History of ideas, and evidence for masters
Oct 13, 2001 07:26 AM
Dear Dallas,and all others on the list,
To gain more understanding of the background of the Master letters, I
think special attention should be given to the first appearance of the
Masters, as John King and later Serapis Bey (of the Brotherhood of
Luxor) that asked Olcott to invest in Blavatsky's that time husband
Betanelly's investment scemes. And notice how this has evolved into to
the current theosophical claims of the Masters "that watch over
John King was a spirit guide (and soon also John King's "doughter",
Katie) channeled by Jennie and Nelson Holmes.
The "Kings", father and daughter, gained much notoriety from an 1874
incident. It appeared that the Holmes' had employed Katie King as more
than just a spirit guide: the elderly Robert Dale Owen (1801-1877)
claimed publicly that the jewellery he had been giving "Katie King",
via the Holmes, had turned up in the possession of a woman by the name
of Eliza White, who acknowledged that she had been employed by the
Holmes' to impersonate the spirit.
Yet Writing in 1875, Blavatsky claimed her own association with the
mysterious John King :
[T]he spirit John King is very fond of me, and I am fonder of him than
of anything on earth. He is my only friend, and if I am indebted to
anyone for the radical change in my ideas of life, my efforts and so
on, it is to him alone ...
Blavatsky apparently attempted to rehabilitate the reputation of
Philadelphian Spiritualism - or at least so she had said at the time.
It is during this period, however, that a subtle readjustment in
explaining Spiritualist phenomena can be discerned in Olcott:
Try to get private talk with "John King" - he is an initiate, and his
frivolities of speech and action are meant to cover serious business.
There can be little doubt that Olcott's references to King's standing
as an "initiate" were mediated to Olcott by Blavatsky. This shift from
imaging the spirit entities as discarnate humans of no specific
religious hue or status, to conceiving of them as in some sense
spiritually adept is evidence of early Blavatskian revisionism. From
the middle of 1875, Blavatsky would assign the impetus for the
inception of Spiritualism, and indeed the governance and direction of
esoteric orders as a whole, to a band of living adepts she called
An attempt in consequence of orders received from T*** B*** [Tuitit
Bey?] through P*** [an elemental?] personating J. K. [John King?].
Ordered to begin telling the public the truth about the phenomena &
their mediums. And now my martyrdom will begin! I will have all the
Spiritualists against me in addition to the Christians & the Skeptics!
Thy Will, oh M:. [Master? Morya? ] be done!
Olcott's occult tutelage passed from Tuitit Bey to Serapis Bey at a
very early stage. From the middle of 1875 until the latter part of
1879, Olcott received many Masters letters' from Serapis, sometimes in
concentrated volleys, at other times only intermittently. Arriving by
regular mail (postmarked from Philadelphia and Albany), the first
several letters are in the main unremarkable and concern themselves
with relatively mundane details of Blavatsky's and Olcott's domestic
life. The central topics appear to be Blavatsky's financial woes and
her by now failed second - and bigamist - marriage to the Georgian
At one time Serapis exhorted Olcott to approach relatives of his
divorced wife for money for the sake of the Cause'; at another he
attempted to involve Olcott in highly questionable business deals with
Betanelly, Blavatsky's erstwhile husband. Serapis' assured Olcott
that his "distant future is at Boston" and that "there are millions in
the future in store for Betanelly". In fact, there is little about
Serapis' self-revelation which would justify Theosophical claims that
with the emergence of Blavatsky's Masters a new spiritual dispensation
It seems to me however that in later life Blavatsky herself wanted to
do away with the Master/staging fiction. One finds hardly mention of
the Masters for example in the Voice of Silence, and much less then
the earlier master letters to Sinnet would let one expect, in the
This has however not stopped theosophists to instead more and more
expand on the Master myth.
Diana Eck in her "A New Religious America",mentions religious
tolerance by accepting each religion for what it is. This is
put slightly different with theosophy it seems, that claims
to be the one that knows the "true" origine off "all" religions, that
is really "theosophy".
What I wonder also is how this is (from the perspective of the history
of ideas and the underlying message, that is the inner attitude that
creates) works out with theosophy , where the emphasis is "not
so much" on one source, or a God , but more on an elusive group of
beings called Masters , and one has to "wait" till one is ready, and
"they" contact you?
See also ; Occult Historiography, and the Invention of the Esoteric:
Foundations of Theosophical Thinking -and From late 19th century
constructionism to the here-and-now.
click ; http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a7502210/index.html
Wed, 10 Oct 2001 15:44:24 -0700
Subject: RE: historical evidence for masters.
Body: Sunday, October 07, 2001
The only way any one can determine the verity in any statement,
person or system is to study what they write.
The "touchstone" is always interior to us.
Theosophy holds that the SPIRIT (representing, law, continuity,
truth, brotherhood and all the virtues is UNIVERSAL.
A portion of this SPIRIT is interior to each of us, as to all
other beings. Admittedly this is not easy to grasp as we have
been educated into a materialistic, mechanistic, and totally
physical "world-plane." Even our religions are materialistic.
But we sense that that view is not entirely correct. Why is that?
What we perceive here on this plane, called physical matter, is
the FORM that these many 'SPIRITS" use to manifest, to show
themselves and their intelligence, at some level, here.
In a cold winter evening, our warm breath becomes visible as a
condensed cloud of water vapor when we breathe out. The
temperature variations allow this, and our breath for a little
while become visible from its usual unseen condition. There are
many analogetic phenomena to this .
The historical evidence for the existence of the WISE as a body
of ancient and venerable Sages has always existed. Every
religion traces its sources to a reformer who was WISE. The fact
is, if one wishes to, one can compare all religious sources, and
discover if it is true that they are in fact almost identical.
It is better that you do the work yourself rather than accept
what I or any one else says is a fact. One instinctively trusts
one's own work, however superficial of fragmentary.
But in matters of faith and belief it is far better to trust what
one discovers, rather than what any one else says is a fact. In
fact I would add that any one who presents something for others
to accept ought to give all the sources and the processes of
logic that they have used -- it enable others to VERIFY the help
offered. No one is an authority. nature preceded us all and the
harmony and cooperation there that supports us all in living is
an important proof of the necessity of our seeing out every fact
The logic in this case is as I see it: There is one UNIVERSAL
WISE SPIRIT. It is in everything and it is unlimited.
Its work is to seek to have every living speck of matter graduate
so that they know it.
Mankind is the balance point where Mind has to opportunity of
universalizing itself and knowing the ONE SPIRIT, as well as
everything else in the Universe.
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