Who Is Helena Petrovna Blavatsky?

A Sketch of Her Life and Work
"...Helena Petrovna Blavatsky... is surely among the most original and perceptive minds of her time ... Buried in the sprawling bulk of her two major books ... there lies, in rudimentary form, the first philosophy of psychic and spiritual evolution to appear in the modern West ... With all criticisms weighed up against her, HPB stands forth as a seminal talent of our time ... Above all, she is among the modern world’s trailblazing psychologists of the visionary mind. At the same historical moment that Freud, Pavlov, and James had begun to formulate the secularized and materialist theory of mind that has so far dominated modern Western thought, HPB and her fellow Theosophists were rescuing from occult tradition and exotic religion a forgotten psychology of the Helena Petrovna von Hahn was born at Ekaterinoslav, a town on the river Dnieper, in Southern Russia, on the 12th of August, 1831. She was the daughter of Colonel Peter von Hahn, and Helena de Fadeyev, a renowned novelist. On her mother’s side, she was the granddaughter of the gifted Princess Helena Dolgorukov, a noted botanist and writer. After the early death of her mother in 1842, Helena was brought up in her maternal grandparents’ house at Saratov, where her grandfather was Civil Governor. Helena was an exceptional child, and at an early age was aware of being different from those around her. Her possession of certain psychic powers puzzled her family and friends. At once impatient of all authority, yet deeply sensitive, she was gifted in many ways. A clever linguist, a talented pianist and a fine artist, she was yet a fearless rider of half-broken horses, and always in close touch with nature. At a very early age she sensed that she was in some way dedicated to a life of service, and was aware of a special guidance and protection. When almost eighteen, she married the middle-aged Nikifor V. Blavatsky, Vice-Governor of the Province of Yerivan, in a mood of rebellious independence and possibly with a plan to become free of her surroundings. The marriage, as such, meant nothing to her and was never consummated. In a few months she escaped and travelled widely in Turkey, Egypt, and Greece, on money supplied by her father. On her twentieth birthday, in 1851, being then in London, she met the individual whom she had known in her psycho-spiritual visions from childhood -- an Eastern Initiate of Rajput birth, the Mahatma Morya or M. as he became known in later years among Theosophists. He told her something of the work that was in store for her, and from that moment she accepted fully his guidance. Later the same year, Helena embarked for Canada, and after adventurous travels in various parts of the U.S.A., Mexico, South America and the West Indies, went via the Cape and Ceylon to India in 1852. Her first attempt to enter Tibet failed. She returned to England via Java in 1853. In the Summer of 1854, she went to America again, crossing the Rockies with a caravan of emigrants, probably in a covered wagon.

In late 1855, she left for India via Japan and the Straits. On this trip she succeeded in entering Tibet through Kashmir and Ladakh, undergoing part of her occult training with her Master. In 1858 she was in France and Germany, and returned to Russia in the late Fall of the same year, staying a short time with her sister Vera at Pskov. From 1860 to 1865, she lived and travelled through the Caucasus, experiencing a severe physical and psychic crisis which placed her in complete control over her occult powers. She left Russia again in the Fall of 1865, and travelled extensively through the Balkans, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Italy and various other places. In 1868 she went via India to Tibet. On this trip H.P.B. met the Master Koot Hoomi (K.H.) for the first time and stayed in his house in Little Tibet. In late 1870 she was back in Cyprus and Greece. Embarking for Egypt, she was shipwrecked near the island of Spetsai on July 4, 1871; saved from drowning, she went to Cairo where she tried to form a Societe Spirite which soon failed. After further travels through the Middle East, she returned for a short time to her relatives at Odessa, Russia in July, 1872. In the Spring of 1873, Helena was instructed by her Teacher to go to Paris, and on further direct orders from him, left for New York City where she landed July 7, 1873. H.P. Blavatsky was then forty-two years old and in controlled possession of her many and most unusual spiritual and occult powers. In the opinion of the Mahatmas, she was the best available instrument for the work they had in mind, namely to offer to the world a new presentation, though only in brief outline of the age-old Theosophia, "The accumulated Wisdom of the ages, tested and verified by generations of Seers...," that body of Truth of which religions, great and small, are but as branches of the parent tree. Her task was to challenge on the one hand the entrenched beliefs and dogmas of Christian Theology and on the other the equally dogmatic materialistic view of the science of her day. A crack, however, had recently appeared in the twofold set of mental fortifications. It was caused by Spiritualism, then sweeping America. To quote Helena’s own words: "I was sent to prove the phenomena and their reality, and to show the fallacy of the spiritualistic theory of spirits." In October, 1874, H.P.B. was put in touch by her Teachers with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, a man of sterling worth who had acquired considerable renown during the Civil War, had served the U.S. Government with distinction, and was at the time practicing law in New York. She also met William Quan Judge, a young Irish Lawyer, who was to play a unique role in the future Theosophical work. On September 7, 1875, these three leading figures, together with several others, founded a society which they chose to call The Theosophical Society, as promulgating the ancient teachings of Theosophy, or the Wisdom concerning the Divine which had been the spiritual basis of other great movements of the past, such as Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, and the Mystery-Schools of the Classical world. The Inaugural Address by the President-Founder, Colonel Olcott, was delivered November 17, 1875, a date which is considered to be the official date of the founding of the Society. Starting from a generalized statement of objectives, namely, "to collect and diffuse a knowledge of the laws which govern the Universe," the Founders soon expressed them more specifically. After several minor changes in wording, the Objects stand today as follows: 1. to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.

2. to encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science. 3. to investigate unexplained laws of Nature, and the powers latent in man. In September 1877, a powerful impact was made upon the reading and thinking public by the publication of H.P. Blavatsky’s first monumental work, Isis Unveiled, which was issued by J.W. Bouton in New York City, the one thousand copies of the first printing being sold within ten days. The New York Herald-Tribune considered the work as one of the "remarkable productions of the century," many other papers and journals speaking in similar terms. Isis Unveiled outlines the history, scope and development of the Occult Sciences, the nature and origin of Magic, the roots of Christianity, the errors of Christian Theology and the fallacies of established orthodox Science, against the backdrop of the secret teachings which run as a golden thread through bygone centuries, coming up to the surface every now and then in the various mystical movements of the last two thousand years or so. On July 8, 1878, H.P. Blavatsky was naturalized as a U.S. citizen, an event which received publicity in various newspapers. In December of the same year, H.P. Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott left for India via England. Arriving in Bombay in February, 1879, they established their Theosophical Headquarters in that city. Soon after landing, they were contacted by Alfred Percy Sinnett, then Editor of the Government Paper, The Pioneer of Allahabad. This contact soon proved of the utmost importance. After a tour of northwestern India, the Founders returned to Bombay and started, in October, 1879, their first Theosophical Journal, The Theosophist (still published today), with H.P. Blavatsky as Editor. The society experienced then a rapid growth, and some very remarkable people were attracted to it both in India and elsewhere. During May-July, 1880 the Founders spent some time in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), where Colonel Olcott laid the foundations for his later work to stimulate the revival of Buddhism. They both took "Pancha Sila" or became officially Buddhists. In September and October, 1880, H.P.B. and Colonel Olcott visited A.P. Sinnett and his wife Patience at Simla in northern India. The serious interest of Sinnett in the teachings and the work of the Theosophical Society prompted H.P. Blavatsky to establish a contact by correspondence between Sinnett and the two Adepts who were sponsoring the Society, Mahatmas K.H. and M. From this correspondence Sinnett wrote The Occult World (1881) and Esoteric Buddhism (1883), both of which had an enormous influence in generating public interest in Theosophy. The replies and explanations given by the Mahatmas to the questions by Sinnett were embodied in their letters from 1880 to 1885 and were published in 1923 as The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. The original letters from these Teachers are preserved in the British Library where they can be viewed by special permission in the Department of Rare Manuscripts. In May, 1882, a large estate was bought in southern India at Adyar, near Madras, and the Theosophical Headquarters were moved there at the end of the year. This center became soon the radiating point for a

world-wide activity. Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott engaged in trips to various outlying districts, founded Branches, received visitors, conducted an enormous correspondence with inquirers, and filled their Journal with most valuable and scholarly material the main purpose of which was to revitalize the dormant interest on the part of India in the spiritual worth of their own ancient Scriptures. It is during this period that Colonel Olcott engaged in widespread mesmeric healings until February, 1884, when he left for London to petition the British Government on behalf of the Buddhists of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). H.P. Blavatsky, then in rather poor health, went to Europe with him. After staying almost five months in Paris and London, H.P.B. visited the Gebhard family in Elberfeld, Germany during the late Summer and early Fall of 1884 and was busily engaged in writing her second work, The Secret Doctrine. Meanwhile, a vicious attack on her by Alexis and Emma Coulomb (two of her staff members at Adyar) was rapidly building up. She returned to Adyar on December 21, 1884 to learn the details of the situation. She wished to sue the couple, already dismissed from Adyar for their gross libel on her concerning the supposed fraudulent production of psychic phenomena. H.P.B. was, however, overruled by a Committee of leading T.S. members, and in disgust resigned as Corresponding Secretary of the Society. On March 31, 1885, she left for Europe, never to return to Indian soil. The Coulomb attack, as was later proved, had no solid foundation whatsoever. It was based on forged and partially forged letters, purporting to have been written by H.P. Blavatsky, with instructions to arrange fraudulent psychic phenomena of various kinds. A Christian missionary magazine in Madras published the most incriminating portions of these letters. Meanwhile, the Society for Psychical Research (London) had appointed a special committee to investigate Madame Blavatsky’s claims. Then, in December, 1884, Richard Hodgson, a member of this S.P.R. committee, arrived in India to inquire into and report on the Coulombs’ allegations. Based upon Hodgson’s findings, the S.P.R. committee in its final report of December, 1885, branded Madame Blavatsky "one of the most accomplished, ingenious and interesting impostors in history." Mr. Hodgson also accused Madame Blavatsky of being a Russian spy. This "S.P.R.-Hodgson" Report has been the basis for most subsequent attacks on H.P. Blavatsky, as to her dishonesty, the non-existence of her Masters, and the worthlessness of Theosophy. In 1963, Adlai Waterman (pseudonym of Walter A. Carrithers, Jr.) in his definitive work entitled Obituary: The "Hodgson Report" on Madame Blavatsky, analyzed and refuted Hodgson’s contentions against Madame Blavatsky. A more recent refutation of some of Hodgson’s charges against H.P.B. is Vernon Harrison’s book titled H. P. Blavatsky and the SPR: An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885. This vicious attack had a most unfavorable effect on H.P. Blavatsky’s health. Having left India for Europe, she settled first in Italy and then in August, 1885 at Wurzburg, Germany, where she worked on The Secret Doctrine. In July, 1886, she relocated to Ostend, Belgium, and in May of 1887, at the invitation of English Theosophists, she moved to a small house at Upper Norwood, London.

After her arrival in England, Theosophical activities immediately began to move rapidly. The Blavatsky Lodge was formed and started publicizing Theosophical ideas. As H.P. Blavatsky had virtually lost control of The Theosophist, she founded in September, 1887 Lucifer, a monthly magazine designed, as stated on its title-page, "to bring to light the hidden things of darkness." Also in the same month, H.P.B. moved to 17 Lansdowne Road, Holland Park, London. H.P.B. continued to write her great work which was finally completed and published in two large volumes in October-December, 1888. Her indefatigable helpers in the transcription and editing of the manuscript were Bertram Keightley and Archibald Keightley, whose financial backing was also of immense assistance. The Secret Doctrine was the crowning achievement of H.P. Blavatsky’s literary career. Volume I is concerned mainly with the evolution of the Universe. The skeleton of this volume is formed by seven Stanzas, translated from the Book of Dzyan, with commentary and explanations by H.P.B. Also in this volume is an extended elucidation of the fundamental symbols contained in the great religions and mythologies of the world. The second Volume contains a further series of Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan, which describe the evolution of humanity. Also in October, 1888, Madame Blavatsky formed the Esoteric Section (or School) of the Theosophical Society for the deeper study of the Esoteric Philosophy by dedicated students, and wrote for them her three E. S. Instructions. In 1889 H.P. Blavatsky published The Key to Theosophy, "a clear Exposition, in the form of Question and Answer, of the Ethics, Science and Philosophy for the study of which the Theosophical Society has been founded," and the devotional mystical gem called The Voice of the Silence, containing selected excerpts translated from an Eastern scripture, The Book of the Golden Precepts, which she had learnt by heart during her training in the East. In July, 1890, H.P. B. established the European Headquarters of the Theosophical Society at 19 Avenue Road, St. John’s Wood, London. From this address H.P. Blavatsky died on May 8, 1891, during a severe epidemic of flu in England, and her remains were cremated at Woking Crematorium, Surrey. Against the background of her writings and teachings, her life and character, her mission and occult powers, H.P. Blavatsky is destined to be recognized in time as the greatest Occultist in the history of Western civilization and a direct agent of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood of Adepts.

When years ago, we first travelled over the East, we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions we lent a ready ear. During my Eastern travels, I have lived at different periods in Little Tibet as in Great Tibet, and these combined periods form more than seven years. I have stopped in Lamaistic convents; I have visited Tzigadze, the Tashi-Lhunpo territory and its neighborhood, and I have been further in, and in such places of Tibet as have never been visited by any other European. Much of the teaching found in my writings come from these sages of the Orient, our Eastern Masters. Many a passage in my works has been written by me under their dictation. In saying this no supernatural claim is urged, for no miracle is performed by such a dictation. Space and time do not exist for thought; and if the persons are in perfect mutual magnetic rapport, and of these two, one is a great adept in Occult Sciences, then thought-transference and dictation of whole pages, become as easy and as comprehensible at the distance of ten thousand miles as the transference of two words across the room. I was sent to America in 1873 by these Masters to prove the spiritualistic phenomena and their reality, and to show the fallacy of the spiritualistic theories of “spirits.” I did not want people at large to know that I could produce the same thing at will. I had received orders to the contrary. I found Colonel Henry S. Olcott investigating the Eddy mediums at Chittenden, Vermont and was ordered to let him know that spiritualistic phenomena without the philosophy of occultism were dangerous and misleading. I proved to him that all that mediums could do through “spirits,” others could do at will without any “spirits” at all; that thoughtreading, raps and physical phenomena could be achieved by anyone who had a faculty of acting in his physical body through the organs of his astral body. I had the faculty ever since I was a child. I would make furniture move and objects fly apparently, and my astral arms (that supported them) remained invisible. I told Colonel Olcott that I had known Adepts, not only in India and beyond Ladakh, but in Egypt and Syria. Adepts are everywhere adepts, silent, secret, retiring, and who never divulge themselves entirely to anyone unless one did as I did – passed seven and ten years’ probation, and gave proofs of absolute devotion. I fulfilled the requirements, and am what I am. There are several esoteric schools – the seat of which is beyond the Himalayas and whose ramifications may be found in China, Japan, India, Tibet, and even in Syria, and also in South America. There is beyond the Himalayas a nucleus of these Adepts of various nationalities. The Tashi or Panchen Lama of Tibet, a high initiate, knows these Adepts, and they act together. Some of these Adepts are with him and yet remain unknown in their true character to the average lama. My Master Morya and the Master Koot Hoomi and several others known personally are there, and they are all in communication with Adepts in Egypt and Syria, and even in Europe. I was the first in the United States to bring the existence of our Masters into publicity; and exposed the names of two Members of this Brotherhood hitherto unknown in Europe and America, yet sacred and revered throughout the East, especially in India.

We call them “Masters” because they are our teachers; and because from them we have derived all the Theosophical truths. They are living men, born as we are born, and die like every other mortal. They are men of great learning and still greater holiness of life. They are not ascetics in the ordinary sense. Neither of the Mahatmas, whose names are known in the West, are monks. For long ages, one generation of these Adepts after another has studied the mysteries of being, of life, death and rebirth. By the training of faculties we all possess but which they alone have developed to perfection, the Adepts have entered in Spirit the various superphysical planes and states of Nature. Of course, from Emmanual Swedenborg onwards, there have been many seers who profess to gather their knowledge of other worlds from actual observation, but such persons are isolated, and subject to the delusions of isolation. But in the case of regularly-initiated seers it must be remembered that we are dealing with a long series of persons, who, warned of the confusing circumstances into which they pass when their spiritual perceptions are trained to range beyond material limits, are so enabled to penetrate to the actual realities of things; and who constitute a vast body of seers, who check each other’s conclusions, test each other’s discoveries and formulate their visions into a science of spirit as precise and entirely trustworthy as are the conclusions, as far as they go, of any branch of physical science. The flashing gaze of these seers has penetrated into the very soul of things. Again, let me repeat, the system of thought in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. It is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of seers whose respective experiences were tested and verified by other Adepts. These “Wise Men” have passed their lives in learning by checking, testing and verifying, in every department of Nature, the traditions of old, by the independent visions of great Adepts, who are men who have developed and perfected their physical, psychic, mental and spiritual organizations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one Adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions – so obtained as to stand as independent evidence – of other Adepts, and by centuries of experiences. Anyway, my Master sent me to the United States to see what could be done to stop necromancy and the unconscious black magic exercised by the Spiritualists. Then my Master brought orders to form the Theosophical Society, which was founded in 1875 at New York by Colonel Olcott and myself, helped by W.Q. Judge and several others. Its avowed object was at first the scientific investigation of psychic or socalled “spiritualistic” phenomena. Colonel Olcott and I went from New York to Bombay, India in 18781879. After our arrival at Bombay, our Society began to grow. At this point, the Society’s three chief objects were declared, namely: (1) To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color; (2) To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, philosophies, and sciences; and (3) To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the psychic powers of man. Taking the three divisions of our objects in order, let us see what has actually been accomplished during the years of the Society’s existence:

First, as regards object number one, let it be noticed that we have done things on the broadest possible scale, dealing with nations in the mass as well as with individuals or small groups. In the East we found division between sects, castes and races; the ancient religions neglected and by the educated classes unappreciated; the pride of race, reverence for ancestors, and patriotic spirit almost extinguished. Now the traveller will be struck with the brotherliness which has begun to prevail and the resuscitation of interest in ancestral character, achievements, and literature. The whole of India has become leavened with the benign influence emanating from the Society and its members. In Ceylon we have revived and begun to purify Buddhism, established schools, circulated literature, induced the government to proclaim Buddha’s birthday a public holiday, and brought the Sinhalese Buddhists into direct relations with their Japanese co-religionists. This is what we have done in the East. As to Europe, as we began to work in earnest here only several years ago, the effects hardly begin to be perceived as yet. As regards the second object, the whole press of India, Ceylon, and Japan unqualifiedly give us the credit of having done more in the revival of Oriental literature than any other agency in modern times. We have not only helped to revive in India the pandit-schools of Sanskrit literature and philosophy, and to reawaken reverence for the class of real Yogis, or saintly devotees, but we have created a demand for reprints and translations of ancient Sanskrit classics. Nor should it be overlooked that the prevalent interest in Theosophy and mystical Oriental philosophy in general, which the most casual observer is forced to see throughout Europe and America, is directly or indirectly the result of our Society’s activity. Of course, it is not for me to say how much, if anything, the books I have myself written, and the magazines I have edited and am editing in English and French, have helped to cause this new bent of the Western mind. Now as to the third object on our list, suffice to say that many investigators have been led to discriminate much more closely between the various classes of psychic and spiritualistic phenomena, while much has been done to weaken the sentimental, but unphilosophical and superstitious, teachings of the Spiritualists. So much for the Theosophical Society. Now concerning the accusations that have been made that I am an impostor and charlatan, skillful conjurer of bogus psychic phenomena, I beg leave to remark that personally I have never bragged of anything I might have done, nor do I offer any explanation of the occult phenomena I performed, except to utterly disclaim the performing of anything by jugglery – i.e., with the usual help of confederates and machinery. I have lived long enough in this world of incessant strife to have learned that when I have once allowed my name to be publicly associated with the “occult” production of “cups”, “saucers”, and “brooches”, I must bear the penalty; especially when people are so foolish as to take the word “Magic” either in its popular superstitious sense – that of the work of the devil – or in that of jugglery. Being neither a professional medium nor a professional anything, and making my experiments in “occult phenomena” but in the presence of a few friends – I have a right to claim from the public a little more fairness and politeness than are usually accorded paid jugglers. If my friends insist upon publishing about “occult phenomena” taking place in their presence, they should preface their narratives with the following statement: Theosophy believes in no miracle; recognizes nothing as supernatural; studies the laws of Nature, both occult and patent, and gives attention particularly to the occult, just because exact Science will have nothing to do with them. The time must come when the perfection of Asiatic psychology and its knowledge of the forces of the invisible world will be recognized, as were the circulation of the blood, electricity, etc.

My alleged “silly attempts to hoodwink individuals” will then be viewed as honest attempts at proving the existence and reality of the invisible realm and the forces of that domain. But my occult phenomena failed to produce the desired effect, but they were, in no sense of the word, “miracles”. It was supposed that intelligent people, especially men of science, would, at least, have recognized the existence of a new and deeply interesting field of enquiry and research when they witnessed physical effects produced at will, for which they were not able to account. It was supposed that theologians would have welcomed the proof, of which they stand so sadly in need in these agnostic days, that the soul and spirit are not mere creations of their fancies due to ignorance of the physical constitution of man, but entities quite real as the body and much more important. These expectations were not realized. The occult phenomena I produced were misunderstood and misrepresented, both as regards their nature and their purpose. It was in hope of arousing and utilizing the spirit of curiosity that occult phenomena were shown. It was believed that this manipulation of occult forces of nature would have led to enquiry into the nature and the laws of these forces, unknown to science, but perfectly known to Occultism. That the phenomena did excite curiosity in the minds of those who witnessed them, is certainly true, but it was, unfortunately, for the most part of an idle kind. The greater number of the witnesses developed an insatiable appetite for phenomena for their own sake, without any thought of studying the philosophy or the science of whose truth and power the phenomena were merely trivial and, so to say, accidental illustrations. In but a few cases the curiosity which was awakened gave birth to the serious desire to study the philosophy and science themselves and for their own sake. Modern science, as well as religion, labors under certain disabilities with respect to the investigation of the Occult. For while religion cannot grasp the idea of natural law as applied to the super physical Universe, Science does not allow for the existence of any super physical Universe at all to which the reign of law could be extended; nor can it conceive the possibility of any other state of consciousness than our present terrestrial one. So science proceeded at once to pooh-pooh the occult phenomena; and, when obliged to express some kind of opinion, it did not hesitate, without examination and on hearsay reports, to attribute them to fraudulent contrivances – wires, trapdoors – and confederates and to proclaim that I was “one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history”. I found myself set down as a “super adept” in the charlatan line! Make no mistake, I deny most solemnly the charges brought forward against me in Richard Hodgson’s 1885 “Report” for the London Society for Psychical Research. There is not in that voluminous “Report” one single charge that would stand a legal investigation and be shown correct. All in it is personal inference, hypotheses and unwarranted assumptions and conclusions. That Mr. Hodgson’s elaborate but misdirected enquiries, his affected precision, which spends infinite patience over trifles and is blind to facts of importance, his contradictory reasoning and his manifold incapacity to deal with such problems as there he endeavored to solve, will be exposed by other writers in due course – I make no doubt. Mr. Hodgson has been base enough to concoct the assumption that I am a Russian political agent (a spy), mining the British Government in India! I repudiate Mr. Hodgson’s groundless and infamous calumny with a concentration of the general contempt his method of procedure in this enquiry seems to me to merit, and to be equally deserved by the committee of the Society he has served. They have shown themselves by their wholesale adoption of his blunders, a group of persons less fitted to explore the mysteries of psychic phenomena than I should have thought could have been found among educated men in England. When I am dead and gone, people will, perhaps, appreciate my disinterested motives. I have pledged my word to help people on to Truth while living and will keep my word. Let them revile me. Let some call me a

medium and a spiritualist, and others an impostor. The day will come when posterity will know me better. Oh, poor, foolish, credulous, wicked world! Let me repeat, never were the occult phenomena presented in any character than that of instances of a power over perfectly natural though unrecognized forces, and incidentally over matter, possessed by certain individuals who have attained to a larger and higher knowledge of the Universe than have been reached by scientists and theologians. Yet this power is latent in all men, and could, in time, be wielded by anyone who would cultivate the knowledge and conform to the conditions necessary for development. An occultist can produce phenomena, but he cannot supply the world with brains, nor the intelligence and good faith necessary to understand and appreciate them. Therefore, it is hardly to be wondered at, that word came from my Masters to abandon phenomena and let the ideas of Theosophy stand on their own intrinsic merits. With all our many failures, at least we may claim to have placed before the thinking public a logical, coherent, and philosophical scheme of man’s origin, destiny, and evolution – a scheme preeminent above all else for its rigorous adherence to justice. And, that we may broaden our criterion of truth, our research extends to an enquiry into the nature of the less known forces, cosmic and psychical. In one word, our whole aim and desire are to help, in at least some degree, toward arriving at correct scientific views upon the nature of man, which carry with them the means of reconstructing for the present generation the deductive metaphysical or transcendental philosophy which alone is the firm, unshakable foundation of every religious philosophy. H.P. Blavatsky                        

The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky
Compiled by Daniel Caldwell
Insights into the Life of a Modern Sphinx [Extracts from the Quest Book published in December 2000]

The baby [Helena Petrovna] was born on the night between [August 11 and 12, 1831]-- weak, and apparently no denizen of this world. A hurried baptism had to be resorted to, therefore, lest the child died with the burden of original sin on her soul. The ceremony of baptism in orthodox Russia is attended with all the paraphernalia of lighted tapers, every one of the spectators and actors being furnished with consecrated wax candles during the whole proceedings. Moreover, everyone has to stand during the baptismal rite, no one being allowed to sit in the Greek religion, as they do in Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, during the church and religious service. The child-aunt of the baby--only a few years older than her niece, aged twentyfour hours--placed as "proxy" for an absent relative, was in the first row. Feeling nervous and tired of standing still for nearly an hour, the child settled on the floor unperceived by the elders, and became probably drowsy in the over-crowded room on that hot day. The ceremony was nearing its close. The sponsors were just in the act of renouncing the Evil One and his deeds, a renunciation emphasized in the Greek Church by thrice spitting upon the invisible enemy, when the little lady, toying with her lighted taper at the feet of the crowd, inadvertently set fire to the long flowing robes of the priest. The result was an immediate conflagration, during which several persons--chiefly the old priest--were severely burnt. That was a bad omen, according to the superstitious beliefs of orthodox Russia; and the innocent cause of it--the future Mme. Blavatsky--was doomed from that day in the eyes of all the town to an eventful life, full of trouble. --1831, Alfred P. Sinnett When her mother was dying, although her eldest daughter was only eleven years old, she was filled with wellfounded apprehensions for her future, and said: "Ah well! perhaps it is best that I am dying, so at least I shall be spared seeing what befalls Helena! Of one thing I am certain, her life will not be as that of other women, and that she will have much to suffer!!" --1842, Vera P. de Zhelihovsky Helena cared not whether she should get married or not. She had been simply defied one day by her governess to find any man who would be her husband, in view of her temper and disposition. The governess, to emphasize the taunt, said that even the old man [Nikifor V. Blavatsky] she had found so ugly, and had laughed at so much, calling him "a plumeless raven"--that even he would decline her for a wife! That was enough: three days after she made him propose, and then, frightened at what she had done, sought to escape from her joking acceptance of his offer. But it was too late. Hence the fatal step. All she knew and understood was--when too late--that she had been accepting, and was now forced to accept--a master she cared nothing for, nay, that she hated, that she was tied to him by the law of the country, hand and foot. There had been a distinct attempt to impress her with the solemnity of marriage, with her future obligations and her duties to her husband, and married life. A few hours later, at the altar, she heard the priest saying to her, "Thou shalt honor and obey thy husband," and at this hated word, "shalt," her young face was seen to flush angrily, then to become deadly pale. She was overheard to mutter in response, through her set teeth, "Surely, I shall not." And surely she has not. Forthwith she determined to take the law and her future life into her own hands, and she left her "husband" for ever, without giving him any opportunity to ever even think of her as his wife.

Thus Mme. Blavatsky abandoned her country at seventeen, and passed ten long years in strange and out-ofthe-way places, in Central Asia, India, South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. --1849, Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev Mme. Blavatsky with her father and sister had come to St. Petersburg. One night they received a visit from two old friends of their father. Both were anxious to see something. After a few successful phenomena, the visitors declared themselves positively delighted, amazed and quite at a loss what to make of Mme. Blavatsky’s powers. They could neither understand nor account, they said, for her father’s indifference in presence of such manifestations. The old gentleman, thus taken to task, answered that it was all bosh and that he would not hear of such nonsense, such occupation being hardly worthy of serious people, he added. The rebuke left the two old gentlemen unconcerned. They began, on the contrary, to insist that Col. Hahn should, for old friendship’s sake, make an experiment by writing a word in another room, secretly from all of them, and then asking the raps to repeat it. The old gentleman, proceeding into an adjoining room, wrote a word on a bit of paper, after which conveying it to his pocket, he returned and waited silently, laughing behind his gray moustache. "What shall you say, old friend, if the word written by you is correctly repeated?" "What I might say, if the word were correctly guessed, I could not tell at present," he skeptically replied. "One thing I could answer, however, you may prepare to offer me as an inmate of a lunatic asylum." By the means of raps and alphabet we got one word. To our question, whether it was all, the raps became more energetic in the affirmative. We had several triple raps, which meant in our code—Yes! yes, yes, yes!!! Remarking our agitation and whispering, Madame B.’s father looked at us over his spectacles, and asked-"Well! Have you any answer? It must be something very elaborate and profound indeed!" He arose and, laughing in his moustache, approached us. "We only got one word." "And what is it?" "Zaitchik!" It was a sight indeed to witness the extraordinary change that came over the old man’s face at this one word! He became deadly pale. Adjusting his spectacles with a trembling hand, he stretched it out while hurriedly saying "Let me see it! Hand it over. Is it really so?" He took the slips of paper, and read in a very agitated voice,--"Zaitchik. Yes, Zaitchik; so it is. How very strange!" Taking out of his pocket the paper he had written upon in the adjoining room, he handed it in silence to his daughter and guests.

