There are three categories of new evidence about individuals for whom the Brotherhood of Light books provide birth charts and biographical sketches. First are recent historical books and articles that share new information or perspectives; in Gandhi’s case Accidental Gods. Second are documents or images from genealogical sources about associations and family backgrounds. Third there are often documentary films or videos that shed new light on the subject. Here is a very recent documentary of interest to readers today.
The ever-shifting use of the terms “adept,” “Master” and “Mahatma” over 150 years requires a distinction between Olcott and Blavatsky. He characterized as Mahatmas acquaintances from Egypt, Tibet, China, Siam, Hungary, and Cyprus, writing “During the three years when I was waiting to come to India, I had other visits from the Mahatmas, and they were not all Hindus or Cashmeris. I know some fifteen in all, and among them Copts, Tibetans, Chinese, Japanese, Siamese, a Hungarian, and a Cypriote.” This is an anachronistic falsification of history. In her letters to Franz Hartmann HPB protested that before coming to India she had spoken of adepts—not capitalized– a more inclusive category of associates than “Mahatmas.” She wrote: “I said to him that I had known adepts, `the brothers’ not only in India and beyond Ladakh, but in Egypt and Syria… The names of the Mahatmas were not even known at the time, since they were called so only in India.”
The Masters Revealed title characters include 15 nationalities and 21 ethnicities; in terms of 2023 borders, 12 from India, 4 from Russia, 2 each from Egypt, the US, and the UK, and 1 each from Hungary, Iran, Algeria, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Tibet, and Sri Lanka. The Indian subdivision includes men of seven different ethnicities speaking as many languages, natives of Gujerat, Punjab, Kashmir, Mysore, Indore, Bengal, and Sikkim. Yet somehow the book has been repeatedly misrepresented as being entirely about two literary pseudonyms, Morya and Koot Hoomi, rather than 32 historical individuals– and strongly condemned on that basis. “The Mahatmas” has come in Theosophical circles to be synonymous with these two aliases instead of any historically documented people with birth and death dates. Birth and death dates and biographical information “downgrade” them. But in wider popular culture “the Mahatma” came to be identified solely with one person, Mohandas Gandhi. “The Masters” is even more problematic as it can refer to multiple competing sects promoting guru-worship. To avoid the confusion caused by all this, the term adepts is adopted here as consistently as possible.