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H. P. Blavatsky originally described the existence of a spiritual master whom she considered her guru, and who went by, among other names, Morya. Blavatsky said that Morya and another master, Koot Hoomi, were her primary guides in establishing the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky also wrote that Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi belonged to a group of highly developed humans known to some as the Great White Brotherhood (though this is not how they described themselves). Although Master Morya's personality has been depicted in some detail by various theosophical authors, critics point out that there is little evidence that Blavatsky's Masters, including Morya, ever existed. Author K. Paul Johnson wrote that Blavatsky gave conflicting versions of her meeting with Morya and suggests Blavatsky fictionalized the story, basing it on her encounter with an Italian political activist. Author Paul Zweig writing in the New York Times characterized Blavatsky's claims as fraudulent, saying they were invented "out of whole cloth." Many scholarly reviewers of these books, on the other hand, claim that these and similar books attacking Blavatsky and her claims about the existence of such masters are based on poor quality research, specious arguments, and poorly supported speculation. So, from a scholarly point of view, the existence of such masters is considered by many to still be controversial, with neither side being able to establish their claims conclusively. From a physical angle, all we have at this time are the personal testimony of a number of individuals, both within and beyond the Theosophical Society, who claim to have physically encountered Morya masters like him.
After Blavatsky's death, theosophists and others continued claiming to have met Morya or to have received communications from him. William Quan Judge, the leader of the American Section of the Theosophical Society, stated privately that he had received letters from Morya and other Adepts. Annie Besant, head of the European Section and co-head of the Esoteric Section with Judge, made public statements supporting the genuineness of those letters; but she later accused Judge of falsifying them, asserting that her suspicions of him were confirmed by the visitation of a Mahatma, presumably Master Morya, to whom she was linked. The ensuing controversy led to the break-up of the Society in 1895, but leaders in the increasingly fragmented movement continued making claims about having received communications and visitations from the Masters connected with the cause. Theosophical writings offered vivid descriptions of Morya, his role in the Brotherhood, and his past lives. 
Morya's earliest notable claimed incarnation is recorded by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater (from, the source states, their research into the "akashic records" at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar (Tamil Nadu), India conducted in the summer of 1910) as having been the Emperor of Atlantis in 220,000 BC, ruling from his palace in the capital city, the City of the Golden Gates.
According the Ascended Masters teachings, some of the later incarnations that Morya is said to have had include: El Morya was embodied as Abraham, Hebrew patriarch and progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel (c. 2100-1700 B.C.). Jews, Christians and Moslems accord him the place in history as the first to worship the one true God. In the biblical account of his life, he is originally referred to as Abram (meaning "the father, or my father, is exalted") and is later named by God Abraham, traditionally taken to mean "father of a multitude of nations" from the passage in Gen. 17:5.
- Melchior (one of the three wise men--the one who gave myrrh to Jesus)
- King Arthur of Camelot
- Thomas Becket (Archbishop of Canterbury)
- Thomas More
- Akbar (Mogul Emperor)
- Shams Tabrizi
Students of Ascended Master Activities believe that Morya ascended in 1898, becoming an Ascended Master and Chohan of the First Ray, and that his spiritual retreat is located at Darjeeling, India.
- Philip Jenkins, Mystics and Messiahs, p.41-42. Oxford University Press, 2000, NYC
- K. Paul Johnson, The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge (Albany: SUNY, 1994), 41.
- Johnson, Paul K. Initiates of Theosophical Masters Albany, New York:1995 State University of New York Press
- Annie Besant, The Case Against W. Q. Judge (1895), p. 13. About Besant’s closeness to Morya, in a letter of 27 March 1891 to Judge, Blavatsky writes: “She is not psychic nor spiritual in the least—all intellect—and yet she hears the Master's voice when alone, sees His Light, and recognises His Voice from that of D____.”
- Letters of the Masters of the Wisdom: Second Series Nos. 69 and 70; First Series No. 19; Wachtmeister, op. cit., Chapter 5.
- Besant, Annie and Leadbeater, C.W. Man: How, Whence, and Whither? Adyar, India:1913 Theosophical Publishing House Page 122 Note: On page xii of the introduction it is explained that the name Mars is used to refer to the reincarnating soul entity now known to Theosophists as Morya in his various incarnations.
- Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare Lords of the Seven Rays Livingston, Montana, U.S.A.:1986 - Summit University Press - "Morya - Master of the First Ray" pages 21 - 78
- Prophet, Elizabeth Clare and Prophet, Mark (as compiled by Annice Booth) The Masters and Their Retreats Corwin Springs, Montana:2003 Summit University Press Pages 87-92 El Morya
- Luk, A.D.K.. Law of Life - Book II. Pueblo, Colorado: A.D.K. Luk Publications 1989.
- Schroeder, Werner Ascended Masters and Their Retreats Ascended Master Teaching Foundation 2004.
- Booth, Annice The Masters and Their Retreats Summit Lighthouse Library June 2003.
- Besant, Annie and Leadbeater, C.W. Man:How, Whence, and Whither? Adyar, India:1913—Theosophical Publishing House
- Leadbeater, C.W. The Masters and the Path Adyar, Madras, India: 1925—Theosophical Publishing House
- Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare Lords of the Seven Rays Livingston, Montana, U.S.A.:1986 - Summit University Press
- Campbell, Bruce F. A History of the Theosophical Movement Berkeley:1980 University of California Press
- Godwin, Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment Albany, New York: 1994 State University of New York Press
- Johnson, K. Paul The Masters Revealed: Madam Blavatsky and Myth of the Great White Brotherhood Albany, New York: 1994 State University of New York Press
- Melton, J. Gordon Encyclopedia of American Religions 5th Edition New York:1996 Gale Research ISBN 0-8103-7714-4 ISSN 1066-1212 Chapter 18--"The Ancient Wisdom Family of Religions" Pages 151-158; see chart on page 154 listing Masters of the Ancient Wisdom; Also see Section 18, Pages 717-757 Descriptions of various Ancient Wisdom religious organizations
- Cranston, Sylvia HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1993
- Theosophical Society, The originators of the Master concept (Before the term "Ascended" was used)