Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

1831 - 1891


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From The Masters and The Path by C W Leadbeater




Master M


Koot Hoomi

Master KH

Also spelt Kuthumi



THERE has been among Theosophical students a great deal of vagueness and uncertainty about the Masters, so perhaps it may help us to realize how natural Their lives are, and how there is an ordinary physical side to them, if I say a few words about the daily life and appearance of some of Them. There is no one physical characteristic by which an Adept can be infallibly distinguished from other men, but He always appears impressive, noble, dignified, holy and serene, and anyone meeting Him could hardly fail to recognize that he was in the

presence of a remarkable man. He is the strong but silent man, speaking only when He has a definite object in view, to encourage, to help or to warn, yet He is wonderfully benevolent and full of a keen sense of humour-- humour always of a kindly order, used never to wound, but always to lighten the troubles of life.


The Master Morya once said that it is impossible to make progress on the occult Path without a sense of humour, and certainly all the Adepts whom I have seen have possessed that qualification.


Most of Them are distinctly fine-looking men; Their physical bodies are practically perfect, for They live in complete obedience to the laws of health, and above all They never worry about anything. All Their evil karma has long been exhausted, and thus the physical body is as perfect an expression of the

Augoeides or glorified body of the ego as the limitations of the physical plane will allow, so that not only is the present body of an Adept usually splendidly handsome, but also new body that He may take in a subsequent incarnation is likely to be an almost exact reproduction of the old one, allowing for racial

and family differences, because there is nothing to modify it.


This freedom from karma gives Them, when for any reason They choose to take new bodies, entire liberty to select a birth in any country or race that may be convenient for the work that They have to do, and thus the nationality of the particular bodies

which They happen to be wearing at any given time is not of primary importance.


To know that a certain man is an Adept it would be necessary to see His causal body, for in that His development would show by its greatly increased size, and by a special arrangement of its colours into concentric spheres, such as is indicated to some extent in the illustration of the causal body of an Arhat

(Plate xxvi) in Man, Visible and Invisible.



There is a certain valley, or rather ravine, in Tibet, where three of these Great Ones, the Master Morya, the Master Kuthumi and the Master Djwal Kul are living at the present time.


The Master Djwal Kul, at Madame Blavatsky' s request, once made for her a

precipitated picture of the mouth of that ravine, and the illustration given herewith is a reproduction of a photograph of that. The original, which is precipitated on silk, is preserved in the shrine-room of the Headquarters of The Theosophical Society at Adyar. On the left of the picture the Master Morya is

seen on horse-back near the door of His house. The dwelling of the Master Kuthumi does not appear in the picture, being higher up the valley, round the bend on the right. Madame Blavatsky begged the Master Djwal Kul to put himself into the picture; He at first refused, but eventually added Himself as a small figure standing in the water and grasping a pole, but with His back to the spectator! This original is faintly tinted, the colours being blue, green and black. It bears the signature of the artist-- the nickname Gai Ben-Jamin, which He bore in His youth in the early days of the Society, long before He reached Adeptship. The scene is evidently taken early in the day, as the morning mists

are still clinging to the hillsides.


This signature was upon the lower margin outside the actual picture, and consequently it does not appear in our reproduction.


The Masters Morya and Kuthumi occupy houses on opposite sides of this narrow ravine, the slopes of which are covered with pine trees. Paths run down the ravine past Their houses, and meet at the bottom, where there is a little bridge. Close to the bridge a narrow door, which may be seen on the left at the

bottom of the picture, leads to a system of vast subterranean halls containing an occult museum of which the Master Kuthumi is the Guardian on behalf of the Great White Brotherhood.


The contents of this museum are of the most varied character. They appear to be intended as a kind of illustration of the whole process of evolution. For example, there are here the most life-like images of every type of man which has existed on this planet from the commencement-- from gigantic loose-jointed

Lemurians to pigmy remains of even earlier and less human races. Models in alto relievo show all the variations of the surface of the earth-- the conditions before and after the great cataclysms which have changed it so much. Huge diagrams illustrate the migrations of the different races of the world, and show exactly how far they spread from their respective sources.


Other similar diagrams are devoted to the influence of the various religions of the world, showing where each was practised in its original purity, and where it became mingled with and distorted by the remains of other religions.


