The First Ascended Master Adherents

The ascended masters are described as those who were once human, but paid off their karmic debt and mastered the process of earning their ascension. There are a whole plethora of ascended master beings with names of saints we know and some we have never heard of. Jesus, Mary and Joseph (aka St. Germain) are all called ascended masters. There is a master called "spirit of selflessness", a "queen of light", a "master K-17" (who heads the cosmic secret service, a group of ascended and unascended masters, who work undercover and sometimes assume the appearance of those whose ranks and organizations they would penetrate), Mighty Cosmos (a being whose self-awareness of God embraces all of cosmos. He focuses his rays through the pure quartz crystal to help restore earth to its original pitch in the music of the spheres, and attuning it to the hum of creation). There is a God of Gold, the Great Divine Director, who was supposedly the guru of Saint Germain.

Ascended master students will defend their belief that the masters are real, that they speak to us from higher planes; that many see them as they appear to them; and that they are our higher brothers and sisters on the path. Many of these students do not see or hear them, but depend on others to tell them what they see and hear, or messengers (channelers) to give their messages, prophecy and guide mankind to their spiritual victory.

These masters supposedly walked the earth as we do, but transcended the cycles of rebirth to gain their ascension and become immortal beings. They gather together in what is called the "Great White Brotherhood" headed by Sanat Kumara, who is supposed to be one and the same as the Ancient of Days mentioned in Daniel 7:9, where Daniel is describing his vision of heaven. There an ancient, or venerable, Person sits on a flaming throne with wheels of fire, His hair and clothing white as snow. The flaming throne is symbolic of judgment, while the white hair and title “Ancient” indicate that God existed before time began. In Isaiah 43:13 God says, "Yea, before the day was I am he" we find that God refers to Himself existing from ancient of days (literally, “before days were”). That means God existed before days were even created and time was. In Daniel 7:13, the term “ancient of days” refers to God the Father, the Creator, and we see Him on His throne, as Jesus, the “Son of Man” approaches the throne on clouds.

The origination of the name "Sanat Kumara" comes from Hinduism, where he is believed to be a rishi (a seer or sage). Helena Blavatsky claimed he belonged to a group of beings, the "Lords of the Flame", and a Theosophy student,  Charles W. Leadbeater wrote that Sanat Kumara was the "King" or Lord of the World, and the head of the Great White Brotherhood of Mahatmas. (The Masters and The Path, pg 296) Thus we see that if Sanat Kumara is the Ancient of Days, he is one with "the God" that was before creation. Yet, according to the Summit Lighthouse Sanat Kumara is a manifestation of God - not the God. Logic would then have to reject the idea that Sanat Kumara is the Ancient of Days spoken of in Daniel. Yet the story of Sanat Kumara as the savior of the world who came with 144,000 to save the earth in her darkest hour after mankind fell to the level of cavemen, and who lives on the planet Venus, and is also the Ancient of Days, is unquestionably accepted by ascended master students.

Gautama Buddha, supposedly, was the first of the 144,000 to take his ascension and became Lord of the World in 1956. Lord Maitreya also won his ascension and became the Planetary Buddha, also known as the Cosmic Christ. He supposedly focuses the radiance of the Cosmic Christ to the evolutions of earth. He succeeded Lord Gautama as Cosmic Christ when Gautama became Lord of the World.

Who is this Maitreya? According to Wikipedia, "the Theosophical concept of Maitreya has many similarities to the earlier Maitreya doctrine in Buddhism. However, they differ in important aspects, and developed differently. The Theosophical Maitreya has been assimilated or appropriated by a variety of quasi-theosophical and non-theosophical New Age and Esoteric groups and movements. These have added, and advanced, their own interpretations and commentary on the subject." According to Theosophy and their lineage, Maitreya is the wisest among the masters. He periodically incarnates to impart knowledge to mankind. He cannot do that from heaven? And what about Jesus the Christ? Theosophical texts state that Maitreya was the Hindu deity Krishna and was Christ during the three years of the Ministry of Jesus.

