Witnesses of Morya, the Identity of Koot Hoomi and Connections to Tibet and the Panchen Lama
THE MULTIPLE WITNESSES OF MORYA AND WHY MORYA WASN’T THE MAHARAJAH RANBIR SINGH
The master known as Morya had visited the Theosophical Society Headquarters at Bombay, and a joint statement of seven Theosophists (including Olcott) was given as quoted in Hints on Esoteric Theosophy (No. 1, 1882, pp. 75-76):
“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 [or Morya] in Col. Olcott’s possession. Our attention was then drawn to him, and we all saw him most distinctly. He 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.”
Olcott is clearly able to distinguish between Morya and Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir whom he met and gave a detailed description of; because again, concerning this event, Olcott mentions in a Jan. 5, 1882 entry in his diary, M’s face:
“Jan. 5, 1882, “Evening. Moonlight. On balcony, HPB, Self, Scott & wife, Damodar (…) M 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….”
Morya in a letter (Letter no. 29, chron.) refers to another visit with Olcott:
“O’s memo…was written on the 27th [of Sep. 1881].…K.H. thought of asking me to go and tell O to do so….At the same time as I delivered my message to O, I satisfied his curiosity as to your Society [Sinnett’s Simla T,S.] and told what I thought of it. O asked my permission to send to you these notes which I accorded….”
And Olcott recounted this same meeting with M. three days before Sept. 27th 1881 in Colombo, Sri Lanka:
“…on the night of that day I was awakened from sleep by my Chohan (or Guru, the Brother 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 a devoted guardian….” (Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No. 1, 1882, pp. 82-83).
So, how can it be accepted on such accounts, that Morya is fictitious, and was really Ranbir Singh? A fictitious Tibetan could not be walking and interacting with Olcott, and why would Ranbir amidst all his important duties be traveling so free of guards at all possible times of the day in Bombay and Colombo on those exact dates Olcott was meeting Morya?
A clerk from Tirunelveli in South India on leave in 1882 by the name of S. Ramabadra Ramaswamier had given an account of meeting Morya.
“…I suddenly saw a solitary horseman galloping towards me from the opposite direction. From his tall stature and the expert way he managed the animal, I thought he was some military officer of the Sikkim Raja…But as he approached me, he reined the steed. I looked at and recognized him instantly….I was in the ….presence of…my own revered Guru….The very same instant saw me prostrated on the ground at his feet. I arose at his command….He wear a short black beard, and long black hair hanging down to his breast…He wore a yellow mantle lined with fur, and on his head…a yellow Tibetan felt cap…I had a long talk with him. He told me to go no further, for I would come to grief. He said I should wait patiently if I wanted to become an accepted Chela…Before he left, two more men came on horseback, his attendants I suppose, probably Chelas, for they were dressed…like himself, with long hair streaming down their backs. They followed the Mahatma, as he left, at a gentle trot….” (Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, 1965, pp. 295-297)
Here, we are supposed to believe that Morya is Ranbir Singh, and Ranbir Singh is going all the way to Sikkim without any guards or attentions to his duties at home, to go around fooling his countrymen by dressing in the garb of a Yellow-cap gelugpa.
These are some of the questions and contradictions that were strongly put forth by Daniel H. Caldwell, John Algeo and others throughout the years. This is information that does not often inform persons who speak on the subject, having become just acquainted with the history, or concluding the case on the basis of very limited source material. There are no proofs for the accusations that K.H. and Morya were the aspects of H.P. B.’s proposed “multiple personalities,” besides simply being skeptical. Where is the time to construct such an elaborate hoax and consistent philosophy as exhibited in The Mahatma Letters?
