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The Chela’s Handbook Compiled by William Wilson Quinn. Book review by Janet Hoult.

This is a delightful small book full of wisdom, and is mostly a collection of excerpts from letters written by the Masters or Mahatmas in the Theosophical tradition. It is, as titled, a handbook, and is ideal for choosing one or two pieces at a time to contemplate, meditate on, or to read as spiritual inspiration.

The term ‘chela’ is a Sanskrit word meaning a ‘pupil’ or ‘disciple’, and refers to that stage when the spiritual student is taken on by a guru or teacher. William tells us in his introduction: “The guidance and instruction by these Adepts during this period was entirely unique in recorded history, and not only those aspiring to become chelas but humanity as a whole should not fail to take full advantage of the profound truths and wisdom it contains.”

The excerpts chosen look at various aspects of chelaship: the risks of beginning this arduous spiritual journey; the probation and tests before being accepted; qualities and behaviours needed before we are able to advance; the practices and rules of the Adepts; and the relationship between Adept and chela. Information on reproductions of the letters and a useful note on further resources are also included.

Pieces are taken mainly from The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett – the chronological edition, published in 1993 and edited by Vicente Hao Chin Jr., also from two sets of Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom compiled by C. Jinarajadasa (2011 and 2002), and Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell (2012).

William writes that this book is “a manual of sorts” giving “express guidance to those seeking higher spiritual truth and possibly seeking a reverential connection with these Adepts.” He recommends that we further explore and read the letters in their entirety, where we will find more information which will “due to timing or other relevant factors, ring particularly true to that individual at that moment, based on his or her own experiences and level of advancement on the spiritual path…”

The author: William Wilson Quinn is the author of three books and over 50 articles published in various journals. He spoke at the European School of Theosophy, held in Greece, 2019, and the two lectures are reproduced in the school’s book Reincarnation – Science and the Ancient Wisdom Tradition. He has been a student of the philosophia perennis since 1968, and is an alumnus of the University of Chicago.

Turning Stone Press, 8301 Broadway St., Suite 219, San Antonio, TX 78209

ISBN 978-1-61852-128-6

116pp, 140mm x 215mm.


Published by hermesrisen

writer, theologian and broadcaster, my work can be found at Colyn Boyce is co-editor for Hermes Risen and is a writer, photographer and all round good guy.

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