S. Ramaswamier was an early worker in the Theosophical Society. He was a Brahman of high caste. His ordinary name was Ramaswami, “Iyer” being the Brahminical caste ending.

He lived in Tinnevelly (a city in the South India), where he worked for the Government as District Registrar of Assurances.


First contact with the Theosophical Society

Ramaswamier joined the Theosophical Society in September 1881. It is said that he was a probationary chela (disciple) of the Masters, and the Ramaswamier’s acceptance as a disciple of Master Morya was confirmed by a letter that he received probably on September 28, 1881, when he was in the Theosophical Society’s Headquarters, at Crow's Nest, in Bombay.

This letter was materialized in a phenomenal way by Master Morya and it says:

« Greetings to my faithful chela [disciple]. He is accepted even from now, so that he may consider him self as an accepted chela of mine. Upasika [Blavatsky] has all the instructions. Let my chela Rama B. Yogi 2 follow the instructions he will receive from her. I bless you, son.
M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°48)

(Ramaswamier received a secret name given to him at his brahminical “thread ceremony”, which was Rama Bhadra, and it is by this sacred name he is here addressed as Rama B.)

Theosophical Society’s Headquarters, at Crow's Nest, in Bombay, India.


Ramaswamier met with Master Morya in his astral body

We know that because Master Morya in a letter to Mr. Sinnett (received in January, 1882), he says:

« I cannot make a miracle, or I would have shown myself fully to Mrs. Sinnett at least in spite of the matches of the French woman and to yourself in spite of the physical and psychical conditions. Kindly realize that my sense of justice is so strong that I would not deny you a satisfaction I gave Ramaswami and Scott. If you have not seen me it is simply because it was an impossibility. »
(Mahatma Letters, N°109, p.444)

Ramaswamier want to meet Master Morya in his physical body

When Ramaswamier learned in September that Blavatsky was going to Tibet to meet Master Morya (of whom she was his advanced disciple), he wanted absolutely to accompany her to meet physically his Master. But he received a Master Kuthumi’s letter specifying that he could not go:

« You cannot go to Tibet. I am not the only master there, nor is M. a Chohan [chief of masters]. You must first show that you deserve it by laboring in that direction for two or three years.

You must be prepared to do anything told to you, anything you are ordered through her. If you have faith in us (others have not). Are you prepared to do all and everything to prove our existence?

Approved M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°49)

It should be noted that Tibet at that time was a country that was much closed to foreigners (even from neighboring countries), and it was very difficult to get a pass.

However, Ramaswamier, insisted on going, and the adventures and dangers that he happened, he described them in a letter he wrote to his friend Damodar and which can be read here.

Map of the long journey made by Ramaswamier from Tinnevelly to Darjiling following Blavatsky

Few theosophists who persecuted Blavatsky with the aim of also meeting Master Morya managed to follow her to the city of Darjiling. And Ramaswamier was one of them.

The reason why Blavatsky went to visit Master Morya is because she was seriously ill, as she herself expressed it to Mr. Sinnett:

« This time I have it well and good — Bright's disease of the kidneys; and the whole blood turned into water with ulcers breaking out in the most unexpected and the less explored spots, blood or whatever it may be forming into bags a la Kangaroo and other pretty extras and etceteras. This all primo brought by Bombay dampness and heat, and secundo by fretting and bothering. »
(The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, N°18)

And Master Kuthumi on this subject wrote to Mr. Sinnett:

« I am not at home at present, but quite near to Darjeeling, in the Lamasery. I thought of leaving by the end of September but most probably, also I will have to interview in my own skin the old lady if Morya brings her here. And he has to bring her or lose her. »
(Mahatma Letters, N°24B, p.190)

Blavatsky’s recuperation

After his visit to the Masters Ashram, and writing from Darjiling, on October 9, 1882, Blavatsky told to Mr. Sinnett her happy experience:

« The fact is that had I not left Bombay in the greatest secrecy (even some Theosophists who visit us believing me at home but busy and invisible as usual), had I not gone incognito so to say till I reached the hills and turned off the railway to enter Sikkim, I would have never been allowed to enter it unmolested, and would not have seen M. and K. H. in their bodies both.

Lord, I would have been dead by this time!

Oh the blessed blessed two days! It was like the old times when the bear paid me a visit. The same kind of wooden hut, a box divided into three compartments for rooms, and standing in a jungle on four pelican's legs; the same yellow chelas gliding noiselessly; the same eternal "gul-gul-gul" sound of my Boss's inextinguishable chelum pipe; the old familiar sweet voice of Master Kuthumi, the same entourage for furniture — skins, and yak-tail stuffed pillows and dishes for salt tea etc.

