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F Hartman's Comments about H S Olcott

Jul 24, 2011 08:14 AM
by MKR

In F Hartmanâs Report on his 1880s stay at Adyar, here is an assessment of H
S Olcott. It might interest some readers.

âLet me say a few words about the visible founder of the Theosophical

Col. H. &. Olcott is a native of America, and as such
possesses some of its national characteristics. He is a
man of quick perception and thoroughly honest, but
liable to be carried away by his great enthusiasm. He is
kind hearted and generous almost to a fault. His wonderful
magnetic cures, some of which have been exaggerated,
have been of great benefit to individuals; but it is doubtful
whether such cures would in the long run be promoting the
true interests of Theosophy; because if continued they might
give rise to a superstitious belief, that the Theosophical
Society was intended to be a miracle working society, or
that Theosophy and Magnetizing were identical. It is
perhaps for this reason, besides on account of the exhaustion
of vitality, which the continued exercise of such power
produces, that these cures were discontinued by the order oÂ
the Masters.

I never heard any one say anything against the personal
character of Coi. Olcott, and such insinuations as have
been put forward in print, besides being mere surmises,
were written by people, whose opinions deserve  no consideration.

According to his own statement he was formerly a
" man of the world," and I can add from my personal
observation, that he is a great sceptic and that it required a
long continued repetition of " remarkable occurrences" to
make him fully realize the fact, that he was not the victim
of a delusion.

That Col. Olcott's eloquent speeches have done an immense
amount of good, cannot be denied; but upon a number of
superficial thinkers they had an effect in accordance with
their superstitious education. Some of them lost the vulgar
belief in their gods, the absurdity of which they could plainly
see; but in the place of them they put the Mahatmas, looking
upon them as gods who would grant favors and therefore
must be propitiated and pleased, instead of recognizing
the fact that justice reigns above all, and that there can
be with them, no personal favor, where no personal merit

MKR: Comments:

For a âman of the worldâ to be convinced to give up a lucrative legal
carrier and go to India, a country about which nothing much was known, on a
âForlorn Hopeâ is something remarkable. I am sure his experience with HPB
and the visit of the Master convinced him of the correctness of the decision
to go to India.


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