Amazingly life-like statues perpetuate the physical appearance of certain of the great leaders and teachers of long-forgotten races; and various objects of interest connected with important and even unnoticed advancements in civilization are preserved for the examination of posterity. Original manuscripts of incredible antiquity and of priceless value are here to be seen--

a manuscript, for example, written by the hand of the Lord Buddha Himself in His final life as Prince Siddartha, and another written by the Lord Christ during His birth in Palestine. Here is kept that marvellous original of the Book of Dzyan, which Madame Blavatsky describes in the opening of The Secret Doctrine.


Here too are strange scripts from other worlds than ours. Animal and vegetable forms are also depicted, some few of which are known to us as fossils, though most of them are unimagined by our modern science. Actual models of some of the great cities of remote and forgotten antiquity are here for the study of the



All statues and models are vividly coloured exactly as were the originals; and we may note that the collection here was intentionally put together at the time, in order to represent to posterity the exact stages through which the evolution

or civilization of the time was passing, so that instead of mere incomplete fragments, such as our museums so often present to us, we have in all cases an intentionally educative series of presentations. There we find models of all the kinds of machinery which the different civilizations have evolved, and also there are elaborate and abundant illustrations of the types of magic in use at the various periods of history.


In the vestibule leading to these vast halls are kept the living images of those pupils of the Masters Morya and Kuthumi who happen at the time to be on probation, which I will describe later. These images are ranged round the walls like statues, and are perfect representations of the pupils concerned. It is not

probable, however, that they are visible to physical eyes, for the lowest matter entering into their composition is etheric.


Near the bridge there is also a small Temple with turrets of somewhat Burmese form, to which a few villagers go to make offerings of fruit and flowers, and to burn camphor and recite the Pancha Sila. A rough and uneven track leads down the valley by the side of the stream. From either of the two houses of the Masters the other house can be seen ; they are both above the bridge, but both cannot be seen from it, since the ravine bends round. If we follow the path up the valley past the house of the Master Kuthumi it will lead us to a large pillar of rock, beyond which, the ravine bending round again, it passes out of sight.


Some distance further on the ravine opens out into a plateau on which there is a lake, in which, tradition tells us, Madame Blavatsky used to bathe ; and it is said that she found it very cold. The valley is sheltered and faces south, and though the surrounding country is under snow during the winter, I do not

remember having seen any near the Masters' houses. These houses are of stone, very heavily and strongly built.




The house of the Master Kuthumi is divided into two parts by a passage-way running straight through it. As will be seen from our diagram 1 (p.32), which shows the ground plan of the southern half of the house, on entering the passage, the first door on the right leads into the principal room of the house,

in which our Master usually sits. It is large and lofty (about fifty feet by thirty feet), in many ways more like a hall than a room, and it occupies the whole of the front of the house on that side of the passage. Behind that large room are two other nearly square rooms, one of which He uses as a library, and the other as a bedroom. That completes that side or division of the house, which is apparently reserved for the Master' s personal use, and is surrounded by a broad veranda. The other side of the house, on the left of the passage as one enters, seems to be divided into smaller rooms and offices of various kinds ; we have had no opportunity of closely examining them, but we have noted that just across the passage from the bedroom is a well-appointed bathroom.


The large room is well supplied with windows, both along the front and the end-so well that on entering one gets the impression of an almost continuous outlook, and under the windows runs a long seat. There is also a somewhat unusual feature for that country, a large open fireplace in the middle of the wall opposite the front windows. This is so arranged as to heat all three rooms, and it has a curious hammered iron cover, which I am told is unique in Tibet. Over the opening of that fire-place is a mantelpiece, and near by stands the Master' s armchair of very old carved wood, hollowed to fit the sitter, so that for it no cushions are required. Dotted about the room are tables and settees or sofas, mostly without backs, and in one corner is the keyboard of the Master' s organ.


The ceiling is perhaps twenty feet high, and is very handsome, with its fine carved beams, which descend into ornamental points where they meet one another and divide the ceiling into oblong sections. An arched opening with a pillar in the centre, somewhat in the Gothic style, but without glass, opens into the study, and a similar window opens into the bedroom. This latter room is very simply furnished. There is an ordinary bed, swung hammock-like between two carved wooden supports fixed in the wall (one of these carved to imitate a lion' s head, and the other an elephant' s), and the bed when not in use folds up against the wall.


