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Response to "Mahatmas versus Ascended Masters" (1)

Jan 13, 2012 10:07 AM
by Govert Schuller

Response to "Mahatmas versus Ascended Masters"


Dear editor,


I read with interest Pablo Sender's article "Mahatmas versus Ascended
Masters" in the summer 2011 issue of Quest. He seems to make a strong case
for Theosophists not to take the Ascended Master teachings coming from the
Ballards and Prophets serious. The discrepancy between on one side the
writings of Blavatsky and the Mahatma Letters and on the other side the
channeled material from Ascended Master groups is just too big for the
latter to have any footing. But on closer reading there are numerous
methodological, factual and metaphysical problems confronting the more
attentive student. Please allow me therefore an amicus brief on behalf of
the defendants in this case. 


First, the almost thirty notes within the text coming from a selection of
eleven publications are practically all primary Theosophical sources.  These
precise sources are then pitted against generalized, un-sourced depictions
of what the writer perceives to be accurate presentations of Ascended Master
teachings, with all channelers lumped together without any other
differentiation. Sometimes he is right, sometimes he is wrong. How can a
reader of this magazine, absent adequate and fair references, find out for
him or herself? And even if references were given, one would not find any
works by Ballard or Prophet at the Olcott Library at The Theosophical
Society of America. I was assured that some works were present at the
library but were purged by orders from a leading Theosophist. The situation
in the Netherlands is more fortunate with the main library of the Dutch
Section of The Theosophical Society carrying more than sixty titles by the
Ballards and Prophets in both English and Dutch. 


Secondly, many of the depictions of Ascended Master teachings are not
accurate. I have been a member of The Summit Lighthouse founded by Mark
Prophet and I am very familiar with its teachings. Contrary to what Mr.
Sender posits, those teachings on the dangers of the human ego, the illusory
nature of reality, the value of compassion and altruism and the essence of a
Master are in spirit similar, if not, at least highly compatible with
Theosophy. Admittedly, there are serious discrepancies also, but those can
have multiple reasons and are not, in my opinion, necessarily to be decided
in favor of Blavatsky or the Mahatma Letters. That would boil down to a
dogmatism Blavatsky herself would abhor.  Nor should these discrepancies be
construed as sufficient evidence to dismiss the Ascended Master teachings.
So far students of Theosophy and Theosophical libraries have been quite
tolerant, even appreciative, of many metaphysical authors deviating from the
Blavatskyan oeuvre, like C.W. Leadbeater, Rudolf Steiner, Alice Bailey and
J. Krishnamurti. Even the New Age channelers J.Z. Knight, Shirley MacLaine
and Helen Shucman are not left in the cold. Why this, and here I speak also
from personal experience, cold shoulder to a body of influential and serious


Lastly, to put the whole problematic in a historical perspective, I like to
present the following overarching hypothetical narrative, within which the
problematic of discrepancies takes on a quite different color. The
Theosophical Society was founded, not only to re-introduce to the west the
idea of an Ancient Wisdom, but also to prepare the world for the coming of a
great teacher. This World Teacher Project was started with J. Krishnamurti
as the possible vehicle for this teacher. Unfortunately Krishnamurti decided
to go his own way, denounced Theosophy, and gave the world a terse and
exoteric version of Advaita Vedanta. Meanwhile the Masters implemented Plan
B to give the world the new teachings promised and to compensate for the
failed World Teacher Project. This was done, starting in the early 1930s,
with Guy and Edna Ballard. They released what is now known as the Ascended
Master teachings, which were a continuation, with here and there some
corrections, of Theosophy. Their torch was carried on later by Mark and
Elizabeth Clare Prophet with the latter being a good candidate of principal
messenger for the Masters in the Theosophically significant last quarter of
the 20th century. (For a footnoted version of this narrative see my "The
Masters and Their Emissaries: From HPB to Guru Ma and Beyond" at 


Given the above considerations I do not think the case Mahatmas vs Ascended
Masters can be decided in favor of the plaintiffs. 


Govert Schuller
Naperville, October 3, 2011. 


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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