Blavatsky's frauds, the Hoax of the Mahatma Letters and the Myth of the Masters
Nov 05, 1996 03:49 PM
by Blavatsky Foundation
I have been reading with much interest the postings from
Theos-l over the last week. There is much discussion of
the early deceptions and hoaxes of Blavatskyy, the fraud of
the Mahatma Letters and the myth of the Masters. But in all
the postings I have seen, no one has given DETAILED, SPECIFIC
INSTANCES to illustrate and document these generalized
statements. I will quote a number of instances from these various
Some one wrote:
>How do you reconcile the value that you find in the contents of the
>literature with the admitted facts of the early deceptions, hoaxes and
>personal power struggles of the founders that were purported to
>authenticate and validate them and their source in the "Brotherhood of
What admitted facts are you talking about? What are your sources?
Your primary sources? Details are everything.
Dr. A.M.Bain or possibly someone else wrote:
> The production of the letters has been discussed rather
> extensively and much of the evidence points out to the non-authenticity
> of the letters. Many who have studied them suspect the direct hand of
> HPB in the production of certainly some of them.
Dr. Bain, could you please let us know your sources for these statements?
What evidence are you talking about? Could you give us one or two
Art House wrote:
> I was just wondering how people on this list who had heard about the
> shams of those early days might have dealt with them (if at all). It
> seems to me that through their deceptive actions the founders cast
> suspicion and doubt on much of what they were trying to do (and that's
> the optimistic view).
> Its bad enough that these deceptions were used in establishing the
> "occult authority" of the society in the first place, but they continued
> to be used, mainly in the form of "precipitated or psychically received"
> letters to try to back up both Annie Besant and Leadbeater's claims for
> power after Mme.Blavatsky's death.
Art, can you give us some details of HPB's deceptive actions? What book
or source did you read this in?
Again, Art, writes:
> Has anybody read a book called "Madame Blavatsky's Baboon"
> (By Peter Washington.1993,1995 Schocken Books Inc., New York). It's
> well-researched and seems unafraid to look at the history of the
> Society, warts and all.
How do you know it was "well-reseached"? What background knowledge
do you have in the subjects Washington writes about? He makes so many
mistakes on HPB's life that I lost count of them.
>Most on the list are fully aware of it. Since Washington wrote
>the book to make money and many have limited budget of time and
>money, may not have read them, nor are they likely to.
MKR, how do you know Washington's motive for writing the book?
Maybe his motive was to tell the truth about HPB and those that followed
her. Did Mrs. Besant or Krishnamurti have their books published JUST
to make money?
Michael <email@example.com> wrote;
>Be assured that you have at least one supporter in this group to share your
> I have raised these also in the group especially in regard to other
>critical works such as "Madame Blavatsky, the woman behind the myth" by
>Marion Meade (ISBN 0-399-12376-8). I have never been under the impression,
>however, that the authors had much affinity to spirituality and therefore
>were ill-equipped to assess spiritual philosophy .
Michael, how well-researched is Marion Meade's book? Have you checked
up on her accuracy? For the past 16 years I have used Marion Meade's
book in my research work but it is full of many inaccuracies, distortions and
assumptions. Every student of HPB's work should read it but needs to
do other reading in the primary sources to evaluate what Meade writes.
Again, Michael writes:
>My impression is that participants in this discussion-group have at least
>the common sense to admit that we are dealing with a Theosophical myth -
>that of the Masters. Although Spiritualism is frowned upon in these circles,
>being of a lower order, Mme Blavatsky's life can only be appreciated if one
>is conversant with the phenomena of communication and presences. We have no
>proof that the "Masters" were not fragments of HPB's personality, or if they
>were entities, who tells us that they did not present themselves according
>to popular demand as Masters? One has only to follow the primitive
>commucations of the Brotherhood of Luxor, Egypt, to those of the Himalayas
>to see a striking development. It is a pity that, as far as I know, never a
>hand-writing expert analysed the letters in the British Museum library.
Michael, what do you mean by the Theosophical myth of the Masters? I sorta
know what K. Paul Johnson means by the word "myth" in talking about the
Theosophical Masters? But what do you mean? A concrete, detailed, specific
example or two would be most helpful. Again, you write: "We have no
proof that the 'Masters' were not fragments of HPB's personality, or if they
were entities [???] , who tells us that they did not present themselves
to popular demand as Masters." Have you read even Johnson's books? A
reading of his books would show the reader that there was some evidence that
HPB's Masters were MORE than fragments of HPB's personality. In several
cases, a group of people testified that they saw one of the Masters. In those
instances, were the witnesses seeing NOTHING BUT "fragments" of HPB's
personality? How familiar are you with the primary sources concerning HPB
and her "Masters"?