The library is a fine room, containing thousands of volumes. Running out from the wall there are tall book-shelves, filled with books in many languages, a number of them being modern European works and at the top there are open shelves for manuscripts. The Master is a great linguist, and besides being a fine English scholar has a thorough knowledge of French and German. The library also contains a typewriter, which was presented to the Master by one of His pupils.


Of the Master' s family I know but little. There is a lady, evidently a pupil, whom He calls ` sister' . Whether she is actually His sister or not I do not know; she might possibly be a cousin or a niece. She looks much older than He, but that would not make the relationship improbable, as He has appeared of about the same age for a long time. She resembles Him to a certain extent, and once or twice when there have been gatherings she has come and joined the party; though her principal work seems to be to look after the house-keeping and manage the servants. Among the latter are an old man and his wife, who have been for a long time in the Master' s service. They do not know anything of the real dignity of their employer, but regard Him as a very indulgent and gracious patron, and naturally they benefit greatly by being in His service.




The Master has a large garden of His own. He possesses, too, a quantity of land, and employs labourers to cultivate it. Near the house there are flowering shrubs and masses of flowers growing freely, with ferns among them. Through the garden there flows a streamlet; which forms a little waterfall, and over it a tiny

bridge is built. Here He often sits when He is sending out streams of thought and benediction upon His people; it would no doubt appear to the casual observer as though He were sitting idly watching Nature, and listening heedlessly to the song of the birds, and to the splash and tumble of the water. Sometimes, too, He rests in His great armchair, and when His people see Him thus, they know that He must not be disturbed; they do not know exactly what He is doing, but suppose Him to be in samadhi. The fact that people in the East understand this kind of meditation and respect it may be one of the reasons why the Adepts prefer to live there rather than in the West.


In this way we get the effect of the Master sitting quietly for a considerable part of the day and, as we should say, meditating; but while He is apparently resting so calmly, He is in reality engaged all the time in most strenuous labour on higher planes, manipulating various natural forces and pouring forth

influences of the most diverse character on thousands of souls simultaneously; for the Adepts are the busiest people in the world. The Master, however, does much physical-plane work as well; He has composed some music, and has written notes and papers for various purposes. He is also much interested in the growth of physical science, although this is especially the province of one of the other great Masters of the Wisdom.


From time to time the Master Kuthumi rides on a big bay horse, and occasionally, when Their work lies together, He is accompanied by the Master Morya, who always rides a magnificent white horse. Our Master regularly visits some of the monasteries, and sometimes goes up a great pass to a lonely monastery in the hills. Riding in the course of His duties seems to be His principal exercise, but He sometimes walks with the Master Djwal Kul, who lives in a little cabin which He built with His own hands, quite near to the great crag on the way up to the plateau.


Sometimes our Master plays on the organ which is in the large room in His house. He had it made in Tibet under His direction, and it is in fact a combined piano and organ, with a keyboard like those which we have in the West, on which He can play all our western music. It is unlike any other instrument with which I am acquainted, for it is in a sense double-fronted, as it can be played either from the sitting-room or the library. The principal keyboard (or rather the three keyboards, great organ, swell and choir) is in the sitting-room, whereas the piano keyboard is in the library; and these keyboards can be used either together or separately. The full organ with its pedals can be played in the

ordinary way from the sitting-room; but by turning a handle somewhat equivalent to a stop, the piano mechanism can be linked with the organ, so that it all plays simultaneously. From that point of view, in fact, the piano is treated as an additional stop on the organ.


From the keyboard in the library, however, the piano can be played alone as a separate instrument, quite dissociated from the organ; but by some complicated mechanism the choir-organ is also linked to that keyboard, so that by it one can play the piano alone precisely as though it were an ordinary piano, or one can

play the piano accompanied by the choir-organ, or at any rate by certain stops of that organ. It is also possible, as I said, to separate the two completely, and so, with a performer at each keyboard, to play a piano-organ duet. The mechanism and the pipes of this strange instrument occupy almost the whole of

what might be called the upper story of this part of the Master' s house. By magnetization He has placed it in communication with the Gandharvas, or Devas of music, so that whenever it is played they co-operate, and thus He obtains combinations of sound never to be heard on the physical plane; and there is, too, an effect produced by the organ itself as of an accompaniment of string and wind instruments.


