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Art Gregory, Paul Johnson and Richard Hodgson on Blavatsky's Masters

Nov 17, 2000 08:05 AM
by Blavatsky Archives

Subject: Art Gregory, Paul Johnson and Richard Hodgson on Blavatsky's Masters

I find it quite interesting to compare and contrast the interpretations
that Art Gregory, Paul Johnson and Richard Hodgson have made about Madame
Blavatsky's Masters. Art Gregory apparantly believes that HPB's Mahatmas
were "spirit guides" and NOT physical, living persons. In contrast it would
appear that Paul Johnson explains many of the appearances of the Masters
as simply the appearance of a physical living person. In a few cases Johnson
has tried to associate these appearances with fairly well known historical
persons. Richard Hodgson usually assumed that these appearances were simply
one or more flesh and blood confederates pretending to be a Mahatma at Madame
Blavatsky's instigation.

For example, let's take the case of Olcott meeting Ooton Liatto and another
adept in New York. Paul Johnson has written that in his opinion: "there
is little doubt that two real adepts visited Olcott in New York." Unless
I am making a wrong assumption I believe Johnson believes two living flesh
and blood adepts visited Olcott. On the other hand Art Gregory apparently
would insist that these two adepts were not physical living men but "spirit
guides." Richard Hodgson would probably have believed that two persons
hired by Madame Blavatsky impersonated "adepts" in order to fool and dupe
Olcott. See Case A at the end of my comments below. 

Another example. Take Olcott's account of seeing Master Morya at Bombay
in the company of six other witnesses. See Case D below. I assume Art
Gregory would believe that Master Morya here was "a spirit guide". Am I
wrong? Why couldn't it be the "astral body" of a living person? What would
be Paul Johnson's interpretation? He might suggest that this Master was
a living flesh and blood person. Richard Hodgson believed that it was 
a living person --- Alexis Coulomb dressed up to impersonate an appearance
of the Master.  

Here is yet another example. Olcott related to the SPR Committee:

"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
--- a separate house within the same enclosure as the main building. This
was one day in 1879. I went and found alone there my Teacher[Master Morya].
Madame Blavatsky was then engaged in animated conversation with other persons
in the other bungalow. The interview between the Teacher and myself lasted
perhaps 10 minutes, and it related to matters of a private nature with respect
to myself and certain current events in the history of the Society. . .
. He put his hand upon my head, and his hand was perfectly substantial;
and he had altogether the appearance of an ordinary living person. 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 the Mahatmas, and used by Mahatmas who
may be passing through Bombay on business connected with their order. He
came to our place on horseback. . . . I have seen him at other times [also
in the flesh]. . . . [His appearance on all those occasions has been] as
unmistakable as the appearance of either of you gentlemen [of the SPR sitting
here and asking me questions]. . . ." Another account of this same encounter
is given below in Case F.

How does Art Gregory explain this case? I assume he would try to somehow
explain it by his "spirit guide" theory. But does a "spirit guide" leave
by riding off on a horse? Was the horse also an "apparition"? I have no
idea how Paul Johnson would explain this case. I assume he might accept
that it was a "physical" person but I doubt that he would accept Olcott's
testimony that this person on horseback was actually the Master Morya. 
Richard Hodgson would have probably believed that it was some unnamed confederate
that was impersonating the "Master Morya" to dupe poor Olcott. But who was
this person on horseback?

Here we see three persons coming up with totally different assessments of
the Colonel Olcott's testimony and evidence. These three different interpretations
cannot all be correct and true. How does one separate the wheat from the
chaff in all these conflicting opinions?


I append below 8 cases marked A through H for ease of reference and comparison
for those who actually want to cross check and compare material in order
to see the validity of Gregory, Johnson's and Hodgson's "interpretations."



