Published by the Blavatsky Study Center
CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF EVENTS IN HER LIFE
BIRTH, PARENTS AND FAMILY
1831 Aug 11/12 Birth at "midnight." Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine, Russia - July 31st (Julian calendar), around 1.42 A.M. Helena was called by the servants and locals: "The Sedgmika" THST 15, pp. 12-17. A cholera epidemic raged. She was born prematurely. Immediate baptism was decided on. A child holding a candle in a row behind the officiating priest nodded sleepily and inadvertently set fire to his robes.
Father: Peter Alexeyevich von Hahn, Captain, later Colonel, of artillery in the forces of Tsar Nicholas 1st, the "Iron Tsar."
Mother: Helena Andreyevna, eldest daughter of Andrey Mihailovich de Fadeyev and Princess Helena Pavlovna Dolgorukovna; a well known writer in Russia.
Grand-father: Andrey Mikhailovitch de Fadeyev; Privy Councillor to the Tsar.
Grand-mother: Princess Helena Pavlovna Delgorovna.
Great-Grand-Father: Prince Paul Vassilyevitch Delgoroukov. A student of alchemy, magic, and a kabalist. HPB would be found reading in his library when visiting.
Siblings: Vera, Alexander (died in early childhood), Leonid BCW, Vol. I pp xxv - xliv
BIRTH TO MARRIAGE - 20 YEARS OF YOUTH: 1831 - 1851
THE EDUCATION OF A RUSSIAN NOBLEWOMAN
1831-34 Lived at Ekaterinoslav - Romankovo - Odessa
1835 Sister Vera born
1836-7 Father posted to St. Petersburg. Family moved there.
1837 Travel to visit grand-parents in Astrakan, Caucasus, then to Poltava, Ukraine
1839 Dec. To grand-parents in Saratov until June 1840
1842 Odessa -- July 6th -- Mother dies -- to Saratov. Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 38
1844-6 Travels with her father in Europe and Siberia up to Semipalatinsk
1846 Return to Saratov and the Ukraine
1847 To Georgia, Caucasus at their grand-parents - Tiflis
1848 May Stayed with her aunt Catherine and uncle Yuliy de Witte
1848 Summer Tiflis
1848 Affianced to General Nikifor V. Blavatsky, b. 1809, 40 . (22 years older than she). He was an official in the government of Russian Georgia. This occurred because of a dare, which her governess made: that she would never be able to attract any man to ask for her hand. Once this was done and she accepted, she found that she could not retract her acceptance under the Russian law at that time.
1849 July 7 Marriage and flight from Blavatsky to Poti and by sea to Constantinople. She absolutely refused to be a wife" in the accepted sense of the word. The marriage was never consummated. After several violent confrontations she broke a candlestick over her husband's head and escaped on horseback to friends. She was finally, after some narrow escapes, able to reach Constantinople where her husband had no power over her movements. Her father helped her thereafter.
HPB TO APS p. 143, HPB SPEAKS II p 17, 155, INCIDENTS p. BLAVATSKY: Collected Works (TPH) Vol. I, p. xxxvii, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 37-38
1849 In the company of an old family friend [Countess Kisselev], HPB travels in Greece, Turkey and Egypt BLAVATSKY: Collected Works (TPH) Vol. I xxxviii
1850 In London with her father, HPB meets the first time the Master of my dreams" Master Morya, who at that time was traveling in the suite of the Prime Minister of Nepal, visiting as ambassador to England. HPB SPEAKS Vol. I 20, FIVE YRS OF THY. p. 305, GLOS 217, C W B IX p. 20, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB. p. 40-41
1850 Meeting in Hyde Park, they conversed for several hours. He gives her a preview of her future mission and work. HPB TO APS p. 150, PATH IX p. 298, HPB SPEAKS II p. 20, B C W I p. xxxix, Irish Theosophist. Vol. 2, p. 128
20 YEARS OF TRAVEL & PREPARATION FOR HER PUBLIC MISSION:
1851 - 1871
1851-2 Travels to Canada, she is robbed of her property. Goes to the United States. To New Orleans, to Mexico, through Texas. Then to Yucatan, Copan, Honduras where she meets a disciple of her Master, and goes on to Peru to see the Incan ruins of pre-Colombian civilizations in the Andes. To Ceylon and India. Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 43
1853-4 Travels to London - America - Japan - India -- Crossed the Rocky Mountains in a Covered Wagon HPB TO APS p. 150-1, HPB SPEAKS II p. 20
1854-5 Twice she tries to enter Tibet, the first time from Darjeeling, where she is stopped at the border. The second time, with the help of a Siberian Shaman she enters Ladhak and the Tibetan plateau, but cannot proceed to Central Tibet. HPB SPEAKS II p. 20, 66, MOD. PANAR. p.255, 257, M L p. 203, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 45; Cranston, HELENA BLAVATSKY, p. 58.