The song of the Devas is ever being sung in the world; it is ever sounding in men' s ears, but they will not listen to its beauty. There is the deep bourdon of the sea, the sighing of the wind in the trees, the roar of the mountain torrent, the music of stream, river and waterfall, which together with many others form the mighty song of Nature as she lives. This is but the echo in the

physical world of a far grander sound, that of the Being of the Devas. As is said in Light on the Path :


Only fragments of the great song come to your ears while yet you are but man. But, if you listen to it, remember it faithfully, so that none which has reached you is lost, and endeavour to learn from it the meaning of the mystery which surrounds you. In time you will need no teacher. For as the individual has voice, so has that in which the individual exists. Life itself has speech, and

is never silent. And its utterance is not, as you that are deaf may suppose, a cry: it is a song. Learn from it that you are part of the harmony; learn from it to obey the laws of the harmony.


Every morning a number of people-- not exactly pupils, but followers-- come to the Master' s house, and sit on the veranda and outside it. Sometimes He gives them a little talk-- a sort of lecturette; but more often He goes on with His work and takes no notice of them beyond a friendly smile, with which they seem

equally contented. They evidently come to sit in His aura and venerate Him.


Sometimes He takes His food in their presence, sitting on the veranda, with this crowd of Tibetans and others on the ground around Him; but generally He eats by Himself at a table in His room. It is possible that He keeps the rule of the Buddhist monks, and takes no food after noon; for I do not remember ever to have seen Him eat in the evening; it is even possible that He does not need food every day. Most probably when He feels inclined He orders the food that he would like, and does not take His meals at stated times. I have seen Him eating little round cakes, brown and sweet ; they are made of wheat and sugar and butter, and are of the ordinary kind used in the household, cooked by His sister.


He also eats curry and rice, the curry being somewhat in the form of soup, like dhal. He uses a curious and beautiful golden spoon, with an exquisite image of an elephant at the end of the handle, the bowl of which is set at an unusual angle

to the stem. It is a family heirloom, very old and probably of great value. He generally wears white clothes, but I do not remember ever having seen Him wearing a head-dress of any kind, except on the rare occasions when He assumes the yellow robe of the Gelugpa sect or clan, which includes a hood somewhat of the shape of the Roman helmet. The Master Morya, however, generally wears a turban.




The house of the Master Morya is on the opposite side of the valley, but much lower down-- quite close, in fact, to the little temple and the entrance to the caves. It is of an entirely different style of architecture, having at least two stories, and the front facing the road has verandas at each level which are almost entirely glassed in. The general method and arrangement of His life is much the same as that already described in the case of the Master Kuthumi.


If we walk up the road on the left bank of the stream, rising gradually along the side of the valley, we pass on the right the house and grounds of the Master Kuthumi, and further up the hill we find on the same side of the road a small hut or cabin which He who is now the Master Djwal Kul constructed for Himself with His own hands in the days of His pupilage, in order that He might have an abiding-place quite near to His Master. In that cabin hangs a sort of plaque upon which at His request one of the English pupils of the Master Kuthumi precipitated many years ago an interior view of the large room in the house of

the Master Kuthumi, showing the figures of various Masters and pupils. This was done in commemoration of a certain especially happy and fruitful evening at the Master' s house.



Turning now to a consideration of the personal appearance of these Great Ones; that is modified to some extent by the Ray or type to which each of Them belongs. The First Ray has power for its most prominent characteristic, and those who are born upon it are the kings, the rulers, the governors of the world-- of the inner and spiritual world in the first place, but also of the

physical plane. Any man who possesses in a very unusual degree the qualities which enable him to dominate men and to guide them smoothly along the course which he desires is likely to be either a First-Ray man or one who is tending towards the First Ray.


Such a kingly figure is the Lord Vaivasvata Manu, the Ruler of the fifth root race, who is the tallest of all the Adepts, being six feet eight inches in height, and perfectly proportioned. He is the Representative Man of our Race, its prototype, and every member of that race is directly descended from Him.


The Manu has a very striking face of great power, with an aquiline nose, a full and flowing brown beard, brown eyes, and a magnificent head of leonine poise. “Tall is He,” says our President, “and of King-like majesty, with eyes piercing as an eagle' s, tawny and brilliant with golden lights.” He is living at present in the Himalaya mountains, not far from the house of his great Brother, the Lord Maitreya.


