Bhavani Shankar

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Bhavani Shankar, December 1884

Bhavani Shankar Ganesh Mullapoorkar, also known as Bhavani Rao, was an early associate of the Founders of the Theosophical Society. He retained a lifelong interest in Theosophy until his death in 1936. He was a chela of Master K.H..

According to Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett:

Bhavani Rao or Bhavani Shanker, a chela who lived for a while at the headquarters of the TS in Bombay. He was present there with HPB and others at the time of the "Vega incident" connected with the medium Eglinton... He traveled some with HSO about India and was with him at Allahabad, India at the APS home at the time of the plaster cast phenomenon on March 11, 1881. Probably he is the person referred to by APS on p. 222 of OW, who transmitted some messages for him at Allahabad. According to SH, p. 165, he was one of a group at the headquarters of the TS (then in Bombay) in January 1882, to whom M appeared. Ross Scott, Damodar, "and others" were in the group. ML index; OW, pp. 130, 222; D, pp. 191, 331; SH index.[1]

Involvement with Mahatma Letters

Bhavani Shankar was involved in the transmissions of some of the letters from the Masters to Mr. Sinnett. He wrote:

I was staying with Sinnett at Allahabad. H.P.B. was at Bombay. One night, Sinnett asked me to try and get a letter through to ‘Master K.H.’ He gave me the sealed letter. I went to bed, putting the letter under my pillow. I was trying to read, but my curiosity made me look under my pillow once – the letter was still there – twice – the letter was still there – but the third time I looked it had gone, and I distinctly saw the shadowy outlines of the Master K.H.[2]

He received some letters from Master K.H.:

H.P.B. again absent. I was in the train with Colonel Olcott and Damodar. A letter from Master K.H. was – by no normal means – put inside my leather satchel-purse, the strap of which was around my neck, the bag itself being in a deep pocket of my costume. The letter was not there when we started. The letter was addressed to me.[3]

The originals of these letters have not been published or identified.

Witnessing visits of Masters

He saw some of the Masters in their subtle body:

In the month of January 1884, I was at Jubbulpore with Brother Nivaran Chandra Mookerjee, who was then the Secretary of [the local branch of] the Theosophical Society. One night, while I was with him, I was [talking] to some twenty-seven members of that Branch and they were listening to me with great attention. On a sudden, there was deathlike silence for some time. I then felt the influence of Madame Blavatsky’s Venerated Master [Morya], and it was so strong that I could not bear it. The current of electricity generated by an electromagnetic battery is nothing when compared with that current generated by the trained will of an Adept. When a Mahatma means to show himself to a chela, he sends off a current of electricity to the chela indicating his approach. It was this influence which I felt at that time. A few minutes after, the Mahatma [Morya] was actually present in the room where the meeting of the members was held and was seen by me and Bro. Nivaran while some of the members only felt the influence. All the members would have seen him much more vividly, had it not been for the fact that he did not materialize himself much more objectively. I have seen the same Mahatma, several times in his [astral] double during my travels in the North [of India]. Not only have I seen Madame B.’s Master in his double but also my venerated Guru Deva "K.H." I have also seen Master [K.H.] in his physical body.[4]

At least in one occasion, he met his Master in his physical body:

I was alone in Berabanki, near Lucknow, Oudh. H.P.B. was in Bombay, when I received a letter from the ‘Master K.H.’ bidding me go and see him in Kashmir. I recognised the Master’s writing. . . . I went to Kashmir, and I saw the Master in his physical body.[5]

On 15 December 1883, he wrote a letter to Damodar from Moradabad, telling him he had met his guru (Damodar 331-2 / MTL 271-2 / ICM 10-13). KH confirmed that such a meeting had taken place in a letter to Pran Nath (LMW 1:26-7).[6]

After Mr. Sinnett published his book The Occult World where he talked about the Masters, some Spiritualists claimed the Masters were but disembodied spirits. Bhavani Shankar and Martandrao B. Nagnath sent a letter to the London Spiritualist saying the following:

In common with some other Theosophists of Bombay, we have had, on several occasions, the honour to see these ‘Brothers’ of our Society’s First Section. We have thus been led to know that they represent a class of living, not ‘disembodied’ men or ghosts - as the Spiritualists would insist upon; that they are in possession of the highest virtues and psychic capabilities, and have, as we are assured from the opportunities we have been permitted to enjoy, ever exerted such powers for beneficent purposes, regarding the whole humanity as a Universal Brotherhood, but keeping aloof from the world for reasons best known to themselves.[7]


Online resources


  1. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 219-220.
  2. H. P. Blavatsky and Phenomena by Laura I. Finch
  3. H. P. Blavatsky and Phenomena by Laura I. Finch
  4. The Esoteric World of Mme. Blavatsky Chapter 12 by Daniel Caldwell
  5. H. P. Blavatsky and Phenomena by Laura I. Finch
  6. The Theosophical Mahatmas by David Pratt
  7. See "First Report of the Committee of the Society for Psychical Research, Appendix XII" at Published by Blavatsky Study Center