Although the Summit Lighthouse, which I was a member for twenty years, bases its philosophy on these ascended masters, surprisingly they write little about who and what these ascended masters are. Most of the information I gleamed from my years with them came in bits and pieces as I read their dictations and books and went to their conferences. One website describes the masters as beings who have passed through the higher initiations, hold positions of great responsibility, overseeing the Earth and its growth or work on a cosmic level. And, like organizations upon the earth, change their positions from time to time, gaining ‘promotions' and new opportunities for their own growth and service to humanity. Yet who came up with this idea that these masters were advanced beings who worked with mankind and were free from to move in and out of the physical plane?

Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society
The idea of ascended masters began with Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky's "Mahatmas". Blavatsky was born into an aristocratic Russian-German family in 1831. As a child she was a great story teller, creating fantastic tales to her childhood friends. She claimed she communicated with animals and even those who were dead beyond the veil of time and space. Thus these appearances of psychic powers puzzled her family and friends. She traveled widely around the Russian Empire as a child.

Blavatsky developed an interest in Western esotericism during her teenage years. According to her later claims, in 1849 she embarked on a series of world travels, visiting Europe, the Americas, and India, claiming that during this period she encountered a group of spiritual adepts, the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom". When she was in her 20's she said she met the Master Morya in England and he said she must go to Tibet. She also claimed he sent her letters with instructions, which she followed that took her to India. Around 1852 she attempted to get into Tibet through Nepal but was sent back. A few years later she tried again and supposedly was successful. It is on this journey that she said she met Koot Hoomi (Kuthumi) for the first time, and lived in the house of his sister at Shigadze.

The legitimacy of some of her travels have been argued by critics and biographers of being untrue or impossible to have accomplished. It would be 18 years before she would meet Morya in Tibet from the time she first met him. In Tibet Blavatsky said these masters helped her develop her further develop her psychic powers and trained her to develop a deeper understanding of the synthesis of religion, philosophy and science. After leaving Tibet she supposedly met another master, Hilarion in Greece and then a master called Serapis Bey while in Cairo.

Blavatsky moved to New York in 1873 supposedly under Morya's direction. While living in New York she met Henry Steel Olcott who later became co-founder of the Theosophical Society and its first President, and where she William Quan Judge, who also co-founded the Society with them. It was there she took up Spiritualism and became a spirit medium giving séances. She wrote her first major book "Isis Unveiled" in 1877.

Blavatsky,  Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and William Quan Judge formed the Theosophical Society in 1875. She became a citizen of the U.S. but quickly left the U.S. to move to India with Olcott. Judge stayed in New York and headed up the U.S. Society branch. The Society's pledge was to form a universal brotherhood for the attainment of enlightenment and the seeking after Wisdom. One of its objective was "to investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man".

Blavatsky portrayed the newly formed Theosophical Society as part of the many attempts throughout the millennia for a hidden spiritual hierarchy, the so-called Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, (the upper echelons consist of advanced spiritual beings) to guide humanity towards the attainment of perfection and to be conscious, willing participants in the evolutionary process. To aide this process the Theosophical Society would be one of the earthly infrastructures under the inspiration of the Mahatmas, who were members of this Hierarchy. Unlike the I AM Movement and Summit Lighthouse masters who were only in the spirit world unless called to manifest themselves for some special occasion, Blavatsky's Mahatmas were in the physical plane living in physical houses.

At first she talked about these Mahatmas privately, but after a few years two of these adepts, Koot Hoomi (K. H.) and Morya (M.), agreed to maintain a correspondence with a couple of British Theosophists—A. P. Sinnett and A. O. Hume. These letters became known as the "Mahatma Letters" with the communication taking place from 1880 to 1885.

The Mahatmas are enlightened yogis because they retain their bodies. According to some Buddhist philosophies an enlightened one, after having realized Truth, has gained the right to merge with the All in a state of absolute bliss (called moksha or nirvana). From nirvana these enlightened ones cannot be in touch with humanity, since they have to abandon the lower vehicles of consciousness. These Theosophical masters have supposedly decided to give up entering into nirvana so that they remain able to help mankind and the earth. They are then what the Mahayana Buddhists call bodhisattvas.

