The Himalayan Brothers
[Reprinted from Light (London), March 4, 1882, p. 98.]
Colonel Olcott has requested us to publish in "LIGHT" the following letter, which has been addressed to the editor of the Spiritualist: ---
Theosophical Society, President's Office,
Bombay, 7th February, 1882.
To the Editor of the "Spiritualist."
SIR,---About two months ago, I sent you from Ceylon a letter respecting my personal knowledge of the so-called "Himalayan Brothers," which has not yet been published in your columns. It was called forth by your editorial remark that I have not given testimony to the fact of their existence; and the necessary implication that my silence was due to disbelief in the same, or at least to lack of proof sufficient to make me willing to so commit myself. Pray allow me to set the question at rest, once for all.
I have seen them, not once but numerous times.
I have talked to them. I was not entranced, nor mediumistic, nor hallucinated, but always in my sober senses.
I have corresponded with them, receiving their letters, sometimes enclosed inside the letters of ordinary correspondents, upon common-place subjects, coming to me by post; sometimes written on blank spaces or margins of such ordinary letters; sometimes dropped to me in full light from out the air; sometimes in their own covers, through the post, and from places where I had no other correspondents, and where they personally did not reside, and in other ways.
I have seen them, both in their bodies and their doubles, usually the latter.
First and last, as many as thirty or forty other witnesses have seen them in my presence.
I have thus personally known "Koot Hoomi" since 1875, making his acquaintance in New York.
Since November last, four different Brothers have made themselves visible to visitors at our head quarters.
I know the Brothers to be living men and not Spirits; and they have told me that there are schools, under appointed living adepts, where their Occult science is regularly taught.
It is all this actual knowledge of them and close observation of multifarious phenomena shewn me by them, under non-mediumistic conditions, that has made me take the active part I have in the Theosophical movement of the day.
And their precept and example has made me try to do some practical good to the Asiatics. For their lives and their knowledge are devoted to the welfare of mankind. Though unseen by, they yet labour for, humanity. The first lesson I, as a pupil, was required by them to learn, and having learnt, to put into practice, was---unselfishness.
For the sake of their fellow men some of them have made sacrifices as great as any that history records of any philanthropist.
Your "S." (Spiritualist, January 20th) is a sibillant cackler, and your man "Beyond the Grave" another. Their talk is that of the ignorant. If they want to be convinced (which does not appear certain) of the practical benefit our Theosophical Society is doing, let them come here; visit our branches in India and Ceylon; talk with our members, of various races; examine our schools; see our vernacular publications; mingle with the crowds that throng our lectures; and take a consensus among the missionaries (whose diatribes are our best certificates). The Amrita Bazar Patrika is, I believe, the most widely circulated vernacular paper in India. It says of me (January 12th):--- "Whether there be 'Himalayan Brothers' or not, there is at least one white man who is acting like a brother to the Sinhalese and will as occasion permits it act similarly to the Hindus. If it be not asking too much, we would request the Colonel to come to the City of Palaces and enlighten the Calcutta public on subjects with which he is so familiar and which are calculated to do so much good to the Hindu nation."
In conclusion, if you or your corespondents can shew that in a single instance our Society has done harm to the community or to individuals, I ask you to make the fact known. I believe that we are doing good, practical as well as spiritual, and that we can prove it by "a multitude of witnesses."