On March 3rd 1893, Major General C. Murray told Col. Olcott that he had, as a Captain then in charge of the Tibetan border, thwarted her plans to cross over the border in 1854. TRACES OF H.P.BLAVATSKY, THE THEOSOPHIST, Apl. 1893, pp. 4-9
Dr. A. L. Rawson had met HPB in Cairo in 1873. In a letter he wrote in 1878 he cited several of his friends who said they had met her in India at that time: Dr. D. E. Dudley of Manila and Mr. F. A. Hill of Boston. "HPB -- HELENA BLAVATSKY," Cranston, 1993, p. 51
1857 Her stay in India is interrupted by her Master before the outbreak of the seypoy mutiny - she travels to Assam, Burma Siam and Java before returning to Europe via So. America. HPB TO APS p. 69, 154-5 & fn
1858 Travels in Europe and returns to Russia in Autumn 1858.
1859 Jan 6 She surprises her family with an unannounced visit on Jan 6th - the Russian Christmas - at Pskov (near Estonia) where the family had assembled at Vera's father-in-law's home for a marriage. Returns with her father to St. Petersburg and later stays for some time with Vera in Rougodevo (Pskov province). Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 44-5
1860-2 In spring time the two sisters traveled to Tiflis to visit their grand-parents. On the trip they stopped at the holy city of Zadonsk on the Don river where a friend of the family, Isidore the Metropolitan of Kiev received them. As he had heard of HPB's "powers" he asked to be a witness to some of the paranormal phenomena; seeing which, he prophesies that she "can help humanity if she uses them with discretion." HPB TO APS p. 151 Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 46-7
1860-2 Reconciled with N. Blavatsky. HPB SPEAKS II p. 152, 156
During this visit in Russia (Imeretia, Mingrelia, Aghasia) hundreds of visitors and family witnessed her use of her powers, now entirely under her conscious control. Also visited Tiflis and Odessa. HPB TO APS pp. 151,155-7, HPB SPEAKS II p. 152, 15
1863-5 There is uncertainty about her whereabouts during this period. Some biographers place her in Tibet visiting Master M. Cranston, HELENA BLAVATSKY, p. 51
1864 Traveled to Serbia (Servia) and to Karpat, then left for Egypt. HPB TO APS p. 144-5, 151, HPB SPEAKS II p. 26
1865 Leaving the Caucasus she probably traveled to Syria, then to the Lebanon where she came in contact with the Druzes, and perhaps other mystic orders and sects of the Middle East. A change in her nature is hinted at.
Writing of this period to Prince Dundoukov, she says: "I have lived with the whirling Dervishes, with the Druzes of Mt. Lebanon, with the Bedouin Arabs and the Marabouts of Damascus..." HPB SPEAKS, Vol. II, pp. 58, 66. C W B I p. xlvi-ii
1867 April 13 Visits Venice and the Balkans. She arrived in Belgrade the same day that the Turkish garrison left it. (April 13 1867)
She had taken the child of her late friends the Metrovitches, Yuri, for a cure, but he did not survive. She then brought his body back to his family in Russia to be buried and then she returned to Italy. C W B I p. xlvi-ii, HPB TO APS p. 147
Writing of herself in 1882, she stated: "...between the Blavatsky of 1845-65 and...1865-82 there is an unbridgeable gulf." HPB SPEAKS II, p. 58
1867 Nov 3 She was present at the battle of Mentana fought by the Garibaldians for Italy's freedom, was wounded five times and left for dead. MODERN PANARION p. 257, C. W. B. I, p. xlvii
1868 She is restored to health and returns to Odessa HPB SPEAKS II p. 26
1868 She visits Florence, then, Egypt HPB TO APS p. 151, HPB SPEAKS II p. 23
1868-9 Back again to India, she returns to Tibet to her Master. She stays there till the end of 1870. Visits Tchigatse and the Teshu Lama, later stays in Cashmere at the home of another Master later known as the Master Koot Hoomi. HPB TO APS p. 151, HPB SPEAKS II 23, 35-6, PATH X p. 298-9, C W B I p. xlviii, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 50
1870 Nov 11 The Master sends a letter to her family saying (in French) she is well and will soon return to them. LETTERS FROM THE MASTERS OF WISDOM-II, p. 3-5, PATH X, p.170, LETTERS OF HPB TO APS p. 38, 5 YEARS OF THY. p. 280, 293
1870 Dec She returns to Europe via Aden and Cairo, passing through Suez canal (recently opened). Visits her family, and
leaves again. From Greece she went back to Egypt. HPB TO APS, p. 99, 152-3; HPB SPEAKS--II, p.35-6, C W B I, p. xlix, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 50-51
HPB'S PUBLIC LIFE: 1871 - 1891
20 YEARS OF PUBLIC SERVICE CONSECRATED TO THEOSOPHY
