R. Keshava Pillai

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R. Keshava Pillai (variously spelled as "Kesava", "Casava" or even "Keshow", he was also known as "Brother Keshu") was an Inspector of Police at Nellore, in Andhra Pradesh. On May, 1882, a Branch of the Theosophical Society was formed at Nellore and Mr. Keshava Pillai was chosen as Secretary.

He became a probationary chela of Mahatma K.H. in 1882, and received several letters from the Mahatma (included in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom Series 2, pp. 115-119).

On the night of September 14, 1882, he received an astral visit from Master K.H. who told him, in Telugu, to go and see him beyond the Himalayas. On September 17 a letter from Master K.H. fell to his feet in the compartment of a railway carriage. He wrote:

In the year 1882 while I was traveling by railway between the Allahabad and Mogul Sarai stations, a letter fell in the compartment of the railway carriage in which I was sitting. I was alone in the compartment and the carriage was in motion. I had wished that Mahatma K.H. should give me instructions regarding a certain matter about which I was then thinking, and which I opened the letter I found that my thoughts had been answered, and that the letter was in the handwriting of Mahatma K.H., whose writing I know so well. Madame Blavatsky was then in Bombay.[1]

The letter answered his thoughts and advised him to carry out the instructions received from Damodar and Mme. Blavatsky. This involved a change of name to the Tibetan Chandra Cusho (also spelled Chundro Cusho or Chunder Cusho) and a change of attire to a yellow robe and cap. Master K.H. also told him that he would receive further instructions from him at Darjeeling by post (LMW 2:118-9). Pillai met up with HPB again in Allahabad on 18 September, and they reached Chandernagore by train the next morning. There, he left HPB and travelled to Darjeeling, where he arrived the following evening, and met Babaji Dharbagiri Nath. Pillai continues:

We were both together until the 28th idem. We travelled together, both on horseback and on foot in Bhutan, Sikkim, etc. . . . In the course of these travels, just about Pari or Parchong* on the northern frontier of Sikkim, I had the good fortune and happiness to see the blessed feet of the most venerated Master Kut Humi and M. in their physical bodies. The very identical personage whose astral bodies I had seen in my dreams, etc., since 1869, and in 1876 in Madras and on the 14th September 1882 in the head-quarters at Bombay.[2]

Keshava Pillai did not pass his probation. He eventually lost interest in the Theosophical Society and had a life of many worldly disappointments.

Online resources



  1. Curuppumullage Jinarājadāsa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom Second Series No. 66 (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 118-119.
  2. The Theosophical Mahatmas. A Critique of Paul Johnson’s New Myth, Part 5, "A scheme of deception?" by David Pratt