This head-cloth is a testimony of the existence of Master Morya, and the way Colonel Olcott obtained it; he narrated in his Diary:
« (We were living back then in New York City.) Our evening’s work on Isis Unveiled was finished, I had bade good-night to Blavatsky, retired to my own room, closed the door as usual, sat me down to read and smoke, and was soon absorbed in my book; which, if I remember aright, was Stephens’ Travels in Yucatan; at all events, not a book on ghosts, nor one calculated in the least to stimulate one’s imagination to the seeing of spectres.
My chair and table were to the left in front of the door, my camp-cot to the right, the window facing the door, and over the table a wall gas-jet.
I was quietly reading, with all my attention centered on my book. Nothing in the evening’s incidents had prepared me for seeing an adept in his astral body; I had not wished for it, tried to conjure it up in my fancy, nor in the least expected it.
All at once, as I read with my shoulder a little turned from the door, there came a gleam of something white in the right-hand corner of my right eye; I turned my head, dropped my book in astonishment, and saw towering above me in his great stature an Oriental clad in white garments, and wearing a head-cloth or turban of amber-striped fabric, hand-embroidered in yellow floss-silk.
Long raven hair hung from under his turban to the shoulders; his black beard, parted vertically on the chin in the Rajput fashion, was twisted up at the ends and carried over the ears; his eyes were alive with soul-fire; eyes which were at once benignant and piercing in glance; the eyes of a mentor and a judge, but softened by the love of a father who gazes on a son needing counsel and guidance.
He was so grand a man, so imbued with the majesty of moral strength, so luminously spiritual, so evidently above average humanity, that I felt abashed in his presence, and bowed my head and bent my knee as one does before a god or a god-like personage.
A hand was lightly laid on my head, a sweet though strong voice bade me be seated, and when I raised my eyes, the Presence was seated in the other chair beyond the table.
He told me he had come at the crisis when I needed him; that my actions had brought me to this point; that it lay with me alone whether he and I should meet often in this life as co-workers for the good of mankind; that a great work was to be done for humanity, and I had the right to share in it if I wished; that a mysterious tie, not now to be explained to me, had drawn my colleague and myself together; a tie which could not be broken, however strained it might be at times.
He told me things about Blavatsky that I may not repeat, as well as things about myself, that do not concern third parties. How long he was there I cannot tell: it might have been a half-hour or an hour; it seemed but a minute, so little did I take note of the flight of time.
At last he rose, I wondering at his great height and observing the sort of splendor in his countenance — not an external shining, but the soft gleam, as it were, of an inner light — that of the spirit. Suddenly the thought came into my mind:
“What if this be but hallucination; what if Blavatsky has cast a hypnotic glamour over me? I wish I had some tangible object to prove to me that he has really been here; something that I might handle after he is gone!”
The Master smiled kindly as if reading my thought, untwisted the fehtâ [turban] from his head, benignantly saluted me in farewell and — was gone: his chair was empty.
I was alone with my emotions!
Not quite alone, though, for on the table lay the embroidered head-cloth; a tangible and enduring proof that I had not been “overlooked,” or psychically befooled, but had been face to face with one of the Elder Brothers of Humanity, one of the Masters of our dull pupil-race.
To run and beat at Blavatsky’s door and tell her my experience, was the first natural impulse, and she was as glad to hear my story as I was to tell it. I returned to my room to think, and the gray morning found me still thinking and resolving. Out of those thoughts and those resolves developed all my subsequent theosophical activities, and that loyalty to the Masters behind our movement which the rudest shocks and the cruelest disillusioning have never shaken.
I have been blessed with meetings with this Master and others since then, but little profit is to be reaped in repeating tales of experiences of which the foregoing is a sufficient example. However others less fortunate may doubt, I KNOW. »
(Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, chapter 14, p.377-381)
And Colonel Olcott detailed more about this meeting in another of his writings:
« As the light gradually dawned on my mind, my reverence for the unseen teachers [the Mahatmas] who had instructed her [Blavatsky] grew apace. At the same time, a deep and insatiable yearning possessed me to seek their society, or, at least, to take up my residence in a land [India] which their presence glorified, and incorporate myself with a people whom their greatness ennobled.
The time came when I was blessed with a visit from one of these Mahatmas in my own room at New York - a visit from him, not in the physical body, but in the “double,” or Mayavi-rupa. When I asked him to leave me some tangible evidence that I had not been the dupe of a vision, but that he had indeed been there, he removed from his head the puggri [turban] he wore, and giving it to me, vanished from my sight.
