In November 1881 – 138 years ago – H. P. Blavatsky received from her Guru, the Indian Mahatma known as “M.”, a message intended for A. P. Sinnett to pass on to the Hindu Brahmins who comprised the Prayag Theosophical Society in Allahabad, India.
The letter, transcribed by HPB at Dehradun, was very firm in tone and strong and direct in content. We reproduce the main part of it here:
“The ‘Brothers’ desire me to inform one and all of you, natives, that unless a man is prepared to become a thorough theosophist i.e. to do as D. Mavalankar did, – give up entirely caste, his old superstitions and show himself a true reformer (especially in the case of child marriage) he will remain simply a member of the Society with no hope whatever of ever hearing from us. The Society, acting in this directly in accordance with our orders, forces no one to become a theosophist of the IId. [i.e. Second] Section. It is left with himself and at his choice. It is useless for a member to argue ‘I am one of a pure life, I am a teetotaller and an abstainer from meat and vice. All my aspirations are for good etc.’ and he, at the same time, building by his acts and deeds an impassable barrier on the road between himself and us. What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats, of esoteric Buddhism and of Sang-gyas [i.e. the Tibetan name for Buddha] to do with the Shasters and Orthodox Brahmanism? There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis and Saddhus leading the most pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error, never having had an opportunity to meet, see or even hear of us. Their forefathers have driven away the followers of the only true philosophy upon earth away from India and now, it is not for the latter to come to them but to them to come to us if they want us. Which of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika as they call us? None. Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward. Mr Sinnett and Hume are exceptions. Their beliefs are no barrier to us for they have none. They may have had influences around them, bad magnetic emanations the result of drink, Society and promiscuous physical associations (resulting even from shaking hands with impure men) but all this is physical and material impediments which with a little effort we could counteract and even clear away without much detriment to ourselves. Not so with the magnetism and invisible results proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs. Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so. We do not find it either necessary or profitable to lose our time waging war to the unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth. There are Dhyan-Chohans and “Chohans of Darkness,” not what they term devils but imperfect “Intelligences” who have never been born on this or any other earth or sphere no more than the “Dhyan Chohans” have and who will never belong to the “builders of the Universe,” the pure Planetary Intelligences, who preside at every Manvantara while the Dark Chohans preside at the Pralayas.”
It is quite well known that a few years after HPB passed away, the genuineness and legitimacy of this Mahatma Letter was both privately and publicly denied by several leading Theosophists, most notably Col. Olcott and Annie Besant.
The main instigator behind this denial was, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of those orthodox Brahmins of the Prayag Theosophical Society, named G. N. Chakravarti. He attempted to convince William Q. Judge that the Letter was “a pious fraud” concocted by HPB but Mr Judge strongly disagreed. Besant, however, who began to come under Chakravarti’s influence in a serious way from 1893, believed what he told her, as she also believed his claim to be a direct agent and representative of the Masters.
As those who have studied the history of the Theosophical Movement are aware, it was during this initial period of Chakravarti’s influence, which extended also to Olcott and others, that the Theosophical Society began its attacks against the late HPB and the then still living WQJ, finally culminating in 1895 in Mr Judge’s many supporters and allies declaring their complete independence and autonomy from “The Theosophical Society – Adyar.” They became an entirely distinct and independent Theosophical organisation, one quite prominent member of which was Robert Crosbie, who would later go on to found the United Lodge of Theosophists.
The above excerpt from the Master’s Letter was published by Mr Judge in the March 1895 issue of his magazine “The Path” under the title “A Mahatma’s Message To Some Brahmans.” He added:
“Now this is a genuine message from the Master, allowing, of course, for any minor errors in copying. [Note: The extract given above in the present article is the accurate version, published from A. P. Sinnett’s papers.] Its philosophical and occult references are furthermore confirmed by the manuscript of part of the third volume of the Secret Doctrine, not yet printed. We know also that Master K.H. informed Mr. Sinnett and others that he was an esoteric Budhist; H.P.B. declared herself a Buddhist; on my asking her in 1875 what could the Master’s belief be called she told me they might be designated “pre-Vedic Budhists,” but that no one would now admit there was any Buddhism before the Vedas, so I had best think of them as Esoteric Buddhists.
“But I am informed that Mrs. Besant has several times privately stated that in her opinion the letter first above printed was a “forgery or humbug” gotten up by H.P.B. I know that Mr. Chakravarti has said the same thing, because he said it to me in New York. It is for Mrs. Besant to deny the correctness of my information as to what she said: she can affirm her belief in the genuineness of the letter. If she does so, we shall all be glad to know. If she merely denies that she ever impugned it, then it will be necessary for her to say affirmatively what is her belief, for silence will be assent to its genuineness. I affirm that it is from one of the Masters, and that, if it be shown to be a fraud, then all of H.P.B.’s claims of connection with and teaching from the Master must fall to the ground. It is now time that this important point be cleared up.”