They found on it both the question offered and the answer that was anticipated. The words read thus-"What was the name of my favorite warhorse, which I rode during my first Turkish campaign?" And lower down, in parenthesis: ("Zaitchik"). --1859, Vera P. de Zhelihovsky I was once traveling between Baalbek and the river Orontes, and in the desert I saw a caravan. It was Mme. Blavatsky's. We camped together. there was a great monument standing there near the village of Dair Mar Maroon. It was between Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon [Mountains]. On the monument were inscriptions that no one could ever read. Mm. Blavatsky could do strange things with the spirits, as I knew, and I asked her to find out what the monument was. We waited until night. She drew a circle and we went in it. We built a fire and put much incense on it. Then she said many spells. Then we put on more incense. Then she pointed with her wand at the monument and we saw a great ball of white flame on it. There was a sycamore tree near by; we saw many little flames on it. The jackals came and howled in the darkness a little way off. We put on more incense. Then Mme. Blavatsky commanded the spirit to appear of the person to whom the monument was reared. Soon a cloud of vapor arose and obscured the little moonlight there was. We put on more incense. The cloud took the indistinct shape of an old man with a beard, and a voice came, as it seemed from a great distance, through the image. He said the monument was once the altar of a temple that had long disappeared. It was reared to a god that had long since gone to another world. "Who are you?" asked Mme. Blavatsky, "I am Hiero, one of the priests of the temple," said the voice. Then Mme. Blavatsky commanded him to show us the place as it was when the temple stood. He bowed, and for one instant we had a glimpse of the temple and of a vast city filling the plain as far as the eye could reach. Then it was gone, and the image faded away. Then we built up big fires to keep off the jackals and went to sleep.-1872, Countess Lydia A. De Pashkov I remember our first day’s acquaintance as if it were yesterday. The dinner hour at Eddy’s was noon, and it was from the entrance door of the dining room that Kappes and I first saw HPB. She had arrived shortly before noon with a French Canadian lady, and they were at table as we entered. My eye was first attracted by a scarlet Garibaldian shirt the former wore, as in vivid contrast with the dull colors around. Her hair was then a thick blond mop, worn shorter than the shoulders, and it stood out from her head, silken-soft and crinkled to the roots, like the fleece of a Cotswold ewe. This and the red shirt were what struck my attention before I took in the picture of her features. It was a massive Calmuck face. All sorts of cranky people were continually coming and going at Eddy’s to see the mediumistic phenomena, and it only struck me on seeing this eccentric lady that this was but one more of the sort. Pausing on the doorsill, I whispered to Kappes, "Good gracious! look at that specimen, will you." Dinner over, the two went outside the house and Madame Blavatsky rolled herself a cigarette, for which I gave her a light as a pretext to enter into conversation. She asked me how long I had been there and what I thought of the phenomena, saying that she herself was greatly interested in such things and had been drawn to Chittenden by reading the letters in the Daily Graphic. "I hesitated before coming here," she said, "because I was afraid of meeting that Colonel Olcott." "Why should you be afraid of him, Madame?" I rejoined. "Oh! because I fear he might write about me in his paper." I told her that she might make herself perfectly easy on that score, for I felt quite sure Col. Olcott would not mention her in his letters unless she wished it. And I introduced myself.

We became friends at once. --1874, Henry S. Olcott She wrote a considerable part of "Isis Unveiled" in my house at Ithaca, and living constantly with her for these weeks, she continually filled me with amazement and curiosity as to what was coming next. She had a profound knowledge of everything apparently, and her method of work was most unusual. She would write in bed, from nine o'clock in the morning till two o'clock the following morning, smoking innumerable cigarettes, quoting long verbatim paragraphs from dozens of books of which I am perfectly certain there were no copies at that time in America, translating easily from several languages, and occasionally calling out to me, in my study, to know how to turn some old-world idiom into literary English, for at that time she had not attained the fluency of diction which distinguished the "Secret Doctrine." She herself told me that she wrote down quotations from books as they appeared in her eyes on another plane of objective existence, that she clearly saw the page of the book and the quotation she needed, and simply translated what she actually saw into English. The woman was so marvelous and had such mysterious funds of definite knowledge, that I find it much easier to believe her statement than to account for her quotations by any ordinary explanation of memory. The hundreds of books she quoted were certainly not in my library, many of them not in America, some of them very rare and difficult to get in Europe, and if her quotations were from memory, then it was an even more startling feat than writing them from the ether. The facts are marvelous, and the explanation must necessarily bewilder those whose consciousness is of a more ordinary type. --1875, Hiram Corson Madame Blavatsky is very justly averse to give manifestations of her occult powers. She rightly holds that if Theosophy cannot assert and maintain its authority by the soundness and beneficence of its principles, it would be idle to try to bolster it up by the exhibition of phenomena which, unless cause and effect are thoroughly understood, might be construed into vulgar conjuring tricks. She wishes that the science with whose promotion she has so thoroughly identified herself should stand or fall on its own merits. It is her hope that men of education and intelligence will make Theosophy the object of careful and scientific study. If the science does not fulfill the promises it holds out, it will be easy for a student to give up the study when he finds his expectations disappointed. --1882, Norendro Nath Sen A curious happening which has never been effaced from my memory took place in the early part of HPB’s stay with us. Many people at that time wished to get into communication with the Masters through HPB, and would sometimes bring letters asking that they should be forwarded to the Masters. HPB always said, "It is not for me to forward the letters; the Masters will take them if They wish," and the letters were put into a certain drawer in her room. Sometimes the writers received a message through HPB, very often they did not; but the drawer was kept open. One day Mr. Sinnett had something he wished to ask of Master KH, and that letter also was placed in the drawer. More than a week passed and there was no answer, and I was grieved, for we all desired that the questions should be answered. Day after day I looked into the drawer, but the letter was still there. One morning at about 7.30 I went in to HPB (I always went to her room the first thing); I found her at her table, writing as usual, and I said to her, "How much I wish that letter could be taken." She looked very straight at me and said, "Bring me the letter," in rather a severe tone. I gave the letter into her hand. There

was a candle on the table and "Light the candle," she said; then giving me the letter, she said, "Burn the letter." I felt rather sorry to burn Mr. Sinnett’s letter but, of course, did as she said. "Now go to your room and meditate." I went up to my room at the top of the house. I went to the window, which looked on to a beautiful garden with lovely trees. Before the window there was a box, covered with a pink cloth, and I stood there for a minute or two wondering what HPB meant and what I was to meditate on. In a few minutes I cast my eyes down on the pink cloth, and in the middle of the cloth there was a letter which either I had not noticed before or which had not been there. I took up the envelope and looked at it, and found there was no address on it; it was quite blank, but it contained a thickness of paper and I concluded it was a letter. I held it in my hand and looked at it once or twice, and still finding the envelope without name or address, I felt sure it must be something occult and wondered for whom it could be. At length I decided to take the letter to HPB, and looking at it once again saw, in the clear writing of the Master KH, Mr. Sinnett’s name. That the name had not been on it at the beginning I am sure, nor during the many times when I looked at it most carefully. The letter was an answer to the one I had burnt. --1884, Francesca Arundale "What is Theosophy, Madame?" I asked. "Do you call it a religion?" "Most distinctly not," she replied, "there are too many religions in the world already. I don’t propose to add to the number." "What, may I ask, is the Theosophical attitude towards these too numerous religions?" Madame Blavatsky thereupon entered upon a long and interesting explanation on this subject, from which I gathered that Theosophy looks upon all religions as good in one sense, and all religions as bad in another sense. There are truths underlying all, and there are falsities overlying all. Most faiths are good at the core, all are more or less wrong in their external manifestations. --1888, London Star I persuaded her to go with me to a photographer. What a day! Wind and rain and scurries of autumn leaves. She had no out-of-door clothes. Everything was given away as soon as brought to her. Unaccustomed to go out, she would not move. "You want my death. I cannot step on the wet stones." Shawls, scarfs, fur were piled on. A sort of Russian turban tied over her head with a veil. Rugs spread from door to carriage. I raised the umbrella over her head and helped her in. There disembarkation even more terrible! They don’t unroll red carpets in Regent Street for nothing. "Come along, Your Majesty!" I said to keep up the illusion. Once up the stairs, she flatly refused to have her photograph taken. She was not an actress. What had I brought her to such a place for? Finally she was held, as I knew she would be, by the story of Van der Weyde’s own experiments in the adaptation of electricity to photography. "I will sit for you--only one--be quick--take me just as I am." I bent over her and whispered, "Now let all the devil in you shine out of those eyes."

"Why, child, there is no devil in me." She laughed, and we got the famous likeness. She was pleased with it. I was not. She is there, but not all of her. I would have wished something at her writing table--taken by chance--in the long folds of her seamless garment--vibrations of light all around. She really enjoyed the adventure I think, for she told of being "bossed" and "carried as a bundle" for a long time, especially of the "Come along, your Majesty." --1888, Edmund Russell There are those who imagine that because they can crack a joke about a teacup, they have disposed of Theosophy. Madame Blavatsky, they say, "was an impostor, a vulgar fraud. She was exposed by the Coulombs, shown up by the Psychical Research Society." They say all that, no doubt, but when all that is said and more besides, the problem of the personality of the woman remains full of interest, and even of wonder, to those who look below the surface of things. Madame Blavatsky was a great woman. She was huge in body; and in her character, alike in its strength and weakness, there was something of the Rabelaisian gigantesque. But if she had all the nodosity of the oak, she was not without its strength; and if she had the contortions of the Sibyl, she possessed somewhat of her inspiration. Of Madame Blavatsky the wonder-worker I knew nothing; I did not go to her seeking signs, and most assuredly no sign was given. She neither doubled a teacup in my presence nor did she even cause the familiar raps to be heard. All these manifestations seemed as the mere trivialities, the shavings, as it were, thrown off from the beam of cedar wood which she was fashioning as one of the pillars in the Temple of Truth. I do not remember ever referring to them in our conversation, and it is slightly incomprehensible to me how any one can gravely contend that they constitute her claim to respect. What Madame Blavatsky did was an immeasurably greater thing than the doubling of teacups. She made it possible for some of the most cultivated and skeptical men and women of this generation to believe--believe ardently, to an extent that made them proof against ridicule and disdainful of persecution--that not only does the invisible world that encompasses us contain Intelligences vastly superior to our own in knowledge of the Truth, but that it is possible for man to enter into communion with these hidden and silent ones, and to be taught of them the Divine mysteries of Time and of Eternity. --1888, William T. Stead I have often heard Blavatsky called a charlatan, and I am bound to say that her impish behavior often gave grounds for this description. She was foolishly intolerant of the many smart West End ladies who arrived in flocks, demanding to see spooks, masters, elementals, anything, in fact, in the way of phenomena. Madame Blavatsky was a born conjuror. Her wonderful fingers were made for jugglers’ tricks, and I have seen her often use them for that purpose. I well remember my amazement upon the first occasion on which she exhibited her occult powers, spurious and genuine. I was sitting alone with her one afternoon, when the cards of Jessica, Lady Sykes, the late Duchess of Montrose and the Honorable Mrs. S------ (still living) were brought in to her. She said she would receive the ladies at once, and they were ushered in. They explained that they had heard of her new religion and her marvelous occult powers. They hoped she would afford them a little exhibition of what she could do.

Madame Blavatsky had not moved out of her chair. She was suavity itself, and whilst conversing, she rolled cigarettes for her visitors and invited them to smoke. She concluded that they were not particularly interested in the old faith which the young West called new; what they really were keen about was phenomena. That was so, responded the ladies, and the burly Duchess inquired if Madame ever gave racing tips or lucky numbers for Monte Carlo? Madame disclaimed having any such knowledge, but she was willing to afford them a few moments’ amusement. Would one of the ladies suggest something she would like done? Lady Sykes produced a pack of cards from her pocket and held them out to Madame Blavatsky, who shook her head. "First remove the marked cards," she said. Lady Sykes laughed and replied, "Which are they?" Madame Blavatsky told her, without a second’s hesitation. This charmed the ladies. It seemed a good beginning. "Make that basket of tobacco jump about," suggested one of them. The next moment the basket had vanished. I don’t know where it went, I only know it disappeared by trickery, that the ladies looked for it everywhere, even under Madame Blavatsky’s ample skirts, and that suddenly it reappeared upon its usual table. A little more jugglery followed and some psychometry, which was excellent, then the ladies departed, apparently well satisfied with the entertainment. When I was once more alone with Madame Blavatsky, she turned to me with a wry smile and said, "Would you have me throw pearls before swine?" I asked her if all she had done was pure trickery. "Not all, but most of it," she unblushingly replied. "But now I will give you something lovely and real." For a moment or two she was silent, covering her eyes with her hand, then a sound caught my ear. I can only describe what I heard as fairy music, exquisitely dainty and original. It seemed to proceed from somewhere just between the floor and the ceiling, and it moved about to different corners of the room. There was a crystal innocence in the music, which suggested the dance of joyous children at play. "Now I will give you the music of life," said Madame Blavatsky. For a moment or two there fell a trance-like silence. The twilight was creeping into the room and seemed to bring with it a tingling expectancy. Then it seemed to me that something entered from without and brought with it utterly new conditions, something incredible, unimagined, and beyond the bounds of reason. It spoke the secrets which the nature myth so often murmurs to those who live amid great silences, of those dread mysteries of the spirit which yet invest it with such glory and wonderment. --1888, Violet Tweedale

A pause, a swift passing through hall and outer room, through folding doors thrown back, a figure in a large chair before a table, a voice, vibrant, compelling. "My dear Mrs. Besant, I have so long wished to see you," and I was standing with my hand in her firm grip, and looking for the first time in this life straight into the eyes of HPB. I was conscious of a sudden leaping forth of my heart--was it recognition?--and then, I am ashamed to say, a fierce rebellion, a fierce withdrawal, as of some wild animal when it feels a mastering hand. I sat down, after some introductions that conveyed no ideas to me, and listened. She talked of travels, of various countries, easy brilliant talk, her eyes veiled, her exquisitely molded fingers rolling cigarettes incessantly. Nothing special to record, no word of occultism, nothing mysterious, a woman of the world chatting with her evening visitors. We rose to go, and for a moment the veil lifted, and two brilliant, piercing eyes met mine, and with a yearning throb in the voice: "Oh, my dear Mrs. Besant, if you would only come among us!" I felt a well-nigh uncontrollable desire to bend down and kiss her, under the compulsion of that yearning voice, those compelling eyes, but with a flash of the old unbending pride and an inward jeer at my own folly, I said a commonplace polite good-bye, and turned away with some inanely courteous and evasive remarks. "Child," she said to me long afterwards, "your pride is terrible; you are as proud as Lucifer himself." --1889, Annie Besant Perfect--no; faults--yes; the one thing she would hate most of all would be the indiscriminate praise of her personality. But when I have said that she was sometimes impetuous as a whirlwind, a very cyclone when she was really roused, I have told nearly all. And I have often thought it was more than possible that some of these outbursts were assumed for a special object. Her enemies sometimes said she was rough and rude. We who knew her knew that a more unconventional woman, in the very realest sense of the word, never lived. Her absolute indifference to all outward forms was a true indifference based upon her inner spiritual knowledge of the verities of the universe. Sitting by her when strangers came, as they did come from every corner of the earth, I have often watched with the keenest amusement their wonder at seeing a woman who always said what she thought. Given a prince and she would probably shock him; given a poor man and he would have her last shilling and her kindliest word. --1889, Herbert Burrows HPB and the Lansdowne Road household moved into Mrs. Besant’s house in Avenue Road. A lecture hall had been added to the house (a large detached one, standing in a garden) for the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge, both public and private. She did not appear as frequently as was the case at Lansdowne Road. Failing health had much to say to this, but she would sometimes be present at the Lodge meetings. On such occasions her presence was both an inspiration and a "terror." Once, when Mrs. Besant was in the chair, and a rather lengthy and stupid paper was being read, the whole room could hear HPB’s stage whisper of agonized appeal: "Oh stop her, Annie--stop her!" --1890, Alice L. Cleather My first intimation of HPB’s death was received by me "telepathically" from herself, and this was followed by a second similar message. The third I got from one of the reporters present at my closing lecture in Sydney, who told me, as I was about leaving the platform, that a press message had come from London announcing her decease. In my diary entry for 9th May, 1891, I say: "Had an uneasy foreboding of HPB’s death." In that of the following day it is written: "This morning I feel that HPB is dead." The last entry for that day says "Cablegram, HPB dead." Only those who saw us together, and knew of the close mystical tie between us, can understand the sense of bereavement that came over me upon receipt of the direful news. --1891, Henry S. Olcott Madame Blavatsky held that the regeneration of mankind must be based upon the development of altruism. In this she was at one with the greatest thinkers, not alone of the present day, but of all time.

No one in the present generation has done more towards reopening the long sealed treasures of Eastern thought, wisdom, and philosophy. No one certainly has done so much towards elucidating that profound wisdom-religion and bringing into the light those ancient literary works whose scope and depth have so astonished the Western world. Her own knowledge of Oriental philosophy and esotericism was comprehensive. The lesson which was constantly impressed by her was assuredly that which the world most needs, and has always needed, namely the necessity of subduing self and of working for others. Madame Blavatsky has made her mark upon the time, and thus, too, her works will follow her. Some day, if not at once, the loftiness and purity of her aims, the wisdom and scope of her teachings, will be recognized more fully, and her memory will be accorded the honor to which it is justly entitled. --1891, New York Tribune                                  

The woman known as H. P. Blavatsky, the Masters' messenger of the nineteenth century, a wondrous Being in her essential Self, yet incarnate in a personality which was paradoxical in many ways, is a profoundly interesting study; but even she is of less importance than the message that is contained in her writings. The order in which her books and articles appeared cannot be called accidental; a plan is plainly visible. Isis Unveiled came first, and it brought the idea that man is a far greater being than he dares to believe, and that he has marvelous powers and knowledge locked up within him of a nature hitherto unsuspected by Western psychologists. The existence of Adepts, living men who have evolved forth their latent powers, was made known to a skeptical generation; moreover, it was stated that every man could rise to godlike heights by his own efforts. This book also treated of the darker side of nature and humanity, and gave warning of the dangers and pitfalls in the evolutionary journey to the heights. It contained a very sketchy outline of the general principles of technical theosophy, leaving them to be worked out later. Soon after the work was started in India, H. P. Blavatsky established The Theosophist magazine in which appeared more advanced teachings by herself and others, and the Oriental point of view was clearly stated by native scholars. The Theosophist was widely read by both Eastern and Western students and it formed that link of common understanding between them which makes for universal brotherhood. In 1888 the time came for the appearance of her most important work, The Secret Doctrine, in which the philosophical and scientific teachings about the evolution of man and the universe were stated far more fully than in Isis Unveiled. Modern and ancient religions, sciences, and philosophies were analyzed and the ancient wisdom was traced and drawn forth from the tangle of confused presentations which have come down to us from antiquity. The author intended The Secret Doctrine to be a far larger and more important work than Isis Unveiled. But even so, as she said, only the outline of a few fundamental truths from the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic ages is now permitted to see the light, after long millenniums of the most profound silence and secrecy. . . . One turn of the key, and no more, was given in "Isis." Much more is explained in these volumes. . . . the SECRET DOCTRINE . . . contains all that can be given out to the world in this century [the nineteenth]. -- S.D., I, xxii, xxxviii According to H.P.B., the MS. of the first three volumes was ready early in 1888, and in the preface to the first volume she says: "The third volume is entirely ready; the fourth almost so." Dr. Archibald Keightley, a reliable theosophist, who had worked hard in preparing the MS. for the press, said: The third volume of "The Secret Doctrine" is in manuscript ready to be given to the printers. It will consist mainly of a series of sketches of the great occultists of all ages, and is a most wonderful and fascinating work. The fourth volume, which is to be largely hints on the subject of practical occultism, has been outlined, but not yet written. -- Theos., X, 597, July 1889

The third volume, however ("ready to be given to the printers"), was never published by H. P. Blavatsky, and the so-called third volume, published not long after her death, is a collection of leftover matter, or unfinished articles, found in her desk. Nothing at all is known of the "outline" of the fourth volume. In connection with the mystery of the disappearance of the third volume many contradictory statements have been made. The data and a full analysis are published in Dr. H. N. Stokes' O. E. Library Critic. One of the most striking features of the Masters' teachings which she gave in The Secret Doctrine and elsewhere, and which are found in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, is the definite exposition of discoveries in natural sciences and, to a lesser degree, in archaeology, unsuspected when she wrote but now fully accepted. The subject is amply treated in theosophical literature. In several places H.P.B. spoke of the critical conditions at the end of the cycle terminating shortly before the close of the nineteenth century, and she specially mentions the year 1897 as a period of great significance. One of these references is particularly important and cannot be omitted, as it so fully supports her claim that she was in touch with sources of information inaccessible to scientists. In The Secret Doctrine (I, 612), she writes in regard to the mysteries of nature known to the Adepts and preserved in trust for future humanity: Yet it is all there, and one by one facts and processes in Nature's workshops are permitted to find their way into the exact Sciences, while mysterious help is given to rare individuals in unravelling its arcana. It is at the close of great Cycles, in connection with racial development, that such events generally take place. We are at the very close of the cycle Of 5,000 years of the present Aryan Kaliyuga; and between this time [1887-8] and 1897 there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature, and materialistic science will receive a death-blow. Sir William Crookes, the famous chemist, was one of the "rare individuals" who received help from the Adepts. H. P. Blavatsky passed away in 1891, but her prevision was confirmed to the very letter, although she did not live to know the new discoveries that led up to the great rent in nature's veil of which she speaks. Numerous scientific writers have pointed out that the year 1897 was the turning point of the new era of thought. Dr. W. C. D. Dampier-Whetham, F.R.S., in his authoritative History of Science makes much of this, as the reader will find on pp. 328, 383, 470, etc. He shows that the new physics became inevitable after Rontgen's announcement of the X-ray in 1895, and upon the amazing discovery of the divisibility of the atom -- of subatomic particles or electrons. (1) Dr. Karl T. Compton, former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in his address of December 1936, referred in the strongest possible language to the enormous importance of the revolution in the sciences which was brought about by the events of the few years preceding the climax in 1897 when the electron was discovered. He said: The history of science abounds with instances when a new concept or discovery has led to tremendous advances into vast new fields of knowledge and art whose very existence had hitherto been unsuspected. The discoveries of Galileo, Faraday and Pasteur are such instances. But, to my notion, no such instance has been so dramatic as the discovery of the electron, the tiniest thing in the universe, which within one generation has transformed a stagnant science of physics, a descriptive science of chemistry and a sterile science of astronomy into dynamically developing sciences fraught with intellectual adventure, interrelating interpretations and practical values. . . .

In 1896, however, Zeeman tried the experiment of examining the spectrum of a light source placed in a strong magnetic field, . . . [and] in January, 1897, Lorentz showed that this experiment proved that light is caused by the oscillation of electric charges, . . . what was startling was Lorentz's proof that the Zeeman effect could only have been produced by electrified particles . . . Almost at once this conclusion was confirmed in a more dramatic and understandable way by J. J. Thomson . . . By measuring this curvature produced by a magnetic field of known strength . . . J. J. Thomson in 1897 first showed that cathode rays are negatively charged particles with a ratio of charge to mass nearly two thousand times that of hydrogen. He furthermore showed that these particles are of the same type, as regards ratio of charge to mass, from whatever gas or cathode material they are produced. He therefore announced these particles, which he called "corpuscles," to be universal constituents of all substances. Thus was the electron discovered. -- Science, January 8, 1937 "Thus was the electron discovered" -- according to Dr. Compton the most dramatic instance of transforming discovery in the history of science. It literally confirms the announcement in The Secret Doctrine, quoted above, that a great rent would be made in the "Veil of Nature" between 1888 and 1897, and that materialistic science would receive a deathblow. As Dr. Dampier-Whetham says, the old materialism was dead. Dr. Compton refers to the important work done by Professor William Crookes, especially in regard to vacuum tubes, and to the practical certainty that he would have discovered the X-ray if his attention had not been drawn in other directions just as he was almost touching it. As it was, his work was essential to the discovery of the electron. H. P. Blavatsky claimed no credit for the teachings in her book, but only for the presentation and comments. In "My Books," dated only a few days before her passing, she closed her life's work with the words: Nothing of that have I invented, but simply given it out as I have been taught; or as quoted by me in the Secret Doctrine (Vol. I p. 46 [xlvi]) from Montaigne: "I have here made only a nosegay of culled (Eastern) flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them." Is any one of my helpers prepared to say that I have not paid the full price for the string? -- Lucifer, VIII, 247, May 1891 In her impersonal presentation of theosophy, she made no secret of her belief that the intuitive readers of The Secret Doctrine may find knowledge in it which she herself did not possess, as it came from higher sources than "poor, miserable" H. P. Blavatsky, as she calls herself. She was emphatic in stating that the book was not intended to give a final verdict on existence, but only to lead the student toward finding truth: "See in study a means of exercising and developing the mind never touched by other studies" (Forum, III, 257, Aug. 1932). The Secret Doctrine was not, however, the final message of theosophy for the nineteenth century, for it was soon followed by the key to its spiritual interpretation, without which it would be hardly more than a profound scientific treatise on the evolution of man and the universe. This culmination of her teaching was reached with the publication in 1889 of The Voice of the Silence, an exquisite prose-poem. This little book reveals the true path leading to the mystical achievement of finding the Self, the inner god. It is the clearest expression of the central teaching of the theosophical movement -- the way of attainment -- for the individual and for the race. The deeper side of the S.D. cannot be understood without the spiritual illumination to be found by living the truths set forth in The Voice of the Silence.

Many persons ask for something practical when they come in contact with theosophy. For several years before the establishment of the Esoteric School, students of theosophy had been challenged to rise and take the kingdom of heaven by strength, to find the path to reality, to become conscious coworkers with nature, and to live in and for the world but not to be of it -- in other words, to seek to tread the road of chelaship. In this little book the true way of life is taught in language of great poetical beauty and imagery. The selection of the aphorisms and the rendering into stately English are H. P. Blavatsky's own but, as she says: ". . . the Voice of the Silence, tiny book though it is, is simply becoming the Theosophists' bible. "They are grand aphorisms, indeed. I may say so, because you know I did not invent them! I only translated them from Telugu, the oldest South-Indian dialect. There are three treatises, about morals, and the moral principles of the Mongolian and Dravidian mystics." -- The Path, X, 268, Dec. 1895 The high estimation in which the Voice is held by those qualified to judge is shown by the endorsement by the Tashi Lama of Tibet of a reprint of the original edition, published in China by Alice L. Cleather and Basil Crump. This high ecclesiastical authority states that H. P. Blavatsky gave the only true exposition in English of the "heart doctrine" of Mahayana Buddhism. In certain editions of the Voice, parts have unfortunately been omitted, but all authentic reprints contain the original teaching, also given by H.P.B. in her Theosophical Glossary, of the difference between the noble ideal of self-sacrifice of the Buddhas of Compassion and the spiritual selfishness of the Pratyeka-Buddhas. This is an important tenet in Mahayana Buddhism, as Dr. Evans-Wentz explains in his Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, pages 94, 144, 360. William James, the eminent psychologist, discusses The Voice of the Silence in his Varieties of Religious Experience (420-1 ), and uses some passages to illustrate his belief that while the profounder mystical ranges of consciousness are best approached through music and not "conceptual speech," many mystical scriptures produce almost the same effect by seemingly self-contradictory or paradoxical phrases such as "the voice of Nada, the Soundless Sound," used so effectively by H.P.B. and which, James says, "stir chords within you which music and language touch in common." The archaic versions of spiritual realities such as H.P.B. translated into rhythmic phrases in the Voice spring from the fountainhead of wisdom, and strike the cosmic tones of the Music of the Spheres. Their rhythmic sweep of grandeur arouses a response which is beyond the range of the merely reasoning mind, at whose uttermost reaches begins the spiritual realm of the real man, who does not argue, but knows. William James says: There is a verge of the mind which these things haunt; and whispers therefrom mingle with the operations of our understanding, even as the waters of the infinite ocean send their waves to break among the pebbles that lie upon our shores. In contrast to the devotional and mystical content of the Voice, her Key to Theosophy, also brought out in 1889, was a practical and timely textbook, treating principally of the theosophical movement, the nature of man's principles, reincarnation, karma, etc., while a large part is devoted to the application of theosophy to the affairs of the world -- education, social reforms, duties of life, and the like. About this time the instructive Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge appeared. This consists of a stenographic report of the discussions in which H. P. Blavatsky explained certain difficult points in The Secret Doctrine.

The spiritual-intellectual tone of these discussions, which covered profound philosophical and scientific topics, is in strong contrast with the aspect of the psycho-intellectual researches which Mr. Sinnett and his sympathizers were pursuing. The Theosophical Glossary, From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan, in English translation, Nightmare Tales, and A Modern Panarion, were published soon after her death. The Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky, now being published in successive volumes, will contain, it is expected, her entire literary output. Among these will be found her deeply instructive articles from Lucifer, one of which, "Psychic and Noetic Action," (2) has been discussed by Professor C. E. M. Joad, the noted expositor of modern culture and philosophy. He refers incidentally to the contrasting philosophies of Kant and Hume, and shows that while H. P. Blavatsky's teaching agrees with Kant in regard to the dual nature of the soul and the existence of a continuing or unifying self, she was far more successful than any other thinker in refuting the objections against "spiritualized philosophy" brought by scientific materialism. The following quotation from Joad's tribute to her knowledge and insight indicates her true philosophic standing: It is interesting, by the way, to note how many of the novelties which have been put forward by philosophers in the twentieth century appear in her work. This is particularly true of the modern philosophical criticism of materialist science. . . . it is impossible not to feel the greatest respect for Madame Blavatsky's writings on this subject [the higher and lower selves]; of respect and, if the word may be permitted, of admiration. Writing when she did, she anticipated many ideas which, familiar today, were in the highest degree novel fifty years ago. -- The Aryan Path, VIII, 202-3, May 1937 Novel? Yes, in the West, but brought to the West from the Orient by the self-sacrifice of the messenger of those guardians of the ancient wisdom who saw that the time had come to lift the veil of intellectual and spiritual knowledge a little higher in preparation for the new era that was at hand. In 1925 The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett was brought out. It contains a certain amount of teaching not to be found elsewhere; but its main value lies in the revelation of her unshakable devotion to the great cause and to the Masters, in spite of the almost incredible sufferings, treacheries, misunderstandings, and slanders she had to endure. FOOTNOTES: 1. In regard to the subatomic particles composing the atom which today have become little if anything more tangible than disembodied ghosts, wave-forms, notice what was taught in The Secret Doctrine long before science discovered the electron: "The atom is elastic, ergo, the atom is divisible, and must consist of particles, or of sub-atoms. And these subatoms? They are either non-elastic, and in such case they represent no dynamic importance, or, they are elastic also; and in that case, they, too, are subject to divisibility. And thus ad infinitum. But infinite divisibility of atoms resolves matter into simple centres of force, i.e., precludes the possibility of conceiving matter as an objective substance. . . .

