Theos-World Re: Old Diary Leaves and Henry S. Olcott
Mar 12, 2000 02:07 AM
by Daniel Caldwell
Dallas, you wrote in part:
> Note that it was HPB who had originally been
> instrumental in
> initiating him into the 2nd Section TS and was
> technically his
> TEACHER placed there by the Master, who had been
> present when
> Olcott and Judge took their PLEDGES in 1874 or 1875
> (this is my
> surmise -- no proof on it). Judge was his
> COMPANION, and by his
> work in resuscitating Theosophy in America had
> become HPB's
> trusted AGENT. Is should be noted that Olcott was
> also made an
> Agent by HPB to develop in India and Asia the same
> work that She
> and Judge were doing in Europe and America. But
> Olcott did
> nothing with it at all.
Dallas, I'm somewhat unclear as to what time period
you are referring to above and what you mean when you
say "Olcott did nothing with it at all."
As far as I can tell, Olcott labored for the Masters
from 1874-1875 to his death in 1907, just as Master KH
(see below) said he would do.
Dallas, I find your estimation of Colonel Olcott's
service to the Masters, the Theosophical Society and
to Theosophy very ONE-SIDED, hence UNFAIR AND
Heaven knows, Olcott had his faults, weaknesses and
blind spots. And the Masters indeed reprimanded him
when needed. See their various letters.
BUT .... let us compare YOUR estimation of Olcott and
his work with what the Masters wrote in a positive
vein about Olcott.
Master Koot wrote among other things:
"Colonel Olcott is doubtless "out of time with the
feelings of English people" of both classes; but
nevertheless more in time with us than either. Him we
can trust under all circumstances, and his faithful
service is pledged to us come well, come ill. My dear
Brother, my voice is the echo of impartial justice.
Where can we find an equal devotion? He is one who
never questions, but obeys; who may make innumerable
mistakes out of excessive zeal but never is unwilling
to repair his fault even at the cost of the greatest
self-humiliation; who esteems the sacrifice of comfort
and even life something to be cheerfully risked
whenever necessary; who will eat any food, or even go
without; sleep on any bed, work in any place,
fraternise with any outcast, endure any privation for
the cause. . . . "
"Do what you can to dignify Olcott's office; for he
represents the entire Society, and by reason of his
official position, if for no other, stands with
Upasika, closest to ourselves in the chain of
Theosophical work. . . ."
"Of these two persons one [Blavatsky] has already
given three-fourths of a life, the other [Olcott] six
years of manhood's prime TO US, and both will so
labour to the close of their days. Though ever working
for their merited reward, yet never demanding it, nor
murmuring when disappointed. Even though they
respectively could accomplish far less than they do,
would it not be a palpable injustice to ignore them as
proposed in an important field of Theosophical effort?
Ingratitude is not among our vices, nor do we imagine
you would wish to advise it. . . . CAPS ADDED.
"Olcott . . . has toiled FOR US these five years. . .
. Again I might cite the case of Olcott (who, had he
not been permitted to communicate face to face -- and
without any intermediary -- with us, might have
subsequently shown less zeal and devotion but more
discretion) and his fate up to the present. . . . Caps
And here is what Master Morya writes as to Olcott's
part in the founding of the Theosophical Society and
"So casting about WE FOUND in America the man [Olcott]
to stand as leader -- a man of great moral courage,
unselfish, and having other good qualities. He was far
from being the best, BUT . . . HE WAS THE BEST ONE
AVAILABLE. With him we associated a woman [HPB]of
most exceptional and wonderful endowments. Combined
with them she had strong personal defects, but just as
she was, there was no second to her living fit for
this work. We sent her to America, brought them
together -- and the trial began. From the first both
she and he were given to clearly understand that the
issue lay entirely with themselves. And both offered
themselves for the trial for certain remuneration in
the far distant future as -- as K.H. would say --
soldiers volunteer for a Forlorn Hope. For the 6½
years they have been struggling against such odds as
would have driven off any one who was not working with
the desperation of one who stakes life and all he
prizes on some desperate supreme effort. Their success
has not equalled the hopes of their original backers,
phenomenal as it has been in certain directions.. . .
And Colonel did literally thousands of healings in
India and Ceylon. See Appendix III in HPB's Letters to
About this Master KH wrote to Sinnett:
"This [healing] is all done thro' the power of a lock
of hair sent by our beloved younger Chohan [Serapis]
to H. S. O."
In other words, Master Serapis was instrumental in
helping Olcott in these remarkable healings. There is
much more to this story. Here we see that the Masters
used Olcott to further other aspects of their own
No doubt, Olcott misunderstood HPB from time to time.
But so did others including Mr. Judge.
And yes, it is true that Olcott's OLD DIARY LEAVES
(see volumes 1 thru 4)contains some misleading
statements about HPB. But at the same time these
volumes ALSO contain much valuable and positive
material about HPB.
SHALL WE THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER?
Anyone who wants to better understand HPB and the
Masters will gain many valuable insights as a result
of reading and studying Olcott's four volumes on HPB.
Of course, these volumes must be read with discernment
and discrimination. But all books should be read in
such a state of mind.
Despite the flaws in these volumes by Olcott, they are
primary sources for much valuable information on
Madame Blavatsky and the Masters.
As far as HPB being Olcott's Teacher, we should also
keep in mind what HPB herself wrote in the Secret
"Of the three teachers the latter gentleman [Olcott]
has had, the first was a Hungarian Initiate, the
second an Egyptian, the third a Hindu. As permitted,
Colonel Olcott has given out some of this teaching in
various ways. . . . "
SD Vol. 1, Page xix
Again this shows that Olcott tried to do the work of
In summary, Dallas, I prefer to accept the Masters'
own BALANCED view of Olcott's service rather than your
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