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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 
Bareilly, N.W.P. 

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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