- Morya (Theosophy)
Morya, one of the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom" spoken of in modern Theosophy and in the Ascended Master Teachings is considered one of the "Ascended Masters." He is also known as the "Chohan of the First Ray" (see Seven Rays). Morya first became known to the modern world when H. P. Blavatsky declared that he and Master Koot Hoomi were her guides in establishing the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky wrote that Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi belonged to a group of highly developed humans known as the Great White Brotherhood. Although Master Morya's personality has been depicted in some detail by various theosophical authors, critics point out that there is little evidence that Blavatsky's Masters, including Morya, ever existed. There being a dearth of material evidence to prove anything with certainty, this article focuses on presenting the narratives about Morya given by various believers in his existence, beginning from the time of his alleged contacts with 19th-century theosophists.
Blavatsky’s First Encounter with Master Morya
Manly Hall summarizes information from several sources in his account of Blavatsky’s first meeting with her Master: “The year 1851 was of extraordinary significance to the Russian mystic. Madame Blavatsky was now twenty years of age and was visiting in London during the season of the International Exposition. She had already broken the bonds of family and country and stood at the very threshold of her adventurous life. As she was walking one day, she saw an approaching number of Orientals, part of a group at that time visiting the court of Queen Victoria. In the midst of the Hindus was one of surpassing height and dignity. As her eyes turned toward him, a wave of astonishment swept over her. Her heart almost stopped beating, for she recognized in this Hindu of grave demeanor the strange protector of her childhood visions, the one whose glorious countenance had shone down upon her from invisible worlds. Her first impulse was to rush forward, to speak to him, to fall at his feet, but with princely gesture he bade her remain where she was and give no sign. So, helpless under the spell of his power, she stood still until he had passed.
“To the uninitiated, the handsome Oriental was merely a Rajput prince, but to Madame Blavatsky he was the Master Morya—one of the world’s Great Souls and an Adept of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood, whose members are dedicated to the service of the spiritual needs of mankind. It was the evening following her first physical meeting with the Mahatma M that Madame Blavatsky, impelled by a force she could not then understand, strolled slowly through Hyde Park. She was lost in reverie, turning over and over in her mind the almost unbelievable adventure of the day. Suddenly she looked up and there before her stood the very person who had formed the subject of her reverie.
“Madame Blavatsky was a creature of destiny and, as the steel is drawn to the lodestone, so the Russian mystic was impelled by fate into the way prepared for her. ‘In London, by the Serpentine,’ wrote Madame Blavatsky in her diary, ‘I met the Master of my dreams.’ Concerning the Rajput Adept very little information is available. Although known to Madame Blavatsky as the Master Morya, he seems to have also used the name Ahazhulama, or the Blue Teacher; and according to the conservative records of that day, was 125 years of age at the time of this visit to England. The portrait of Mahatma Morya…was painted [by Schmiechen] under the direction of Madame Blavatsky, who seems to have been satisfied with the accuracy of the likeness. The Master visited Paris in the latter part of the nineteenth century and was also in America for a short time. He traveled, however, in great secrecy, accompanied by Oriental attendants, and met but a few people.”
Countess Constance Wachtmeister, one of Hall’s sources, adds that “her Master told her that he had come to London with the Indian princes on an important mission, and he was desirous of meeting her personally, as he required her cooperation in a work which he was about to undertake. He then told her how the Theosophical Society was to be formed, and that he wished for her to be the founder. He gave her a slight sketch of all the troubles she would have to undergo, and also that she would have to spend three years in Tibet to prepare her for the important task. HPB decided to accept the offer made to her and shortly afterward left London for India.” 
Is Morya Really Mazzini?
K. Paul Johnson believes that, “One of the most obvious difficulties with the story of Master M. as told by HPB is its confusion; she gave many conflicting versions of her acquaintance with him. For example, she wrote to Prince Dondukov-Korsakov that she had met Morya on Waterloo bridge, where he dissuaded her from leaping to a watery grave.” What Blavatsky wrote to the Prince was that several years after she first met the Master in London, she returned there and contemplated suicide by throwing herself into the Thames. “The same mysterious personage woke me up and saved me…”  She does not imply that she was meeting Morya for the first time.
In light of such “conflicting versions,” Johnson offers his own: “Clues to the historical identity of Morya are relatively few, and the story of young Helena’s first meeting with her Master in London has never been confirmed. Anecdotal evidence presented suggests that this story was actually based on Blavatsky’s encounter with Giuseppe Mazzini, who was exiled in London during the 1850s.” Neither Johnson’s books nor René Guénon, whom he cites, present documentary or anecdotal evidence that Blavatsky met Mazzini at any point in her lifetime. In addition comparison of their handwriting shows that Mazzini cannot have been Morya. It is true that Mazzini and Blavatsky were in London at various times in the 1850s, and that after his death she expressed “love and admiration” for him. She also shared his strong opposition to the political aspirations of the Catholic Church, as evidenced by her fighting with the anti-papal forces under Garibaldi in the Battle of Mentana  and her penning such articles as “Theosophy or Jesuitism?” 
