P. Johnson's 2 SUNY books on the Theosophical Masters, Part II
Oct 15, 1995 00:21 AM
At the end of Part I of my critique, I recounted the experience Colonel
Olcott had of meeting the Master Morya in Bombay in July, 1879.
In Olcott's testimony to the 1884 London S.P.R. committee, we find
additional interesting material about this 1879 encounter:
"Colonel Olcott: One day at Bombay I was at work in my office when a
Hindu servant came and told me that a gentleman wanted to see me in
Madame Blavatsky's bungalow....I went and found alone there my Teacher [Morya].
...The interview between the Teacher and myself lasted perhaps 10 minutes....
"Mr. Myers: How do you know that your Teacher was in actual flesh and
blood on that occasion?
"Colonel Olcott: He put his hand upon my head, and his hand was perfectly
substantial....When he walked about the floor there was noise of his
footsteps....He was then stopping at a bungalow, not far from Bombay,
belonging to a person connected with this brotherhood of Mahatmas....He [Morya]
came to our place on horseback....
"Mr. Myers: Was that the only occasion on which you hve seen him in the
"Colonel Olcott: No; I have seen him at other times.
"Mr. Myers: Have you seen him three or four times in the flesh?
"Colonel Olcott: Yes, more than that....."
As I said in Part I, how does Paul Johnson explain this July, 1879 incident?
Is this Master Morya (coming "in the flesh" and "on horseback') to be
somehow identified with Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir whom Johnson
says is the real flesh and blood person behind the Morya persona?
Johnson has said on several previous occasions that he does *not* believe
that this "gentleman" waiting in HPB's bungalow to see Olcott was Ranbir
Singh who had travelled all the way from Kashmir to Bombay to see Olcott
But Johnson has not either in his book or in response to my questions publicly
dealt with this issue.
In a private e-mail message to me, he said that this criticism of mine
carried no weight with him. I will try to paraphrase what Johnson told me.
If I misstate what his line of reasoning is, I hope that he will provide us
on Theos-roots with a better description.
One of Johnson's comments in response to my above stated objections was that
unless one could somehow identified the person who appeared on horseback
at Bombay this Bombay account or similar accounts do not help one to identify
who the Master was or was not. Johnson said that unless one could find
some document, etc. which would disclose that a certain identifed historical
person had been in Bombay at this particular time, etc., Olcott's account is
of little use.
Johnson has also stated that the only kind of valid criticism of his
identifications of the Masters (in this case Morya) would involve naming
a different historical person and identifying that known person as the basis
(or whatever) of the Morya persona.
A few comments I believe are in order.
On Johnson's first response, I would say that, indeed, it would be nice
to be able to identify a known historical person who may have been in
Bombay on July 15, 1879 at T.S. headquarters. If one could locate some
reference in a Bombay newspaper, or discover some reference in a letter or
diary of a known Indian that would place that person at Bombay on
July 15, 1879, this kind of evidence might help the historian to
identify who Morya riding up on horseback really was.
But having said this, even if one cannot find such evidence (as Johnson
wants), doesn't Olcott's account of his Teacher riding up on horseback have
*some* relevance in assessing Johnson's hypothesis that the real flesh and
blood person behind the Morya "persona" was Maharaja Ranbir Singh?
If Ranbir Singh was *not* in Bombay on July 15, 1879 and Olcott reports that
the Master Morya was in Bombay visiting with him and HPB, is not this evidence
that can be adduced to show that Johnson's hypothesis is less than probable,
that in fact (coupled with similar evidence) Johnson's hypothesis is wrong?
We may not be able to identify (by giving the person's real name, etc) who
was visiting Olcott and HPB on that July 15, 1879 day. But Olcott states
his Teacher was there and we know from other sources that this Teacher used
the name "Morya" which was his "initiate" name. [HPB writes: "...the
personage known to the public under the pseudonym of `Koot Hoomi' is called
by a totally different name among his acquaintances....The real names
of Master Adepts and Occult Schools are never, *under any circumstances*,
revealed to the profane; and the names of the personages [Koot Hoomi &
Morya] who have been talked about in connection with modern Theosophy, are
in the possession only of the two chief founders of the Theosophical
Society." C.W, X, p. 126.
It is this type of evidence which I am citing which helps to support Dr.
John Algeo's conclusion which reads:
"There is no evidence [in support of Johnson's hypothesis] that Ranbir was
in fact the model for Morya's virtues OR ANYTHING ELSE IN CONNECTION WITH
HIM." Caps added.
Furthermore, when Johnson gives forth this "rule" that unless one can name
"real" names when citing evidence that indicates that Morya was at such & such
place at such & such time, one might ask: Does Johnson himself follow this
rule he has invoked in response to my criticisms of his thesis?
And finally, why does Johnson insist that the vali
And finally, why does Johnson insist that the only valid criticism of his
hypotheses concerning Morya and Koot Hoomi would be to show an alternate
hypothesis pointing to the "real" identities of K.H and M? Yes, I agree
that one approach would be to try to find alternate identifications and I
do have some clues in that direction. But having said that, is it not also
a valid approach to show that Johnson's supposed identities are not
supported by an array of evidence. That in fact, possibly 90 to 95% of the
evidence contradicts Johnson's thesis.
In discussing Johnson's remarks on this last subject with a friend, the friend
say that it seemed to him that Johnson was in effect saying: "Well, a bad
identification is better than no identification!"
I will close for now and let Johnson review my parphrasing of his private
responses to my criticisms. If I have misunderstood or misstated his
arguments, he can state them and add details so that I and other interested
readers on Theos-Roots will have a better understanding of his viewpoint.
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