Some Reflections on the Note,
by Grigor V. Ananikian, about
"The Blavatsky/Tibet and Stanzas of Dzyan Connection."
Member of the American Academy of Religions
Since the years 1990's, when Paul Johnson demonstrated conclusively (in
his opinion, at least) that Mme Blavatsky's mahatmas were not the mythical "Masters
of Wisdom" she had depicted, belonging to a no less mythical secret brotherhood of
Tibet, but living human personages of her time, whose true identity could be ascertained,
there remained to complete the picture by tracing the sources from which Mme Blavatsky had
drawn her ideas, and even her doctrine.
This, the author (Grigor V. Ananikian) attempts to do in his Note at http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a7502210/hpbtibet.html
There being, in his view, no occult School, no high Master to give her the teachings she
later communicated to our world, he takes it for granted that H.P.B. did fabricate all,
with elements found here and there, from her young days to the time of her public
Unfortunately, Ananikian's thesis rests on no documented examples, no convincing
demonstration, no literary reference.
Like a detective, he "hypothesizes", "assumes", "suspects",
yet frequently tempers his affirmations with verbs like "may" (13 occurrences)
or "seem" (4), along with "maybe" and "probably".
Nevertheless, he feels sure of his findings. More than once, H.P.B. is supposed to have
"misread", "misperceived", or "misunderstood", what she
gathered here and there, or was "influenced" to accept. Thus H.P.B.'s case is
finally easily judged.
Still, to any one moderately expert in Theosophy, who is willing to examine with an open
mind the author's demonstrations, while keeping in view all that he has learnt of H.P.B.'s
life, and her writings, it appears in full light that Ananikian, with his preconceived
ideas on the matter, is sadly ignorant of elementary aspects of the subject.
Both Johnson and Ananikian would like their readers to believe that:
all was invented, or fabricated in what
H.P.B. said, wrote in her mail, reported of her experiences,
all was invented, or fabricated in the
Mahatma Letters, in her literary master-pieces and other volumes.
In other terms, she had constantly deceived her public, attempting, with a singular
perseverance and tenacity, to make believe things that were wrong, or entirely different
from what she affirmed.
To one truly conversant with Mme Blavatsky's writings, the conclusion cannot be escaped,
on the contrary, that the whole stands as solid piece of truth, that pleads for itself,
even if one accepts that she was not infallible (as she herself declared).
Concerning her Masters (although she was ordered not to reveal certain of their secrets),
why should we doubt her word when she wrote : "Our Mahatmas [...] belong to no
sect" (Collected Writings, VI, 38) (their doctrine is surely not
Lamaist-Buddhism (Coll. Writ. XII, 337). Being no Lamaists, they could not teach
Lamaism. Hence why should "reasonable investigators" (including Grigor V.
Ananikian) be surprised that "nothing in Tibet matches H.P.B. Yet nothing in India
matches her views either" (an exaggeration, by the way, that could be considerably
reduced). Alexandra David-Neel met in Tibet many kinds of ascetics and yogis who were not
Lamaists. As to India, the Masters repeated in their letters to Sinnett : "we are not
Advaitis" (p.58), "were never Advaitis" (p.288).
Although circulating freely through Tibet, India (even Europe), those Masters paid no
allegiance to any "official" system, any known School.
They often speak of themselves as disciples of esoteric Buddhism (Mah. Let.
p.462), "which is nearly identical with the doctrine of esoteric Advaitis" (Coll.
Writ. IV, 567).
As to H.P.B., she claimed to have learnt from them, and expounded, some of the tenets of
"the Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan doctrine", as they call the "universal
Wisdom-religion" (Coll. Writ. VII, 347). This accounts for the
"northern origin" of her
Theosophy. Obviously, Central Asia is the region that was the cradle of that esoteric
Wisdom. (See also, Five Years of Theosophy, pp. 177-182, for H.P.B.'s Appendix to
the article "The Sevenfold Principle in Man").
Now, the difference with Ananikian's views lies here:
For H.P.B., Central Asia was the place where the original doctrine was treasured by the
Sages of the Fifth Race (many thousands of years ago, after the submersion of Atlantis).
Hence, in the course of time, the various forms of religion were disseminated from the
original focus, to become what an historical investigator attempts to discover, and study,
in their exoteric (often distorted) manifestations (in which Ananikian fancies he is now
finding the sources of H.P.B.'s inspiration).
