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The Masters of the Ancient Wisdom are reputed to be enlightened beings originally identified by the Theosophists Helena Blavatsky, Henry S. Olcott, Alfred Percy Sinnett, and others. These Theosophists claimed to have met some of the so-called Masters during their lifetimes in different parts of the world. Sometimes they are referred to by Theosophists as Elder Brothers of the Human Race, Adepts, Mahatmas, or simply as The Masters.
Helena Blavatsky was the first person to introduce the concept of the Masters to the West. This communication took place from 1880 to 1885, and during those years the reputed existence and objectives of the Mahatmas became public.
The original letters are currently kept in the British Library in London and have been published as the Mahatma Letters. Paul Johnson suggests in his book The Masters Revealed: Madam Blavatsky and Myth of the Great White Brotherhood that the Masters that Madam Blavatsky claimed she had personally met are idealizations of certain people she had met during her lifetime. The Masters and the Path Adyar, Madras, India: 1925–Theosophical Publishing House–Diagram 5, Facing page 248, provides details about the “Great Ones” functioning on initiation levels five through nine. Sender, Pablo Mahatmas versus Ascended Masters Wheaton, Il:Quest Summer 2011, The Theosophical Society in America.