P. Johnson's 2 SUNY books on the Theosophical Masters, Part III
Oct 16, 1995 07:46 AM
P. Johnson's 2 SUNY books on the Theosophical Masters, Part III
I appreciate Johnson responding to Part II of my continuing series.
I want to first make a few replies to some of Johnson's comments and then
delve deeper into certain key issues involving the primary sources relating
to the Theosophical Masters.
>The general Theosophical attack against my work has seemed opposed not just
>to my particular hypotheses, but to the entire enterprise of identifying
Without commenting in general on this statement, I want to make it clear
to all parties involved that I am NOT opposed to the "enterprise of
identifying the Masters." I believe this is a worthy historical project and
I see nothing wrong with this endeavour. In this regard, Johnson is to be
commended on his efforts in this direction. But having said this, I am
opposed to Johnson's particular hypotheses concerning Morya and Koot Hoomi
because of various reasons which I will try to detail in the course of my
series of articles on theos-roots.
Again Johnson writes:
>What I am saying is that you, Dan, are using your intellectual faculties
>in a negative manner, trying to undermine the legitimacy of my work without
>offering anything in the way of alternatives.
As far as I know the only thing I have been doing is evaluating the validity
of your hypotheses and attemtping to point out to you and other interested
persons various points as well as evidence which I believe should be considered
in order to properly appreciate the validity or not of your particular
hypotheses. I have also from time to time tried to point out what I consider
is misinformation or historical mistakes in your literary work involving the
said Masters. Since you have offered your hypotheses to the scholarly and
general public, you bear the burden of proof to prove those hypotheses. No one
else bears that burden. Dr. Marcello Truzzi, the sociologist, in his attempt
to create a dialogue between parapsychologists and the sceptics of the para-
normal has pointed out repeatedly that the claimant bears the burden of proof.
You claim that you have made a persuasive case for your identifications
concerning the Masters and I have simply been attempting to evaluate that claim.
I do NOT claim to know who these Masters were, i.e. what their real names were.
All I have been trying to do is to show that you are barking up the wrong
tree. I believe this was also one of the things Dr. Algeo attempted in his
review of your book THE MASTERS REVEALED.
Now to more specific issues in your comments:
> You [Dan Caldwell] also assume the accuracy of accounts by the Founders
>even when there is no evidence to confirm them.
Whether I assume.......or not is a valid subject for discussion, since we
are attempting to review your books, I want to focus on what you, Paul
Johnson, assumes in your published writings on this subject.
In the statement of yours just quoted, who are the Founders? I assume you
refer to HPB and Olcott.
In this same statment you mention "accounts". I assume you are referring
to accounts given of the Masters or accounts of meetings HPB & Olcott had with
the Theosophical Masters.
Again, what do you mean by "accuracy" of the accounts? For example, did
Olcott make up (i.e. lie) about meeting Morya at Bombay on July 15, 1879? Or
did Olcott misstate some detail of the encounter with Morya? etc. etc.
Concerning the phrase" "....even when there is no evidence to confirm them..."
what do you mean by "evidence" and the absence of evidence? And what does
"confirm" mean in this sense?
I want to go through your published writings and see if you [Paul Johnson]
have in specific instances *assumed* the accuracy of accounts given
of encounters with the Masters even when there is no "evidence"
[??] to confirm these meetings.
Again you write:
"[Concerning my reference to Olcott's account of meeting the Master Morya
in Bombay, this account is]of little use in providing a historical identifica-
tion, that's all. If you want to use it as weight against another
identification, which you do, fine. BUT IT LACKS MUCH WEIGHT WHEN THERE IS
NO CONFIRMATION OF THE ACCOUNT." Caps added by Dan Caldwell.
Again, what do you mean by "confirmation of the account"?
Again, have you Paul Johnson when dealing with Olcott's accounts of meeting
a specific Masters on a particular day in a particular locality given such
Everyone on Theos-roots may think I am asking stupid questions or playing
dumb but I believe it is very important to clearly define what you mean
in these quotes and even better to illustrate what you mean by specific
cases you have written about. So I will list with a little detail at this
point some of the specific encounters Olcott had with the Masters that you
have written about and then allow you to explain the 2 just quoted comments
by you in light of these accounts by Olcott.
Here are the following accounts by Olcott"
as given in your published writings:
(1) in THE MASTERS REVEALED, pp. 59-62, you have a chapter entitled, "Ooton
Liatto". You write (p. 60):
"A recent discovery by Joscelyn Godwin provides intriguing evidence for the
visit to New York by Hilarion mentioned in HPB's diary in 1875."
You then relate Olcott's testimony in which he says he met sometime during
late 1875 or early 1876 in New York City 2 men whom you describe as adepts.
