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My Encounters with the Master

by S. Ramaswamier (1)

I had been a member of the Theosophical Society about two months, when I went to the T.S. headquarters at Bombay in December 1881. After being there 2 or 3 days, Madame Blavatsky came to me one morning and said I was thinking of something special, and that she had Master’s orders to tell me to put it in writing and give it to her. I wrote a letter during the day.

Madame asked me to accompany her for a drive — somewhere between 6 and 7 p.m. As we went downstairs to get into the carriage, I gave her the letter. She put it into her pocket, and we immediately got into the carriage.

We got out at the telegraph-office, in order that a telegram might be sent to congratulate some friends who were being married.  Madame then said she felt the presence of the Masters at headquarters, and wanted to go back directly.

We usually walked up the road towards the house, but on this occasion Madame would not allow us to leave the carriage. As the carriage neared the portico, I saw the figure of a man leaning on the railing of the balcony with a letter between finger and thumb. We all remained motionless for a short time, the figure on the balcony also.

The letter was then thrown down by the figure. It fell near the carriage, on the ground. Colonel Olcott got out and took it up, and we all then ran up to the balcony. But no one was there.

The night was bright moonlight. The figure was tall about 6 ft., well-built, and the face very handsome. The eyes were very calm and motionless, giving an aspect of serenity. The hair was dark and long, the beard was short. He had a fehta [turban] on his head, and did not speak. I had never seen the figure before. Afterwards I recognised the resemblance between this figure and the portrait in possession of the Colonel, which I had not previously seen.

The letter was addressed to me, and contained words to the effect that every man must have his own deserts, and that if I deserved well of the Mahatmas they would assist me; also that my desire to become a pupil had not been long in existence, and that I should wait to see whether it was a mere passing thought or not. (In my letter I had expressed a desire, among other things, to become a pupil.) This was the whole substance of the letter, in my own words. Time - between 7 and 8 p.m.

Then next year my health having been disturbed by official work and worry, I applied for leave on medical certificate and it was duly granted.

Then one day in September 1882, while I was reading in my room [in the town of Tinnevelly, southern India], I was ordered by the audible voice of my blessed Guru Morya to leave all and proceed immediately to Bombay, whence I had to go in search of Madame Blavatsky wherever I could find her and follow her wherever she went. Without losing a moment, I closed up all my affairs and left.

Arrived at Bombay, I found Madame Blavatsky gone. Really not knowing whither I had best go, I took a through ticket to Calcutta; but, on reaching Allahabad, I heard the same well-known voice directing me to go to Berhampore.

On the 23rd of September, I was brought by Nobin Babu from Calcutta to Chandernagore, where I found Madame Blavatsky, ready to start with the train to go to Darjeeling. When the train arrived, she got into the carriage. I myself had barely time to jump into the last carriage.

The first days of her arrival in Darjeeling Madame Blavatsky was living at the house of a Bengalee gentleman, a Theosophist; she was refusing to see any one. To all our importunities we could get only this answer from her: that we had no business, to stick to and follow her, that she did not want us, and that she had no right to disturb the Mahatmas with all sorts of questions.

In despair, I determined, come what might, to cross the frontier, which is about a dozen miles from here, and find the Mahatmas, or—DIE. Without breathing a word of my intentions to anyone, one morning, namely, October 5, I set out in search of the Mahatma. The same afternoon I reached the banks of the Rungit River, which forms the boundary between the British and Sikkim territories.

That whole afternoon I traveled on foot, penetrating further and further into the heart of the Sikkim Territory, along a narrow foot-path. I travelled before dusk not less than twenty or twenty-five miles. Throughout, I saw nothing but impenetrable jungles and forests on all sides of me, relieved at very long intervals by solitary huts belonging to the mountain population.

At dusk I began to search around me for a place to rest at night. After a sound sleep, undisturbed by any dream, I woke and found it was just dawning.  I lost no time. When it became quite light, I wended my way on through hills and dales.

It was, I think, between eight and nine am, and I was following the road to the town of Sikkim, whence, I was assured by the people I met on the road, I could cross over to Tibet easily in my pilgrim's garb when I suddenly saw a solitary horseman galloping towards me from the opposite direction. From his tall stature and the expert way he managed the animal, I thought he was some military officer of the Sikkim Raja. Now, I thought, am I caught. But as he approached me, he reined the steed.

I looked at and recognized him instantly. I was in the presence of my own revered Guru.   The very same instant saw me prostrated on the ground at his feet. I arose at his command and, leisurely looking into his face, I forgot myself entirely. I knew not what to say: joy and reverence tied my tongue. I was at last face to face with "the Mahatma of the Himavat" and he was no myth. It was no night dream; it is between nine and ten o'clock of the forenoon. There is the sun shining and silently witnessing the scene from above.

He speaks to me in accents of kindness and gentleness. Nor was it until a few moments later that I was drawn to utter a few words, encouraged by his gentle tone and speech.

