Sep 8, 2014

The Fraud in Adyar Esoteric School

It is the Right Time Already to Cease the
Adoration of Fake Portraits and Imaginary Masters

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

Four Outer Heads of the Adyar Esoteric School since 1934: C. Jinarajadasa,
N. Sri Ram, I.K. Taimni, and Radha Burnier. They are all examples of dedicated
theosophists who did their best, but new steps must be taken in the present century.


Editorial Note:

An initial version of the following
article was published in  June 2012 by 
 “The Aquarian Theosophist”, under the
title of “An Awakening in the Adyar Society”.[1] 
Its final paragraphs were added in January 2014.



“In the second semester of 2013, while already
consciously approaching physical death, Mrs.
Radha Burnier decided she would not nominate any
successor as the Outer Head of the Esoteric School,
and so she didn’t. (...) It constitutes one more solid
evidence that Mrs. Burnier was an honest theosophist.
(….)  It was a silent and partial, but effective, way to
admit that Annie Besant’s Esoteric School is a fraud.”

Some members of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)  think the delusions created in the 1900-1934 period are healthy and good for the theosophical movement, and therefore should be preserved from any possible criticism.   

Other members, however, can see the implications of the fact that the entire “esoteric” basis of the Adyar Society, rather fragile since 2007-2008, rests upon the imaginary clairvoyance developed by Bishop Leadbeater and Mrs. Annie Besant.  The decisive importance of this fact for the theosophical movement as a whole can be realized if one remembers that the Adyar TS has within it some 85 or 90 per cent of the theosophical movement worldwide.  It means nine out of ten.

The now faltering ritualistic structures fabricated between 1900 and 1934 include the Egyptian Rite, the Co-Masonry,  the Liberal Catholic Church and the Besantian form of the Esoteric School

Fancy “Egyptian” Ceremonies

The Egyptian Rite (E.R.) aims at being a completely occult body, id est, a body whose very existence is unknown to all, except its own members.

This makes a sharp contrast with the existence of the Esoteric School of Theosophy (E.S.T.), which was from the very start publicly announced by H. P. Blavatsky and discussed in her work “The Key to Theosophy”. 

The E.R. takes its name from the Egyptian Rite created by Alessandro Cagliostro in Lyon, France, in the 18th century. Its contents have nothing to do with the Cagliostrian Masonry, which taught ethics and true wisdom.  With its procedures dedicated to the “King of the World”, a personage fabricated by Mrs. Besant and her associates, the E.R. is secretly situated above the third and highest degree of pledged members in the Adyar Esoteric School.

It exists in a limited number of national sections, including the USA, Australia, India, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil and several others. One motto of the E.R. and its secret rituals is “Omnia vincit Amor”, or “Love wins All”.  The phrase belongs to Virgil (Ecloga X, 69). Unfortunately, the E.R. leaders seem not to realize that there can be no real Love without Truth. A “loving” sentimentality, devoid of common sense and not based on discernment and truthfulness, can only lead to confusion and sorrow. The E.R. has been a blind political instrument, unconsciously used for perpetuating a top-down, “absolute” and popish control of the whole Adyar movement.

Fake Portraits and Imaginary Masters

Lower in the Adyar “occult ranking”, we find its impoverished Esoteric School. Here the very texts written by H.P. Blavatsky to her School are not studied, for pseudo-theosophical texts are considered far more important, being adopted in the study lists which must be followed by the various groups. 

The School is divided in two main groups, Candidates and Pledged members. Each of them has three degrees.  There are therefore six degrees in the School, and the E.R. is the seventh “unknown and invisible” degree, the “occult” degree that “knows it all”.

In the weekly meetings of the E.S., thousands of honest, sincere students from around the world get together to solemnly study a few paragraphs before the portraits of seven Masters. In smaller groups, there are usually but two portraits.

Five of the seven portraits are fake. At the beginning and end of each meeting, the E.S. students make reverence to the false portraits of these personages: (1) the “Manu”; (2) the “Maha-Chohan”; (3) the “Master St-Germain”; (4) the “Christ-Maitreya”; and (5) the so-called “Master Jesus”. 

