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Re: Elizabeth Clare Prophet

Jan 31, 1995 03:15 PM

For an autobiographical (automythological?) sketch of Shri
Mazzininanda Khan, see the periodical The Open Court, 1912
issues.  Paul Carus was duped by Khan, the latter submitting an
article and bio in that periodical.  Carus even introduced him,
thinking he'd happened on something extraordinary.  The article
was entitled The High Mass as Celebrated in Lhasa.  A hodgepodge
of bits and pieces of everything imaginable, it is sheer
nonesense.  For example, Khan has Tibetan ritual including
chanting of "Namo Myohorenge Kyo, the Japanese Buddhist mantra
form of the title of the Saddharmapundarika Sutra now so well
known and associated with Nichiren Sho Shu.

Khan appears to have died around 1928.  By then Spencer Lewis was
back in San Jose, starting up what would grow into Rosicrucian
Park.  He saw fit to plagarize Khan's earlier article, only
editing it down in size, publishing it in AMORC's magazine under
one of his nom de plumes - Sobhito Bhikhu; the article is purely
Khan's material.

Spencer Lewis was "initiated into Buddhism" in 1920.  Piecing
scattered stories together, the event must have occured in what
is today the San Francisco Buddhist Temple in Japantown.  Khan
officiated, and had a group of cronies with names as unlikely as
his own - mixtures of Sanskrit and other languages, the kind of
things you'd expect of persons inspired yet of meager
capabilities.  The type of Buddhism practiced at that temple
requries roughly the equivalency of a BA degree for simple
ordination - a BA in its version of Buddhist studies.  Lewis'
writings on the matter of Buddhism indicate he had no pipeline to
Asian sources, instead simply echoing the interpretations of that
first generation of pioneering scholars who effectively unleashed
rather unacceptable views on the public.  So Lewis claimed an
ordination without substance in a tradition invented by Khan;
Lewis claimed the title, but did little to understand the nature
and function of far eastern gnosis.

Khan's apostolic succession to the Great White Brotherhood Lodge
conferred on Lewis allowed or justified AMORC's so-called "upper
degree" work.  The real purpose of AMORC study and initiation is
to work through the nine degree of Rosicrucian work in
preparation for joining teh GWBL.  In those upper degrees Lewis
establishes that in his many incarnations stretching back to
Egypt, he's pretty much been the Western tradition! I believe he
identifies himself as one of the Masters.

When we look to Prophet and the I AM movement before, we must
look to what else was going on in metaphysical culture.  Despite
its period of implosive fragmentation, the TS became mandatory to
borrow from.  Lewis spent a good portion of the late 1920s and
much of the 30s in litigation and in a feud spilling into the
courts with Clymer.  For a new organization like Ballard's to
appropriate the Masters was simply good business sense - and
relocating them to Mount Shasta.

I'd check with Gordon Melton at UC Santa Barbara.  He's been a
Khan watcher for some time.

Oppps.  Back to Khan and Lewis.  When Lewis built his Francis
Bacon Auditorium in San Jose, it became the regular Sunday
evening meeting place of the Pristine Church - with Lewis in his
Cardinal Richelieu get up.  That, too, was teh name of the Church
Khan had run in San Francisco then moved to Oakland.  I have a
copy of its "hymnal." I've often wondered why Lewis pulled up
stakes seemingly overnight, moving from San Francisco to Miami.
Could he have had a falling out with Khan? Could they have gotten
into some real trouble? Can Khan's obituary or death certificate
be located?

Ken O'Neill

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