Well when I went to Darjeeling sent away by them, on the following day already I received the note I enclose from the Deputy Commissioner warning me not to go to Tibet!

He locked the stable door after the horse had been already out. Very luckily; because when the infernal six or seven babus who stuck to me like parasites went to ask passes for Sikkim, they were refused point blank.

But I had my revenge. I wrote to the Deputy Commissioner and told him that I had permission from Government — the fact of Government not answering for my safety being of little importance since I would be safer in Tibet than in London; that after all I did go twenty or thirty miles beyond Sikkim territory and remained there two days and nothing happened bad to me and there I was.

I am very weak and must stop. Boss {Master Morya] gives you his frienship — I saw him last night at the Lama's house. »
(The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, N°19)

The truth of this event, I find in the “miraculous” recovery that Blavatsky had on his health, after that trip.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Biliere in Paris, dated January 1884, she narrates:

« My Mahatma and venerated Master has already patched me up twice. Last year the doctors had condemned me likewise. I had Bright’s disease in its last phase when I learned for the first time, that sheep are not the only ones to have kidneys, but that I possessed them also, in a very villainous state just like my liver.

Well, I went to Darjeeling, to Sikkhim (which slams the door on every Englishman who approaches it), at the entrance to Tibet, and there my beloved Master mended me, kidneys and liver, and, in three days, I was as sound as ever. It was a miracle, they said. He gave me only a decoction to drink seven times a day from a plant of the Himalayas. »

Ramaswamier’s adventure

Ramaswamier was one of the people who were denied access to the Sikkhim territory, but on October 5, 1882, he decided to enter clandestinely through the wild forest.

He spent the night in a cabin that he thought was abandoned, but whose occupants arrived at midnight and “miraculously” did not enter into the side room where he had taken refuge.

And the next day, he continued his journey, but suddenly saw a rider approaching him and Ramaswamier feared that he had been discovered and that he was going to be arrested (or worse). But the rider turned out to be Master Morya.

Ramaswamier talked with Master Morya for a long time and then he returned to Darjeeling.

When he entered into the house, there they were with Madame Blavatsky, Babu Parbati Churn Roy, Deputy Collector of Settlements and Superintendent of Dearah Survey, and his Assistant, Babu Kanty Bhushan Sen.

His absence had alarmed Madame Blavatsky. She scolded him for his rash and a mad attempt to try to go to Tibet after this fashion.

Ramaswamier recounted all that had happened to him, and they were all, completely astounded!

All this history is detailed in the letter he wrote to his friend Damodar in Darjeeling, the next day, on October 7, 1882.

And this day, he received a letter from Master Morya, where he says:

« Ramaswamier will don the robes of a regular Vedantin ascetic — even to the top-knot if necessary, and send his useless clothes to Bombay. He must travel from town to town along the line to Allahabad, and preach Theosophy and Vedantism.

Every one must know he is my chela, and that he has seen me in Sikkim. He must let Upasika [Blavatsky] know of his movements constantly, and finally join her at Allahabad — as also receive my orders through her. His whole aspiration and concern must be directed towards one aim convince the world of our existence.

To Olcott Sahib, he will say verbally the following:

-       "My master, among other messages already delivered to whom they concerned, told me — say to my faithful son and worker, that great was his patience, but also great will be the reward."

Tell him that he but too often mistakes Upasika. She is all he thinks her to be, and nothing what he suspects her of. Let him understand the riddle. She has never deceived him — only left him ignorant of many things in accordance with my orders.

Henceforth, in order to facilitate his comprehension, let him know that whenever an order is delivered to him through her, it must be prefixed with the words "Chohan Rimbochey”; whenever the se words are omitted, the order does not emanate from me but from her.

Tell him to have faith, hope and trust.

More anon. Dress yourself as a pilgrim from today, and tell your friends you have received direct orders from me — how or in what way it is no one's business. Silence, discretion and courage.

Have my blessings upon your head, my good and faithful son and chela.
M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°50)

Ramaswamier followed his Master's instructions and he founded four lodges of the Theosophical Society as he traveled from Darjeeling to Bombay.

In this travel Ramaswamier received the following letter from Master Morya, where he indicates, what a human need to do for becomes a Master’s disciple:

« Greetings my chela,

At my request, Olcott has explained the theory of chelaship. It is an educational as well as probationary stage, and the chela alone can determine whether it shall end in adeptship or failure. Chelas, from a mistaken idea of our system, too often watch and wait for orders, wasting precious time which should be taken up with personal effort.