In the first decades of the 20th century, Mrs. Annie Besant and her associates used to have imaginary talks with fiction characters to whom they ascribed these names, which are however in themselves worthy of deep respect.  

C. Jinarajadasa, who succeeded Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater as Outer Head of the School,  started to abandon the pseudo-clairvoyant nonsense during the 1930s. He took more steps than are usually acknowledged towards the recovery of common sense.

From 1953, Mr. N. Sri Ram took over the leadership of the Esoteric School upon the death of Mr. Jinarajadasa and completely stopped the old practice of imaginary “channeling”. N. Sri Ram did not have the political courage, however - or did not find the political conditions - necessary to take the fake portraits out of the E.S. meeting-rooms, and those relics of the “clairvoyant age” resisted up to the end of his life in 1973. Then came Mr. I. K. Taimni, who tried to reinvigorate the School with his own and profound texts on Hinduism. Yet Dr. Taimni did not value the original teachings and kept the false portraits in the walls of the meeting-rooms.

Mrs. Radha Burnier (1923-2013) became the Outer Head of the School in 1978. In spite of her being a student of Krishnamurti’s, the fake portraits of those imaginary Masters continued to be used under her leadership.  Up to her death on October 31, 2013, the forgeries still appeared side by side with the portraits of the two true Mahatmas who indeed created and founded the theosophical movement.

One of these two portraits has been itself the object of a partial adulteration made under the orders of the false clairvoyant who presented himself as a Christian priest. The portrait of HPB’s Master, however, seems to have been preserved.    

The honesty, the ethics, and the goodwill of every leader of the Adyar E.S. from 1934 on cannot be questioned.  There are no elements to justify too radical criticisms regarding their actions, for Compassion is not opposed to Justice.  

In one way or another, these leaders have promoted a transition, and prepared the movement for its next phase. Under their influence, the Adyar Society published classical theosophy works like the “Collected Writings” of H.P. Blavatsky, the “Mahatma Letters”, the correct edition of “The Secret Doctrine” (prepared by Boris de Zirkoff), the volume “Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement”, by Sven Eek, and several other volumes of authentic literature. Abandoning the edition of “The Secret Doctrine” that had been adulterated by Mrs. Besant was one of their major accomplishments.  

The limitation of these leaders regarding the Esoteric School is expressed in part in the conventional interpretation of  Virgil’s phrase “Omnia vincit Amor”. Their love for Adyar as a corporation and their loyalty to their own predecessors was greater than their love for impersonal truth.  Gratitude to persons made it impossible for them to be loyal to truth. They did what they thought was the best thing to do, and this is good. They all were mainly the victims of a clever successorship trap created in the 1900-1934 period. They suffered from the magnetism of a mayavic ideation which they did not create. Their period makes an intermediary phase in History, and it was closed in 2013. 

Mrs. Radha Burnier - as anyone who knew her could see - was an admirable woman of great idealism and personal integrity.  She took a few steps in the right direction, and it is everyone’s duty to look further ahead.  As time passes, more E.S. members may want to examine whether mixing in the E.S. rooms five forged portraits  of imaginary Masters with portraits of  two real Mahatmas (one of these portraits also adulterated) constitutes a severe lack of respect for the true Teachers.

The mixture of truths and lies is no legitimate action in Theosophy, and Mrs. Burnier’s father, N. Sri Ram, acknowledged in 1971:

“Suppose there is a wonderful elixir in a bottle, but there is mixed with it some foreign matter which does not have the same properties as the elixir itself. Then it would not be absolutely pure; its potency would be affected by the adulteration.” [2]

Although N. Sri Ram was unable to solve the problem, he had a clear understanding of what the word “adulteration” means. On the other hand, it is certain that even authentic portraits can’t replace the love for truth which is a condition for lay discipleship. H.P. Blavatsky said in April 1890 that the spirit of the Masters was far away from the shrine in Adyar already. In an open letter to the Indian theosophists, the founder of the movement wrote:

“…. Nor can I, if I would be true to my life-pledge and vows, now live at the (Adyar) Headquarters from which the Masters and Their spirit are virtually banished. The presence of Their portraits will not help; they are a dead letter.” [3]

Things have not improved since then.