The Red-letter Mahatma
Several of the physical and mental traits that typify 19th-century depictions of Master Morya appear in an account by the theosophist Charles Johnston of a conversation he had with Madame Blavatsky. In speaking of the handwriting of the Mahatma Letters shown him by Sinnett, Johnston quotes himself as telling Blavatsky, “‘There were two: the blue writing, and the red; they were totally different from each other, and both were quite unlike yours. I have spent a good deal of time studying the relation of handwriting to character, and the two characters were quite clearly marked. The blue was evidently a man of very gentle and even character, but of tremendously strong will; logical, easy-going, and taking endless pains to make his meaning clear. It was altogether the handwriting of a cultivated and very sympathetic man.’ ‘Which I am not,’ said H. P. B., with a smile; ‘that is Mahatma Koothoomi; he is a Kashmiri Brahman by birth, you know, and has travelled a good deal in Europe. He is the author of the Occult World letters, and gave Mr. Sinnett most of the material of Esoteric Buddhism… But what about the other writing?’ ‘The red? Oh that is wholly different. It is fierce, impetuous, dominant, strong; it comes in volcanic outbursts, while the other is like Niagara Falls. One is fire, and the other is the ocean. They are wholly different, and both quite unlike yours. But the second has more resemblance to yours than the first.’ ‘This is my Master,’ she said, ‘whom we call Mahatma Morya. I have his picture here.’ And she showed me a small panel in oils. If ever I saw genuine awe and reverence in a human face, it was in hers, when she spoke of her Master. He was a Rajput by birth, she said, one of the old warrior race of the Indian desert, the finest and handsomest nation in the world. Her Master was a giant, six feet eight, and splendidly built; a superb type of manly beauty. Even in the picture, there is a marvellous power and fascination; the force, the fierceness even, of the face; the dark, glowing eyes, which stare you out of countenance; the clear-cut features of bronze, the raven hair and beard—all spoke of a tremendous individuality, a very Zeus in the prime of manhood and strength. I asked her something about his age. She answered: ‘My dear, I cannot tell you exactly, for I do not know. But this I will tell you. I met him first when I was twenty,—in 1851. He was in the very prime of manhood then. I am an old woman now, but he has not aged a day. He is still in the prime of manhood. That is all I can say. You may draw your own conclusions.’ ‘Have the Mahatmas discovered the elixir of life?’ ‘That is no fable,’ said H. P. B. seriously. ‘It is only the veil hiding a real occult process, warding off age and dissolution for periods which would seem fabulous, so I will not mention them. The secret is this: for every man, there is a climacteric, when he must draw near to death; if he has squandered his life-powers, there is no escape for him; but if he has lived according to the law, he may pass through and so continue in the same body almost indefinitely.’” 
Somewhat corroborating the “fierce, dominant” image of his friend, Master Koot Hoomi writes as follows. “In noticing M’s opinion of yourself as expressed in some of his letters…you say he has ‘a peculiar mode of expressing himself to say the least.’ Now that ‘way’ is simply the bare truth, which he is ready to write to yourself, or even say and repeat to your face, without the least concealment or change…and he is—of all men I know—just the one to do it without the least hesitation! And for this, you call him ‘an imperious sort of chap very angry if he is opposed’… I am prepared to concede the definition in a limited sense, and to admit and repeat with you (and himself at my elbow) that he is a very imperious sort of chap, and certainly very apt sometimes to become angry, especially if he is opposed in what he knows to be right. Would you think more of him, were he to conceal his anger; to lie to himself and the outsiders, and so permit them to credit him with a virtue he has not?… [You] will hardly if ever be able to appreciate such characters as Morya's: a man as stern for himself, as severe for his own shortcomings, as he is indulgent for the defects of other people, not in words but in the innermost feelings of his heart; for, while ever ready to tell you to your face anything he may think of you, he yet was ever a stauncher friend to you than myself, who may often hesitate to hurt anyone's feelings, even in speaking the strictest truth.”
The Mahatma Letters contain several examples of Master Morya’s uncompromising candidness, including sharp criticism of caste and orthodoxy in the “Prayag Letter” sent to a group of Brahmins in Allahabad. He himself acknowledges, “If I once am forced to speak I must say ALL, or say—nothing.”  However, numerous letters signed or dictated by Morya in The Mahatma Letters  and Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom give the picture not of a haughty tyrant but of a capable leader whose dealings with people are characterized by insight, magnanimity, gratitude, and loyalty. Such letters bear out the observation of Countess Wachtmeister that the Masters are “tolerant and charitable… in all their dealings.” The Master shows a detailed grasp of worldly affairs, and his prediction regarding India’s liberation has proved to be correct. He explains things esoteric with patience and care, even suppressing his dislike of writing letters  and modifying his admittedly poor handwriting for the sake of his correspondents. The Master also possesses a good sense of humor, and enjoys playing tricks.
Master Morya and Disciple Blavatsky
Not only the Mahatma Letters but also Blavatsky’s correspondence with Sinnett indicates that she was in regular contact with her guru. There are several mentions of Master Morya getting angry at her, something not unusual in a traditional Asian teacher-disciple relationship. Blavatsky also often speaks of the obedience that she owes her teacher. “He knows I am but a SLAVE and that he has the right to order me about without consulting my taste or desire.”  “[W]hen my Master orders -- I have but to obey, regardless of every consequence.”  On the other hand, Blavatsky expresses reluctance to obey if Master Morya orders her to go to London. Moreover, she indicates that the Master often will avoid compelling in order not to interfere with karma  and also because he himself is ruled by his guru.
In a letter to Patience Sinnett that speaks of how Master Morya healed serious illness she was suffering, Blavatsky describes her relationship with him: “I venerate the Masters, and worship MY MASTER -- the sole creator of my inner Self which but for His calling it out, awakening it from its slumber, would have never come to conscious being—not in this life, at all events.”  This devotion is corroborated by some amusing observations of Master Koot Hoomi. “[M]ost undeniably she is given to exaggeration in general, and when it becomes a question of ‘puffing up’ those she is devoted to, her enthusiasm knows no limits. Thus she has made of M. an Apollo of Belvedere, the glowing description of whose physical beauty, made him more than once start in anger, and break his pipe while swearing like a true—Christian; and thus, under her eloquent phraseology, I, myself had the pleasure of hearing myself metamorphosed into an ‘angel of purity and light’—shorn of his wings. We cannot help feeling at times angry, with, oftener—laughing at, her. Yet the feeling that dictates all this ridiculous effusion, is too ardent, too sincere and true, not to be respected or even treated with indifference.
