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Olcott meets His Master in Lahore: K. Paul Johnson versus Olcott’s Testimony

Theos. Soc. co-founder Henry S. Olcott


In his Old Diary Leaves (Vol. III), Col. Olcott also gave an account of his meeting with K.H. November 19th 1883 on the outskirts of Lahore, India:

“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. The camp being on the open plain, and beyond the protection of the Lahore Police, my first animal instinct was to protect myself from a possible religious fanatical assassin, so 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 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….[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, Vol. III, pp. 37-39, 43-45)

During H.P.B.’s lifetime, over twenty five people testified to having seen the mahatmas, which includes Franz Hartmann. Daniel H. Caldwell thus made the point, that if K. Paul Johnson’s lower standard assessment of Olcott’s testimony is to be taken at face value, so should the testimony of the other more than twenty five people.

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