[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Dwellers on High Mountains

Nov 18, 2005 02:31 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

11/18/2005 1:39 AM

Dear Friends:

This little known article by Mr. Judge is interesting to us all.

Best wishes,




By W. Q. Judge

An account of the dwellers upon high mountains would be incomplete without
some reference to a widespread belief prevailing in Hindustan in regard to
authorities and others, who are said to dwell in inaccessible places, and
who are now and then seen by natives. It is true that all over India are to
be found Fakirs of much or little sanctity, and of greater or less
accumulation of dirt, but the natives all tell of Fakirs, as many of us
would call them, who dwell alone in places remote from the habitation of
man, and who are regarded with a feeling of veneration very different from
that which is accorded to the ordinary traveling devotee.

The Hindu has an intense religious nature and says that devotion to
religious contemplation is one of the highest walks in life. He therefore
looks upon the traveling ascetic as one who by means of renunciation has
gained a great degree of advancement toward final bliss, and he says that
there are other men who are farther advanced in this line of practice. 

These others finding the magnetism or exhalations from ordinary people and
from places where persons congregate to be inimical to further progress,
have retired to spots difficult to find even when sought for, and not at all
likely to be stumbled upon by accident. For that reason they select high
mountains, because the paths worn by man in going from place to place on
earth are always by that route which is the shortest or most easy of travel,
just as electricity by a law of its being will always follow the line of
least resistance and quickest access.

And so English and French travelers tell of meeting from time to time with
natives who repeat local traditions and lore relating to some very holy man
who lives alone upon some neighboring mountain, where he devotes his time in
contemplating the universe as a whole, and in trying to reach, if he may,
final emancipation.

The name given to these men is "mahatma," meaning, in English, "great
souls," because it is claimed that they could not renounce the world and its
pleasures unless they possessed souls more noble and of greater dynamic
force than the souls of the mere ordinary man, who is content to live on
through ages of reincarnations round the great wheel of the universe,
awaiting a happy chanceful deliverance from the bond of matter some day.
[see SECRET DOCTRINE I 52, 46fn; II 173, 423 ]

That great traveler, the Abbe Huc, who went over a large part of Thibet and
put his wonderful experiences, as a Catholic missionary there, into an
interesting book of travels, refers often to these men with a different
name. But he establishes the fact beyond dispute that they are believed to
live as related, and to possess extraordinary power over the forces of
nature, or as the learned and pious Abbe would say, an intimate and personal
combination with the devil himself, who in return does great and miraculous
works for them.
[TRAVELS IN TARTARY AND TIBET by Abbes Huc et Gabet ; see also SIS
UNVEILED I 225, 438, 440-1; II 345-6, 582-3, 604-6 ]

The French traveler Jacolliot also attests to the wide extent of the belief
in these extraordinary men of whose lesser disciples he claims to have seen
and have had perform for him extraordinary and hair raising feats of magic,
which they said to him they were enabled to do by the power transmitted to
them from their guru or teacher, one of the Mahatmas, a dweller on some high
[Many accounts are given in ISIS UNVEILED :: I 583-4, 594-5; II 38, 48fn,
103, 261-3 427-8, 584-5 ]

It seems they assert that the air circulating around the tops of mountains
of great altitude is very pure and untainted with the emanations from
animals or man and that, therefore, the Mahatmas can see spiritually better
and do more to advance their control over nature by living in such pure
surroundings. There is indeed much to be said in favor of the sanitary
virtue of such a residence. Upon a raw, moist day, down upon the level of
our cities, one can easily see, made heavily and oppressively visible, the
steamy exhalation from both human beings and quadrupeds. The fact that upon
a fine day we do not see this is not proof that on those days the emanations
are stopped. Science declares that they go on all the time, and are simply
made palpable by their natural process of the settling of moisture upon cold
and damp days.

Among Europeans in India all stories respecting the dwellers upon high
mountains to whom we are referring are received in two ways. One is that
which simply permits it to be asserted that such men exist, receiving the
proposition with a shrug of either indifference or lack of faith. The other,
that one which admits the truth of the proposition while wondering how it is
to be proved. Many officers of the English army have testified to a belief
in these traditions and many to not only belief, but also to have had ocular
demonstrations of their wonderful powers. While the other side is simply
represented by those who are unable to say that they ever had any proof at

The Hindu says that his ancient sages have always lived in these high
places, safe from contamination and near the infinite. It is related that
the pilgrims who annually do the round of pilgrimage through the sacred
places of India, sometimes penetrate as far as a certain little temple on
the sides of the sky-reaching Himalayas, and that in this is a brass tablet
of great age stating that that is the highest point to which it is safe to
go; and, that from there one can now and then see looking down at you from
the cold and distant cliff still higher up, men of grave and venerable
aspect. These are said by some to be the Mahatmas or great souls, dwelling
up there alone and unsought. In Thibet the story can be heard any time of
the Sacred Mountain where the great souls of the earth meet for converse and

The Hindu early saw that his conquerors, the Dutch and English, were unable
as well as incapable of appreciating his views of devotion and devotees, and
therefore maintained a rather exasperating silence and claim of ignorance on
such matters. But here and there when a listener, who was not also a
scoffer, was found, he unbosomed himself, and it is now generally admitted
by all well informed Anglo-Indians and Indian scholars that there is a
universal belief in these Mahatmas, or dwellers upon high mountains,
extending from one end of India to the other throughout every caste.

