Mohini Chatterji’s Alleged "Deception"


On p. 6 of The Masters Revealed, Johnson pens these words about his thesis on the Masters:

    "Although much of HPB’s portrayal of Morya and Koot Hoomi was designed to mislead in order to protect their privacy, enough accurate information was included to make a persuasive case for their identities as these historical figures. In 1880, the Mahatmas’ letters were full of geographical references to Punjab and Kashmir. But in the next few years, a cover story about their residence in a Tibetan ashram was promoted and a number of false testimonies concocted as a diversionary tactic."

I would remind the reader that this so-called "cover story" is Johnson’s "invention" used by him to "explain away" any evidence/testimony contradictory of his thesis on M. and K.H. Continuing Johnson’s narrative:

    "Mahatma Letters gave instructions for this deception, for instance, telling HPB’s young Indian disciple Mohini Chatterji, ‘Make it as strong as you can, and have all the witnesses at Darjeeling and Dehra.’ "

Johnson adds more details on Mohini Chatterji’s alleged "deception" in Initiates Of Theosophical Masters, p. 42:

    "Mohini’s article ‘The Himalayan Brothers---Do They Exist?’ [originally published in The Theosophist, December, 1883]. . .represents part of a well-orchestrated scheme to shore up faith in the Masters. Mohini reports on two independent proofs of the existence of a Tibetan brotherhood called the Koothoompas or ‘men of Koot Hoomi.’ One account is from a Tibetan peddler in Darjeeling, the other from a Brahmacharin at Dehra Dun. The letter from KH directing Mohini to write the article is quite specific: ‘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 Koothoompa (disciples of Kut-hoomi) tho’ pronounced Kethoomba. Write and send it to Upasika [HPB, editor of The Theosophist], Allahabad.’"

On the next page, Johnson writes:

    "Damodar was the chela who met real Masters in Lahore and Jammu; Ramaswamier and Mohini were willing tools in a scheme to simultaneously prove the adepts’ existence and distort their identities. This explains KH’s peculiar emphasis to Mohini: ‘Make it as strong as you can, and have all the witnesses at Darjeeling and Dehra.’ Why ‘have’ the witnesses anywhere in particular, except to mislead readers as to the whereabouts of the Mahatmas?"

Clearly, Johnson wants to conclude that K.H.’s words ("Make it as strong as you can, and have all the witnesses at Darjeeling and Dehra.") are evidence that K.H. is telling Mohini to concoct these accounts and to pretend that there was a number of witnesses involved. Johnson is reading something suspicious into K.H.’s use of the word "have". Could not the word "have" simply mean in this context: "include"? "Make it [the article] as strong as you can, and have [i.e. include] all the witnesses at Darjeeling and Dehra." K.H.’s statement appears to me to be offering good advice to Mohini instead of giving instructions to fabricate bogus testimonies. The reader should examine the entire K.H. letter to Mohini and judge the context. See Letters From The Masters Of The Wisdom, Second Series, Letter 59.

K.H. begins Letter 59 with these words:

    "My good boy, --- can write as well as speak, and lying is still easier on paper than in oral communications. Unless he is shown as a liar, he will remain for ever powerful in mischief. . . ."

The name of the person is deleted in the printed version of this letter and replaced with ---; he was an enemy of HPB’s and Olcott’s. Then in the next paragraph, K.H. urges Mohini to write the article on the two accounts. Are we to believe that K.H. writes to Mohini about an "enemy" who is a liar, but in the next paragraph of the same letter the Master encourages Mohini to lie, too?

From Mohini’s article "The Himalayan Brothers---Do They Exist" (reprinted in Appendix B in The Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series), I give below some relevant extracts:

    "The evidence now laid before the public was collected by me during the months of October and November 1882, and was at the time placed before some of the leading members of the Theosophical Society, Mr. Sinnett, among others. The account of Bro. Ramaswamier’s interview with his ‘guru’ in Sikkim being then ready for publication, there was no necessity, in their opinion, for the present paper being brought to light. But since an attempt has been made in some quarters to minimize the effect of Mr. Ramaswamier’s evidence by calling it most absurdly ‘the hallucinations of a half-frozen strolling Registrar,’ I think something might be gained by the publication of perfectly independent testimonies of, perhaps, equal, if not greater, value, though of a quite different character. With these words of explanation as to the delay in its publication, I resign this paper to the criticism of our skeptical friends. Let them calmly consider and pronounce upon the evidence of the Tibetan peddler at Darjiling, supported and strengthened by the independent testimony of the young Brahmachari at Dehradun. The persons who were present when the statements of these persons were taken, all occupy very respectable positions in life---some in fact belonging to the front ranks of Hindu society, and several in no way connected with the Theosophical Movement, but on the contrary quite unfriendly to it. . ."

Several pages later in the article, Mohini writes:

    "The witnesses in this case [of the Tibetan peddler] were Babu Nobin Krishna Bannerji, Deputy Magistrate, Berhampore; M.R. Ry. Ramaswamiyer Avergal, District Registar, Madura (Madras); the Goorkha gentleman spoken of before; all the family of the first-named gentleman; and the writer. . . ." 

Concerning the second account "of the young Brahmachari at Dehradun", Mohini says:

    "A young Bengali Brahmachari . . . was residing then [at Dehradun] at the house of my grandfather-in-law, the venerable Babu Devendra Nath Tagore of the Brahmo Samaj. . . [This young Bengali] gave most unexpectedly, in the presence of a number of respectable witnesses, the following account. . . .The above statement was on several occasions repeated by the Brahmachari in the presence (among others) of Babu Dwijender Nath Tagore, of Jorasanko, Calcutta; Babu Cally Mohan Ghose of the Trigonometrical Survey of India, Dehradun; Babu Cally Cumar Chatterji of the same place; Babu Gopi Mohan Ghosh of Dacca; Babu Priya Nath Sastri, Clerk to Babu Devendernath Tagore, and the writer."

What is Johnson suggesting about these witnesses? That Mohini invented fictitious witnesses or that Mohini attached the names of real people to these two "bogus" accounts?

As already stated, Mohini’s account was first published in the December, 1883 issue of The Theosophist. This Theosophical magazine had numerous subscribers all over India. This article was public knowledge not only to the Theosophists but to anyone who might read the magazine including skeptics of the Theosophical Society.

Some of the witnesses named in Mohini’s article were members of the Theosophical Society but also included were relatives of Mohini as well as other individuals. In my own Theosophical research, I have run into several of the names mentioned by Mohini. To name just one person referred to in Mohini’s account, Debendranath Tagore (as his name is spelled in the 15th edition of The Encyclopaedia Britannica) was "a Hindu philosopher and religious reformer, active in the Brahmo Samaj (Society of Brahma) that purged the Hindu religion and way of life of many abuses. [He was] born into a princely, wealthy, land-owning family. . . ." His son was the famous Bengali poet and mystic Rabindranath Tagore.

It is hard for me to believe that these two published accounts were simply fabricated by Mohini when we have more than nine people who were witnesses. If Mohini concocted these accounts, why didn’t any of these people come forth publicly and protest Mohini’s fraudulent use of their names? There were skeptics of Theosophy in India, and these skeptics would have had a field day with such a fraud. It would appear that K. Paul Johnson is the first person to "discover" Mohini’s alleged deception.



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