1871 July 4 She sails from Piraeus, the port of Athens. Ship was wrecked by an explosion in the gulf of Nauplia near Spetsai (a shipment of explosives to be used against pirates detonates). HPB SPEAKS II p. 35-6, HPB TO APS p. 152-3, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 51
1871 Oct-Nov HPB lives in Alexandria, Egypt, then in Cairo until April 1872. For three weeks she attempts to start a "Societe Spirite," which would investigate the phenomena of mediumship, and reported messages from the "dead." This proved a failure because of the dishonesty and fraud of the "mediums." She then left for Lebanon, Syria and Constantinople. In Cairo she met Mrs. Emma Coulomb, who later asked for help for herself and her husband when she was in Bombay in 1879-80 HPB TO APS p.152-3, HPB SPEAKS II p. 35-6 Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 52
Many of her adventures were fictionalized by her under the pseudonym Radda Bai and sent in Russian to Editor Mikhail N. Katkov, of the Moskovskiya Vedomosty (Moscow Chronicle), and later in Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Messenger).
These were later translated into English and published under the title of From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan, T.P.H.
1872-3 July finds her in Odessa after visiting her family. She leaves for Bucharest and Paris (March 1873). There she stays with her cousin Nicholas von Hahn, 11 rue de l'Universite. H P B to APS, p. 152-3, HPB SPEAKS II p. 23
1873 end of June She receives an order from her Master to go to the United States. She left the next day and reached New York on July 7th 1873. (see incident of crossing narrated below). HPB TO APS p. 154, HPB SPEAKS II p. 23 , C W B I p. l
1873 Jul 7 Arriving in New York without money (she had exchanged her 1st class ticket for steerage tickets for herself
and for a woman with several children who had been cheated of her passage money when she bought a bogus ticket), HPB used her artistic talents and found work making ties and artificial flowers. Her father had died July 27th 1873, and a letter from her half-sister Elizabeth reached her months later along with an advance on her inheritance of 1,000 rubles. This enabled her to invest in some property, which later proved an unsuccessful venture. CWB I p. l-li, Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 137
1874 In July, Col. Henry Steel Olcott became interested in "spiritual" phenomena occurring at the Eddy farmstead in
Chittenden, Vermont. He investigated and on this he wrote accounts that were published in August in the New York Sun and The Daily Graphic. Later these articles were published in book form under the title People from the Other World. He intended, he said, to return and complete his investigations. HPB, reading this in the papers, determined to meet him. She went to Chittenden. CWB-I, p. li, ODL-I p. 30-1, ML p. 263 203 370
1874 Oct 14 Olcott and HPB met at the Eddy farmstead. They became friends and entered into a life-long collaboration. ML p. 263 203 370 ; Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 139
1874-1875 Early magazine articles written by HPB did not please the Spiritualists, as she advanced reasons why their
theories were inaccurate, and needed revision. She defended true "mediums," disclosed the nature of "mediumship," and gave the reasons for their tenuous and only occasional contact with invisible intelligences in the "astral, invisible world;" and, she exposed fraud when it was practiced for money. See articles in FIVE YEARS. OF THEOSOPHY, BCW Vol. I.
1875 Aug W. Q. Judge, after reading Col. Olcott's book People from the Other World, wrote asking him if he could give him the name of a "good medium." Almost simultaneously HPB asked Olcott if he would invite Judge to visit them. The call was paid at No. 46 Irving Place, in New York, and HPB met for the first time in this life the man who was to become her most devoted pupil and friend, face to face. This relationship continued unbroken until her body died, and, we may presume, after, for she often wrote at the end of her letters to him: "Yours till death and after, HPB." PATH VI, p. 66; C W B I p. lvi
1875 Judge himself felt that they were finding each other again, as later, he wrote: "It was her eye that attracted me, the
eye of one whom I must have known in lives long passed away. She looked at me in recognition at that first hour, and never since has that look changed." HPB -- IN MEMORIAM, p. 65
Many were the important personages of the times who visited HPB and Col. Olcott, there was always much talk of the
phenomena of the Spiritualists which HPB defended when it was genuine and exposed when it was fraudulent.