Such a figure also is the Master Morya, the lieutenant and successor of the Lord Vaivasvata Manu, and the future Manu of the sixth root race. He is a Rajput King by birth, and has a dark beard divided into two parts, dark, almost black, hair falling to His shoulders, and dark and piercing eyes, full of power. He is six feet six inches in height, and bears Himself like a soldier, speaking in short terse sentences as if He were accustomed to being instantly obeyed. In His presence there is a sense of overwhelming power and strength, and He has an imperial dignity that compels the deepest reverence.


Madame Blavatsky has often told us how she met the Master Morya in Hyde Park, London, in the year 1851, when He came over with a number of other Indian Princes to attend the first great International Exhibition. Strangely enough, I myself, then a little child of four, saw Him also, all unknowing. I can remember

being taken to see a gorgeous procession, in which among many other wonders came a party of richly-dressed Indian horsemen. Magnificent horsemen they were, riding steeds as fine, I suppose, as any in the world, and it was only natural that my childish eyes were fixed upon them in great delight, and that they were perhaps to me the finest exhibit of that marvellous and fairy-like show. And even as I watched them pass, as I stood holding my father' s hand, one of the tallest of those heroes fixed me with gleaming black eyes, which half-frightened me, and yet at the same time filled me somehow with indescribable happiness and exaltation. He passed with the others and I saw Him no more, yet often the vision of that flashing eye returned to my childish memory.


Of course, l knew nothing then of who He was, and I should never have identified Him had it not been for a gracious remark which He made to me many years afterwards. Speaking one day in His presence of the earlier days of the Society I happened to say that the first time I had had the privilege of seeing Him in materialized form was on a certain occasion when He came into Madame Blavatsky' s room at Adyar, for the purpose of giving her strength and issuing certain directions. He Himself, who was engaged in conversation with some other Adepts, turned sharply upon me and said: “No, that was not the first time. You had seen me before then in my physical body. Do you not remember, as a tiny child, watching the Indian horsemen ride past in Hyde Park, and did you not see how even then I singled you out?” I remembered instantly, of course, and said “Oh, Master, was that you? But I ought to have known it.” I do not mention this incident among the occasions when I have met and spoken with a Master, both parties to the interview being in the physical body, because I did not at the time know that great horseman to be the Master, and because the evidence of so small a child might well be doubted or discounted.


Mr. S. Ramaswami Iyer, in his account of the experience mentioned in Chapter I, (The Masters and The Path) writes:


I was following the road to the town, whence, I was assured by people I met on the road, I could cross over to Tibet easily in my pilgrim' s garb, when I suddenly saw a solitary horseman galloping towards me from the opposite direction. From his tall stature and skill in horsemanship, I thought he was some military officer of the Sikkhim Rajah. . . . As he approached me, he reined up. I looked at and recognized him instantly… I was in the awful presence of him, of the same Mahatma, my own revered Guru, whom I had seen before in his astral body on the balcony of the Theosophical Headquarters. It was he, the

Himalayan Brother of the ever-memorable night of December last, who had so kindly dropped a letter in answer to one I had given but an hour or so before in a sealed envelope to Madame Blavatsky, whom I had never lost sight of for one moment during the interval. The very same instant saw me prostrated on the

ground at his feet. I arose at his command, and, leisurely looking into his face, forgot myself entirely in the contemplation of the image I knew so well, having seen his portrait (that in Colonel Olcott' s possession) times out of number. I knew not what to say; joy and reverence tied my tongue. The majesty of his countenance, which seemed to me to be the impersonation of power and thought, held me rapt in awe. I was at last face to face with the Mahatma of the Himavat, and he was no myth, no creation of the imagination of a medium, as some sceptics had suggested. It was no dream of the night; it was between nine and ten o' clock of the forenoon. There was the sun shining and silently witnessing the scene from above. I see him before me in flesh and blood, and he speaks to me in accents of kindness and gentleness. What more could I want?


My excess of happiness made me dumb. Nor was it until some time had elapsed that I was able to utter a few words, encouraged by his gentle tone and speech. His complexion is not as fair as that of Mahatma Kuthumi; but never have I seen a countenance so handsome, a stature so tall and so majestic. As in his portrait, he wears a short black beard, and long black hair hanging down to his breast; only his dress was different. Instead of a white, loose robe he wore a yellow mantle lined with fur, and on his head, instead of the turban, a yellow Tibetan felt Cap, such as I have seen some Bhutanese wear in this country. When the first moments of rapture and surprise were over, and I calmly comprehended the situation, I had a long talk with him.¹


¹ Five Years of Theosophy (2nd Edition), p.284.


