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HPB's Masters....quasi spirit guides...this imposter...literary devices

Nov 23, 2000 08:20 AM
by Blavatsky Archives

SUBJECT: HPB's Masters....quasi spirit guides...this 
imposter...literary devices

Art, I have gone through alot of your recent emails and have culled 
together at the end of this posting some of your various statements 
in which your express your opinion about HPB's Masters. I must agree 
with Peter Merritt that you give few if any specifics. You use 
strong words but back them up with no evidence. 

You may be on to something but your readers have no easy way to know 
if your thoughts on this subject are valid or not because you supply 
your readers with little to go on.

If you really feel strong on this subject as indicated by some of 
your words quoted below, then I invite you to write an article or 
essay on this subject and I will post it at Blavatsky Archives. The 
archives has an international readership and I think interested 
persons will find your thoughts most interesting. All I ask of you 
is that you flesh out your thoughts and provide your readers with 
some evidence and details --- not just generalizations.

You call HPB's Masters "literary devices" and "this imposter" but 
fail to explain, for example, these two experiences of William Brown 
and Henry Olcott:

(1) "The place to which our narrative really next pertains is the 
city of Lahore. Here, as elsewhere, Colonel Olcott delivered stirring 
addresses to large audiences; but Lahore has a special interest, 
because there we saw, in his own physical body, Mahatma Koot Hoomi 

"On the afternoon of the 19th November, I saw the Master in broad 
daylight, and recognized him. . . . At Jammu I had another 
opportunity of seeing Mahatma Koot Hoomi in propria persona. One 
evening I went to the end of the "compound" (private enclosure), and 
there I found the Master awaiting my approach. I saluted in European 
fashion, and came, hat in hand, to within a few yards of the place on 
which he was standing. After a minute or so he marched away, the 
noise of his footsteps on the gravel being markedly audible." W.T. 

(2) "One day at Bombay I was at work in my office when a Hindu 
servant came and told me that a gentleman wanted to see me in Madame 
Blavatsky's bungalow --- a separate house within the same
as the main building. This was one day in 1879. I went and found 
alone there my Teacher[Master Morya]. Madame Blavatsky was then 
engaged in animated conversation with other persons in the other 
bungalow. The interview between the Teacher and myself lasted 
perhaps 10 minutes, and it related to matters of a private nature 
with respect to myself and certain current events in the history of 
the Society. . . . He put his hand upon my head, and his hand was 
perfectly substantial; and he had altogether the appearance of an 
ordinary living person. When he walked about the floor there was 
noise of his footsteps. . . . He was then stopping at a bungalow, not 
far from Bombay, belonging to a person connected with this 
brotherhood of the Mahatmas, and used by Mahatmas who may be passing 
through Bombay on business connected with their order. He came to 
our place on horseback. . . . I have seen him at other times [also in 
the flesh]. . . . [His appearance on all those occasions has been] as 
unmistakable as the appearance of either of you gentlemen [of the SPR 
sitting here and asking me questions]. . . ." 

It is hard to believe that these Masters are merely "literary 
devices" of HPB's especially in light of the experiences like the two 

I hope you will take up my invitation and write such an article and 
let me publish it at Blavatsky Archives.


Art Gregory on HPB's Masters (compiled from various emails posted on 

To me the Mahatmas of the early 
theosophic movement are very close to spirit guides in the 
Spiritualist movement and that's just the way I see it. many of the 
early theosophists were spiritualists and frequented seances 
and this tinged the Mahatma concept with a kind of flavor that to 
me has thrown many of our most valuable contributions into 
disrepute. I would urge the classical concept of Mahatma as a 
great soul or Siddhi an accomplished, perfected being that is 
understood in India/Tibet as opposed to the quasi spirit guides 
of our theosophic antecedents in the TS.
There is to me a lot of deception apparent and shadowy doings 
that I believe that afflicted the early Theosophic movement...A 
kind of spiritualistic oneupmanship and battle for leadership and 
authority... We may still be suffering the effects of it. 
What I understand is that the Masters as commonly understood 
by Theosophists is a concept that was heavily influenced by the 
spirit guides then used in the spiritualist movement... here I refer 
to the mysterious letters that appear from the Mahatmas... 
The "Mahatma" idea is really i believe a synthesis between the 
Rosicrucian concept of the invisible brotherhood and the 
european ideas of what a Mahatma was then current in the early 
twentieth century... These ideas are of historical interest only and 
should be respected as such. I do feel strongly that to hold to the 
existence of these shadowy beings is to bring a kind of disrepute 
on us and the work of theosophy. 
What I mean to say is that spiritualism seems to have influenced 
the manifestations of the "mahatmas" in question, such as the 
mysterious letters that appear from the air. 
I respectfully disagree with you regarding the existence of the 
"Mahatmas" and suggest as I have that they are figures largely 
influenced by the spiritualist movement and are lacking in 
This is why I feel we're really bringing a kind of disrepute on 
ourselves by continuing this imposter. The rest of the world is 
not so naive as to enlist under this soiled banner. I'm sorry I 
must beso blunt with you,but it is sadly the case...
Her own genius is to be appreciated aside from the "masters" to 
whom she attributed so much. I also suspect that the "masters" 
were a literary device on her part and another expression of her 
resourcefulness and genius, if you will.

Daniel H. Caldwell

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