In Search of Koot Hoomi

This is a second verbatim extract from the 1997 article for The Neural Surfer that included material about Morya previously excerpted. I consider it illegitimate to go back and revise (as opposed to excerpt intact) something written 25 years ago but have a much changed perspective over the years. KPJ

There is more evidence supporting the identification of Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia (upper right photo) as a prototype of K.H. than there is concerning Ranbir Singh and Morya.  Summarizing that presented in The Masters Revealed:

In April 1878, HPB wrote an article entitled “The Akhund of Swat” which included a glowing encomium for Sikhism.  This referred to Sirdars, each of whom was chief of one of twelve misls.  She added that Sikh Sirdars had secret councils consisting of learned gurus, some of whom were “Masters in Spiritual Science…[who] exhibited astounding miracles.”

In Caves and Jungles HPB describes an acquaintance who is an Akali or temple functionary, an Amritsar native, named Ram-Ranjit-Das, who has a spiritual link to Gulab-Singh.

In Old Diary Leaves Olcott describes “one of the Masters” who meets him at the Amritsar Golden Temple where he is “figuring among the guardians.”

HPB, in a letter reproduced by Richard Hodgson in his report, wrote to Moolji Thackersey about a Sikh friend of the TS that Moolji had presumably described in a letter, commenting “You call him a Sirdar” and adding that “he is of Amritsar.”

She inquires about finding descendants of Ranjit Singh, and asks Moolji to recruit rajas and maharajas to the TS.  Thakar Singh was a Sirdar from Amritsar, a relative of Ranjit Singh, and an associate of several rajas and maharajas with TS links.

The first letter from K.H. to Sinnett dates from October 1880, the month in which the TS Founders visited Amritsar en route to the Durbar in Lahore.

An early K.H. letter was dated from “Amritas Saras” (the Golden Temple) and refers to `greasy’ Tibetans and Punjabi Singhs” as “our best, most learned and holiest adepts.”

The Sikh reform organization the Singh Sabha, founded in Amritsar by Thakar Singh and others, shared many objectives with the Arya Samaj of Swami Dayananda, and worked cooperatively with it.  Ranbir Singh also endorsed much of the Arya Samaj reform program, and was very supportive of the Singh Sabha.  HPB initially portrayed Dayananda as affiliated with M. and K.H., but changed her attitude later.

HPB’s The Durbar in Lahore includes detailed descriptions of Amritsar, the Golden Temple, and Sikhism, and describes a Lahore meeting with Ram-Ranjit-Das, who takes HPB and Olcott to the Maharaja of Faridkot.  This maharaja was a Singh Sabha member and strong supporter of Thakar Singh in later political plots.

The same work includes lengthy discussion of the deposed Maharaja Dalip Singh, in which HPB denounces his conversion to Christianity and shows great sympathy for his widowed mother. Thakar Singh was later instrumental in Dalip’s reconversion to Sikhism.

In November 1883, Olcott went to Lahore en route to Jammu, at the joint invitation of Ranbir Singh and K.H. according to HPB’s letter to Sinnett.  In Lahore he was visited in the flesh by K.H., accompanied by another Master, as were William T. Brown and Damodar Mavalankar according to the testimony of all three.

According to the January 1884 supplement to The Theosophist, Olcott, Damodar and Brown were transported to their quarters by conveyances provided by “Raja Harbans Singh and other Sirdars.”  These quarters were the site of the visit by K.H. described above.

At a reception welcoming the group to Lahore, they were greeted by Sirdar Dayal Singh Majithia of Amritsar and Bhai Gurmukh Singh, both important colleagues of Thakar Singh in the Singh Sabha, as well as a commissioner deputed by Maharaja Ranbir Singh.

Thakar Singh was the cousin of the deposed maharaja Dalip Singh, and in early 1883 decided to go to England to visit him on family business.  But as of November 9 he was still at home and writing to the lieutenant-governor of the Punjab attempting to get permission for the trip.  Sometime in the summer of 1884 he arrived in London, where Sinnett had relocated.

K.H., in a letter to Sinnett during the collapse of the Phoenix venture, sounded a note of patriotic desperation, saying he was “bound to devote the whole of my powers as far as the Chohan will permit me to help my country at this eleventh hour of her misery.”

Another letter from K.H. appealed to patriotic motives repeatedly, commenting that “In the presence of his country perishing in its nationality for want of vitality, and the infusion of fresh forces, the patriot catches at a straw.”

Within two years Thakar Singh embroiled his cousin Dalip in a patriotic scheme involving a plot to restore him to the throne with Russian and French support.  This was regarded as beginning the liberation of all India from British rule.

K.H. had referred to a “dark satire” in the phrase “jewel in the crown” and HPB had called British rule “that curse of every land it fastens itself upon”– in the very letter where she welcomed the friendship of the Sirdar and expressed hope of finding a descendant of Ranjit Singh.

In an April 1884 letter to Alexis Coulomb written in Paris, HPB said in reference to the Mahatmas that “there is one here now and there will be also in London.”  This was during the period when Thakar Singh was attempting to go to London.

Olcott received an unsigned letter saying that “unless you put your shoulder to the wheel yourself Kuthumi Lal Singh will have to disappear off the stage this fall.”  Later the same month of June 1883, two more Mahatma letters came to Olcott,recommending that he “put your whole soul in answer to A.P.S. [Sinnett] from K.H.” and that he “Be careful about letter to Sinnett.  Must be a really Adeptic letter.”  This coincides with the period when Thakar Singh decided to leave India.

In 1896 Olcott toured the Punjab again.  On their first evening in Lahore, he and his companion Lilian Edger dined at the home of Sirdar Amrao Singh, described as a “pillar of strength in our Lahore branch.”  Amrao Singh had been a conspirator in the plot to restore Dalip Singh to the throne, lending a servant for Thakar Singh’s use in delivering secret letters to various maharajas appealing for support.

On the same trip they were visited by Bhai Gurmukh Singh, who had become the greatest figure in the Singh Sabha movement, after beginning his career as a protege of Thakar Singh and his colleagues.

Dayal Singh Majithia, another Sirdar who welcomed Olcott, Brown, and Damodar to Lahore, was present at the TS convention for 1884 which led to the forming of the Indian National Congress.  Dayal Singh supported Thakar Singh’s anti-British schemes, although Gurmukh Singh opposed them.

As of September 1 I have a dozen natal charts from the BOL Lessons about historically identifiable individuals, and will devote the next year to discussing them. For literary pseudonyms lacking birth and death dates, any historian relying on such data is left hanging in mid-air– are these real people or not? For the year ahead I will discuss real people with confirmed dates and places of birth and death and ignore alleged, semi-fictional entities with no dates or places of birth, no parents, just magical Mahatmas we meet in dreams and visions but never interrogate about history.