1875 Early in that year Col. Olcott attempted to start a "Miracle Club," where the phenomena of Spiritualism and other
such phenomena could be demonstrated and tested, but this did not succeed. Kingsland: THE REAL HPB, p. 147
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IS FOUNDED
1875 September 7 After an interesting lecture by Mr. G. H. Felt, HPB stated she wrote a note on a slip of paper which she gave to Mr. Judge to pass to Olcott suggesting the starting of a society to study such things. In this she was acting under the direction of the Masters. B. COL. WKS., Vol. I - pp. 123, 73 94; HPB SPEAKS II p. 23
On motion of Mr. Judge, Col. Olcott was elected Chairman of this meeting which was adjourned till Sept 8th., when 16 persons gave their names as "founders."
1875, Sept. 13 At the meeting of Sept. 13, the name The Theosophical Society was adopted. Further meetings were held to develop Bye-laws and Officers on October 13th, 16th, 30th. Mott Memorial Hall was selected to be the society's meeting place. B C W I lviii - lix, ODL I 114 - 126 133-135, PATH IX - op. p.1, THST Vol. 14 p. 71-5
1875 Nov 17 The 17th of November was selected by Col. Olcott for an Inaugural Meeting and the public launching of the Theosophical Society. PATH, Vol. 10, p. 55-6 C W B I lix 375-378
Three Objects were adopted by The Theosophical Society:
1. To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, sex, color, or creed.
2. To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World's religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.
3. To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. KEY p. 39; B C W I p. 375-378
1875-76 In a prospectus issued to explain the "ORIGIN, PLAN and AIM" of the TS is found the following attributed by Col. Olcott to the pen of HPB:
"As the highest development, physically and spiritually, on earth, of the Creative Cause, man should aim to solve the mystery of his being. He is the procreator of his species, physically, and having inherited the nature of the unknown but palpable Cause of his own creation, must possess in his inner, physical self, this creative power in lesser degree. He should, therefore, study to develop his latent powers, and inform himself respecting the laws of magnetism, electricity, and all other forms of force, whether of the seen or unseen universes."
"The Society teaches and expects its fellows to personally exemplify the highest morality and religious aspiration; to oppose the materialism of science and every form of dogmatic theology, especially the Christian, which the Chiefs of the Society regard as particularly pernicious; to make known among Western nations the long-suppressed facts about Oriental religious philosophies, their ethics, chronology, esotericism, symbolism; to counteract, as far as possible, the efforts of missionaries to delude the so-called "Heathen" and "Pagans" as to the real origin and dogmas of Christianity and the practical effects of the latter upon public and private character in so-called civilized countries; to disseminate a knowledge of the sublime teachings of that pure esoteric system of the archaic period, which are mirrored in the oldest Vedas, and in the philosophy of Gautama Buddha, Zoroaster and Confucius; finally, and chiefly, to aid in the institution of a Brotherhood of Humanity, wherein all good and pure men, of every race, shall recognize each other as the equal effects (upon this planet) of one Uncreate, Universal, Infinite, and Everlasting Cause." Blavatsky: COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. I, p. 376-7
In the early years The Theosophical Society seems to have been a quasi-secret society, with signs and passwords developed to recognize members. This was abandoned some years later and meetings were made public. Many subjects ranging from Alchemy to Spiritualism were considered. BCW I 73 193-4 245 380 403 393
Thomas A. Edison, Dr. Alexander Wilder, Charles Sotheran, and General Abner Doubleday were early members of the
1876-1877 HPB held open house every evening and many were the prominent persons of her day who called and lively were the discussions that ensued lasting sometimes into early morning.
ISIS UNVEILED: HPB'S FIRST BOOK
1876-1877 These years are marked by the work of HPB to write, and Col. Olcott, Mr. Judge and others to assist her and prepare for printing, Isis Unveiled. PATH VIII 237-239, C W B I lx ML 289
HPB's methods of writing Isis Unveiled were specially noted by Olcott who wrote of them:
"...she was well brought up, but was not at all learned...the unusual richness of her intellectual nature, the delicacy and swiftness of her thought, her marvelous facility in understanding, grasping and assimilating the most difficult subjects, such as would require from anybody else years of laborious study...these gave her such an unusual superiority...that she could never avoid attracting general attention, and the consequent envy and animosity of all those who, in their trivial inferiority, felt wounded by the splendor of the faculties and talents of this really marvelous woman..." Cranston, HELENA BLAVATSKY, 151
1877 Sept 29 Isis Unveiled, HPB's first book consisting of over 1300 pages in 2 volumes, was published by J. W. Bouton and enjoyed an immediate success. The first printing of 1,000 copies was sold within 10 days, and a second printing of 1,000 copies disappeared equally rapidly. Several reprints were then issued as enthusiasm for the book continued unabated. HPB earned less than $ 1,000.00 from all sales made during her life.
