PART V

‘Saib Kashmere’ = ‘Saib Morya’ = Ranbir Singh of Kashmir???

 


 

Towards the end of the chapter titled "Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Kashmir" in The Masters Revealed, Johnson tells his readers that "several additional fragments of evidence lend support to the identification of Ranbir Singh as the prototype for Morya." (p. 144) Johnson then details four "fragments of evidence" to support his identification. I will deal with two of these in this section.

Johnson writes:

    "Just before his death, Olcott had visions of the astral form of a Master. When he asked ‘Who is there?’ it answered ‘Cashmere.’ But, oddly, his secretary then recorded Olcott’s response as ‘Oh! That is the name I always gave K.H.’ Reference to a maharaja by the name of his kingdom is a standard usage in Olcott’s writings, so it would seem this reverses the identities of M. and K.H. However, it is possible that the secretary misunderstood Olcott, or that he was in a confused state at the time."

Apparently, Johnson believes Colonel Olcott could not have said that "Cashmere" is "the name I always gave K.H." How does Johnson explain away these reported words of Olcott? Johnson speculates that possibly "the secretary misunderstood Olcott" or Olcott "was in a confused state" on his deathbed. Neither of Johnson’s alternative explanations are true. It is Johnson who either is misinformed or is "in a confused state." Olcott’s reported words are consistent with other known facts. There are a number of primary source documents which show that K.H. was known as "Cashmere" ("Kashmir" or other variant spellings) especially during the years 1875-1878 when H.P.B. and Olcott were living in New York City.

In an 1881 letter, Olcott tells Mr. Hume:

    "I have also personally known ---- since 1875. He is of quite a different, a gentler, type, yet the bosom friend of the other [i.e. Master Morya]." (Quoted from Hints On Esoteric Theosophy, No. 1, 1882, p. 83.)  

Unfortunately, the name is deleted in the printed version of the letter, but from references in this letter and other documents, it can be reasonably concluded that ---- is Koot Hoomi. Olcott’s statement indicates that the Colonel had known K.H. since 1875.

In a letter dated January 12, 1881, William Q. Judge in New York, writing to "H.P.B. and Co. . ." in Bombay, says:

    "Now I would be very much pleased could I know from whom it [the note] came, whether Kashmir or M. or who of all the long list of great ones. . . .I was highly favored with a picture of the latter. . . ."

Annie Besant adds a footnote to clarify Judge’s reference to "Kashmir" and "M." Her footnote reads: "The Masters K.H. and M." In other words, "Kashmir" is the Master K.H. while "M." is the Master Morya. (Quoted in Annie Besant’s The Case Against W.Q. Judge, 1895, pp. 37-38.)

In refuting a critic of Madame Blavatsky’s, W.Q. Judge (in his 1892 article "Madame Blavatsky in India") brings up the following point:

    ". . . I may be allowed to say that it [i.e., the name ‘Koot Hoomi’] was not originally ‘Cotthume,’ but was one [i.e., another name ‘Kashmir’] that I and others in New York were perfectly familiar with. . . ." (See W.Q. Judge’s Echoes Of The Orient, Vol. III, p. 203.)

In a January, 1882 letter to Olcott, the Master Morya tells the Colonel:

    "K.H.’s conditions are changed, you must remember, he is no more the ‘Kasmiri’ of old." (Letters From The Masters Of The Wisdom, Second Series, Letter 35.)

In a January 6, 1886 letter, Madame Blavatsky, writing to Olcott, informs him :

    ". . . Countess [Wachtmeister is] here, and she sees I have almost no books. Master and Kashmiri [are] dictating in turn [portions of the Secret Doctrine manuscript]. . . ." (Quoted in Boris de Zirkoff’s Rebirth Of The Occult Tradition, 1977, p. 23.)

Also during this same month (January, 1886), Dr. William Hubbe-Schleiden received a note from the Master M., which reads in part:

    ". . .the ‘Secret Doctrine’ is dictated to Upasika [H.P.B.] partly by myself & partly by my Brother K.H." (Quoted in Boris de Zirkoff’s Rebirth Of The Occult Tradition, 1977, p. 16.)

Collating information from these two letters, H.P.B.’s reference to "Master" is to "M." (Morya) and her reference to "Kashmiri" is to "K.H." (Koot Hoomi).