Ann B. writes:
>Personally, I find the whole issue of who the Masters are, if they are and
>where they are, to be a tedious discussion. It belongs in the category of
>proving if UFOs exist. If one does pick you up for ride, no one is going
>you anyway, because there is no "proof". No alien ashtrays or galactic
>grocery receipts that one can lift from their saucer. Same with a Master, or
>whatever you choose to call them. Are they passing out souvenir teacups
>drop by for teatime in the Himalayas? As Carl Sagan says about UFOs,
>"There is no smoking gun!"
Ann, I see your point BUT if the "Masters" and the tedious discussion of
them belong to the category of proving if UFOs exist, what about ALL of the
Theosophical teachings??? Reincarnation, ESP, life after death, karma,
other planes of existence, etc. etc. Where's the "proof" of these? These
are even less physical or more elusive that "Masters"! Carl Sagan does
NOT believe in any of these subjects either!
K. Paul Johnson wrote in reply to the first quotation in this posting:
> There is to a certain
>extent a justification for the misrepresentations of the
>Masters made by HPB, which you will find in my books. She was
>obliged to conceal their true names and much else about them in
>order to protect their privacy. And having revealed more about
>them than was prudent, she then had to cover up by generating
>contradictory stories to confuse the issue. For example, M.
>and K.H. are portrayed as a Hindu and a Sikh respectively,
>residents of Northwest India, in early sources. But later they
>become Buddhists who live a thousand miles to the East in
>Tibet. My conclusion is that the first story was the true one
>and the second designed to throw people off the scent.
>Michael R., you put me in the vulnerable position of
>recommending my own books. When you say "We have no proof that
>the `Masters' were not fragments of HPB's personality" I can
>only assume that you have not read *The Masters Revealed* and
>its sequel or else that you dismiss them entirely. Although
>some Theosophists, most notably John Algeo, have reacted with
>contempt and anger to my effort to ground HPB's claims in
>history, most reviewers outside the TS and within it have
>accepted my fundamental thesis. TMR got raves in the New York
>Times Book Review and The Skeptic of all places. That claim is that
>every figure of note in the pantheon of HPB's Masters can be related
>by historical evidence to real people she can be shown or plausibly
>to have known. And moreover that her knowledge of esoteric and Oriental
>traditions can be observed to have gradually developed through her
>life due in part to acquaintance with a series of initiates in
>various traditions who were widely regarded as experts in them.
>The correspondences between such acquaintances and the Masters
>as she depicted them are not simple one-to-one equivalences, which
>Algeo and others falsely accuse me of claiming to have provided.
>And they range from very strong to quite weak, with every stage
>in between represented among the 32 characters nominated as
>Masters. But they are substantial enough to prove that HPB didn't make
>the Masters up out of whole cloth, or imagine them, or project
>them as multiple personalities. She fictionalized real people
>who had many of the traits attributed to the Masters.
Paul, I must agree at least with your initial comment to Michael R.
Did fragments of HPB's personality have the ability to appear
to groups of witnesses?
But Paul's thesis (at least on the Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi) is
extremely weak and is full of holes. I have just finished a 42 page
paper titled K. PAUL JOHNSON'S HOUSE OF CARDS?: An Examination
of Johnson's Thesis on the Theosophical Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi.
I deal with the historical issues in detail with specific references to
the primary historical documents. Within the next month, copies of this
paper will be sent to Johnson, various reviewers of Johnson's books,
Frederick Crews and many other interested parties. Copies will be posted on
various Usenet groups and a copy will be available on the World Wide
Web. Interested readers will then be in a better position to judge
the validity or reasonableness of Johnson's thesis on M. and K.H.
My reason for challenging various postings from Theos-l is to encourage
people to really think through the issues involved. Have Theos-l writers
read the primary source documents or have they relied on secondary
sources such as Mead's, Johnson's and Washington's books?
I am hoping a few individuals addressed above will give me and the rest of
the Theos-l readers some detailed, specific examples to illustrate their
views and opinions.
Food for thought.
Daniel H. Caldwell
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