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Master Hillarion (also known as Hillarion Smerdis, Hilarion, and Ilarion) was a Cyprian Adept (Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean) that the Founders met in the flesh. He wrote some occult stories with Mme. Blavatsky and also is said to be the source of some of the teachings found in Light on the Path.

The "Scotch" Brother

In January 1879, when Mme. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott stayed in England in their way to India, "Brother H." (presumably Master Hillarion, at the time in Scotland) was involved in the occult transmission of a letter to C. C. Massey through "Ski", one of Mary Hollis Billing's spirit guides.[1][2]

Visit to the Founders

On February 19, 1881, Master H. visited the the Founders, then in Bombay, in his physical body. The next day Mr. Sinnett received a letter from Mahatma K. H. referring to the Master H. as "one of ours, who is passing through Bombay from Cyprus, on his way to Thibet".[3] Mme. Blavatsky also described this event in a letter to the Spiritualist journal Light (in response to a letter to that journal from Mr. Arthur Lillie). On October 11, 1884, she commented on Lillie's letter as follows:

In it I speak of an “Eastern adept, who has since gone for his final initiation,” who had passed, en route from Egypt to Thibet, through Bombay and visited us in his physical body. . . Every Theosophist at headquarters knows that I meant a Greek gentleman whom I have known since 1860.[4]

Col Olcott also recorded his visit. In the February 19 entry on his diary he states:

Hilarion is here en route for Tibet and has been looking over, in, and through the situation. Finds B—something morally awful. Views on India, Bombay, the T.S. in Bombay, Ceylon (—), England and Europe, Christianity and other subjects highly interesting.[5]

This visit had important consequences. As the Col. wrote years later:

A Master visited her on the 19th and exposed to her the whole situation, about which I shall not go into details, as all has turned out as he forewarned us. On leaving, he left behind a much-worn gold-embroidered head-covering, of peculiar shape, which I took possession of, and have until this day. One result of this visit was that, on the 25th of the month, she and I had a long and serious discussion about the state of affairs, resulting—as my Diary says— “in an agreement between us to re-construct the T.S. on a different basis, putting the Brotherhood idea forward more prominently, and keeping the occultism more in the background, in short, to have a secret section for it.” This, then, was the seed-planting of the E.S.T., and the beginning of the adoption of the Universal Brotherhood idea in more definite form than previously.[6]

Letters written to Olcott

The Master Hillarion wrote at least three letters to Colonel Olcott that were published in in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series:

  • LMW 2-40 was written in French to advise Colonel Olcott about the best sequence for a lecture tour.
  • LMW 2-43 delivered a message from Serapis Bey.
  • LMW 2-44 delivered a message from Master Serapis to try earnestly to write a letter to Alfred Percy Sinnett on behalf of Master Koot Hoomi.


Occult Short Stories

Mme. Blavatsky wrote several occult stories, that after her death were published together in the book Nightmare Tales (London, New York and Madras, 1892). Boris de Zirkoff wrote:

["An Unsolved Mystery", "A Story of the Mystical", and "The Ensouled Violin"] at least, and possibly all of these stories, were written by H. P. B. in collaboration with the Cyprian Adept known as Hilarion. It is he that Master K. H. meant when, in a letter to Miss Francesca Arundale, he wrote of “the adept who writes stories with H. P. B.[7]

  • "An Unsolved Mystery" originally printed in Spiritual Scientist, Vol. III, November 25, 1875, pp. 133-35.
  • "A Story of the Mystical" originally published in The Sun, December 26, 1875, and republished by H.P.B. in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, January, 1883, pp. 99-101, under the title of “Can the ‘Double’ Murder?”
  • "The Ensouled Violin" posthumously published almost simultaneously in Lucifer, Vol. X, March and April, 1892, and as part of the volume Nightmare Tales.

Idyll of the White Lotus

Another occult novel that Master H. helped with was the Idyll of the White Lotus, written by Mabel Collins. She started her book in 1878 and wrote seven chapters, but could not finish the book until 1884-85 when, according to her, "the work was taken up again by a mysterious power outside myself for whom I was a chosen instrument".[8] Mme. Blavatsky attested to this fact and identified the "myterious power" that helped her finish the book with a "Greek Adept". In a response to Dr. Elliott Coues, who was saying the book had been dictated by Mahatma K.H.. She wrote:

When I met her [Mrs. Cook, aka Mabel Collins, in 1884] she had just completed the Idyll of the White Lotus, which, as she stated to Colonel Olcott, had been dictated to her by some “mysterious person.” Guided by her description, we both recognized an old friend of ours, a Greek, and no Mahatma, though an Adept; further developments proving we were right. This fact, acknowledged by Mrs. Cook in her dedication of the Idyll, sets aside the idea that the work was either inspired or dictated by Koot Hoomi or any other Mahatma.[9]

Light on the Path

Mabel Collins stated that Light on the Path had been written under "Sri Hillarion" beginning in October 1884 and that the small essay on Karma, published as an appendix, had been written on 27 December 1884.[10]

Mme. Blavatsky confirmed this in a letter to Khandalavala in July 1888, saying that in 1884...

...she saw before her, time after time, the astral figure of a dark man (a Greek who belongs to the Brotherhood of our Masters), who urged her to write under his diction. It was Hillarion, whom Olcott knows well. The results were Light on the Path and others.[11]


Additional resources


  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 112 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 382.
  2. See also The Theosophical Mahatmas, "Fact vs. fiction" by David Pratt
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 15 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 52.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 291.
  5. Curuppumullage Jinarājadāsa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom Second Series No. 40 (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 82.
  6. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves Second Series (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 294.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 355.
  8. A. P. Sinnett, Theosophical History, vol. 2, no. 4 (October 1987), 122.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 285.
  10. [1]
  11. Michael Gomes, Theosophical History, vol. 3, no. 7-8, July-October 1991, 194