For the Christian it ought to be significant here, that when Jehovah
commanded Moses to attend him for instruction and to receive the law, he did
not set the place of meeting in the plain, but designated Mount Sinai, a
high place of awful ruggedness, and more or less inaccessible. Then in that
high mountain he hid Moses in the cleft of the rock while he passed by; and
from that high mountain, now roll and reverberate through Christendom the
thunders of the Judaic law. All through the Semitic book, this peculiar
connection of great events and men with high mountains is noticeable.
Abraham, when he was ordered to sacrifice Isaac, received command to proceed
to Mount Moriah. Sadly enough he set forth, not acquainting either the human
victim or his family with his determination, and traveled some weary days to
reach the appointed spot.

The thoughtful man will see the indicia of a unity of plan and action in
nearly all these occurrences. The sacrifice of Isaac could with great ease
and perfect propriety have been offered on the plain, but Abraham is made to
go a long distance in order to reach the summit of a high mountain. And when
he reached it, made his preparations, and piously lifted the fatal blade; he
was restrained, and his son restored to him.

Passing rapidly through long centuries from the great patriarch down to
Jesus of Nazareth, we find him preaching his most celebrated sermon not in
the synagogue or at the corners of the streets, but from the mount, and from
there also he distributes to the hungry multitude the loaves and fishes.
Again, he is transfigured, but not in the city nor outside in view of all
the people, but with two disciples he returns to the summit of a high
mountain, and there the wonderful glory sat upon him. Or we watch him in the
wilderness, only to see him again on a high mountain, where he resists the
Arch temptation. And then, when the appointed hour for the veiling from
human gaze of his earthly life is come, we have to follow him up the steep
sides of the Mount Golgotha, where, in agony of body and woe of soul, with
words of appealing anguish, his spirit flies to the Father.

The story of Mohammed, that world-famed descendant of Ishmael, is closely
associated with high mountains. He often sought the quiet and solitude of
the hills to restore his health and increase his faith. It was while he was
in the wilds of Mount Hira that the Angel Gabriel appeared to him, and told
him he was Mohammed, the prophet of God, and to fear not. In his youth
Mohammed had wandered much upon the sides and along the summits of high
ranges of mountains. There the mighty trees waved their arms at him in
appeal, while the sad long traveling wind sighed pityingly through their
branches, and the trembling leaves added to the force of the mighty cry of
nature. Upon those mountains he was not oppressed by care or by the adverse
influences of his fellows, such as kept him down when he was one merely of a
lot of camel drivers. So, then, when he returned to the mountain's clear and
wide expansive view, his spiritual eyes and ears heard more than the simple
moaning of the wind and saw greater meaning than unconscious motion in the
beckoning of the trees. There he saw the vision of the different heavens,
peopled by lovely houris, garlanded with flowers, and musical with the
majestic tones of the universe; and then, too, he saw handed to him the
sword with which he was to compel all people to bow to Allah and his

The countries of all the earth are full of similar traditions. In South
America, Humboldt heard the story of the wonderful people who are said to
dwell unfound among the inaccessible Cordilleras and stern traveler though
he was, he set out to find some trace of them. He went so far as to leave
after him a fragment of testimony of his belief that somewhere in those
awful wilds a people could easily live, and perhaps did.

It was from a high mountain where he had long lived, that Peter the Hermit
rushed down upon Europe with his hordes of Crusaders, men, women and
children, to wrest the holy land from the profaning hand of the Saracen; and
the force and fury of the feelings that inspired William Tell were drawn in
upon the tops of his native high mountain, to whom upon his return, he
Ye crags and peaks,
I am with you once again.

Japan, the highly civilized country of Islands so long buried from European
sight, and Korea, which has only just partly opened a door of communication,
have always venerated a high mountain. This is called Fujiyama. They say
that it can be seen from any part of the world and they regard it as
extremely sacred. Its top is cold and covered with snow, while round its
base the corn waves to the touch of the zephyr and the flowers bloom.

The love for this mountain is so great that it is pictured on their china,
in their paintings, and reproduced wherever possible, whether in mural
decoration or carvings. Its sacredness is due to its being the residence, as
they claim, of holy persons. And they also believe that thorated carvere is,
too, a spiritual Fujiyama, whose base is on earth and top in heaven.

>From THE WORD, June 1912, pp. 133-37.



[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application