William Q. Judge and The Masters of Wisdom

Some of the letters received by William Judge from the Mahatmas M. and K.H.

Some of the letters received by William Judge from the Mahatmas M. and K.H.

Co-founder of the modern Theosophical Movement with H.P. Blavatsky and Col. Henry S. Olcott in 1875, William Quan Judge never made any public claim or statement of being an agent and direct colleague of the Mahatmas (the Masters who were behind the founding of the Movement and for whom HPB had been, in Their words, the “Direct Agent”) until he was more or less forced to do so as a result of accusations and charges brought against him, primarily by Annie Besant and Col. Olcott.

Between 1893-1895, they orchestrated “The Judge Case” in which he was essentially put on trial for privately transmitting to a number of Theosophists – Besant and Olcott included – letters and messages which he said were from the Masters and which in many cases were signed with the names or initials of the Masters and written in Their customary handwriting, which had become known amongst some in the 1880s as a result of many letters sent by the Masters M. and K.H. to A.P. Sinnett, A.O. Hume, and numerous others.

The majority of the letters and notes received through Mr Judge were from the Master M., who was known to be the Guru of HPB, Col. Olcott, as well as of Mr Judge himself.

Although Olcott always doubted the authenticity of these letters, Besant initially accepted them as genuine until she was persuaded otherwise by the orthodox Hindu Brahmin G.N. Chakravarti, who met her in 1893 and thereafter began to exert a powerful influence over her psychologically and psychically, until he was replaced by C.W. Leadbeater, whose influence and hold over her was even greater and more damaging. Chakravarti was the real mastermind behind the targeting and persecution of Mr Judge, which is thought to have really had its roots in the fact that he was consistently pointing to HPB (who had passed away in 1891) and to her work and teachings, whilst Olcott, Besant, Chakravarti, Sinnett, and others, were increasingly pointing away from HPB’s work and teachings and thus viewed Mr Judge as a stubborn obstacle to the different direction in which they wanted to take the Movement.

Charged with misusing the Masters’ names and handwriting, Mr Judge realised that he had only three options: (1) Plead guilty and admit that he what he had been doing was indeed wrong, fraudulent, and misleading to others; (2) Decline to respond at all, which could easily be interpreted as a sign of guilt; (3) Affirm that he was in fact in contact with the Masters and acting legitimately as Their agent.

The latter is what he did and the following are a few of his statements made around that time, which may be found interesting, particularly as they are not very well known. We have put some of the words and phrases in bold because of their importance or significance:


These excerpts are quoted from p. 38-39 and 41-42 of the pamphlet “Two Replies by William Q. Judge” published by Theosophy Company for the United Lodge of Theosophists. The pamphlet states that this Reply was “Read at Boston Mass., on the afternoon of April 29, 1895, after the T.S. Convention, by Dr. A. Keightley on behalf of W.Q. Judge, before an informal crowded meeting of the Delegates and visiting members.” Those Theosophists who know their history will recall that this 1895 Convention was when the American Section of the Theosophical Society, led by Mr Judge, declared complete autonomy and independence from the rule and influence of Adyar. It will also be remembered by ULT associates that Robert Crosbie, who founded the ULT in 1909, was the leading light of the Boston Theosophists.

“Before going any further, it is absolutely necessary to make a statement about myself which hitherto I have refrained from making. And now it would not be made were it not that the prosecutors have forced me into the position where I must either state this or be silent; and I am also directed to make it. The prosecutors and their friends try to make people think that it is impossible that W. Q. Judge could have any occult powers and that this case can be decided outside of occult lines. This is improper and impossible. The whole matter has to be examined from the standpoint of occultism—or magic. Well, I have to state, that during all the years since 1875 I have been taught much about occultism by the Masters and their friends, and have been shown how to produce some phenomena, among others the precipitation of writing for the Masters at certain times. This is always in the form to which the prosecutors most foolishly object. These teachings began—notwithstanding ignorance of it in the part of Col. Olcott, who takes pains to say he knows nothing of it, and that I am probably a medium—in 1875 with H.P.B. In that year, the first precipitation done through me, was effected in New York. Madame Blavatsky told me not to inform Col. Olcott of what I was learning, because of certain special reasons she explained to me but which I need not explain here. From that time he knew nothing of what I was learning or doing with her. And, from that time on, with exceptions when I was physically in unfit condition, or when I allowed doubt, jealousy or other defects of character to interfere, I have been in communication with the Master and friends of his, receiving help and direction from him and them in my Theosophic work and sending for him, very frequently,—I may say hundreds of times—messages to friends and correspondents, without identifying them all as such. But it must not be supposed that because I could do this, and receive help, I could never make a mistake. Those who know sufficient about occultism and spiritism are aware that mistakes arise in consequence of the working of the physical brain which is being used. Often some of one’s own peculiarities, even what might be called trivial idiosyncrasies, can and do creep into the message which is reported, but it is very certain that the substance, the main idea, and, in the case of the Theosophical Movement itself, the exact idea, is never confused.”