A few months later, in June 1895, Mr Judge published a related article, titled “H. S. Olcott vs. H. P. B.” extracts from which are here quoted:
“In the April Theosophist Col. Olcott makes public what we have long known to be his private opinion – a private opinion hinted at through the pages of Old Diary Leaves, – that H.P.B. was a fraud, a medium, and a forger of bogus messages from the Masters. This final ingrate’s blow is delivered in a Postscript to the magazine for which the presses were stopped. The hurry was so great that he could not wait another month before hurling the last handful of mud at his spiritual and material benefactor, our departed H.P.B. . . .
“Col. Olcott “stops the press” and rushes off the Postscript, “for the honor of the Masters.” He wishes to defend those Masters, who sent H.P.B. as their messenger, by declaring that she “cooked up,” forged, and humbugged with, a long and important message to Brahmans at Allahabad in 1881. The Colonel is H.P.B.’s first Western disciple, ignorant to this day of practical occultism and not able to propound a question to the Masters; never heard of Masters except through H.P.B. He now preserves the honor of Masters by blackening the character of their messenger. Splendid defence, this, of the Masters!
“How does he explain the long silence of the Masters since 1881 on the subject? And another very pertinent question is this: How does this “defender of the Masters” explain his own silence in 1881 and since? He was present when the message was sent and knew of it. If he knew then that it was bogus why did he not divulge? If he did not know then, was it because he was unable to tell? If he has since been told by one of the Masters – a la Besant in the Judge case – will he kindly let us know which of the Masters told him, and when?
“. . . he has attempted to classify H.P.B. with frauds, forgers and mediums. Hence the Masters who sent her are put by him in similar categories. Observe that the forgery now alleged by him was at the very time H.P.B. was giving out from the Masters the series of messages which have become known to all. If we believe him, then the delivery by this irresponsible medium of one false message must throw doubt on every message. . . . Olcott does not like the one in question because he lives in India, and it is too gallingly true. . . .
“The message condemns bigotry. The persons to whom it was sent were then of the most theologically bigoted families. They were wondering, like Pharisees, how it was possible that the Mahatmas could communicate with a beef-eating, wine-drinking Sinnett and not with them, who took no such things and never shook hands. To these very points, to their superstitions, to their upholding idolatry, to the horrors of caste, the letter adverts. The whole letter rings true and strong. . . .
“If for a moment we accept this view of H.P.B. put forward by Olcott then there is, as she published herself, no certainty about any message. Who is to decide? If she hoodwinked with one message, all may be the same – bogus – and the great force and strength derived from a firm belief in Masters will be swept away, because she, their first messenger to us, is made out a fraud. All this is precisely what Olcott et al wish to do. He cannot tolerate the idea that H.P.B. was greater than himself, so he throws around her memory the dirty cloak of tricky and irresponsible mediumship. That done, anything can be explained and anything accounted for. . . .
“Now let the next and the next come on, so that we may have the lines clearly drawn and the hypocrisies unveiled. . . .
“Mrs. Besant . . . takes up the message from the Master to the Allahabad Brahmans, which Col. Olcott deals with in his April Postscript. She says the message is not genuine, and thus walks beside Col. Olcott in abuse of H.P.B., for everyone with correct information knows that the message came through H.P.B.”
Mr Judge was in fact being generous in that article towards his fellow co-founder of the modern Theosophical Movement, Col. Olcott, as he declined to mention that Olcott had gone so far in his Postscript as to strongly suggest and specifically say that at times HPB “was possessed by evil influences,” to which he had added, “We know all the weight that such a suggestion carries, and yet repeat it in the full conviction that the discoveries of hypnotic science have already furnished proof of its entire reasonableness.”
We do not mean to refer to all this for the sake of purely historical interest. The Theosophical Movement is not something dead and lifeless to be intellectually analysed and coldly dissected by sceptical scholars and so-called “Theosophical Historians.”
It is a living thing – one might even say, a living entity and a force in Nature – and those who give any credence to the Theosophical teaching regarding cycles and “Cyclic Impressions and their Return” must surely recognise and accept that events, occurrences, and issues, have a tendency to repeat themselves, albeit never in quite the same form and expression as before, and that causes initiated in the early days of the Movement have still to bear their harvest – if not repeated harvests – of effects.
How many of us, as students of Theosophy, ever stop to think about this or to look at recent and current happenings and influences in the Movement from this perspective and with this principle in mind?
