Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

A Reminiscence of H.P.B.

by G. Soobiah Chetty

[Reprinted from The Theosophist
(Adyar, Madras, India), May 1924, pp. 244-245.]

In 1883 H.P.B. spent the summer with General and Mrs. Morgan at "The Retreat" in Ootacamund. She invited or rather directed me to go there, and I obeyed the call with pleasure. I was glad to avail myself of the opportunity given me of having the rare privilege of living for some time under the same roof as H.P.B. and under her influence. H.P.B.’s intense desire was to attract the attention of men of position to Theosophy. For this purpose she worked hard and succeeded eventually. One day as we were discussing as to how this object could be secured, a very strong influence was felt. This was due to the appearance of Master M. in the room. He materialised partly, and I was able to see a hazy form and though hazy I saw His arm clearly handing something to H.P.B. My surmise that He had come there to give directions as to how the desired object could be gained was found to be correct. H.P.B. told me so.

Within a few days thereafter, Mrs. Carmichael, wife of the Senior Member of the Governor’s Executive Council, called on H.P.B. She soon became a frequent visitor. One morning as Mrs. Carmichael was about to leave, H.P.B. asked her for the sapphire ring she was wearing; it was given, and after keeping it for a few minutes H.P.B. returned two instead of one. Mrs. Carmichael became so surprised that she could hardly speak; she left immediately. She with her husband went to the jeweller, who had sold the original, and subjected the two rings to his examination. He examined and said they were genuine ones, and that the second was worth considerably more than what was paid for the first one. This satisfied them so much that they made no secret of the marvellous phenomenon. Major Kenny Herbert, a very excellent man, Military Secretary to the Governor, was so pleased that he invited H.P.B. and Col. Olcott to dinner. He soon became a good friend, and through his co-operation and that of the Carmichaels, a public lecture by the Colonel was arranged. There was a respectable audience, and all the men of position attended. The lecture was well appreciated.

During one of those days, one of the Secretaries to Government called on H.P.B. She was not at first inclined to see him, but on being entreated by me and Mrs. Morgan, she agreed. He was shown to the visitors’ room. H.P.B. soon arrived. After the usual formalities of greetings were over, this gentleman asked H.P.B. what her age was. She got put out and put him few questions. She asked him if he was ever a student of mathematics, whether he had studied arithmetic, and if he could count. These put in quick succession perplexed him, and he gave the best answer that he could. Then pointing to the corner of the room towards the left, H.P.B. said "Mr. -, now count." Astral bells were ringing, and they rang so fast that the poor man could count only up to five. Two more chances were given, and in each case with the same result. This Secretary to Government returned rather disappointed.

On the whole, it may be said that the Ooty visit was a satisfactory one; but it was not without its other side. This success attracted the jealousy of the Christian Missionaries; they set to work and soon got in touch with the vile Coulombs. They conspired, and the mischief done resulted in the treacherous and ungrateful betrayal by the Coulombs.

G. Soobiah Chetty