Madame H P Blavatsky (1831-’91), The Chief Founder of the Theosophical Society.
Helena Petrovna Von Hahn, later known as Madame Blavatsky (HPB, to be brief and reverentially called) was born at Ekaterinoslav, a town on the river Dnieper, in Southern Russia on the 12 August 1831. She was the daughter of Colonel Peter von Hahn and Helena de Fadeyev. Her mother passed away in 1842 and HPB was brought up by her maternal grandparents. Her grand father was a Civil Governor.
She was an exceptional child and had shown psychic powers at an early age. She was deeply sensitive, averse to authority and loved a spirit of inquiry. At the age of 18 she married Nikifor V Blavatsky, Vice-Governor of the Province of Yerivan. This marriage meant nothing to her and was not consummated. It appeared that she at this early age only to gain independence from the family environment. She escaped from this bondage too and widely travelled over Turkey, Egypt and Greece. Her father took care of her pecuniary needs.
It was in her twentieth year, in 1851, she saw at London, her Master who she was earlier visualizing in psycho-spiritual dreams. This moment made a turn in her life and she determined to devote all her life for the service of humanity under His guidance. She continued her travels to Canada, parts of USA, Mexico, South America and the West Indies and arrived in India in 1852 via the Cape and Ceylon. Her attempt to reach Tibet got foiled. She was back in England in 1853 via Java. Next year she again travelled to America crossing the Rocies with a caravan of emigrants, probably in a covered wagon.
Again in 1855 via Japan and the Straits she came to India and succeeded in entering the Tibetan land through Kashmere and Ladakh. She underwent spiritual training at Tibet under her Master for 3 years and returned to Russia in 1858, visiting France and Germany on the way. The period 1860-65 was spent by her in occult practices to gain mastery over herself. Leaving Russia in 1865, she toured extensively through the Balkana, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Italy and various other places. In 1868 she travelled to Tibet via India and this time acquainted herself with another Master of Wisdom where she stayed till 1870. After an incessant travel thereon, she arrived at New York City on July 7, 1873. By now, she obtained utmost control of many occult and spiritual powers and was 42 years of age.
She was inspired by her Teachers to establish an Organization to be called “The Theosophical Society” along with Col. H S Olcott and a few others. Her main work was to show the fallacy of “spiritualistic” phenomena and to redirect the intellectual men and women of the world to “spirituality”. The organization she cofounded was at New York for three years and then moved on to Bombay in India in 1879. Three years later the Founders moved their World Headquarters to a place called “Adyar” near Madras in 1882.
She remained in India till 1885 and had to leave for Europe on March 31, 1885 on health reasons. She did not revisit India later.
While in India, she started the monthly journal “The Theosophist” in 1879; later while at London a journal “Lucifer”. She started an Esoteric School of Theosophy for members who desired to study in depth the Esoteric Philosophy and to live Occult Life.
She passed away on May 8, 1891, at London, after a brief illness.
When Madame Blavatsky’s name is mentioned, the readers’ mind remembers The Secret Doctrine. On second thought only, Isis Unveiled and The Voice of the Silence appear on the mental sky. Though these count as the principle works, one will find honestly and sincerely more knowledge and Wisdom in many other short and long articles she wrote. All her work was in the Service of Humanity.
While Isis stands as ‘anciently universal Wisdom Religion’ and upholds the need to fuse Science and Religion if one desires to know the true answers to the mystery of Life; The Secret Doctrine is the inescapably integrated study-together of Science, Religion and Philosophy in ‘awakening one to Truth.’ Both the texts go conjoint in providing ‘theosophical understanding.’
Blavatsky does not want the readers to ‘believe’ her statements. They are put forth for ‘honest examination.’ She only suggests a line from Shakespeare: Gently to hear; kindly to judge. She does not claim ‘infallibility.’ She even says she is not well-read, ‘my English is bad’. This and similar statements are not to be taken literally. They only convey her humility and sincerity before the Altar of Truth. ‘Look at the WORLD TOTALLY’ is her appeal, ‘Invisible world is larger and wider. Combine the Outer and inner. In fact, this division is illusory, artificial. What is ‘Is’ the “ONE’’. Call it Space, Principle, Element, Be-ness etc.’
“The Most Highest Seer that is in Highest Heaven” (call it Divinity in common language) has Mobility and ever-undetached Connectivity with all Universes. This is the only saving factor for Humanity in its Being, Becoming and Be-ness. Notwithstanding everything and anything, UNITY and SOLIDARITY of all beings, sentient and insentient, is the basic law and fact.
Whatever is written and said, Blavatsky’s steadfast conviction and confession remains firm on this.
HPB refers to “An Old Book” to start with the first chapter of her ‘Isis Unveiled’, and says the ‘most ancient Hebrew Document on Occult Learning’ was derived and compiled from that. The Divine Essence emanating from the ‘first Man’, ‘as it approaches nearer and nearer to our planet (the Earth), becomes more and more shadowy, until upon touching the ground it is as black as night.’
She refers to the age-old Hermetic thought that declares thus:
Matter has in time become more gross and dense than it was at man’s first formation’
At the beginning, the human body was of a half-ethereal nature.
Before the fall, mankind communed freely with the now unseen universe.
She asserts; ‘the belief in pre-existence of a far more spiritual race than the one to which we belong can be traced back to the earliest traditions of nearly every people.’ The following italicized statements from her need special attention by any student of Human History:
The discoveries of modern science do not disagree with the oldest traditions which claim an incredible antiquity for our race.
They (the ancients) divided the interminable periods of human existence on this planet into cycles, during each of which mankind gradually reached the culminating point of highest civilization and gradually relapsed into abject barbarism.
Her Collected writings, chronologically arranged, run to 15 volumes, each running to around 420-900 pages. This is in addition to her voluminous books already mentioned.
The Writings of Madame Blavatsky are indeed the doorways for intuitive understanding of the Universally Ancient Wisdom-Religion. No reader would like to come out of that ‘New Continent Thought’ she built, once getting into touch with its splendor.