Never have I seen a countenance so handsome, a stature so tall and so majestic. He wears a short black beard, and long black hair hanging down to his breast. He wore a yellow mantle lined with fur, and, on his head a yellow Tibetan felt cap.

When the first moments of rapture and surprise were over and I calmly comprehended the situation, I had a long talk with him. He told me to go no further, for I would come to grief. He said I should wait patiently if I wanted to become an accepted Chela.

The Mahatma, I found, speaks very little English — or at least it so seemed to me — and spoke to me in my mother-tongue — Tamil. I asked the blessed Mahatma whether I could tell what I saw and heard to others. He replied in the affirmative. He was pleased to say when I offered my farewell namaskarams (prostration) that he approached the British Territory to see Madame Blavatsky.

Before he left me, two more men came on horseback, his attendants I suppose, probably Chelas, for they were dressed like himself, with long hair streaming down their backs. They followed the Mahatma, as he left, at a gentle trot.

For over an hour I stood gazing at the place that he had just quitted, and then, I slowly retraced my steps. I had eaten nothing since the day before, and I was too weak to walk further. My whole body was aching in every limb.

At a little distance I saw petty traders with country ponies, taking burden. I hired one of these animals. In the afternoon I came to the Rungit River and crossed it. A bath in its cool waters renovated me. I purchased some fruit in the only bazaar there and ate them heartily. I took another horse immediately and reached Darjeeling late in the evening.

I could neither eat, nor sit, nor stand. Every part of my body was aching. My absence had seemingly alarmed Madame Blavatsky. She scolded me for my rash and mad attempt to try to go to Tibet, after this fashion. I recounted all that had happened to me....

Now in 1884 it is too late in the day for the Christian Padres to deny the existence of the Mahatmas.  There are several Englishmen of the Civil Service, who have had correspondence with them when Mme. Blavatsky was far away and knew nothing of the matter, not to speak of scores of other gentlemen, European and native.  

I too can claim the honor of having had an interview with one of them in his physical body outside the precincts of a lamasery near Sikkim on the road leading to it from Darjeeling. 

I have seen him and several of his pupils in the astral body on many occasions.  Many of our friends who happened to be with us at the time have seen them like ourselves.  Mme. Blavatsky is now in Europe, Colonel Olcott too is there.   Our communications with the Mahatmas still continues uninterrupted.  If Madame Blavatsky can do this, why then, verily she is a Mahatma.

At this day, only those, who have had neither the time nor the inclination to search into psychical laws, join with the Christian theologists and raise a feeble cry against the existence of such psychical, occult powers.  The only question is whether such powers are brought into play in particular occurrences. 

The best witnesses to prove such things are those who have seen them and not the Padres who deliberately keep away, attributing them all to the machinations of their friend, the Devil.  The Padres now say that all phenomena have been produced by trickery by Madame Blavatsky with the aid of the Coulombs.  

I shall mention two instances, out of several, that have come under my personal experience.  An American gentleman of a well known firm, who is not in any way connected with the Society, wrote a letter to me asking certain questions in Aryan philosophy.  On opening it as soon as the postman gave it to me at my place in Tinnevelly we found that the answers to the more intricate questions were already entered opposite each of them, under the well-known initials of my revered Guru.  The letter is still with me and Madame Blavatsky to this day knows nothing of it. 

One day in my place at Tinnevelly, a learned Pandit of the Shaktaya sect was speaking to us in flowing terms of the advantages of the Shaktaya ceremonials over all others in the development of psychical powers.  I noted down in his presence the salient points of his argument on paper, put it into an envelope, addressed it to my Guru, and placed it in my box.  This happened in the evening. 

The next morning I saw on my table, along with other papers, the same cover unopened but with my address written over the previous superscription.  I opened it and found written between the lines of the original letter a crushing answer to all the false logic of the Pandit, with quotations in Sanskrit from the Upanishads neatly written in the Devanagari characters.  Madame Blavatsky was in Madras then and to this day she is ignorant of this letter or its reply. 

Scores of letters of this kind received by us from our Venerated Master, when we were far away from Madame Blavatsky or Colonel Olcott, are in our possession.  Many of our friends have seen several of them.  Some of them contain Tamil quotations written in neat characters.

If the Padres say we and several others, who had the same experience, are labouring under some hallucination, we may as well retort that the definition of that word will have to be considerably altered.  They cannot under any circumstances, hallucinate away the letters in our possession. 

The Padres mislead the public when they assert that the Theosophical Society is founded on phenomena.  No phenomenon is shown for its own sake.  The Masters belong to a higher plane of existence and they use the easiest method in their plane for communication with their pupils and others.


(1)  This article has been collated from several articles written by S Ramaswamier:  "How a 'Chela' Found His Guru." Theosophist (Bombay, India) 4 (December 1882): 67–9 and two articles listed under Ramaswamier's last name in The Blavatsky Archives.   The extracts given in this article have been transcribed from the original articles but some material has been silently deleted.  The text has also been somewhat edited with some explanatory words, phrases and sentences added from time to time to the original text to make the overall narrative more easily read. The additions have not been placed in brackets.

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