"Accept the explanations and teachings of Occultism, and, the blind inertia of physical Science being replaced by the intelligent active Powers behind the veil of matter, motion and inertia become subservient to those Powers. It is on the doctrine of the illusive nature of matter, and the infinite divisibility of the atom, that the whole science of Occultism is built. It opens limitless horizons to substance informed by the divine breath of its soul in every possible state of tenuity, states still undreamt of by the most spiritually disposed chemists and physicists." -- S.D., I, 519-20 (return to text) 2. [Available also with related articles in one volume under the title Studies in Occultism. -- ED.] (return to text)                                        

An Imaginary H.P.B. Library
By John P. Van Mater
An extensive library could be assembled using books, reports and periodicals referred to or quoted by H. P. Blavatsky in her voluminous writings, particularly Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. Such a collection would be characterized by its extraordinary scope and diversity. The world's leading religions and philosophical schools would be represented, ancient and modern, East and West, as well as the sciences of past eras and those of her day (19th century). Sages and teachers, mystics, occultists, masons and alchemists, materialists and dogmatists, spiritualists and psychics, yogis and gurus -- a cross section of all of these would be found on the shelves, together with treatises on numerology and astrology, necromancy, divination and augury, not to mention a selection of literary classics from many lands. The thread running through and uniting these widely varied works would, of course, be the wisdom-principles which Blavatsky sought to elucidate, and which she called Theosophy, taking this name from the Alexandrian school of Ammonius Saccas (3rd century A.D.). Imagine, if you will, that our H.P.B. reference library were arranged by countries and regions, and within these, divided as to history, religion, philosophy, science, art, literature and language. And suppose we were to walk casually among the bookcases. What a panorama would unfold! The existence of fabled Atlantis and Lemuria would be explored as would the Americas, particularly the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico, Central America and Peru. Then on to Asia, to the rich heritage of India. Here some of the world's oldest and most revered books would pass before our gaze: the Vedas and Laws of Manu, many of the Puranas, the Upanishads, the yoga Sutras, as well as the teachings of the great Sankaracharya on which the Vedanta is based; and of course, Buddhism in texts and commentaries of both Hinayana and Mahayana schools. Then there would be writings on the Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, and others. The several systems of Indian philosophy, we would learn, include all and more of the speculations that characterize those of Greece and the modern West. The medicine, astronomy and mathematics of India would introduce us to a people who, when they regained contact with the Occident, had already forgotten a great deal of what they once knew. In the section on the arts would be works on the cave temples of Elephanta and Ajanta, the delicate shawls woven in Kashmir where the girls can discern three hundred distinct colors; masterpieces of music from this land that appears to have invented the gamut of tones and halftones. And in literature: the great epic poems, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, poetry and drama of all varieties; and a language Sanskrit -- capable of the most refined expression. Continuing our tour of this imaginary library, we would pick up books on China, Japan and Tibet. How old is China? How many rises and falls have taken place even before "known" history? Recorded times alone show us such a wealth of religions, sciences, arts, as dynasty succeeded dynasty, now unifying the country, now fragmenting it with internecine struggles. Lao-tzu and the mighty Tao; Confucius, the practical philosopher; Buddhism brought from India and given a Chinese slant (Ch'an). Japan too, though not so ancient, is a repository of religion and art. There the Ch'an became the Zen. On to Tibet, for centuries the spiritual home of millions: Lamaism, the Yellow and Red Caps, Tsong-kha-pa, the great reformer, the Dalai and Tashi (or Panchen) Lamas.

Thence we move to the Near East, that region so influential in determining the thought-life of the West. In no other area, perhaps, has the ebb and flow of empires produced such a diversity of beliefs and cultures: Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Medea, Persia, the Parthians, Syrians, Hittites, etc. Alexander sweeps across Asia Minor, and upon his death, new dynasties emerge. Rome extends its empire to the Tigris and Euphrates, and other kingdoms are formed. Then the Arabs conquer through to India and beyond, and Islam becomes a dominating force. The religions of these lands are diverse: Persia alone produced Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Sufism, and others. Home of the Hebrew prophets, Palestine bequeathed the Old Testament, although its roots extend back to many lands and peoples. The secret schools, such as the Gnostics and Essenes, also left their stamp upon the Bible. The Magi and astrologers, the Chaldean oracles and accounts of Genesis, the Akkadians, the teachings and traditions of the Copts of Egypt and the Druses of Lebanon, these would be represented in our H.P.B. library. In the realm of history, the great cities that were founded, waxed and waned, and the arts that decorated them so profusely, can only be mentioned here. Upper and Lower Egypt, kingdoms that retreat into the darkness of prehistory. What accomplishments in stone! To paraphrase a famous quotation, "they built like engineers and carved like jewelers." Perhaps in no other region has the religious and the secular life been so closely intertwined. The Great Pyramid, the temples of Karnak, the Zodiac of Denderah, with its three Virgos: H.P.B. refers often to this land where initiate kings once ruled (in earlier periods) by "Divine Right," and the mysteries of life and death were preserved in the sanctum of the secret schools. In our "tour" we might come across a shelf or two describing Alexandria, that veritable melting pot of spiritual philosophies and cultures, East and West, the seat of Neoplatonism and other schools. Proclus, Plotinus, Porphyry -- H.P.B. quotes from the writings of all of these. We would also be reminded of the prehistoric Mediterranean: Mycenae, Tiryns and Troy, about which Homer sang so grandly; then Crete, the source of many legends. And the Etruscans, who flourished before Rome was founded and are still a mystery. What about the vast cyclopean walls and structures, ancient when classic Greece began to flower, found also in other parts of our globe, including the Americas? Are they remnants of a worldwide civilization existing in prehistory? Then would follow naturally the Greece we all know, so marvelous of achievement in philosophy, the arts, sciences and literature, and whose drama was rooted in the Mysteries. On now to Rome, the builder and organizer, which produced Virgil and Seneca, Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, Julian, Vitruvius, and others. We would also find books on the Celts, Druids, Irish and Welsh, including structures like Stonehenge and megalithic remains at Carnac, Brittany, and in other places. The Saxons with their King Arthur and the legends of the Grail might be next in the running sequence. Then there would be the Teutons, the Scandinavians with their Eddas, the Finns and their Kalevala; the world's mysterious islands, statues such as those of Easter Island, with its Atlantean figures on their cyclopean platforms, reminding us of the equally amazing Bamian statues in southern Afghanistan, carved out of a huge rock cliff. A section would have to be devoted to comparative religion and mythology, for in this area alone, H. P. Blavatsky drew upon scores of volumes. Christianity, its history and doctrines, the contending of the Church Fathers, the destruction of the classic past, the establishment of dogma and the carnalization of symbols -- all had her exacting scrutiny. Volumes on the Dark and Middle Ages would be followed by works on the Renaissance, with its Illuminati -- Cardinal da Cusa, Pico della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, Leonardo da Vinci, Paracelsus, to name but a few, along with treatises on Alchemy, the pseudo-Hermetica, Masonry and Rosicrucianism. And naturally there would be sections devoted to spiritualism, psychism, hypnotism,

demonology, witchcraft, the Tarot and astrology. Out of this background grew the beginnings of modern science. H. P. Blavatsky, in the course of analyzing the principles of science, refers to every important phase of the research of her day. Astronomy, involving among other subjects the various theories of cosmic and planetary birth, the speed of light, the possible existence of a finer structure of matter (ether), gravitation, lunar influences, etc. Physics, where she discusses time, space, what are matter, force, the atom, action over a distance, etc., many of which are still problems today. Geology also occupied her attention: continental risings and submergences, inversion of the poles, the fossil record in earth's strata, ice ages, and much more. Anthropology and biology, in which she included the evolution of life, and such well-known topics (still under discussion) as heredity, environment, and survival as set forth by Darwin, Huxley, Wallace, and others. Archaeology and history: H.P.B. treats inspiringly of the civilizations of the past and the remains they have left strewn over the entire globe; and she criticizes sharply scientific dating of artifacts, a situation even more acute today. The origin of languages, Mesmerism, animal magnetism, faith-healing, psychometry, articles and books on these and many additional themes are taken up in her writings. This swift journey through our imaginary H.P.B. library cannot do justice to the scope of subjects treated and to the extent of her erudition. With this last term she would have been the first to disagree, for she reiterated that her voice only echoed those of her teachers. Her detractors hasten to point out that given a few encyclopedias and reference works, she could have surrounded herself with the aura of learning. Such a charge is, of course, ridiculous for a number of reasons: 1. She did not have such reference works at her side, and in fact wrote her two major books rapidly by hand, sitting in her room. Others later were sent to check the quotes and references she had already written out, material "given" her by her teachers, a fact testified to by many who witnessed it firsthand and whose integrity is above reproach. 2. Suppose she had had available all the works to which she referred, how would she have known ahead of time just which ones to assemble; and without years of exhaustive research, just which parts of them would be pertinent to the themes she was developing? To put it in another way, suppose you or I had access to all this information, does this mean we could produce a Secret Doctrine describing the birth of worlds and the evolution of all life? Besides, why send others out to check her quotes if she already had the books in her quarters? 3. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that her writings and the philosophy she expounded were not syncretistic, that is, a mere synthesis of data drawn from here and there. She was obviously filled with a wisdom which she was entrusted to impart, a wisdom with which she and those behind her were already familiar. Her numerous citations and commentaries thereon were in the form of implementation: confirmatory evidence that these ideas had been taught down the ages. They also enabled her to make bridges of thought with her contemporaries of differing educational, religious, and cultural backgrounds. The question might be asked "how many different works -- books, magazines, reports, lectures -- were quoted or referred to by H.P.B. in the course of her short career (16-17 years) as a writer?" Only a rough estimate can be given. The main repositories are, of course, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. Allowing about two thousand works for these, we might add an additional thousand for all her other books and articles and reach

somewhere between three and four thousand items. This figure, of course, does not indicate how often each work may have been used. The Vishnu Purana, incidentally, is quoted numerous times in the S.D. alone; and so are the Zohar and other early Kabbalistic treatises. Anyone interested in checking H.P.B.'s quotations will have to be careful as to the translation and edition. For example, Cory's Ancient Fragments was first published in 1829, and later enlarged by the author and reissued in 1832. In 1876 E. R. Hodges again issued the Fragments with some excellent notes and with an index, but omitted some of the very material which H.P.B. quotes from Cory's second edition. The same is true of the Vishnu Purana: H.P.B. refers to the Wilson translation as revised by Fitzedward Hall in 1864 (5 volumes and index). This is important because Hall's intuitive notes are part of the material she utilizes. Another interesting peculiarity: when she quotes from Jacob Bryant's famous Ancient Mythology, she twice refers to the six-volume 1807 edition, and once to the three-volume 1775 edition. Unless we know of the various editions, we might look in vain at the volume and page numbers she gives. There are many other interesting facts connected with the books drawn upon by H.P.B. in her various literary endeavors. For example, it is true that she uses the works of other researchers, such as the monumental writings of the Catholic apologist de Mirville, who was one of the ablest scholars of his day. But the material gleaned in this fashion provides only a small portion of the total bibliography, for she usually quotes firsthand. In her time, the number of Sanskrit treatises in English translation was fractional compared with today. Even now relatively few of the Puranas are available, and in the S.D. she uses at least a dozen or so. This, of course, gives us a hint as to the sources available to her from her teachers and elsewhere. She was, we know, conversant in several European languages, most fluent in Russian (her mother tongue) and French. Her English was remarkable considering that until she came to New York in 1873, she had scarcely used it since childhood. The story behind the writing of Isis, her first major work in 1877, is that the Master K.H. "imparted" to her much of his mastery of that language (see The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, pp. 478-9). Her own brilliance supplied the rest. On one occasion, Bertram Keightley reports, H.P.B. gave him a verse which she said was from Tennyson. Keightley was sure it was not and said so. H.P.B. then gave him a slip on which was written "The Gem -1831" No such poem appears in his collected writings. Keightley then consulted Richard Garnett of the British Museum, who also at first was quite certain the poem was not Tennyson's. But on further reflection, he remembered a short-lived magazine of this title, and there Keightley found it "verbatim as she had written it," and signed Alfred Tennyson (Keightley's Reminiscences of H. P. B., pp. 22-3). All this may sound much like hocus pocus in these days of wandering "gurus" with their claimed powers. But there are several facts to bear in mind. First, the multi-sourced material quoted by H.P.B. was then, or since has been, thoroughly checked and verified. Second and most important, she was not trying to produce "phenomena"; she was trying to get on with her work, and the methods used were simply a means to that end. H.P.B. cared not a bit about what people thought of her; she was only concerned with the welfare of humanity and the transmission of the wisdom-teachings she had been charged to impart. (From Sunrise magazine, November 1975. Copyright © 1975 by Theosophical University Press.)

H. P. Blavatsky's Cultural Impact
By I. M. Oderberg
Part I -- Religion and Science
Over one hundred years have elapsed since H. P. Blavatsky's death, and the catalytic effect of her entry into Western culture is still in progress. The impact of her first book, Isis Unveiled (1877), can be gauged to a degree by examining periodicals and newspapers of that period. It started a more scholarly, detached approach to comparative religion, as previous efforts to translate non-Christian scriptures were colored by the bias of the clergymen producing them. HPB's masterpiece, The Secret Doctrine (1888), refers to a stream of ancient wisdom that had its origins in a remote antiquity and has survived into our own times. It contains ideas in seed form that have germinated during the twentieth century, to grow more fully in the twenty-first century when these concepts will be better understood. The most important of these ideas is the oneness of life, an energy-consciousness that permeates the whole cosmos and is the heart of all the manifestations we perceive around us. All human beings, therefore, share a common humanity, an innate quality that permits no distinctions, such as those raised in the past under the labels race, color, religion, or gender. Spreading the reality of universal brotherhood was the underlying objective behind the formation of The Theosophical Society in New York in 1875, for humanity was near the brink of destruction and only the recognition and practice of universal brotherhood could save it. Blavatsky's writings offer evidence for the common spiritual origin of all life forms. It was a startling concept to present before the Western culture of the day, but in the present time we find groups of people in practically all countries espousing brotherhood. The study of comparative religions, sciences, and philosophies, ancient and modern, as well as the inherent nature and composition of human beings, form two other principal objectives of the Theosophical Society. HPB left New York for India in 1878, with Colonel Henry S. Olcott, a cofounder and president of the Society. They traveled extensively through that country and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and she described her experiences in vivid accounts for Russian papers. [A selection of these was translated into English and published as From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan (1892); later reissued in a revised and enlarged edition, edited by Boris de Zirkoff (1975).] The theosophic emphasis upon brotherhood of all, plus HPB's efforts to reawaken in Oriental peoples a knowledge of and love for their own spiritual heritage, countered a trend to exchange this heritage for the pragmatic, glittering technology of the West. Aubrey Menon, a modern Indian writer who is not a theosophist, states: "To Madame Blavatsky goes the credit of opening Western minds to Indian thought, in general, of which, till her, it was virtually ignorant" (The Mystics, 1974, p. 154) Two prominent Englishmen in India became friendly with HPB: A. O. Hume, a high government official who later devoted himself to helping the Indian people politically, especially in the foundation of the Congress Party; and A. P. Sinnett, editor of The Pioneer, an influential English-language newspaper. Sinnett branched out from journalism, writing serious books and two novels dealing with theosophical themes. The most important of his works are The Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism, which included selections from his correspondence with two of HPB's teachers, and with HPB herself (the original letters, now preserved in the

British Library, were published in book form by A. Trevor Barker as The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett and The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett). Theosophical work in Ceylon, notably by Olcott, stimulated a revival of interest in Buddhism among the populace. In 1884, Angarika H. Dharmapala, then only sixteen, asked HPB's advice on his future career. She suggested he study Pali so as to make the Buddhist texts written in that language more widely known among his people. This he did with zeal, contributing much in this field. In 1983, as a theosophist and representative of Buddhism in Asia, he addressed the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago -- the first of its kind. In later years, while HPB was living in London, Mohandas K. Gandhi was introduced to her in 1890 when he was there working for his law degree. In his autobiography he recalls having read her Key to Theosophy. "This book stimulated in me the desire to read books on Hinduism, and disabused me of the notion fostered by the missionaries that Hinduism was rife with superstition" (ch. xx). Two theosophists introduced him to the Bhagavad-Gita, which became his lifelong guiding text. Because of HPB's labors, the rich spiritual treasury of India was introduced to public scrutiny. She encouraged William Q. Judge, a cofounder of the TS and head of the American Section, to publish Oriental scriptures in translation. From this grew his Oriental Department Papers, with Charles Johnston and others contributing. Judge prepared a recension and commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita. Translations of other ancient scriptures became more generally known, not only in India, Ceylon, and Japan, where they had been the closed preserve of the learned and the clergy, but also throughout Europe and America. Her magazine The Theosophist (founded in 1879) struck a key note beyond the mere text and academic commentary. In addition, the study of Sanskrit was encouraged as a means of circulating metaphysical ideas in the modern currency of Western languages otherwise devoid of the terms to express them. The knowledge of Sanskrit had previously been the domain of the few. Many terms known to specialists for years entered into general literature, such as karma, avatar, akasa, and astral light. Also in the field of comparative religion, we note that W. Y. Evans-Wentz, well-known for introducing translations of Tibetan works to the Western public, had studied HPB's writings from his youth when he became a member of the Theosophical Society. He stated in The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup was of the opinion that, despite the adverse criticisms directed against H. P. Blavatsky's works, there is adequate internal evidence in them of their author's intimate acquaintance with the higher lamaistic teachings, into which she claimed to have been initiated. -- p. 7n The Lama was an initiated member of the Kargyupta sect and Lecturer in Tibetan at the University of Calcutta when he died. Previously he had been official translator for the Tibetan Minister in India, and also a member of the "select entourage" of the thirteenth Dalai Lama when visiting India. There had been earlier translations of Tibetan works especially in the nineteenth century, but most of them had been made by missionaries who, even with the best will in the world, interpreted key terms colored by their own theological usage, and treated texts of whatever denomination from the outside looking in. Unfortunately, modern purely academic approaches are not much better, since detachment is insisted upon and concepts translated with dictionaries, grammars, and phrase books. Metaphysics, however, requires deep reflection, illuminated by the intuition of the mystic "heart," and not merely the mechanical rationalizations

of the brain-mind. To enter the meaning of a religious heritage other than one's own, there must be a commitment to it. Along these lines, a special 1927 edition of HPB's The Voice of the Silence was published at the request of the Panchen Lama of Tibet. It included his personal inscription authenticating its central statement of the "bodhisattva ideal": to renounce self-advancement for the sake of others toiling along behind. The Voice of the Silence is her translation of old mystical verses given to disciples and students in which she used metaphor, paradox, and poetry. It is a guide for men and women perplexed by the inequalities of human existence. The Voice has been quoted in Mysticism, A Study and an Anthology by F. C. Happold (pp. 82-3), and earlier in William James's classic Varieties of Religious Experience. Its universal message was extolled by Bhikshu Sangharakshita in lectures delivered under the auspices of the Indian Institute of World Culture in 1954. (In the Introduction to the printed text the Bhikshu states that when he was fourteen years old he read the two volumes of Isis Unveiled and, he adds, "though I never became a theosophist, I am deeply sympathetic to certain aspects of the Theosophical Movement.") Looking to other non-European cultures, William E. Gates, a pioneer in Mayan researches, joined HPB's Society in her lifetime and was a notable student of her writings, as was also Professor Osvald Siren, the great Swedish Sinologue who interpreted Chinese art and scriptures with insights gained from studying her teachings. Both savants were aware of the spiritual undercurrents of all truly creative endeavors. Despite her obvious concern with non-Western thought, some critics have viewed her work only as a kind of modern summary of occultism which made use of the data found in all works of this sort since the Renaissance. A kind of Indian veneer has been laid over the structure, but in its materials and build it is European. It is to Fludd, d'Espagnet, Court de Gebelin, Bailly, Fabre d'Olivet, Eliphas Levi, that the ideas expressed by Madame Blavatsky belong, and their origin further back lies in the occultism of the Renaissance. -- Denis Saurat, Literature and the Occult Tradition: Studies in Philosophical Poetry, 1930, p. 67 Although comments about an "Indian veneer" miss the point of a universal wisdom tradition of mankind, HPB certainly also brought the Western occult tradition to the fore in her writings. For instance, in recent years studies dealing with Eliphas Levi, the French kabbalist, have mentioned her influence. In Isis Unveiled, HPB remarks that Western religion and science, both equally materialistic, were engaged in a death-struggle, and her influence on scientific thought has been as far-reaching as upon religion. Since her day there have been vast changes in outlook and more recognition that there seems to be an intangible source of the cosmic creative process that eludes analysis in the laboratory. Scientists appear to fall into two categories, unifiers and diversifiers (this observation is made by Freeman Dyson, professor of physics at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, in Infinite in All Directions, 1988): on the one hand, the mathematical theorists who view the universe as a unity comprising a webwork of interlocking parts; and on the other, the experimenters who assert that all that we perceive around us are discrete, ultimately separate entities of all sorts. An example of this latter view comes from Ernest Rutherford, father of nuclear physics, who replied to Eddington's suggestion that electrons might be concepts rather than have real, physical existence: "Not exist, not exist? -- why I can see the little beggars there in front of me as plainly as I can see that spoon" (p. 43).

A study of The Secret Doctrine would suggest that, at some time in the future, theoretical and experimental scientists will merge their insights and approaches. When that happens, the truth of the three propositions expounded in volume one of The Secret Doctrine will become evident. The first proposition is that the vast universe is infinite in all directions, limitless in space, time, and quality or degree of material manifestations. This implies that the concept is beyond the finite limit of the human mind to formulate, though its "necessity" can be recognized. The second, that the universe we perceive is the field of constant periodicity and cyclical movement of the manifesting life energies, with stars and their worlds appearing, disappearing, and reappearing in the fullness of time. The third proposition is that our universe and all its components comprise an immense organism within the infinitude of space -- one of a limitless number of universes in this infinitude. All of these components perform their functions in grades of interconnected families. It was these three enunciations as well as the enormous amount of scientific evidence and information abounding in The Secret Doctrine that fascinated such scientists of the nineteenth century as chemist Sir William Crookes, astronomer Camille Flammarion, anthropologist Carter Blake, and evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace (receiving his due in our time with books coming out concerning his work in Indonesia and elsewhere, and his view that the driving force in evolution may be a "spiritual" one). Modern scientists such as Paul Davies allude to a kind of "superspace" in which alternative universes "parallel" to ours might exist. This is remarkably similar to the concept of space and its fullness as presented in The Secret Doctrine, with our small spectrum of materialized energies being but one of a limitless number. It is in this sense that the ancient philosophers referred to space as the ever-fecund mother of all entities, there being no "dead matter" anywhere. Even the expanded dimensions of material forms now proposed by researchers involved in the superstring theory -- which seems to work only in 2, 10, or 26 dimensions instead of our familiar three -- may be found foreshadowed in The Secret Doctrine: "six is the representation of the six dimensions of all bodies" (2:591). Other reputable researchers have advocated the realization that their colleagues do influence their experiments from the very moment they set them up: for instance, the setting for the study of light determines whether it appears to consist of particles (photons) or waves of energy.

Part 2 -- Literature and the Arts
Turning to the field of art, we find that in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, "the external work of form" occupied the attention of Western artists, and though there might have been much talent, there "was a risk of reaching an art of pure, and completely empty, form," as a perceptive commentator has noted (The Whole Mystery of Art: Pattern and Poetry in the Work of W. B. Yeats by Giorgio Melchiori, 1960). The theosophical philosophy encouraged avenues running counter to this tendency. One notable example is the revival of Irish cultural heritage credited to Dublin theosophists William Butler Yeats, George W. Russell (AE), and Charles Johnston, among others. They were entering adulthood when they took up the study of The Secret Doctrine, Yeats and Johnston crossing to London where they met HPB. Out of the meeting the Dublin Lodge of theosophists was born. Charles Johnston was eighteen years old and of considerable promise when he attended an evening's discussion at the home of Professor Ernest Dowden in Dublin, at which the topic was Sinnett's book Esoteric Buddhism. Johnston and the twenty-year-old William Butler Yeats were excited by the book. When Johnston

went to London a little later for the entrance examination into the Indian Civil Service, he sought an interview with HPB. The resulting association was a deep and abiding one, affecting the rest of his life. The Dublin Lodge of the Theosophical Society, which he helped establish in April 1886, attracted Russell, Yeats, Fred J. Dick, the Normans, and some of the leading figures in the arts and sciences who would later play a large role in reawakening the dormant Irish culture. Johnston himself felt more drawn to the ancient classics of India and, after his period of service in that country, he became a noted translator and commentator of Sanskrit works. William Butler Yeats, the great Irish poet, was drawn to the theosophic effort of the 1880s because he felt its doctrines indicated how the "forms," even geometrical, could be meaningful and profound. He and others took the key of universality to open the door to old myths. They wrote about the immersion of spirit into matter, the spiral cycles of unfolding faculty, and especially of the personality as a temporary mask worn by the permanent element in man -- the inhering individuality enduring through the ages. Although Yeats turned away later from active participation in the theosophic endeavor, its influence remained with him throughout his life, as evidenced in his poetry and plays, and his interest in metaphysical studies. Three of the most sympathetic studies -- Giorgio Melchiori's The Whole Mystery of Art and E. A. C. Wilson's two books, W. B. Yeats and Tradition and Yeats' Iconography -- all examine carefully Yeats' usage of the key concepts expressed by HPB. In March 1965 a display of books by and relating to Yeats was mounted in The King's Library, British Museum, London, to honor the centenary of his birth. In the catalog of exhibits was included from his Autobiographies Yeats' tribute to HPB as "a great passionate nature, a sort of female Dr. Johnson." Russell (AE) was another eminent Irish poet and essayist deeply affected by Blavatsky's ideas. More mystically inclined than Yeats, he wrote a poem about the infant god he "saw" behind the eyes of the Irish farmers whose cause he tried to serve in the country districts. A month before he died in 1935, AE wrote Sean O'Faolein that if he had time he should read the magnificent Proem to The Secret Doctrine and he would then understand the source of that author's influence on such of her contemporaries as Crookes, Flammarion, and others. He would then see she was not at all as represented by vested interests and her enemies: You dismiss H. P. Blavatsky rather too easily as "hocus pocus." Nobody ever affected the thought of so many able men and women by "hocus pocus." The real source of her influence is to be found in The Secret Doctrine, a book on the religions of the world suggesting or disclosing an underlying unity between all great religions. It was a book which Maeterlinck said contained the most grandiose cosmogony in the world, and if you read it merely as a romantic compilation, it is one of the most exciting and stimulating books written for the last hundred years. It is paying a poor compliment to men like Yeats, Maeterlinck, and others, to men like Sir William Crookes, the greatest chemist of modern times, who was a member of her society, to Carter Blake, F.R.S., the anthropologist, and the scholars and scientists in many countries who read H. P. Blavatsky's books, to assume that they were attracted by "hocus pocus." If you are ever in the National Library, Kildare Street, and have a couple of hours to spare, you might dip into "The Proem" to The Secret Doctrine, and you will understand the secret of the influence of that extraordinary woman on her contemporaries. -- Quoted in A Memoir of AE: George William Russell, by John Eglinton (W. K. Magee), 1937, pp. 164-5

Ernest A. Boyd devoted a whole chapter in his authoritative study Ireland's Literary Renaissance (1916) to the group he called "The Dublin Mystics -- The Theosophical Movement" and, among other credits, he referred to John Eglinton as "the theosophists' gift to the Literary Revival of Ireland's only great essayist." Boyd praised Eglinton's Pebbles from a Brook as one of the few books Ireland had produced until then "which challenged comparison with the best prose of any English-speaking country. It transcends the relative standards by which we have to judge the bulk of Anglo-Irish literature" (p. 252). In addition, he pointed out that while Russian literature was barely becoming known in England, the Dublin theosophists had already introduced it into Ireland when, for example, they fostered the works, among others, of R. Ivanovich Lippmann, translator of the works of poet and novelist Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov (18141841). Perhaps the Irish author who has had the most powerful impact on the trend of modern writing since 1920 is James Joyce, who "exiled" himself to Paris. His Ulysses, about a day in the life of a modern Dubliner, and Finnegan's Wake, another study of daily life in a part of Ireland, are both very obscure. Stuart Gilbert visited Joyce to discuss their inherent meaning. Joyce asked Gilbert if he had read Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled or the writings of A. P. Sinnett, derived from contact with HPB and two of her teachers. Gilbert found that Joyce had certainly derived material from Isis Unveiled and Esoteric Buddhism, stating that "it is impossible to grasp the meaning of Ulysses, its symbolism and the significance of its leitmotifs, without an understanding of the esoteric theories which underlie the work." What were these concepts? Metempsychosis or transmigration of souls (not bodies), karma, universal manifestation and rest periods, "hermetic correspondences" or the "law of analogies," among others. Many other notable figures in the literary field were affected by the work of Blavatsky and others of her associates. For instance, Sir Edwin Arnold, famous for his poetic life of the Buddha, The Light of Asia, gave Olcott some pages of his manuscript of that work after he had attended a meeting at which Blavatsky spoke. Interestingly, Claude Bragdon relates in his Epistles from an Unwritten History that Rudyard Kipling commenced his writing career when he began working in a junior capacity at the Indian newspaper Pioneer during the last year there of Sinnett as its editor. Bragdon thought that Kipling's first short story "The Finest Story in the World," with its theme of reincarnation, could have been influenced by this association. The story had been published in the Pioneer, and reprinted among Kipling's other collected material in 1889. Kipling's "The Sending of Dana Da" has been described as putting forward "the Indian attitude to Theosophy." (Cf. Rudyard Kipling by Martin Fido, 1974. The author states that Rudyard displayed more "open-mindedness" than his father, John Lockwood Kipling, the noted artist, who denounced theosophy. Fido is not sympathetic to it, but states in reference to Anglo-India: "Theosophy was one of its rare contributions to the world" p. 52.) In Russia, numerous articles and stories from HPB's pen appeared all through the years of her public life, and were rated on a par with the work of authors such as Turgenev and Dostoevsky -- extracts from whose novella "The Grand Inquisitor" in The Brothers Karamazov she translated and published in The Theosophist, November 1881. Early in the 1900s, the eminent Russian pianist and composer Alexander Scriabin discovered HPB's works whilst in Paris. He wrote to his friends commending The Key to Theosophy which he had read in a French translation. On May 5,1905, he wrote from Paris that "La Clef de la Theosophie is a remarkable book. You will

be astonished at how close it is to my thinking" (Scriabin, A Biography of the Russian Composer 1871-1915 by Faubion Bowers, 2 vols.). Various friends recalled that "Scriabin's conversations were full of Theosophy and the personality of Blavatsky." In a letter he wrote in London on March 24, 1914, he stated he was looking forward "to dining with some Theosophists," especially G. R. S. Mead who was HPB's last private secretary. He became a keen student of The Secret Doctrine and had started to set its first "Stanzas of Dzyan" to music when he died suddenly in 1915. In 1922, efforts were made to reassemble his personal effects scattered after his death, and eventually they were restored in his last apartment, including his own copy of The Secret Doctrine in French translation. For some years the Scriabin Museum was open to music and other students. According to Faubion Bowers, this apartment had a tremendous influence on rising composers and was "a gathering place for youth." Among the many enthused by Scriabin's interests and personality was Boris Pasternak, poet and translator of Shakespeare's sonnets and plays, of Milton, Shelley, and Keats. When Pasternak was 13, Scriabin became a summer neighbor of his parents, Leonid, the eminent painter, and Rosa (nee Kaufman), a child prodigy who had become a renowned concert pianist. The contact with Scriabin was a close and continuous one, with Boris aspiring to become a composer himself. It was only when he left Russia to attend the University of Marburg, Germany, and came under the powerful influence of the philosophers Frederick Albert Lange and Hermann Cohen that his outlook changed. Lange had won fame for his History of Materialism, and when Boris returned home he thought he had overcome the Scriabin influence. But in his youth Pasternak had been so transported by the Scriabin compositions, piano playing, and personality, that the effect did not vanish as completely as he had thought. Edward Crankshaw suggests that the character of Uncle Kolya in the novel Dr. Zhivago owes much to the impact of Scriabin. The only multidimensional characters in Dr. Zhivago are the hero himself, a poet whose humanity and warmth are shown in his being a general physician; Lara, the symbol not of a romance but of his poetic genius; and his Uncle Kolya, the benign-hearted narrator of the story. These three are the only real human beings in the novel -- and, as I feel, born of the impact of theosophy upon Pasternak, derived as a boy years before from his empathy with Scriabin. While some commentators associate Pasternak's Zhivago poems with the poetry of the T'ang period of China, they seem more likely to have been flashes from the days when he heard Scriabin's Prometheus and Poeme de l'extase. Nicholas Roerich, a Russian artist and student of Oriental thought, was a friend of Scriabin's. With his wife Helena, he introduced the works of Blavatsky to their large circle of students in Russia and, after 1917, in New York. He tried to encourage the human brotherhood idea through the medium of art. Friends helped him to set up an institution -- Peace through Culture -- in New York City to exhibit representative contributions from all countries, intended to show that true art knows no barriers. In 1925, he painted "The Messenger," depicting HPB to whom he dedicated it. Helena Roerich translated The Secret Doctrine into Russian and her two-volume collection of letters abounds in quotations from and references to that work and to the published letters written to Sinnett and Hume by two of HPB's teachers. Scriabin also introduced The Secret Doctrine to Wassily Kandinsky, one of the chief founders of the modern art movement. In his stimulating book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky wrote that HPB "was the first to see a connection" between Indian civilization and our own and that out of her efforts "rose one of the most important spiritual movements . . . of inner knowledge . . . a strong agent in the general atmosphere,

presaging deliverance to oppressed and gloomy hearts." Looking ahead to the emancipation from materialism, he concluded his Introduction with these words: "Everyone who immerses himself in the hidden treasures of his art is an enviable co-worker on the spiritual pyramid which will reach to heaven." The Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan, another potent influence upon the modern art movement, also espoused the theosophic contribution and, like Kandinsky, joined the Theosophical Society. The connection of Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondriaan, and indirectly Paul Klee is brought out in Kandinsky, His Life and Work (1958) by Will Grohmann. A Canadian artist who injected a theosophic vision into his creations, Lawren S. Harris, is not given due credit outside his own country. In the words of art reviewer F. B. Housser: Harris is a modern mystic who has attempted to express through painting, moods reached through mystical experience as William Blake did. The nature of this experience must have been the product of his humanitarianism which caused him to go out and to feel in a new way with and for humanity as is shown in his Halifax canvases. It is from this base that mystical experience occurs, and in a flash of that misunderstood word "illumination" peace comes through a vision which makes it plain that "every moment of life is filled with eternity" and that the uglinesses of Time are ways to a realization of untemporal beauty. The uglinesses of "Above Lake Superior" are beautiful and its lonely austerity, peace. Jeremy Adamson, Curator of Canadian Historical Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, has stated that Lawren Harris painted some of the most exciting canvases ever produced in Canada. He is best known as a founding member of the famous Canadian "Group of Seven," and later its leader: artists imbued with the same ideals and vision. He had drawn them together to create a "national art based on the informing spirit of the northern wilderness . . ." (Jeremy Adamson, Lawren S. Harris. Urban Scenes and Wilderness Landscapes, 19061930, p. 138). After 1922, Harris turned to themes more directly related to his theosophic vision. He had become acquainted with theosophy in 1909 when his close friend Roy Mitchell joined the Toronto Theosophical Society. In 1922 he assisted the Toronto TS in its work and the next year joined it. In 1926 he published an article "Revelation of Art" in The Canadian Theosophist. His book of poems, Contrasts, A Book of Verse (1922), contains four lines that epitomize his theosophic outlook: In people There is a sun, centre of light, of hope, rose of bliss. Some modern assessments of HPB's influence take a positive stance. One of these is Literature and Occult Tradition by Denis Saurat, formerly Professor of French Literature at the University of London, King's College. He devotes a chapter to a survey of the effects upon literature of The Secret Doctrine, which he regards as a unique repository of occult ideas: We have in Madame Blavatsky a precious witness: she gives us in a genuinely rough state the only material in the great occultist quarry which was capable of being worked by the poets. -- p. 69