"...I was reading in my room yesterday (Sunday) when there 
came a tap at the door---I said 'come in' and there entered the 
[younger] Bro[ther] with another dark skinned gentleman of 
about fifty....We took cigars and chatted for a while....[Then 
Olcott relates that a rain shower started in the room. Olcott 
continues the account:] They sat there and quietly smoked their 
cigars, while mine became too wet to burn....finally the younger 
of the two (who gave me his name as Ooton Liatto) said I 
needn't worry nothing would be damaged....I asked Liatto 
if he knew Madam B[lavatsky]....the elder Bro[ther]...[said] that 
with her permission they would call upon her. I ran 
downstairs---rushed into Madams parlour---and---there sat these same 
two identical men smoking with her and chatting....I said 
nothing but rushed up stairs again tore open my door and---the men 
were not there---I ran down again, they had disappeared--- 
I . . . looked out the window---and saw them turning the 
corner...." (Olcott's account is given in full in Theosophical 
History, Jan., 1994.) 



"...on the night of that day [Sept. 27th, 1881] I was awakened from 
sleep by my Chohan (or Guru, the Brother [Morya] 
whose immediate pupil I am)....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. . . ." (Quoted in Hints On Esoteric Theosophy, 
No. 1, 1882, pp. 82-83. 



In his diary for Jan. 29, 1882, Colonel Olcott pens this brief entry: 

"M[orya] showed himself very clearly to me & HPB in her garden.... 
she joining him they talked together...." 



"We were sitting together in the moonlight about 9 o'clock upon 
the balcony which projects from the front of the bungalow. 
Mr. Scott was sitting facing the house, so as to look through 
the intervening verandah and the library, and into the room 
at the further side. This latter apartment was brilliantly 
lighted. The library was in partial darkness, thus rendering 
objects in the farther room more distinct. Mr. Scott suddenly 
saw the figure of a man step into the space, opposite the 
door of the library; he was clad in the white dress of a 
Rajput, and wore a white turban. Mr. Scott at once recognized 
him from his resemblance to a portrait [of Morya] in Col. 
Olcott's possession. Our attention was then drawn to him, 
and we all saw him most distinctly. He walked towards a 
table, and afterwards turning his face towards us, walked 
back out of our sight...when we reached the room 
he was gone....Upon the table, at the spot where he had 
been standing, lay a letter addressed to one of our number. The 
handwriting was identical with that of sundry notes and letters 
previously received from him...." The statement is signed by: 
"Ross Scott, Minnie J.B. Scott, H.S. Olcott, H.P. Blavatsky, 
M. Moorad Ali Beg, Damodar K. Mavalankar, and Bhavani 
Shankar Ganesh Mullapoorkar." (Quoted from Hints On Esoteric 
Theosophy, No. 1, 1882, pp. 75-76.) 

>From Olcott's diary for Jan. 5, 1882, 

"Evening. Moonlight. On balcony, HPB, Self, Scott & 
wife, Damodar....[etc]...M[orya] appeared in my office. 
First seen by Scott, then me....Scott clearly saw M's 
face....M left note for me on table in office by which he stood...." 



On August 4, 1880, Olcott writes that: 

". . . a Mahatma visited H.P.B., and I was called in to see him before he

left. He dictated a long and important letter to an influential friend
ours at Paris, and gave me important hints about the management of current

Society affairs. I left him [the Mahatma] sitting in H.P.B.'s room...."

[Old Diary Leaves, Volume II, 1972 printing, p. 208]" 

And Olcott's actual handwritten diary for August 4, 1880 reads: 

"M [orya] here this evening & wrote to Fauvety of Paris. He says 5000 
English troops killed in Afghanistan in the recent battle. . . ." 


IN JULY, 1879 

"This same Brother once visited me in the flesh at Bombay, 
coming in full day light, and on horseback. 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 [Morya] came to scold me roundly 
for something I had done in T.S. matters, and as H.P.B. 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 to 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." 
(Extract from a letter written by Colonel Olcott to A.O. Hume 
on Sept. 30, 1881. Quoted in Hints On Esoteric Theosophy, 
No. 1, 1882, p. 80.) 