Even William Emmette Coleman, one of H.P.B.’s most hostile critics, knew that:

    "Towards the latter part of her stay in America, H.P.B. introduced to Messrs. Olcott and Judge an adept called ‘The Kashmiri Brother.’" A few lines later, Coleman adds that ". . . he (K.H.) was known in America as ‘The Kashmiri Brother." (Quoted in Theosophy Exposed Or Mrs. Besant And Her Guru, 1893, p. 26.)

As the evidence shows, Olcott’s reported words on his deathbed are neither misquoted nor confused as Johnson would have us believe. Moreover, this particular "fragment of evidence" presented by Johnson does not lend support to his attempted "identification of Ranbir Singh as the prototype of Morya." In fact, this piece of evidence has nothing to do with Ranbir Singh/Morya. I will now consider Johnson’s other "fragment of evidence". Johnson writes:

    "Another striking reference to Kashmir is in a humorous drawing of Olcott by HPB, which shows him being interrogated by a Mahatma, who is identified in the drawing as ‘Saib Morya’ but in the caption underneath as ‘Saib Kashmere.’ "

Johnson’s endnote to this statement refers to: "Mary K. Neff, comp., Personal Memoirs Of H.P. Blavatsky, p. 221." Turning to p. 221 of Neff’s book, one sees the ‘humorous drawing of Olcott by HPB’. This drawing (which has been enlarged for our purposes) is reproduced on page 34 of this paper. Johnson asserts that the "Mahatma" interrogating Olcott is identified both as "Saib Morya" and as "Saib Kashmere." This, Johnson argues, lends support to the "identification of Ranbir Singh [of Kashmir] as the prototype for Morya." Johnson seems to be giving us another equation:

‘Saib Kashmere’ = ‘Saib Morya’ = Ranbir Singh of Kashmir

Unfortunately for his argument, Johnson has misread the drawing. If you carefully study the sketch, you will notice that the Mahatma interrogating Olcott in the foreground is identified as "Saib Kashmere." In the background we see H.P.B. sitting on an elephant and another turbaned Master standing by the elephant. The Master standing in the background is identified as "Saib Morya." Contrary to what Johnson asserts, this drawing shows two different Masters. Olcott gives a description of this drawing in Volume I of Old Diary Leaves. He writes about an artistic "production of H.P.B.’s" which had been misplaced. The Colonel goes on to describe from memory this sketch of H.P.B.’s:

    "It is a caricature representing my supposed ordeal of initiation into the school of adepts, and most comical picture it is. In the lower foreground I stand with a Hindu fehta (turban) as my only article of dress, undergoing a catechetical examination by Master K.H. [identified in the drawing as ‘Saib Kashmere’] In the lower right-hand corner a detached hand holds in space a bottle of spirits, and a bony bayadere, who looks like a starved Irish peasant in a time of potato-blight, is dancing a pas de fascination. In the upper corner H.P.B., wearing a New Jersey sunhood and Deccanee men’s turn-up shoes, and carrying a bell-shaped umbrella with a flag marked ‘Jack’ streaming from its point, bestrides an elephant and holds out a mammoth hand to ‘control the elements’ for my helping, while another Master [identified in the sketch as ‘Saib Morya’] stands beside the elephant watching my ordeal. A funny little elemental in a cotton nightcap and holding a lighted candle, says, ‘My stars! What’s that?’ from a perch on K.H.’s shoulder, and a series of absurd questions and answers written below my Interrogator’s book, complete the nonsensical satire. From this description the reader may judge the joviality of H.P.B.’s temperament at that period, and of the kindly license allowed us in our dealings with the Teachers. . . ." (p. 416, 1974 printing.)

H.P.B.’s drawing, Olcott’s description of the sketch, and the other documents quoted in this section provide evidence that in the New York days (late 1870s) Blavatsky, Olcott and Judge knew of two Masters---one named "Kashmir" and the other "Morya". The other documents I have cited above show that later in India and elsewhere, "Kashmir" was also known as Koot Hoomi (KH). Clearly, this second "fragment of evidence" does not support Johnson’s "identification of Ranbir Singh as the prototype for Morya."

As outlined in this section, the erroneous statements made by Johnson reveal his apparent unfamiliarity with many relevant primary sources and his carelessness in researching and collating various historical facts. Unfortunately, Johnson’s books are marred by numerous mistakes of this kind which show that Johnson has not properly done his homework.

 

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