Let us take a look at some of the main points made by the Master in what has become known as the “Prayag Letter”:
* One has to earn and deserve the right to come into contact and personal connection with the Masters. Simply being a member of any Theosophical group or organisation does not confer such a privilege, even if the member is of a highly pure life and character. Such a person may still be “building by his acts and deeds an impassable barrier on the road between himself and” the Great Ones.
* If a member knows where to look and what to do, he may endeavour to become “a Theosophist of the Second Section” of the Movement. It is known that HPB stated that the Theosophical Movement consists of three main “sections,” the Third being the exoteric and public Theosophical work; the Second being comprised of chelas and lay chelas, i.e. the disciples and lay disciples, probationary and accepted, of the Mahatmas; and the First being the Lodge or Brotherhood of the Mahatmas Themselves. However, no-one is forced or even encouraged to do so.
* Like the Fakirs, Sannyasins and Sadhus, one can be thoroughly devout, consecrated, living a life of self-discipline, self-denial, and self-mastery, engaged in spiritual study, spiritual practice, and spiritual service, and yet even still be “on the path of error.” The implication made is that “the only true philosophy upon earth” is something very definite and specific. The Preface of “The Voice of the Silence” makes it apparent that the Trans-Himalayan Esoteric School is distinct and unique from the methods, approach, and systems, of all other Schools of Occult Philosophy. Theosophists of the present day may have noble intentions and high altruistic aspirations. But is it not important for them to make sure that the “Theosophy” they are studying and promulgating is definitely nothing other than or different from that which was given out by these same Mahatmas through the only one They ever called “Our Direct Agent,” HPB?
* The Masters will not come to us. We must come to Them, if we wish to know Them, serve Them, and aid Them in Their Great Work. How would one go about doing so? “Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward,” says the Master. Do we truly believe the Masters? This is not the same as believing in the Masters. Do we truly follow the Masters, with all that the word “follow” mystically implies? How can we even begin to think that we do so until we give serious, heartfelt, and intellectually honest attention to such matters as –
(1) Who and What are the Masters?
(2) What are the Teachings They have given to the world?
(3) What severed the link between the Masters and the original Theosophical Society?
(4) Does the sacredness and reality of Who and What the Masters are mean that publicising of apparent images or portraits of Them – whether in books, magazines, or on the internet – is inappropriate and disrespectful?
(5) What would be the correct conduct, from the perspective of the Masters and Their principles, in regard to esoteric teachings that may have been given privately and under pledge of secrecy by HPB on Their behalf? Is it appropriate, respectful, and honouring the sacredness of such things, to publicly and openly discuss, refer to, promote, and even publish and sell them?
(6) What is the nature of the relationship between chela and Master?
(7) What vitally important lessons can be learned from the painful yet self-evident fact that all splits and schisms resulting in different “Theosophical Society” groups have been the result, either directly or indirectly, of claims of “Occult Successorship” made by individuals asserting themselves to be the Successor to either HPB or to HPB and WQJ?
* There is “magnetism and invisible results proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs.” Sincerity and error are not mutually incompatible. An example given, that was particularly applicable to the Hindu Brahmins and still is as applicable to many religionists of many creeds, is belief in God and Gods, which “attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around” such believers and worshippers.
It must inevitably be the case that “foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents” similarly surround “Theosophical” believers in false Masters and pseudo-entities, for example those invented by C. W. Leadbeater such as the so-called “Lord Christ-Maitreya” (purportedly the Master of all the other Masters, soon to make his “Second Coming”) and the anthropomorphic “Planetary Logos” and “Solar Logos.” The same would no doubt apply to the Leadbeater/Besant/Bailey reinventions of real Masters, such as their versions of the Master K.H. and Master M., who they present as being subservient to Christ, distinctly pro-Christian and supporting the Christian Church, especially Catholicism. Such statements as this may unfortunately make some students feel uncomfortable but is it not simply an application of the Master’s words? We are not to have a merely “Mechanical Theosophy,” Mr Judge often advised, but rather to assimilate and make applications to all situations and circumstances of all the Theosophical teachings and principles we have been given.
“All those who do not follow the lines laid down by the Messengers are certain to be misled,” wrote Robert Crosbie (“The Friendly Philosopher” p. 36), “Yet the way is clear; the pity of it is that otherwise sincere and devoted persons will not heed the warnings given; will not study, think, and apply what was recorded for them and their guidance.”
* There are “unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth.” Anyone who admits the realities of Occultism is aware that there are plenty of entities and influences, of various grades and descriptions, masquerading as “The Masters” and also as HPB. The history of the modern Theosophical Movement clearly shows this, in the many claims that were made and absurdities that occurred within various “Theosophical Society” organisations after the passing of HPB and Mr Judge.