He devised a diagram listing a number of major concepts about man and the cosmos which he had found in HPB's great work and, using her treatment as a standard, he traced their occurrences in other writings, but especially in the folklore and myths of all peoples. Tom Gibbons, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Western Australia, wrote in his Rooms in the Darwin Hotel (1974) -- a study of ideas current in English literature from 1880 to 1920 -- that Blavatsky and other theosophical writers attracted intelligent readers because they "presented the human situation as something complex, meaningful, and exciting . . . and stress the importance of spiritual values and free will." He was attracted by the theosophic claim to reconcile religious belief with discoveries made by scientists and also to open the door for public study of non-Christian religions. Gibbons not only alludes to HPB's major books but also to her magazine Lucifer (the "Light-bringer") as a powerful influence. This publication printed many significant articles, some critical of the mores of the day. The important essays included "The Esoteric Character of the Gospels," expounding obscure passages and terms, such as the meaning of "Christ"; "Occultism versus the Occult Arts" and "Psychic and Noetic Action," particularly a propos today; and finally, a powerful "open letter" to the Archbishop of Canterbury -- a dynamic appeal to return to the original Christianity of its founders. In the letter, among other points, she compared the luxurious living of the prelates with the lot of the poor in the major cities of the West. Her comments on such subjects were not directed to one faith alone, but to the theologians of every religion that had fallen short of the founders' intentions. With the passage of time, all had become so encrusted with dogmas that the original light of wisdom was obscured. Lest it be thought this sampling of cultural impacts is far from indicating a direct effect on the practical affairs of daily life, Edward Carpenter, English writer and social reformer, in My Days and Dreams, described HPB's work as marking "the coming of a great reaction from the smug commercialism of the mid-Victorian epoch, and a preparation for the new universe of the twentieth century" (p. 240). And finally, Talbot Mundy, dean of writers of Oriental adventure stories, based on his varied experiences in India and Eastern Africa. In 1916, he wrote King -- of the Khyber Rifles. In the 1920s for a short period he lived at the Theosophical Society headquarters at Point Loma, California, where he wrote Om: the Secret of Abhor Valley, which contains a reference to and ample evidence of his respect for HPB. In his posthumous work, I Say Sunrise, he wrote: It is absolutely safe to say that if all Madame Blavatsky's critics, omitting not one single individual, however intelligent, all working together for the whole of an average lifetime, were to concentrate their utmost efforts and intelligence on the task, they could not between them write such a masterpiece as the Secret Doctrine. . . . Madame Blavatsky described and analyzed the illusion from which we must somehow escape unless we are to continue to be hopelessly involved in the difficulties for which we blame our statesmen, scientists and ecclesiastics -- difficulties which they have so scientifically failed to solve. They deal only with the surface of the illusion. They ride its waves or sink beneath them. Madame Blavatsky explained what the waves are. -- p. 88 Herein lies the importance of The Secret Doctrine and the work that has flowed from it: the public has been drawn into the vast repository of knowledge and wisdom transmitted throughout recorded time. In other

epochs, such as the nineteenth century, some of the information and insights about the cosmos and humanity were secluded among scholars and theologians. In dedicating The Secret Doctrine, the author states that she did not originate its contents, for they were flowers of cultures that had flourished in different parts of the world at various times. All that she brought was the string that tied these flowers together. It is precisely the string that is so important, for the flowers had not been collected until recent times, and so each human culture and civilization was studied as something separate. Further, with the flow of the centuries, many previous expressions of the old wisdom to which she refers had suffered from accretions -- misunderstandings and also "interpretations" that were merely the opinions of later speculators upon the meaning of old terms. Now we see the interrelatedness of older key ideas which indeed indicates the interrelatedness of all human beings and their endeavors. What she expressed in her works was derived from the fountain-head of the previous outflows of what is termed a never-ending stream of wisdom/knowledge. (Reprinted from Sunrise magazine, December 1995/January 1996; February/March 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press)                                  

"Bear Witness!" Who Was the Real H.P.B.?
by Daniel H. Caldwell

A Mighty Adept Using the Old Body Called H.P. Blavatsky
In May 1891, Julia Keightley had the following experience: "A few days after Madame Blavatsky died, H.P.B. awoke me at night. I raised myself, feeling no surprise, but only the sweet accustomed pleasure. She held my eyes with her leonine gaze. Then she grew thinner, taller, her shape became masculine; slowly then her features changed, until a man of height and rugged powers, stood before me, the last vestige of her features melting into his, until the leonine gaze, the progressed radiance of her glance alone remained. The man lifted his head and said: 'Bear witness!' He then walked from the room, laying his hand on the portrait of H.P.B. as he passed." Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine, 1893, p. 127. Some two years earlier, James Pryse also had a remarkable encounter with HPB: "One evening [in 1889] while I was thus meditating the face of H. P. B. flashed before me. I recognized it from her portrait in Isis, though it appeared much older. Thinking that the astral picture, as I took it to be, was due to some vagary of fancy, I tried to exclude it; but at that the face showed a look of impatience, and instantly I was drawn out of my body and immediately was standing "in the astral" beside H. P. B. in London. It was along toward morning there, but she was still seated at her writing desk. While she was speaking to me, very kindly, I could not help thinking how odd it was that an apparently fleshy old lady should be an Adept. I tried to put that impolite thought out of my mind, but she read it, and as if in answer to it her physical body became translucent, revealing a marvellous inner body that looked as if it were formed of molten gold. Then suddenly the Master M. appeared before us in his mayavi-rupa. To him I made profound obeisance, for he seemed to me more like a God than a man. Somehow I knew who he was, though this was the first time I had seen him. He spoke to me graciously and said, 'I shall have work for you in six months.' He walked to the further side of the room, waved his hand in farewell and departed. Then H. P. B. dismissed me with the parting words, 'God bless you,' and directly I saw the waves of the Atlantic beneath me; I floated down and dipped my feet in their crests. Then with a rush I crossed the continent till I saw the lights of Los Angles and returned to my body, seated in the chair where I had left it. . . ." "Memorabilia of H.P.B." The Canadian Theosophist, March 15, 1935, pp. 1-5. James Pryse wrote to William Q. Judge about his out-of-body experience and "vision" of H.P.B. Judge referred to these experiences in his reply to Pryse dated September 3, 1889:

"My dear Pryse: "I have your letter, and fully appreciate your feelings as they resemble my own. "I do not think your position is so strange or remarkable as to be beyond our ken, nor do I look at your experiences as being solely mediumistic, nor at the dream or vision as unsolvable. You are now struggling with the personal self in the early stages, and can consider yourself fortunate that you have the chance to overcome in the initial battle. . . ". . . . Your vision that when you looked at H P B and saw no old woman but a God is correct. You were privileged to see the Truth --- For the Being in that old body called H P Blavatsky is a mighty Adept working on his own plan in the world. And thus we do not need to go to Tibet or S. America to find the sort of Being so many wish to see. Yet having seen the reality better keep silent and work with that in view. For even did you go and tell Him you knew He was there he would smile while he waited for you to do something such as you could in your limited sphere. For flattery counts not and professions are worse than useless. But it is a great thing to see as much as you have, and a greater thing it will be if you do not doubt for you may never see it again. . . . " William Quan Judge, Practical Occultism.

Two Persons in Madame Blavatsky
In a letter dated February 23, 1887, HPB wrote to William Judge: "Yes there are 'two persons' in me. But what of that? So are there two in you; only mine is conscious & responsible & yours is not." The Theosophical Forum, July 1932, p. 226 " 'Two persons' in me"? What does that phrase mean? In the Glossary appended to the 2nd edition (1890) of The Key to Theosophy, HPB writes about the "two Egos in man": "Esoteric philosophy teaches the existence of two Egos in man, the mortal or personal, and the higher, the divine or impersonal, calling the former 'personality,' and the latter 'individuality.' " (See entry on "Ego.") In another glossary definition, HPB writes that "Individuality," is one "of the names given in Theosophy and Occultism to the human Higher Ego. We make a distinction between the immortal and divine and the mortal human Ego. . . ." Elsewhere in the glossary, we find this: "The Individuality is the Higher Ego (Manas) of the Triad considered as a Unity. In other words the Individuality is our imperishable Ego which reincarnates and clothes itself in a new Personality at every new birth." Let us now give a number of statements by HPB in which she apparently refers to the conscious Individuality within her:

"Do you believe that, because you have fathomed --- as you think---my physical crust and brain; that shrewd analyst of human nature though you be---you have ever penetrated even beneath the first cuticles of my Real Self ? You would gravely err, if you did...You DO NOT KNOW me; for whatever there is INSIDE it, is NOT WHAT YOU THINK it is; and---to judge of me therefore, as of one UNTRUTHFUL is the greatest mistake in the world besides being a flagrant injustice. I (the inner real "I") am in prison and cannot show myself as I am with all the desire I may have to. Why, then, should I, because speaking for myself AS I AM and feel myself to be, why should I be held responsible for the OUTWARD jail-door and ITS appearance, when I have neither built nor yet decorated it ?" Letter of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, The Mahatma Letters, 2nd ed., pp. 465-466. ". . . I am enough of an occultist to know that before we find the Master within our own hearts and seventh principle --- we need an outside Master....I got my drop from my Master (the living one)....He is a Saviour, he who leads you to finding the Master within yourself. . . . " Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to Franz Hartmann, The Path , Volume X, p. 367. ". . . I venerate the Masters, and worship MY MASTER --- the sole creator of my inner Self which but for His calling it out, awakening it from its slumber, would never have come to conscious being --- not in this life, at all events..." Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, p. 104 "Several times a day I feel that besides me there is someone else, quite separable from me, present in my body. I never lose the consciousness of my own personality; what I feel is as if I were keeping silent and the other one -- the lodger who is in me -- were speaking with my tongue. For instance, I know that I have never been in the places which are described by my 'other me', but this other one -- the second me -- does not lie when he tells about places and things unknown to me, because he has actually seen them and knows them well. I have given it up: let my fate conduct me at its own sweet will; and besides, what am I to do? It would be perfectly ridiculous if I were to deny the possession of knowledge avowed by my No. 2, giving occasion to the people around me to imagine that I keep them in the dark for modesty's sake. In the night, when I am alone in my bed, the whole life of my No. 2 passes before my eyes, and I do not see myself at all, but quite a different person -- different in race and different in feelings." The Path, December 1894. "Do not be afraid that I am off my head. All that I can say is that someone positively inspires me. . . . more than this: someone enters me. It is not I who talk and write: it is something within me, my higher and luminous Self, that thinks and writes for me. Do not ask me, my friend, what I experience, because I could not explain it to you clearly. I do not know myself! The one thing I know is that now, when I am about to reach old age, I have become a sort of storehouse of somebody else's knowledge... "

It is Something Within Me, My Higher and Luminous Self, that Thinks and Writes for Me.
Some students believe that HPB herself reveals that the mighty Adept using the "H.P. Blavatsky" body was a Nirmanakaya. In a letter dated September 15, 1887, Madame Blavatsky writes Mr. Judge: "Begin by being elected both of you [Judge and Elliott Coues] for a year, and then if you are prepared to pledge yourselves both for life - then affairs & events may be turned off by unseen powers into such a groove that you will be unanimously elected for life - just as Olcott & I were - to go on with the work after our

deaths. Do you understand what it means? It means that unless you consent, you force me to a miserable life & a miserable death with the idea preying on my mind that there is an end of theosophy. That for several years I will not be able to help it on & stir its course, because I will have to act in a body which will have to be assimilated to the Nirmanakaya, because even in Occultism there are such things as a failure, & a retardment, and a misfit. But you don't understand me, I see." Here HPB writes that following her death "I will have to act in a body which will have to be assimilated to the Nirmanakaya." Since this assimilation can take years, she was concerned that "I will not be able to help" the Theosophical cause and movement for that period of time. Here is what HPB writes in her glossary to the Key to Theosophy about a "Nirmanakaya": ". . . Occultism...says...that Nirmanakaya, although meaning literally a transformed "body," is a state. The form is that of the Adept or Yogi who enters, or chooses, that post-mortem condition in preference to the Dharmakaya or absolute Nirvanic state. He does this because the latter Kaya separates him for ever from the world of form, conferring upon him a state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can participate, the adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping humanity, or even devas. As a Nirmanakaya, however, the adept leaves behind him only his physical body, and retains every other "principle" save the Kamic, for he has crushed this out for ever from his nature during life, and it can never resurrect in his postmortem state. Thus, instead of going into selfish bliss, he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence which ends only with the life-cycle, in order to be enabled to help mankind in an invisible, yet most effective, manner. . . . Thus a Nirmanakaya is...verily one who, whether a Chutuktu or a Khubilkhan, an adept or a Yogi during life, has since become a member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over humanity within Karmic limits. Mistaken often for a "Spirit," a Deva, God himself, &c., a Nirmanakaya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a guardian, angel to him who is worthy of his help...."

Who "Incarnated" into the Blavatsky Body?
Let us first give two suggestive statements from the letters of Mahatma Koot Hoomi that may shed some light on this question. Referring to Madame Blavatsky, Master K.H. wrote: "After nearly a century of fruitless search, our Chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soil to serve as a connecting link between that country and our own." The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, Letter No. 26, K.H.'s Confidential Memo about Old Lady [HPB]. Received Simla, Autumn, 1881. Italics added. In another letter the Master wrote: "The Tchang-chub (an adept who has, by the power of his knowledge and soul enlightenment, become exempt from the curse of UNCONSCIOUS transmigration) --- may, at his will and desire, and instead of reincarnating himself only after bodily death, do so, and repeatedly --- during his life if he chooses. He holds the power of choosing for himself new bodies -- whether on this or any other planet --- while in possession of

his old form, that he generally preserves for purposes of his own." The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, Letter No. 49. Italics added to "new bodies". Madame Blavatsky also wrote a very interesting and suggestive remark in Lucifer: "It had also escaped him [A.P. Sinnett] for the moment, no doubt, that among the group of Initiates to which his [Sinnett's] own mystical correspondent [Koot Hoomi] is allied, are two [Initiates] of European race, and that one [Initiate] who is that Teacher's [Koot Hoomi's] Superior is also of that origin [European], being half a Slavonian in his 'present incarnation,' as he himself wrote to Colonel Olcott in New York. " Lucifer, October, 1888, p. 173; reprinted in H.P.B.'s Collected Writings, Volume X, p. 153 Italics added. This is a quite fascinating statement by HPB that Koot Hoomi's Superior was of European origin and was "half a Slavonian in his 'present incarnation.' " HPB also tells us that this latter information was conveyed to Colonel Olcott in New York in a letter written by the Adept Superior. The anonymous author of The Theosophical Movement (1925 edition, p 378) pens a valuable suggestion about this passage: "Just why H.P.B. should put the phrase 'present incarnation' in quotes is worth some intuitional effort, as is also the fact that 'H.P.B.' was herself precisely and exactly 'half a Slavonian' in her then 'present incarnation.' "

Who Was Master K.H.'s Superior Who Was European and Half a Slavonian in His "Present Incarnation"?
Pursuing this intuitional effort, let us examine some other primary sources. A.P. Sinnett had a remarkable encounter with the Master K.H. Sinnett wrote in a brief note of the experience: "I saw K.H. in astral form on the night of 19th of October, 1880, --- waking up for a moment but immediately afterwards being rendered unconscious again (in the body) and conscious out of the body in the adjacent dressing-room where I saw another of the Brothers afterwards identified with one called 'Serapis' by Olcott, --- 'the youngest of the chohans.' " The Mahatma Letters, Letter No. 3a in the first three editions. Some four years later, while William Judge was in London and on a visit to Mr. Sinnett's home, the following interesting conversation ensued. Mr. Judge wrote: "I asked him [A.P. Sinnett] about his sight of K.H. and he related thus: 'He was lying in his bed in India one night [see above], when suddenly awakening, he found K.H. standing by his bed. He rose half up, when K.H. put his hand on his head, causing him to fall at once back on the pillow. He then, he says, found himself out of the body, and in the next room, talking to another adept whom he describes as an English or European, with light hair, fair, and of great beauty. This is the one [adept] Olcott described to me in 1876 and called by name -------. Please erase that when read. . . . S[innett] says he [the European adept] is very high. . . ." Letters That Have Helped Me, Theosophy Company edition, p. 196.

Notice that this adept called Serapis is described as "English or European, with light hair, fair, and of great beauty." In 1883, Colonel Olcott was healing people with his mesmeric "power". He relates the following experience: "On the day in question, while under treatment for his eyes, upon which business my thoughts were closely concentrated, [Badrinath Babu, the patient] . . . suddenly began describing a shining man whom he saw looking benevolently on him. His clairvoyant sight, had, it seemed, become partially developed, and what he saw was through closed eyelids. From the minute description he then proceeded to give me, I could not fail to recognise the portrait of one of the most revered of our Masters. . . .[Badrinath] described to me an individual with blue eyes, light flowing hair, light beard, and European features and complexion. . . . The description...fitted accurately a real personage, the Teacher of our Teachers [KH and M.], a Paramaguru, as one such is called in India, and who had given me a small colored sketch of himself in New York, before we left for Bombay. . . ." Old Diary Leaves, Volume III, 430-1. It is on record that the Master Serapis gave Colonel Olcott "a small colored sketch of himself in New York." See Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, Series II. Concerning Colonel Olcott's mesmeric healing, Master Koot Hoomi wrote to A.P. Sinnett: "This [healing] is all done thro' the power of a lock of hair sent by our beloved younger Chohan to H. S. O." This is KH's comment on a newspaper article titled "Cures Effected by Colonel Olcott in Calcutta by Mesmeric Passes" that was published in the Calcutta Indian Mirror. See The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, Appendix III. Confirmation that the Superior or Master of both Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya was Serapis is again found in this statement by Henry Olcott: "One of the greatest of them, the Master of the two Masters [KH and M] about whom the public has heard. . . . , wrote me on June 22, 1875: 'The time is come to let you know who I am. I am not a disembodied spirit, Brother, I am a living man; gifted with such powers by our Lodge as are in store for yourself some day. I cannot be with you otherwise than in spirit, for thousands of miles separate us at present. . . . .' " Old Diary Leaves, Volume I, p. 237. Koot Hoomi's Superior is further mentioned in a letter of HPB's: "K. H. or Koot-Hoomi is now gone to sleep for three months to prepare during this Sumadhi or continuous trance state for his initiation, the last but one, when he will become one of the highest adepts. Poor K. H. his body is now lying cold and stiff in a separate square building of stone with no windows or doors in it, the entrance to which is effected through an underground passage from a door in Toong-ting (reliquary, a room situated in every Thaten (temple) or Lamisery; and his Spirit is quite free. An adept might lie so for years, when his body was carefully prepared for it beforehand by mesmeric passes etc. It is a beautiful spot where he is now in the square tower. The Himalayas on the right and a lovely lake near the lamisery. His Cho-han

(spiritual instructor, master, and the Chief of a Tibetan Monastery) takes care of his body. M[orya] also goes occasionally to visit him. . . . "Now Morya lives generally with Koot-Hoomi who has his house in the direction of the Kara Korum Mountains, beyond Ladak, which is in Little Tibet and belongs now to Kashmire. It is a large wooden building in the Chinese fashion pagoda-like, between a lake and a beautiful mountain. . . . They come out very rarely. But they can project their astral forms anywhere." Letter from H. P. B. to Mrs. Hollis Billings, Simla. Oct. 2. 1881. The Theosophical Forum (Point Loma, California), May 1936, pp. 343-346. From the above material, it would appear that Serapis, one of the Chiefs or Chohans of the Occult Brotherhood, was the Superior or Teacher of both Master K.H. and Master M. Furthermore, Serapis (being a Nirmanakaya) had taken on his "present incarnation" using the "old body" called H.P. Blavatsky as a instrument for his "life of self-sacrifice." These insights help us to understand more fully the significance of KH's words about H.P. Blavatsky: "After nearly a century of fruitless search, our Chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soil to serve as a connecting link. . . . "


A Life of Genius: H. P. Blavatsky
By J. T. Coker
[In Philadelphia, Judy Wicks bought a charming townhouse where H. P. Blavatsky once lived. She opened a restaurant on the ground floor and named it the "White Dog Cafe" because of an incident that had occurred to Mme. Blavatsky there involving a white pup. The Cafe has been recognized nationally, not only for its fine food and ambience, but for Judy's commitment to its serving as a focal point for her ideals. As part of her effort, the Cafe hosts breakfast seminars on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday and on May 8 -White Lotus Day -- which HPB's admirers set aside to commemorate her life and work. The following is an edited version of the 1989 White Lotus Day talk. -- EDS.]

Helena Blavatsky was born into the Dolgorouky family of the Russian nobility. Biographies and family information indicate she was powerfully psychic even as a child. She was also a powerful storyteller and writer. English was her third language, though she didn't really use it until she came to this country in her forties. On reading her English writings you'll be blown away at how well she conveys complicated, abstract ideas. She was strong-willed and rebellious. When her parents wanted her to go to a fancy ball that she wanted nothing to do with, HPB plunged her foot into boiling water so she wouldn't have to go. She would have nothing to do with anything forced on her. She was a cultured person: reports tell of her playing piano concerts in Europe with well-known musicians and pulling it off quite well. Challenged that she couldn't even get "old man Blavatsky," a state official in the Caucasus, to marry her, she married him forthwith and then immediately left him, never consummating the relationship. She's reported to have said, "I never even gave him time to think about having a wife." When she left Blavatsky, there's an extended period in which we don't know exactly what happened. She traveled the world, finally penetrating even into Tibet where nobody could go at that time. She learned many strange, occult things. She was in America for a while; she checked out voodoo in New Orleans. Then on through Central and South America at a time when there were no trains and few real roads. For a single individual, much less an unaccompanied woman, just making such a trip was an accomplishment. HPB was a forerunner of the modern feminist movement: a female standing on her own, doing what she had to do in the face of ridicule and even danger; insisting on being considered as a human being. She was one of the first to look at other cultures, other ways of seeing the world, accepting them for what they were, not seeing them through the lens of Western ethno/culturocentric biases. She looked at all traditions, Western and non-Western, and saw them as related manifestations of human spiritual endeavor -- Hinduism, Buddhism, and the old Chaldean religion, ancient Zoroastrianism, Modern Parsiism, Christianity, Judaism -seeing them as expressions, in different times, by different people of one underlying truth or reality from which we spring and to which we all return. Even though she writes well, her books can be difficult to read. The Secret Doctrine can give you a headache! Reading her works can be a form of exercise, "pumping iron" with the higher part of the mind: not the part concerned with everyday life but the part concerned with the nobler side of humanity, where we can think about, comprehend, perhaps even manifest a bit of what she gave her life for -- universal brotherhood. That part of us gets exercise and it can get sore! It isn't necessary to completely understand or agree, just experiencing her work is strengthening.

HPB said she had been sent to America for a specific purpose: to impart a philosophical basis for understanding the phenomena of psychism, seances, spooks, and table rappings then rampant in the fledgling Spiritualist movement. The East has had thousands of years of experience dealing with psychic occurrences and their view differs from ours. As the waves of psychism swept over the West we began materializing spooks and tipping tables, and were elated: "Oh boy, this is spiritual!" But HPB said in effect, It's nonphysical. Does that mean it's spiritual? Let's define our terms. Then she brought everything she could find from ancient and modern sources to look at the phenomena and discern what they really were. Spiritualists did not take well to that, even though she supported them, not denying reality to their phenomena, only to their explanations for them. Our culture has similar phenomena now, channeling for example, that seem analogous in many ways. The philosophy HPB brought us places these phenomena in a perspective where they make a lot more sense. With that perspective we won't say, "that's all garbage" or "it's all wonderful," but will exercise our discrimination from a sound philosophic basis. In 1875 she formed The Theosophical Society in New York City with Colonel Henry Olcott, William Q. Judge, and about a dozen others and worked in America for several years. Then she and Olcott went to India where they worked to help the people in India, Ceylon, and Burma regain respect for themselves, their religious beliefs, and culture. She pointed to the spiritual source of their native traditions, showing them that there was no need to let Western imperialism overrun them. She helped them remember who they were, and that the roots they spring from are what nourish them. The Buddhist religion in Sri Lanka might not be there now if it weren't for the work she and Olcott did to revive it. He traveled to England to intercede with the government so that colonial authorities would respect the Buddhist way of life. At that time, for example, Buddhists there had to be married in a Christian church. The theosophists changed that and the future of Buddhism by their philosophic and practical work. This was over a hundred years ago in the face of the British Empire. She was tagged as a Russian spy: to the secret police her activities were subversive. She got a clean bill of health on this and never stopped working to help people understand and respect the spiritual basis of their own cultures. HPB devoted her life to the growth of the nobler aspects of humanity -- what it means to be human. The Society she founded has three basic objectives, the second being to study ancient and modern science, religion, and philosophy. If we actually did that with unbiased minds, we would open up intellectually and spiritually. The third objective is to study the laws of nature and the powers innate in man. People often assume that means psychism. We hear that she was a psychic par excellence, moving and materializing objects. The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in England branded her a charlatan, "one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history," but a few years ago an article was published in its Journal stating that the 1885 report was unfair to her. (Vernon Harrison, "J'ACCUSE: An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885," Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, April 1986.) Whether HPB did or didn't produce certain phenomena is beside the point when considering the third object of the Society. The real power innate in man isn't psychic. It's the selfless aspect, the nobler side of humanity she spoke to. That is the real power innate in us: power to do for another, to see another's way as just as valid as our own. That was what she devoted her life to showing us. The first object of the Society really says it all: to form a nucleus of people devoted to the principle of universal brotherhood, not just in words but in deed. As usual with her, she didn't tell how, she gave principles and reasons learned from her Eastern teachers and said to use them to develop our own understanding. She echoed Buddha: Don't believe because I say so, or because it comes from authority, or

from a book. Check it out. If it makes sense in your life, if it's meaningful to you, apply it as best you can. If brotherhood, spirituality, and the nobility of being human make sense to you then find your own way to make it real in your life. If we all did that the world would turn itself around. Sure, there would still be problems but no unnecessary suffering. She didn't say you have to believe anything in order to do it. She said, If yours is the Hebrew tradition believe and do that. If you like Buddhism then do that; the same with Hinduism or Christianity -- it makes no difference which tradition you root yourself in. The important thing is to find your roots. In the Society's early days there were different branches: Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Parsi, also agnostic and Freethinker branches exploring what it means to be human by their own lights. We all end up in the same place but we have to take different routes to get there. Through the search for our own individuality we'll come together in common cause for the greater good of mankind: and not just mankind but everything -from a tiny electron to the greatest megagalaxy we can imagine -- they're ALL alive. She showed us a living, organic universe of which we're a small part, a microcosmic reflection of the universal macrocosm. It goes back to the Hermetic axiom "As above, so below." She said that nature reflects the same processes throughout: it is alive, organic, growing, and evolving. Blavatsky wrote a synthesis of ancient and modern religion, philosophy, and science that leads to the underlying strata of truth in all expressions of the human spirit. Her perspective was spiritual, the one we had in the West was dying out, killed by the growth of materialistic science. We were seeking a rationale to satisfy the questions arising in a growing number of human minds, and a spiritual approach to life that would not be at odds with the discoveries of modern science. She doesn't agree with everything that science runs out, not by a long shot. She gives one idea that goes head on against Darwin, that man was here first and apes devolved from him! At first I found that weird, but on reading what she said about it I saw it makes as much sense as the currently accepted scientific way. All of a sudden my head opened up! I don't know the truth of it -neither did Darwin, nor do you. But my perspective enlarged. That's what I meant by "pumping iron": a mental biceps expanded, enabling me to grasp a broader perspective. On introducing these ideas to the West HPB never claimed that they were new or unique. She quotes Montaigne, saying she didn't create this beautiful "nosegay of flowers" but had "culled them" from the fields of human experience and thought. Hers was only "the string that binds them" together. She reintroduced into our thought stream ideas that had been current in the West at one time but had fallen into disfavor in the last 2,000 years: karma, reincarnation, universal cyclicality, everything being alive and having at its base a divine essence. It gives an uplift of spirit when we see ourselves, everyone, everything, as not just an object but in some mysterious way a manifestation of the divine in the universe. Each is a necessary part of the whole. Without those parts being what they are the whole can't function as well. In her books you'll find philosophic, scientific, and religious background and rationale for that point of view. There's theosophy's relevance today, or any day. If we can realize that everyone and everything is not just important but a needed manifestation of the spiritual side of the universe, all of a sudden it's a whole different ball game. She brought us a top-down view of the universe as opposed to the bottom-up view of materialistic science. In a "random collocation of atoms" man's ideas, imaginings, and spiritual aspirations are "accidents" -- "Empty tears in a universe crying itself to sleep." She saw it another way: call it Ain Soph, God, Sat, Tat, Parabrahman, whatever you like, there's an unknowable divine and from it the universe unrolls in a cyclical manner. It evolves until it gets to the point where we perceive ourselves as humans -- and perhaps beyond. Then it rolls itself up, then back out again, aeon after aeon, perfecting itself and all that makes it up as it

