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Olcott's Letter to H____ X_____

Jun 29, 1998 08:58 PM
by M K Ramadoss

The following letter is of historical interest to those interested in the
early days of TS. Of interest is to note that when Olcott was given the
opportunity to lead TS, he was a "man" of the world -- cigar smoking, meat
eating etc. -- but a person of great integrity. There were 10s of 1000s of
vegetarians, leading a very saintly life and it should come as a surprise
that he was chosen. Also this letter contains an account of a visit by an


No. 3. ( Letter from Col. Olcott to Mr. H.___X_____) .

COLOMBO, CEYLON,  30th September, 1881.


     The enclosed card, to the Spiritualist, I had written and put under
cover to as early as the 27th instant-post-dating, so as to correspond with
the P. and 0. mail day and meant it to go straight to London by this post
But on the night of that day I was awakened from sleep by my Chohan (or
Guru, the Brother whose immediate pupil I am) and ordered to send it via
Simla, so that you might read it. He said that it would serve a useful
purpose in helping to settle your mind about the objective reality of the
Brothers, as you had confidence in my veracity, and, next to seeing them
yourself, would as soon take my word as any other man's to the fact. I have
to ask the favor, therefore, of your sending the letter on by the next
succeeding post, re-addressed to ______.

     I can well understand the difficulty of your position far better I
think than H. P. B., who, woman. like, hates to reason. I have only to go
back to the point where I was in 1874, when I first met her, to feel what
you require to satisfy you. And so going back, I know that, as I would
never have taken anybody's evidence to so astounding a claim. as the
existence of the Brothers, but required personal experience before I would
head- the new movement, so must you, a person far more cautious and able
than myself, feel now.

     I got that proof in due time; but for months I was being gradually led
out of my spiritualistic Fool's Paradise, and forced to abandon my
delusions one by one. My mind was not prepared to give up ideas that had
been the growth of 22 years' experiences with mediums and circles. I had a
hundred questions to ask and difficulties to be solved. It was not until a
full year had passed by that I had dug out of the bed-rock of common sense
the Rosetta stone that
showed me how to read the riddle of direct intercourse with the Brothers.
Until then I had been provoked and exasperated by the--as I
thought--selfish and cruel indifference of H. P. B. to my yearnings after
the truth, and the {allure of the Brothers to come and instruct me.
But now it was all made clear. I had got just as much as I deserved, for I
had been ignorantly looking for extraneous help to achieve that which no
man ever did achieve except by his own self-development.

     So as the sweetness of common life had all gone out from me, as I was
neither hungry for fame nor money, nor love, and as the gaining of this
knowledge and the doing good to my fellowmen appeared the highest of all
aims to which I could devote my remaining years of life, I adopted those
habits and encouraged those thoughts that were conducive to the attainment
of my ends.

     After that I had all the proofs I needed, alike of the existence of
the Brothers, their wisdom, their psychical powers, and their unselfish
devotion to humanity. For six years have I been blessed with this
experience, and I am telling you the exact truth in saying that all this
time I have known perfect happiness. It has seemed to you "the saddest
thing of all" to see me giving up the world and everything that makes the
happiness of those living in the world; and yet, after all these years, not
only not made an adept, but hardly having achieved one step towards
adeptship. These were your words to me and others last year; but if you
will only reflect for one moment what it is to transform a worldly man,
such as I was in 1874-- a man of clubs, drinking parties, mistresses, a man
absorbed in all sorts of worldly public and private undertakings and
speculations -- into that purest, wisest, noblest and most spiritual of
human beings, a BROTHER, you will cease to wonder, or rather you will
wonder, how I could ever have struggled out of the swamp at all, and how I
could have ever succeeded in gaining the firm straight road.

     No one knows, until he really tries it, how awful a task it is to
subdue all his evil passions and animal instincts, and develop his higher
nature. Talk of conquering intemperance or a habit of opium-eating -- this
self-conquest is a far harder task.

     I have seen, been taught by, been allowed to visit, and have received
visits from the Brothers; but there have been periods when, relapsing into
a lower moral state (interiorly) as the result of most-unfavourable
external conditions, I have for long neither seen them nor received a line
from them. From time to time one or another Brother who had been on
friendly terms with me (I am acquainted with about a dozen in all) has
become disgusted with me and left me to others, who kindly took their
places. Most of all, I regret a certain Magyar philosopher, who had begun
to give me a course of instruction in occult dynamics, but was repelled by
an outbreak of my old earthly nature.

