Dear Quest Magazine,
I am writing in response to the Summer 2011 Issue. First
of all, congratulations to the Theosophical Society for
the inspiring recent events with the Dalai Lama and for
his message on the Kinship of the World's Faiths. His Holiness
the Dalai Lama spoke to our hearts and reiterated the Brotherhood
of Man as one of the Theosophical Society's key pillars.
The concept of the Kinship of the World's religions and
this great summer gathering serves to make the article,
Mahatmas Vs Ascended
Masters stand out in quite an awkward way. Of all peoples,
shouldn't the very students of the Masters and the Ancient
Wisdom be able to reach out the hand of brotherhood to one
another? Shouldn't we be able to dialogue, to explore, to
weigh and measure the teachings and the practices and to
see what works and holds true? Shouldn't we actually be
delighted to meet one another?
Let me give you my past history and explain more of my
thoughts. As a child of eleven, I came into contact with
a book meant for my mother that outlined the "revelation"
of the Masters thru Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. This book
named KH and Morya as her teachers and as "masters"
and went on to inspire a mere child to find these teachers.
I was searching for them in libraries and books stores ever
I attended Loyola University as an 18 year old. Shortly
thereafter I also discovered a book by Kuthumi called Studies
of the Human Aura. Later, I realized that the book was published
by The Summit Lighthouse and that these teachings were given
by KH after his transition and through the consciousness
of Elizabeth Clare Prophet who served as a "messenger".
I joined the Summit Lighthouse and was a staff member of
the Chicago Teaching Center and also a staff member in California.
I was part of the Headquarters move to Montana and lived
through the "shelter cycle" and beyond as Elizabeth
Clare Prophet tried to guide the organization into a more
Through all this time I have kept up my interest and support
for Theosophy, which as I saw it, and indeed was taught,
is the parent or precursor for the Summit Lighthouse. I
am currently a TS Member. We see these teachings as a continuing
stream through which the Great Brotherhood is seeking to
alleviate the ignorance and suffering of mankind who incarnate
and live without ever understanding why and wherefore and
what comes next.
I have always felt such compassion for people who are hurtled
into embodiment, live out their lives in haste, and confusion
and often sorrow when their teachers and the truth of the
mystery of life is just beyond the veil.
Bear with me as I make a number of points in response to
Pablo Sender's article.
First, just because the Mahatmas KH and M were physically
alive when they began their correspondence with Sinnett,
Olcott, AO Hume, Madame Blavatsky and Leadbeater, doesn't
mean that they could not or would not continue their teaching
of these people after they made their transition, or took
their next initiations.
CW Leadbeater, whom Mr. Sender refers to and recommends
in his article, in his book The Masters and the Path, describes
the higher initiations of these Mahatmas. The Arhat achieves
the Fourth Initiation. The Fifth Initiation which creates
the Adept or Asheka level as the Buddhists call him, creates
a liberated life, a free being. Leadbeater goes on to say
that Christian symbolism calls this Initiation the Ascension
or the attainment of Adeptship. Leadbeater says that the
Adept does ascend clear above humanity but can choose, as
did Christ, to return, teach and help. (page 204,Masters
and the Path)
In another section of this same classic by this well respected
clairvoyant, Leadbeater describes the spiritual festival
of Wesak and how at this special time the entire Spirit
of the Brotherhood, both ascended and unascended, work together
under the Buddha for mankind's sake.
Secondly, there is an interesting concept in spiritual
history of "dispensations". In the Summit Lighthouse,
it was taught that the Masters founded the TS Society at
the end of the time in history when most of the Ancient
Wisdom Teachings were only taught in secret. For this reason,
the Masters did not initially want the Mahatma Letters published,
and truly these letters were published without their consent.
The teachings in these letters can be hard to understand
if they are taken out of context, which they often are.
In the light of this idea of dispensations, we were taught
that the I AM Movement and Agni Yoga were both efforts by
the Brotherhood to make the Teachings more widespread. It
has been said that the simple presentation of the I AM movement
by Guy Ballard served to allow many people to understand
- and even more importantly to apply - the difficult and
complex Theosophical teachings. The Magic Presence correlates
to the Theosophical Society concept of the Monad, the higher
mental body to the Ego, and the soul is the portion of man
evolving here in the physical plane. The I AM Movement taught
the concept of spiritual evolution and the path to a mostly
Christian populace that were ready for an "upgrade"
I have a picture of Guy and Edna Ballard's altar where
the pictures of Morya and Kuthumi are clearly visible. As
Theosophy went into a tailspin of sorts after the departure
of Krishnamurti and many TS members were confused and reeling,
both the I AM Movement and the Agni Yoga group reached out
to people in a new way.
