A book every Theosophical student should read
Jan 11, 1995 11:11 AM
I have just finished reading for the seond time the book THE
MASTERS REVEALED: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great
White Lodge by K. Paul Johnson.
This book, in my opinion, should be read by every Theosophical
student who is interested in the life of H.P. Blavatsky and the
question of the existence of her Masters. In the foreword to the
book, Joscelyn Godwin also writes: "All Theosophists, it goes
without saying, should pluck up the courage to read this book. .
. .But it is the world of learning that has the most to gain
from Mr. Johnson's work, for it opens a whole field of future
research. . . ."
I hope everyone on the Theos Network will purchase a copy and
read this thought-provoking book.
Here are a few of the quotes from the back cover of the book:
"The author has transferred the discussion of Blavatsky's sources
from the realm of the mythical to the historical. He has given
us a well-researched series of capsuled biographies of persons
from whom Blavatsky learned, and the nature of her relationship
with each of them....Readers will be fascinated, as I was, to see
basic profiles of historical personalities behind Morya and Koot
Hoomi. . . ."
Hal W. French, University of South Carolina
"...He [Johnson] has marshalled an impressive body of evidence to
show that the Theosophical masters are neither disembodied
spirits nor are they fictions but are specific historical
personages whose identities were disguised for various reasons."
James Burnell Robinson, University of Northern Iowa
The book was published in 1994 by the State University of New
York Press (310 pp, $16.95 paperback; $49.50 hardbound). The
easiest way to order the book is to call the toll free number
1-800-666-2211. Postge and handling is $3.00. SUNY takes VISA,
MasterCard, American Express and Discover orders. Or by mail,
order from SUNY %CUP Services, PO Box 6525, Ithaca, NY 14851.
I hope that "Theosophical History" will do a long review of the
book or possibly allow 2 or 3 reviews to appear (as in the case
of Sylvia Cranston's biography of HPB).
At a later date, I plan to do a review of Johnson's book and
provide an updated critique of Johnson's "identifications of
Morya and Koot Hoomi." I plan to post it on Theos-Roots. At this
time I only wan to comment that Johnson's THE MASTERS REVEALED is
a gold mine of biographical information on various people
surrounding HPB: names such as Albert Rawson, Agardi Metrovitch,
Lydia Pahkov, Marie, Countess of Caithness, James Peebles,
Charles Sotheran, Mikhail Katkov, Sarat Chandra Das, etc. My
favorite 2 chapters are probably the ones on "Raphael Borg" and
"Who Inspired Hume?" All students of the Mahatma Letters will
enjoy this latter chapter on A.O. Hume.
This book, no doubt, will be controversial but that's good if it
prods people (especially Theosophists) to reexamine their own
beliefs and assumptions. I would like to end this brief review
of Paul Johnson's book with a new HISTORICAL RESEARCH PUZZLE #2:
On p. 144 of THE MASTERS REVEALED, Johnson writes:
"Several additional fragments of evidence lend support to the
identification of [Maharaja] Ranbir Singh [of Kashmir] as the
protype for Morya. . . .Just before his death, Olcott had
visions of the astral form of a Master. When he asked `Who is
there?' it answered `Cashmere.' But, oddly, his secretary then
recorded Olcott's response as `Oh! That is the name I always gave
K.H.' [Endnote 71 added at this point]"
Johnson then continues writing: "Reference to a maharaja by the
name of his kingdom is a standard usage in Olcott's writings, so
it would seem this reverses the identities of M. and K.H.
However, it is possible that the secretary misunderstood Olcott,
or that he was in a confused state at the time. Another striking
reference to Kashmir is in a humorous drawing of Olcott by HPB,
which shows him being interrogated by a Mahatma, who is
identified in the drawing as `Saib Morya' but in the caption
underneath as `Saib Kashmere.'" [Endnote 72 added at his point]
Endnote 71 reads: Howard Murphet, YANKEE BEACON OF BUDDHIST
LIGHT, p. 306.
Endnote 72 reads: Mary K. Neff, comp., PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF H.P.
BLAVATSKY, p. 221.
Can anyone verify (or falsify) these statements by Paul Johnson?
Please consult the two sources mentioned. Are there other
sources that throw additional light on these statement?
Why does Johnson write "oddly"?
Did Olcott call Master K.H. by the name of "Cashmere"
Is the Master in the drawing identifed as both "Saib Morya" and
It might also be useful to read pages 143-145 of Johnson's book
for the context in which the quotes are given.
First person with the correct answers wins a copy of Geoffrey
Farthing's DEITY, COSMOS AND MAN: An Outline of Esoteric Science.
1993. If you already have a copy, please donate gift copy to
your local library.
Be sure to cite all sources consulted and give your answers and
your reasoning in full detail.
- - -
In summary, Paul Johnson has devoted a great deal of time and
effort in researching various portions of HPB's life and the
historical identities of her Masters. The book is a treasure
trove of biographical and historical information.
Daniel H. Caldwell
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