     But I shall win him back and the others also, for I have so
determined; and whatever a man really WILLS, that he has. No power in the
universe, but one, can prevent our seeing whomsoever we will, or knowing
whatsoever we desire, and that power is--SELF!

     Throughout my studies l have tried to obtain my proofs in a valid
form. I have known mesmerism for a quarter of a century or more, and make
every allowance for self-deception and external mental impressions. What I
have seen and experienced is, therefore, very
satisfactory to myself, though mainly valueless to others.

Let me give you one instance:

     One evening, at New York, after bidding H. P. B. good night, I sat in
my bed-room, finishing a cigar and thinking. Suddenly there stood my Chohan
beside me. The door had made no noise in opening, if it had been opened,
but at any rate there he was. He sat down and conversed with me in subdued
tones for some time, and as he seemed in an excellent humor towards me, I
asked him a favor. I said I wanted some tangible proof that he had actually
been there, and that I had not been seeing a mere illusion or maya conjured
up by H. P. B. He laughed, unwound the embroidered Indian cotton fehta he
wore on his head, flung it to me, and--was gone. That cloth I still
possess, and it bears in one corner the initials (***) of my Chohan in

     This at least was no hallucination, and so of several other instances
I might relate.

	This same Brother once visited me in the flesh at Bombay, coming in full
day-light, and on horse. back. 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 came to scold me roundly for
something I had done in T. S. matters, and as H. B. P. 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 on 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.

     Another time, two, if not three, persons, sitting in the verandah of
my bangalow in the Girgaum compound, saw a Hindu gentleman ride in,
dismount under H. P. B.'s portico, and enter her study. They called me, and
I went and watched the horse until the visitor came out, remounted and rode
off, That also was a Brother, in flesh and bones; but what proof is there
of it to offer even to a friend like yourself ? There are many Hindus and
many horses.

     You will find in an odd number of the N. Y. World a long account of a
reporter's experiences at our headquarters in 47th Street. Among the
marvels witnessed, by the eight or ten persons present, was the apparition
of a Brother who passed by the window and
returned. The room was or. the second storey of the house, and there was no
balcony to walk on.

     But this, it may be said, was all an illusion; that is the trouble of
the whole matter; everything of the kind seen by one person is a delusion,
if not a lie, to those who did not see it. Each must see for himself, and
can alone convince himself.

     Feeling this, while obeying my Chohan, as I try to do in little as
well as great things, and sending you these writings, I do so in the hope,
though by no means in the certainty, that your present reliance on my
veracity will survive their perusal.

     I have never, I should mention, kept a diary of my experiences with
the Brothers or even of the phenomena I witnessed in connexion with them.
There were two reasons for this--first, I have been taught to maintain the
closest secrecy in regard to all I saw and heard, except when specially
authorised to speak about any particular thing; second, never expecting to
be allowed to publish my experiences, I have felt that the less I put on paper
the safer.

     You may possibly glean, if not from personal observation, at any rate
from the printed record of my American services of one kind or another,
that I am not the sort of man to give up everything come out as I did, and
keep working on as I have done, without having obtained a superabundance of
good proofs of the truth of the cause in which I am embarked. And you may
possibly say to yourself: "Why should not I, who am more capable of doing
good to this cause than a dozen Olcotts, be also favored with proofs ? "
The answer you must seek from another quarter; but if any experience is
worth anything, I should say that answer would be in substance that,
however great a man may be at this side of the Himalayas, he begins his
relationship with the Brothers on exactly the same terms as the humblest
Chela who ever tried to scale their Parnassus; be must. "win his way."

     If you only know how often, within my time even, a deaf ear has been
turned to the importunities, both of influential outsiders professing
readiness to do everything in the way of personal exertion and liberal
gifts, and of our own Fellows, who pretended to be
ready to sacrifice the world if the Brothers would only come to them and
teach them, you would perhaps be less surprised at their failure to visit you.

     Events have always proved their wisdom, and so it will be in your
case, I fancy; for, if you do see them, as I hope and trust you may, it
will be because you have earned the right to command their presence.