“The next alleged error of fact is this. I wrote a letter to Mr. Cooper-Oakley in 1887—at which time he was editing the Theosophist—in which I hinted that two ostensibly different writers in the magazine employing two signatures, were really one and the same person; from the last word in the letter about this matter, a red line runs to a marginal message, the words written in blue—”which should not be used to force my, or your, theory on its readers. By order of Hilarion”—after which are some hieroglyphics. The prosecutors claim that this writing is like that of the Master K.H. The fact of the matter is that it is not, nor was it intended to be. It is a precipitation, made by a friend of mine—to wit, the said “Hilarion”—and was intended, as any person can see, who does not intend to twist and distort everything, to cast a doubt on my statement that they are by one and the same person. This I have learned directly by asking the said “Hilarion” what is the fact. Neither Col. Olcott, nor Mrs. Besant, nor any of the prosecutors, know “Hilarion;” they have heard of him vaguely and even spell his name wrongly. They even have two ideas as to what is his hand writing. But this particular inscription is a precipitation of his handwriting by himself. He certainly knows what he meant.”

~ * ~

Other references are available regarding Mr Judge’s involvement with the Master Hilarion, who is perhaps best known in Theosophical circles for having been the inspirer behind Mabel Collins’ “Light on the Path.” He is also known to have been good friends with HPB and she refers to him several times in her letters to A.P. Sinnett.

In “Letters That Have Helped Me” (p. 271-272) is reproduced a letter sent to “The Irish Theosophist” magazine by Julia Keightley (better known under her pen name of Jasper Niemand) and her husband Archibald and published therein in February 1895. In their letter they write:

“A report having arisen that William Q. Judge did not himself write Letters that have Helped Me, we ask your fraternal assisting in correcting this rumour. It is false. It attributes the letters to the dictation or the teaching of the Master “Hilarion,” who is known to have been in daily (physical) intercourse with Mr. Judge in 1888 in New York. . . . Those of us to whom the Master Hilarion is objectively, as well as psychically known, have the best of reasons for asserting that these letters were not from him, and we do so state now and here. Matter from him, whether “inspired” or objectively dictated, is in quite another style.” [bold added]

It is very interesting to learn that this Greek-Cypriot Adept was in direct face-to-face contact and communication with Mr Judge in New York (the city where he lived and worked) in 1888, which was when HPB was still alive and in fact the year that “The Secret Doctrine” was published. Some students have found the article “Reflections,” published by Mr Judge in his magazine “The Path” in February 1889, to bear traces of the distinctive “Hilarion” style. “Reflections” was unsigned and thus, for all we know, may have been dictated, inspired, or written, by this Master. It can be found in “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 2, p. 507-508 and WQJ Pamphlet #29 “Notes and Comments.”

To this day there are certain Theosophical students in New York who know some of the details of Mr Judge’s meetings with the Master Hilarion and of where they took place.

~ * ~

Below are further statements by Mr Judge which were read at conventions of the Theosophical Society in the USA and Europe in 1894 and published in “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 2, p. 304, 305-306 and WQJ Pamphlet #27 “Issues in the T.S.”

“Finally I may say that my personal belief in Mahatmas is based on even stronger evidence than Theosophical arguments or the experience of others. As is known to some Theosophists, I have not been entirely without guidance and help from these exalted friends of the T.S. The form which the whole matter has taken now compels me to say what I have never before said publicly, namely, that not only have I received direct communications from Masters during and since the life of H. P. Blavatsky, but that I have on certain occasions repeated such to certain persons for their own guidance, and also that I have guided some of my own work under suggestions from the same sources, though without mentioning the fact.”

“I admit that I have received and delivered messages from the Mahatmas and assert their genuineness.

“I say that I have heard and do hear from the Mahatmas, and that I am an agent of the Mahatmas; but I deny that I have ever sought to induce that belief in others, and this is the first time to my knowledge that I have ever made the claim now made. I am pressed into the place where I must make it. My desire and effort have been to distract attention from such an idea as related to me. But I have no desire to make the claim, which I repudiate, that I am the only channel for communications with Masters; and it is my opinion that such communication is open to any human being who by endeavoring to serve mankind affords the necessary conditions.”