“I do not believe I was ever so profoundly touched by anything I witnessed in all my life, as I was with the poor old creature's ecstatic rapture, when meeting us recently both in our natural bodies, one—after three years, the other—nearly two years absence and separation in flesh. Even our phlegmatic M. was thrown off his balance, by such an exhibition—of which he was chief hero. He had to use his power, and plunge her into a profound sleep, otherwise she would have burst some blood-vessel including kidneys, liver and her ‘interiors’… in her delirious attempts to flatten her nose against his riding mantle besmeared with the Sikkim mud! We both laughed; yet could we feel otherwise but touched? Of course, she is utterly unfit for a true adept: her nature is too passionately affectionate and we have no right to indulge in personal attachments and feelings.” 
Blavatsky’s wealth of imagination also found expression in the portrayal of the powerful, mysterious Gulab-Lal-Singh in her From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan, a depiction that bears many similarities to descriptions of Master Morya. According to Col. Olcott’s review of that semi-fictional work, at one point in her life Blavatsky took a journey from Southern India to Tibet “when she was really in the company of and under the protection of the Adept who she personifies under the sobriquet of Gulab-Lal-Singh.”  But Blavatsky’s introductory comment to the work also needs to be kept in mind: “Broadly speaking, the facts and incidents are true; but I have freely availed myself of an author's privilege to group, colour, and dramatize them, whenever this seemed necessary to the full artistic effect; though, as I say, much of the book is exactly true, l would rather claim kindly judgment for it, as a romance of travel, than incur the critical risks that haunt an avowedly serious work." 
Actually, Blavatsky was quite reluctant to write publicly about specific Masters, especially hers. She showed little enthusiasm for Sinnett’s efforts to gather information for what eventually became his Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky. “Please do not speak of Mentana and do not speak of MASTER I implore you.”  She was extremely sensitive to criticism by Indian theosophists that by revealing the names of the Masters she had exposed them to desecration. “Ah, dear Mr. Sinnett,” she writes early in 1886, “how well it would have been had we all never pronounced Masters' names except in rooms with closed doors and doing as the Brahmin chelas do.” 
By mid 1890, Blavatsky’s perspective on the issue had fundamentally changed. In “Why I Do Not Return to India,” her most important statement on the relationship between the Masters and the Theosophical Society, she writes: “One of the chief factors in the reawakening of Âryâvarta, which has been part of the work of the Theosophical Society, was the ideal of the Masters. But owing to want of judgment, discretion, and discrimination, and the liberties taken with Their names and Personalities, great misconception arose concerning Them. I was under the most solemn oath and pledge never to reveal the whole truth to anyone, excepting to those who, like Dâmodar, had been finally selected and called by Them. All that I was then permitted to reveal was, that there existed somewhere such great men; that some of Them were Hindus; that They were learned as none others in all the ancient wisdom of Gupta-Vidyâ, and had acquired all the Siddhis, not as these are represented in tradition and the 'blinds' of ancient writings, but as they are in fact and nature; and also that I was a Chela of one of them. However, in the fancy of some Hindus, the most wild and ridiculous fancies soon grew up concerning Them. They were referred to as 'Mahâtmas' and still some too enthusiastic friends belittled Them with their strange fancy pictures…
“These early misconceptions notwithstanding, the idea of the Masters, and belief in Them, has already brought its good fruit in India. Their chief desire was to preserve the true religious and philosophical spirit of ancient India; to defend the Ancient Wisdom contained in its Darshanas and Upanishads against the systematic assaults of the missionaries; and finally to reawaken the dormant ethical and patriotic spirit in those youths in whom it had almost disappeared owing to college education. Much of this has been achieved by and through the Theosophical Society, in spite of all its mistakes and imperfections.…
“Finally, if any one among the three hundred millions of India can demonstrate, proof in hand, that Theosophy, the T.S., or even my humble self, have been the means of doing the slightest harm, either to the country or any Hindu, that the Founders have been guilty of teaching pernicious doctrines, or offering bad advice—then and then only, can it be imputed to me as a crime that I have brought forward the ideal of the Masters and founded the Theosophical Society.
Aye, my good and never-to-be-forgotten Hindu Brothers, the name alone of the holy Masters, which was at one time invoked with prayers for Their blessings, from one end of India to the other—Their name alone has wrought a mighty change for the better in your land. It is not to Colonel Olcott or to myself that you owe anything, but verily to these names, which, but a few years ago, had become a household word in your mouths. ” 
Citing the concern of Blavatsky and the Masters regarding the political aspects of India’s revival, K. Paul Johnson hypothesizes that to a great extent “Master Morya” was really Ranbir Singh, the Maharajah of Kashmir. Ranbir Singh met Olcott and other prominent theosophists, and seems to have had personal acquaintance with the Mahatmas, but Johnson presents no evidence that Singh was directly linked with Blavatsky. In response to a critique by Daniel Caldwell, a theosophical writer, Johnson enumerates his reasons for believing that Ranbir Singh and Blavatsky may have been connected. While Ranjib Singh died in September 1885, Blavatsky continued to state in her private conversations and correspondence that she was in regular contact with Master Morya, that he had saved her life recently, assisted in her writing, and given her orders regarding the organizational work.