Blavatsky said, they "are living men, born as we are born, and doomed to die like every mortal". Since they are enlightened yogis they know how to maintain care of their physical bodies and can stay in embodiment supposedly for hundreds of years; nevertheless, their bodies must eventually die. The Mahatma Letters have statements of these masters eating, getting tired and having limitations. Contrary to the "new age" ascended masters, who are made into gods, all-powerful beings beyond the laws of nature, Blavatsky's Mahatmas reiterated that they were not infallible, and in their teachings, they deny that that such beings as these new age masters exist. Yet ascended master students justify their belief by stating that Blavatsky's masters were not ascended yet, but the present day masters are ascended.

During the years following the Mahatma letters the Mahatmas became more and more public. So much so that Blavatsky came out with a statement in 1889 writing:

Every bogus swindling society, for commercial purposes, now claims to be guided undirected by “masters,” often supposed to be far higher than ours!… Only fourteen years ago, before the Theosophical Society was founded, all the talk was of “Spirits.” They were everywhere, in everyone’s mouth; and no one by any chance even dreamt of talking about living “Adepts,” “Mahatmas,” or “Masters.”

There were many offshoots of the Theosophical Society, and much history about the society itself that one could write a book about it. Much can be discovered by researching Theosophical Society and Blavatsky, and choosing for oneself what to believe, as Theosophists tell one story and their antagonists tell another. It is known that Madame Blavatsky delved into the psychic and occult and was claimed as an impostor in 1885, by the Cambridge-based Society for Psychical Research. They published their view: “FOR OUR PART, WE REGARD her as neither the mouthpiece of hidden seers, nor as a mere vulgar adventuress; we think that she has achieved a title to permanent remembrance as one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting imposters in history.”

Their comment was preceded in 1884 by two of her staff publicly releasing private letters to the Madras Christian College Magazine, supposedly these communiqués written from Blavatsky to these two people when and how to fabricate miracles—causing letters to coalesce from nowhere, roses to shower from ceilings, and astral heads to waft on the evening breeze.

After Blavatsky's death in 1891 Judge became involved in a dispute with Olcott and Annie Besant. Judge was accused of having forgered messages - short ones, usually, supposedly by Mahatmas.  As a result, he ended his association with Olcott and Besant during 1895 and took most of the Society's American Section with him. Annie Besant and Henry Olcott formed the Theosophical Society – Adyar in India. Judge took most of the American Theosophical Society, but also that group later splintered. Judge died a year later.

One of Blavatsky's goals for the Society was to prepare humanity for the reception of a World Teacher, aka Christ-Maitreya. (Some Theosophists refute she ever had this goal.) Charles Webster Leadbeater, a prominent member of the Society, along with Annie Besant, promoted a young South Indian boy, Krishnamurti, as the newly incarnated Maitreya in 1909. Besant became his legal guardian and surrogate mother. The only problem was twenty years later Krishnamurti repudiated the role that many theosophists expected him to fulfill and eventually left the Theosophical Society.

Leadbeater resigned from Theosophy due to his sexual association with boys he taught. He admitted teaching some boys how to masturbate and told them to stay away from women. He frequently slept with naked boys as witnessed accidentally by other adults in the household. There was a trial before a Theosophical committee whereby it was determined Leadbeater's action were intolerable. At first Mrs. Besant spoke sternly against Leadbeater's action, yet in time she supported his return. Needless to say, upon returning to Theosophy his practices continued, albeit this time the boys he handled would never confess to any sexual contact with him.

Police investigations followed over the years but they could never extract any confessions from any of the boys. They were highly devoted to him. Leadbeater taught that once the sexual passions were aroused they should be properly directed, and not wasted and that such sexual exercises could lead to the development of psychic powers and experiences of Nirvana, and the higher worlds. He held late night séances with the boys and some in the movement believed he was also into sexual black magic. Yet their hands were tied with little proof and the reputation of the Adyar branch of Theosophy at stake. More information can be found on the Internet about Leadbeater in Gregory John Tillett's "A Biographical Study", to determine on one's own whether Leadbeater was a character of moral soundness or was a reprehensible character.

