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First S.P.R. Report on H.P.B.


In the following account of Mr. Ramaswamier’s interview with his Guru, it is difficult to maintain the theory of personation.  It seems just conceivable, however, that it may have been a dream or vision arising from his long fast.  Unfortunately, the appearance on the balcony to which he refers is one which, owing to the circumstances of the case, the exposure of the Coulombs renders peculiarly suspicious.  An account of it is given in Appendix XIII.  On the whole, we think Mr. Ramaswamier’s evidence must be regarded as important.


From The Theosophist, December, 1882, pp. 67-69 (See also p. 76.)

Abridged from “How a ‘Chela’ Found His ‘Guru.’” (Being extracts from a private letter to Damodar K. Mavalankar, Joint Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society.)

“When we met last at Bombay I told you what had happened to me at Tinnevelly.  My health having been disturbed by official work and worry, I applied for leave on medical certificate and it was duly granted.  One day in September last, while I was reading in my room, I was ordered by the audible voice of my blessed Guru, M----- Maharsi, to leave all and proceed immediately to Bombay, whence I had to go in search of Madame Blavatsky wherever I could find her and follow her wherever she went.  Without losing a moment, I closed up all my affairs and left the station.”  Mr. Ramaswamier then describes how after journeying about, he at last found Madame Blavatsky at Chandernagore, and followed her to Darjeeling.  “The first days of her arrival Madame Blavatsky was living at the house of a Bengalee gentleman, a Theosophist, was refusing to see any one; and preparing, as I thought, to go again somewhere on the borders of Tibet.  To all our importunities we could get only this answer from her: that we had no business to stick to and follow her, that she did not want us, and that she had no right to disturb the Mahatmas, with all sorts of questions that concerned only the questioners, for they knew their own business best.  In despair I determined, come what might, to cross the frontier which is about a dozen miles from here, and find the Mahatmas, or --- DIE.”  He describes how he started on October 5th, crossed the river “which forms the boundary between the British and Sikkhim territories,” walked on till dark, spent the night in a wayside hut, and on the following morning continued his journey.

“It was, I think, between eight and nine a.m. and I was following the road to the town of Sikkhim whence, I was assured by the people I met on the road, I could cross over to Tibet easily in my pilgrim’s garb, when I suddenly saw a solitary horseman galloping towards me from the opposite direction.  From his tall stature and the expert way he managed the animal, I thought he was some military officer of the Sikkhim Rajah.  Now, I thought, am I caught!  He will ask me for my pass and what business I have on the independent territory of Sikkhim, and, perhaps, have me arrested and --- sent back, if not worse.  But --- as he approached me, he reined the steed.  I looked at and recognised him instantly . . . I was in the awful presence of him, of the same Mahatma, my own revered Guru whom I had seen before in his astral body, on the balcony of the Theosophical Headquarters!  (1)  It was he, ‘the ‘Himalayan BROTHER’ of the ever memorable night of December last, who had so kindly dropped a letter in answer to one I had given in a sealed envelope to Madame Blavatsky --- whom I had never for one moment during the interval lost sight of --- but an hour or so before!  The very same instant saw me prostrated on the ground at his feet.  I arose at his command and, leisurely looking into his face, I forgot myself entirely in the contemplation of the image I knew so well, having seen his portrait (the one in Colonel Olcott’s possession) a number of times.  I knew not what to say: joy and reverence tied my tongue.  The majesty of his countenance, which seemed to me to be the impersonation of power and thought, held me rapt in awe.  I was at last face to face with ‘the Mahatma of the Himavat’ and he was no myth, no ‘creation of the imagination of a medium,’ as some sceptics suggested.  It was no night dream; it is between nine and ten o’clock of the forenoon.  There is the sun shining and silently witnessing the scene from above.  I see HIM before me in flesh and blood; and he speaks to me in accents of kindness and gentleness.  What more do I want?  My excess of happiness made me dumb.  Nor was it until a few moments later that I was drawn to utter a few words, encouraged by his gentle tone and speech.  His complexion is not as fair as that of Mahatma Koot Hoomi; but never have I seen a countenance so handsome, a stature so tall and so majestic.  As in his portrait, he wears a short black beard, and long black hair hanging down to his breast; only his dress was different.  Instead of a white, loose robe he wore a yellow mantle lined with fur, and on his head, instead of a pagri, a yellow Tibetan felt cap, as I have seen some Bhootanese wear in this country.  When the first moments of rapture and surprise were over and I calmly comprehended the situation, I had a long talk with him.  He told me to go no further, for I would come to grief.  He said I should wait patiently if I wanted to become an accepted Chela; that many were those who offered themselves as candidates, but that only a very few were found worthy; none were rejected --- but all of them tried, and most found to fail signally, especially ------- and -------.  Some, instead of being accepted and pledged this year, were now thrown off for a year .  .  .  .  .  . The Mahatma, I found, speaks very little English --- or at least it so seemed to me --- and spoke to me in my mother tongue --- Tamil.  He told that if the Chohan permitted Madame B. to go to Pari-jong next year, then I could come with her. . . . The Bengalee Theosophists who followed the ‘Upasika’ (Madame Blavatsky) would see that she was right in trying to dissuade them from following her now.  I asked the blessed Mahatma whether I could tell what I saw and heard to others.  He replied in the affirmative, and that moreover I would do well to write to you and describe all. . . .

