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On Contacts With Masters

An Inner Dimension in the
History of the Theosophical Movement
 
 
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
 
 
 
 
 
The theosophical movement is a pioneer nucleus of the future universal brotherhood of humanity, and was created by Helena Blavatsky in 1875 under the inspiration of a few Masters of Wisdom who live in remote areas of the Himalayas.
 
For these sages, geographical distances have little importance, because clairvoyance and telepathy are among the yogic resources which they use. They silently help individuals of good will from different countries, philosophies, religions and social classes. Once a citizen has the ability to think by himself about philosophical topics, and if he has a broad mental horizon and a tendency to act with altruism, he naturally comes to be within the general field of observation of the masters. There is a constant and living interaction between the Immortal Sages and mankind. However, it unfolds in ways that are more complex and more subtle than most people think.
 
This is one of the central topics of investigation for the Independent Lodge of Theosophists.  
 
The researcher who looks at the history of the theosophical movement sees that the story of contacts with Masters has four main phases or aspects, and each phase presents its own challenges and obstacles. 
 
One of the possibilities is sheer disbelief in the occurrence of contacts, or even in the existence of Masters. Despondency and skepticism are two kinds of illusions that the movement must identify and get rid of, as it seeks for truth and builds an affinity with the true Teachers.   
 
There is a “successive factor” among the four historical phases regarding contacts with Masters: each phase tends to succeed the other.  However, some of them are into a large extent simultaneous and overlap each other.  
 
Let us examine them.
 
1) During the first phase in the story of contacts with Masters, contacts occurred which were Authentic and which took place including the Outer Planes of Reality.  In this phase, Masters are sometimes seen. They send letters. They help HPB make phenomena as the famous materialization of cups, and many others. The period in which there was a relative predominance of this kind of contact goes up to 1884-1885, and it completely ceases in 1900.  In this first phase, the Masters never say commonplace things. They often criticize disciples, showing their weak points so that they can correct themselves. The discipleship emerging from such contacts - as recorded in the Mahatma Letters - is a stern path to be followed by the Few.   
 
2) The second phase in the story of contacts with Masters is still very much dominant in the “esoteric movement” at large in this first part of 21st century. It is the phase of imaginary contacts. Here the Masters can only say commonplace things, and they say almost everything the “disciples” want to hear. This has to occur for a very simple reason: such “Masters” are the sub-conscious invention of would-be disciples. It seems the first best-known example of such a phase happened in England through Alfred Sinnett, who, while HPB still lived, had mesmeric and mediumistic sessions of dialogue with imaginary Adepts, in the “inner circle” of his London Lodge. HPB writes about false contacts with Masters in the closing pages of “The Key to Theosophy”. It was in that “inner circle” that both Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater started developing their imaginary contacts with false Masters, as can be seen in the Autobiography of Mr. Alfred Sinnett (published by “Theosophical History Centre”, London, 1986, 65 pp.).
 
3) The third phase in the story of contacts with Masters is the karmic result of phase two. In it, skepticism and despondency dominate and all contacts are seen as unreal.  Sometimes, in order to fight despondency, some sincere student will fall back into phase two and invent “brilliant” artificial fireworks to keep things going.  This only makes the problem become deeper. The dilemma between the illusion of false contacts and the illusion that “all is false” creates a deadly trap for many who abandon the common sense approach taught by H.P. Blavatsky.  The third or “non-contact” phase also opens some minor doors of the movement to the work of scholars, some of whom are but false scholars, and who try to describe the movement as if it were innerly dead. 
 
4) The fourth phase in the story of contacts with Masters is essentially formulated in the text of the “1900 Letter”.  The complete text of this letter can be found at our associated websites under the title of “The 1900 Letter From a Mahatma”, and with the subtitle “The Document Which Warned that the Adyar Society Had Abandoned Real Theosophy”. In the 1900 letter we see these words [1]:
 
“The crest wave of intellectual advancement must be taken hold of and guided into spirituality. It cannot be forced into beliefs and emotional worship. The essence of the higher thoughts of the members in their collectivity must guide all action in the T.S. AND E.S. We never try to subject to ourselves the will of another. At favourable times we let loose elevating influences which strike various persons in various ways. It is the collective aspect of many such thoughts that can give the correct note of action.”
 
The lines above seem to contain key information as to contacts between Masters and the movement after the year 1900. This is the year when the Aquarius Age began, according to a clear and documented statement made by H.P. Blavatsky  (“Collected Writings”, TPH,  volume  VIII, p. 174, fn).
 
