Brotherhood of Adepts

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The Brotherhood of Adepts is a spiritual organization formed by a group of living men and women from different races and countries, who have been Initiated in the Path of Occultism.

General description

Charles Johnston, in a report of an interview to H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

She had known adepts of many races, from Northern and Southern India, Tibet, Persia, China, Egypt; of various European nations, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, English; of certain races in South America, where she said there was a Lodge of adepts.[1]

As can be inferred from the quote above, this Brotherhood is not located in a single place, but has several centers around the world. Mahatma K. H. wrote:

There are even at the present moment three centres of the Occult Brotherhood in existence, widely separated geographically, and as widely exoterically — the true esoteric doctrine being identical in substance though differing in terms; all aiming at the same grand object, but no two agreeing seemingly in the details of procedure. It is an every day occurrence to find students belonging to different schools of occult thought sitting side by side at the feet of the same Guru. Upasika (Madam B.) and Subba Row, though pupils of the same Master, have not followed the same Philosophy — the one is Buddhist and the other an Adwaitee.[2]

Sometimes H. P. Blavatsky would talk about these different centers as "sub-Brotherhoods" within the "Great Brotherhood" of Adepts.[3] Also, the phrase "White Brotherhood" or "White Adepts" is sometimes used to differentiate the Mahatmas from the "Black Adepts", known as Brothers of the Shadow.[4] The use of the words white and black in this connection has nothing to do with the color of skin but with the use of what is traditionally called white magic and black magic.

The Tibetan Brotherhood

The Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya who wrote the letters sent to A. P. Sinnett, along with other Adepts such as Djwal Khool belong to the Tibetan Brotherhood, also referred to as "Himalayan" or "Trans-Himalayan". Virginia Hanson wrote:

In a letter written to a friend on July 1, 1890, H.P.B. has some other interesting things to say about Mahatmas: “They are members of an occult Brotherhood [but] not of any particular school in India.” This brotherhood, she adds, did not originate in Tibet, and some of its members live outside of Tibet, but “most of its members and some of the highest are, and live constantly, in Tibet.”[5]

In her letter to Franz Hartmann, Blavatsky wrote:

There is beyond the Himalayas a nucleus of Adepts, of various nationalities; and the Teshu [Panchen] Lâma knows Them, and They act together, and some of Them are with Him and yet remain unknown in Their true character even to the average lamas – who are ignorant fools mostly.[6]

The chief, or one of the chiefs, of this Brotherhood is a high Mahatma known as Maha Chohan.

The Egyptian Brotherhood of Luxor

One "sub-brotherhood" within the Great Brotherhood of Adepts is known as the Brotherhood of Luxor. Talking about Mesmer, Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

He was an initiated member of the Brotherhoods of the Fratres Lucis and of Lukshoor (or Luxor), or the Egyptian Branch of the latter. It was the Council of “Luxor” which selected him--according to the orders of the “Great Brotherhood”-to act in the XVIIIth century as their usual pioneer, sent in the last quarter of every century to enlighten a small portion of the Western nations in occult lore.[7]

She defined it as:

. . .one of the oldest and most powerful of Eastern Brotherhoods. It is known as the Brotherhood of Luxor, and its faithful members have the custody of very important secrets of science. Its ramifications extend widely throughout the great Republic of the West. Though this brotherhood has been long and hard at work, the secret of its existence has been jealously guarded.[8]

This Brotherhood has several Sections, as can be seen in one of the letters Master Tuitit Bey sent to H. S. Olcott:[9]

Ellora Section: Serapis Bey
Section of Solomon: Polydorus Isurenus
Section of Zoroaster: Robert More

Adepts in America and Europe

Student.— Are there any Adepts in America or Europe? Sage.— Yes, there are and always have been. But they have for the present kept themselves hidden from the publice gaze. The real ones have a wide work to do in many departments of life and in preparing certain persons who have a future work to do. Though their influence is wide they are not suspected, and that is the way they want to work for the present. There are some also who are at work with certain individuals in some of the aboriginal tribes in America, as among those are Egos who are to do still more work in another incarnation, and they must be prepared for it now. Nothing is omitted by these Adepts. In Europe it is the same way, each sphere of work being governed by the time and the place.[10]

Charles Johnston reports that Mme. Blavatsky mentioned the presence of a Lodge of adepts in South America:

“It is the tradition of this which the Spanish Conquistadores found,” she said, “the golden city of Manoah or El Dorado. The race is allied to the ancient Egyptians, and the adepts have still preserved the secret of their dwelling-place inviolable. There are certain members of the Lodges who pass from centre to centre, keeping the lines of connection between them unbroken. But they are always connected in other ways.”[11]

According to C. W. Leadbeater

C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant used frequently the phrase "Great White Brotherhood" when talking about the wide-world Brotherhood of Adepts.

The world is guided and directed to a large extent by a Brotherhood of Adepts to which our Masters belong. Theosophical students make all sorts of mistakes about Them. They often regard Them as a great monastic community, all living together in some secret place. They suppose Them sometimes to be Angels, and many of our students have thought that They were all Indian, or that They all resided in the Himalayas. None of these hypotheses is true. There is a great Brotherhood, and its Members are in constant communication with one another; but Their communication is on higher planes and They do not necessarily live together. As part of Their work, some of these great Brothers whom we call Masters of the Wisdom are willing to take pupil-apprentices and teach them; but They form only a small section of the mighty Body of Perfected Men.[12]

See also

Online resources

Articles and pamphlets


  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings, vol. 8 (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1960), 400.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 120 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 410.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 214.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1982), 491.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence Introductory Notes (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), xvii.
  6. H. P. Blavatsky, "Echoes from the past," The Theosophist 29:1 (1907), 77.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 213-214.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 308, fn.
  9. Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom Second Series, Letter No. 3 (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 18. In 1926 edition, see page 21.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IX (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 400-H.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings, vol. 8 (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1960), 400.
  12. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Masters And The Path (Chicago, IL: Theosophical Press, 1925) 18-19.