Blavatsky on the Name “Morya”
The name Morya is the same as that of the Maurya clan, which ruled India from 322-185 BCE. The invincible Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire, united the Indian subcontinent, while his grandson, Ashoka the Great, adopted Buddhism and sent missions to other parts of Asia as well as the Mediterranean world. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, an early Buddhist text that records the end of Gotama Buddha’s life, the “Moriyas of Pipphalavana” are said to have “built a great stupa for the embers” that remained from the cremation. This passage suggests that there was already a connection between the Maurya clan and Buddhism. Blavatsky claims that long after the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the Mauryas (or Moryas) continued to have a deep connection with Buddhism. In 436 CE an Arhat (Buddhist saint) named Kasyapa, who belonged to the Morya clan, left an Indian convent in Panch-Kukkutarama with the fifth of seven golden statues of the Buddha, which he carried to a lake in Bod-yul (Tibet), thereby fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Seven years later the first Buddhist monastery was established on that spot, although the conversion of the country did not begin in earnest till the 7th century. Most of the abbots of that monastery “were the descendants of the dynasty of the Moryas, there being up to this day three of the members of this once royal family living in India.”
Blavatsky explicitly affirms a link between the Shakya clan, to which Gotama Buddha belonged, and the Moriya clan, stating that the former founded a town called Moriya-Nagara. She adds that the Rajput tribe of Mori owes its name to being “composed of the descendants of the first sovereign of Moriya, Nagari-Môrya,” and that the Moryas are Kshatriyas, unlike Master Koot Hoomi and the Rishi Koothumi who are “Northern Brahmans.” The name Moriya probably derives from mayura or mora, which means peacock. The peacock image connects this warrior clan with Karttikeya, the Hindu war god, whose vehicle is a peacock, and possibly with the Buddhist “Peacock Lord,” a Wisdom King (Kujaku-myoo in Japan, the female Mahamayuri in India).
Master Morya in the Post-Blavatsky Theosophical Movement
As the contacts with Master Morya during Blavatsky’s lifetime had never been confined to her alone, after her death people involved with the theosophical movement continued claiming to have met the Master or to have received communications from him. William Quan Judge, the leader of the American Section of the Theosophical Society, stated privately that he had received letters from Morya and other Adepts. Annie Besant, head of the European Section and co-head of the Esoteric Section with Judge, made public statements recognizing the genuineness of those letters; but she later accused Judge of falsifying them, asserting that her suspicions of him were confirmed by the visitation of a Mahatma, presumably Master Morya, to whom she was linked. The ensuing controversy led to the break-up of the Society in 1895, but leaders in the increasingly fragmented movement continued making claims about having received communications and visitations from the Masters connected with the cause.
There also arose a body of literature that offered vivid descriptions of Master Morya, his role in the Brotherhood, or his past lives, with the implication that the writer had special access to the master and esoteric information about him. This is in sharp contrast to the public statements of theosophists while Blavatsky was alive, which generally sought to affirm the Masters’ existence by recounting individual experiences but did not focus on the Masters’ personalities or characteristics as such. Letters by the Masters and eyewitness testimony by Countess Wachtmeister confirm that The Secret Doctrine was largely the “triple production” of Blavatsky, Master Morya, and Master Koot Hoomi, but Blavatsky did not assert that fact publicly, much less use it to promote the book, for “Our ‘views’ have to stand or fall upon their own merit, since we claim neither divine revelation nor infallibility, and no one of us regards his MASTER as an Almighty God.”
Leadbeater and Master Morya
The British clairvoyant, Charles Webster Leadbeater, was a close co-worker of Annie Besant and arguably the most influential member of the Theosophical Society-Adyar in the first three decades of the 20th century. He joined the TS in November 1883, after reading Sinnett’s Occult World. He wrote a letter to Master Koot Hoomi, offering himself as a disciple, and after receiving a favorable reply, quit his position and moved to the headquarters of the Society in Adyar near Madras. Leadbeater traveled in Ceylon with Blavatsky and Olcott from December 1884, and created a sensation by being the first Christian clergyman to convert to Buddhism. In the following years he helped Olcott in reviving Buddhism in Ceylon and Burma, and assisted in the work at Adyar until returning to Britain in late 1889.
Leadbeater received three letters from Master Koot Hoomi and possibly training as well. He was also one of a small group of men who received private instruction from T. Subba Row, a disciple of Master Morya. Although there is no independent verification of his ever having contact with Master Morya, Leadbeater states that he first saw Blavatsky’s guru when the latter came to Adyar to heal her.
In The Masters and the Path, one of his major works, Leadbeater claims that once in his childhood he met Master Morya. After giving information about the houses of the Masters near Shigatse, which is in accord with eyewitness accounts, he writes, “Master Morya [is] 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.”  The evidence of an adult might also be doubted or discounted. Gregory Tillett, author of The Elder Brother: A Biography of Charles Webster Leadbeater, has shown that according to London census at the time Leadbeater was born on February 16, 1854, three years after Master Morya’s visit to London.
Visitations by Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi played a decisive role in Leadbeater’s life after he was expelled from the Theosophical Society for teaching masturbation to teenage boys in his care. Col. Olcott, bedridden and aware that death was approaching, was anxious about who should replace him as president of the TS. Morya and Koot Hoomi visited Olcott in their astral bodies on 4 January 1907 and held a conversation with him that was written down by Marie Russak, a clairvoyant who witnessed the visit. They agreed that Annie Besant should become the next TS president. A week later the Masters visited again. They reassured Olcott that Besant and Leadbeater had not been deluded when doing clairvoyant research on higher planes. While disapproving of Leadbeater’s sexual teachings, Morya praised him, indicating that he should be reinstated. These conversations were written up in an article published in the February 1908 issue of The Theosophist, the last section of the article being dictated by Master Morya. Olcott died that same month, and the advice allegedly given by the Masters was followed; but the veracity and nature of these “Adyar manifestations” excited skepticism in some and remain controversial. 