The contact exists, then, as a possibility.  It is also real. It is not verbal. It is not visual. It is not personal. No one has therefore the possibility to derive any kind of personal pride out of it. Anyone who thoroughly realizes such a process will only become less and less subject to feelings of personal ambition. The key sentences in the letter are:
 
“At favourable times we let loose elevating influences which strike various persons in various ways. It is the collective aspect of many such thoughts that can give the correct note of action.”
 
This correct inner process has never ceased and it will never cease to occur, wherever and whenever there is a Soul ready for it in any continent or country.  Yet, looking at it from the viewpoint of the modern theosophical movement, this specific teaching was predominantly understood - and acted upon - only since February 1909.  It was understood and realized by theosophists who had not read the 1900 Letter, for the Letter was only published - with an incomplete text - several years after 1909. The starting point for reorganizing the movement on the sane basis of this common sense teaching on contacts with Masters was the foundation of the United Lodge of Theosophists.
 
We should examine now an excerpt from John Garrigues’ book “Point Out the Way”. It describes interesting aspects of this fourth phase of contacts with Masters: the phase which is free from outer “phenomena” both true and false, and which brings about an impersonal, non-verbal, non-visual, higher and inner level process of communion with the true sources of universal wisdom.  
 
Mr. Garrigues, an associate of the United Lodge of Theosophists and one of its founders, said in the 1930s:
 
“…. We might think behind the meaning of Chelaship, and perhaps that will open our eyes to some things. Here we have, as a body, some kind of a relation with the Masters of Wisdom, haven’t we? [2] We are interested in the same Cause that They labour for in full, continuous consciousness. We are struggling to travel in the same direction; that is, we are trying to study and to apply the same teaching that guides Their lives. So, we have a relation with Them as a mass, as a body, having a common aim and a common purpose and a common teaching. However remote that relation is, it is a contact. Suppose a man, an individual here and there, realizes that? Just as the sense of touch, when more concentrated, becomes the sense of hearing without the sense of touch being lost, and the sense of hearing, when more concentrated, becomes the sense of sight without either hearing or touch being lost - if there are Masters of Wisdom, if there are such Beings and They do labour for all men, They must take a special interest in those men and women who are striving to fit themselves in every way open to them to become the better able to help and teach others.” [3]
 
John Garrigues’ words make a valuable contribution to anyone who wants to understand the inner aspects of the theosophical effort in the 21st century and beyond.
 
Other important hints can be found through a thorough study of the original theosophical literature.
 
Some of the books with realistic information as to how the student can start investigating the silent process of communion with higher orders of intelligence are:
 
* “The Mahatma Letters”, edited by A. Trevor Barker;
 
* “Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom”, first and second series, edited by C. Jinarajadasa;
 
* “Light on the Path”, written down by M.C.;
 
* “The Voice of the Silence”, by H.P. Blavatsky; and
 
* “The Key to Theosophy”, by HPB. [4]
 
Such an investigation is multidimensional and usually takes a few lifetimes, but it should become easier as time passes. Each effort made in the right direction is valid and worthwhile, and bear fruits even in the short term.
 
The first step in the path is to get in touch with one’s own higher self or immortal soul. It is only through one’s own higher dimensions that one can get in syntony with more elevated orders of life.  At this point it might be asked: “And how can one do that?”
 
Paradoxically, one excellent way for the student to expand contact with his own higher self is by being at the same time independent and altruistic. It is important to study the universal wisdom, to develop a respect for all beings and to try serve mankind as a whole. At the same time, autonomy and self-responsibility are of the essence.
 
From the point of view of the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, the path to wisdom is steep and narrow, and demands an undivided attention. However, as the Eastern tradition says, “there is no other path to go”.
 
NOTES:
 
[1] The words in capital letters “AND  E.S.”  were suppressed by the Adyar editors until the full text of the letter was obtained and published by an HPB student in 1987. “E.S.” refers to the Esoteric Section of the movement, created by H.P. Blavatsky in the late 1880s.
 
[2] Here the author refers to a group of earnest students of the original teachings of Theosophy, who work with altruism and in a long term perspective.
 
[3] These lines are transcribed from page 198 of “Point Out the Way”. This is a typewritten and mimeographed / photocopied book which reproduces stenographic notes taken at informal talks on the book “The Ocean of Theosophy” by W.Q. Judge. The talks were delivered in the early 1930s at the Los Angeles Lodge of the United Lodge of Theosophists. In this first edition, “Point Out the Way” has 211 pages.  
 
[4] See also the more recent book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, The Aquarian Theosophist, 2013, 255 pages, and especially its chapter 21, entitled “The Seven Principles of the Movement”.
 
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The article “On Contacts With Masters” was first published in 2010.  A few months after publication, while it was being translated into Spanish, its English version was revised and somewhat shortened by the author, finally taking its present form.
 
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In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.  
 
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On Contacts With Masters




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