The younger of these two men told Olcott that his name was Ooton Liatto.
Certain "paranormal" occurrences seeminly take place during their visit with
You end the chapter by stating the following:
"The names Ooton Liatto and Hilarion Smerdis have been equally impossible
to find in biographical and historical reference books. While both may
be pseudonyms, there is little doubt that two real adepts visited Olcott in
(2) In THE MASTERS REVEALED, p. 149, you write:
"Describing a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar on 23 October, 1880, he
[Olcott] writes: `...I was greeted, to my surprise and joy, with a loving
smile by one of the Masters, who for the moment was figuring among the
At various points in this chapter "Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia" (pp. 148-175),
you convey the impression that this "Master" met at the Golden Temple was
Koot Hoomi, and was *in fact* Thakar Singh, "a Sikh officiating at the Golden
Temple," in this case, Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia.
(3) In your book IN SEARCH OF THE MASTERS, p. 193, you relate Olcott's account
of Aug. 4, 1880 in which a "Mahatma" comes to Bombay headquarters and visits
both Olcott and HPB. Olcotts said:
"a Mahatma visited H.P.B., and I was called in to see him before he left...."
To this account you comment as follows:
"In light of available knowledge of Afghani's [that is, Jamal ad-Din
`al-Afghani'] comings and goings in India can he be connected to the Founders
of the Theosophical Society?.....Although there is no stated identity
of this Mahatma [in Olcott's account], the mention of Paris [in Olcott's
account of this encounter with the Mahatma] rings true, since
Afghani was indeed to proceed to Paris, where he must have had an
influential friend from the evidence presented [? presented in
(4) Again on p. 242 of IN SEARCH OF THE MASTERS, your tell your readers:
"K.H. did indeed visit Olcott, Damodar and Brown on the edge of Lahore [in
And in your book THE MASTERS REVEALED, pp. 157-159, you quote Olcott in
great detail about this visit of KH to the three individuals named above.
And on p. 154 you say that Koot Hoomi's "ONLY RECORDED FLESHLY APPEARANCES
were in the same vicinity [i.e.Amritsar and Lahore] several years later."
Caps added. (I will refer back to these caps in a future posting)
Here in this quote from p. 154 you are referring (at the very least) to
KH's appearance in the flesh in 1883 in Lahore "several years later" after
his appearance to Olcott at the Golden Temple in 1880.
Both in your earlier book IN SEARCH OF THE MASTERS and your later one
THE MASTERS REVEALED, you indicate that KH was really the historical
figure Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia who met Olcott on these two occasions
(Oct. 1880 in Amritsar and Nov. 1883 in Lahore).
Now looking at the above 4 cited cases from your writings, I will rephrase
your question to me and direct them back to you:
(a) Do you Paul Johnson assume in the 4 above cases the accuracy of
the accounts given by Olcott even when there is no evidence to confirm
(b) Furthermore, in the 4 accounts quoted above, if you contend that
there is evidence to confirm them, what is the nature of that evidence?
(c) Do these 4 cases provide *historical* identification of the Adept,
Master or Mahatma involved? What is the nature of that historical
(d) And in each account of Olcott's that you cite, is there "confirmation
of the account." And what does this confirmation consists of in each case?
(e) In each of these cases what is the evidence that points toward a
(f) Again, how have you judged "the accuracy" of each of these 4 accounts?
(g) And most importantly, how do these four cases that you quote DIFFER
from the account by Olcott in which he relates that his Teacher [Morya]
rides up to T.B. Bombay headquarters on a horse and visist both Olcott and
HPB? Does this July 15, 1879 account provide any less "historical
identification" of the Master involved than the other accounts? If so, how?
Futhermore, does this July 15, 1879 account provide us with less evidence
to confirm it than the other accounts do? Or does this July 1879 account
provide us with "no evidence" to confirm it while the other 4 accounts
provides us with "evidence" to confirm them? But in each case what is the
evidence that confirms them? Again can you confirm the accuracy of the
July 1879 account? And if not, can you really confirm the accuracy of the
other four accounts in some more substantial way?
In one of your replies you seem to imply that in the July 1879 account the
"evidentiary value is weak" wheras (I would assume since you cite the 4
cases in your writings) the other 4 cases must have some "evidentairy value",
at least more evidentiary value than the July 1879 account? Since you
cite these 4 cases and appear to accept them at face value as evidence of
a physical Adept or Master visiting Olcott and others, I would assume that
you consider that they have some "evidentiary value"? What evidentiary value
do they have that you do not find in the July 1879 account?
I have typed too much at this sitting. I hope a few readers may see what
I am getting at!
I will wait for Paul Johnson's reply and then make my observations on these
4 accounts as compared with the July 15, 1879 account.
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