New Thought and Christian Science
The New Thought movement had already begun incorporating some of Swedenborg's (1688–1772) thoughts on the Bible. Phineas P. Quimby is widely recognized as the founder of the New Thought movement after he learned about what he believed was the power of the mind to heal through hypnosis when he observed Charles Poyen's work. About 1840, Quimby began to practice hypnotism, or mesmerism as it was called. He highly influenced Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, which believed the power of the mind heals, along with prayer.

Mary Baker Eddy founded Christian Science, or Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879. A fundamental difference between Christian Science and traditional Christianity lies in its belief that creation is entirely spiritual and perfect and matter does not exist. She also taught that because the world is unreal, ultimately, disease is unreal. It follows that she also believed sin and death are unreal. The core teachings affirmed at their church services say:

There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.
All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.
Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error.
Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal.
Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness.
Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.

Alice Bailey and the Arcane School
Alice Bailey (1880-1949) was originally an English Theosophist who broke from the society in 1920. She became acquainted with Theosophy in 1915 and worked for the group in Hollywood as editor of their magazine, The Messenger. Bailey became part of a progressive "Back to Blavatsky movement", outlining her vision for the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. Society president Annie Besant had issues with the autheticity of Bailey's claims of communication with "the Tibetan" master Djwal Khul, which she was sharing within the society and had been favorably accepted by other students. She taught classes on the Secret Doctrine and expanded on Blavatsky’s ideas.Yet differences arose between the Baileys and Annie Besant over this movement and her writings, whereby Besant dismissed them from their positions in Theosophy.

They went on to found an esoteric magazine entitled The Beacon in 1922 and the following year founded the Arcane School (under the Lucis Trust) where she wrote and shared twenty-four books she claimed she received from Djwal Khul. The Summit Lighthouse later gave an expose stating that her channeling began with this master but he deserted her early on when she got too much into the intellect. Bailey was the first to use the term "New Age".

Some claim Bailey's works contradict Blavatsky's teachings even though she believed her aim was to restore Blavatsky's original teachings. She reconciled her Christian upbringing with the occult by combining them into a unique brand of Theosophy that some Theosophists say was derived from the works of C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant, that is labeled as “Pseudo-Theosophy.” Bailey picked up on the theme of the Second Coming of the Christ-Maitreya that Leadbeater had begun, and continued that emphasis throughout all her working years. The seven rays were also expounded upon in great detail, drawn from Blavatsky’s earlier work.

Theosophists seem to be divided by those who believe Blavatsky taught one belief system and Bailey another. Blavatsky spoke out against those she claimed were channeling false masters, as quoted above. Those who speak harshly of Bailey claim her "D.K" is not the same "D.K." Blavatsky received messages from. To this day, the same accusations move from one ascended master movement to another each claiming the other is channeling false masters. One reason is that all these "ascended masters" cannot agree on what they teach, even if they claim to be the one and only Djwal Kuhl or El Morya. The master's or Elohim's names have changed from group to group, as well as the divine rays, and philosophies.

Spalding and the Life and teaching of the Masters
One of the most influential contributors to the idea of ascended masters was Baird T. Spalding and his books, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East. He self-published his first volume in 1924. Most ascended master students have read his books which tell of a fantastic research expedition of eleven scientists to India and Tibet. During their trip they claim to have made contact with "the Great Masters of the Himalayas", immortal beings with whom they lived and studied, gaining a fascinating insight into their lives and witnessing many miracles like walking on water.

In volume one of his series Spalding meets a “Master” named Emil who can appear at will and read his mind. Emil speak of the I AM, the great God Self, and having Christ consciousness. He speaks of Jesus being an exceptional teacher but then suggests that some of the masters hold the belief that other great masters taught Jesus. He suggests that Jesus being a mediator between mankind and God is not right, because Christ lives in every man and Jesus came to show us how God is the Cause of all things and that God is All. Emil tells the Spalding group that when Jesus said, "I am the door" he meant that the I AM in each soul is the door. He alludes to all of the masters are ascended, "Could they see us as we are, no doubt they would think we had ascended. In reality that is what happens. We do ascend to a plane of consciousness where the mortal does lose contact with us," and states that all that descends from God must ascend back to God.

