In my next post #3 on the Masters I will further elucidate Bulwer Lytton's writings and also Leadbeater's book, but more of that later. Note also the Great White Brotherhood as well.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, founder of the
Theosophical Society, was a huge Bulwer-Lytton fan and may have decided he was
presenting true facts, disguised as fiction. Or she may have gotten the concept
of the Masters from her correspondence with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, a
mystic lodge which offered a correspondence course in esoteric doctrine.
Blavatsky brought attention to the existence of ascended spiritual leaders
through her activities which included channelling messages from beings she
called "Mahatmas", especially her spirit guide "Koot Hoomi" or "Kuthumi."
From these beginnings, her successors in the Theosophical Society
leadership, Annie Besant and especially Charles W. Leadbeater, developed the
mythology of Ascended Masters, and fleshed out many of their alleged biographies
and past lives. Leadbeater's 1925 book, The Masters and the Path, marked the
crystalization of the lore that had accumulated around the concept of Ascended
Masters into a published, public form.
Belief in ascended masters is also
found among the followers of the I AM movement, the Temple of the Presence, and
Elizabeth Clare Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant. The occult
organization, Servants of the Light, claim to have contact with an ascended
master. Many New Age channelers routinely talk about the Masters, taking it as
given that they exist.