We now reproduce in full a short article titled “An Old Message from The Master” which Mr Judge published in “The Irish Theosophist” in February 1895 and which is today published and available in the same volume and pamphlet as mentioned above.

~ * ~


The following message was not among those which Mrs. Besant intended to use against me – because it was not known to the prosecutors – in the recent proceedings, which never should have been begun because unconstitutional. I obtained it Nov. 1st, 1891, in the distant State of Wyoming, U.S. It reads:

We sent him to London and made him stay so long in order to lay down currents which have since operated, for inasmuch as “sacred names” were assailed long ago the present reaction in England more than counterbalances the assault on us which you so much deplore. But the only thing we deplore is the sorrow of the world, which can only be cut off by the philosophy you were such a potent factor in bringing to the West, and which now other disciples are promulgating also. This is the age of the common people although you may not agree – but so it is – and as we see forces at work and gathering by you unseen, we must commend all efforts that give wide-spread notice to even one word of the philosophy.

This is meant for A.P.S. Have you the courage to send it.

[Signed by M.]

I had the courage, copied it at the time it was received, and sent the original to Mr. Sinnett by mail from Wyoming. He must have received it, because otherwise it would have come back to me in accordance with directions on the envelope. If there ever was a genuine message this is one. It refers to the great public excitement in England, about that time, about Theosophy, in the course of which the “sacred names” of the Masters were mentioned. The person referred to as being in London “to lay down currents” is myself. I invite the attention of the prosecutors to this message.

Very probably Mr. Sinnett will not contest the genuineness of the message, because he sent me, nearly about that time, a letter from himself addressed to the Master, requesting me to transmit it and procure the answer, if any. Many of us – those who accept the above as genuine – will find it of interest, seeing that it confirms what several hold, that this is the era of the masses, and that Master has more interest in efforts for their good than on the progress of any particular person or class.

Being under no obligation to secrecy I cannot be blamed for giving out the foregoing facts at this time, when I am attacked at every point; it will certainly derogate nothing from Mr. Sinnett’s standing to admit the fact of his believing, at the time mentioned, that I could transmit a request or letter to the Master.


~ * ~

During the period 1893-1895, whilst Mr Judge’s opponents railed against him, he began to make occasional hints and references in his articles to his past and present relation with the Masters and to his having been directly taught and instructed by Them through HPB during the early days of the Movement in New York. HPB speaks of this, although not naming him, in the Introductory to the first volume of “The Secret Doctrine” p. xviii-xix:

“Moreover, a considerable part of the philosophy expounded by Mr. Sinnett [i.e. in his book “Esoteric Buddhism” which was based on Letters received from the Masters] was taught in America, even before Isis Unveiled was published [i.e. even before 1877], to two Europeans and to my colleague, Colonel H. S. Olcott. Of the three teachers the latter gentleman has had, the first was a Hungarian Initiate, the second an Egyptian, the third a Hindu. As permitted, Colonel Olcott has given out some of this teaching in various ways; if the other two have not, it has been simply because they were not allowed: their time for public work having not yet come.”

Mr Judge, who was Irish by birth, could thus write in November 1894:

“In my possession and within my control is a large body of Instructions given to me all the time from 1875, which I shall give out and have given out, as far as I am directed. Read page xix of Secret Doctrine (Introduction to vol. I), where H.P.B. ∴ says she taught Colonel Olcott and two Europeans. I am one of the latter.”

And so, in his September 1893 article “How To Square The Teachings,” published in “The Path” (“William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 1 p. 234-237 and WQJ Pamphlet #8 “Cyclic Evolution”) and which was written with a view of correcting several misconceptions put forth by Sinnett, in which the latter essentially declared that he knew and understood the Esoteric Doctrine better than HPB, Mr Judge made such statements as –

“Even in 1888 it was not the time to make the point precisely clear to the public. Times have rule in occult teaching more than most readers – or writers – of theosophical books suspect. But the clue was given, a broad hint was thrown out. It is now the time when what I was told in 1876 and 1878 by the Masters through H.P.B. may be told, since the prohibition put personally upon me has been withdrawn.”

