Djwhal Khul

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A painting made in 1931 of Djwhal Khul by Annie Gowland.
A photo taken in 1924 of the Kazi of Yokseem by Aloha Wanderwell.

Master Djwhal Khul, also known as Djwal Khul, The Tibetan, Master D.K., or simply D.K., is mentioned frequently in the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), the founder of Theosophy. Blavatsky said that she had met with him in person and she described him as a Tibetan Buddhist, the head of a lamasery, a disciple in the Ancient Wisdom Tradition, and a member of the Brotherhood of Mahatmas. After Blavatsky's death, her student and successor Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949) claimed to have received a series of spirit messages from Djwhal Khul, dictated by mental telepathy; these were published in a series of 19 books between 1919 and 1949. According to these later messages, one of Djwhal Khul's previous incarnations is said to have been Caspar of the Three Magi (c. 50 BCE - 1 CE), the mage who gave the gift of gold to the baby Jesus. Another incarnation attributed to him was Kleinias, the pupil of Pythagoras.

Many who venerate and communicate with the Ascended Masters within the Theosophist tradition say that Djwhal Khul works on the Second Ray of Compassionate Love. However, the Bailey messages from Djwhal Khul are rife with racial prejudices, antisemitism, and mentions of then-current political events. Bailey's messages from Djwhal Khul echoed Bailey's own well-known pro-Christian and anti-Jewish sentiments, and her belief that a person's ethnicity, religion, skin colour, cultural practices, and country of national origin can mark them as unacceptable within the New Age Movement. She also said that Djwhal Khul prophesied a coming new world religion that would replace all existing religious traditions. This seems totally out of character with the teachings of the head of a Buddhist lamasery -- but entirely within the scope of Alice Bailey's well-known racial and religious biases. At issue also is the image popularly venerated as a likeness of Djwhal Khul by the followers of Alice Bailey, as well as by those who studied under Elizabeth Claire Prophet (1939-2009) of The Summit Lighthouse and The Church Universal and Triumphant. This official portrait is a painting made in 1931 by the South African artist Annie Gowland. Gowland gave the original painting to Norman and Marjorie Artus, also students of the occult, and Gowland is known to have made many smaller copies of it over the years, which she gave to her students. After the death of Marjorie Artus, the original, large painting was found to have a note behind it in which Artus had written that "All she [Gowland] would ever claim for it [the portrait of Djwhal Khul] was 'this is how I saw Him.'"

Gowland's painting is, however, not a spirit image that came to her in a vision. It, and all of the smaller copies she made of it, are very nice colour renditions of a black and white photograph published in the Los Angeles Times in July 1928 and captioned "Lamas (Priests) of Tibet Encountered During the Way of the Roerich American Expedition in Asia." This photo was attributed to the "New Syndicate International Information Agency, New York," the publicity wing of the expedition led by the artist Nicholas Roerich, but it has been determined that not all of the photos in this article were taken by members of the Roerich expedition, and, in fact, the odd phrase, "Encountered During the Way of the Roerich American Expedition" would seem to be an admission that they passed the same way, but did not take the photo. Further complicating the issue is the claim that the photo was taken in Bhutan in 1924 by Aloha Wanderwell (1906-1996). Wanderwell, born Idris Galcia Welsh, was a Canadian world traveller, explorer, author, photographer, filmmaker, and aviator who began her remarkable career at the age of 16. The photo, which she took when she was 18, was originally titled, in Wanderwell's handwriting on the back, "Bhutan: type, the lamas (Kazi of Yokseem)." Kazi is a title given to a lama or monk who comes from one of twelve aristocratic families; the two men beside him may be his noble relatives. Yokseem, now known as Yuksom, is currently in the Indian state of Sikkim, which borders Tibet to the north and northeast and Bhutan to the east. Given the age of the Kazi of Yokseem in this 20th century photo, it is impossible for him to have been the Tibetan Buddhist lama whom Helena Blavatsky met with during the latter part of the 19th century. Notable also is the fact that Gowland, while accurately copying every fold and wrinkle in his clothing, aged him by adding a fringe of white hair and changed his skin colour to give him a somewhat European appearance. Further complicating the matter is the memory of Alice Bailey's grandson John W. Bailey, who said that Bailey had a photograph of Thupten Chökyi Nyima (1883-1937), the 9th Panchen Lama of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhist|Tibetan Buddhism]], on the wall in her New York apartment, and when asked who he was, she said that he was "The Tibetan" whose messages she received by mental telepathy. Many photos of the 9th Panchen Lama were taken throughout his life, and he does somewhat resemble the photo otherwise known as the Kazi of Yokseem.


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