Morya on the Moon and Beyond
Man: Whence, How and Whither: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater makes clear the nature and quality of their investigative powers. Two-thirds of the book is a historical survey that begins with the life cycles on the Moon that are said to have preceded the existence of the Earth. Like Lives of Alcyone, which was being written in the same period, much of the book focuses on the past lives and relationships of people in the contemporary theosophical movement. A major theme is the ongoing connection between Annie Besant and Master Morya. They are respectively dubbed “Herakles” and “Mars,” while Koot Hoomi is “Mercury,” Maitreya “Surya," Jiddu Krishnamurti “Alcyone,” Leadbeater “Sirius,” and so forth. The first story in the book takes place at a time when the present-day Masters were more ordinary humans on the Moon, while Besant, Leadbeater, and others were their monkey-like domesticated animals.
“One night there is an alarm; the hut is surrounded by savages, supported by their domesticated animals, fierce and strong, resembling furry lizards and crocodiles. The faithful guardians spring up around their masters' hut and fight desperately in its defence; Mars comes out and drives back the assailants, using some weapons they do not possess; but, while he drives them backward, a lizard-like creature darts behind him into the hut, and catching up the child Surya, begins to carry him away. Sirius springs at him, bears him down, and throws the child to Alcyone, who carries him back into the hut, while Sirius grapples with the lizard, and, after a desperate struggle, kills it, falling senseless, badly mangled, over its body. Meanwhile a savage slips behind Mars and stabs at his back, but Herakles, with one leap, flings himself between his master and the weapon, and receives the blow full on his breast, and falls, dying. The savages are now flying in all directions, and Mars, feeling the fall of some creature against his back, staggers, and, recovering himself; turns. He recognises his faithful animal defender, bends over his dying servant, and places his head in his lap. The poor monkey lifts his eyes, full of intense devotion, to his master's face, and the act of service done, with passionate desire to save, calls down a stream of response from the Will aspect of the Monad in a fiery rush of power, and in the very moment of dying the monkey individualises, and thus he dies—a man.”  Thanks to this dramatic development, in a subsequent lifetime “Herakles” (a.k.a. Annie Besant) is “advanced enough to cook her rats and other edibles instead of eating them raw.” 
“Mars,” true to his name, is martial and political throughout the book. At one point his household includes “Corona,” later Julius Caesar, and “Lutetia,” who eventually incarnates as Charles Bradlaugh, a British freethinker and close associate of Besant. “Vajra” (Blavatsky), “Ulysses” (Olcott), “Siwa” (T. Subba Row), and, of course, “Herakles” are often in the entourage of “Mars,” while “Scorpio” (Judge) repeatedly plays the bad guy. “Mars” is also a close friend of “Mercury” lifetime after lifetime. “Coming down to 220,000 B.C., to the City of the Golden Gates, we find Mars there ruling as Emperor, and bearing by inheritance the title of ‘Divine Ruler,’ transmitted from Those who had ruled in the past, the great Initiates of earlier days. Mercury was the chief Hierophant, the head of the State religion. It is remarkable how these two come down together through the ages, one always the Ruler, the Warrior, the other always the Teacher, the Priest. Noteworthy also is the fact that we never saw Mars in a woman's body, whereas Mercury did take one from time to time.”  In fact, from time to time they were husband and wife.
That Master Morya is said to never incarnate as a female is due to his association with the First Ray, one of seven cosmic principles. His disciple, T. Subba Row, in giving the initial theosophical teachings about the Seven Rays, states: “I do not think there will ever be a female Adept of the First Ray, because it belongs entirely to the positive pole.”  Row associates the First Ray with Vedic Brahmanism, with the Buddhist deities Amitabha and Avalokiteshvara, and with the Christos, the Trinity as a whole.
In The Masters and the Path Leadbeater states: “Master Morya…is the representative of the First Ray at the level of the Chohan Initiation… He stands with all the unshakable and serene strength of His Ray, playing a great part in that work of guiding men and forming nations…”  In a “table of Rays and their characteristics” communicated to him by “Master Djwal Kul,” he gives “Fohat,” “Shechinah,” and “Brahmanical” as three keywords associated with the First Ray. Ernest Wood, who expands on the foundation that Leadbeater has laid, adds “Freedom,” “Courage,” “Will,” and “Government.”  Alice Bailey follows along the same lines, frequently mentioning “Will” and “Politics,” as well as "Power" and “Synthesis,” anent the First Ray, and recognizing Morya as its representative.
The Temple of the People and Agni Yoga
Not all of the theosophical groups claiming to have contact with Master Morya highlighted that contact or taught about the Master’s connection with the First Ray. The Temple of the People, a theosophical organization that began in Syracuse, New York in 1898 and later moved to Halcyon, California, was largely under the guidance of Master Hilarion. Master Morya is said to have played a role in calling the first head of the Temple, Francia La Due, to the work. Five of the lessons in the first volume of Teachings of the Temple are attributed to him. Master Morya, who provided the plan for The Secret Doctrine and the Stanzas of Dzyan upon which the book was based, also provided the Stanzas of Dzyan that became the basis for the Theogenesis stanzas and commentaries issued by the Temple.
The role of Master Morya is still more central in the Agni Yoga teaching, all the books of which he is said to have transmitted to Helena Roerich by clairaudience. The first two volumes of the teaching are entitled Leaves of Morya’s Garden (Листы Сада Мории in the original Russian). Especially in the first book, the speaker often conveys the messages forcefully in the first person, enjoining his disciples to love him and strive in his name. However, except for the title of these two books, the name “Morya” does not appear in the seventeen volumes of the Agni Yoga series in English. The shortened form, M., is found 30 times in the first volume, four times in the next, and only once thereafter, when Master Morya’s discussion with Queen Victoria is alluded to. Those familiar with theosophical history might recognize Master Koot Hoomi as “My Friend,” who appears in a few passages. There is also a paragraph where the speaker clearly identifies himself as Akbar. It is easy to imagine a connection between Akbar, the great emperor who united modern India, and the emperors of the Maurya (or Morya) dynasty who did the same thing in ancient India; but in the Agni Yoga teaching nothing is stated explicitly about Master Morya’s past lives.
