Paul Johnson's Two SUNY books on the Theosophical Masters, etc
Oct 10, 1995 07:37 PM
A few months ago, I promised to do a more in-depth review of Paul Johnson's
books on HPB's Masters. I have done alot of research since then and will
try in a number of postings to offer my observations on Johnson's thesis
concerning the Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi.
To set the stage, I quote 3 extracts from Dr. Joscelyn Godwin's Foreword to
Johnson's THE MASTERS REVEALED:
"The principal Masters in question were Koot Hoomi and Morya, supposedly
residents of Shigatse in Tibet...." p. xv
"The theme of this book is that HPB's Masters were not the Himalayan
sages whom she invented to distract her co-workers...." p. xviii
"Mr. Johnson's suggestion---and he makes it clear that it is no more than
that---is that the Mahatmas Morya and Koot Hoomi are fictitious Tibetan
personae that conceal well-documented historical figures: Ranbir Singh
and Thakar Singh." p. xviii
And Johnson in his own Introduction to THE MASTERS REVEALED writes:
"Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia, founding president of the Amritsasr Singh Sabha,
corresponds in intriguing ways to clues about Koot Hoomi's identity in the
writings of Olcott and HPB....
"Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Kashmir has many correspondencs to Morya as
described by HPB....
"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...." pp. 5-6.
Let me give several brief comments:
(1) Godwin tells the reader that Johnson is only making a suggestion wheras
Johnson himself says he is making "a persuasive case."
suggestion = persuasive case???
On p. 172 of THE MASTERS REVEALED, Johnson writes:
"That K.H. was Thakar Singh is a suggestion which will meet vigorous
resistance due to its unwelcome implications...."
So I would ask which is it: merely a "suggestion" or a "persuasive case"?
(2) Notice that in the statement quoted from p. 6, Johnson writes:
"Although much of HPB's portrayla of Morya and Koot Hoomi was designed to
mislead in order to protect their privacy, enough accurate information
This statement by Johnson contains at least one assumption: HPB gave out
both misleading information and accurate information about Morya and Koot
Hoomi and Johnson beleives that he can tell when the information is misleading
and when it is accurate. We will come back to this point later in another
My *major* criticism of Johnson's thesis concerning the *true identities*
of Morya and Koot Hoomi has been that Johnson *ignores* possibly 95% of
the evidence and testimonies concerning the Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi.
Furthermore, much of this *ignored* evidence and testimony refutes Johnson's
thesis as to the *true identities* of Morya and Koot Hoomi.
For example, Colonel Henry Olcott gives the following firsthand description
of a physical encounter with the Master Morya:
"[I] had visit in body of the Sahib!! [He] sent Babula to my room to call me
to H.P.B.'s bungalow, and there we had a most important interview..." (From
Olcott's handwritten diary entry for Tuesday, July 15, 1879. Olcott was in
Bombay, India on this date)
In a letter to A.O. Hume (dated Sept. 30, 1881), Olcott describes this
July 1879 meeting and interview in greater detail:
"This same Brother once visited me in the flesh at Bombay, coming in full
day light, and on horseback. He had me called by a servant into the front
room of H.P.B.'s bungalow (she being at the time in the other bungalow talking
with those who were there). He [Morya] came to scold me roundly for
something I had done in T.S. matters, and as H.P.B. was also to blame, he
*telegraphed* to her to come, that is to say, he turned his face and
extended his finger in the direction of the place she was in. She came over
at once with a rush, and seeing him dropped to her knees and paid him
reverence. My voice and his had been heard by those in the other bungalow,
but only H.P.B. and I, and the servant *saw* him."
How does Paul Johnson explain this incident? Is this "Brother" to be
somehow identified with Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir whom Johnson
says is the real person behind the Morya persona?
Notice that Olcott says that the Master Morya came "in the flesh" and "on
horseback." Furthermore, Morya's voice "had been heard by those in the
Now Johnson has previously said that he does *not* believe that this was
Ranbir Singh who traveled all the way from Kashmir without his court
attendants to visit HPB and Olcott. But, Johnson has *not* even attempted
to explain Olcott's narrative of this event or who else this Morya might
Unfortunately, readers of Johnson's two SUNY books are not informed as to
this and similar meetings Olcott had with Morya.
Now Johnson has told me in a *private* e-mail message why he feels my
above outlined criticism carries no weight with him. I now ask Paul Johnson
to address his point of view to interested readers of THEOS-ROOTS.
(TO BE CONTINUED IN PART II)
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