Emil speaks of America as a great land that is to awaken to its highest potential, to accept the Christ consciousness, as she is destined to be a leader in the world. All of these ideas are regurgitated by the Ballards, with Mr. Ballard's Saint Germain talking in the same fashion and language emphasizing the "the great I AM" and other ideas introduced in Spalding's books. The focus on America being great was also taken up by the I AM Movement.

Much of the content of Life and Teaching  is believed to have been inspired by the New Thought movement. Spalding was a member of a New Thought group in San Francisco during the early 1920’s when he wrote Life and Teaching Volume One. He published a chapter of his book in their periodical in 1922 called Comforter League of Light. (Taken from Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions.)

Spalding's book sold thousands of copies and he went on lecture tours across America. Of course he had to write more and followed with three more volumes. There has been much controversy on whether his stories are real or fiction. Most people state they don't care either way for his stories relate philosophical beliefs that inspire them. Spalding would have only been 22 years old in 1894 when he supposedly traveled to India, but he spent most of the 1890’s in the Yukon mining for gold.

His birth year is unclear, as well as his birth country. Sometimes he stated he was born in New York and other times he answered, Spalding, England. One time he answered at a public lecture that he was born in India. In volume five Spalding writes he attended the preparatory school for Calcutta University when he was four years old. (pg. 85) Spalding’s other books and his publisher (Doug DeVorss who was raised in the Unity Church, a New Thought group) say “Baird T Spalding” was born in the 1850′s in England. Census records indicate Bayard Spaulding (different spelling) is born in 1872 in Cohocton, New York. Over the years he not only changed the spelling of his name, but his birth date and place of birth. His California and New Mexico drivers licenses have his birth date as May 26, 1904, NY; his death certificate as May 26, 1857; and his marriage certificate as 1872 in England. Correspondence uncovered from family members in 1911 indicates that Spalding suffered from delusions for decades, and records show he was confined to an asylum in California briefly in the 1940’s. 

Another interesting fact was his association with James Churchward (February 27, 1851 - January 4, 1936), who was an Anglo-American who spent a great deal of his life in India and was the author of a series of books on the mythical land of Lemuria. His first book on Lemuria was the Motherland of Man (1926), re-edited later as The Lost Continent Mu: the Motherland of Man (1931). Other books in the series are The Children of Mu (1931), and The Sacred Symbols of Mu (1933), the Cosmic Forces of Mu (1934) and a follow-up in 1935.

While there are no records or proof Spalding actually went to India in 1894, Churchward did extensive travels. His many books reference his travels to India, Burma, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, South Sea Islands, Central America, New Zealand, Cambodia, Arizona, New Mexico, and the Carolinas. Spalding's wife Stella Spalding was an intelligent, University educated woman who helped Spalding greatly when writing his books. Stella typed manuscripts for Churchward who was a personal friend. Spalding could have developed his story from learning of Churchward's travel experiences.

In 1935 the Oakland Tribune reported of an alleged affair and paternity suit against Spalding. His wife divorced him the following year. Spalding’s first visit to India was in 1935 at the behest of his publisher. Presenting fictional material of a spiritual nature in the style of scientific expeditions to distant lands and discoveries of rare documents was a popular genre around the turn of the century. Blavatsky shared her tales of adventures in the Far East. Guy Ballard shared his with his meeting with Saint Germain at Mount Shasta. Nicholas Notovitch, whom the Summit Lighthouse quoted as fact that his travels to a monastery near Leh, Ladakh proved that a Saint Issa (Jesus) spent his lost years there studying in the East with the Buddhists, monks and at the monasteries.

In 1894 Notovitch published a translation of those texts as The life of Saint Issa. He claimed that he broke his leg in India and while recovering from it at the Hemis monastery in Ladakh, he learned of the "Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men" – Isa being the Arabic name of Jesus in Islam. Notovitch's story, with the text of the "Life," was published in French in 1894 as La vie inconnue de Jesus Christ. It was translated into English, German, Spanish, and Italian. According to Wikipedia, he later confessed he had made up the story.

The I AM Movement and the Ballards will continue in part II