– and also quoted, whether verbatim or in essence, from an otherwise unknown Letter from the Masters, which he described as dating from “before Mr. Sinnett was in the T.S.”:

“The unseen companions of your earth [i.e. the six other globes of the Earth Chain] are united with it in mass, though different as to quality of substance. The visible planets of your Solar System which have a relation special and peculiar to Earth are Mars, Mercury, and Venus. But what that peculiar – nay wonderful – relation is do not ask, for we will not tell you. If while the current is open you persist in the question, you will arouse in yourselves a perplexity which the answer obtained will not relieve. Is there not a spirit of irritation, of rage, and another of wisdom and active judgment in man and Nature which may relate to visible planets which are not an actual part of earth’s own special family? This is as far as we will now go.”

At the close of the article, challenging Sinnett’s teaching that all souls always spend a fixed period of exactly 1,500 years in the state of Devachan between incarnations, he writes:

“I make bold to say that it is not 1500 years since I was last in devachan, but much less; and this assertion is made on personal knowledge supported by confirmatory statement from the same Masters.”

In the February 1893 “Path” article “The Earth Chain of Globes” (which can be found in “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 1, p. 216-217 and WQJ Pamphlet #8 “Cyclic Evolution”) an excerpt is provided from another unknown Mahatma Letter:

“[The] seven globes of earth’s chain, while differing from each other as to what is commonly called substance, are united together in a single mass. And when one is asked to shake off the dense veil of matter which beclouds the sight so as to perceive another of the globes, it is by no means meant that the companion globe, or globes, as the case may be, would be seen rolling in space all by itself . . .”

Later on, after having made the above admissions of being an agent of the Masters and in contact and communication with Them, Mr Judge became more explicit in his references to this in some of his articles.

In his important article “The Closing Cycle,” for example, published in “The Irish Theosophist” for January 1895 (“William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 2, p. 152-155 and WQJ Pamphlet #3 “The Theosophical Movement”) he said:

“The matter has been furnished by the Masters in the work done by H. P. Blavatsky in her books, and what has grown out of those. She has said, the Masters have said, and I again assert it for the benefit of those who have any faith in me, that the Masters have told me that they helped her write the Secret Doctrine so that the future seventy-five and more years should have some material to work on, and that in the coming years that book and its theories would be widely studied. The material given has then to be worked over, to be assimilated for the welfare of all.”

“This idea may seem strange,” he added at the end of the article, in relation to another matter, “but for those who will believe my unsupported word I say it is the Master’s saying.”

We will give just one further example, which is from the April 1895 issue of “The Path” and the article “The Truth about East and West” (“William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 2, p. 284 and WQJ Pamphlet #26 “Theosophy in India”) where he refers to “. . . my statement as to the relative position of the East and West – a statement supported by facts, and given also to me by the Masters, who know.”

We now reproduce in full another very short article from Mr Judge, which may be found to be of much interest and significance. It is titled “Bogus Mahatma Messages,” was published in “The Path” in January 1895, and can today be found in “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 1, p. 369-370 and WQJ Pamphlet #13 “Occultism and Its Laws.”

~ * ~


On November 30th, 1894, I received, from a source I always respect, this warning: “Look out for anonymous and bogus ‘occult’ messages to members of the Society. Both will be sent, as attempts at delusion, as burlesques, and for other purposes.” On the second of December, at 144 Madison Avenue, New York, a New York F.T.S. [i.e. Fellow of the Theosophical Society] in the presence of Mr. A. Fullerton handed me a packet. A plate giving the written contents is given below.

The member’s name is Joseph W. Ganson, a very earnest student. He said it had fallen into his lap at his Club, the Harvard, or seemed to fall out of a newspaper he held. The only other person present was a friend who declared he had nothing to do with it. The packet is of yellowish linen paper, looking quite eastern. It was addressed “Ganson,” and near the address is “a pledge.” Inside was also a half of a palm-leaf south Indian manuscript with a flower in it.

Mr. Ganson said he did not know whether it was genuine or not, but could not decide and asked me to tell him. I then said that if a joke he could take the words to heart, if he chose, for what was good in them, but that in three days I would decide. On December 5th I gave him a signed certificate that the message is not genuine and had been concocted by three persons, and that all genuine objective messages from the Masters carried with them a peculiar and definite odor which could not be imitated and which once identified would not be forgotten. The message was shown to a large number of members at a meeting, and but few were willing to decide for or against it, admitting non-ability save by argument, inference, and appearance. Appearance is no guide, because this message might have been genuine and still have the same appearance and contents.

Mr. W. E. Coleman of San Francisco is also occupying himself in sending post-cards to many members in all parts signed “Mahatma E.” with three stars, referring to exposures and scurrilous attacks. Members may as well know these facts. I invite all to send to me any and all messages, real or pretended, and I will guarantee to render a decision according to the fact in each case. Beware not only of bogus messages but also of anonymous communications.