These remarks are suggested by your questions. You offer your services; well. You are willing to devote time, incur expense, run risks for OUR cause. Well, it is the cause of humanity, of true religion, of education, of enlightenment and spiritual elevation, of course.

It needs missionaries, devotees, agents, even martyrs perhaps. But it cannot demand of any man to make himself either. If he so chooses, —well; —well for the world and for himself. For, to work for mankind is grand, its recompense stretches beyond this brief dream of life into other births.

So now, you my chela, choose and grasp your own destiny. You wish to heal the sick, — do so; but remember your success will be measured by your faith — in yourself, more than in us.

Lose it for a second, and failure will follow. I will give orders to Olcott to teach you the mechanical art. Have faith in your soul power, and you will have success. You wish to take leave for two years; decide after counting the whole cost, and may the light of our Lord Tathagata's memory aid you to decide for the best. But before proceeding to South, I would have you go on a mission to the Maharajah of Benares for Sinnett's business which Olcott will explain.*

(* The affair of the Phoenix newspape r, which was to offset the Pioneer.)

You could do great good in many cases and ways, besides endowing the Theosophical Society, no doubt, were you free to act. But this idea is meritorious and just, and you have done well to choose it. Karma is not blind.

I will not say your surmise as to certain Prince's relation is not correct; but the secret is not mine to impart. Use it in a discreet way, and use your own intuitions. There are two men in T. who know the secret, search them out.

As for our giving you an increase of psychic powers, that will come in time, and cannot come so soon. We have no right to force, and no good can come of forcing nature. She has been already generous to you.

My blessing be with you, my son.

P. S. — You will please forward the enclosed to its address, and write a note to explain who you are, and that you are my chosen chela. Upasika will tell. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°51)

In this travel Ramaswamier received also a second message from Master Morya, and this message appeared in a letter which Damodar
Mavalankar wrote to Ramaswamier on October 17, 1882.

And this message says:

« Well said — Damodar is brave heart and chela of my beloved Brother Kuthumi. I hope and trust my good chela Ramaswamier will be no worse. I hope and trust in him. Blessings upon you, my faithful boy — blessings on all.
M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°56)

7th Annual Convention

Ramaswamier returned to the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Bombay, with Blavatsky, on November 25, 1882. And he remained there during the 7th Annual Convention that took place on December 6-7, 1882.

In the middle are Blavatsky and Olcott, above Blavatsky is Sinnett, below Blavatky is Damodar, and I think that on the left from Blavatsky is Ramaswamier dressed in white clothes.

In this convention, Ramaswamier narrated his meeting with Master Morya, and there, he received this letter from his Master:

« You are right — it is more meritorious to do one's duty without any forethought of reward than to be bargaining for pay for one's deeds. You are young, my friend, and have long years before you. You have worked unselfishly and with great profit to both your country and the good cause. And we thank you. Return now home, and whatever trouble may seem to brood over you, remember I am with you.
M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°52)

After the Convention, the Theosophical Society’s Headquarters changed from Bombay to Adyar, a property in the neighborhood of the city of Madras, bought by contributions from all the members of the Theosophical Society, who desired to provide their founders and their staff with a permanent home.


Probably in 1883, Ramaswamier received these other
three letters from Master Morya:

« In the name of M———, R. S. is ordered to take the enclosed to Subba Row. R. Swami has my blessings, and is commanded not to reveal this to any one. He may, however, say that he received this letter, which is a new proof of our reality independently of Upasika [Blavatsky].
M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°53)

« If you have done with your misanthropy, doubts and regrets, then prove it by writing to those who love you best. An accepted chela does not become free from temptations, probations and trials. Happy is he who crosses the great gulf between himself and us unscarred with doubt and free from the pollution of suspicion. What is meant by karma? Do you know? Meditate upon it, son, meditate, and as soon as you can, come and see us in our new home — “the occult room”.
M.·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°54)

The occult room was a room in the Adyar’s house, where Blavatsky installed a reliquary that facilitated correspondence between Masters and people interested in communicating with them.

On one occasion, Ramaswamier wrote to his Master as follows:

« Sashtanga Namaskar* at the thrice holy feet of my Father.

Will it be for my good, and will it assists me in the development in me of my clairvoyant and clairaudient powers, if I every morning between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., keep a pin of iron before me and try to move it by my will power?

This is my entreaty. — S. R. »

(* That means “prostration with six members” and is a complete prostration at full length on the ground, to mark utmost veneration.)

And the reply was:

« TRY; it can do no harm, and may assist.
M .·. »
(Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, N°55)

_ _ _

After his death, in December, 1894, a son of Ramaswamier published his letters, with a facsimile of one of them, in an attack pamphlet to the Theosophical Society, which bore the title, “Isis Further Unveiled.”

