Studying with Punditt Maharaj

The Hidden Masters - do they exist?

Hidden Masters are something of a cliché in occultism. The concept was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century in Theosophy and the Golden Dawn. For many years, I thought the idea to be an interesting anachronism consigned to the esoteric dustbin. However, my experiences with Punditt put paid to that.

It seems that the pain and suffering I experienced for many years, particularly in the early years was in part preparation for contacting the Hidden Masters, for unlike Blavatsky and McGregor Mathers, there comes a time when the Hidden Masters are perpetual companions. The physical pain and suffering I experienced is part of the process of transforming the body so that it is strong enough to deal with the Spiritual Powers. McGregor Mathers was knocked unconscious with his one and only experience.

Punditt never discussed the idea of Hidden Masters, but he laid down a few markers in the early years. In fact, despite the hours and days I spent with him, he might as well have been a Hidden Master. I never met his other Punditts, even though they were very keen. Even when I was in Pakistan, they could not get through the winter snows in Kashmir to meet me.

It was a warm summers evening in my small flat on Brighton seafront. Punditt was sitting on the sofa, arms resting on his knees with a drink beside him, listening to Qawali music sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Soon we would cook a hot lamb curry with bindi, rice and dhal. Something made me decide to go into my small kitchen. There in the doorway was a Grey, solid and real. He was about 3 feet tall with the large bulbous head and large almond shaped eyes dark and liquid. As I gazed at him, he started talking to me, gesturing vigorously with his arms, although I could hear no words; he was actually haranguing me. I stood there for a few seconds, unafraid, and then I decided to go back into the living room. Punditt looked up slightly quizzically, I said nothing, then decided to go back to the Grey in the kitchen, but the spirit was gone. After a while, we got on with the cooking. That was nearly twenty years ago. I never discussed the incident with Punditt– after all, if there was a problem he would have been on to it immediately. I mentioned this incident to friends over the years, but otherwise not a lot was made of it. People have written bestsellers over a meeting such as this, but I was not kidnapped, and no cows were violated. Obviously, Greys were always seen in the countryside in the dark of night, not a small flat in Brighton.

The Golden Dawn Sphere Group and Egyptian Guides

Occultists are generally coy on who the Hidden Masters might be, apart from that they seem to reside in the Himalayas. While I was writing The Tarot and the Magus, I stumbled upon some clues that throw light on the schisms that happened within the Golden Dawn. It seems that some members were not happy with the work of the Sphere Group, led by Florence Farr. The Sphere Group had made contacts with an ‘Egyptian’, and a group led by Annie Horniman tried to put a stop to things. On 17th January 1901 Florence Farr wrote to John Brodie-Innes:

“I soon found there was a considerable prejudice against Egyptian Symbolism amongst the members of the Order…”

This is a remarkable statement considering that the Golden Dawn rituals took place in Temples based on Egyptian models. To abandon Egyptian symbolism is to abandon the very ideas that the Golden Dawn is based upon:

“… we resolved to carry out a plan suggested by an Egyptian for the holding together of a strong nucleus on purely Order lines.”

The agitation experienced by Florence Farr is something I can strongly sympathise with – I have been through similar experiences:

“In the mean time the group I had found and the groups you and others founded continued their work, and at last in 1899 the time came. In the early months of 1900 matters were so arranged by the external powers that we were freed from the load of dishonesty under which we had been struggling.”

Towards the end of September 1900 Farr’s Group ‘was violently attacked’, presumably psychically. As well as the antipathy towards Farr, she was also attacked for ‘withholding information’. Farr continues in her letter:

You will understand I think that with the anti-Egyptian Feeling about I shall still refuse to discuss Egyptian formulae with anyone not specially in sympathy with the ancient Egyptians.

So who is this mysterious Egyptian? It would seem that Brodie-Innes is the key. Dion Fortune was admitted into the Golden Dawn in 1919 long after the troubles described above, by Brodie-Innes. Just as Florence Farr was ostracised, Dion Fortune was finally expelled by Moina Mathers for supposedly betraying Order secrets. According to Alan Richardson in 20th Century Magic (Llewellyn 1991) Dion Fortune was in contact with Kha’m uast, High Priest of Ptah, and son of Ramses II. His statue is in the British Museum. Richardson’s book demonstrates the Egyptian influences that are lacking in support of Florence Farr, and it would seem that this continued right into 1942 when Dion Fortune’s group was attacked, particularly against Kha’m uast. 1942 is particularly interesting since this was the year when the Book of Thoth was published. Dion Fortune believed MacGregor Mather’s spirit assisted her in her work.

The Egyptian flavour of Liber 231 lends the question of how much Crowley was influenced by Farr. According to Farr’s biographer Josephine Johnson they ‘shared some sort of rapport for a short while’. It was the famous break-in by Crowley at 36 Blythe Road, the headquarters of the Sphere Group at Mather’s request that precipitated the break up of the Golden Dawn.