In fact, it is possible to read the Agni Yoga series without being quite sure who is transmitting it to whom. Benjamin Creme, for example, asserts that Leaves of Morya’s Garden, the only book with the Master’s name in its title, is the only one not transmitted by him.  The recipients are not identified by name, Helena Roerich being called “Urusvati” or “the Tara,” and Nicholas Roerich “the Guru.” Generally speaking, Helena Roerich has kept the more personal references to Urusvati out of the original Russian editions and English translations, even though they exist in her notebooks. Some of the once suppressed materials have made their way to the public in the last two decades. In her letters, Madam Roerich emphasizes that a reader can accept the content of the Agni Yoga books without accepting their source or paying attention to the intermediaries who transmitted them.
Ascended Master Morya
In 1930 Guy Ballard had an encounter on Mount Shasta with a person who identified himself as Comte de St. Germain, one of the masters introduced to the world by post-Blavatsky theosophy. St. Germain said that he belonged to a Brotherhood of Ascended Masters, which included among others Jesus, the Buddha, Maitreya, and Morya—or El Morya, as he came to be called. The teachings transmitted by St. Germain to Ballard became the basis of the "I AM" Activity, a worldwide religious movement. Ballard collected them in such works as Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence, publishing them under the penname “Godfré Ray King.” Ballard’s work became the nucleus for the Ascended Master Teachings promulgated by such organizations as The Bridge to Freedom and The Summit Lighthouse.
To give one of many such examples, in 1958, the very year that he founded The Summit Lighthouse, Mark L. Prophet transmitted the following message from “Beloved El Morya.” "I AM the Chohan (Lord) of the First Ray and my Activity concerns the bringing into visible, tangible, and practical manifestation right here the Will of Good for the planet Earth and all her evolutions. Believe me, dear hearts, when I say that most people who hear of me for the first time (and, alas, some who have heard of me many times!) regard me as some mystical being in a fairy tale who for fancy's sake alone they hope exists. However, in their hearts they secretly question my reality. Now, many of you know that I AM a Real, Living, Vibrant Being of Divine Love and Light who when in embodiment in similar situations to yours today, before My Ascension, once faced the same kinds of conditions and feelings of joy and sorrow which some of you are facing. When I finally made My Ascension into the Realm of the Ascended Host (in 1898), that victory was accomplished only after I had fully repaid all my karmic debts to life through service rendered by drawing forth the Full Purity and Power of My Own beloved I AM Presence.”
In terms of its style, content, and intellectual level this message is much closer to the writings of Ballard than Blavatsky, the Mahatma Letters, or Agni Yoga. The same may be said of the Ascended Master Teachings in general. The messengers of the teachings attributed to El Morya are familiar with the theosophy of earlier generations and adopt much of the same terminology and symbolism. However, there is an emphasis on God and a theistic worldview almost entirely absent from the pantheistic earlier theosophy, as well as a marked tendency to bring the Masters and their names to the fore.
El Morya has played a key role in all of the organizations. He is said to have called Geraldine Innocente to the work that eventually resulted in the founding of The Bridge to Freedom ; called both Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet to the work that gave rise to The Summit Lighthouse and Church Universal and Triumphant . Newer organizations emerging from the movement continue to claim that they receive messages from him.
There is a vast body of Ascended Masters literature claiming to be transmitted or inspired by El Morya, including: The Dayspring of Youth, The Lord God of Truth Within, Ashram Notes, The Chela and the Path, and Morya. The sheer number of these works makes it necessary to discriminate and choose carefully, especially in light of the fact that Master Morya’s most celebrated disciple, Helena Blavatsky, had little good to say about channeled literature. Words attributed to El Morya advise: “Test, test, test every activity in which you place your faith, and that to which you give the power of your attention, before you are led into the unhappy experiences which can result from blindly accepting, as truth, that which is presented to you from the seen, as well as the unseen.”
Morya's earliest notable claimed incarnation is recorded by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater (from, the source states, their research into the "akashic records" at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar (Tamil Nadu), India conducted in the summer of 1910) as having been the Emperor of Atlantis in 220,000 BC, ruling from his palace in the capital city, the City of the Golden Gates.
- Melchior (one of the three wise men--the one who gave myrrh to Jesus)
- King Arthur of Camelot
- Thomas Becket (Archbishop of Canterbury)
- Thomas More
- Akbar (Mogul Emperor)
- Shams Tabrizi
Others have asserted that he had additional incarnations. El Morya, it has been asserted, was incarnated as the first emperor of India, historically known as Chandragupta Maurya. He reigned over the Mauryan Empire from 322-298 B.C., during the time of Alexander the Great. Chandragupta Maurya defeated the armies of Alexander which tried to invade India under the Greek General Seleucus. He fortified India's defense system and made the country strong and prosperous. Due to his successful military exploits, the title of Vikramaditya was bestowed upon him. (Ref Blavatsky below on the origins of the name Maurya/Morya).
In the historical references of the dynasty of the Moryas and also the Bhavisha Purana from which source the Theosophical Society also drew their knowledge it is clearly mentioned that El Morya (Maurya) was the son of the emperor Samudragupta (also known as Shigra), and in turn Morya's son Bindusar, who gave birth to the emperor Ashoka whose symbol of the "Ashoka Chakra" adorns the flag of India even today. This line of kings were of high family and spiritual lineage and were the receiver of the holy ashes of the Buddha at Pipalivahan.