KOOT HOOMI’S TRAVELS AND COLLEGE YEARS
When it was previously mentioned, that Morya says of himself, that he is not as fine a scholar like K.H., in that letter, Morya speaks to A.P. Sinnett about him not being used to their “Indo-Tibetan ways” saying of himself in relation to K.H.:
“I am not a fine scholar, Sahibs, like my blessed Brother” (…) We of the Indo-Tibetan hovels never quarrel (…) Owing to complicated politics, to debates and what you term, if I mistake not, — social talk and drawing-room controversies and discussions, sophistry has now become in Europe (hence among the Anglo-Indians) “the logical exercise of the intellectual faculties,” while with us it has never outgrown its pristine stage of “fallacious reasoning,” the shaky, insecure premises from which most of the conclusions and opinions are drawn, formed and forthwith jumped at. Again, we ignorant Asiatics of Tibet, accustomed to rather follow the thought of our interlocutor or correspondent than the words he clothes it in — concern ourselves generally but little with the accuracy of his expressions.” (The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, Letter No. 29)
Of K.H., Morya says again:
“A few days before leaving us, Koot’hoomi speaking of you said to me as follows: “I feel tired and weary of these never ending disputations. The more I try to explain to both of them the circumstances that control us and that interpose between us so many obstacles to free intercourse, the less they understand me! Under the most favourable aspects this correspondence must always be unsatisfactory, even exasperatingly so, at times; for nothing short of personal interviews, at which there could be discussion and the instant solution of intellectual difficulties as they arise, would satisfy them fully. It is as though we were hallooing to each other across an impassable ravine and only one of us seeing his interlocutor. In point of fact, there is nowhere in physical nature a mountain abyss so hopelessly impassable and obstructive to the traveller as that spiritual one, which keeps them back from me.”
Two days later when his “retreat” was decided upon in parting he asked me: “Will you watch over my work, will you see it falls not into ruins?” I promised. What is there I would not have promised him at that hour!
At a certain spot not to be mentioned to outsiders, there is a chasm spanned by a frail bridge of woven grasses and with a raging torrent beneath. The bravest member of your Alpine clubs would scarcely dare to venture the passage, for it hangs like a spider’s web and seems to be rotten and impassable. Yet it is not; and he who dares the trial and succeeds — as he will if it is right that he should be permitted — comes into a gorge of surpassing beauty of scenery — to one of our places and to some of our people, of which and whom there is no note or minute among European geographers. At a stone’s throw from the old Lamasery stands the old tower, within whose bosom have gestated generations of Bodhisatwas. It is there, where now rests your lifeless friend — my brother, the light of my soul, to whom I made a faithful promise to watch during his absence over his work.” (ibid.)
Mary K. Neff outlined K.H.’s travels, which he said were difficult for him. Koot Hoomi traveled widely, as documented by Mary K. Neff in The “Brothers” of Madame Blavatsky, 1932, 63-79:
- 1870s – student in Europe – Leipzig, Zurich, Wurzburg
- 1880 – Toling, in western Tibet; Kashmir; Karakorum, in Mongolia
- 1881 – Tirich Mir, a mountain in the Hindu Kush range; Sakkya-Jung, Ghalaring-Tho Lamasery, and Horpa Pa La, in unknown territory
- 1882 – Unknown location of KH’s retreat; Himalayan lamasery near Darjeeling
- 1883 – extended tour of Asia; Lake Manasarovara in the Himalayas; Lahore; Kashmir; Madras; Singapore; Ceylon; Burma; Mysore; Sanangerri (unknown location); China; Cambodia.
Mary K. Neff mentions, that K.H. was a student in Europe, in Germany and Zürich, which was undergoing modernization at the time.
Koot Hoomi (the name he went by in the letters) was said to be a Northern Brahmin of Kashmir, very learned in European ways. This article from Prajna Quest, The Orthography and Pronunciation of “Koot Hoomi,” went further into the generally used English spelling “Koot Hoomi.” Morya spoke French and English fluently, and a letter (no. 26) describes him as being “Frenchified.” K.H. was said to at the time live in a house in a ravine in Tibet, along the Karakoram Range near Ladakh.