cycles back and forth. She gives a perspective that broad: the birth, growth, and death of universes, megauniverses, of the infinite giving birth to all manifestation and then drawing it all back in. Is it literally true? Do you want to take a vote? If it helps us become more inclusive, less exclusive, to expand our lives in a spirit of compassion and brotherhood, then what else is important? HPB was a forerunner of modern ecology. She taught the interdependence and interconnectedness of all, what Buddha called the doctrine of "dependent origination": that I can't be here without every one of you and you've got nothing going without me. Every atom and galaxy is interconnected and interdependent. I recall a talk with our child, wondering at how bees and flowers aren't really different: bees being the mobile parts of flowers and flowers the parts of bees that stay in one spot. They can't exist as they are without one another. HPB saw and explained the universe that way. Those who become involved with HPB seem to either go for it in a big way or are turned off. She is a savior or an impostor -- there's difficulty finding middle ground. The height of a building can be judged by the shadow it casts; HPB can be judged not by her shadow but by the light she cast across the world -- a light that still illuminates the spiritual darkness of our materialism. In dealing with modern spirituality or occultism you have to deal with what HPB did. You don't have to agree with or believe her but you've got to deal with her. Her influence has been felt by artists, scholars, and scientists, though it's not always directly observable. Albert Einstein kept a copy of her Secret Doctrine on his desk. I saw an example of her influence in a pool hall/pizza joint in rural Maryland. It was fundamentalist territory, so imagine the surprise when the juke box gave forth with Willie Nelson's country music twang singing "A little old-fashioned karma comin' down." Not even 100 years after she finished her work and cowboys are singing about karma! She's not the only one responsible, but she was the first to give a push to that idea in the West. There may be deeper levels of meaning to the idea than Willie brought out, but at least the idea is there acting as a leaven to our thoughts. No matter how imperfectly understood, that idea has reached the far corners of America. The profound ideas she brought have spread over the whole world but our understanding of them is shallow. The hot sun of materialism still bakes down and if we don't plumb the depths of these ideas they may dry up, or be forced underground again, leaving the land twice as parched as it was before HPB did her work. We need to help carry on that work in some small way if what she gave us is to remain meaningful. Carl Jung declared that the West needed to find a yoga of its own. He felt it dangerous to thoughtlessly adopt methods not native to Western minds and needs. There are many yogas: bhakti, karma, and hatha yoga. There's also jnana yoga, that of expanding the higher portion of the mind so it links with the divine. HPB speaks of The Secret Doctrine as being a form of jnana yoga for Western minds. With our need for rationality the SD as a form of yoga is still relevant a century after it was written. HPB showed principles by which we can take a self-conscious hand in our evolution rather than waiting out the aeons-long process of suffering and learning unconsciously. With them we can begin to wake ourselves up, just a little, and find a different way to do it. She doesn't give any "rules" for it -- "Let's all chant" or "Let's all do this asana," for each individual's path is unique to him. She lays down principles for us to use. A Tibetan proverb says "No truth is really true until you grasp it yourself." On the spiritual path Truth can't be passed on by words but, with principles that have worked for aeons, you can directly grasp the experience of spirit. Then you've got it and not someone else's version of it. HPB had a sage's soul, a lion's heart, and an artist's sensitivity. Whether we agree with what she wrote or not, she had an amazing ability to help us help ourselves. Most amazing was her boundless capacity for

compassion: caring about all people -- high, ordinary, or low -- whoever crossed her path. In her Voice of the Silence a verse sums up much of what HPB was urging us towards: . . . let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed. -- p. 13 That moves the heart. Philosophy and rationality are great exercise and we can get much from them but . . . what HPB's life work truly embodied was that heart impulse. She urges us to try to live our lives, in some small way, up to that kind of nobility. (Reprinted from Sunrise magazine, June/July 1990. Copyright © 1990 by Theosophical University Press)                                    

H. P. Blavatsky and the Trans-Himalayan Occult Brotherhood and the 19th Century
Helena Petrovna von Hahn was born at Ekaterinoslav in Southern Russia during the night of August 11-12, 1831 (July 30-31 in the old style Russian calendar), probably around 2 A.M.; thus bringing the 13th or 14th degree of Cancer and the great star Sirius to the Eastern horizon of her birth-chart — this being the celestial location of the Sun on July 4, 1776: an interesting correlation. At the time of her birth her father was a Captain in the Horse Artillery. His family came originally from Mecklenburg, Germany. An ancestor, a Teutonic knight, had adopted the name von Hahn (cock) because one night while fighting in the Holy Land, the crowing of a cock had awakened him just in time to save him from sudden enemy attack. Helena's mother, a novelist and feminist, came from a highly placed aristocratic Russian family. She died of tuberculosis when her daughter was eleven years old. From the first years of her life, the young Helena displayed both a powerful will and unusual psychic abilities. As the result of a dare, when only 17 years old, she married Nikifor Vassilyevich Blavatsky, the elderly Vice-Governor of the Province of Erivan in the Caucasus. After three months of resistance to the consummation of the marriage, she managed to escape, finally arriving in Constantinople. There she began a long series of travels which led her first to Egypt, where she studied with a renowned old Copt occultist. Her father, finally accepting the fact that his daughter would never live with her husband (from whom, eventually, she became divorced), supplied her with money.(1) From childhood, Helena had had visions of the tall Rajput Indian who has become known as the Master Morya. When in London, perhaps in 1850, she met him physically; presumably he had come there as a member of the Nepal Embassy. According to her, however, a more important meeting took place at Ramsgate (only a symbolic name!) on August 12, 1851, on her twentieth birthday. As she died in May of 1891, the mission with which she was entrusted by the powerful member of the trans-Himalayan Occult Brotherhood lasted almost exactly forty years — a significant period. Compare, for instance, the forty years during which Moses led the Hebrews in the Wilderness before they entered the Promised Land; the forty years' imprisonment of Abdul Baha in the Turkish city of Akka (a word referring to the womb) in Palestine, etc. Madame Blavatsky passed the first half of her forty-year mission in preparation, her public work having begun only after she reached New York in 1873. The significance of all that this preparation entailed is not understood by most people because they fail to distinguish between direct physical contact with planetary centers in which occult Brotherhoods exist (a matter which I shall discuss further) and psychic or mental communications with Adepts. The travels of Occultists, or even of individuals definitely charged with occult (and thus at least to some extent "planetary") missions are most revealing, for they touch certain points on the globe to which such missions may be related and which perhaps they contact for special purposes. Helena Petrovna's travels link Egypt (and the Coptic descendants of the ancient culture) with London, North America, Central and South America (the Mayan and Incan centers), Java, Northern India, and Tibet — to mention only what is publicly known. She had also, as an adolescent, studied piano in Paris and was an excellent musician and performer. A trip by covered wagon from Chicago to San Francisco in 1855 was a prelude to her second and successful (perhaps because she was disguised) attempt to reach Tibet and the occult Brotherhood, a first attempt a year or two earlier having met with insuperable obstacles.

She returned to Russia in 1858; there she displayed for her relatives and friends what today we call powers of ESP, including clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinesis, astral projection, and materialization of messages in locked boxes. After a mysterious illness she resumed her travels through the Balkans, Egypt, Syria, and Italy. In 1867 she joined the forces of Garibaldi fighting for Italy's nationhood against the French and Papal forces. She was wounded in the bloody battle of Mentana. Some students of esotericism believe that her body was actually killed during this battle, but that it was "resurrected" to become a focal point for the power of her Brotherhood. In The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett there are somewhat mysterious references to HPB's condition of existence after the years of occult training in Tibet, references which may throw some light not only on what, later on, became her often disconcerting temperamental characteristics as she came under attack as the originator and teacher of the Theosophical Movement, but also on the drastic consequences of being a "messenger" or agent of an Occult Brotherhood. In a letter received in Simla in 1881, in the blue ink writing of K.H., the following statement is made: I am painfully aware of the fact that the habitual incoherence of her statements — especially when excited — and her strange ways make her in your opinion a very undesirable transmitter of our messages . . . . Notwithstanding that the time is not quite ripe to let you entirely into the secret; and that you are hardly prepared to understand the great Mystery, even if I told of it, owing to the great injustice and wrong done, I am empowered to allow you a glimpse behind the veil. This state of hers is intimately connected with her occult training in Tibet, and due to her being sent out alone into the world to gradually prepare the way for others. After nearly a century of fruitless search, our chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soil to serve as a connecting link between that country and our own. You do not understand? Of course not. Please then, remember what she tried to explain, and what you gathered tolerably well from her, namely the fact of the seven principles in the complete human being. Now, no man or woman, unless he be an initiate of the "fifth circle," can leave the precincts of Bod-Las and return back into the world in his integral whole — if I may use the expression. One, at least of his seven satellites has to remain behind for two reasons: the first to form the necessary connecting link, the wire of transmission — the second as the safest warranter that certain things will never be divulged. She is no exception to the rule, and you have seen another exemplars highly intellectual man who had to leave one of his skins behind; hence, is considered highly eccentric. The bearing and status of the remaining six depend upon the inherent qualities, the psycho-physiological peculiarities of the person, especially upon the idiosyncrasies transmitted by what modern science calls "atavism." Acting in accordance with my wishes, my brother M. made to you through her a certain offer, if you remember. You had but to accept it, and at any time you liked, you would have had for an hour or more, the real biatchooly to converse with, instead of the psychological cripple you generally have to deal with now.(2) Exactly what is meant by this quotation must be left to the student's intuition, bolstered up by the proper kind of study and concentration. It may at least suggest how difficult it is to be certain with whom one may have to deal when contacting a person whose activities and reactions may seem, from our normal sociocultural point of view, at least relatively irrational. This is especially true when one has reason to believe that these activities are connected with the "occult world."

Whatever may have happened occultly to the being born as Helena von Hahn — either in Italy or in India and Tibet where she lived for three years with her Masters — she later found herself faced with the dark aspect of her karma, particularly in Alexandria, the city where long ago Christianity became to a large extent distorted and dogmatized. In 1873, while in Paris, she received definite directions from the Brotherhood, instructing her to go to New York. It is said that on reaching her embarkation point, seeing a sobbing woman with children who had been cheated of their fare to New York, HPB promptly exchanged her first class ticket for steerage accommodations for herself and the defrauded family. After a peculiar karmic episode in Philadelphia, she met Colonel Henry S. Olcott who was investigating some spiritualistic phenomena in Chittenden, Vermont. In 1875, HPB, Colonel Olcott, William Q. Judge, and a few others founded The Theosophical Society. Most of the members of this new organization were deeply intrigued by HPB's occult powers and were eager to investigate the nature of the mysterious phenomena she produced. Nevertheless, the fundamental aim of the Society was officially stated to be the eventual formation of "the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood," which in time would encompass the whole of mankind. In 1877 HPB published Isis Unveiled, which brought her at once fame and enemies. She became an American citizen on July 8, 1878 — a fact few seem to know. But in December of the same year she left with Colonel Olcott for India by way of England, arriving eventually in Bombay. The magazine The Theosophist appeared in October 1879. HPB soon made the acquaintance of A. P. Sinnett and, through him, of A. 0. Hume; and both became the recipients of letters occultly "precipitated" by the two members of the transHimalayan Brotherhood, Morya and Koot-Hoomi. It seems that these two had taken the main responsibility for the beginning, through HPB, of the Theosophical Movement. It was an attempt to establish a psychomental "link" between their occult level of existence and the Western world of the materialistic nineteenth century, and thereby to allow some of the ancient and eternal "seed ideas" of the one planetary Tradition (begun with the coming of the Kumuras) to fecundate the collective mind of Western man. Isis Unveiled deals particularly with the religion and the various unorthodox and occult movements of the European world. The book sought to establish the underground existence of a Countercultural Movement (though HPB did not use such a term) which remained active through many more or less secret societies drawing their inspiration from Near-Eastern traditions (Hermetic, Gnostic, Kabbalist, Sufi, Druzes, and later Alchemical, Rosicrucian, and Masonic). The book also had the perhaps less obvious purpose of showing the essential difference between the path of at least relatively passive mediumship and that of positive and deliberate adeptship. It was this aspect of her constant remarks in conversation with others, which aroused the enmity of the Spiritualists, and eventually led to a tragic episode. This was the careless and essentially biased "investigation" of HPB's activities at Adyar, headquarters of The Theosophical Society, by Richard Hodgson, an agent of the Society for Psychical Research. Hodgson accepted uncritically "evidence" fabricated by the Coulombs who were housekeepers of the Adyar building. HPB was not in India at the time, and when she returned she found such a tense and inimical atmosphere — and particularly hatred among the Catholic missionaries — that she returned to Europe. In December 1885 the Proceeding of the Society for Psychical Research branded her "one of the most accomplished, ingenious and interesting impostors of history."(3) The last six years of HPB's life were devoted to writing The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy, The Voice of the Silence, The Theosophical Glossary, and numerous articles. She was ill most of the time, and at least once, when death was momentarily expected, was miraculously healed. She died suddenly in London during an influenza epidemic on May 8, 1891.

The foregoing outline of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's tempestuous life is obviously most sketchy. Nevertheless it may be sufficient to show that the one fundamental factor in trying to reach a deep understanding of the meaning and purpose of that life is the meaning and purpose of the occult transHimalayan Brotherhood whose agent she claimed to be. It may be impossible scientifically to prove the validity of that claim; it is as impossible to prove it was a hoax, considering the quite outstanding individuals who had firsthand experiential knowledge of the validity of her assertions. Even more convincing is the astounding character of the contents of her large books, especially The Secret Doctrine, which no ordinary mind could have produced without passing dozens of years studying and collating an immense mass of verifiable documents in many great libraries. At the same time, it is evident that H. P. Blavatsky, the woman, spent her life away from universities and national libraries. What The Secret Doctrine primarily sought to show was that, at the core of the basic teachings found in all or most of the world's religions which have left visible and intelligible records, there exists a Universal Traditional so called "Wisdom Religion" — and that, through all times and in all continents, this Tradition had been preserved by an uninterrupted line of Custodians and interpreters organized in occult brotherhoods. However, if one accepts this as a fundamental claim, one should be careful not to jump to premature or unnecessary conclusions. The first and most essential realization is that a mind trained by our Western civilization is unable to pass judgment on the validity and implications of such claims unless it be willing to set aside its life-long conditioning by the local point of view characteristic of our Western culture and religion, and learn to function on an all-human, planetary level, free to judge on their own merits the ideas and values which all cultures have contributed, and are contributing, to the evolution of mankind. If there is a Universal Tradition, then only a universal mind can hope to adequately understand its nature and its planetary source. This cannot be a cultural, religious source, because — as I have tried to show — the sources of all particular cultures and institutionalized religions (with their distinctive symbols, ideologies, practices, and dogmas) are the manifestations of local conditions. No doubt the consciousness of the founders of the more recent "great religions" (as we call them), especially Gautama the Buddha and Jesus the Christ, was illumined by culture-transcending and "universal" experiences, and by divine love and compassion. But none of these prophets or Avatars built a religion, as an institution depending on formulas expressed in a particular language, with dogmas and rituals answering to the specific and characteristic needs of a particular people. Their disciples did; and the development of such religions involved endless arguments, compromises, and pressures from political and sociocultural forces. At the same time their religions came in answer to the disintegration or crystallization of previous religions and cultural institutions. A Tradition that could truly be called "universal" must therefore have its being essentially beyond the cultural level; it must be transcultural, in the sense that while it may operate through any culture, it is not bound to, limited by, or essentially conditioned by any one culture or by local factors. Its custodians, just because they are "universal" or planetary beings, aware of the need for a new release of their knowledge and intervention, are inwardly compelled out of love for humanity to answer this particular need in whatever way makes the answer most effectual. As this happens, what I have called the one Tradition is seen operating in the aspect which is specifically able, ready, and willing to exteriorize the spiritual-mental answer. It operates through an Occult Brotherhood. There was not only one Occult Brotherhood when, in 1883, the Mahatma K.H. wrote in The Mahatma Letters:

As the course of the river depends upon the nature of its basin, so the channel of communication of Knowledge must conform itself to surrounding circumstances. The Egyptian Hierophant, the Chaldean Mage, the Arhat and the Rishi, were bound in days of yore on the same voyage of discovery and ultimately arrived at the same goal, though by different tracks. There are even at the present moment three centers of the Occult Brotherhood in existence, widely separated geographically, and as widely exoterically — the true esoteric doctrine being identical in substance, though differing in terms; all aiming at the same grand object, but no two agreeing seemingly in the details of procedure . . . . The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and that of the country he inhabits and belongs to.(4) From this statement, every sentence of which should be carefully studied, one can deduce that there is but one Occult Brotherhood with three centers widely separated geographically. But here we deal with a semantic matter. A similar issue arose when Annie Besant, after HPB's death, seemingly took upon herself to change the wording of the first object of The Theosophical Society from "to form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of humanity" to "to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of humanity." As it undoubtedly was Annie Besant's purpose to popularize Theosophy all over the globe, the change may have been valid at that time. A still deeper change in the concept of the Masters can be noted when one compares the over-all picture that emerges from The Mahatma Letters with that which has prevailed in theosophical circles during the 20th century. Perhaps the need to conform to what is "suited to the various stages of (man's) development" is the deepest reason one can present for such a change. The nature of "the three centers" to which K.H. refers can be known only by a mind able to operate at the truly occult level. It is nevertheless an acknowledged fact that, during the first stage of HPB's work in America, a strong contact existed between her and what has been referred to as the "Hungarian Lodge" directed by the Master R. and the "Egyptian Lodge" headed by "Serapis." The former is said to have been the inspiration of secret European societies such as the original Rosicrucians and early Free Masonry in the eighteenth century; the latter may have been the true and original Brotherhood of Luxor of which HPB was apparently a member.(5) Yet these "Lodges" and the trans-Himalayan Brotherhood almost certainly were not the only centers of occult activity. One of the three mentioned by K.H. may have been related to the Andes and the remains of the Inca and the pre-Inca civilizations. Some time after World War I an American occultist, Brown Landone in Florida, asserted that most of the greatest Adepts who had lived in the Himalayas and Tibet had moved to the Andean region of Lake Titicaca. What occurred in Tibet some fifteen years ago and the resulting disruption of the ancient Tibetan way of life give validity to the story, which I personally had confirmed by another seemingly knowledgeable source. In the book A Collection of Esoteric Writings by Subba Row, a very valuable book for students, some "Notes" by HPB speak most interestingly of the "Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan doctrine, or Universal WISDOM Religion," relating, and nearly identifying, the trans-Himalayan esoteric doctrine with the Chaldeo-Tibetan traditions. There seems indeed to have been a close connection between Chaldea (or Syria and Babylonia) and Tibet. Recently, Sufi-oriented students taught by a Chilean occultist, Mr. Ichazo, and to some extent related to the movement that had been started by Gurdjieff who studied with Dervish Teachers, speak of the Hindu Kush as the seat of an Occult Brotherhood. Sufism itself may be traced in its origin to the ancient teachings of some of the Hebrew Kabbalists; but the Kabbalah may well have had its origin in the Jews' captivity in

Babylon, which leads us again to that region — an important one in the development of one branch of our present humanity. All such matters are evidently speculative; and in the Theosophical Movement and other esoteric groups which branched from the original impulse given in 1875 by HPB and those behind her mysterious personality, there is a tendency to provide the interested seeker with exciting bits of information which tend to personalize currents of force, magnetic centers of the earth, and the beginnings and ends of cycles, rather than to try to make people "feel" and intuitively envision the vast rhythmic sweep of cosmic, planetary, and even historical sociocultural processes. The various phases of these processes certainly can be personified; but there is a fundamental difference between an approach to existence according to which cyclic activities are produced by divine superhuman or human beings, and another approach leading one to realize that these activities operate through these beings serving as focal points for the release of the transforming energy of cosmic evolution. These two approaches are manifestations of what recent "philosophers of science" have labeled atomism and holism.(6) Broadly speaking, throughout the nineteenth century, the Western mind interpreted all experiences basically from an atomistic point of view, while the developing trend during the twentieth century (especially after World War I) has been toward holistic concepts. The spread of the German concept of gestalt (a word perhaps best translated as "configuration") belongs to the latter development. It obviously had antecedents in earlier philosophical thinking; but, at least since the Renaissance, atomism in science and individualism in the sociopolitical and cultural fields have dominated the consciousness of Europe and America and what I call the "Euromind." The individual ego of human beings and the collective ego of nations — with their attendant pride and greed for power, wealth, and material comfort — have been blatantly in the spotlight. The most basic types of thinking and feeling have focused upon some kind of individual entity, at the supposedly spiritual as well as the most materialistic and physical level. Distinctly differentiated and essentially separate characteristics have been attributed to each one of billions of monads, souls, and citizens — to each nation, atom, or element. In America, personal emotions and opinions have come to dominate everything, including family relationships and education. Yet in a peculiar manner these supposedly "personal" factors and needs have proven to be most easily and collectively manipulatable by the media and propaganda. However, these manipulations belong especially to our twentieth century with its new emphasis on social consciousness and on "groups" endowed with a kind of mystique. If we are trying objectively to think of the esoteric movements of the last hundred years, it is first of all most important to realize that the release of occult knowledge has always to conform to the nature of the general mentality of the potential students of that knowledge. For this reason, nothing can be transformed except by someone who has been and at least externally remains a part of that which requires transformation. This is why a great Adept who is a member of an Occult Brotherhood cannot directly and publicly operate in a society in need of spiritual transformation, especially one as materialistic and individualistic as our Western society was in the nineteenth century. Someone who to some extent belongs to the two realms of knowledge (occult and cultural) must serve as an intermediary or channel for communication. This must be an individual able to withstand both the downflow of occult power through his organism, and the scorn, indifference, or attacks of individuals and institutions of the society in which he was born, but from which his consciousness and will have emerged in at least relative freedom. Only such a person can serve as a link between an occult Brotherhood and the collectivity whose time for transformation has come, according to some planetary cycle. Occasionally there are individuals who

prematurely attempt to introduce radically new ideas or modes of energy-release into their society. For example, The Secret Doctrine mentions J. W. Keely who, a hundred years ago, tried to commercialize a mysterious force through a most ingenious motor of his invention. But such premature attempts achieve no results because the time has not yet come for what has somehow been discovered. Even if the time had really come, the intermediary could at first usually affect but relatively few people. All natural processes are hierarchical. What this all means is that, while what the Theosophical Movement released through HPB and a few others should be considered as the direct manifestation of an aspect of the Universal Tradition of Man, it is nevertheless only one aspect, initiated by the trans-Himalayan Brotherhood through a Russian woman whose individual karma, as well as the karma of European nations, inevitably gave a particular character and definite limits to the release. Theosophy and all that has during this century, developed along related lines has therefore necessarily a two-fold nature. It is stamped with the need of the nineteenth century in the Western World, with some of the character of Helena Petrovna von Hahn and (it would seem) of the main sources of her knowledge, the Brothers K.H. and M. But its essential Source is the one occult Tradition whose spiritual origin can be referred back to the coming of the Kumaras, and particularly to that aspect of the Kumaric "descent" to which the name Sanat is given. H. P. Blavatsky was selected by the trans-Himalayan Brotherhood "after nearly a century of fruitless search" (cf. the quotation on page 32) as "the only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soul to serve as a connecting link between that country and our own" (i.e. the Tibetan Himalayas). She was selected from an ancestral lineage which presumably had genetically developed certain psychic powers.(7) These powers later on had to be brought under conscious training during her stay in Tibet, if not before, because she had first to deal with a society and culture in which the only wide open door to anything beyond physical matter was the spiritualistic movement. Spiritualism had to be used, dangerous as such a use proved to be, because it established a point of contact. In the background, another point of contact was also available — what remained of the movement started by Anton Mesmer during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The kind of vital energy which Mesmer was trying to reveal to the narrowly rationalistic public (what he called "animal magnetism") had been scorned by an official Commission of learned personages, including Benjamin Franklin, then U.S. ambassador to France, and the scientist Lavoisier. Nevertheless disciples of Mesmer in France and in the United States carried on along the lines of inquiry he had opened. They led not only through Phineas Quinby to Christian Science, but also to the psychological experiments of the Nancy School in France, which started Freud on his career. This "Mesmeric" contact was used in India by Colonel Olcott who became widely known as a magnetic healer. The Spiritualist movement had opened a door to the "astral" realm, but while some of the phenomena were no doubt genuine, the interpretation given to them was, according to HPB, erroneous. Isis Unveiled was written, at least partly, to disprove the validity of the Spiritualists' claim to be in touch with the real spiritual individuality of departed men and women; and this, as we have already seen, led to tragic misunderstandings and bitter enmity which adversely affected the Theosophical Movement. An interesting and perhaps significant fact is that the Spiritualist movement — which began with the mediumistic phenomena produced in 1848 by the Fox sisters at Hydeville, N.Y. and soon spread wildly throughout the States — has a parallel, almost exactly 100 years later, in the UFO movement which, for a while at least, also gained a vast number of adherents claiming direct experiences.

While in the nineteenth century Spiritualism sought to establish the existence of human minds and soulentities beyond the borderline of the physical world, the twentieth century UFO movement — which also produced a wide variety of "communications" from "Space-People" — attempts to show that "men" from other planets or solar systems exist. It is maintained that these "Space-People" can break through the barrier that seemingly has isolated our planet and its gravitational field from other cosmic regions, where other kinds of "humanity" live and are able to develop technologies superior to our own. Both movements therefore have a common aim: to break down man's basic sense of isolation and loneliness — Spiritualism in terms of the possibility of communication with physically dead human persons who nevertheless exist in a different realm, and the UFO movement in terms of the possibility of establishing physical and mental contact with other humanities.(8) Both movements represent an attempt at expanding consciousness and human contacts, and it will be interesting to see whether, after 1975, the occult "messenger" announced by HPB will use the UFO concept to gain public notice, and soon after also show that the usual interpretation given to flying saucers and spacepeople is not the correct one.(9) In its most advanced form since the days of Planck and Einstein and the beginning of our present century, Western science has experienced a most basic change of mind. Top physicists, chemists, biologists can hardly any longer be called materialists, yet their training and the pressure of official institutions and academic thinking often make it impossible for them to draw certain kinds of philosophical and even metaphysical conclusions. This is true both from the level of "material" activity which is the subject of their studies and as concerns the essentially symbolic character of the mathematical symbols which they use as a highly complex and actually transcendental language. The basic problem today is that the inertia of past Euro-American sociocultural, economic, and political institutions is obstinately resisting acceptance of the radically new approach to man, and to cosmic, planetary, and biopsychic energies. Such a new approach alone could repolarize the collective consciousness of the directing managerial and intellectual elite, and establish it at a level where it could openly resonate to the universalistic concepts and vibrations of the occult world. This occult world can now appear in a somewhat different light to the minds of men able to think in planetary all-human terms. As long as man's thinking was conditioned by but a partial and local response to the basic factors in his earthly evolution, the glamour of mythological or transcendent events and personages was necessary to allow the devotees of particular cultures and religious institutions to transcend (literally: to take a step ahead of) their institutionalized consciousness. However, now that man is at least potentially able to think holistically in terms of the whole of mankind and of the earth as a vast organism with many "globes" or levels of existence, the world of true Occultism need not be thought of in remote, mysterious, and utterly supernatural terms — and even less in terms of the miraculous. In its concrete, external manifestations, it is the world of humanity-as-a-whole beyond all localisms, and beyond (though at the core of) all cultures and organized religions. It is a world of planetary activities dealing with the whole sweep of the cycle of evolution in the solar system. These activities are totally inclusive; they do not select this individual or that particular tribe or race as especially or, even less, exclusively important, except when, at a particular time, it can serve as a focalizing lens through which new energies of a planetary character can be released. The true Occultist lives, thinks, and essentially acts in a planetary (and at times superplanetary and "heliocosmic") world of forces, which constitute the true "astral" realm — a world of energies guided by the

archetypal patterns of the so-called "casual" aspect of the cosmic and planetary Mind. He works for humanity rather than for individuals, save in exceptional cases and for more-than-personal purposes. His work is moved by a deep unfaltering love for mankind. Throughout The Mahatma Letters, and in countless statements made by HPB and William Q. Judge (who was instrumental in the formation of the then Esoteric Section of The Theosophical Society), the basic keynote for entrance upon the path that leads to the true Occultism of the Elder Brothers is sounded forth: consecrated service for humanity in a total surrender of the ego and its lesser goals and narrow possessive loves. In The Mahatma Letters, in a letter from Morya, one reads: "It is he alone who has the love of humanity at heart, who is capable of grasping thoroughly the idea of a regenerating practical Brotherhood who is entitled to the possession of our secrets. He alone, such a man, will never misuse his powers and there will be no fear that he should turn them to selfish ends. A man who places not the good of mankind above his own good is not worthy of becoming even our chela — he is not worthy of becoming brighter in knowledge than his neighbour."(10) This is the acid test of the kind of Occultism of which HPB became the emissary. Any other kind will sooner or later lead to the dark path of the "Brothers of the Shadow." Let me repeat here what has already been said concerning the Kumaras or Promethean Spirits. In their nature, Love and Knowledge are two poles from whose interaction power is released. If they are eager to break through the inertial Ring of Saturn and the all-too-spiritual glory of King Jupiter so that evolution can forever go on along its essential spiral path, and if they are ready to suffer the nearly inevitable consequences of their compassionate involvement in the development of self-consciousness and responsibility in Man, it is because of their boundless compassion; this compassion encompasses all who are able to resonate to their everlasting Call. This ability to resonate and respond is inherent, though so often undeveloped, in all human beings since the most ancient coming of these exalted beings and the sacrificial grafting of their power of universal Love and occult Knowledge onto the wild animal-like nature of earthbound mankind. This power is for us all consciously to use at this crucial period of human evolution. It is a time which, at the level of the strictly human consciousness, repeats the great transformation that was induced at an unconscious level in the Earth's biosphere millions of years ago under the impact of the Venusian Host. It is for Man now consciously to choose between the way of spiritual integration through Love and that of slow gradual decay through selfishness, fears, greed, and lust. We are coming to the turning point. Everything depends on the clarity of our knowing and the purity and compassion of our loving. Knowledge and Love are both essential. Knowledge alone is dark; Love alone is possessively blind. All deep and radical spiritual transformations able to alter the total reality of Man require an illumined mind and an all-encompassing heart.

