Mohini Chatterji Sees the Theosophical Mahatmas
Jan 12, 2001 12:29 PM
by Blavatsky Archives
Mohini M. Chatterji
December, 1882 and February, 1884
Bombay, India and later at Adyar, Madras, India
Since an attempt is now being made by the opponents of the
Theosophical Society to discredit the whole movement by circulating
the report that the "Mahatmas," or Eastern Adepts, are but "crafty
arrangements of muslin and bladders," I ask permission to say a
word. I have sacrificed all my worldly prospects, as is well known
in my native city of Calcutta, to devote myself to the propagation of
the esoteric philosophy of my race, in connection with the Society so
unjustly slandered. Needless to say I should not have taken this
step, with many others of my countrymen, if the Theosophical Society
were but a sham, and the Mahatmas vulgar "concoctions of muslin and
To a Brahman, like myself, it is repugnant to speak of the sacredly
confidential relationship existing between a spiritual teacher and
his pupil yet duty compels me in this instance to say that I have
personal and absolute knowledge of the existence of the Mahatma who
has corresponded with Mr. Sinnett, and is known to the Western world
as "Koot-Hoomi." I had knowledge of the Mahatma in question before
I knew Mdme. Blavatsky, and I met him in person when he passed
through the Madras Presidency to China last year.
I have [also] seen apparitions of Mahatmas on several occasions ---
five or six, I should think.
It was in the month of December, 1882, that I saw the apparition of
one of the Mahatmas for the first time. I do not remember the
precise date, but it can be easily ascertained. It was a few days
after the anniversary of the Theosophical Society was celebrated in
that year. One evening, eight or 10 of us were sitting on the
balcony at the headquarters of the Society. I was leaning over the
railings, when at a distance I caught a glimpse of some shining
substance, which after a short time took the form of a human being.
This human form several times passed and re-passed the place where we
were. I should think the apparition was visible for four or five
minutes [at a distance from me of] about 20 or 30 yards.
It appeared at a place where there was a declivity in the hill, the
house being at the top of the hill. There was also a bend at the
spot, so that if an ordinary human being had been walking there it
would have been impossible for him to have been seen. I saw the
whole figure, however, so that it must have been floating in mid-air.
[Other persons besides me also saw the figure.] One was Novin Grishna
Bannerji, who is deputy collector at Berhampore, Moorshedabad,
Bengal. Another was Ramaswamier, who is district registrar at
Madura, Madras. A third was Pundit Chandra Sikir, who lives at
It was first observed by Ramaswamier and myself. It seemed to us to
be the apparition of the original of the portrait in Colonel
Olcott's room, and which is associated with one of the Mahatmas.
This occurred about half-past nine or 10 o'clock on a bright
moonlight night. [The figure walked up and down] and then
disappeared. It seemed to melt away.
[The second time I saw an astral appearance was] two or three days
after that. We were sitting on the ground --- on the rock, outside
the house in Bombay, when a figure appeared a short distance away.
It was not the same figure as on the first occasion. This [astral
figure] was the same shining colour as before. It seemed to float.
There was no sound accompanying it. It seemed like phosphorus in the
dark. The hair was dark, and could be distinguished from the face.
Colonel Olcott was present on the first occasion, and, as I have
already stated, the apparition that appeared was that of his Master
[The third] instance which I will describe was the last that occurred
just before my leaving India. We were sitting in the drawing-room on
the first-floor of the house at Adyar. It was about 11 o'clock
at night. The window looks over a terrace or balcony. In one corner
of the room there appeared a thin vapoury substance of a shining
white colour. Gradually it took shape, and a few dark spots became
visible, and after a short time it was the fully-formed body of a
man, apparently as solid as an ordinary human body. This figure
passed and re-passed us several times, approaching to within a
distance of a yard or two from where we were standing near the
window. It approached so near that I think that if I had put out my
hand I might have touched it. [This figure was Mr. Sinnett's
correspondent, Koot Hoomi.]
After a while I said that as I should not see him [Master Koot Hoomi]
for a long time, on account of my going to Europe, I begged he would
leave some tangible mark of his visit. The figure then raised his
hands and seemed to throw something at us. The next moment we found
a shower of roses falling over us in the room --- roses of a kind
that could not have been procured on the premises. We requested the
figure to disappear from that side of the balcony where there was no
exit. There was a tree on the other side, and it was in order to
prevent all suspicion that it might be something that had got down
the tree, or anything of that kind, that we requested him to
disappear from the side where there was no exit. The figure went
over to that spot and then disappeared. It passed us slowly until it
came to the edge of the balcony, and then it was not to be seen any
more. [The disappearance was sudden.]
The height [of the balcony] was 15 or 20 feet, and moreover, there
were people downstairs and all over the house, so that it would have
been impossible for a person to have jumped down without being
noticed. Just below the balcony there is an open lawn. There were
several persons looking at the moment, and my own idea is that it
would have been perfectly impossible for a person to have jumped
down. There is a small flight of steps just below the balcony, and if
a man had jumped from the balcony he must have fallen upon the steps
and broken his legs.
When the figure passed and re-passed us we heard nothing of any
footsteps. Besides myself, Damodar and Madame Blavatsky were in the
room at the time.
[On the balcony there was] the moonlight, and the figure came to
within so short a distance that the light, which was streaming out of
the window, fell upon it. This was at the Madras [Theosophical
Society] headquarters, about either the end of January or the
beginning of February last; in fact, just before I left Madras.
Collated from two sources: "The Theosophical Mahatmas," by Mohini M.
Chatterji, "The Pall Mall Gazette" (London), October 2, 1884, p. 2;
and "First Report of the Committee of the Society for Psychical
Research, Appointed to Investigate the Evidence for Marvellous
Phenomena offered by Certain Members of the Theosophical Society,"
Appendix II. Material not relevant to the narrative has been silently
deleted. Explanatory notes added by the editor are enclosed within
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