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Nov 13, 1995 08:37 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to Jerry Hejka-Ekins:
> Paul I had to go back into our former dialogues in order to
> reconstruct this part. This is what I have:
> JHE 11/8
> For Sengchen Tulku you have an enigma but very possibly a
> person whom HPB gained information. But Does HPB or HSO
> call him a Mahatma?
> KPJ 11/8
> Don't have the sources in from of me but HSO called him
> "one of our Masters" as I recall.
> JHE 11/9
> Where
> KPJ 11/9
> ODL somewhere; can't find the passage offhand. But he
> speaks of the Master of Ceremonies of the Panchen Lama being
> "one of our Mahatmas"--but does so after the death of the
> Sengchen in question so may be talking about his successor.
> I'm really confused here. In Olcott's parenthetical phrase:
> "whose Master of Ceremonies one of our own revered Mahatmas is"
> I understand you are reading to say that this Master of
> Ceremonies of the Panchen Lama is one of our Masters. But since
> Sengchen Tulku was dead Olcott may be talking about his
> successor.
> OK now my original question was whether or not HPB or HSO
> called Sengchen Tulku a Master. Your original answer was yes
> but with the addition of the idea that Olcott might be talking
> about Sengchen's successor your answer becomes a maybe. Now
> what confuses me is why would Olcott publicly identify Sengchen
> Tulku or even his successor in ODL as a Master if he and HPB
> were trying to keep these identities a secret? If you had found
> this statement in a diary or in a confidential private letter
> then I would understand it as being some privileged information.
> But you are quoting from Olcott's quotation from Sarat Babu's
> "Narrative of a Journey to Lhasa in 1881-82. The parenthetical
> phrase appears to have been added by Olcott. If you are reading
> this correctly then that makes a very public proclamation of the
> identity of a Mahatma to me. Why the reversal of policy in this
> case? Perhaps because he is dead? This is a very intriguing
> passage but seems to simultaneously help and hurt your case.
> Jerry HE

Dear Jerry--

I'm glad to be focusing on this part of the book because it
seems to me to have some more fruitful possibilities in terms
of confirmation than some of my other speculations. First let
me say that HPB doesn't use the word Master or Mahatma but
calls the Sengchen the "Chohan Lama of Shigatse." Which is
enough for me. As for Olcott the very ambiguity of whether he
is talking about the Sengchen who was in office at the time of
Das's visit or the present one makes it a blind of sorts.
In the case of the Sankaracharya all the passages calling him
an Initiate Adept etc. are in private letters as one would
expect in such a case.

Three possibilities suggest themselves as to why Olcott would
drop such a clue:
1 Without HPB around to censor him he was simply indiscreet
not realizing that this was perhaps unwise to say.
2 The one you suggest; he is talking about someone dead and
feels that the need for secrecy is no longer a factor.
3 What I suspect is the main reason which is the same motive
I see in lots of HPB's references to the Masters. This relates
to Jerry S.'s comments on "blinds." That is to tell the truth
in salient details but to be vague or misleading about others so as to leave
wiggle room if people get too inquisitive. This goes back to
what I said in the talk at Berkeley in response to Apr's
question about the Mahatma letters. At first they are
unambiguous about K.H. being a resident of Amritsar being
named Singh and fairly clear about his being a Sikh. This
kind of detail whets the curiosity of Sinnett and he starts
asking questions. The questions cause HPB and her Masters to
realize the need for throwing him off the track and in comes a
bunch of stuff about Tibet. Check out the difference between
the K.H. of 1880 and of 1883. By the latter year Mohini is
coming up with testimonies that there is an entire sect of his
disciples in Tibet. In some places M. and K.H. are depicted as
Hindu and Sikh; elsewhere Buddhists. Also in
1882-3 we see HPB Ramaswamier and others heading off to meet
the Mahatmas in Sikkim while a year later Olcott Damodar
Brown meet them in Lahore and Jammu. Lots of confusion about
where they are and deliberately so IMO.


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