The life of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
The 19th Century Russian Mystic
INTRODUCTION Blavatsky, the inspiring force behind the founding of the Theosophical Society, never claimed to be the founder of any new religion or philosophy. She was, she said, only a transmitter, in modern language, of "a few fundamental Truths from the Secret Doctrine of the archaic ages". To be properly understood, Blavatsky must be seen as the bearer of a message; the spokesman for those wiser than herself, members of a Brotherhood of guardians and protectors of mankind who hold in their custody the ageless truths about man's spiritual nature, his origins and destiny. In her writings and teachings she had much to say that was, in the context of the current ideas of the time, controversial. It brought her calumny and condemnation, not only from the Establishment and Church, but from Spiritualists and even some disenchanted followers who, for their own ends, denounced her as a fraud. Yet time proves to be her friend. Science, which once decried her, increasingly seems to be "catching up" with what she taught, even claiming parts of it as their own! For this, however, Blavatsky would be the last to condemn them ... "We are brothers", she said, and so we should "love, help and mutually defend each other against any spirit of untruth or deception, without distinction of race, creed, or colour". There is only "one infinite, changeless Spirit of Love, Truth and Wisdom in the Universe, one Light for all". THE YOUNG HELENA In 1831, in the Southern Russian province of Ekaterinslov, a daughter was born to the wife of Colonel Peter von Hahn; they named her Helena Petrovna. The Ukrainians believed in nature spirits, witchcraft, and magical customs and rites. Helena's birthday happened to be the one-day in the whole year on which those born were exempt from the persecutions of nature spirits and goblins. This resulted in her receiving some "secret" education in occult lore from her local superstitious nurses. Helena showed considerable psychic abilities at a very early age; she saw and talked with nature spirits. Younger children used to gather round her. She delighted in telling them weird and frightening tales of fearsome monsters and elemental creatures. She also told stories of the lives of the stuffed animals in her grandmother's collection. She had an indomitable self-will and a virtually uncontrollable temper. She passionately rebelled against all constraints of custom and conventionality, a characteristic she showed throughout her life and one that was the cause of much comment and criticism, even scandal later on. Her temper led her up the aisle. Her governess taunted her that no one would ever marry her. To show that this was not so, she inveigled a man three times her age - a Civil Administrator Nikifor Blavatsky - into marrying her. It was 1848, and she was only 17; the marriage proved disastrous. She quickly realized that the unconsummated marriage, which she hoped would have given her more freedom than that of a single woman, was a sad mistake. She fled after only three months, and, boarding a steamer to Constantinople, left the high society, luxury, and indulgent life she had led as an enfant terrible.

This was the first stage of a long journey that took her to Egypt, Greece and other parts of Eastern Europe, Canada, and North and South America. She was searching for occult knowledge, an understanding of the inner powers in nature and man, some of which she possessed from a very early age. She sought to penetrate the deep mysteries of life; to find those who could instruct her and explain not only the nature of her own psychic faculties, but who could demonstrate other and greater powers that she felt the human being possessed. This search led her to many parts of the world where men practiced sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy and 'magic' in many forms. She became acquainted with the Spiritualism then sweeping America and elsewhere. These journeys provided her with a uniquely comprehensive first-hand experience of the occult, which was to become a major factor in her future work. Helena' s adventures around the world were many and varied. She suffered a terrible illness at Rougodevo in Russia in 1859. Later as a member of Garibaldi' s army she was wounded in the Battle of Mentana in Italy in 1867. At the end of that year she went to India, whence after some frustrations she succeeded in entering the., mysterious country of Tibet. For a time, all contact with her was then lost. MEETING THE MASTER From her childhood Blavatsky had talked of a mysterious but familiar ‘presence’, a majestic Hindu in a white turban, whom she knew as her 'protector' .He subsequently did save her from serious injury .She often went riding and on one occasion, her horse took fright and bolted. She was unseated; a leg became entangled in a stirrup. Instead of falling to the ground, being dragged along and almost certainly being seriously injured, she felt herself held up by invisible arms until the horse stopped. This was just one of a number of incidents when she felt this invisible 'presence' and was prevented from coming to harm. In 1851 she visited London with her father. While out walking one day, she saw a tall Hindu in a procession. She instantly recognized him as her 'protector' .She would have stepped forward to speak with him, but he indicated that she should not, and moved on. The next day while walking alone in Hyde Park, she saw him again. He approached her and told her many things. There was important work for her to do; she would have many problems and sufferings in her life as a result. Her 'protector' was a Mahatma, a high initiate in occult knowledge and power, an Adept, a Master of the Wisdom. The Masters of the Wisdom are an elite group of people who, through much training and enormous selfdiscipline, have developed their psychic and spiritual powers to an extent where they have completely mastered their ordinary human natures. They have become 'perfected' men and passed beyond the evolutionary stage of ordinary men. Some of them, instead of then passing onto superhuman realms, elect to remain, for a time at least, on earth to help and inspire us along our spiritual journey. They are our 'elder brothers' working behind the scenes and forming a 'guardian wall' against further and greater evils that could otherwise befall us.

It was from these Masters that Madame Blavatsky received personal instruction. She learned of the secrets of Nature and was trained to control and use her already considerable powers. This was an apprenticeship to prepare her for a lifetime in the Master's work. In 1873 she travelled to Paris. From there she was sent to America by her Master to begin her great work. THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIRITS She arrived in New York on the 7th. July 1874. She saw in Spiritualism an opportunity to introduce, as she called it, "... a new cycle of occult research. " She had been accustomed to "ethereal affinities" since she was a child, but now she could manifest her mediumistic tendencies at will, unlike ordinary mediums that have no such conscious control. All over America, at that time, séances were big business, mediums inviting any 'spirit' in the post-mortem realms to "come through". The Spiritualists believed that what came through to the sensitive or medium was the soul or spirit of a dead person returning to give a message to some loved one left behind. This was the basis of a common belief in survival after death. HPB' s explanation was very different. Learned in the causes of the phenomena, she explained that the immortal spirit of a person could not, under any circumstances, revisit the earth after that person was dead. What the mediums were contacting were the discarnate psychic remains, the mortal souls, which are left behind in the astral world after the departure of the person's real spirit. These 'shells' can and do communicate when given the opportunity by a medium. HPB made it quite clear that the shells, or spooks as she called them, were "... soulless creatures, the shadows of their terrestrial bodies from which throve and preserved their semi-material shadows, at the expense of the medium's ". When these 'shadows' materialised at séances, the mediums were giving form unconsciously to pictures of the dead persons existing either in the minds of the sitters or in the 'astral light'. At first she saw in Spiritualism an opportunity to check the materialistic scepticism of the time, and so sided with them against material science. After all, Spiritualism did demonstrate that there are entities in the invisible world, whatever their nature may be. She hoped that this demonstration would provide an opportunity for her to present the philosophy of Occult Science to the world, through her explanations of their phenomena. " Poets speak of the thin partition between this world and the other. They are blind: there is no partition at all except the difference of states in which the living and the dead exist, and the grossness of the physical senses of the majority of mankind. Yet these senses are our salvation; they were given to us by a wise and sagacious mother and nurse - Nature, for otherwise, individuality and even personality would have become impossible: the dead would be ever merging into the living, and the latter assimilating the former." HPB at first allowed herself to be thought of as a Spiritualist. But as it became clear that they rejected her explanations, and it became clear that it would not be possible for her to utilise the movement in the way which she and the Masters had hoped.

"As it is, I have only done my duty,' first towards Spiritualism, that I have defended as well as I could from the attacks of imposture under the too transparent mask of science but I am obliged to confess that I really do not believe in having done any good - to Spiritualism itself - it is with profound sadness in my heart that I acknowledge this fact, for I begin to think there is no help for it." During a visit to a farmhouse at Chittenden in Vermont in 1874, where some remarkable phenomena of materialisation were taking place, she met a civil war colonel, Henry S. Olcott. He was there as a reporter for the New York Daily Graphic, investigating the phenomena being produced by two mediums, the Eddy brothers. His attention was drawn to HPB by her unusual appearance. Her Russian accent, striking Calmuck face and red Garibaldi shirt stood out in the drab surroundings. He struck up a conversation with her in French, and they immediately became friends. When HPB returned to New York she met him again. She explained to him the true nature of 'spirits', and the basic theosophical principles behind the phenomena, which he found so fascinating. "I found Olcott in love with spirits ... I was ordered to let him know that spiritual phenomena without the philosophy of occultism were dangerous and misleading. I proved to him that all that mediums could do through spirits, others could do at will without any spirits at all, that bells and thought-reading, raps and physical phenomena, could be achieved by anyone who had a faculty of acting in his physical body through the organs of his astral body; and I had that faculty ever since I was four years old, as all my family know. “ A SOCIETY IS BORN Olcott introduced HPB to his friend William Quan Judge, a young attorney. Together they became her trusted pupils and received personal instruction in occult lore from her and the Master. HPB held meetings in her rooms at 46 Irving Place, New York. A mixture of lawyers, academics, prominent religious publishers, and Spiritualists attended these meetings. She was instructed by the Masters to form a society, and to choose Olcott for the task. Among the objects of the new Society was the investigation of spiritualistic and psychic phenomena. At one of the early gatherings he proposed to form a nucleus of enlightened and brave souls willing to work together for the collection and diffusion of such knowledge. The Theosophical Society was formed on the l7th. November 1875, with Olcott as President, HPB as Secretary, and Judge as Counsel to the Society. The objects of the society were broadly stated as follows: 1. Universal Brotherhood. 2. No distinctions to be made by the members between races, creeds, or social positions, but every member had to be judged and dealt by on his personal merits. 3. To study the philosophies of the East - those of India chiefly, presenting them gradually to the public in various works that would interpret exoteric religions in the light of esoteric teachings. 4. To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces unknown to science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and spiritual powers in man; trying at the same time to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides' Spirits' of the dead.

At first the Society did not flourish. The Spiritualists did not like the ‘truth’; the theosophical explanations about their spirits, and many Spiritualists who had joined the Society left it. But the founders were undeterred and from among a continual flow of enquirers, some began to take an interest in the Society's work. One of the most notable members at that time was the scientist Thomas Edison. A headquarters for the Society was established at 443 West 34th. St., and it was here that H.P.B. began the writing of her first great work Isis Unveiled. 1818 UNVEILED When Blavatsky began writing Isis Unveiled in 1875, she had no idea of the scale of work on which she was embarking. As she said to Olcott on showing some of the first pages to him, " I wrote this last night by order, but what the deuce it is to be I don't know. Perhaps it is for a newspaper article, perhaps for a book, perhaps for nothing; anyway, I did as I was ordered". By 1877 the book was finished. It was a book of tremendous erudition. Those few early pages had grown into 1200, and in them she quotes from over 1300 separate sources, many of them from unknown obscure writers in various ancient and modem languages. It was a work intended to counteract the 'twin evils' at the time; materialism and Spiritualism. She tried to show that spiritualistic phenomena were not new, that the ancients knew and understood them. Her writings were re-statements of that Ancient Wisdom to which she later gave the name Theosophy. The book caused a furore, selling out within 10 days of publication. It provoked some excellent critical reviews. HPB described it as "A Master Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modem Science and Theology". Its purpose was to trace down through the ages the existence of a sacred knowledge and an occult tradition, which in essence is the science of Man, both in his outer relationship with the physical world, and in his inner relationship with the psychic and spiritual planes of the universe. Col. Olcott said in the first volume of his autobiography 'Old Diary Leaves’: " If any book could ever have been said to make an epoch, this one could. Its effects have been as important in one way as those of Darwin' s first great work have been in another: both were tidal waves in modern thought, and each rendered to sweep away theological crudities and replace the belief in miracle with the belief in natural law." But how was she able to gather together this remarkable collection of information from so many different cultures, religions and philosophies? Olcott also wrote: "Whence did she get this knowledge? That she had it is unmistakeable; whence did she get it? Not from her governesses in Russia; not from any source known to her family or most intimate friends; not in any college or university, for she never matriculated at either; not in the huge libraries of the world ... then whence did HPB draw the materials which compose Isis and which cannot be traced to accessible library sources of quotation? From the Astral Light, and by her soul-senses, from her Teachers - the 'Brothers', 'Adepts', 'Sages', 'Masters', as they have been variously called. How do I know it? By working two years with her on Isis …" INDIA On December 18th. 1878, Blavatsky and Olcott left New York for India, where she immediately set to work promoting Theosophy and the Theosophical Society. India, in the late 1870s, was a vast and fascinating world of contradictions, where the ancient East met the

western influences of the British Raj. There was the contrast, which still exists to this day, between the extremes of poverty and wealth, between high learning and ignorance, set in a country of great beauty and magic. They arrived in Bombay on Feb. 16th. 1879, where local theosophists greeted them, and it was here that they made their first base. These westerners who came to revive their great traditions, their ancient religions and philosophies soon fascinated the Indians. They revived an interest in Sanskrit in which their ancient religious treatises are written. One aim of the Theosophical Society was to offer resistance to the spread of materialism that came by way of modern science and dogmatic theology. They soon formed friendships with progressive Indian groups who showed an interest in Theosophy. HPB despised the contempt of one cast for another and the lofty and too often arrogant way in which one class looked down on another. She spoke to all when she said, "You are Divine, children of the One Father, and members of the great brotherhood of mankind". They toured India to arouse interest in the Society, and to form local branches. They spoke to all religionists; Hindus, Parsis, Buddhists, Jews, Mohammedans, and Christians, visiting many places; Allahabad, Cawnpore, Bhutpore, Jeyporr, Agril, Simla and many others. It was during this journey that they adopted the family motto of the Maharajas of Benares for the Theosophical Society "There is no religion higher than truth ". After about three years in India, they decided, with the Master's approval, to establish a headquarters for the society at Adyar, near Madras. They moved in on 17th. December 1882. PHENOMENA Throughout her life H.P .B .had been surrounded by phenomena. We have already seen that she was trained to control her psychic faculties; she could cause bells to ring, furniture to move and objects appear as she willed. One of the most famous examples was during a picnic when an unexpected extra guest appeared and they were short of a cup and saucer for him. HPB sent some of the servants and guests to a nearby tree. When they dug into the ground at its roots, they found a cup and saucer which matched precisely the very set they were using. The most important phenomena, however, were the letters, written to her and others, by the Masters. Their content was largely the teachings they then wanted to promulgate. Although the two Masters mainly responsible for the letters used very unusual means for their production and transmission, they were living men known and seen by their pupils and others. Handwriting experts have examined the letters, and not only found that the ink, which should have faded to yellow by now, 100 years on, is still as dark and clear as the day they were produced. They have concluded, from what evidence remains, that the letters were, in fact, in the handwriting of the Masters concerned. The means of production of the letters is known in theosophicall terms as "precipitation’, whereby the words which were formed within the paper itself by the Masters, the words being impressed into the paper by a process involving strong imagination and powerful will. The materials necessary were drawn from the psychic surroundings. These 'flesh out' the mental images that he, the sender, has created, translating them from the world of ideas into the world of form.

Facsimile of a Master's letter

To all those whom this may concern - to the honourable and doubting company. Foolish are the hearts who doubt of our existence! or of the powers our community is in possession of for ages and ages. Would that you would open your hearts to the reception of the blessed truth, and obtain the fruits of the Arhatship if not in this then in another and better rebirth. Who is for us - answer!

The main recipient of the many letters from the Masters was A.P Sinnett, publisher of a periodical in India called 'The Pioneer’. He became a go-between for the Masters and the European community both in India and England. The correspondence, rich with esoteric teaching, provides a valuable insight into the nature and wisdom of the Masters. Sinnett was, however, an intellectual, and this eventually became a barrier to further correspondence. He found himself doubting not only the teaching in many of its aspects, but Blavatsky herself. The letters that she wrote to him in response to his criticism of her are fascinating: My dear Sinnett, Do you believe that because you have fathomed, as you think, my physical crust and brain, you have ever penetrated even the first cuticles of my Real Self? You would gravely err if you did. I am held by some as untruthful because 'til now I have shown the world only the exterior Mme. Blavatsky. It is like complaining of a moss and weed covered, muddy, stony rock for writing outside, ‘I am not moss covered and mud plastered; your eyes deceive you, for you are unable to see beneath the crust! ' You must understand the allegory. It is not boasting; for I do not say whether inside that unprepossessing rock there is a palatial residence or a humble hut. What I say is this: you do not know me; for whatever there is inside, it is not what you think it is. And to judge me therefore, as untruthful, is the greatest injustice. I, the real inner 'I' am in prison, and cannot show myself as I am, however much I desire to. In her travels, HPB. had reached Cairo in I870 after surviving a shipwreck. While she was waiting for funds to arrive from Russia, she was helped by a Mme. Coulomb, who with her husband turned up in Bombay in 1880, destitute and begging her for assistance. HPB sheltered them for a time, and then she invited them to Adyar as housekeeper and handyman. Mme. Coulomb was constantly trying to raise money, and when an Indian Prince complained that Mme. Coulomb was attempting to blackmail him for a large sum. HPB intervened and put a stop to her scheming. Mme. Coulomb swore revenge. At Adyar, HPB had had a cabinet built in a room called the shrine room. It was in this cabinet that letters from the Mahatmas would appear. One time, while HPB was away, the Coulombs cut a hole into the back of

the cabinet, through the wall, and into a wardrobe in her bedroom next door. This made it appear as though HPB was putting the letters through the hole and into the cabinet herself. The couple claimed that the letters were not messages from the Masters at all. They even forged some letters themselves to make it appear that HPB was colluding with them in this deception. Unfortunately, these claims coincided with an investigation into the phenomena at Adyar by Richard Hodgson, of the Society For Psychical Research, who, during his less-than-thorough enquiries, was taken in by the Coulomb evidence. He decided that HPB was a fraud. The publication of the S.P.R. report in England provoked much bad publicity, both to her and the Society. She returned to India determined to sue for slander, but the Executive Committee of the Society would not back her. Olcott managed to persuade her from taking the matter to court. After having resigned her editorship of the magazine The Theosophist, which she had founded, on March 31st. 1885, she left India never to return. THE WORK IN EUROPE Mme. Blavatsky arrived in Italy in April 1885, where she remained for several months regaining her strength sadly depleted by her experiences at Adyar. From there she went to Wurzburg in Germany, where she stayed at Ludwig Strasse No.6. Here she began writing her magnum opus The Secret Doctrine. At first she set out to write a revised version of Isis Unveiled, but it soon became clear by the size and scope of the material, that it was to be a completely new work. "The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not 'a fortuitous concurrence of atoms, and to assign man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe; to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring; finally, to show that the Occult side of nature has never been approached by science or modern civilisation". An extract from her Preface to the first edition of The Secret Doctrine. This huge work was, like Isis, of immense erudition: some 1400 pages in two volumes, in which she quotes from 1100 other works. It is a synthesis, representing the Wisdom of the Ages known by the few from time immemorial, which she called 'the perennial tradition’. She took material from remote ages, and integrated it with the new, in a modem setting. Its two volumes were first, Cosmogenesis, which looks at the birth of, and subsequent development of the cosmos, its spiritual origins, cyclical processes and Laws, and its hierarchical structure. The second, Anthropogenesis, deals with the birth of Man and his evolution during millions of years on this planet. The culture of the 19th century was dogmatic not only in theological thinking, but also in the assertions of science. Scientists then believed there was really nothing more to discover in nature. The Secret Doctrine preempted many scientific discoveries such as the divisibility of the atom, and those that show that the whole fabric, the edifice on which we constructed our view of physical reality, was basically energy. The manifest world, in all its diversity, was derived from differentiations of one Element, a kind of primordial plasma, and relative to the Ultimate unchanging REALITY, The Secret Doctrine shows that all temporary existence is Maya - illusion.

"These pages were not written for the masses. They are neither an appeal for reform, nor an effort to win over to our view the fortunate of life; they are addressed solely to those who are constitutionally able to comprehend them, to those who suffer, to those who hunger and thirst after some Reality in this world of Chinese Shadows " ... The book was finally completed and published in 1888 in London where she had settled. It has been in print continuously ever since. Mankind is on a long, long pilgrimage to perfection. This 'spiritual journey' is a process which takes us through the evolutionary stages of growth from human to superhuman states of consciousness. However, we can consciously assume control of, or become responsible for our spiritual development. By this intervention we can speed up the process, but it is difficult and painful. However, humanity as a whole must eventually tread this ‘path’, as part of planned evolution through long cycles of gradual development. Blavatsky's priceless work The Voice Of The Silence (1889) was written to guide aspirants to individual spiritual attainment. It was translated from 'The Book Of The Golden Precepts '; an ancient work of unknown origin, which describes the nature of 'the path’; the disciplines required, and the pitfalls and dangers that may be encountered on the way to the conquering of the lower self. "There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind - but yet a road; and it leads to the heart of the Universe. I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway that leads inward only, and closes fast behind the neophyte evermore. There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer. There is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through. There is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount. For those who win onwards, there is reward past all telling: the power to bless and save humanity. For those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.” This culmination of her teaching is written as an exquisite prose poem. It reveals the way to the supreme mystical achievement, that of finding the Self, the God within each of us. Published in the same year was another great work, The Key To Theosophy that is of special significance to students. This is a practical textbook, in a question and answer format, which deals with a wide range of theosophical subjects. It traces the broad outlines of the Wisdom Religion, and explains its fundamental principles, such as the constitution of man, reincarnation, life-after death, Karma, and the purpose of the theosophical movement. It also deals with the application of Theosophy to the affairs of the world; to problems occurring in everyday life; education, social reforms, right behaviour etc. The Key To Theosophy is written in a language that makes Theosophy accessible to those who have newly encountered the subject. It has a helpful comprehensive glossary .It represents the full range and depth of subjects which HPB's works cover, and is a key to unlock the door to the deeper study of this immense subject of inestimable importance to mankind. HPB AND RELIGION The word 'theosophy' is from the Greek theos, 'god', and sophia, 'wisdom'. In HPB's words it is "… the science of sciences ... the shore less ocean of universal truth, love and wisdom, divine nature, visible and invisible,' the aggregate of the knowledge and wisdom that underlie the Universe ".

Theosophy is not a religion, but describes a unity of truth that flows through and links all the spiritual teachings of the world. "It is the root and trunk of the tree of which all religions are branches" and she described The Secret Doctrine as "The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy". HPB encouraged everyone to look beyond the surface of the great religions, to discover the One Truth, that truth which forms a common background to them all, It is Theosophy, the Ancient Wisdom, the Perennial Philosophy as Huxley called it. A unanimity of experience and thought is to be found amongst early Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist mystics, including St. John of the Cross and many others. As there is only one truth, it is not surprising that, although they used different words to describe their experiences, what they were all describing was essentially, the same. But this experience has been largely lost, repressed or distorted by the many dogmatic religions. A major part of HPB's work was to restore this knowledge, and its associated ancient teachings, to the world. As she was based in England for much of her work, she ran into criticism and resistance to her ideas from the institutional theologists of the late 18th Century, and especially some of the Christian authorities who reacted strongly against her. The following extract from a letter by her to the then Archbishop of Canterbury illustrates the position she took regarding religions and the church. "We are accustomed to say to the Buddhist, the Mohammedan, the Hindoo, or the Parsee: 'The road to Theosophy lies, for you, through your own religion.' We say this because those creeds possess a deeply philosophical and esoteric meaning, explanatory of the allegories under which they are presented to the people; but we cannot say the same thing to Christians. The successors of the Apostles never recorded the secret doctrine of Jesus - the 'mysteries of the kingdom of heaven' - which it was given to them (his apostles) alone to know. These have been suppressed, made away with, destroyed. What have come down upon the stream of time are the maxims, the parables, the allegories and the fables intended for the spiritually deaf and blind, to be revealed later to the world, and which modern Christianity either takes all literally, or interprets to the Fathers of the secular church. In both cases they are like cut flowers: they are severed from the plant on which they grew, and from the root whence that plant drew its life." MESSENGER OF THE MASTERS HPB had many personal difficulties. She always suffered from poor physical health, injuries, and several serious illnesses during her life. She was frequently short-tempered. This was partly due to her physical suffering, but some resulted from an abnormal alteration to her principles made during the intense occult instruction she underwent with the Masters in Tibet. But those who knew her saw the real HPB as a very kind, wise, and generous individual, and there were many instances of her selfless nature. One particular example occurred in 1889 when she was on her way from England to New York. She was about to embark on a steamer when she met a poor woman and her two young children on the quay. The mother was very distressed as she had been swindled out of her travelling money when she purchased counterfeit steamer tickets; she was now stranded, penniless, unable to join her husband in New York.

HPB, who had a first class ticket, traded in her ticket for steerage ones for them all. Steerage on a steamer in the 1800s was very basic, cold and uncomfortable, and the change from first class would have been a great personal sacrifice to her, yet typical. But why did the Masters choose such a physically handicapped woman? Their reply to this question was that they had searched for nearly a century to find someone suitable to send out into the Western world to convey their message. They said that "she was not the best, but the best available". She was an 'amanuensis', an assistant who takes dictation, a channel for their teachings. She was unique in that she had both the intellect to understand the material, and the ability to put profound ideas into a suitable literary form, and as far as possible, in language that could be readIly understood. She also had extraordinarily developed psychic powers which enabled her to see into the universal memory, the 'astral light' as she called it. This is Nature's memory which records everything that has ever happened during this cycle of the world's history. Its cosmic counterpart, the everlasting universal memory is sometimes referred to as the 'akashic records'. It was by drawing on this astral light memory that the Master was able to show her the copious references she needed for The Secret Doctrine, and which she wrote down during long and exhausting sessions often involving periods of great mental exertion. BLAVATSKY AND SCIENCE At the time when H.P.B. was writing The Secret Doctrine in the 19th century, the atom had not yet been split, and no theories of sub-atomic particles and quantum physics had been expounded. As with any revolutionary thinker, she was up against dogmatism, caught between science and orthodox religious theology. Although science was once much more of a spiritual discipline which had grown out of the mystical traditions of such men as Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras, by the end of the 19th. century the climate of scientific thinking had become materialistic and mechanistic. God was reduced to 'the ghost in the machine'. And yet Blavatsky was already saying that the essential nature of matter was energy, and that the apparent solidity associated with the atom and matter was an illusion. This idea, that matter is simply a different form of energy, was prevalent in the whole ancient tradition, and it was to be validated by the work of Einstein and others in the years to come. It is interesting to compare two descriptions of the beginning of the cosmos. One given by Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine and the other by Robert Jastrow, director of the Institute of Space Studies. " Darkness radiates light, and behold, unparalleled refulgent glory,' bright space, son of dark space, " - H.P .Blavatsky

" Picture the radiant splendour of the moment of creation, suddenly a world of pure energy flashes into being. Unimaginable brightness fills the Universe." - Robert J astrow Blavatsksy paints a picture of the beginnings of the cosmos that can be compared to the modem theories of , its origins such as 'The Big Bang', almost 100 years before. Today, some freethinking scientists are returning to a 'sense of Nature'. They are beginning to see the cosmos as a developing organism instead of a vast machine which is gradually running out of steam. Through the evolutionary theories of Darwinism, and the budding ideas of cosmic evolution, we are beginning to see that the teachings of HPB and her Masters were indeed, very much ahead of their time. As Blavatsky says about her work: "...The Secret Doctrine contains all that can be given out to the world in this century (the 19th.) one by one facts and processes in Nature's workshops are permitted to find their way into the exact Sciences, while mysterious help is given to rare individuals in unravelling its arcana there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature, and materialistic science will receive a death blow ". HER LAST DAYS HPB had difficulties with her health all her life. Although her teachers were hard task-masters, they gave her the choice of continuing with the work, or, having already done more than could reasonably have been expected of her, of withdrawing from it. She decided to continue. "Master has been here; he gave me my choice, that I might die and be free if I would, or I might live and finish The Secret Doctrine, He told me how great would be my suffering and what a terrible time I would have before me,' but when I thought of those students to whom I shall be permitted to teach a few things, and of The Theosophical Society in general, to which I have already given my heart's blood, I accepted the sacrifice,. and now to make it complete, fetch me some coffee and something to eat, and give me my tobacco box. " When Col. Olcott visited her in London in September 1888, he found her "working with desperate pertinacious energy at the completion of The Secret Doctrine, notwithstanding that, by all the laws of pathology and medical science, it was a miracle that she was alive at all." But with the Master's help, she was to survive for another 3 years, and produce not only The Secret Doctrine but several further writings including The Key To Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence, and many articles. The following letter to Mrs. Sinnett sums up her feelings towards life: after she had virually been expelled from India, given up her editorship of the Theosophist, which magazine she had started, then been subjected to continual vilification and calumny - "my heart is broken physically and morally. For the first I do not care; Master shall take care it does not burst, so long as I am needed; in the second case there is no help ... I was ready to shed the last drop of life in me, give up every hope, for the last shred of -I shall not say happiness - but rest and comfort in this life of torture, for the cause I serve and for every true Theosophist. "

On the 8th. May, 1891, H.P. Blavatsky died at 19 Avenue Rd., St. John's Wood, London. Her last words were typical of her life's devotion to the Master's work. " Keep the link unbroken...do not let my last incarnation be a failure ". Colonel Olcott wrote a tribute to her after her death:"HPB's enthusiasm was aflame at which all our Theosophists lit their torches, an example which stirred one's blood like the sound of a war trumpet! It is no wonder that I have loved her as a friend, prized her as a teacher, and for evermore kept her memory sacred". Blavatsky's own words best summarise the spirit of hope she bequeathed Mankind: "When the artificial chilly flame of modern materialism is extinguished for lack of fuel, those for whom the great hope of existence beyond the grave is a vexation, should prepare for the greatest disappointment they could possible have. For out of the deep muddy waters of materiality, a mystic force is rising. It is but the first rustling, but it is a superhuman rustling - it is supernatural only for the superstitious and ignorant! The Spirit of truth is passing now over the face of dark waters; and, in parting them, is compelling them to reveal their spiritual treasures,. and this spirit is aforce that cannot be hindered, and can never, never, be stopped".

H.P. Blavatsky and Theosophy
'There is No Religion Higher than Truth'
We live in a questioning and critical age when the religious and scientific dogmas of the past are increasingly being challenged. The idea, for example, of a personal, anthropomorphic God, a sort of magnified image of ourselves, a God who created the universe and ourselves from nothing, who listens to prayers, grants favours, forgives sins, and eventually consigns us to heaven or hell -- such a God finds fewer and fewer believers. At the same time, the idea of a soulless, mechanical universe governed by nothing but chance is not very compelling either. Many people are seeking a deeper and more meaningful vision of life. This was also true of the Russian mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the 'mother of the New Age', when she set out on her quest for knowledge in the middle of the 19th century. Through her contacts with religious and mystical traditions in many parts of the world, and the instructions she received from her own teacher in Tibet, she learned of the existence of the ageless wisdom -- the fountain-source from which all the great world religions and philosophies have sprung.