An example of such subsequent evolution (and degeneration) is precisely the Bön religion,
whose adepts are "the greatly degenerated descendants of mighty and wise
forefathers", while their rites are found to have "an undeniable
connection" with the
popular rites of the Babylonians (Five Years, pp. 177-8) (See also Coll. Writ.
IV, 15fn : "the Bön" religion [...] a degenerated remnant of the Chaldean
What H.P.B.'s Theosophy could have in common with that Bön tradition?
What with Dzogchen (as now known)? And with the Nyingmapas (the "reddest" among
the Red Caps) who, together with the Böns, opposed reforms of Tsong-kha-pa, the founder
of the Gelug-pas (a real "incarnation" of the Buddha, held in great respect by
Now, "esotericism" does not necessarily means "heterodoxy". There is
not one Buddhism, but quite a number of Buddhisms (or, if one prefers, numerous forms, or
Schools, of Buddhism, which could appear "heterodox" to each other). This
diversity is due (among other causes) to the "silences" of the Buddha himself,
on metaphysical tenets (as so many lacunae that his erudite successors attempted to fill
up). Perhaps, if the Buddha were to come back, to complete his doctrine, he would appear
"heterodox" to some. H.P.B.'s Masters did what could be done, precisely, to add,
through Theosophy, what was lacking in many instances, thus revealing, under apparently
heterodox forms, that which had been kept hidden in the Buddha's public discourses.
As to "brotherhoods", Central Asia is not the only region to be "replete
with them" (in Ananikian's words), as H.P.B. herself bore witness in Isis Unveiled,
and many an article of her pen. In all her travels through the world, she had met and
visited quite a lot of them, and sometimes she happened to be introduced into their
secrecy (this, since her young days).
Her article "Lamas and Druses" (Coll. Writ. III, 176, seq.) is
eloquent. There she points to a mysterious connection between the Druses and the Lamaists.
She even alludes to the Sikhs (p.179), and to similar aspects between the religion of Guru
Nanak and Buddhism. In all this (especially in what concerns the Druses), she seems to
have a first-hand knowledge of what she speaks about. Could it be that after so many real
encounters with fraternities scattered through the world, she invented the brotherhood of
her Masters? Childish supposition.
Now, as concerns the "astral" (world and body), there is no necessity to invoke
Central Asian sources, or even neoplatonic currents. The terms were taken direct from the
French Eliphas Lévi's abundant writings. But to imagine that H.P.B. learnt the existence
of the "astral" from books, or religious traditions, is again childish. Before
appearing on the public scene, she had learnt all the mysteries of the astral by
experience and during her training with her Master, as she confessed in her private
correspondence, even before her first published article or volume.
Is Ananikian so sure that Buddhists and Hindus ignore the existence of what Theosophy
depicts as an astral body, during life and after death? A born Hindu, like T. Subba
Row, had nothing to object to it. See his article : "Septenary division in Different
Indian Systems" (Five Years of Theos. p.185). For the post mortem
Kâmarûpa, Hindus have words like preta sharîra, bhûta rûpa, etc. and the Tibetans
speak of gyu-lu (written sgyu-lus) for "the immaterial body of the soul" after
death (S. Chandra Das' definition in his Dictionary).
As to the "feminine" presence in cosmologies, there is no need to turn to the
Böns, or Central Asia. Mother Space, Aditi, is definitely Hindu; so is Mûlaprakriti, the
eternal Root-Substance; and the Bhagavad Gîtâ has the famous verse (XIV, 3) :
Brahmâ is my womb (yoni = a very feminine term), in that I cast the seed".
Finally, in spite of all his efforts, Grigor V. Ananikian does not prove his case. Whether
or not Mme Blavatsky fabricated her Masters and their doctrine can hardly appear in light
from his unconvincing demonstration, that falls to the ground, under scrutiny, like
a castle in the air.
As to the Note's attractive title, promising some information on the Stanzas of Dzyan, the
little (unpersuasive) Ananikian finds to say on them reduces the whole to a lure, void of
And his insolent conclusion, deriding "the luridly Peter Pan-like fantasy of ascended
masters" and their "believers" (the Theosophists who "want bedtime
stories") returns to the author, who fabricated his own bedtime story, for his