Its amazing to realize that the I AM Movement galvanized
hundreds of thousands of Americans to gather and pray, decree,
make fiats, meditate and strive to make contact with the
Brotherhood all through the 1930's and through World War
Two. The Supreme Court threw out the "mail fraud"
case to which Mr. Sender's article refers. Since the I Am
Movement was being hounded by the government for not being
able to "prove" that the Masters exists, I would
think TS has more in common with the attacked side in this
case. Christianity could have been next to prove Jesus ever
This brings us to another point in the Quest article that
the "Ascended Masters" and their students focus
on personal wealth, health, and success in contrast to the
World Service ideal that the Brotherhood put forward in
Theosophy. This point is very mistaken. The Summit Lighthouse
taught their students to serve mankind through many avenues.
The accumulation of spiritual knowledge is never enough
to transform personal consciousness or to change the world
for the better.
Just as HPB would laugh at the idea of her perfection,
I think it would be silly for us to set a standard or expectation
of perfection for the I AM Movement, the Summit Lighthouse,
or any of their Messengers. Perfection is the not the key
- striving, good will, compassion, and spiritual fire are
the keys to working for the Brotherhood.
Each of these groups or dispensations shares the commonality
of striving to be perfected in these qualities, to seek
perfection or to judge ourselves harshly for failing to
be perfect would only serve to undermine what the masters
have asked of us.
The article's point on karma and whether it can be balanced
or transmuted seems ironically like a fundamentalist Christian
viewpoint rather than the perspective of a theosophist.
Transmutation does not mean totally dissolved - it means
changed. I think the story of Nineveh in the Old Testament
shows a very good example of how a people face a prophecy
of their oncoming return of karma, change their ways and
transmute their karma. If there was no ability to transmute
our thoughts or emotional patterns, then the Buddha in all
his wisdom was wasting his time misleading us with the twin
verses of the Dhammapada.
Who can say whether a concentrated act of will, vision,
fohat and love cannot help a student rise in consciousness
and thereby change the flow of cause and effect? Why do
Buddhists say their mantras, Hindus chant and Catholics
pray the Rosary? Recent spiritual teachers have given new
teachings on the Science of the Spoken Word and the invocation
of the Violet Flame. Under the umbrella of the TS and the
idea of "there is no religion higher than truth"
- why don't we discuss, debate, and perhaps experiment with
these new teachings rather than be disdainful, and perhaps
even fundamentalist in our approach to them? I think this
response is not what I would expect from theosophists.
Finally, let's think about why the Brotherhood decided
to reveal themselves to modern men in the first place? Was
it a step that mankind had reached and some were ready for?
I think so. I think the Teachings of the Brotherhood are
meant for this age to be "mainstreamed" and that
the Theosophical Society could learn a few things from the
"messenger" groups that have introduced these
Teachings to many people in this last century.
We have a historical precedent for contact with the Brotherhood.
Each spiritual seeker must use discernment and be very careful
as to the source of spiritual experiences as the ever-present
danger of self-delusion and wishful thinking is a real challenge.
However, I think it is a mistake to put all possibility
of current contact with the Masters aside. As Jesus taught,
"my sheep know my voice." We do know these true
Teachers and Masters and can discern their presence.
I believe that the Brotherhood can protect itself from encroachment
by naughty elementals, impersonators on the astral plane,
and even from the error of kriyashakti--which I believe
is a very mistaken concept when applied to Mr. Leadbeater,
Annie Besant, HPB herself, or Elizabeth Clare Prophet and
Finally, and as a point of beginning, I think we can agree
with the simple statement "What is, is and what isn't,
isn't." The master Morya exists and there are students
in each of these groups that love and follow his wisdom.
Whether he is in embodiment or ascended is immaterial to
whether or not he exists. As spiritual seekers climbing
that spiritual ascent, that internal mountain to meet the
Masters in consciousness, I think we do it better emulating
brotherhood and co-operation rather create some "flesh
and blood" religion of these teachings that drives
wedges between the masters' students. We have a world in
crisis; we don't need to manufacture them between ourselves.
A world is waiting for us to act like the Masters we profess
to follow, in kindness and brotherhood, and in striving.
I hope this will open more dialogue and action,
--Paula Kennedy Kehoe
Paradise Valley, Montana
Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America
100/1 (Winter 2012): 4-5 & 8. Published on Alpheus with
the permission of the author.
Above is the longer, original letter to the editor. A shorter
version was published because of space constraints.
See also response by Govert