H.P. Blavatsky

The fundamental teaching of the ancient wisdom is the spiritual unity of all things. Blavatsky writes: 'not only humanity -- composed as it is of thousands of races -- but everything that lives is made of the same essence and substance, is animated by the same spirit, and consequently, everything in nature is bound in solidarity.' Rejecting the idea of a God existing outside nature, theosophy speaks of an all-pervading divine essence, an infinite ocean of consciousness, from which all things are born and to which they ultimately return. The human kingdom is one of the phases of experience that each god-spark must pass through during its long evolutionary journey through the worlds of matter. The idea that each human soul lives just one short life on earth, and then spends the rest of eternity in heaven or hell is neither logical nor appealing. According to the ageless wisdom, we incarnate on earth many many times, and in each life we reap the consequences of the causes we have set in motion in previous lives, in accordance with the law of karma. In this way we gradually learn from our mistakes and unfold more and more of our spiritual potential. The twin doctrines of reincarnation and karma place the responsibility for our lives firmly upon our own shoulders. Instead of being the victims of chance and 'selfish genes' on the one

hand, or of fate and some fickle God on the other, we have made ourselves what we are, and it is up to us to use our free will wisely, in order to help others and change ourselves for the better. And just as the quality of our thoughts and deeds largely determines the nature of our dreams during sleep, so they will also determine the states of consciousness experienced by the inner self after death. H.P. Blavatsky devoted her life to spreading these and other ideas. She believed that they would help to eradicate ignorance and superstition, uproot separateness and selfishness -- the cause of so much suffering and misery -- and lay a sound basis for universal brotherhood. In her work, she had to cross swords with both dogmatic theology and materialistic science, and it was this that lay at the root of much of the opposition she encountered. Her eventful life, and the far-reaching influence she has had on modern thought are described in detail in the biography The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky; Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement by Sylvia Cranston and Carey Williams, and also in H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement by Charles J. Ryan. The first of the three objectives of the Theosophical Society, founded by H.P. Blavatsky, H.S. Olcott, and W.Q. Judge in 1875, is to form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour. The basic moral precepts that would make universal brotherhood a reality are very simple, but it is a constant challenge to apply them consistently in our everyday lives: we should try to be loving and forgiving, calm and patient, kind and altruistic; we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves, and concentrate on correcting our own faults rather than on criticizing others; and above all, we should live to benefit others. Blavatsky's work The Voice of the Silence is a beautiful expression of the ethics of brotherhood and self-sacrifice, in the tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. In it she writes: 'Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin.' The second objective of the Theosophical Society is the study of the world's religions, philosophies, and sciences. Blavatsky played a pioneering role in introducing the west to the sacred traditions of the east. She also provided insights into the deeper meaning of myth, allegory, and symbolism. When stripped of their later dogmatic accretions, the world's religions are found to have more similarities than differences: they recognize that our essential self is fundamentally identical with the Universal Self; they advocate the golden rule of universal love; and they speak of enlightened teachers -- Krishna, Buddha, Christ, etc. -- who have appeared on earth at different times and restated some of the fundamental spiritual values. The third objective of the Theosophical Society is the study of the hidden mysteries of nature, including the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man. A growing number of scientific investigators are admitting that many phenomena in the physical world cannot be satisfactorily explained in terms of standard physical and chemical forces alone. The growth of an organism from a seed or egg, the existence of instinct and selfconsciousness, the purposeful nature of evolution, and a wide variety of paranormal phenomena all point to the operation of nonphysical forces and influences. In her book, Cranston outlines some of the latest insights and discoveries in various fields of science, including research into out-of-the-body experiences, neardeath experiences, and survival after death. Materialistic scientists regard consciousness as a mere byproduct of matter, and matter in turn is regarded as concentrated energy. Theosophy, on the other hand, says that consciousness is the ultimate reality, the highest form of energy, and physical matter is just one of its many manifestations. Hence the physical world is interpenetrated by innumerable other worlds, composed of grades of energy-substance invisible to our physical senses. And just as the physical world is organized and coordinated by inner worlds -- astral, mental,

and spiritual -- so our physical bodies are animated and controlled by our own inner nature -- astral modelbody, life-energy, thoughts and desires, and our more intuitive and spiritual qualities. And whether it is our higher nature or lower nature that holds sway is up to us. H.P. Blavatsky was not interested in establishing yet another sect with herself as high priestess. She made no claims to infallibility, but called for 'free and fearless investigation', believing that, as the motto of the Theosophical Society puts it: 'There is no religion higher than truth.' In her view, all ideas -- whatever their source -- should be tested against our own knowledge, experience, and intuition. She strove to reawaken interest in the timeless, soul-strengthening ideas of the ancient wisdom, because she felt that they could help us to develop a healthy and positive philosophy of life, one which satisfies both the heart and the intellect, and which can help us to meet the trials and temptations of daily life. Her major works -- Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy, and The Voice of the Silence -- have been continuously in print since her death in 1891. And it is because her writings are so full of stimulating, thought-provoking, and inspiring ideas, that they are likely to remain in demand for a very long time to come.

H. P. Blavatsky and Her Writings
H. P. Blavatsky's Life and Work Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, was a remarkable woman who has made a great impact on the thought of the Western world. In her own day, she was controversial because of her remarkable abilities of extrasensory perception, her forthright and outspoken nature, and her fearless attacks on hypocrisy and bigotry. Even today, she continues to be the center of curiosity and attention as the precursor of "new" ideas. Her great metaphysical knowledge is embodied in her literary work, which has directly or indirectly influenced inquiring minds all over the world. Helena Blavatsky was born of a noble family in Russia. From earliest childhood she attracted attention with her ability of producing psychic phenomena at will. Yet she was not interested in such powers for their own sake, but for the principles and laws of nature that govern them. She became a student of metaphysical lore and traveled to many lands, including Tibet, in search of hidden knowledge. These were extraordinary travels for a lone woman in the nineteenth century. In the 1870s H. P. Blavatsky came to New York and, with Colonel H. S. Olcott, William Quan Judge, and others, formed the Theosophical Society in 1875. In 1878 H. P. Blavatsky became an American citizen, the first Russian woman ever to do so. In 1879 she and Col. Olcott moved to India, and in 1882 they established the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, near Madras. This remains the international headquarters for the Society, which is now established in seventy countries of the world. In 1885 H. P. Blavatsky went to Europe and settled in London, where she completed her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine. Much of the knowledge in this book and her other writings was derived from Eastern teachers with whom she came in touch early in life. Early Writings and Isis Unveiled Through her many writings, H. P. Blavatsky –"Madame Blavatsky" or "HPB" as she came to be known–has shared some of her extensive knowledge of the philosophies and religions of the world, the wisdom of the East and the West, symbolism, metaphysics, esoteric philosophy, and the practical application of all these to life. She was a prolific writer, and newspaper and magazine articles on a variety of subjects flowed steadily from her pen. These works fill fifteen volumes of her fully indexed Collected Writings. The first major book by H. P. Blavatsky was Isis Unveiled, in two volumes. It created a sensation when published in New York City in 1877; the first edition of 1,000 copies sold out in two days. Within seven months, three printings had been issued. The book has as its subtitle A Master Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology. Volume 1 deals with claims of "infallibility" for science, while volume 2 deals with similar claims for religion. Both show that the Ancients had a wisdom that has been partly forgotten in our time.

Isis Unveiled covers much more than its subtitle indicates, however. For instance, the author moves from ancient Greek views on matter and force advanced by Pythagoras and Plato to the Kabbalistic religious philosophy developed by Jewish scholars from a mystical interpretation of the Scriptures. Blavatsky discusses mythological stories in many religious texts, aspects of magic, ancient Egyptian writings, classical philosophies, world religions, and a multitude of other subjects. In her preface, she states that the book is "a plea for the recognition of the Hermetic philosophy, the anciently universal Wisdom-Religion." The Secret Doctrine Blavatsky's greatest work is The Secret Doctrine. This book appeared in 1888 in two large volumes, the first concerned with cosmogenesis, the study of the origin and development of the universe, and the second with anthropogenesis, the study of the origins and development of humanity. This book continues in greater detail the themes set forth in Isis Unveiled, its subtitle, The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, expressing the aim of the work. HPB made it clear that The Secret Doctrine was not written as a revelation but is rather a collection of fragments scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asian and preChristian European religions and philosophies. Furthermore, she strongly rejected the dogmatic interpretation of any of her work. The reader is asked to study the ideas from this or any other source only in the light of common human experience and reason. The Secret Doctrine outlines a vast scheme of evolution relating to the universe and to humanity, and to the unseen as well as the seen worlds of manifestation in which life is said to exist in thousands of forms. It is based on three fundamental propositions: 1. An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable Principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought. 2. The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing." 3. The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul–a spark of the former–through the Cycle of Incarnation in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law. Although drawn from many sources, The Secret Doctrine is based largely on an archaic manuscript titled The Book of Dzyan, of which it is an interpretation. The stanzas of The Book of Dzyan are not easy to understand, but they reveal, to the person willing to study them, a sublime description of cosmic evolution: the reawakening of the universe after a period of quiescence, the differentiation of forms, the process of world formation, the appearance of humanity on earth, and the early evolution of our species. The work is not simple, but as the reader delves into it, the magnitude of Blavatsky's undertaking becomes apparent. Anyone who approaches the book seriously will gain a new respect for the author and for her scholarship and great knowledge. More than a hundred years after its first publication, The Secret Doctrine continues to attract thousands of students who mine its rich depth of knowledge and wisdom. This work is available in various editions, including a paperback set with an authoritative introduction and notes and a third volume containing a

detailed index and bibliography. The Secret Doctrine continues to be the principal source book for students of Theosophy, not as the final word on the subject, but as a stimulus to encourage the student to ponder its thoughts with a free and questing mind. Other Works In addition to Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky wrote a number of shorter books. One of these, The Key to Theosophy, is a valuable introduction to Theosophical thought and philosophy, dealing especially with the implications of Theosophy for living. This book is written in the form of questions and answers, focusing upon who we are and how we relate to the world around us. Blavatsky is remembered not only for her works of scholarship and her industry but also for a short book of deep spiritual insight and instruction called The Voice of the Silence. It is her translation of an old Eastern manuscript and includes her explanations and comments on a series of precepts offered to those seeking the path to enlightenment. Wisdom and an understanding heart are evident in the skill with which HPB has safeguarded the original poetic imagery as she rendered the ancient verses into English prose. First printed in the late nineteenth century, The Voice of the Silence has been published in many editions and languages. It is read and treasured around the world for its poetic imagery and spiritual power. Here are a few passages: Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself. Let thy soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun. Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer's eye. But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed. Help Nature and work on with her, and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance. Mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects. It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-Wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions. The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beating of the Karmic heart. Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin. Shalt thou abstain from action? Not so shall gain thy soul her freedom. To reach Nirvana one must reach Self-Knowledge, and Self-Knowledge is of loving deeds the child. Step out from sunlight into shade, to make more room for others.

To live to benefit mankind is the first step. To practice the six glorious virtues is the second. Of teachers there are many; the MASTER-SOUL is one . . . the Universal Soul. Live in that MASTER as Its ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in It. Behold, the mellow light that floods the Eastern sky. In signs of praise both heaven and earth unite. And from the four-fold manifested Powers a chant of love ariseth, both from the flaming Fire and flowing Water, and from sweet-smelling Earth and rushing Wind. . . All Nature's wordless voice in thousand tones ariseth to proclaim: . . . A Pilgrim hath returned back from the other shore . . . Peace to all beings. H. P. Blavatsky devoted her life to the service of humanity, to bringing the Wisdom of the ancients back into the awareness of her contemporaries. That Divine Wisdom, which she called Theosophy, inspires a compassion for the sufferings of our fellow human beings and a practical altruism that seeks not merely to alleviate the symptoms of misery, but to remove its cause: ignorance of our fundamental unity with all other beings. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's life and works are directed entirely to that goal.

HPB: Catalyst for Self-Discovery
By Jim Belderis
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, principal founder of the Theosophical Society, was largely responsible for introducing Eastern religious philosophy to the Western world. Though many associate her primarily with psychic powers and phenomena, the spiritual ideas expressed in her voluminous writings have been a source of inspiration to philosophers, scientists, writers, artists, and truth-seekers all over the world. Helena Petrovna von Hahn was born in Ekaterinoslav (now Dnepropetrovsk), Ukraine, on August 12, 1831. Her father, Peter von Hahn, was an army captain and a descendant of German nobility. Her mother was the celebrated novelist Helena Andreyevna Hahn, descended from one of the oldest families of the Russian nobility. Yet their daughter Helena would not follow any of the usual pursuits associated with her aristocratic background, as "all her sympathies and attractions went out towards people of the lower class." (1) As her father was ordered from one garrison town to another, often moving his family with him, Helena came in contact with a great many different peoples and cultures. She had a passion for all kinds of legends and traditional wisdom, "which she would devour night and day as long as the impulse lasted." (2) There were long periods when she had free access to the enormous library of her maternal grandparents, Princess Helena Dolgorukova and Governor Andrey de Fadeyev. This included hundreds of books on philosophy and esoteric science. These prolonged sojourns with her grandparents were mostly due to her mother's failing health. Helena Petrovna was only 11 years old when her mother died, after which she and her younger sister and brother were raised by their grandmother in the governor's mansion in Saratov. It was here that Helena immersed herself in a metaphysical world that surpassed anything she had read. Her sister Vera relates that Helena could sense the natural history of an area and would describe her visions, which were "clear, vivid, and as palpable as life to her!" (3) There were also times when she sensed a presence that would guide her and keep her safe from harm. Later she would recognize this presence as her Master, and her connection with him became a dominant influence on her inner life. Her sensitivity grew stronger as she and her family traveled nearly a thousand miles to the south, where her grandfather assumed his new position as state treasurer of Tiflis. Here, at the age of 16, Helena began living what she called "a double existence, mysterious, incomprehensible even to myself." (4) Outwardly she was impetuous, willful, rebellious, and even mischievous. But inwardly she was preoccupied with the mysteries of Being. Such a distinctly dual nature involved her in some highly distressful situations. Her first major crisis came at the age of 17 when, acting on a dare, she induced the vice-governor of Erivan to propose to her. Nikifor Blavatsky was more than twice her age, and although she was obliged to go through with the marriage, she was determined never to let it be consummated. After three months of violent quarrels and frustrated attempts to leave him, she finally succeeded in escaping to her grandmother. Her family then made an arrangement with her father that she should be sent to join him at Odessa. But Helena longed to be free to

explore the world in search of the unknown. Purposely missing the steamer to Odessa, she soon managed to leave Russia and set off on her own. Traveling now as Madame Blavatsky, with money sent to her by her father, she had the freedom to seek out those who could teach her more about the ancient wisdom. She met with occultists in Athens and Cairo, and lived with Dervishes, Druses, Bedouins, and Sufis. For the next two years she traveled in the Middle East and Europe, searching for someone with whom she felt a special spiritual connection, a teacher who could bring about in her the "union of the Soul and the Spirit." (5) Finally in England in 1851 she wrote in her sketchbook, "I met M [symbol] the Master of my dreams!!" (6) She would later reveal that this was the Indian Master who had watched over her since her childhood, and "he required her cooperation in a work which he was about to undertake. He then told her how The Theosophical Society was to be formed, and wished her to be the founder." (7) There are conflicting accounts as to the date and place of this meeting, but when H.P.B. resumed her travels she appeared to be driven to gain firsthand knowledge of the world's spiritual traditions and philosophies. During the next seven years she journeyed through North and South America, India, and Tibet. In the West she studied Native American wisdom, Voodoo, and ancient American civilizations. Sailing to India, she traveled there extensively for nearly two years. During this time she tried to enter Tibet through Nepal, but was not allowed to cross the border. Her next attempt would not come until she had made another three-year trip around the world. Returning to India in 1856, she succeeded in entering Tibet through Kashmir in the company of a Tartar shaman. Some of her adventures during this period she described in Isis Unveiled and later in a series of Russian articles which were eventually translated into English and published as From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan. HPB's main object in entering Tibet was to join her Master at his retreat in Tashilhunpo, much farther to the east. She was unable to do this before she had to return to India. Then, shortly before the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, her Master directed her to leave the country. When HPB returned to Russia in 1858, she aroused much amazement. Wherever she went, there were audible and visible manifestations. Staying with relatives and friends in various parts of the country, she assured them that she was not a medium, "but only a mediator between mortals and beings we knew nothing about." (8) With the help of these beings, she astonished friends and acquaintances by disclosing their unexpressed thoughts, precipitating notes and letters, generating musical tones, making objects move from a distance, or making them immovable. Yet there were many skeptics who were eager to challenge her ability. Time after time she submitted to their tests, only to be misunderstood, doubted, and even ridiculed. Though she accepted such abuse in good humor, the misuse of her energies eventually took its toll on her health. Less than a year after she returned to Russia, she fell gravely ill and remained in a deathlike trance for several days. Four years later she contracted another illness even more serious than before. On both occasions she experienced a sudden and mysterious cure. The second illness coincided with a remarkable change in her development, for afterwards she freed herself from the spontaneous manifestations of elementals. She was now able to stop their phenomena at will and bring them entirely under her own control. In 1865 HPB felt the need to continue her travels. Again she journeyed through the Middle East and the Balkans, this time on her way to war-torn Italy. There, in 1867, she was wounded at the Battle of Mentana and, after recovering from her wounds, she was directed by her Master to proceed to India. This time she succeeded in reaching her Master Morya's retreat in Tashilhunpo, a Tibetan center of monasteries and

colleges. Here she met her Master's colleague, the Mahatma Koot Hoomi, who also became her teacher. HPB studied with them for almost three years, learning to read and translate the most sacred Tibetan and Senzar texts into English. Among these were "The Book of the Golden Precepts," from which she later translated fragments as The Voice of the Silence, and "The Book of Dzyan," the stanzas that form the basis for her masterwork The Secret Doctrine. This period of training was HPB's final preparation for her public work. When she left Tibet in 1870 she was looking for the opportunity to introduce the ancient wisdom to the West. This came after she had survived a devastating shipwreck on her way to Egypt. She settled in Cairo and began to organize a Societe Spirite, which would investigate mediumistic phenomena and eventually bring attention to true occultism. But as HPB was forced to use several of the local mediums, she soon discovered they were cheating the members. Breaking all contact with the "mediums," she vowed "to put an end for ever to such public seances." (9) The following year was a time of waiting, spent mostly with her family in Russia, and briefly with a cousin in Paris. But soon after HPB's arrival in Paris, she was directed by her teacher to go to America. The West at this time was being swept by a wave of scientific materialism. Religious faith was being shaken, ideals were being lost, and people were demanding scientific proof before they would believe in anything spiritual. To many, seeing and communicating with the so-called "spirits" of the dead seemed to provide such proof. As the ranks of the spiritualists swelled, HPB felt it was her duty to get involved "to unveil what is, and expose what is not." (10) Her first opportunity came the year after her arrival in New York, when she read a series of newspaper articles by Colonel Henry S. Olcott, a New York attorney reporting on the manifestations that were taking place at the home of the Eddy brothers in Chittenden, Vermont. Meeting Olcott at the Eddy Homestead, HPB tried to show him that these apparitions were not the true spirits of the dead, but only materializations of lower astral entities.

H. S. Olcott In the following months, as the Eddy brothers and other mediums were accused of trickery in the Press, HPB wrote letters and articles in their defense. She also continued her association with Olcott in New York, and through their writings they began to attract other like-minded inquirers. One of those who met HPB through

Olcott was a young attorney named William Q. Judge, and soon she was teaching them both the "true Spiritualism" of the wisdom religion.

W. Q. Judge These three became the principal founders of the Theosophical Society, which was established in the fall of 1875. By this time a group of serious students were holding discussions in HPB's apartment, and it was decided to form a society that would study "the esoteric philosophies of ancient times" and share the fruit of this research with the public. It was also advocated that members aspire towards unselfish devotion in the search for truth, as well as purity of life and thought. HPB's official title in the Society was Corresponding Secretary. Leaving the administrative work to Olcott and others, she devoted her energies principally to writing. Her letters and articles were now dealing with occultism and the esoteric sciences, and much of what she wrote was inspired by her teachers. It was also during this period that she was engaged in writing her first book, Isis Unveiled. This would become a monumental work on ancient and modern science and theology, and it consumed most of her time for the next two years. When it was published in 1877 it was an immediate success, far surpassing anyone's expectations. After the TS had been established in the U.S., it was decided to move the headquarters of the Theosophical Society to India. Arriving in Bombay in 1879, HPB and Olcott established their headquarters in the Indian quarter where Europeans were seldom seen.From the very beginning it was apparent that HPB regarded Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, and Parsis alike with fraternal affection. Her reverence for their religious traditions was made abundantly clear in her letters and articles, which were published in various Indian journals. As these were "heathen" religions in the eyes of the English missionaries, she and her fellow Theosophists were continually attacked in the Christian press. She was accused of hating Christians, of immorality, and even of spying for the Russian government. At the same time she was also criticized by certain Hindus for embracing people of non-Hindu faiths and also those who believed in magic. All these charges were addressed by HPB in both word and deed, as she and her colleagues continued to ally themselves with truth-seekers regardless of religion, race, caste, or gender -- with everyone "that is earnestly searching in his own way after a knowledge of the Divine Principle." (11) Five months after their arrival in Bombay, the TS began publishing its own journal, The Theosophist, with HPB as editor. She described it as a repository for all that relates to occultism, as well as "an organ through which the native scholars of the East could communicate their learning to the Western world" -- not as propaganda for any particular religion, but as "the paper representing the whole Theosophical Society, or

Universal Brotherhood." (12) She also made the magazine a forum for the promotion of religious freedom, the rights of the underprivileged classes (especially women, children, and outcasts), and the right of all native peoples to educate themselves in their own traditional language and culture. HPB's continued efforts to advance these causes would have a tremendous influence on society in both India and Ceylon and would eventually lead to a great cultural and religious revival. In December 1879 HPB and Olcott went to Northern India to visit A. P. Sinnett, the editor of an influential Anglo-Indian newspaper, The Pioneer. Sinnett had seen mediumistic phenomena in London and was interested in the occult laws that govern such manifestations. HPB became a good friend of both him and his wife, who soon joined the TS. When she visited them the next year, the Sinnetts witnessed a series of remarkable phenomena, many of which HPB credited to her teachers. Sinnett's request to write them a letter led to an extraordinary four-yearlong correspondence in which over 1,300 pages of "Mahatma Letters" were received by Sinnett and his friend Allan O. Hume. Most of the letters dealt with the philosophical and ethical teachings of the ancient wisdom, but Sinnett had a craving for phenomena, and this would cause HPB a great deal of distress. His books, particularly The Occult World, drew such public attention to the psychic powers of HPB and her Mahatmas that she regretted having their names "dragged in the mud," (13) and Sinnett was warned by Master M that his phenomenalistic craving was "like the thirst for drink and opium. . . . If you cannot be happy without phenomena you will never learn our philosophy." (14) Presenting this ancient philosophy had always been HPB's mission, and as she realized that most inquirers were attracted by her phenomena and were much less interested in the wisdom tradition of her teachers, she came to emphasize the philosophical and ethical teachings more and more. To promulgate these teachings, she and Olcott continued to travel extensively throughout India and Ceylon. Hundreds of public meetings and discussions were held, unprecedented gatherings of Asians and Europeans of different religious backgrounds, and in the space of just a few years there were dozens of new theosophical lodges. For HPB, however, the constant strain of traveling and working in a tropical climate gradually undermined her health. In the fall of 1882 she developed chronic inflammation of the kidneys with severe hypertension and edema. Though her condition was greatly improved under the care of her Masters, it began to deteriorate toward the end of the next year while she was living at the new TS headquarters in Madras in Southern India. Her doctors warned her that she would die unless she went to recuperate in a cooler climate, so in early 1884 arrangements were made for Olcott to accompany her to France. When the headquarters staff had made the move to Madras in December 1882, two of its members were Emma and Alexis Coulomb, the housekeeper and the handyman. Just before HPB left for Europe, she reprimanded Madame Coulomb for trying to extort money from a wealthy member of the TS. Madame Coulomb resented this so much that she swore to revenge herself on HPB (see "HPB and the Society for Psychial Research" for details of the case). When Christian missionaries published letters supplied by the Coulombs, allegedly written by HPB, the British press concluded that HPB had been exposed as a fraud, which was also the conclusion of the Psychical Research Society's committee investigating HPB's phenomena, based largely on the report of one of its members, Richard Hodgson. HPB returned to Madras at the end of 1884, determined to defend her teachers and theosophy. But a TS committee of lawyers, judges, and influential Hindu members resolved that Hodgson and the Coulombs

should not be prosecuted because the trial would result in the Masters being further ridiculed, and because occult phenomena could not be proved in court. This decision made HPB sick at heart, and she soon became so seriously ill that her doctors gave her up. Once again she was saved from death by her Master, but she remained in such precarious health that she resigned as Corresponding Secretary and was persuaded to leave India for Europe, to complete The Secret Doctrine and, if possible, to regain her health. HPB was now resolved to continue working on the new book she had only just started when she and Olcott first came to India. She knew she had barely sketched the wisdom teachings in Isis Unveiled, and felt it was time to go into them more deeply and also to correct various misconceptions about them. But initially her living conditions in Europe made writing difficult and sporadic. These problems were largely solved when she moved to Wurzburg and was joined by Countess Constance Wachtmeister, who became her personal secretary and companion. With her help HPB was able to write long hours without interruption. At the end of 1885 she received a copy of the SPR's Proceedings, in which Hodgson accused her of being a Russian spy and an impostor who invented the Mahatmas and forged their letters. Unable to take legal action to disprove these charges, she became all the more determined to make The Secret Doctrine a masterwork that would vindicate herself and her Teachers. As the book progressed, she began sharing sections of the manuscript with a number of scholars and devoted students of theosophy, and many of these became enthusiastic supporters of her work. This number grew considerably after she moved to Ostend, Belgium, in the summer of 1886, making it much easier for members of the London Lodge to visit her across the Channel. These became some of her most ardent supporters, and they soon urged her to make her headquarters in London. Since the many hundreds of quotations in The Secret Doctrine could be checked more easily in the British Museum, and there were members who could help in the preparation of the book, HPB agreed to come to London in 1887. Her affairs in England were organized by Dr. Archibald Keightley and his nephew Bertram Keightley. It was to them that HPB entrusted the entire manuscript of The Secret Doctrine, which at that time was a pile of detached sections over three feet high without any definite arrangement. For the next several months the Keightleys read, re-read, copied, and corrected thousands of pages, devised a way for HPB to write commentaries on the Stanzas of Dzyan, and suggested a plan to organize the book as a whole. With most of the reorganizing in their hands, HPB was able to devote herself to editing and adding material to the typescript, a practice she continued with the typeset pages. At the same time she became active in public theosophical work, mobilizing the members of the newly formed Blavatsky Lodge to work among the poor and the homeless. In September she cofounded a new magazine called Lucifer "to bring light to 'the hidden things of darkness'." (15) And she formed an Esoteric Section "to help the future growth of the Theosophical Society as a whole in the true direction, by promoting brotherly union at least among the few." (16) This deep-felt concern of HPB for the future of the TS working for the brotherhood of humanity was the principal reason for writing The Secret Doctrine. When it was published in 1888, she dedicated it "to all true theosophists in every country and of every race, for they called it forth." Its purpose was to present the ancient truths which form the basis of all religions, science, and philosophy, and to show how all of life is informed by one Divine Principle. It remains the most comprehensive sourcebook of its kind, stimulating both the intellect and the intuition with its vision of spiritual unity.

In the last two and a half years of her life, HPB concentrated on helping theosophists reorient themselves toward "exertion in the common cause -- that of helping mankind." (17) She emphasized this in hundreds of letters and articles, and in two additional books. In The Key to Theosophy she corrected misconceptions about theosophy and the TS, explaining how both were founded on the essential brotherhood of mankind. In The Voice of the Silence she provided the ethical precepts that disciples have followed since ancient times to discover the path of "Renunciation for the sake of others, of suffering fellow men." (18) As her essential message touched more and more members in the West, she was persuaded to establish a European Section with herself as president. This quickly became, like the American Section, an active and influential center of theosophical work, even as she was forced to defend herself and the TS against continued attacks, many originating from fellow theosophists. She addressed this growing conflict and dissension in 1891, three weeks before she died: "Self-watchfulness is never more necessary than when a personal wish to lead, and wounded vanity, dress themselves in the peacock's feathers of devotion and altruistic work. . . . If every Fellow in the Society were content to be an impersonal force for good, careless of praise or blame so long as he subserved the purposes of Brotherhood, the progress made would astonish the World and place the Ark of the T.S. out of danger." (19) At the time of her passing, divisive forces were still at work which would soon cause a split in the Theosophical Society. Yet this was also in line with the wisdom-tradition taught by her Teachers, whereby personality conflicts are used as a means of self-discovery. Blavatsky's entire life can be seen as a catalyst for this, precisely because her character struck so many as imperfect and often troublesome. Even now it remains an integral part of her legacy, for "it drives men to self-study and destroys in them blind servility for persons." (20) To understand her we are forced not to judge her by appearances, not to accept any authority above our own inner touchstone of truth. And when we touch this inner source, the study of her writings leads us ever closer to the brotherhood of life: to the Self we share with all our fellow beings. Suggested additional reading:
• • •

Cranston, Sylvia., H.P.B.: The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Putnam, New York, 1993. Ryan, Charles J., H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1975. Van Mater, Kirby, "The Writing of The Secret Doctrine," An Invitation to The Secret Doctrine, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1988.

