his elder brother, and proceeded with the conversation, which he opened with the usual exchange of compliments and good wishes. He was a man of noble presence, with an intellectual face and the splendid eyes of the Hindu, which by turns can be full of pathos, blaze with anger, or penetrating with intelligent interest. His personality fitted the kingly office perfectly . . . . I found him to be a thoughtful Vedantin, well acquainted with philosophical systems. He fully believed in the existence of living Mahatmas, and trusted in them to do for India all that her karma made possible, but no more. He gently broached the subject of his own ill-health, said he knew of my cures and of the recent prohibition to continue the practice, but asked if I would not at least relieve the acute pain he was then suffering from. I consented, of course, and on his removing his turban, did what I could for him with mesmeric healing passes. . . . When the audience closed he begged me to visit him twice a day during my stay, that we might talk of the high religious themes which equally interested us. . . . I went twice to the Palace the next day, and resumed the Vedantic discussions and even the mesmeric passes. His Dewan (Prime Minister) was present with other officials, including the Chief Justice, and after the free Eastern fashion, dipped into the conversation from time to time. . . In the afternoon the Maharajah presided at games and a series of animal combats, and took me to his pavilion and placed me at his side. . . . I went twice to the Palace. . .[another] day and found myself increasingly welcome to His Highness. He showed me every courtesy, discussed the Vedanta philosophy with evidently deep interest, and gave me a pressing invitation to accompany him the next time he should go to his Kashmirian capital, Srinagar. . . .At the Maharajah’s request I had been giving him some mesmeric passes every day, which seemed to do him good, or, at least, he said they did. He now began to deplore my necessary departure, and begged me to select somebody at his Court to whom I should be willing to give him over for future treatment. . . .I told him frankly that the only person whom I would recommend as his psychopath was his youngest son, Prince Amar Singh, who was then a handsome, honest-looking youth. His Highness approving of my choice, I showed the young Prince how to treat his father. . . . The Maharajah [Ranbir Singh] died a few years later [in 1885], and was succeeded by his eldest son, whom was away at Srinagar at the time of my visit to Jammu, and whom, therefore, I did not meet. . . .The day fixed for my departure having come, the Maharajah, finding me obdurate about prolonging my visit, consented to receive me in audience for the leave. So I went to the Palace for the last time [on November 29, 1883]. . . .We found His Highness, with his Prime Minister (Dewan), his Treasurer, and other officials, seated cross-legged on the floor, with a number of piles of woolen stuffs placed before him in a row: one pile much bigger than the rest. Through the able interpreter, Pandit Gopinath, he and I fell into conversation about my departure and hoped-for-return, after which, on a signal from the Maharajah, a high official pushed the big pile over towards me, with the request that I should accept the articles as His Highness’ khillat (complimentary present). . . According to custom, I touched the presents, made a respectful salutation, by joining my palms and holding them edgewise to my forehead, which the Maharajah [Ranbir Singh] returned; we then rose and, saluting the officials in turn, left the audience-chamber, having seen the noble face of our host for the last time. No other reigning Indian Prince whom I have met has left so pleasant impressions on my memory. . . ." (Volume III, pp. 41-60.) 

Johnson quotes part of the above narrative on pp. 156-157 of his In Search of the Masters. Immediately following this account by Olcott, Johnson comments as follows:

    "Where does this lead in the quest for the historical Master M.? Either [1] Olcott is deliberately hiding the fact of his previous acquaintance with Ranbir Singh under another persona, or [2] the Master M. was someone else. Another possibility [3], perhaps the most likely, is that HPB had so befuddled Olcott that he was quite confused as to the identities of the Masters. Undoubtedly, he would be under orders to conceal their identities. . . ." (p. 157.) Brackets and italics added.

In regards to Possibility [3] which Johnson says is "perhaps the most likely" explanation, I ask Johnson to explain how Henry S. Olcott could be so confused over the identities of the Masters that the Colonel could not plainly see and recognize that Maharaja Ranbir Singh either was or was not the same person as the Master Morya whom Olcott had seen on numerous occasions at Bombay and elsewhere.

Concerning Possibility [1], what does Johnson mean or imply by Olcott’s "previous acquaintance with Ranbir Singh under another persona"? How is Johnson’s "Ranbir Singh under another persona" to be related to Olcott’s testimony of being visited numerous times by the Master Morya?

"Where does all of this lead in the quest for the historical Master M.?"

Taking a commonsense, down to earth approach to Olcott’s testimony, I would suggest that Johnson’s Possibility [2] is the most likely explanation. I would conclude that Master Morya "was someone else" other than Ranbir Singh. In other words, Olcott had met two separate "flesh and blood" human beings---one man known as Morya and the other man known as Maharaja Ranbir Singh.

Johnson’s thesis that a fictitious Morya "persona" was a "cover" for the real Maharaja Ranbir Singh is not supported by the totality of Olcott’s testimony. Yet in his latest book Initiates of Theosophical Masters, Johnson is still insisting that "substantial [??] evidence suggests that ‘Master Morya’ of Theosophical tradition may be a fictionalization of the maharaja. . . ." (p. 3) Italics added.



Will The Real Morya Please Take His Turban Off.

Two real flesh and blood men
one "Persona" and one Maharaja?


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