The Myth of the Masters Revived

Breaking my hiatus to take note of a new 2014 publication by Russian historian Alexandre Andreyev, which fulfills a hope that I had been ready to abandon long ago– that my research on Theosophy would inspire further investigations by a scholar qualified to pursue the Russian aspects of Blavatsky and the myth of the Masters. Instead of going back in time to Theosophy’s Russian occult origins, Andreyev investigates its twentieth century impact on the most influential Russian exponents of the Masters myth. The price of this book, like many other Brill publications, means I will need to peruse it in a library. Meanwhile, here is the publisher’s description.

This book examines the lives of the famous Russian painter, thinker, and mystic Nikolai Roerich and his wife, Elena Roerich, the “mother” of Agni Yoga esoteric teaching. Extensively researched, it focuses on the couple’s spiritual quest, resulting in their gradual transformation under the influence of theosophy, spiritualism and Elena’s psychic “fiery experience” into mystics and gurus who fashioned their new version of the “myth of the Masters,” the invisible guides of humanity. Special attention is given to N. Roerich’s travels in Central Asia and Far East, his cultural and public activities and particularly his Buddho-Communist utopia. The myth of the Masters revived will appeal to those interested in New Age esotericism, mysticism, and Russian thought in the first half of the 20th century.

Google Books provides considerable access by keyword search, including this passage from the preface:

My research was further stimulated by another ground-breaking work, that of American researcher K.P. Johnson titled, The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge (1994). This was a bold attempt to demystify the Blavatskian stories of the mahatmas and identify the real Masters behind the myth. Johnson’s conclusions that HPB’s adept sponsors were “a succession of human mentors rather than a cosmic hierarchy of supermen” encouraged me to dig deeper into Nikolai and Elena’s biographies with a hope of finally unveiling the mystery of their Masters who had the same bizarre names of Morya and Koot Hoomi.

More on the book and author in my next blog entry.