~ * ~

One can readily see how someone would have to have tremendous confidence in their own genuineness in order to be able to make such an offer as that, in a public magazine: “I invite all to send to me any and all messages, real or pretended, and I will guarantee to render a decision according to the fact in each case.” It would attract all sorts of fabrications and hoaxes in an attempt to fool Mr Judge and trip him up by leading him to misidentify a bogus message/letter as legitimate. Yet there is no record or account of this, whereas if there was it would surely have been publicised and exposed by his opponents.

Some insight into his knowledge of occult phenomena, derived primarily from HPB, including explanation as to how some of these things are done, can be obtained from a study of his article “The Occult Arts,” published in “The Path” from October 1893 to January 1894 in four parts. Parts I and II are on “Precipitation,” Part III on “Disintegration – Reintegration,” and Part IV “Some Propositions by H. P. Blavatsky.” A related article is “Imagination and Occult Phenomena,” published in “The Path” in December 1892. All these are in the first volume of “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” and in WQJ Pamphlet #19 “Occult Phenomena.”

Decades later, C.F. Willard was to write of William Judge that “He was so modest that the knowledge of his ability along occult lines was known to few, except to those to whom he wished to impart occult information which he saw would be needed in after years.”

In a White Lotus Day talk in the early years of the ULT, Robert Crosbie remarked:

“Many have heard of the great powers H. P. B. possessed, and many during her life-time were witness to phenomenal exercise of those powers. William Q. Judge had the same powers. H. P. B.’s powers were heralded abroad by those who saw their exhibitions and believed them, as well as by those who heard of them and disbelieved. Those possessed by William Q. Judge were not so heralded; in fact, so far as was in his power he sedulously concealed the spreading abroad of the knowledge that he had them.

“Now, I may be excused if I speak a few words personally of him in particular, the misunderstood and misrepresented Colleague of H. P. B.

“I met William Q. Judge in 1886 and at that first meeting I found something I had never felt before – the confidence, the realization of the power and knowledge of that Being – and never was I mistaken in it. Never was he false, never did he lack or fail in a single instance in the expression or the use of that power and knowledge. Always he sought to rouse in those with whom he talked the idea of the inner immortal nature of every man; always he sought to implant in their minds the desire and aspiration to realize their own Divinity. And to those whom he trusted he showed again and again great control over the powers of nature. Always, in such cases, he showed those powers, not to gratify curiosity, not to display his knowledge, but always in illustration of the workings of some great law in nature. In Theosophy there is no such thing as miracle. All those occurrences that seem to us incredible or miraculous are brought about by a knowledge of the higher and finer laws of nature.”

William Quan Judge is dead and has been for 120 years. His INNER BEING – the “Rajah” or “Luminous Youth” – is alive and has been for aeons. Did not HPB, writing in the third person in 1889, assert that “W.Q.J. is part of herself since several eons.” ? These two great Initiate-Souls, who we speak of as “HPB” and “WQJ,” are far from being “dead.” Some, like Robert Crosbie, knew this directly and experientially for themselves.

~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~

For further information and explanation, you may also like to read Who was William Quan Judge?, The Welcome Influence of William Q. Judge, In Memory of William Q. Judge, Understanding The Importance of Mr Judge, William Q. Judge – A Sculptor’s Appreciation, H.P.B. and W.Q.J. – A Poem, The Masters and Madame Blavatsky, Col. Olcott’s Disloyalty to H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge’s “New Era of Western Occultism”, The Theosophical Society is Disloyal to Theosophy, Theosophy – An Explanation and Overview, The Point Loma & Pasadena “Successorship” Claim Exposed, The Man Who Rescued Theosophy, and The United Lodge of Theosophists.


“The ‘messages from the Masters’ have not ceased. They go on all the time for those who are able and fit to have them. But no more to the doubting and the suspicious. Even as I write they have gone to some, and in relation to this very affair, and in relation to other revelations and pledge-breakings. It is a fact in experience to me, and to friends of mine who have not had messages from me, that the Masters exist, and have to do with the affairs of the world and the Theosophical movement. No amount of argument or Maskelyneish explanation will drive out that knowledge. It will bear all the assaults of time and foolish men. And the only basis on which I can place the claim of communications by the Masters to me, so far as the world is concerned, is my life and acts. If those for the last twenty years go to prove that I cannot be in communication with such beings, then all I may say one way or the other must go for nought.”

~ William Q. Judge to “The Westminster Gazette” November 1894 ~

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