1. Baird Thomas Spalding
Baird Thomas Spalding (1872–1953) was an American writer. He is the author of the spiritual book series: Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East.
Despite questions about Spalding’s authenticity, his books have remained in print since his death and his stories have helped to popularize the concept of Ascended Masters which became a common meme in New Age and alternative religious movements during the twentieth century. During the 1920s, Spalding was a personal acquaintance of Guy Ballard, founder of the I AM activity, and similar themes to Spalding can be seen in Ascended Master groups such as the Church Universal and Triumphant and the writings of Elizabeth Clare Prophet.
American mystic Thane of Hawaii, founder of the Prosperos group, claimed in 1974 to have ghost-written several of Spalding’s later books and accompanied him on his 1935 India tour. Pseudonymous author Nguyen Phong released the novel Journey to the East in 1987 which he claimed to be a Vietnamese translation of a previously unknown 1924 prequel to Life and Teachings, in which Spalding is joined in India by a group of prestigious mystics and academics, including Paul Brunton and Stanford Professor Walter Evans-Wentz.
Although Spalding’s books claimed he was born in England in 1857, Spalding was born in North Cohocton, New York in 1872.
He spent much of his life as a mining engineer in the American West.
In 1924 Spalding published the first volume of Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East. It describes the travels to India and Tibet of a research party of eleven scientists in 1894. During their trip they claim to have made contact with “the Great Masters of the Himalayas”, immortal beings with whom they lived and studied, gaining a fascinating insight into their lives and spiritual message. This close contact enabled them to witness many of the spiritual principles evinced by these Great Masters translated into their everyday lives, which could be described as ‘miracles’. Such examples are walking on water, or manifesting bread to feed the hungry party.
These books have remained consistently popular with spiritual seekers, those interested in the philosophy of the East and those who enjoy a good story because of their accessible nature and easy-to-follow format. However, despite most of the action taking place in India, the Great Masters make it clear that the greatest embodiment of the Enlightened state is that of the Christ (as personified by Jesus): “The Masters accept that Buddha represents the Way to Enlightenment, but they clearly set forth that Christ IS Enlightenment, or a state of consciousness for which we are all seeking – the Christ light of every individual; therefore, the light of every child born into the world.” (From the foreword, Volume I, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, DeVorss & Co.)
Spalding published three additional volumes before his death in 1953. Volumes 5 and 6 were published by DeVorss & Co posthumously from various articles that Spalding had written.
Although popular, Baird Spalding was an enigmatic figure and the authenticity of the events described in the Life and Teachings has never been confirmed. Spalding never produced any evidence of the claimed trip, and none of the other scientists were ever identified. Followers have argued that the high quality of the spiritual teachings contained therein are themselves evidence of contact with a higher power.
2. Life And Teaching Of The Masters Of The Far East
Since these Masters were scattered over a wide territory that covered a large portion of India, Tibet, China, and Persia, they knew it could take years of searching many secluded villages and hidden mountain communes. Planning each step of the journey became a challenge knowing that countless miles of rugged terrain separated the remote and isolate locations that were imperative to the exploration. Even though they could plot their route on a map and see where they were headed, the destination deep within the souls of eleven scientifically trained men remained uncertain.
Baird T. Spalding and the others were practical in nature and the thought of spiritual masters performing miracles seemed impossible. Despite these suspect thoughts, something compelled them to move onward. So they did.
Volume 1: Introduction of the Master Emil. Visit to the “Temple of Silence”. Astral Projection. Walking on Water. Visit to the Healing Temple. Emil Talks about America. The Snowmen of the Himalayas. New Light on the Teachings of Jesus.
Volume 2: Visit to the Temple of the Great Tau Cross. Visit with the Master Jesus. Jesus discussed the nature of hell; the nature of God. The Mystery of thought vibrations. Jesus feeds the multitude. An account of a healing experience. Jesus and Buddha visit the group.
Volume 3: One of the masters speaks of the Christ consciousness. The nature of cosmic energy. The creation of the planets and the worlds. The trip to Lhasa. Visit at the Temple Pora-tat-sanga. Explaining the mystery of levitation. A doubltless convinced of the existence of Jesus.
Volume 4: First presented as “The India Tour Lessons.” Each chapter has text for study as well as guides to teachers for developing and interpreting the material. Among subjects covered: The White Brotherhood, The One Mind Basis of coming social reorganization Prana.
Volume 5: Lectures and articles by Spalding; also a brief biographical sketch. Partial contents: Camera of past events. Is there a God. The divine pattern. The reality. Mastery over death. The law of supply.
Volume 6: Thirty-five years after the appearance of Volume 5 of Life & Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, ten dusty cartons were discovered in the DeVorss warehouse, some of which held Spalding manuscripts, paper, letters, photographs, and other materials related to this man whose name has been a legend in metaphysical and truth circles.
The New Volume 6 includes: Articles previously omitted from Vol.5, Photographs, The 1935 India Tour and correspondence, Rare letters, Personal recollections of BTS, Spalding’s last days, Spalding biography and memorabilia.
SET 6 volumes: Handsomely boxed in their own sleeves: Since 1924, when these writings first appeared, they have influenced and inspired generations of seekers. Astonished at the interest in his discoveries and experiences, he wrote Volume 2 (1927). Volume 3 (1935) followed along with a 30 city tour. Volume 4 (1948) and Volume 5 (1955) were compiled from his question and answer material and Volume 6 (1996) contains historical reference to his articles for the Mind Magazine 1935-37.
“ Only Man has the power to forgive sin,
discord and in-harmony, which cause sickness.
It is not God who forgives. ”
“ The greatest attribute of God is Love.
The Tree of Life is located in the very depth of our soul.
The most perfect and abundant fruit that grows and ripens is Life giving Love. ”
“ Living did not become a problem until Man
refused to listen to the inner voice.
When he returns to listening He will seize to labor
for the means of living, but will work for the joy of creating. ”
A biography of Spalding, Baird T Spalding As I Knew Him was published by fellow mystic and DeVorss author David Bruton in 1954. About Spalding’s claims regarding his birthplace, Bruton wrote:
On two different occasions I asked him where he was born. The first time he told me in ‘upstate New York;’ the second, ‘Spalding, England.’ During one of his last public lectures a member of the audience asked where he was born and he answered, ‘In India.’ He spoke with equal affection for the ‘old family home’ in upstate New York, in Spalding, England and in Coconada, Madras Province, India.