Mohini Chatterjee was a probationary disciple of Master Kuthumi and was one of the most brilliant Hindu members of the early Theosophical Society. And in 1882, he wrote an article that was published in 1883 in The Theosophist magazine, where he recounted the story he heard of the encounter of a Brahmachari (a young Hindu priest) with Master Kuthumi.
(You can read that article here)
And later, that same Brahmachari sent a letter to The Theosophist magazine where he directly described that experience he had, and that story was published in the August 1884 edition with the title:
INTERVIEW WITH A MAHATMA
« I had the pleasure of seeing in several issues of the Theosophist articles describing my interview with a Himalayan Mahatma. But I am sorry to see that you have been led or rather misled to form some strange, if not incorrect, notions about the fact, and also regret to find that some positive mistakes have been made by the writer in reporting the matter to you.
In order to make the matter more clearly known to you, I beg to write the following few lines and trust they will meet with your approval.
~ * ~
At the time I left home for the Himalayas in search of the Supreme Being, having adopted Brahmacharyashrama (who is a mendicant ascetic), I was quite ignorant of the fact whether there was any such philosophical organization as the Theosophists existing in India, who believed in the existence of the Mahatmas or “superior persons.”
This and other facts connected with my journey have already been reported to you perfectly right, and so need not be repeated or contradicted. Now I beg to give you the real account of my interview with the Mahatmas.
Before and after I met the so called Mahatma Kouthumpa [“Kuthumi”], I had the good fortune of seeing in person several other Mahatmas of note, a detailed account of whom, I hope, should time allow, to write to you by and bye. Here I wish to say something about Kouthumpa only.
When I was on my way to Almora from Manasarovar and Kailash, one day I had nothing with me to eat. I was quite at a loss how to get on without food and keep lip my life. There being no human habitation in that part of the country, I could expect no help but pray God and take my way patiently on.
Between Manasarovar and Taklakhal (Burang) by the side of a road I observed a tent pitched and several Sadhus (holly men) called “Chohans”*, sitting outside it who numbered near seventeen in all.
(*The correspondent makes a mistake and probably he means “the Chutuktus” or the disciples, because Chohans are the Chiefs of the Masters.)
As to their trimmings, etc., what Babu M.M. Chatterjee reports to you is all correct. When I went to them they entertained me very kindly, and saluted me by uttering “Ram Ram.” I returning their salutations, sat down with them, and they entered upon conversation with me on different subjects, asking me first the place I was coming from and whither I was going.
There was a chief of them sitting inside the tent and engaged in reading a book. I enquired about his name and the book he was reading from one of his disciples, who answered me in rather a serious tone, saying that his name was Master Kouthumpa and the book he was reading was Rigveda.
Long before, I had been told by some Pandits of Bengal that the Tibetan Lamas were well acquainted with the Rigveda. This proved what they had told me.
After a short time when his reading was over, he called me in through one of his disciples, and I went to him. He also bidding me “Ram Ram” received me very gently and courteously and began to talk with me mildly in pure Hindi.
He addressed me in words such as follows:
- "You should remain here for some time and see the fair at Mansarowar, which is to come off shortly. Here you will have plenty of time and suitable retreats for meditation, etc. I will help you in whatever I can."
Having spoken in words as above for some time, I said in reply that what he said was all right, and that I would put up with him by all means, but there was some reason which prevented me from stopping there any longer.
He understood my object immediately, and then having given me some secret advice as to my future spiritual welfare bade me farewell. But before this he had come to know that I was hungry that day and so wished me to take some food. He ordered one of his disciples to supply me with food, which he did immediately.
In order to get hot water ready for my ablutions, he prepared fire by blowing into a cow dung cake which burst into flames at once. This is a common practice among the Himalayan Lamas, and it is also fully explained by M. M. Chatterjee and so need not be repeated.
As long as I was there with the said Lama, he never persuaded me to accept the Buddhism or any other religion; but only said:
- "Hinduism is the best religion; you should believe in the Lord Mahadewa — he will do good to you. You are still quite a young man — do not be enticed away by the necromancy of anybody."
Having had a conversation with the Mahatma as described above for about three hours, I at last taking his leave resumed my journey.
I am neither a Theosophist nor any sectarian, but am the worshipper of the only “Om.” As regards the Mahatma I personally saw, I dare say that he is a great Mahatma.
By the fulfillment of certain of his prophecies, I am quite convinced of his excellence. Of all the Himalayan Mahatmas with whom I had an interview, I never saw a better Hindi speaker than he.
As to his birth-place and the place of his residence, I did not ask him any question. Neither can I say if he is the Mahatma of the Theosophists.
