Damodar K. Mavalankar – Colonel Olcott and the Court of Kashmir

[Supplement to The Theosophist, January, 1884.]

At Lahore, Col. Olcott was met by a Councillor of His Highness the Maha Raja Saheb of Kashmir and Jammu, who
had been specially deputed for the purpose of escorting the President and his party to Jammu. His Highness had sent a special request that before proceeding from Lahore to Jammu, Col. Olcott should consent to accept the khilat* which it is customary for the Court to offer on the distinct understanding that the presents would be received not for his personal benefit, but on behalf of, and for the benefit of The Society. The necessary preliminaries having been arranged, the party, accompanied by Pandit Gopi Nath, F. T. S., Editor of the Mittra Vilasa, the organ of the orthodox Pandits of Lahore, and by His Highness’ Counsillor, left Lahore by the evening mail of the 21st November, and proceeded from the Wazirabad Railway Station in carriages direct to Sialkot, where they rested for the night. The Maharaja had sent

*Khilat is a royal gift peculiar to Asiatic Courts: its richness and value being proportionate to the munificence of the Sovereign and therank of the visitor. — ED. [of The Theosophist.]

his State carriages to that place to take the party to Jammu which, after about four hours’ drive, they reached in the evening of the 22nd. On this side of the Ravi river, two State elephants were in waiting to take the party to the city.
One of these was fitted up with a silver Howdah in Kashmiri repoussee work, with dragon supporters and velvet cushions for the President. An hour’s ride brought the party to the barracks, where the bungalow set apart for the British Resident and other distinguished European guests had been fitted up for their accommodation. The next morning, elephants were sent with an officer and a guard of honor, and upon arrival at the Palace, the whole guard presented arms, and His Highness gave audience in full Court. The Maha Rajah Saheb was very well pleased with Col. Olcott’s exposition of Theosophy, and expressed great sympathy with the objects of the Theosophical Society, especially its efforts for the revival of the ancient intellectual and spiritual glories of India. Their Royal Highnesses Prince Rama Singh, Commander-in-Chief, and Prince Amara Singh, the junior Prince, also seemed very much interested in the subject. The same evening, Col. Olcott received the Royal presents. According to the ancient custom of the Court, first-class guests receive twenty-one pots of sweet-meats, those of the second-class, fourteen, the third-class seven, while the fourth-class are given none. The President was treated as a first-class guest — a distinction shown to Princes and to the British Resident and other high Europeans, and was thus presented with twenty-one pots of sweet-meats and a purse of five hundred rupees as Dawat, for which he immediately receipted in his official capacity
and on behalf of the Society. Every day the Maha Rajah Saheb accorded him an interview of about two hours, and on some days even two. On each occasion, at the Palace, a guard of honour old [all] turned out who presented arms, both at the time of his entering and leaving the Royal mansion. Two elephants and four saddled horses were all the time at the disposal of the party at the barracks — besides armed chuprasis and other servants. Col. Olcott had long discussions on matters of Aryan Philosophy and Religion with His Highness, who manifested a most thorough knowledge of the subjects, and seemed extremely gratified to find that the American Chela had derived his knowledge from the same school to which his own GURu apparently belonged. The Maha Rajah Saheb not only believed in the existence of the HIMALAYAN MAHATMAS, but seemed to be sure of the fact from personal knowledge. He expressed his entire approbation of Col. Olcott’s work for the resuscitation of Sanskrit in which direction he himself was working hard in his own State. The party remained at Jammu for a week. On the last day, they were presented with the khilat, which consisted of an offering to Col. Olcott of seven “cloths” — technically so called,* and three to each of the rest — as also an additional purse of two thousand rupees, which the President receipted for, as before, on behalf of the Society. Before quitting Jammu, the Colonel made over fifteen hundred rupees to the Honorary Secretary of the Head-Quarters House Fund Committee towards the purchase of the Adyar Property, and the remaining rupees one thousand of the Maharajah’s cash present, to the Treasurer of the Society, for the Society’s general expenses. Col. Olcott had special interviews with His Royal Highness Prince Arama Singh, the youngest son of His Highness the Maha Rajah Saheb, with His Excellency the Diwan, and other high officials of the State, who were all more or less interested in what the President had to say, and professed themselves pleased with his advocacy of Aryan Philosophy. From Jammu to Sialkot the party was provided with State carriages. Thence they proceeded further on their journey. Col. Olcott’s visit to the State of Kapurthala, where he was invited by the Diwan, who had specially gone down to Lahore for the purpose, will be found described elsewhere.

Joint Recording Secretary.