Students of Ascended Master Activities believe that he Ascended in 1898, becoming an Ascended Master and Chohan of the First Ray, and that his Spiritual Retreat is located at Darjeeling, India.
The scholar K. Paul Johnson maintains that the "Masters" that Madame Blavatsky wrote about and produced letters from were actually idealizations of people who were her mentors. Johnson asserts that the "Master Morya" was actually Maharajah Ranbir Singh of Kashmir, the most powerful royal patron of the Theosophical Society. Maharajah Singh died in 1885.
Also see the article “Talking to the Dead and Other Amusements” by Paul Zweig New York Times October 5, 1980, which maintains that Madame Blavatsky's revelations were fraudulent.
- ^ Philip Jenkins, Mystics and Messiahs, p.41-42. Oxford University Press, 2000, NYC
- ^ Manly P. Hall, “The Russian Sphinx” in The Phoenix (Los Angeles: The Philosophical Research Society, 1995) 115.
- ^ Constance Wachtmeister, Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine, (Wheaton, Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House, 1976) 56-57.
- ^ K. Paul Johnson, The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge (Albany: SUNY, 1994), 41.
- ^ C. Jinarajadasa, comp., H. P. B. Speaks II (Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House,1951), 66-67.
- ^ The Masters Revealed, 121.
- ^ Guenon, op. cit., 6. Johnson again echoes Guenon in Initiates of the Theosophical Masters (Albany: SUNY, 1995), saying, “HPB was associated in the 1850s in London” with Mazzini (p. 2), and “It is likely that in the 1850s she was a formal member of a Carbonari secret organization, Mazzini’s Jeune Europe” (p.4); but he also follows Guenon’s lead in offering no factual substantiation of these claims.
- ^ “Letter to the Editor of L’Opinione Nazionale” in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings I 392.
- ^ See H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings VI 277-279.
- ^ H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings IX 291-307. Opposition to the Society of Jesus is also expressed privately in Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett and The Mahatma Letters.
- ^ “Helena Petrovna Blavatsky” in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings VIII pp. 399-400; also quoted in Daniel Caldwell, The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky (Wheaton: Quest Books, 2000), 324-325.
- ^ A. T. Barker, comp., The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett from the Mahatmas M. and K. H. (Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), Letter No. 30, p. 230.
- ^ Ibid., No. 134, pp. 454-456.
- ^ Ibid., No. 29, 215.
- ^ Ibid., Letter Nos. 12, 13, 29, 36, 38-44, 46, 47, 61, 71, 74, 96, 97, 101, 102, 108, 109, 114, 115, and 134.
- ^ C. Jinarajadasa, comp., Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom: 1870-1900: First Series (Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), Letters 3, 36, 40, 42, 43; and Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom: Second Series (Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), Letters 26, 27, 28, 30-48, 50-56, 70, 71, 72, 75, 76, 80, 81.
- ^ Mahatma Letters, pp. 70, 215, 77, 216, 249.
- ^ A. T. Barker, comp., The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1973), Letter No. 140.
- ^ Mahatma Letters, 249-250; Blavatsky Letters, No. 4; Wachtmeister, op. cit. 40-42.
- ^ Blavatsky Letters, No. 88.
- ^ Mahatma Letters, 83.
- ^ Ibid., 68. According to C. Jinarajadasa, Morya used at least one other English script, which was easy to read. See Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom: Second Series, 66.
- ^ Ibid., 224, 250, 255.
- ^ Blavatsky Letters, No. 35.
- ^ Blavatsky Letters, Nos. 7, 19-22, 25, 26, 29-31, 34, 35, 40, 45, 46, 62, 66, 68, 79, 80, 92, 102-104, 107, 109, 118, 119.
- ^ Ibid., Nos. 6, 26, 30.
- ^ Ibid., No. 9.
- ^ Ibid., No. 35; see also Nos. 18, 36.
- ^ Ibid. No. 31.
- ^ Ibid. No. 34; Mahatma Letters, p. 252.
- ^ Blavatsky Letters, No. 45.
- ^ Ibid., Nos. 6, 11.
- ^ Ibid., No. 45.
- ^ Mahatma Letters, 308-309.
- ^ H. P. Blavatsky, From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan (Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1975), xxxv.
- ^ Blavatsky Letters No. 61; see also No. 73.
- ^ Ibid., Nos. 129, 131, 135; Boris Zirkoff, ed., The Secret Doctrine Volume I (Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), -.
- ^ Blavatsky Letters, No. 62.
- ^ H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings XII 158-160.
- ^ The Masters Revealed, 143.
- ^ Maurice Walshe, trans., The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995) 276-277 (Mahaparinibbana Sutta 16.6.25-26.
- ^ “Shakyamuni’s Place in History” in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings V 245-246
- ^ "The Puranas on the Dynasties of the Moriyas and the Koothoomi” in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings VI 40-42.
- ^ P. Thankappan Nair, “The Peacock Cult in Asia,” in Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 33, No. 2 (1974), 124, Nanzan University.
- ^ Annie Besant, The Case Against W. Q. Judge (1895), p. 13. About Besant’s closeness to Morya, in a letter of 27 March 1891 to Judge, Blavatsky writes: “She is not psychic nor spiritual in the least—all intellect—and yet she hears the Master's voice when alone, sees His Light, and recognises His Voice from that of D____.”
- ^ Letters of the Masters of the Wisdom: Second Series Nos. 69 and 70; First Series No. 19; Wachtmeister, op. cit., Chapter 5.
- ^ “The Chosen ‘Vessels of Election’” in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings IV, 409.
- ^ For a full range of information and views about this remarkable and controversial figure, see .
- ^ Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom I Nos. 7, 8.
- ^ Olcott, op. cit., III 205.
- ^ Sven Eek, comp., Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, (Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1965) 671.