"[I] had visit in body of the Sahib [Morya]!! [He] sent Babula 
to my room to call me to H.P.B.'s bungalow, and there we had 
a most important private interview...." (Extract from Olcott's 
handwritten diary for Tuesday, July 15, 1879.) 



"' a shrine where the swords, sharp steel discs, coats of mail, and

other warlike weapons of the Sikh warrior priests are exposed to 
view in charge of the akalis, 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 guardians, and who gave each of us a fresh rose, 
with a blessing in his eyes...." (Old Diary Leaves, Volume III, pp. 254-255,

1974 printing.) 

In Olcott's own handwritten diary, the entry for October 26, 1880 

"...In the afternoon we went to the Golden Temple again & found 
it as lovely as before. Saw some hundreds of fakirs & gossains 
more or less ill-favored. A Brother there saluted H.P.B. and me 
& gave us each a rose." 



"I was sleeping in my tent, the night of the 19th, when I rushed 
back towards external consciousness on feeling a hand laid 
on me.. . . I clutched the stranger by the upper arms, and 
asked him in Hindustani who he was and what he wanted. 
It was all done in an instant, and I held the man tight, as would 
one who might be attacked the next moment and have to defend 
his life. But the next moment a kind, sweet voice said: 'Do you 
not know me? Do you not remember me?' It was the voice of the 
Master K.H. . . .I relaxed my hold on his arms, joined my palms 
in reverential salutation, and wanted to jump out of bed to show 
him respect. But his hand and voice stayed me, and after a few 
sentences had been exchanged, he took my left hand in his, 
gathered the fingers of his right into the palm, and stood quiet 
beside my cot, from which I could see his divinely benignant 
face by the light of the lamp that burned on a packing-case at his 
back. Presently I felt some soft substance forming in my hand, 
and the next minute the Master laid his kind hand on my 
forehead, uttered a blessing, and left my half of the large tent to 
visit Mr. W.T. Brown, who slept in the other half behind a 
canvas screen that divided the tent into two rooms. When 
I had time to pay attention to myself, I found myself holding 
in my left hand a folded paper enwrapped in a silken cloth. To 
go to the lamp, open and read it, was naturally my first impulse. 
I found it to be a letter of private counsel. . . On hearing an 
exclamation from=85[Brown's] side of the screen, I went in there 
and he showed me a silk-wrapped letter of like appearance to 
mine though of different contents, which he said had been 
given him much as mine had been to me, and which we read 
together. . . .The next evening. . .we two and Damodar sat in 
my tent, at 10 o'clock, waiting for an expected visit from 
Master K.H. . . .We sat on chairs at the back of the tent 
so as not to be observed from the camp: the moon was 
in its last quarter and had not risen. After some waiting 
we heard and saw a tall Hindu approaching from the side 
of the open plain. He came to within a few yards of us and 
beckoned Damodar to come to him, which he did. He told 
him that the Master would appear within a few minutes, 
and that he had some business with Damodar. It was a 
pupil of Master K.H. Presently we saw the latter coming from 
the same direction, pass his pupil. . .and stop in 
front of our group, now standing and saluting in the 
Indian fashion, some yards away. Brown and I kept our 
places, and Damodar went and conversed for a few 
minutes with the Teacher, after which he returned to us and 
the king-like visitor walked away. I heard his footsteps on 
the ground. . . .Before retiring, when I was writing my 
Diary, the pupil lifted the portiere, beckoned to me, 
and pointed to the figure of his Master [K.H.], waiting 
for me out on the plain in the starlight. I went to him, 
we walked off to a safe place at some distance 
where intruders need not be expected, and then for 
about a half-hour he told me what I had to know. . . 
There were no miracles done at the interview. . .just 
two men talking together, a meeting, and a parting 
when the talk was over. . . ." (Old Diary Leaves, Volume III, 
pp. 37-39, 43-45, 1972 reprinting.) 

Daniel H. Caldwell

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