Extracts from stenographic reports of "Mahatma Letters Group" at Covina conducted by A. L. Conger, using Margaret Conger's Combined Chronology along with The Mahatma Letters and the H. P. B. Letters to Mr. Sinnett.
Letter No. IV, written at Amrita Saras, Oct. 29  by K.H. to A. P. Sinnett, under discussion:
Question — When it speaks of the Chief, on page 13 in the phrase, "Our Maha (the 'Chief') has allowed me to correspond with both of you," does the Master mean the Lord Buddha?
A.L. C — No. The Mahatma K.H. refers to the Maha-Chohan, the Khubilgan, who generally means the old gentleman who restored the envelope and seal which had been eaten by the goat at Tchigatze. The higher reaches of the Hierarchy are not enfleshed in physical bodies.
Question — Is the Maha-Chohan a Nirmanakaya then?
A. L. C. — One needs a new vocabulary. The Maha-Chohan is not to be classed among the Nirmanakayas that have passed beyond the need of physical bodies. I feel a certain embarrassment in being asked questions which seem to be probing too closely on improper ground.
Question — In the Mahatma Letters, then, references to the Chief, Chohan, and Maha-Chohan do not refer to the Lord Buddha but to the Khubilgan?
A. L. C. — Yes, he is the active head of the Fraternity.
Question — The Master's description of Olcott brings to mind the relationship between himself and the Master during the latter part of his life when seemingly he was not working for them in the way he had before. Would you care to remark on this?
A. L. C. — It is a great embarrassment to be asked this question. Olcott's work in the early days of the Society was whole-hearted and fruitful of much good. . . . I do not think that it adds any useful knowledge, or serves any useful purpose, to go into mistakes of the latter days of his life, other than to say that he bitterly complained that he did not deserve that the Masters should abandon him as they had.
Question — I don't quite understand this matter of personal cleanliness of the neophytes whom the Master wanted to send to Sinnett. He states that his clothes were slovenly. Could the Teacher explain the connection there?
A. L. C. — I am not sure it would seem like an explanation. People in mountainous countries, especially those engaged in mountain traveling, do not need to perform the ablutions as do people on the plains. You will notice that American travelers in Switzerland in the mountain areas observe the same carelessness in cleanliness as do their Tibetan brothers. In the mountain country one does not need to perspire, and not perspiring, there is not the same physical need for cleanliness in the ordinary sense. Does that give the picture?
Question — I was wondering if there were a deeper reason.
A. L. C. — None except that in that country the people are very poor, and have few clothes and facilities for washing them, so it is an easy habit to fall into.
Question — On page 15, K. H. states that he had a "university education," but that some of the higher Tibetan adepts have not. Could the Leader say something about that?
A. L. C. — Yes. Adeptship has nothing to do with education in the Western sense of the word. K. H. received a European education in the University of Wurzburg in Germany in the forty's of last century, but this had nothing to do with his adeptship. The Western idea of education is quite different from the Eastern conception, where to be considered an educated man is not a matter of university degrees, but rather to have the adept's knowledge and powers, and to serve the growth and development of real civilization. I think if one reads over these letters, he will get the difference between the Eastern and the Western points of view. Does that answer your question?
Question — Then the requirement of the knowledge necessary to be an adept is certainly more than the equivalent of what we call a university education here?
A. L. C. — The answer is yes.
Question — I judge from that reply then that not having the opportunity of studying under a guru, one should obtain the best education available?
A. L. C. — No, I did not mean to give that implication. If a man or a woman wants it hard enough he or she will soon have a Teacher without fail; but in that case before the event took place you might have to experience contact with several strokes of lightning.
The conception of adeptship in the ordinary sense of following beautiful thoughts in the mind ought to give place to intensity of feeling adopted and adhered to for a specified time. The fact is that the attitude of the average pupil is that of complete discouragement, which is very wrong. Instead of taking literally Mr. Judge's statement, that the student must not expect to see his Teacher in the same incarnation in which he dedicates himself, or words to that effect, I think he should look upon chelaship and adeptship as something inescapable, and that he must prepare himself for future responsibilities.