Whenever I visit Atlantis bookshop, I always make a point of visiting the British Museum just over the road to see the statue of Khamuas in the Egyptian Hall.

Aiwass and Lam

In April 1904 Aleister Crowley received the Book of the Law, after his wife pointed to a particular stele in the Cairo Museum. From then on, Crowley’s writings had a particular Egyptian flavour, as evidenced by the Liber 231 which describes the Spirits of the Major Arcana. Furthermore, he made contact with Aiwass, and the High Priest Ankh-af-na khonsu, his Hidden Masters. Aiwass in particular is viewed through the distorted prism of the Tree of Life and Crowley’s massive ego, so we will not pursue that line of thought.

However, here is another experience I had some years ago. I read on a newsgroup that there was to be an exhibition of Crowley’s art in London, and I had to go. On sale was a limited edition of posters of a self-portrait of Crowley, painted in 1918. When I got home, I kept the poster in its envelope and kept on a shelf in my bedroom for about three months. Then I decided it was safe to bring the picture out and put it in my living room. I put it by my Pentium 70 computer as inspiration. Half an hour later, Punditt phoned me, warning of spirit problems coming my way. It was very rare for Punditt to warn me like this, but since he didn’t specify from what direction, or what to do about it, there wasn’t much I could do. Twenty minutes later, my computer went haywire. I had never seen anything like it. I was not very experienced with computing in those days, and it was over a week later that the computer suddenly decided to work again, after I did nothing more than switch it on more in trepidation than hope.

Needless to say, in the meantime I had put Crowley’s portrait back in the safety of my bedroom. Crowley’s portrait now leans against the wall in my living room – I do not trust that it would stay on the wall! When Punditt saw the portrait, he smiled and said ‘Spirit’.

1918 was the year that Crowley painted Lam, who looks remarkably like the Grey I saw in my kitchen. A number of people have suggested a connection between Lam and the Greys, and I am inclined to agree. Furthermore, Aiwass may even be the Leader of the Greys.

Kenneth Grant paints a sinister picture of LAM, and describes a distasteful procedure to contact this Noble Spirit. Needless to say, this has not been my experience, nor the friends of my colleagues.

Physical, mental and spiritual experiences of the Hidden Masters

The experiences I have with Punditt paint a picture of a succession of Ancient Egyptian Priests, and a line of Spirits, the Greys, headed by Lam and Aiwass, that are part of that mysterious beings known as the Hidden Masters. Critical to this knowledge is the understanding that I never did any rituals, and that Punditt never spoke about his knowledge and it was clear that he no obvious connection to the Golden Dawn and Crowley, and yet, he was there in some form when these Spirits made contact with me, and my colleagues.

Incredible physical, mental, emotional and physical discomfort has to be endured for a long period of time (for me it was years, and I was never told why). The pains within the body would move of their own volition, and I suffered from nosebleeds. The sinuses also are affected, and I am reminded of the occultist’s disease asthma which plagued Aleister Crowley and his Guru Allan Bennett.

Contacting the Hidden Masters necessitates a lot of pain, suffering, and major psychic attacks. Some people have had the experience of being suffocated while being asleep. This may be a sign. For many years I viewed sleep with trepidation, as I knew I was entering a battleground of hostile spirits. One night early on in my apprenticeship, as I was lying in bed half asleep, a spirit assaulted me, and we wrestled each other. After a few minutes I woke up, gasping for breath, the experience vividly etched in my mind. I went straight back to sleep and attacked the spirit, who was rather surprised to see me.

Spiritual Mastery means just that. You have to fight to master the spiritual realms. The odds are stacked against the aspirant, which is why it is rarely discussed. Being Head of a Lodge does not mean that person has achieved Spiritual Mastery. That so few people achieve some level is not surprising considering that they are using the Tree of Life as a model of the Spiritual Universe. Using the Tree of Life inevitably means that you will see Lam and Aiwass as alien spirits from another universe, and that the Greys arrived in UFOs. The truth is that Lam and Aiwass and the Greys are spirits in this universe – it is just that they are incredibly ancient.

Turning against the Hidden Masters

Some people have turned against the Hidden Masters, with tragic results. The consequences of betrayal are symptoms of paranoia and schizophrenia, an externalisation of all foes, particularly the Illuminati, and government secret services. The hatred and racism against almost everyone is intense.

Working with the Hidden Masters

Having gone through the long process of pain, working with Lam and Aiwass is very rewarding and blissful. Humanity has so much to learn, particularly when it comes to understanding the origins of spiritual knowledge. In particular the Land of the Pharoahs is our spiritual home, where the threads of the Lineage of Masters, the Ancient Priests and the Spiritual destinies of Lam and Aiwass intertwine.

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