The Writing of The Secret Doctrine
By Kirby Van Mater
There can be no separation between the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and the growth in comprehension of the work of The Theosophical Society by its adherents. As the first teachings of the ancient wisdom -- barely sketched in HPB's earliest major work, Isis Unveiled, were assimilated, a natural demand was made for a more complete exposition of the philosophy. Likewise the Society's objectives and principles, as enunciated from time to time, became more defined and inclusive of the work envisioned for the Society by those responsible for its beginnings. The true founders of the TS were HPB's teachers, and it was in large measure from them that the subject matter in Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine was called forth. Isis Unveiled was commenced in the summer of 1875, a few months before the formation of the TS, although at the time HPB did not know what was to become of the growing pile of manuscripts. Later, in September, as H. S. Olcott records, "She wrote me that it was to be a book on the history and philosophy of the Eastern Schools and their relations with those of our own times." (Old Diary Leaves, I: 203.) In mid-December 1878, a year after the publication of Isis, H. P. Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott left New York for India where she carried on her work for the next six years. They soon made the acquaintance of A. P. Sinnett, editor of the Anglo-Indian newspaper, The Pioneer. Subsequent correspondence with HPB's teachers -- two Eastern Adepts known as M and KH -- had a profound effect on him. As a direct result of the inspiration and teaching he had received, and also because of certain phenomena he had personally witnessed, in 1881 Sinnett published The Occult World and two years later Esoteric Buddhism, two important books which were to produce a considerable stir in various parts of the world. However, in a few instances Sinnett's interpretation of the teachings was incorrect. He also had difficulty in understanding why there were apparent differences in the philosophical expression of theosophy as given by his Adept-correspondents and by HPB in Isis. He did not comprehend that in Isis HPB had been limited as to how much of the ancient wisdom she could give forth. That was in 1877 when the membership had little grasp of the magnitude of theosophy. Within the next five or six years, the time had come to reveal more of the esoteric philosophy and to devise a terminology suitable for Western understanding. KH wrote to Sinnett in 1882: It [Isis] really ought to be re-written for the sake of the family honour. . . . Don't you see that everything you find in Isis is delineated, hardly sketched -- nothing completed or fully revealed. Well the time has come, but where are the workers for such a tremendous task? -- The Mahatma Letters to A. P Sinnett, letter XXc, 130-1 Nevertheless, starting with the January 1884 issue of the Journal of The Theosophical Society [Supplement to The Theosophist], monthly advertisements appeared describing The Secret Doctrine as being a new version of Isis Unveiled. That summer in England two students (Mohini M. Chatterjee and Laura C. Holloway) began writing Man: Fragments of Forgotten History. Even before it was published this exposition of theosophical philosophy proved unsatisfactory. On January 9, 1885, HPB was given the "plan" for the great work, The Secret Doctrine. Olcott writes: On the following night -- as my Diary entry states -- "H. P. B. got from her Teacher the plan for her Secret Doctrine, and it is excellent. Oakley and I tried our hands at it [HPB's notes and papers on revision of Isis]

yesterday, but this is much better." Meanwhile, the accumulation of materials for the book had long been going on. It will be news to some that this was not originally intended to be a new book, but only a recasting and amplification of Isis Unveiled, with the late T. Subba Row, B.A., B.L., as co-editor with H.P.B. As first advertised in the Theosophist, it was to have been issued in monthly parts of 77 pages each, and to have run to about twenty parts. This new scheme, given her by her Teacher, changed this programme, and the gradual building up of the present grand work was the result (One purpose of The Secret Doctrine was to correct errors in philosophy in Esoteric Buddhism and Man: Fragments of Forgotten History). -- ODL, III: 199-200 The previous year, in February 1884, HPB, Olcott, and four companions had left Bombay for Europe. While they were away a carefully planned attack was begun against HPB and indirectly the Theosophical Society by Alexis and Emma Coulomb (who had been taken into the headquarters at Adyar) and the editors of the Christian College Magazine in Madras. HPB was charged with forgery in producing letters from her teachers as well as trickery in the production of phenomena. The effect of this attack was immediate worldwide publicity and the return to India of both Olcott and Blavatsky by year's end. At this time the Society for Psychical Research sent to India a young man named Richard Hodgson to investigate and report on the situation. In their efforts not to cause more publicity and expose the names of the Mahatmas to public eye, Olcott and the TS Council at Adyar left HPB undefended, and thus by their silence virtually implied her guilt. HPB strenuously objected; the honor of the Society and of her teachers was at stake. She had wished to go to court in order to vindicate her teachers and the work they had sent her to do. But Olcott threatened HPB with his resignation if she did not abide by the decision of the Special Judicial Committee (Annual Convention TS, Dec. 1884; cf. Lucifer, Aug. 15, 1891 [VIII: 447]). Eventually her already poor health broke down. On March 21 HPB tendered her resignation as Corresponding Secretary, and on the 31st on doctor's orders she left India, hopefully to recover sufficiently to finish her Secret Doctrine. As she was boarding the steamer, Subba Row asked HPB to continue writing and send him through Olcott every week what she had written, as he would then "make notes and commentaries" (The Theosophist, March 1925, 784). Even on the open sea, she received "pages of manuscript referring to The Secret Doctrine" (cf. Constance Wachtmeister, Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and "The Secret Doctrine," letter of F. Hartmann to Mrs. Vera Johnston, June 2nd, 1893, 109). She stayed about three months in Italy, at Torre del Greco and Rome, and later in Switzerland, finally settling at Wurzburg, Germany in early August. On October 28, 1885, HPB wrote Olcott that she had "not much time now . . . but shall in a month or two send you the first six sections." (ODL, III: 317). But no real work was done until December when Countess Wachtmeister came to be a companion and helper to HPB. Saved now from continual interruptions which had plagued her previously, HPB was able to keep a schedule of writing day after day through the long hours. In the months that followed only three times was the Countess able to prevail upon her to leave the apartment. But December was hardly over when HPB received the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research based on Hodgson's investigations in India. This account was as unfair to her as was the earlier attack by the Coulombs and the Christian College Magazine. (The April 1986 Journal of the Society for Psychical Research printed an article entitled "J'ACCUSE: An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885" by Vernon Harrison, a senior member of the SPR and an acknowledged expert on handwriting and forgery. Dr. Harrison's critique concludes (p. 309):

"[Richard Hodgson's] report is riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity. . . . His case against Madame H. P. Blavatsky is not proven.") It is difficult to imagine the impact of this report upon HPB. Countess Wachtmeister relates: "This," she cried, "is the Karma of the Theosophical Society, and it falls upon me. I am the scapegoat. I am made to bear all the sins of the Society, and now that I am dubbed the greatest impostor of the age, and a Russian spy into the bargain, who will listen to me or read The Secret Doctrine?" -- Wachtmeister, Reminiscences, 26 On January 6, 1886, HPB wrote to Olcott that The Secret Doctrine would be the vindication of herself and her teachers. For Secret Doctrine is entirely new. There will not be there 20 pages quoted by bits from Isis. . . . In four Parts -- Archaic, Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Periods. Each Part 12 chapters, with Appendices and a Glossary of terms at the end. Countess here, and she sees I have almost no books. Master and Kashmiri (M and KH) dictating in turn. She copies all. -- Theos., Aug. 1931, 667 HPB stayed at Wurzburg from August 1885 till May 1886. About the end of April she decided to spend the summer months at Ostende, Belgium, with her sister and niece. However, en route Gustav and Mary Gebhard persuaded her to visit their home at Elberfeld, Germany, and while there HPB injured her leg. It was not until July that she settled in Ostende where the Countess soon joined her, and once again the writing for the SD continued without interruption. In the evening after her day's work, HPB was not averse to reading to visitors what she had written if she felt they would be interested. She also gave sections of the manuscript to different individuals to read. Eight pages were sent to Sinnett to share with Sir William Crookes, the most eminent chemist of his day in England and also a theosophist. On a number of occasions manuscripts were mailed to Adyar both from Wurzburg and Ostende. At one time HPB sent a large section to Olcott, warning him and Subba Row not to lose it. Do, however, as you please, . . . and if you want to add write the addition on page and pin it to the page you add to. Remember, this is my last great work. I could not rewrite it if lost to save my life or that of the Society which is more. -- Theos., March 1925, 790 In Old Diary Leaves (III: 385), Olcott writes that the SD manuscript of Volume I arrived in December 1886, but that Subba Row would not work on it as originally agreed upon because, as he said, there were so many errors he would have to rewrite it. HPB, much distressed, carefully went over the material again making many corrections. Earlier, on October 21, she had written Olcott that in the spring she would go to London because of the availability of books at the Museum for checking, and also she would have proofreaders among the members there. Later, when Subba Row flatly refused to look at the material, HPB asks what should she do now

without his help for the second volume, "where I have any number of Sanskrit words and sentences, and the esoteric meaning of any number of exoteric Hindu allegories from their Cosmogony and Theogony . . ." Please answer immediately. The whole almost is given by the "old gentleman" and Master and there are wonderful things there I tell you. But someone must see to the Sanskrit and the corrections of the exoteric renderings. -- Ibid., 787 In England at this time, a number of members of Sinnett's London Lodge were not satisfied with the existing state of affairs. They felt that a new impulse was needed for public work (Bertram Keightley, Reminiscences of H.P.B., 1931, and Archibald Keightley, "From Ostende To London," The Path, November 1892, 245), and they decided to write HPB individually about the problem. Each received a long letter in return in which, among other things, she explained the urgency for her to finish The Secret Doctrine before taking up other activities. Nevertheless, early in 1887 Bertram Keightley went to Ostende to see HPB, who asked him "to took over parts of the MSS." She agreed to come to London at the end of April, provided lodging and other matters could be arranged. Soon after, Dr. Archibald Keightley (Uncle of Bertram, although one year younger) went to Ostende to visit HPB, who likewise gave him some of the SD to read. But hardly had he returned to England when news came of HPB's grave illness. Her physician and friends thought this time she would surely die but, as she had done in India in February 1885, she again miraculously recovered. Almost immediately thereafter she announced that the next phase of her work was to be carried on in England, both as regards The Secret Doctrine and the Theosophical Society. Learning of this, the Keightleys went to Ostende in the last weeks of April to prepare for the move. She was to stay at the small home of Mrs. Mabel Cook (Mabel Collins), Maycot, Upper Norwood, London. HPB, describes her move in a card to William Q. Judge: Maycot, Crownhill. Upper Norwood. London C. S. May 7th. "Oh thy prophetic Soul!" Didn't know old HPB was for 17 days hovering between life & death; drawn irresistibly, by the charm beyond the latter & held by her coat-tails by the Countess & some London Lodges? Nice intuitional friend. Anyhow, saved once more, & once more stuck into the mud of life right with my classical nose. Two Keightleys & Thornton (a dear, real new Theosophist) came to Ostende, packed me up, books, kidneys & gouty legs & carried me across the water partially in steamer, partially in invalid chair & the rest in train to Norwood in one of the cottages of which here I am, living (rather vegetating) in it till the Countess returns. Write here "1000 words for the Path"? I'll TRY, old man. Very, very seedy & weak; but rather better after the mortal disease which cleansed me if it did not carry me off. Love & sincere, as usual, & for ever. Yours in heaven & hell. "O.L." HPB. -- Archives, Theosophical Society, Pasadena. As soon as possible she was at her desk and work went on as usual. The task of readying the SD for publication fell mainly to the Keightleys. Bertram Keightley wrote that on arriving in England HPB asked them what they wished to do and after hearing their replies remarked, "All right, then, . . . here you are -- get to work right away" (BK, Reminisences, 7). With that she gave them the entire manuscript to go through and advise her about arranging it. It made a pile over three feet high and was, as Archibald Keightley relates, "in detached sections, . . . with no definite arrangement, much of which had been patiently and industriously copied by the Countess Wachtmeister." After prolonged consultations the plan submitted to HPB became the

present division of the volumes and contents. Other material having no place in the order and plan was to be saved for the future. They worked through the summer "reading, re-reading, copying, and correcting" (Wachtmeister, Reminiscences, 97, 91, 98). There were many quotations to be verified at the British Museum or wherever else they might be located. It should be mentioned that the Stanzas of Dzyan, on which The Secret Doctrine is based, had little commentary in the first drafts of the book. To HPB they were perfectly understandable, but for the student explanations were needed. A plan was arrived at whereby a Stanza was written out on a blank sheet of paper, and questions pinned to it, to which HPB would write answers. Often she demanded clarifications of the questions before attempting her comments. Yet with all this work on the SD going on, HPB founded a new magazine, Lucifer, the first issue of which appeared in September 1887. That same month she moved to larger quarters at 17 Lansdowne Road. The spirit and enthusiasm of those working with her show up clearly in the following extract from a letter dated May 28, 1887, from Bertram Keightley to W. Q. Judge: H. P. B. is fairly well & working away right hard at the Secret Doctrine; which is awfully good & I am sure you will be immensely pleased with it. Tho' I date this from Linden Gardens, I am staying with HPB at Maycot, Crown Hill, Upper Norwood. S.E. where I expect she will be for the next two or three months. We have got a scheme on foot for establishing HPB in winter quarters near London where she can live in peace & gather the real workers in the Society around her. But whether it will succeed or even ever be really begun I cannot tell. All I know is that we shall do our level best to bring it about. Still do not mention anything about it; as "there's many a slip twixt the cup & the lip" & these things are best kept quiet till actually done. Anyway we mean a real effort to put new life into this dull L.L. [London Lodge] & the new Magazine, is the first step. The title at present in favour is "Lucifer: the Lightbearer," but no final decision has yet been come to. At any rate we mean to do two things: to make HPB as comfortable as we can & to prove to her that there are some at least who really appreciate her ceaseless self-sacrifice & untiring exertions for the Cause. -- Archives, TS, Pasadena. After much cutting, pasting, and typing of clear copies of most of Volumes I and II, the manuscript finally was sent to press. Then came the task of proofreading, and this too had its challenges, as Archibald Keightley recalled: The Secret Doctrine began to be printed and in this and in Lucifer Mme. Blavatsky's idiosyncrasy of regarding page-proof as being equivalent to manuscript, led to much argument and expense. It was not merely that she would divide a page after the type was all locked in the forms and insert a quantity of fresh matter, but she would with much care and precision of scissors cut out and then paste in a single sentence in an entirely different place. Woe betide the zealous sub-editor who protested on behalf of the printers and the provision of funds. "Off with his head" or his metaphysical scalp were the orders of the Queen of our wonderland. Nevertheless the account for corrections of the Secret Doctrine came to more than the original cost of setting up! -- "Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky," Theosophical Quarterly (VIII: 30), 115 HPB had long been disappointed with her financial arrangements with J. W. Bouton of New York for the publication of Isis Unveiled and, in consequence, she was determined to have financial control of The Secret Doctrine in both the United States and England. In May 1888 she asked W. Q. Judge to secure copyright in

her name in the United States for her book, and to publish it in the U.S. either from "stereo plates, or only the moulds" sent from England (Letter, Bertram Keightley to W. Q. Judge, May 29, 1888, countersigned by HPB [Archives, TS, Pasadena]). Judge, after consultation with J. W. Lovell (of John W. Lovell Co. of New York), wrote Bert Keightley that the best method to follow for 1,000 sheets or more was for London to ship printed sheets, to be folded, collated, and bound in the U.S. (Letter, J. W. Lovell to W. Q. Judge, June 12, 1888, and Letter, WQJ to BK, June 22, 1888 [Archives, TS, Pasadena]). Copyright could be obtained in HPB's name as she was an American citizen, if all particulars about the book were furnished as requested. However, HPB was to understand "that the emission of the American and English editions should be simultaneous" (Letter, WQJ to BK, June 22, 1888 [Archives, TS, Pasadena]). After delays in England the sheets, folded and collated, for 1,000 copies of the first volume of the SD arrived in New York City on the steamer Britannia, Friday, October 19th. Judge wrote that the deadline of October 27th for "publishing" probably could not be met by him (Letter, WQJ to BK, October 19, 1888 [Archives, TS, Pasadena]). Finally, on October 31st H. P. Blavatsky cabled Judge asking "Have you published?" Judge cabled back "Yes, Book Out Nov 1" (Archives, TS, Pasadena). Volume II was published December 28th. Questions as to who wrote The Secret Doctrine and how it was written have been asked ever since the book appeared. HPB made no claim for the entire production. As she explained to Sinnett in her letter of March 3, 1886: There's a new development and scenery, every morning. I live two lives again. Master finds that it is too difficult for me to be looking consciously into the astral light for my S.D. and so, it is now about a fortnight, I am made to see all I have to as though in my dream. I see large and long rolls of paper on which things are written and I recollect them. -- The Letters of H. P Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, 194 The Master KH gives further insight into the writing of the SD in his letter to Olcott, August 1888: I have also noted, your thoughts about the "Secret Doctrine". Be assured that what she has not annotated from scientific and other works, we have given or suggested to her. Every mistake or erroneous notion, corrected and explained by her from the works of other theosophists was corrected by me, or under my instruction. It is a more valuable work than its predecessor [Isis], an epitome of occult truths that will make it a source of information and instruction for the earnest student for long years to come. -- Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, No. 19, 1:47, 5th ed. The co-authorship of The Secret Doctrine is also made plain in joint letters from the Mahatmas M and KH to Dr. Hubbe-Schleiden, received by him in Germany in early January 1886. Copies of these letters in Masters' handwriting were sent by HPB to Judge in America for his future use. He printed them with explanations in the April 1893 issue of The Path. The letters are reproduced on the following pages. Any work, of course, must stand on its merit rather than on the means by which it was produced. Every reader must judge for himself how well HPB carried out her purposes. As she states in her Preface, The Secret Doctrine was "written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judged."

As the last sentences of Volume II indicate, HPB had two further volumes in preparation to be issued if the reception of the first volumes warranted it. These were never published and one can only surmise that more time was needed to comprehend the material already given out. She did, however, produce The Voice of the Silence, a small book of precepts drawn from "the same series as that from which the 'Stanzas' of the Book of Dzyan were taken, on which the Secret Doctrine is based." These present a noble conduct of life for those who would make themselves of greater service to mankind, and it was hoped that perhaps some few might find access to that inner knowledge to which she had pointed the way. As to Volumes III and IV, who is to say they will ever be issued. Today, a century after the publication of The Secret Doctrine, other egos are creating a new world. The teachings they call forth for the next century will be in answer to their karma and the karma of their times. If HPB's writings have produced any effect, it may be found in the deeper spiritual yearning among an ever greater number to bring about the Universal Brotherhood for which she so labored and sacrificed. (Copyright © 1988 by Theosophical University Press)

A Scientific Spiritual Philosophy
By Blair A. Moffett
A great deal of idle nonsense has been published since 1875 about the modern theosophical movement and its sponsors, a little-known order of Adepts, Masters of wisdom, compassion and peace. A careful review of their letters and articles written in the 1880s is eye-opening: it shows they made an effort to respond to every important question troubling the thinkers, scientists and scholars of that era -- a rather remarkable performance by any standard. The Adepts came forward with explanations based on their own comprehensive perspective of reality. It was up to Western investigators and students to take and prove or to disdain the data freely proffered from sources ordinarily occult or esoteric. But they emphasized that they were not interested in the growth of knowledge for its own sake; that neither exact science nor any other branch of scholarship could make claim upon them unless its activity would promote the amelioration of the sum of human misery. What was the condition of human knowledge then? The 19th century was a critical one in the history of thought. It witnessed the great struggle between an empirical science and an orthodox religious theology, with the year 1859 forming a major watershed. Scientific investigators made strenuous efforts to discover what are space, time, gravity, light, sound, electricity and magnetism, heat, force and energy, and matter itself. The nature of life, especially "organic" life, was pondered. It was a time of extensive theory construction based on laboratory experiments and mathematical formulae and equations. Physical science became the "great explainer" capturing the luminous zone of the public mind. Nothing was left upon which the soul -- man's vital consciousness -- could build, and the times were impelled toward an extreme agnosticism grounded in rank materialism. Something was needed to guide men's thinking toward a more balanced vision of themselves and the universe, to prevent their spiritual impulses from falling back into flagrant superstition and sacerdotalism. Not surprisingly, then, the Adepts devoted considerable attention to the findings and practitioners of science, whose ranks included intuitive as well as materialistic thinkers, some of the former joining the nascent theosophical movement. Taking advantage of questions on physical science put to them by two English members -- A. P. Sinnett, a newspaper editor in India, and F. W. H. Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research in 1882 -- two Adepts, Kuthumi and Morya, generally known by the initials K.H. and M., offered their findings in the light of their own scientific spiritual philosophy. Additional material was later included in The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky, published in 1888 with their consent. Perhaps the best way to show their wider knowledge is to compare some of their statements with later scientific discoveries. The Nature of Matter Science a hundred years ago believed the matter of the universe was composed of ultimate particles, the indivisible, "billiard-ball" atoms, which by combining formed the elements. Matter was found to exist in three states -- solids, liquids, and gases -- but the nature of energy, electricity and magnetism was a mystery. Sinnett and Myers were told by the Adepts that the matter of science, far from being the Primary Element, was the most differentiated and hence the lowest of seven states of substance; that it forms but one pole of the manifested stuff of the solar system, the other -- and inseparable -- pole being energic life and consciousness.

All manifestation is bipolar and is evolving. Solids, liquids and gases are only the first three conditions of substance on this plane, the Adepts identifying the "radiant matter" of Sir William Crookes as its fourth. A fifth state they termed "extra-radiant," and said that the visible sun is composed of substance in its sixth and seventh states -- totally distinct from any found on earth. H. P. Blavatsky explained: It is on the doctrine of the illusive nature of matter, and the infinite divisibility of the atom, that the whole science of Occultism is built. It opens limitless horizons to substance informed by the divine breath of its soul in every possible state of tenuity. -- The Secret Doctrine 1:520 Roentgen's discovery of X-rays in 1895 led to the revelation by J. J. Thomson two years later of sub-atomic particles -- electrons -- foreshadowed in Crookes' "radiant matter." This divisible atom upset all former theories of matter derived from classical Newtonian physics, and ushered in modern or New Physics. In 1900 Max Planck showed that matter radiated electromagnetic waves which behave like a stream of particles (photons) and obey a universal constant in nature: small, indivisible quanta of energy expelled one at a time according to a whole-number progression. Radiation is both wavelike and corpuscular -- a contradiction according to classical physics! In his 1905 theory of relativity Albert Einstein added recognition that mass or substance is equivalent to energy and that time and space are integral factors of the substance-energy continuum making up the universe (see pp. 91, 109, The New World of Physics, by A. March and I. M. Freeman, 1963). Niels Bohr used these advances to devise the first practical theory of atomic structure in 1913; it showed the atom to be a replica in micro-dimension of the solar system of macro-dimension: a central, positively charged nucleus around which circled varying numbers of particles, much as planets circle a sun. Then in 1931 Planck summed up all of physics' progress by writing that the final consequence of the researches which were directed towards discovering the inner constitution of matter within the past fifty years is the knowledge that all matter is made up of two primordial elements: negative electricity and positive electricity. -- The New Science, 11 "Substance" thus is dual in nature and disappears into "energy." The universe is composed of "matter" and "antimatter." So illusive has matter become that contemporary physicists now state that an electron is neither a particle nor a wave, "but an entity that defies every attempt at pictorial description" (The New World of Physics, p. 133). It is no longer legitimate to ascribe to elementary particles the substantiality of pellets of matter. They are nonmaterial structures, and the New Physics has become metaphysics because it deals with factors beyond visibility and natural law that can be coped with only by a statistical law known as the "principle of indeterminacy." This recalls another statement Blavatsky made in 1888 that the physicist . . . must first know what an atom is, in reality, and that he cannot know. He must bring it under the observation of at least one of his physical senses -- and that he cannot do; for the simple reason that no one has ever seen, smelt, heard, touched or tasted an "atom." The atom belongs wholly to the domain of metaphysics. It . . . has nought to do with physics, strictly speaking, as it can never be brought to the test of retort or balance. -- S.D. 1:513

The Sun: Source of Matter In the 1880s the sun's substance was thought to consist of gases in combustion at intensely hot temperatures. Writing to Sinnett in October 1882, K.H. denied such gaseous combustion, inasmuch as the sun we see is "but a reflection." He said the sun takes back nothing from its system, yet gives the latter all its seven states of substance through an inexhaustible radiant energy. Yes; call it "Radiant Energy" if you will: we call it Life -- all pervading, omnipresent life, ever at work in its great laboratory -- the SUN. -- The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 168 By 1940 science had shown the sun as not hot in terms of ordinary combustion, but as consisting of "a mechanical mixture of pure elementary substances," and George Gamow then wrote: We must therefore imagine the interior of the Sun as some kind of gigantic natural alchemical laboratory where the transformation of various elements into one another takes place. -- The Birth and Death of the Sun 2:89 Our stellar body is now described by scientists as a "cosmic energy plant" or, as James Van Allen recently put it, "that nuclear physics laboratory called the sun." This view came to the fore only after 1939 when Hans Bethe first explained the transformation of hydrogen -- the simplest element -- into helium in the sun. In 1957 a definitive scientific analysis showed that in all the stars processes are going on which build up the simplest elements one by one into more and more complex structures. Today scientists attempt on earth to duplicate conditions of matter as they are thought to be in the sun in an attempt to understand the process of "fusion" by which stars create elementary substances. But that is not all: it is now believed that, as the English mathematician, the late Jacob Bronowski, put it in 1973: Matter itself evolves. The word comes from Darwin and biology, but it is a word that has changed physics in my lifetime. -- The Ascent of Man, 344 If the foregoing record of utterances does not demonstrate that the Adepts long ago acquired through their own means a very advanced knowledge of the nature of the solar system if not of the cosmos itself, even additional citations probably will not. What is clear is that what science calls matter -- the vehicular or substantial pole of the duality of manifestation, the other pole being, in the Masters' view, life-energyconsciousness -- evolves forth from stars -- from our sun in our own system. Beginning there as relatively homogeneous substance, matter assumes steadily more complex, graded differentiations until it reaches the "heaviest" complexity native to our physical plane.* Thus the sun has been found to be the primary source not alone of the energy in our solar system but also of the graded substances composing it. Perhaps the ancients' term of gratitude and respect, "Father Sun," was after all not so unscientific! *Even heavier elements than any existing on earth have been 'created' by science in the laboratory; but these do not hold together for long. This is strongly suggestive of the modern theosophic concept that such elements represent structures of "matter" which are not native to our own but to worlds of being 'below' ours in terms of materiality and utterly unknown to us.

The Question of Jupiter Asked by Sinnett about the planet Jupiter, in October 1882 K.H. wrote: In its present position in space imperceptibly small though it be -- the metallic substances of which it is mainly composed are expanding and gradually transforming themselves into aeriform fluids -- and becoming part of its atmosphere.-- Mahatma Letters, 167 Little was known about Jupiter's composition even early in the present century. In the 1950s science held several theories about it. One, proposed by W. R. Ramsey, believed Jupiter to consist mainly of hydrogen. Commenting on this in 1954 the British Astronomer, Patrick Moore, wrote: If hydrogen is responsible for 80 per cent. of Jupiter's mass, there will be no fundamental difference between the centre and the outer layers, except that the terrific pressure near the centre will compress the hydrogen gas so much that it will actually start to behave like a metal, not like a gas at all. -- Guide to the Planets, 116 Not, however, until the tiny unmanned spacecraft, Pioneer 10, passed within 81,000 miles of Jupiter in December 1973, could science confirm or negate these ideas. After data from the flight had been analyzed, "Jupiter's New Look" was published about September 1974. It presented that planet as composed mainly of hydrogen and helium gases laced with clouds of ammonia crystals and water ice, surrounding a large inner sphere of "liquid metallic hydrogen" -- making Jupiter a great ball of whirling gases and metallic liquids with no solid surface. The Nature of the Moon Until a few years ago science held several theories about the moon, some little changed since the late 19th century: that it was torn from the earth's side in a comparatively late stage when the earth had already cooled off to a liquid state and its surface probably covered with a thin, solid crust; that the earth and moon condensed simultaneously, as neighbors, from the same mass of primordial dust; and, that the moon was a body accidentally captured by the earth's gravity. By the mid-1950s it seemed more likely the moon had always been a separate world, but lunar theories have usually assumed the moon to be younger than the earth. Recent estimates of the latter's age, based on isotopic composition of terrestrial lead ore, range from four to five billion years. Radiometric tests have given the oldest known terrestrial rocks an age of about 3.5 billion years. In mid-1969 the Apollo 11 lunar expedition produced moon rocks tested at 3.5 to four billion years old, and the later Apollo 12 team returned lunar soil particles given a test-age of some 4.6 billion years! This is about one billion years older than any known terrestrial rock. Moreover it equates with science's estimated age for the earth and solar system itself. Because the same kind of test was applied to both terrestrial and lunar rocks, the comparison of their respective ages is valid regardless of whether radiometrics yield true ages in terms of actual years of time. These findings astonished some scientists. The moon's comparative age, plus notable differences in lunar and earth chemistry, appear to have ruled out the general theory of lunar formation from a fragment ripped from the earth. Moreover, the Apollo evidence suggests that the moon has not been heated for billions of years by volcanism or any other "living" process like those observed on live planets, remaining unchanged since long before the first life is thought to have appeared on earth.

Shortly before the Apollo landings the Nobel Laureate Chemist, Harold Urey, had observed that "all explanations for the origin of the moon are improbable." Urey had recorded his belief that the moon may be considerably older than the earth, a relic of objects dating from the earliest period of the solar system's formation. He believed this would make of it a "far more interesting" object of investigation than if the moon were a mere daughter of the earth (The New York Times, August 25, 1969). According to the statements of M. and K.H., made in the 1880s, the moon is much older than the earth, being in fact the latter's ancestor or progenitor. The moon is now, they said, the relatively lifeless "ghost" or astral shade of the earth, having long ago bequeathed its vitality to the new planet. That it still gives some vital energies to the earth and draws upon the latter electromagnetically, is shown in its influences over earth tides and the growth cycles of plant life. Other remaining exchanges of energies between earth and moon, unknown to science as yet, remain a distinct probability in the theosophical view because of their cosmogonic relationship. Although the full report of lunar expedition findings has not yet been issued, those which have been shared with the public tend to support rather than refute the Masters' teaching about the moon. The Earth's Protective Shield Queried by Sinnett whether magnetic conditions and the sun affect earth's weather, in October 1882 K.H. referred to the "meteoric continent above our heads" which he said was a mass of strongly magnetic meteoric dust that the earth attracts because it itself is an electrified conductor. Every atmospheric change and disturbance, he added, is due to the combined magnetism of the "two great masses" -- the earth and the "meteoric continent" between which our atmosphere is compressed. The sun has little to do with atmospheric phenomena. High above our earth's surface the air is impregnated and space filled with magnetic, or meteoric, dust, which does not even belong to our solar system. . . . [there are] strong magnetic poles above the surface of the earth . . . and one of these poles revolves around the north pole in a periodical cycle of several hundred years. -Mahatma Letters, 161-2, 167-8 In February 1958 the unmanned rocket, Explorer I, discovered that lying between 1-3,400 miles above the geomagnetic equator and within earth's magnetic envelope is an enormous doughnut-shaped belt of trapped protons and electrons, generated by cosmic rays (i.e., from outside the solar system). The following December another rocket, Pioneer III, discovered a second, bowl-shaped belt from 8-12,000 miles out that covers the whole globe except the poles, in whose latitudes its extreme edges dip low enough to touch the outer atmosphere. This belt traps charged particles such as ultraviolet and X-rays, allowing only relatively few to escape and enter the atmosphere at the poles where their descent creates the phenomena of the auroras. Called the Van Allen belts after their discoverer, these hitherto unknown protective zones around the earth screen out high-energy particles continuously bombarding our planet, which otherwise might destroy life on its surface. Astronomers now believe that two are really one great belt filled with particles. Making allowance for the lack of suitable technical language in the 1880s to describe such phenomena, the words of K.H. strongly suggest the Van Allen radiation belts. Or, more accurately, the cause of those belts: enormous relatively permanent strata of magnetized meteoric matter or dust that function as traps for radiation from the sun and outer space.

Other questions commented upon by the Adepts, such as the genesis and size of the universe and the nature of electricity and magnetism, must be deferred because of considerations of space. That their views were far in advance of 19th-century discoveries and shed a quiet but astonishing light on findings that science was to make only in the 20th century becomes crystal clear from the record. It verifies that the Adepts are indeed advanced men possessing an unusual knowledge of the facts of nature beyond that of Western science. The balanced approach they displayed toward problems of life and learning, the careful, tactful treatment accorded Westerners with whom they corresponded, and their open-eyed dedication to solid human progress rather than to fantastic or unrealistic objectives, all inspire us ordinary men with much confidence in them and their purposes. A study of their writings will dissipate any consternation we may feel that such unusual humans exist. We come to realize they are getting on with their tasks for the world, expect us to get on with ours, and will help us insofar as circumstances and we ourselves allow. (From Sunrise magazine, November 1975. Copyright © 1975 by Theosophical University Press.)

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