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Testimony of Col. Henry S. Olcott as to the Existence of the Masters

Jul 29, 2006 02:40 AM
by danielhcaldwell

Henry S. Olcott
New York City 

Our evening's work on Isis was finished, I had bade goodnight to 
HPB, retired to my own room, closed the door as usual, sat me down 
to read and smoke, and was soon absorbed in my book. All at once, as 
I read with my shoulder a little turned from the door, there came a 
gleam of something white in the right-hand corner of my right eye; I 
turned my head, dropped my book in astonishment, and saw towering 
above me in his great stature an Oriental clad in white garments, 
and wearing a head cloth or turban of amber-striped fabric, hand-
embroidered in yellow floss silk. Long raven hair hung from under 
his turban to the shoulders; his black beard, parted vertically on 
the chin in the Rajput fashion, was twisted up at the ends and 
carried over the ears; his eyes were alive with soul fire, eyes 
which were at once benignant and piercing in glance. He was so grand 
a man, so imbued with the majesty of moral strength, so luminously 
spiritual, so evidently above average humanity, that I felt abashed 
in his presence, and bowed my head and bent my knee as one does 
before a god or a godlike personage. A hand was lightly laid on my 
head, a sweet though strong voice bade me be seated, and when I 
raised my eyes, the Presence was seated in the other chair beyond 
the table. He told me he had come at the crisis when I needed him, 
that my actions had brought me to this point, that it lay with me 
alone whether he and I should meet often in this life as co-workers 
for the good of mankind, that a great work was to be done for 
humanity, and I had the right to share in it if I wished, that a 
mysterious tie, not now to be explained to me, had drawn my 
colleague [HPB] and myself together, a tie which could not be 
broken, however strained it might be at times. He told me things 
about HPB that I may not repeat, as well as things about myself, 
that do not concern third parties. At last he rose, I wondering at 
his great height and observing the sort of splendor in his 
countenance—not an external shining, but the soft gleam, as it were, 
of an inner light—that of the spirit. Suddenly the thought came into 
my mind: "What if this be but hallucination; what if HPB has cast a 
hypnotic glamour over me? I wish I had some tangible object to prove 
to me that he has really been here, something that I might handle 
after he is gone!" The Master smiled kindly as if reading my 
thought, untwisted the fehta [turban] from his head, benignantly 
saluted me in farewell and was gone: his chair was empty; I was 
alone with my emotions! Not quite alone, though, for on the table 
lay the embroidered head cloth, a tangible and enduring proof that I 
had not been "overlooked," or psychically befooled, but had been 
face to face with one of the Elder Brothers of Humanity. To run and 
beat at HPB's door and tell her my experience was the first natural 
impulse, and she was as glad to hear my story as I was to tell it. I 
returned to my room to think, and the gray morning found me still 
thinking and resolving. I have been blessed with meetings with this 
Master and others since then.

[Note: Colonel Olcott elsewhere describes how the Master Morya left 
his room: 

"When I asked him to leave me some tangible evidence that I had not 
been the dupe of a vision, but that he had indeed been there, he 
removed from his head the puggri [turban] he wore, and giving it to 
me, vanished from my sight." 

H. S. Olcott, Theosophy, Religion and Occult Science (London, 1885), 
p. 123 —D. C., Editor.]

Source for the above narrative:  Olcott, Henry Steel. Old Diary 
Leaves: The True Story of the Theosophical Society. Vol. 1 (1874–
1878). New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1895. Vol. 1: pp. 377, 379–81.

The narrative has been transcribed from the original source but 
spelling and punctuation has been modernized. For people's names, 
the spelling used in HPB's Collected Writings has been adopted. 
Material not relevant to the narrative has been silently deleted. 
The original text, however, can be found from the bibliographical 
reference. Explanatory notes added by the editor are enclosed within 


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