It is not comfortable or pleasant to acknowledge but if we agree that the Masters knew what They were talking about and that the Prayag Letter is genuinely from the Masters, we are bound to acknowledge that there have been – and must of necessity still be – far from savoury influences and entities at work within the Theosophical Movement, unseen save in effect. An occultist will not run or hide from such a fact but will keep it ever in mind when observing events, occurrences, and also individuals and groups.
Reference was made earlier to the severance of the link between the Masters and the original Theosophical Society. Some, primarily members of the Adyar Society, may take issue with this and ask what the basis is for such an assertion.
If acts and facts of historical record were not themselves sufficient, we have the words of the Master K.H. from when the latter informed HPB near the end of her life that under Col. Olcott’s influence the Adyar-governed part of the Theosophical Society had unwittingly broken away from the influence of the Masters and become “a soulless corpse” which would be destined to “fall to pieces” after Olcott’s death.
Curiously – and to their credit – the Adyar Society’s “Theosophical Publishing House” publishes this letter to this very day. Its severe and extremely serious implications, however, seem not to have been considered, neither by that Society nor by some from other Theosophical groups, who now wish to “unite” in various ways with Adyar, as if everything has somehow suddenly become alright and as it should be.
But what can it mean to unite with “a soulless corpse”? Do the Masters use words wastefully or do They say what They mean and mean what They say? Students of Theosophy know from the teachings about the after-death states and processes that a soulless corpse is one which can no longer be revived. In B. P. Wadia’s well known statement of resignation from the Adyar Society, titled “To All Fellow Theosophists and Members of the Theosophical Society” he specifically stated that “The Theosophical Society is disloyal to Theosophy” and referred to it as “a soulless corpse,” thus echoing the words of the Master. Mr Wadia then associated himself with the United Lodge of Theosophists.
No Theosophical group is exempt or immune from the efforts of undesirable psychic and occult influences. This includes the ULT. The Masters have written of there being special cycles of 100 and 107 years. The year 2009 marked exactly 100 years since the ULT came into being and 2019 marks 100 years since its founder, Robert Crosbie, left this physical plane. The year 2016 was 107 years since the inception of the ULT and 2026 will be 107 years since the time of Mr Crosbie’s departure. We would humbly ask therefore that ULT associates in particular re-read and think carefully over this article.
Recalling what HPB’s Adept Teacher said in his Letter to the Brahmins, let us pose a question in closing:
Is it at all likely or plausible that the Masters of the Trans-Himalayan School would seek to come together on a basis of “brotherhood,” “tolerance,” “fraternity,” and “unity,” with the Hindu Fakirs, Sadhus, and Sannyasis, simply because they are leading a spiritual life and are good people despite promoting philosophies and practices inconsistent with those of the Trans-Himalayan School?
The Masters’ words and positions speak for themselves and we have examined these point by point in the above paragraphs.
Perhaps we must be prepared for the legitimacy and genuineness of the Master’s Message to the Brahmins to be questioned and denied by some prominent and influential Theosophists once more, more than 100 years on. Ultimately, this can only be a good thing for all, since we all need to know where each other stands in regard to what the Masters, HPB, and Mr Judge called “the original lines,” “the original programme,” “the original impulse,” “the original system,” and “the original teachings” . . . “so that we may have the lines clearly drawn and the hypocrisies unveiled.”
“. . . it is now time that the whole Society should pay a little more attention to the words of those Masters of wisdom who have thus indicated the road, and these are the “original lines” traced out and meant to be followed. All those who do not follow them are those who feel dissatisfied with our work, and those who try to go upon these lines are those who feel and know that help is always given to the sincere Theosophist who ever tries not only to understand the philosophy but also to make it forceful for the proving and the exemplifying of the doctrine and object of Universal Brotherhood.” (William Q. Judge, “What The Masters Have Said”)
SOME ARTICLES RELATED TO POINTS RAISED ABOVE: The REAL Esoteric Buddhism (this shows that the Buddhism referred to in the Prayag Letter is not any of the publicly known forms of Buddhism), Maitreya in the Light of Real Theosophy, Christos – The Christ Principle, The Case against C. W. Leadbeater, Original Theosophy and Later Versions, Tibetan Master or Christian Priest? (Uncovering the real inspiration behind the Alice Bailey Books), The Theosophical Society is Disloyal to Theosophy (by B. P. Wadia), The Occult Life of B. P. Wadia, What Does Theosophy Say About God?, Damodar and the Hall of Initiation, The Masters and Madame Blavatsky, The Final Mahatma Letter, Theosophy Undefined?, Blindly Following HPB?, Col. Olcott’s Disloyalty to H. P. Blavatsky, Understanding The Importance of Mr Judge, William Q. Judge and The Masters of Wisdom, and Assimilation to The Masters.