The original letters apparently were destroyed, and these six letters were later reprinted in the book, “Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom” (second series), Ed.TPH, 1926, pp. 106-114; letters 48-56.

A letter delivered phenomenally

On November 24, 1883, Ramaswamier experienced a phenomenon at Adyar, in the presence of Mme Blavatsky and a small group of theosophist.

V. Coopooswamy Iyer wrote the following about that paranormal phenomenon:

« In these days of scepticism and unbelief, the following testimony to a phenomenon, not capable of being explained on any theory of trick or fraud, will not be without use in exciting at least a spirit of calm inquiry in reasonable minds.

On the 24th of November Mr. S. Ramaswamier and myself, both went to the Adyar Head-quarters at about 9 P.M. We found Madame Blavatsky seated in the verandah in front of the main building conversing with General and Mrs. Morgan and Miss Flynn, then on a visit to the Head quarters, and a number of Chelas and officers of the Theosophical Society.

After about an hour’s conversation there, Madame Blavatsky wished good night to our European brethren and went upstairs to her own room, asking us to follow her thither. Accordingly we went up.

There were seven in all in the room, which was lighted. Madame Blavatsky seated herself facing west on a chair near a window in the north-eastern corner of the room, Ramaswamier and myself sat on the floor, one behind the other, right in front of and facing Madame Blavatsky, close by an open shelf in the wall on our left.

Babu Mohini Mohun Chatterji, M. A., B. L., (Solicitor, Calcutta,) Messrs. Bawajee, Ananda, and Balai Chand Mallik, also seated on the floor near us, opposite the wall-shelf and facing it.

What had originally been a window was closed with a thick wooden plank, which on careful examination I found was immovably fixed to the window frame and thus converted into a wall-shelf with two cross boards. The plank behind was hung and the boards were covered and ornamented with black oil cloth and fringe.

About half an hour after conversation began, while Ramaswamier was talking about certain important matters concerning himself and the others were listening, a slight rustle of the oil cloth, hanging in the back of the middle compartment of the wall shelf, was observed by the four gentlemen seated opposite the same.

From it, immediately after, was extruded a large hand more brown in complexion than white, dressed in a close fitting white sleeve, holding an envelope between the thumb and the forefinger.

The hand came just opposite my face and over the back of Ramaswamier’s head, a distance of about two yards from the wall, and at a jerk dropped the letter which fell close by my side.

All, except Ramaswamier, saw the phantom hand drop the letter. It was visible for a few seconds, and then vanished into air right before our eyes.

I picked up the envelope which was made of Chinese paper evidently, and inscribed with some characters which I was told were Tibetan.

I had seen the like before with Ramaswamier. Finding the envelope was addressed in English to “Ramaswamy Iyer,” I handed it over to him. He opened the envelope and drew out a letter.

Of the contents there of I am not permitted to say more than that they had immediate reference to what Ramaswamier was speaking to us rather warmly about, and that it was intended by his Master as a check on his vehemence in the matter.

As regards the handwriting of the letter, it was shown to me, and I readily recognized it as the same that I had seen in other letters shown me long before by Ramaswamier as having been received from his Guru (also Madame Blavatsky’s Master).

I need hardly add that immediately after I witnessed the above phenomenon, I examined the shelf wall, plank, boards and all inside and outside with the help of a light, and was thoroughly satisfied that there was nothing in any of them to suggest the possibility of the existence of any wire, spring, or any other mechanical contrivance by means of which the phenomenon could have been produced. »
(Supplement to The Theosophist, February, 1884, p.30)

8th Annual Convention

Ramaswamier was present in the 8th Annual Convention of The Theosophical Society, that took place in Adyar, on December 27-29, 1883.

Standing: Bawaji and Colonel Olcott.
Sitting from left to right: General H. R. Morgan, William T. Brown, T. Subba Row, H.P. Blavatsky, Dr. Franz Hartmann, Rudolf Gebhard.
Middle row: Norendro Nath Sen, Damodar K. Mavalankar, S. Ramaswamier, Judge P. Sreenivasa.
In front: Bhavani Shankar, T. Vijayaraghavacharlu, Tukaram Tatya, V. Coopooswami Iyer.


Ramaswamier died in 1893, and he remained devoted to his Master and the theosophical cause until the end of his life.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous17.5.19

    Thank you so much for making this story available on the web. It is always a boon to learn more about the early Theosophists. And this chela's, Ramaswamier's life, is a moving and inspiring example to us all, on what true chelaship is all about. Thank you again, and Always Victory!