It may take a longer or shorter time for the Adyar Society to get finally rid of the illusions fabricated in the 1900-1934 period and recover the common sense.  It is clear by now that the gradual awakening from illusions which started in the 1930s has been undergoing an acceleration process.

H.P.B. herself indicated to her future students the main key to the liberation of the Adyar Society from the present cloud of pseudo-esoteric delusions. She announced:

“There never was an Occult Society, however open and sincere, that has not felt the hand of the Jesuit trying to pull it down by every secret means. (.…) But all efforts of the greatest craft are doomed the day they are discovered.” [4]

The first half of the present century is probably the right time for abandoning the practice of adoring fake portraits and imaginary Masters.  

Radha Burnier Closes the E.S. Succession  

In the second semester of 2013, while already consciously approaching physical death, Mrs. Radha Burnier decided she would not nominate any successor as the Outer Head of the Esoteric School, and so she didn’t.

Since the E.S. fabricated by Annie Besant after the death of H. P. Blavatsky rested upon the nominations running from one Outer Head to the other, Mrs. Burnier took with this decision another important step towards liberating the theosophical movement from such an occult fraud. 

It constitutes one more solid evidence that Mrs. Burnier was an honest theosophist. Although she could not find the strength or political conditions necessary to officially close the false E.S. as long as she lived, she thus clearly denied its legitimacy, from the moment of her death.

It was a silent and partial, but effective, way to admit that Annie Besant’s Esoteric School is a fraud, and that the way ahead for Adyar is to close it.     

Information confirmed by “The Aquarian Theosophist” reveals that Mrs. Radha Burnier also did not appoint any successor for the Egyptian Rite.

The “E.R.” is therefore on a limbo as well and loses much of its ability to delude with pious lies the honest theosophists who seek for truth.   


[1] A few hours after this article was published under the present title (on June 9, 2013), Mr. Vic Hao Chin, Jr., an influential leader of the Adyar Society who lives in the Philippines, reacted to it.  He said that it is unfair to call the esoteric delusions of the Adyar Society “fraud”. The reason for that would be that the word “fraud” implies intentional falsehood, and Mr. Hao Chin believes those falsehoods were created with noble motives, by self-deluded leaders. He forgets a basic fact. Regardless of the initial intentions in creating such delusions, and even if they had been honest (a matter that is subject to discussion), one thing is certain.  Once the delusions are shown and known as such, it is a fraud to hide and protect them - and thus deceive the public.  Even if such an action is done with pious motives like protecting deeply revered delusions and trying to preserve one’s own “saintly” lies, it constitutes a conscious disrespect for the public - and for truth - to protect ritualisms based on what one knows to be false clairvoyance. The long-standing process of  pious fraud should cease as soon as possible in the theosophical movement. There seems to be no need to wait until the year 2075 for that to occur. 

[2] N. Sri Ram, in the article “Receptivity to Truth”, published in “The Theosophist”, March 1971, pp. 351-359, see p. 355. 

[3] H. P. Blavatsky, in her open letter “Why I Do Not Return to India”, which is available in our associated websites.  This extraordinary open letter addressed to all Theosophists in India can also be seen at “Theosophical Articles”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co.,  Los Angeles, volume I, pp. 106-114 (see especially p. 112). It is at the “Collected Writings” of H. P. B., TPH, Adyar, volume XII, pp. 156-167 (see especially p. 164).

[4] “The Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky”, TPH, volume XIV, p. 267. Her words are quoted also at p. 73 of “The Right Angle”, an 84 pp. compilation from H.P.B. writings on Masonry, made by Geoffrey Farthing and published by the Adyar TPH in London, in 2003.


In order to read more on the best alternatives and solutions to the problems now faced by the Esoteric School  in its version created by Annie Besant, read the text “To The Outer Head of the Adyar E.S.”, by Geoffrey Farthing. Its subtitle is “The 1976 Letter to Dr. I. K. Taimni, Regarding the Future of Adyar Esoteric School”.  The document can be found by its main title in our associated websites. See also on the E.R. the article “Searching for Truth”. It is a first-hand, frank testimony by Mexican theosophist José Ramón Sordo.


In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.