Another such regal figure is the Lord Chakshusha Manu, the Manu of the fourth root race, who is Chinese by birth, and of very high caste. He has the high Mongolian cheek-bones, and His face looks as though it were delicately carven from old ivory. He generally wears magnificent robes of flowing cloth-of-gold.

As a rule we do not come into contact with Him in our regular work, except when it happens that we have to deal with a pupil belonging to His root race.




In the persons of our Lord the Bodhisattva, the World-Teacher, and of the Master Kuthumi, His principal lieutenant, the influence that is especially noticeable is the radiance of Their all-embracing Love. The Lord Maitreya is wearing a body of the Keltic race at the present time, though when He comes forth to the world to teach His people, as He intends to do very shortly, He will make use of a body prepared for Him by one of His disciples. His is a face of wondrous beauty, strong and yet most tender, with rich hair flowing like red gold about His shoulders. His beard is pointed, as in some of the old pictures, and His eyes, of a wonderful violet, are like twin flowers, like stars, like deep and holy pools filled with the waters of everlasting peace. His smile is dazzling beyond words, and a blinding glory of Light surrounds Him, intermingled with that marvellous rose-coloured glow which ever shines from the Lord of Love.


We may think of Him as seated in the great front room of His house in the Himalayas, the room with many windows, that overlooks the gardens and the terraces and, far below, the rolling Indian plains; or in flowing robes of white, edged with a deep border of gold, as walking in His garden in the cool of

the evening, among the glorious flowers, whose perfume fills the surrounding air with a rich, sweet fragrance. Wondrous beyond measure is our Holy Lord the Christ, wondrous beyond any power of description, for through Him flows the Love which comforts millions, and His is the Voice that speaks, as never man spake, the words of teaching that bring peace to angels and to men. Within a very few years that Voice will be heard and that Love be felt by those who dwell in the dark ways of earth; may we prepare ourselves to receive Him when He comes and give Him fitting welcome and faithful service!


The Master Kuthumi wears the body of a Kashmiri Brahman, and is as fair in complexion as the average Englishman. He, too, has flowing hair, and His eyes are blue and full of joy and love. His hair and beard are brown, which, as the sunlight catches it, becomes ruddy with glints of gold. His face is somewhat

hard to describe, for His expression is ever changing as He smiles; the nose is finely chiselled, and the eyes are large and of a wonderful liquid blue. Like the great Lord, He, too, is a Teacher and Priest, and many centuries hence He will succeed Him in His high Office, and will assume the sceptre of the World-Teacher, and become the Bodhisattva of the sixth root race.




The Mahachohan is the type of the Statesman, the great Organizer, though He too has many military qualities. He wears an Indian body, and is tall and thin, with a sharp profile, very fine and clear-cut, and no hair on the face. His face is

rather stern, with a strong, square chin; His eyes are deep and penetrating, and He speaks somewhat abruptly, as a soldier speaks. He generally wears Indian robes and a white turban.


The Master the Comte de St. Germain resembles Him in many ways. Though He is not especially tall, He is very upright and military in His bearing, and He has the exquisite courtesy and dignity of a grand seigneur of the eighteenth century; we feel at once that He belongs to a very old and noble family. His eyes are large and brown, and are filled with tenderness and humour, though there is in them a glint of power; and the splendour of His Presence impels men to make obeisance.


His face is olive-tanned; His close-cut brown hair is parted in the centre and brushed back from the forehead, and He has a short and pointed beard. Often He wears a dark uniform with facings of gold lace-- often also a magnificent red military cloak-- and these accentuate His soldier-like appearance. He usually

resides in an ancient castle in Eastern Europe that has belonged to his family for many centuries.


The Master Serapis is tall, and fair in complexion. He is a Greek by birth, though all His work has been done in Egypt and in connection with the Egyptian Lodge. He is very distinguished and ascetic in face, somewhat resembling the late Cardinal Newman.


Perhaps the Venetian Chohan is the handsomest of all the Members of the Brotherhood. He is very tall-- about six feet five inches, and has a flowing beard and golden hair somewhat like those of the Manu; and His eyes are blue. Although He was born in Venice, His family undoubtedly has Gothic blood in its

veins, for He is a man distinctly of that type.