     The phenomena they have done have all had a purpose, and good has
eventually come even from those which brought down upon us for the moment
the greatest contumely. As for my mistakes of judgment and H. P. B.'s
occasional tomfooleries, that is a different
affair, and the debits are charged to our respective accounts,

     My teachers have always told me that the danger of giving the world
complete assurance of their existence is so great, by reason of the low
spiritual tone of society, and the ruthless selfishness with which it would
seek to drag them, from their seclusion, that it is better to tell only so
much as will excite the curiosity and stimulate the zeal of the worthy
minority of metaphysical students. If they can keep just enough oil in the
lamp to feed the
flame it is all that is required.

     I do not know whether or not there is any significance (*) in the fact
of my Chohan's visiting me on the night of the 27th, but you may. He made
me rise, sit at my table and write from his dictation (+) for an hour or
more. There was an expression of anxiety mingled with sternness on his
noble face, as there always is when the matter concerns H. P. B., to whom
for many years he has been at once a father and a devoted guardian. How I
do hope you may see him ! You would confess, I am sure, that he was the
finest possible type of man.

     I have also personally known--since 1875. He is of quite a different,
a gentler, type, yet the bosom friend of the other. They live near each
other with a small Buddhist Temple about midway between their houses.

     In New York I  had ________'s portrait; my Chohan's; that of another
Brother, a Southern Indian Prince; and a colored sketch on China silk; of
the landscape near ____'s and my Chohan's residences with a glimpse of the
latter's house and of part of the little temple. But the
portraits of _________ and the Prince disappeared form the frames one night
just before I left for India.

     I had still another picture, that remarkable portrait of a Yogi about
which so much was said in the papers. It too disappeared in New York, but
one evening tumbled down through the air before our very eyes, as H. P. B.,
Damodar and I were conversing in my office at Bombay with (if I remember
aright) the Dewan Sankariah of

     You and I will never see Jesus in the flesh, but if you should ever
meet----, or one or two others whom I might mention, I think you will say
that they are near enough our ideal "to satisfy one's longing for the tree
of humanity to put forth such a flower."

     I am ordered to say that you may use this letter as your judgment may
dictate after noting carefully its contents. With sincere regards and best

H. S. Olcott

[*** A particular monogram which cannot he reproduced in type --Tibetan I
believe--which this Brother always uses.--H. X.]

[+ The communication, thus dictated and transmitted as an enclosure of this
letter, is not printed, as it is of a purely private character. But I am
bound to say that, to my mind, it embodied a complete misconception as to
some points of the position discussed.--H. X.]

    ( * There was this significance that, on the afternoon of the 27th, I,
at Simla, had been disputing with Madame Blavatsky, then living in my
house, as to whether the Brothers were not a myth and she a self-deluded
person, and in the course of the conversation I had remarked that I had
never heard Colonel Olcott say that he had seen or conversed with a
Brother. That Colonel Olcott, then in Ceylon, should have selected that
very night to sit down and write to me a communication professedly from a
Brother, rebuking me for my incredulity, and should farther have added this
letter above printed, testifying to his own constant direct intercourse
with the Brothers is, to say the least, a curious coincidence.--H.X.)

     ### The following are extracts from some of the papers referring to
this remarkable
picture.--H. X.


     William Q Judge, being duly sworn, says that he is an attorney end
councillor-at-law, practicing at the Bar of the State of New York; that he
was present at the house of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, at No. 302, West 47th
Street, New York City, on one occasion in the month of December 1877, when
a discussion was being held upon the subject of Eastern Magic, especially
upon the power of an adept to produce phenomenon by an exercise of the
will, equalling or surpassing those of mediumship. To illustrate the
subject, as she had often done indeponent's presence previously by other
experiments, Madame Blavatsky, without preparation, and in full light, and
in the presence and sight of deponent, Col. Olcott, and Dr. L. M.
Marquette, tore a sheet of common writing paper in two and asked us the
subject we would hays represented. Deponent named the portrait of a certain
very holy men in India. Thereupon laying the paper upon the table Madame
Blavatskv placed the palm of her hand upon it, and after rubbing the paper
a few times (occupying less than a minute) with a circular motion, lifted
her hand and gave deponent the paper for inspection. Upon the previously
white surface there was a most remarkable and striking picture of an Indian
Fakir, represent- him as if in contemplation. Deponent has frequently seen
it since, and it is now in possession of Col. Olcott. Deponent positively
avers that the blank paper first taken was the paper on which the picture
appeared, and that no substitution of another paper was made or was possible.

William Q. Judge.

     Subscribed and sworn to before me this 20tb day of March, 1878.

Samuel Y. Speyer Notary Public, New York County  .

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