- ^ C. W. Leadbeater, How Theosophy Came to Me (Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1930), “A Marvellous Change.” 
- ^ C. W. Leadbeater, The Masters and the Path (Adyar: The Theosophical Society, 1965), 29-30.
- ^ See “Theos-World from Dr. Gregory Tillett on CW Leadbeater’s Birthdate” which presents still more evidence than The Elder Brother. 
- ^ Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, Man: Whence, How and Whither (Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1913) 37-38.
- ^ Ibid., 53.
- ^ Ibid., p. 122.
- ^ T. Subba Row, Esoteric Writings (Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1931), “Women Adepts,” 568.
- ^ Ibid., 536, 526-529.
- ^ The Masters and the Path, p. 266.
- ^ Ibid., p. 258.
- ^ Ernest Wood, The Seven Rays (Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1925) 168, 142-146.
- ^ For example, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy (New York: Lucis Publishing Company, 1972), 577-579, 663.
- ^ Bailey, Alice A, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire (Section Three - Division A - Certain Basic Statements), 1932, Lucis Trust. 1925, p 1237
- ^ Meri (Francia La Due), An Opened Book or The Mirror of Destiny (Halcyon: The Temple of the People, 1918), p. 18.
- ^ Teachings of the Temple (Halcyon: The Temple of the People, 1925). The lessons are: Lesson 23, “Orient and Occident”; Lesson 38, “The Deflection of the Earth’s Axis”; Lesson 62, “The Murder of Ideals”; Lesson 90, “The Misuse of Power”; and Lesson 242, “The Dual Power.”
- ^ Boris Zirkoff, ed., The Secret Doctrine I -.
- ^ Theogenesis (Halcyon: The Temple of the People, 1981), xxv and xxxii.
- ^ Letters of Helena Roerich II (New York: The Agni Yoga Society, 1967) 86, 7 December 1935. 
- ^ Leaves of Morya’s Garden I (The Call) (New York: The Agni Yoga Society, 1999. 
- ^ In the Russian original of Leaves of Morya's Garden II 153, Christ refers to the first person narrator as "Rossul Morya" (Расул Мориа).
- ^ Agni Yoga (New York: The Agni Yoga Society, 1997), 77
- ^ Ibid., 25; New Era Community (New York: The Agni Yoga Society, 1951), 198. 
- ^ Hierarchy (New York: The Agni Yoga Society, 1977), 232
- ^ Helena Roerich, At the Threshold of the New World (Prescott, Arizona: White Mountain Education Association, 1998) includes materials on Helena Roerich’s first contacts with Master Morya, and several passages from the Leaves of Morya’s Garden notebooks that refer to the Master directly.
- ^ Letters of Helena Roerich II 487.
- ^ Elizabeth Clare Prophet, “I’m Stumping for the Coming Revolution in Higher Consciousness,” Audio-tape no. A7945, (Corwin Springs MT: The Summit Lighthouse, 1979.
- ^ For example, The Hearts Center of David C. Lewis
- ^ Besant, Annie and Leadbeater, C.W. Man: How, Whence, and Whither? Adyar, India:1913 Theosophical Publishing House Page 122 Note: On page xii of the introduction it is explained that the name Mars is used to refer to the reincarnating soul entity now known to Theosophists as Morya in his various incarnations.
- ^ Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare Lords of the Seven Rays Livingston, Montana, U.S.A.:1986 - Summit University Press - "Morya - Master of the First Ray" pages 21 - 78
- ^ Prophet, Elizabeth Clare and Prophet, Mark (as compiled by Annice Booth) The Masters and Their Retreats Corwin Springs, Montana:2003 Summit University Press Pages 87-92 El Morya
- ^ Available at: Asoka: Rock and Pillar Edicts. Then Again: David Koeller. Retrieved on: 2009-02-21
- ^ Luk, A.D.K.. Law of Life - Book II. Pueblo, Colorado: A.D.K. Luk Publications 1989. Reference material on the Ascended Masters as released through the "I AM" Activity and The Bridge to Freedom.
- ^ Schroeder, Werner Ascended Masters and Their Retreats Ascended Master Teaching Foundation 2004. Reference material on the Ascended Masters and their Retreats as released by the "I AM" Activity and The Bridge to Freedom
- ^ Booth, Annice The Masters and Their Retreats Summit Lighthouse Library June 2003. Reference material on the Ascended Masters and their Retreats as released by the "I AM" Activity, The Bridge to Freedom, and The Summit Lighthouse
- ^ Johnson, Paul K. Initiates of Theosophical Masters Albany, New York:1995 State University of New York Press
- Besant, Annie and Leadbeater, C.W. Man:How, Whence, and Whither? Adyar, India:1913—Theosophical Publishing House
- Leadbeater, C.W. The Masters and the Path Adyar, Madras, India: 1925—Theosophical Publishing House
- Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare Lords of the Seven Rays Livingston, Montana, U.S.A.:1986 - Summit University Press
- Campbell, Bruce F. A History of the Theosophical Movement Berkeley:1980 University of California Press
- Godwin, Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment Albany, New York: 1994 State University of New York Press
- Johnson, K. Paul The Masters Revealed: Madam Blavatsky and Myth of the Great White Brotherhood Albany, New York: 1994 State University of New York Press
- Melton, J. Gordon Encyclopedia of American Religions 5th Edition New York:1996 Gale Research ISBN 0-8103-7714-4 ISSN 1066-1212 Chapter 18--"The Ancient Wisdom Family of Religions" Pages 151-158; see chart on page 154 listing Masters of the Ancient Wisdom; Also see Section 18, Pages 717-757 Descriptions of various Ancient Wisdom religious organizations
- Cranston, Sylvia HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1993
- Theosophical Society, The originators of the Master concept (Before the term "Ascended" was used)
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