The Master Hilarion is a Greek and, except that He has a slightly aquiline nose, is of the ancient Greek type. His forehead is low and broad, and resembles that of the Hermes of Praxiteles. He too is wonderfully handsome, and looks rather younger than most of' the Adepts. He who was once the disciple Jesus is now wearing a Syrian body. He has the dark skin, dark eyes and black beard of the Arab, and generally wears white robes and a turban. He is the Master of devotees, and the key-note of His Presence is an intense purity, and a fiery type of devotion that brooks no obstacles. He lives amongst the Druses of Mount Lebanon.


Two of the Great Ones with whom we have come into contact diverge slightly from what perhaps we may call, with all reverence, the usual type of the physical body of the Adept. One of these is the spiritual Regent of India, He of whom

Colonel Olcott several times writes, to whom the name Jupiter was assigned in the book Man: Whence, How and Whither. He is shorter than most members of the Brotherhood, and is the only one of Them, so far as I am aware, whose hair shows streaks of grey. He holds Himself very upright and moves with alertness and military precision. He is a landed proprietor, and during the visit which I paid to Him with Swami T. Subba Row, I saw Him several times transacting business with men who appeared to be foremen, bringing reports to Him and receiving instructions. The other is the Master Djwal Kul, who is still wearing the same body in which He attained Adeptship only a few years ago. Perhaps for that reason it has not been possible to make that body a perfect reproduction of the Augoeides. His face is distinctly Tibetan in character, with high cheek bones,

and is somewhat rugged in appearance, showing signs of age.

Sometimes an Adept for some special purpose wants a body to use temporarily amid the bustle of the world. That will be the case when the World-Teacher comes, and we have been told that several other Adepts also may then appear, to act as His lieutenants and assist Him in His great work for humanity. Most of these Great Ones will follow the example of Their Chief, and borrow temporarily the bodies of Their pupils, so it is necessary that a certain number of such vehicles should be ready for Their use. Students sometimes ask why, since the Adepts have physical bodies already, They will need others on this occasion.




Those who, attaining the level of Adeptship, choose as Their future career to remain upon this world and help directly in the evolution of Their own humanity, find it convenient for Their work to retain physical bodies. In order to be suitable for Their purposes, these bodies must be of no ordinary kind. Not only

must they be absolutely sound in health, but they must also be perfect expressions of as much of the ego as can be manifested on the physical plane.


The building up of such a body as this is no light task. When the ego of an ordinary man comes down to his new baby body, he finds it in charge of an artificial elemental, which has been created according to his karma, as I have described in The Inner Life. This elemental is industriously occupied in modelling the form which is soon to be born in the outer world, and it remains

after birth and continues that moulding process usually until the body is six or seven years old. During this period the ego is gradually acquiring closer contact with his new vehicles, emotional and mental as well as physical, and is becoming accustomed to them ; but the actual work done by himself upon these new vehicles up to the point at which the elemental withdraws is, in most cases, inconsiderable. He is certainly in connection with the body, but generally pays but little attention to it, preferring to wait until it has reached a stage where it is more responsive to his efforts.


The case of an Adept is very different from this. As there is no evil karma to be worked out, no artificial elemental is at work, and the ego himself is in sole charge of the development of the body from the beginning finding himself limited only by its heredity. This enables a far more refined and delicate instrument to be produced, but it also involves more trouble for the ego, and

engages for some years a considerable amount of his time and energy. In consequence of this, and no doubt for other reasons as well, an Adept does not wish to repeat the process more often than is strictly necessary, and He therefore makes His physical body last as long as possible. Our bodies grow old and die for various reasons, from inherited weakness, disease, accident and

self-indulgence, worry and overwork. But in the case of an Adept none of these causes is present, though we must of course remember that His body is fit for work and capable of endurance immeasurably beyond those of ordinary men.


The bodies of the Adepts being such as we have described, They are usually able to hold possession of them much longer than an ordinary man can, and the consequence is that we find on inquiry that the age of any such body is usually much greater than from appearances we had supposed it to be. The Master Morya, for example, appears to be a man absolutely in the prime of life-- possibly thirty-five or forty years of age ; yet many of the stories which His pupils tell of Him assign to Him an age four or five times greater than that, and Madame Blavatsky herself told us that when she first saw Him in her childhood He appeared to her exactly the same as at the present time. Again, the Master

Kuthumi has the appearance of being about the same age as His constant friend and companion, the Master Morya; yet it has been said that He took a University Degree in Europe just before the middle of last century, which would certainly make Him something very like a centenarian. We have at present no means of knowing what is the limit of prolongation, though there is evidence to show that it may easily extend to more than double the three-score years and ten of the Psalmist.


