Published by The Blavatsky Archives Online. Online Edition copyright 1999.
Statement of Mr. Bhavani Shankar
[First published in Report of the Result of an Investigation
into the Charges Against Madame Blavatsky, etc., 1885, pp. 75-80.]
The recent attack made by the Christian Missionaries connected with the "Christian College Magazine," to prove the falsity of occult phenomena by imputing them to the fraudulent tricks of Madame Blavatsky, forces upon me the duty of relating some of my experiences, so that the educated public may have a fair opportunity to draw their own conclusions concerning these phenomena after weighing all the evidences for and against their genuineness. My experience of these phenomena commenced so early as 1881, when the Head-quarters of the Theosophical Society were not removed from Bombay to Adyar, Madras. While I was at Bombay, I have had several occasions to visit its Head-quarters at Breach Candy.
(1.) One night while I was sitting with some of my friends near Madame Blavatsky in the open verandah close to her writing room, a Mahatma, who was then near Bombay, came walking through the garden attached to Col. Olcott's bungalow and stood silent near a tree the distance of some eight or ten yards away from us. Madame Blavatsky then went down the wooden staircase leading into the garden, approached the Mahatma and saluted him by touching the back of his hands with both of her open palms. He delivered a packet to her and then disappeared. Madame B. came up afterwards and opened the packet and in it there was a letter from Allahabad. The envelope in question was quite unaddressed, but it bore the official stamp of the Allahabad Post Office of December the 3rd, 1881, and the official stamp of the Bombay Post Office of the same date, viz., 3rd December. The two places are 1,000 miles apart.
(2.) In a bright moonlight, on the night of the 13th July 1881, we were engaged in a talk with Madame Blavatsky as usual in the same verandah. Monsieur Coulomb and Madame Coulomb were present on the spot as also all the persons of the house and Madame Blavatsky's servant. While we were conversing with Madame B., the Mahatma, known as Mr. Sinnett's Correspondent and the Author of the letters published in the "Occult World," made his appearance in his "Mayavi Rupa" or "Double," for a few minutes. He was clad in the white dress of a "Punjabee" and wore a white turban. All of those, who were present at that time, saw his handsome features clearly and distinctly, as it was a bright moonlight night. On the same night, a letter was drafted to the "London Spiritualist" about our having seen the Mahatmas. As we were reading the letter in question, the same Mahatma showed himself again. The second time when he made his appearance, he was very near us, say at the distance of a yard or two. At that time, Monsieur and Madame Coulomb said, "Here is our Brother," meaning the Mahatma. He then came into Madame B.'s room and was heard talking with her and then disappeared. Monsieur Coulomb and Madame Coulomb signed the letter drafted to the "London spiritualist," testifying to the fact of their having seen the "Mahatma." Since Madame Coulomb now says that the Mahatmas are but "crafty arrangements of muslin and bladders" and her husband represented the Mahatmas, how are we to reconcile this statement with the fact that in "the London Spiritualist" of the 19th August 1881, appeared a letter signed by five witnesses, including myself, testifying to the fact of their having seen a Mahatma, while they were writing that letter; and that this document is signed by both the Coulombs? There is, therefore, no doubt that they were with the company who signed the paper. Who was it then that appeared on that occasion as a Mahatma? Surely neither Monsieur and Madame Coulomb with their "muslin and bladders" nor Madame B.'s servant who was also present, but the "double" of a person living on the other side of the Himalayas. The figure in coming up to Madame Blavatsky's room was seen by us "to float through the air," and we also distinctly heard it talking to her, while all of us, including her servant and the Coulombs, were at the time, together, in each other's presence.
(3.) In the month of March 1882, while I was stopping at Mr. Sinnett's house at Allahabad, some occult phenomena occurred independent of Madame Blavatsky, who was then at Bombay. One evening, Mr. Sinnett gave me a note addressed to my Master, "K.H." I took it to my room and kept it near my pillow. Every care was taken in bolting and fastening all the glass doors of the room where my bed was. I placed a lamp by my bed and began to read the article "Elixir of Life." But I was not able to devote my attention to the study of the article in question as it became wholly directed to the letter addressed to the Mahatma. It was between 10 and 11 P.M. that this letter disappeared and I saw my Master while he was leaving the room with the letter which was placed near my pillow. The doors of the room were well closed, and a light was burning by my bedside and there was no one else in the room. When I got up the morning next day, I found a reply from my Master to the address of Mr. Sinnett under my pillow and gave it to him. During my short stay at Allahabad with Mr. Sinnett, I had had independent communication with my Master while Madame Blavatsky was in another part of India.
From Allahabad I returned to Bombay. After stopping at the Bombay Head-quarters for a week or so, I left the place for the north in April 1882. Since then, I have been working in the north. As a pilgrim, I had to travel from one place to another. Purposely I did not keep Madame Blavatsky or Colonel Olcott informed of my movements on account of some private reasons. During my travels in the north, I have received communications from my Master direct, independent of anybody else and have seen the Mahatmas in their "double".
(4.) On the 8th November, 1883, I was at Bans Bareilly in N.W.P. and was engaged in a private talk with a European friend of mine on some theosophical subjects. At that time, I had a courier bag with me suspended across my shoulder, which I did not allow any one to touch as there was some private correspondence in it. I took particular care to lock it up in a carpet bag of mine whenever I removed it from my shoulder. While I was conversing with that friend, I received a direct communication from my Master in a Chinese envelope which I found in that courier bag which was always with me. It related to some subject of which I was thinking that day, and contained some instructions to me how I should work, &c. I showed it to some of my friends who were then present. The contents of that letter were in his well-known blue pencil handwriting. All the communications whether received by me direct or through anybody else from him, bear the same handwriting.
(5.) In the month of January 1884, I was at Jubbulpore and putting up with Brother Nivaran Chandra Mookerjee, who was then the Secretary of the Bhrigu Kshetra Theosophical Society. One night, while I was with him, I was explaining to some twenty-seven members of that Branch, the article "Elixir of Life" and they were listening to me with great attention. On a sudden, there was death-like silence for some time. I then felt the influence of Madame Blavatsky's Venerated Master, and it was so strong that I could not bear it. The current of electricity generated by an electro-magnetic battery is nothing when compared with that current generated by the trained Will of an Adept. When a Mahatma means to show himself to a Chela, he sends off a current of electricity to the Chela indicating his approach. It was this influence which I felt at that time. A few minutes after, the Mahatma (Madame B's Master) was actually present in the room where the meeting of the members was held and was seen by me and Bro. Nivaran while some of the members only felt the influence. All the members would have seen him much more vividly, had it not been for the fact that he did not materialize himself much more objectively. I have seen the same Mahatma, viz., Madame B's Master, several times in his double during my travels in the North. Not only have I seen Madame B's Master in his double but also my Venerated Guru Deva "K.H." I have also seen the latter, viz., my Master in his physical body and recognized him.
All the above experiences which I had gained in the North, independent of Madame Blavatsky or Col. Olcott, who knew nothing about my movements, are sufficient to show to the impartial and educated public that these occult phenomena are genuine. It is immaterial to me whether the statement of these bare facts will carry conviction to those who, instead of being inquirers after the truth, are ready to suppress it and persecute those who give it to the world.