_ _ _
In short, I beg to ask the leaders of the Theosophic movement: Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky, why they are entertaining doubts as to his personality, why do they not refer the matter to the Mahatmas, with whom they can easily have communication.
When they say they receive instructions from them in petty affairs, why do they not get them in a matter which has become a riddle to them?
As to the age of the Mahatma Kouthumpa as I told Babu M. M. Chatterjee and others, he was an elderly looking man. Cannot the Mahatmas transform themselves into any age they like?
If they can, the assertions of Babu Damodar cannot be admitted to be true when he says his Guru was not an old one.
When the age of even a common man cannot be told exactly, how is it possible to be precise about the age of a Mahatma, especially when one believes that the Mahatmas have the supernatural power of changing their outward appearance and look.
It must be admitted that our knowledge of them is far from being complete, and there are several things concerning them which we do not know.
It is said that:
RAJANI KANT BRAHMACHARI.
Almora, 3rd June 1884. »
(Observation: here the word "Mahatma" is used to designate those highly evolved humans who have incredible powers, and not as it was later used to designate the great historical persons from India, being the most famous: Mahatma Gandhi.)
« NOTE: Although the correspondent begins by saying that certain “incorrect” notions have crept into the narrative of his interview with a Mahatma, I fail to see a single statement of Babu Mohini M. Chatterjee contradicted by the Brahmachari.
As the former gentleman is in Europe, he cannot give a reply to the above letter, but the reader can compare it with Mohini Babu's statement on pp. 83-86 of Vol. V of the Theosophist revue, and aII that the correspondent does now, is that he gives a few additional facts.
As regards the Brahmachari's remark about my statement concerning the Mahatma's age, the reader will perceive that the correspondent but repeats, in other words, to a certain extent, what I have already said to be the reply of my Master (Vide page 62, Vol. V. Theosophist, col. I, para. 1).*
I may, however, add that sinco "intellect moulds the features," many of the comparatively young persons (if physical age be taken into account) look “elderly,” such is the majesty of their appearance.
The question has already been discussed at length in the article “Mahatmas and Chelas” (link) [after I will put it] in the last month's Theosophist, and in several other writings.
The question put by the correspondent to Colonel Olcott and to Madame Blavatsky, and the advice he offers them, are rather confused. But every reader of The Theosophist knows full well that the Founders collect and publish independent testimonies about the existence of the mahatmas, not because they have any doubt in the matter, but because they wish to put their case as clearly and as strongly as possible before an enquiring public.
Nothing more need be said about it, as every searcher after truth (in whatever department) knows fuII well the weight and validity of evidence, especially concerning facts which are out of the reach, at present, of the ordinary run of mankind, although these facts may in the process of higher evolution come more and more within the grasp of a more developed humanity. — D.K.M. »
(Theosophist, August, 1884, vol. V, p.270)
The reference to which Damodar refers (*) is to an article he wrote and which was published in The Theosophist magazine, edition of December-January, 1883-1884, with the title “A Great Riddle Solved” (p.61-62), where he recounts the experience he had visited the Masters Ashram.
And when he asked to Master Kuthumi: Why did people think he was an old man?
The Master replied that this latest misconception was due to the reports of a certain Brahmachari, who had met last year in Tibet the chief of a spiritual group, an elderly Lama, who was his travelling companion at that time.
(This article you can read here)
But as there were people still arguing about it, Damodar published a second editorial note where he wrote the following:
« NOTE. — We know of only one Mahatma bearing the name of my venerated Master, who holds a well-known public office in Tibet, under the Teshu Lama. For aught we know there may be another bearing the same name; but at any rate he is not known to us, nor have any of those, we are acquainted with in Tibet, heard of him.
And this personage, my beloved Master, is, as I have described Him, resembling the portrait in Mr. Sinnett’s possession, and does not look old.
Perhaps the clairvoyants are confounding the sect of Khadampas with the Kauthumpas?
The former, although not regular Dougpas [black magicians] they are great magicians and indulge in practices an Adept of the good Law would feel disgusted with — such as the well known phenomenon of ripping open the abdomen, exposing the intestines, and then restoring them to their normal place and condition, &c. &c.
The latter, the Kauthumpas, are the disciples of my Master.
My friend and brother of Simla should not lose sight of the fact that while others claim to have seen my Master clairvoyantly, I say that I saw Him in the North personally, in his living, not his astral body.
Colonel Olcott and Mr. Brown were also as fortunate as myself in that respect. It is now for the impartial reader to judge whether the testimony of three unimpeachable eye witnesses is more reliable or not than that of one or two clairvoyants (untrained we may add) in matters connected with the physical appearance of an individual. Imagination and expectancy are, with various other things, apt to mislead beginners in the Science of Clairvoyance. – D.K.M. »
(The Theosophist, April, 1884, p.171)