That cloth I have still, and in one corner is marked in thread the cipher or signature he always attaches to the notes he writes to myself and others.
This visit and his conversation sent my heart at one leap around the globe, across oceans and continents, over sea and land, to India, and from that moment I had a motive to live for, an end to strive after. That motive was to gain the Divine wisdom; that end to work for its dissemination. »
(Source: Henry Olcott: “On Madame Blavatsky and the Mahatmas” An extract from Olcott's lecture titled “Theosophy, the Scientific Basis of Religion,” delivered at the Town Hall, Calcutta, India, April 5, 1882. Reprinted from Olcott's “Theosophy, Religion and Occult Science,” London, George Redway, 1885, p.121-124.)
And we discovered more about this meeting in the interrogation that made him members of the Society for Psychical Research in London:
« Colonel Olcott: I could name two cases where I have encountered the person [the Mahatma] both in the physical body and in the astral body. There are also a number of instances in my experience where I have seen the person in the astral body but not in the physical, and in the physical but not in the astral; but in two cases I can state that I have known the person in both capacities....In both cases I saw them in the astral body first....
The first case I will mention is the case already reported in the pamphlet called “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No.1” ... The man who visited me was instantly recognized by me from a portrait which I had in my possession — the portrait which you see there. In that instance the person was my Teacher, and I now exhibit the turban which he took off his head, when I demanded of him some tangible proof of his visit....
Mr. Myers: Was the Hindu you saw in New York indisputably the same as you subsequently saw in India?
Colonel Olcott: The same.
Mr. Myers: And whom you saw in the astral body?
Colonel Olcott: The same.
Mr. Stack: He suddenly appeared?
Colonel Olcott: He appeared when I was in my room before retiring at night. As it was my custom to lock my door, I presume that my door was locked at that time. I know that the door was not opened, for I sat in such a way reading that the door could not be opened without immediately attracting my notice. ... My own conviction is — in fact, I should be willing to affirm most positively that the door did not open and that the appearance and disappearance of my visitor occurred without using the means of ingress or exit....
Mr. Myers: How tall was the Hindu who appeared to you in New York?
Colonel Olcott: He was a model of physical beauty, about 6 ft. 6 in. or 7 in., in height, and symmetrically proportioned.
Mr. Myers: That is a very unusual height, and is in itself a tolerable identification.
Colonel Olcott: Great stature is not so rare among the Rajpoots [of India].
Mr. Myers: I presume that you were impressed by his height in New York?
Colonel Olcott: Yes.
Mr. Myers: Have you seen other Hindus of that height?
Colonel Olcott: No. I have seen very tall Hindus, for I have been through the Rajpoot country; but taking him all in all, he was the most majestic human figure I ever laid my eyes upon. »
(Source: Henry Olcott's Deposition to the Society for Psychical Research, 1884. Reprinted from the First Report of the Committee of the Society for Psychical Research, Appointed to Investigate the Evidence for Marvellous Phenomena offered by Certain Members of the Theosophical Society, Appendix I, London, 1884, p.34-62)
And the meeting that Colonel Olcott had later with Blavatsky, the investigator, Howard Murphet related it in the following way:
« One night, after reading until very late as was her custom, Blavatsky seemed hardly to have fallen asleep when a loud banging on her door made her start up in bed.
Who the deuce could it be at such an hour?
Olcott was the only one sleeping in the apartment that night, and he would never waken her like this, unless. . . . The knocking continued insistently.
- “All right. I’m coming,” she called.
She opened the door to find Henry Olcott standing there, fully dressed, holding a candle. His eyes were shining and he was smiling blissfully, like a child who has just seen Santa Claus loading his stocking. And he held up something in his other hand, a turban of amber striped fabric, embroidered in yellow floss silk.
Even without seeing the embroidered “M” on it, she would have recognized the Master Morya’s turban.
In silence she came through the door, and they sat down in the writing room while Olcott told her (his voice often unsteady with emotion) how Master Morya had suddenly appeared in his room, looking as real and solid as if he were there in the flesh. »
(When Daylight Comes, 1988, chapter 13, p.111)
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The turban that Master Morya gave to Colonel Olcott is still preserved in the Museum of Adyar, Madras, India. And below you can see a photo where a part of that turban appears.
The turban measures 8 ft. (244 cm) length and 2 ft. 1 ½ in. (65 cm) breadth, and you can see the Master Morya’s monogram in the bottom right corner.