A Yogi’s Meeting with a Himalayan Mahatma

"On the Heights" by Nicholas Roerich

The following is an excerpt from a letter written in 1893 by an Indian member of both the Theosophical Society and its Esoteric Section known as the “Eastern School of Theosophy” or E.S.T. The letter was sent to William Quan Judge (the Head of the E.S.T.) and this excerpt from it was included in a mailing sent out by Mr Judge to E.S.T. members.

The exact identity of the writer has never been confirmed but the reference to him in the letter as “B.K.L.” suggests that he was probably Rai B.K. Laheri, an influential Indian Theosophist of the time.

We have added some numbered explanatory notes in order to explain a few Sanskrit words which may otherwise be confusing.

“H.P.B.” referred to throughout the letter is of course H.P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Movement, who had passed away nearly two years before. We recommend reading the related articles which are listed at the end, as these will help to clarify and expand on what is written here.

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K.B., a Brahman Yogi, recently went up to the Himālayas: on his way down to Deccan, he was kind enough to stop at my place for some days and imparted to me the following news. I must say here that I saw him at Meerut before he went up to the Himālayas, and asked him what will be the destiny of our Society so far as India is concerned, and as H.P.B. has departed, whether we will have another teacher to give us — Indians — teachings in practical occultism. I asked him these two questions; he replied:

“I am going to the Himālayas now, and if I see any Mahatma I shall be able to tell you, and not before.”

This said, we parted from each other, I for Calcutta and he for the north. I must mention here also that this gentleman did not know much of H.P.B. before nor of the Theosophical Society, and whenever I spoke to him about them he used to say, as it were passively, that it is a good work, no doubt, and that H.P.B. must have known the occult philosophy though she was born in the family of the Mlecchas [1], that whenever the Rākshasas [2] became powerful some goddess is sent to destroy them, and so she was sent to destroy the materialism of the allpowerful western Rākshasas.

However, now I shall relate what he told me when he came back from the Himālayas. The first thing he said was: “Go on! go on! go on! Fit yourself; you have much to do: go on, go on, and go on.”

The next thing he told me was, that this time he considered himself to be thrice blessed by the sight of a Mahatma near Badarikāśrama, in the snow-covered and impassable cave of the Himālayas. He gave me a long detail of what he saw and how he reached there, but it will be too long and not interesting to you to mention them in detail.

The Mahatma, he said, he saw perfectly naked; that no living soul could venture to look at his eyes; his color appeared to be of such a peculiar hue that it is not like anything worldly, but when he touched his hand (K.B.’s) between the third and fourth fingers, the latter could not stand the electric shock that ran up to his head from the extreme parts of his feet. It appeared to him as if a most powerful galvanic battery was applied to his body, and he became almost unconscious, although he himself is a real yogi of 22 years’ standing and following the path ever since. He said the body of the Mahatma, though it looked like butter, proved to be hard as steel, and that it was impossible for him to say of what it is made. The Mahatma does not speak, and with him only spoke where he could not make the latter understand his thought perfectly well. After he received his instruction, whatever was necessary for him, he asked: “that in India there they have established a society called the Theosophical Society, and that Madame Blavatsky started it with Col. Olcott. What is this? Is there anything real in it? Who was H.P.B.? Was she a yogi? Is Col. Olcott a yogi? What will be end of all this? Is anybody to come in the place of H.P.B.? My certain friend B.K.L. who takes much interest in the T.S. pressed me for the latter information.”

To all these the replies were as follows, but mostly by gestures and shaking of hands and nod of the head. He said, “The T.S. was their work; it was established to change the present current of the human mind and destroy Nāstikism [3], to save the seed of the fifth race — the Āryan; that he was present when H.P.B. was sent by her Master from the Mānasarovara Hills in Tibet; that the latter had not better ask who was H.P.B. and where she is now, but she was sent to carry out the work of the Mahatmas; that she was very high up there is not the least doubt, that he himself was one of the Circle, although not so high as the Guru of H.P.B.; that Col. Olcott is a good man no doubt but no yogi, he is entirely different from H.P.B., with whose name you cannot mention Olcott. That what was necessary was done by H.P.B. and the Society is successful; that they will not send anybody now, but the work must be carried on from inside the Society itself — that now no one from the West will give occult lessons to the Indians, but whatever they have got, they must prepare themselves so as to receive further instructions from anybody in India till they are able to impart instructions to the Society and keep it intact; that hitherto the T.S. followed a particular line, but in India there should be a change in that line, but there will be no change in the West, they must go on as they do now.”

Since the Svāmiji has come back from the Himālayan Hills his ideas about the T.S. and H.P.B. are entirely different; instead of passive tolerance he simply says:

“Go on, go on, and go on. There is much for you to do; fit yourself. I can’t and won’t tell you what further the Mahatma has said, because the time is not come, but when time comes I shall tell you. Oh! I like to worship the portrait of H.P.B.; no one has done so much good for humanity, especially for India, after Buddha and Śankarāchārya in his reincarnation [4]. The T.S. is ours, established for certain purposes by our Mahatmas; go on and go on, work and work.”

The Svāmiji’s opinion is a little dwarfed about Col. Olcott — but he says he is a good man. I must tell you that the Svāmiji never knew any of these informations about the T.S., the West, or H.P.B. before he went up to the Hills.

The Svāmiji showed me his hand where the Mahatma held it with his two fingers — there is the white sign of inflammation still existing, and subsequently the skin was off from that place.

These are the facts that are revealed to me, and I asked him whether I can convey them to any of those Westerns who are the workers of the T.S. He told me the Mahatma has not told him that the matter should be kept secret, so I have the liberty to reveal but only to the worthy person. It appeared also that the Svāmiji is the chela of one of the chelas or grand chelas of a Mahatma of the Circle.

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Explanatory Notes

[1] “Mlecchas” – a term once used in India to describe all non-Indians. It literally means “barbarians” or “the barbarous.” Before making the grave mistake of becoming enamoured with modern Western culture (so called), the view of Westerners and Europeans held by many Indians was that they were “white barbarians,” an appellation which can hardly be contested in light of the horrific, brutal, and downright evil treatment that many Indian people received in their own land during the period of its occupation by the British.

[2] “Rākshasas” – evil spirits or incarnated demons in Hindu allegory and mythology.

[3] “Nāstikism” – atheism.

[4] “No one has done so much good for humanity, especially for India, after Buddha and Śankarāchārya in his reincarnation” – the Esoteric Doctrine teaches that Gautama Buddha reincarnated, in a certain mysterious way, in Adi Shankaracharya, the formulator/codifier of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism. Almost every Hindu and every Buddhist will deny the legitimacy of this assertion but nevertheless it is taught in Theosophy as an important tenet and acknowledged as true by the Hindu and Buddhist initiates.

~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~

SOME RELATED ARTICLES: Who are you, Madame Blavatsky?, The Masters and Madame Blavatsky, The Closing Cycle, Words from The Masters about Madame Blavatsky, Who wrote “The Secret Doctrine”?, An Invitation to The Secret Doctrine, Theosophy: The Ancient Wisdom, 12 Things Theosophy Teaches, Col. Olcott’s Disloyalty to H.P. Blavatsky, Who was William Quan Judge?, The Welcome Influence of William Q. Judge, Damodar and the Hall of Initiation, What is a Chohan?, The Life & Times of Adi Shankaracharya, and The Final Mahatma Letter.

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