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Henry Olcott on his Teacher the Mahatma Morya: Excerpts from his SPR Testimony

Mar 15, 2002 08:44 PM
by danielhcaldwell

Henry Olcott on his Teacher the Mahatma Morya: 
Excerpts from his SPR Testimony

. . . . 

MR. STACK: As to the projection of the doubles of such Mahatmas as 
have also been seen in the flesh, can you testify to the two parts of 
that --- that you knew the Mahatma as an ordinary man and on other 
occasions have seen his double? 


MR. MYERS: In the case of one or two Mahatmas? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: I could name two cases where I have encountered the 
person both in the physical body and in the astral body. There are 
also a number of instances in my experience where I have seen the 
person in the astral body but not in the physical, and in the 
physical but not in the astral; but in two cases I can state that I 
have known the person in both capacities. 

MR. STACK: You need not mention all, but mention the two instances 
close together in which you saw a man in the flesh, and a short time 
afterwards saw him in the astral body, and under what circumstances? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: In both cases I saw them in the astral body first. 

MR. MYERS: Will you mention, first, the circumstances of the 

COLONEL OLCOTT: The first case I will mention is the case already 
reported in the pamphlet called "Hints on Esoteric Theosophy ---
No. 1," to which I refer you. . . . In that instance the person
was my Teacher, whose photograph lies on the yable here; and I now 
exhibit the turban which he took off his head, when I demanded of him 
some tangible proof of his visit. (Turban produced.) 

MR. MYERS: With regard to that visit as narrated, I wish to ask 
whether you have a precise recollection as to the condition of the 
door, whether it was shut or locked? I wish to see on what ground 
you think it impossible that this was a living Hindu who left the 
apartment by ordinary means. . . .

MR. MYERS: Of course, the idea of the apparition would be that it was 
somebody paid by Madame Blavatsky. . . . 

MR. MYERS: Was the Hindu you saw in New York indisputably the same as 
you subsequently saw in India? 


MR. MYERS: And whom you saw in the astral body? 


MR. STACK: He suddenly appeared? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: He appeared when I was in my room before retiring at 
night. As it was my custom to lock my door, I presume that my door 
was locked at that time. I know that the door was not opened, for I 
sat in such a way reading that the door could not be opened without 
immediately attracting my notice. 

MR. MYERS: In the description which you gave you said that the door 
had made no noise in opening if it had been opened. Do you consider 
it possible that it may have been open? Or do I understand that you 
now deny that? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: I used that expression so as to leave the widest 
possible latitude for any theory of that kind. My own conviction is -
-- in fact, I should be willing to affirm most positively --- that 
the door did not open and that the appearance and disappearance of my 
visitor occurred without using the means of ingress or exit. 

MR. STACK: In fact, you were in the habit of locking your door every 
night then? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: And then we were in an "apartment house,"
where the exterior door of the suite of chambers was closed with a 
spring latch. Of course, everyone, in such a case, invariably locks 
his own door leading into the outer passage; so that a person, to get 
in, would have to ring the bell. 

MR. MYERS: Then you conceive that there were probably two locked 


MR. STACK: Judging from your expression as to his materialising his 
turban, your impression is that the Hindu who presented himself to 
you was not material? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: It would hardly be fair to say that, because I do not 
believe that there can be any appearance, either phantasmal or other, 
without the presence of matter. It would be better to say that he 
was in the state of an etherealised body. 

MR. STACK: The question is, is it a tangible body? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: It is but faintly tangible, unless there is some 
special condensation of it by the will of the Mahatma. 

MR. STACK: At his will he could make it tangible or intangible? 


MR. MYERS: But Mr. Stack's question was directed to this, whether
conceive that the rest of the phantom which appeared to you in New 
York was of equal solidity with the turban? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: The phantom man had a phantom turban on his head, and 
he fully materialised the turban only by drawing to it through the 
current --- electric, odic, astral, ethereal, or whatever you please -
-- which is constantly running between the projected phantasm and the 
body, all the residual coarser atoms of the head cloth upon the solid 
body left behind. 

MR. MYERS: How tall was the Hindu who appeared to you in New York? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: He was a model of physical beauty, about 6ft. 6in. or 
7in. in height, and symmetrically proportioned. 

MR. MYERS: That is a very unusual height, and is in itself a 
tolerable identification. 

COLONEL OLCOTT: Great stature is not so rare among the Rajpoots. 

MR. MYERS: I presume that you were impressed by his height in New 


MR. MYERS: Have you seen other Hindus of that height? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: No; I have seen very tall Hindus, for I have been 
through the Rajpoot country; but taking him all in all, he was the 
most majestic human figure I ever laid my eyes upon. . . . 

MR. MYERS: We want now an account of seeing your Teacher in the 

COLONEL OLCOTT: 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. 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. 
(See Appendix X.) 

MR. MYERS: How do you know that your Teacher was in actual flesh and 
blood on that occasion? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: 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, which is not the case with the double or 

MR. MYERS: Do you conceive that he had travelled to Bombay in the 
ordinary way? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: 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 

MR. STACK: Was he on that occasion dressed the same as in New York? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes. They wear ordinarily, when away from Thibet, a 
dress of white cotton --- in fact, that is the common dress of 

MR. MYERS: Was that the only occasion on which you have seen him in 
the flesh? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: No; I have seen him at other times. 

MR. MYERS: Have you seen him three or four times in the flesh? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, more than that, but not under circumstances 
where it would be evidence to others. 

MR. MYERS: And about how many times in the astral body? 

COLONEL OLCOTT: Oh, at least 15 or 20 times. 

MR. MYERS: And his appearance on all those occasions has been quite 

COLONEL OLCOTT: As unmistakable as the appearance of either of you 
gentlemen. . . .

Quoted from: 

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