Colonel Henry S. Olcott wrote to A. O. Hume in 1881:
“I have also personally known [Master Koot Hoomi] since 1875. He is of quite a different, a gentler, type, yet the bosom friend of the other [Master Morya]. They live near each other with a small Buddhist Temple about midway between their houses. In New York, I had . . . and a colored sketch on China silk of the landscape near [Koot Hoomi]’s and my Chohan’s residences with a glimpse of the latter’s house and of part of the little temple.” (A.O. Hume, Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, Vol. 1. Bombay, India: The Theosophical Society, 1882, 83)
This house was near Morya’s house, and is confirmed when K.H. mentions to A.P. Sinnett:
“I was coming down the defiles of Kouenlun — Karakorum you call them . . . and was crossing over to Lhadak on my way home.” (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 5)
Helena Blavatsky wrote to Mrs. Hollis Billings in a letter, Oct. 1881:
“Now Morya lives generally with Koot-Hoomi who has his house in the direction of the Kara Korum [Karakoram] Mountains, beyond Ladak, which is in Little Tibet and belongs now to Kashmire. It is a large wooden building in the Chinese fashion pagoda-like, between a lake and a beautiful mountain (…)”
K.H. was a Kashmiri by birth, and traveled and studied in Europe. What is the proofs of this? A.O. Hume makes this account of him:
“Take a case said to have occurred many years ago in Germany, in which a Brother, who has corresponded with us, is said to have taken part. He was at this time a student, and though in course of preparation was not then himself an Adept, but was, like all regular chelas, under the special charge of an Adept. A young friend of his was accused of forgery, and tried for the same. Our Brother, then a student as above explained, was called as a witness to prove his friend’s handwriting; the case was perfectly clear and a conviction certain. Through his mentor, our Brother learnt that his accused friend did not really deserve punishment that would necessarily fall on him, and which would have ruined not only him, but other innocent persons dependent on him. He had really committed a forgery but not knowingly or meaningly, though it was impossible to show this. So when the alleged forged document was handed to the witness, he merely said: “I see nothing written here,” and returned the deed blank. His mentor had caused the entire writing to disappear. It was supposed that a wrong paper had been by mistake handed to the witness; search was made high and low, but the deed never appeared, and the accused was perforce acquitted.” (A.O. Hume, Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, Vol. 1. Bombay, India: The Theosophical Society, 1882, 29)
K.H. wrote to A.P. Sinnett in 1881, July 5:
“I may answer you, what I said to G. Th. Fechner one day, when he wanted to know the Hindu view on what he had written — “You are right;… ‘every diamond, every crystal, every plant and star has its own individual soul, besides man and animal…’ and, ‘there is a hierarchy of souls from the lowest forms of matter up to the World Soul,’ but you are mistaken when adding to the above the assurance that ‘the spirits of the departed hold direct psychic communication with Souls that are still connected with a human body’ — for, they do not.”
1, ALBERT MANSIONS,
Victoria St., London,
15th April, 1883.
Leader of the British Theosophists in 1883, Charles Charlton Massey wanted to check this claim, so he wrote to Dr. Hugo Wernekke of Weimar, Germany, and who knew Professor Gustav Theodor Fechner, producing books with him. C.C. Massey wanted “to find out whether Professor Fechner ever had such a conversation with an Oriental.” To which Prof. Gustav Theodor Fechner replied in a letter to Dr. Hugo Wernekke dated “Leipzig, April 25th, 1883”:
COPY OF AN EXTRACT FROM A LETTER FROM PROFESSOR
FECHNER, DATED LEIPZIG, APRIL 25TH, 1883, TO DR. HUGO WERNEKKE
What Mr. Massey enquires about is undoubtedly in the main correct; the name of the Hindu concerned, when he was in Leipzig, was however, Nisi Kanta Chattopadhyaya, not Koot Humi. In the middle of the seventies he lived for about one year in Leipzig and aroused a certain interest owing to his foreign nationality, without being otherwise conspicuous; he was introduced to several families and became a member of the Academic Philosophical Society, to which you also belonged, where on one occasion he gave a lecture on Buddhism. I have these notes from Mr. Wirth, the Librarian of the Society, who is good enough to read to me three times a week. I also heard him give a lecture in a private circle on the position of women among the Hindus. I remember very well that he visited me once, and though I cannot remember our conversation, his statement that I questioned him about the faith of the Hindus is very likely correct. Apart from this I have not had personal intercourse with him; but, after his complete disappearance from Leipzig, I have been interested to hear about him, and especially to know that he plays an important role in his native country, such as undoubtedly he could not play here.