“I must impress upon your mind the whole situation and ask you to keep well in view that what I saw was not the mere ‘appearance’ only, the astral body of the Mahatma, as we saw him at Bombay, but the living man, in his own physical body.  He was pleased to say when I offered my farewell namaskarams (prostration) that he approached the British territory to see the Upasika. . . . Before he left me, two more men came on horseback, his attendants, I suppose, probably Chelas, for they were dressed like lama-gylongs, and both, like himself, with long hair streaming down their backs.  They followed the Mahatma, as he left, at a gentle trot.  For over an hour I stood gazing at the place that he had just quitted, and then, I slowly retraced my steps.  Now it was that I found for the first time that my long boots had pinched me in my leg in several places, that I had eaten nothing since the day before, and that I was too weak to walk further.  My whole body was aching in every limb.  At a little distance I saw petty traders with country ponies, taking burden.  I hired one of these animals.  In the afternoon I came to the Rungit River and crossed it.  A bath in its cool waters renovated me.  I purchased some fruits in the only bazaar there and ate them heartily.  I took another horse immediately and reached Darjeeling late in the evening.  I could neither eat, nor sit, nor stand.  Every part of my body was aching.  My absence had seemingly alarmed Madame Blavatsky.  She scolded me for my rash and mad attempt to try to go to Tibet after this fashion.  When I entered the house I found with Madame Blavatsky, Babu Parbati Churn Roy, Deputy Collector of Settlements and Superintendent of Dearah Survey, and his Assistant, Babu Kanty Bhushan Sen, both members of our Society.  At their prayer and Madame Blavatsky’s command, I recounted all that had happened to me, reserving, of course, my private conversation with the Mahatma. . . . They were all, to say the least, astounded! . . After all, she will not go this year to Tibet; for which I am sure she does not care, since she saw our Masters, thus effecting her only object.  But we, unfortunate people!  We lose our only chance of going and offering our worship to the ‘Himalayan Brothers’ who --- I know --- will not soon cross over to British territory, if ever again.

 “I write to you this letter, my dearest Brother, in order to show how right we were in protesting against ‘H.X.’s’ letter in The Theosophist.  The ways of the Mahatmas may appear, to our limited vision, strange and unjust, even cruel --- as in the case of our Brothers here, the Bengalee Babus, some of whom are now laid up with cold and fever and perhaps murmuring against the Brothers, forgetting that they never asked or personally permitted them to come, but that they had themselves acted very rashly. . . .

“And now that I have seen the Mahatma in the flesh, and heard his living voice, let no one dare say to me that the Brothers do not exist.  Come now whatever will, death has no fear for me, nor the vengeance of enemies; for what I know, I KNOW!

“You will please show this to Colonel Olcott, who first opened my eyes to the Gnana Marga, and who will be happy to hear of the success (more than I deserve) that has attended me.  I shall give him details in person.


“Darjeeling, October 7th, 1882.”

In the account on p. 76 of Theosophist, Mr. Ramaswamier says that he recognised the Mahatma “on account of his great resemblance to a portrait in Colonel Olcott’s possession, which I have repeatedly seen.”


(1)  I refer the reader to Mr. Ramaswamier's letter on "Hints on Esoteric Theosophy," pp. 72 and 73, for a clearer comprehension of the highly important circumstance he refers to. --- D.K.M.  (See Appendix XII.)