A body thus made suitable for higher work is inevitably a sensitive one, and for that very reason it requires careful treatment if it is to be always at its best. It would wear out as ours do if it were subjected to the innumerable petty

frictions of the outer world, and its constant torrent of unsympathetic vibrations. Therefore the Great Ones usually live in comparative seclusion, and appear but rarely in that cyclonic chaos which we call daily life. If They were to bring Their bodies into the whirl of curiosity and vehement emotion which is likely to surround the World-Teacher when He comes, there can be no doubt that the life of these bodies would be greatly shortened, and also, because of their extreme sensitiveness, there would be much unnecessary suffering.




By temporarily occupying the body of a pupil, the Adept avoids these inconveniences, and at the same time gives an incalculable impetus to the pupil' s evolution. He inhabits the vehicle only when He needs it-- to deliver a lecture, perhaps, or to pour out a special flood of blessing; and as soon as He has done what He wishes, He steps out of the body, and the pupil, who has all

the while been in attendance, resumes it, as the Adept goes back to His own proper vehicle to continue His usual work for the helping of the world. In this way His regular business is but little affected, yet He has always at His disposal a body through which He can co-operate, when required, on the physical plane, in the beatific mission of the World-Teacher.


We can readily imagine in what way this will affect the pupil who is so favoured as to have the opportunity of thus lending his body to a Great One, though the extent of its action may well be beyond our calculation. A vehicle tuned by such an influence will be to him verily an assistance, not a limitation ; and while

his body is in use he will always have the privilege of bathing in the Adept' s marvellous magnetism, for he must be at hand to resume charge as soon as the Master has finished with it.


This plan of borrowing a suitable body is always adopted by the Great Ones when They think it well to descend among men, under conditions such as those which now obtain in the world. The Lord Gautama employed it when He came to attain the Buddha-hood, and the Lord Maitreya took the same course when He visited Palestine two thousand years ago. The only exception known to me is that when a new Bodhisattva assumes the office of World-Teacher after His predecessor has become the Buddha, on His first appearance in the world in that capacity He takes birth as a little child in the ordinary way. Thus did our Lord, the present Bodhisattva, when He took birth as Shri Krishna on the glowing plains of India, to be reverenced and loved with a passion of devotion that has scarcely ever been equalled.


This temporary occupation of a pupil' s body should not be confused with the permanent use by an advanced person of a vehicle prepared for him by some one else. It is generally known among her followers that our great Founder, Madame Blavatsky, when she left the body in which we knew her, entered another which had just been abandoned by its original tenant. As to whether that body had been specially prepared for her use, I have no information; but other instances are known in which that was done. There is always in such cases a certain difficulty in adapting the vehicle to the needs and idiosyncrasies of the new occupant; and it is probable that it never becomes a perfectly fitting garment. There is for the incoming ego a choice between devoting a considerable amount of time and trouble to superintending the growth of a new vehicle, which would be a perfect expression of him, as far as that is possible on the physical plane; or of avoiding all that difficulty by entering the body of another-- a process which will provide a reasonably good instrument for all ordinary purposes; but it will never fulfil in every respect all that its owner desires. In all cases, a pupil is naturally eager to have the honour of giving up his body to his Master; but few indeed are the vehicles pure enough to be so used.


The question is often raised as to why an Adept, whose work seems to lie almost entirely on higher planes, needs a physical body at all. It is really no concern of ours, but if speculation on such a matter be not irreverent, various reasons suggest themselves. The Adept spends much of His time in projecting streams of influence, and while, so far as has been observed, these are most often on the higher mental level, or on the plane above that, it is probable that they may sometimes at least be etheric currents, and for the manipulation of these the possession of a physical body is undoubtedly an advantage. Again, most of the Masters whom I have seen have a few pupils or assistants who live with or near Them on the physical plane, and a physical body may be necessary for their sake.


Of this we may be certain, that if an Adept chooses to take the trouble to maintain such a body, He has a good reason for it; for we know enough of Their methods of working to be fully aware that They always do everything in the best way, and by the means which involve the least expenditure of energy.




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