KOOT HOOMI AND MORYA CONNECTION TO TIBET AND THE PANCHEN LAMA
“There is beyond the Himalayas a nucleus of these Adepts, of various nationalities, and the Teshu Lama knows them, and they act together, and some of them are with him and yet remain unknown in their true character even to the average lamas—who are ignorant fools mostly. My Master [Morya] and KH and several others I know personally are there, coming and going, and they are all in communication with Adepts in Egypt and Syria, and even in Europe.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Letter to Franz Hartmann, 1886, published in The Path, March 1896, p. 370)
It seems K.H. definitely had another role and duties to take up, and the roles of both Morya and K.H. have been elaborated further in other sources. In the draft copy of the “First Report” of the Society for Psychical Research on H.P. Blavatsky, Koot Hoomi is described as “the relic-bearer to the Teshu-Lama, an office in Thibet resembling that—say of Cardinal-Vicar, in the Roman Catholic Church…” (October 1884, p. 16). While all the officials in the Panchen Lama’s court were all Tibetans, K.H. was said to be an Indian and a Kashmiri. A disciple of K.H. that disappeared during his ordeals in Tibet, Damodar K. Mavalankar called him: “. . . my venerated GURU DEVA [Koot Hoomi] who holds a well-known public office in Tibet, under the TESHU LAMA.” (Damodar K. Mavalankar, Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, compiled and annotated by Sven Eek, 1965, p. 340)
There was a major ceremony held at Tashi-lhunpo on June 30, 1882, where K.H. would have been.
Sourced from Tibetan Buddhism: With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in Its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by L. Austine Waddell, 1895, p. 508, it is said of the ceremony:
“During this feast many of the monks encamp in tents, and colossal pictures are displayed. Thus at Tashi-lhunpo the pictures are hung from the great tower named Kiku. At this festival, held there on June 30th, 1882, Lāma Ugyen Gyats’o informs us, a great picture of Dipaṁkara Buddha was displayed about a hundred feet long, in substitution for pictures of the previous days. Next day it was replaced by one of Ṣākya Muni and the past Buddhas, and the following day by one of Maitreya (Jam-pa).”
A letter from K.H. received only after July 15, 1882 states:
“In about a week—new religious ceremonies, new glittering bubbles to amuse the babes with, and once more I will be busy night and day, morning, noon, and evening” (The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, chron. ed. letter no. 68, p. 203).
Of Morya, Vera P. Zhelihovsky [Blavatsky’s sister] tells of having heard from H.P. Blavatsky many times, that “Master M.: Was (or is) a high official with the Teshu Lama in Tibet, a hutuhtu, or ‘bearer (or carrier) of sacred things,’ in the sense of relics (…) See her words in Russkoy Obozreniye, VI, Nov., 1891, p. 292, footnote.” (Boris de Zirkoff, Blavatskaiana, Historical Index, vol. 3).”
“. . . the Tashi Lama (whose Master of Ceremonies one of our own revered Mahatmas is).” (Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, Fourth Series, p. 6)
It has been noted in The Panchen Lamas and the Theosophical Mahatmas, that “the nearest thing to the office described above would probably be the chöpön (mchod dpon), “head/chief/master/overseer of offerings/worship/ceremonies/religious services,” who could thus be called the master of ceremonies.”