Mr. W.Q.Judge, who collaborated closely with HPB during the time that Isis Unveiled was being written (1875-77), records:
"Isis Unveiled attracted wide attention, and all the New York papers reviewed it, each saying that it exhibited immense research. The strange part of this is, as I and many others can testify as eye-witnesses to the production of the book, that the writer had no library in which to make researches and possessed no notes of investigation or reading previously done. All was written straight out of hand. And yet it is full of references to books in the British Museum and other great libraries, and every reference is correct. Either, then, we have, as to that book, a woman who was capable of storing in her memory a mass of facts, dates, numbers, titles and subjects such as no other human being ever was capable of, or her claim to help from unseen beings is just." THE ESOTERIC SHE - WQJ ART ULT II p. 32
The New York Herald Tribune, and other major newspapers and journals reviewed the book with favor. In London Public Opinion (Dec. 29, 1877) called it: "...one of the most extraordinary works of the 19th Century."
HPB wrote that:
"Isis Unveiled contains a mass of original and never hitherto divulged information on occult subjects...neither ideas nor teachings are mine...every word of information found in this work or in my later writings, comes from the teachings of our Eastern Masters; and...many a passage in these works has been written by me under their dictation..." MY BOOKS -- HPB ARTICLES - ULT - I p. 476-478
An ancient Fraternity of Adepts is referred to by HPB from the first paragraph of the introduction to Vol. I of her
"The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science. It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face...The book is written in all sincerity. It is meant to do even justice, and to speak the truth alike without malice or prejudice, But it shows neither mercy for enthroned error, nor reverence for usurped authority. It demands for a spoliated past, that credit for its achievements which has been too long withheld. It calls for a restitution of borrowed robes, and the vindication of calumniated but glorious reputations..." ISIS U. Vol. I, Pref. p. v, see also ISIS II p. 98-105
The Fraternity exists as a perennial source for the preserving and recording of the events and facts of the history of religious and philosophical evolution in the World. The Theosophical Movement is declared to be Their inspiration, and HPB claims only to be their "agent-messenger" and their student. ISIS II 98-105
Members and agents of this benevolent Fraternity are at work all over the World; but in the Orient, the isolation of the Himalayas in Tibet and the vast deserts of Mongolia in particular, offer them the isolation they require to perform these preservative and other functions.
Periodically, they state, conditions in the world permit them to make publicly available portions of the lore that they preserve for Humanity. HPB stated that the Theosophical Society of our era is a part of this process.
In the past the Neo-Platonic movement in Alexandria in the early centuries of our era was one of these efforts, others can be traced in the records left by the MYSTERIES of Greece and Egypt, and of the COLLEGES of Magi in Assyria and Babylon. Still further back in time, the literature of the pre-Vedic Buddhists, the Hindus, the Chinese and the Zoroastrian systems and their records form the archaic part of this work of preservation and cyclical rediffusion. Therefore it is that a single thread of continuity can be traced in all of them.
Isis Unveiled was dedicated to the "Theosophical Society...to Study the Subjects on which they Treat." In her article "My Books," HPB writes: " It (ISIS) was not written for the public... but for the use of Theosophists and members of the Theosophical Society to which ISIS is dedicated..." LUCIFER May 1891, HPB ARTICLES - ULT - I p.
VOLUME I deals with SCIENCE - both ancient and modern - the records left of the knowledge of the ancients, and of the discoveries and development being currently made. It treats of the invisible side of Nature and offers evidence that this was well known in antiquity, and the modern "Spiritualists" were bringing continued proof of its existence, its laws, and its
phenomena -- which could only be produced under "natural" law. In ancient times this was called "magic," from the word mage--a wise man.
Modern science opposed and ridiculed the phenomena of "Spiritualism" because they could not assign causes in the material visible world for them. The research of fearless men, like Prof. Crookes in England, of Baron Du Potet in France did show that the phenomena were genuine and deserved attention. Mesmeric healing was proved to occur.
It has the effect of destroying a mind-destroying skepticism: "materialism" - or the belief that all powers, causes, actions and forces originate only with gross physical matter. The operation of an internal intelligence or force was demonstrated as a factor common to all physical events.
VOLUME II deals with THEOLOGY - specifically with the historical origins of Christianity--treated as a reform of Judaism, and its origins being traceable to the more ancient Egyptian, Chaldean and Zoroastrian, and still further back to ancient Indian philosophies, sciences and religions which provided the basis for the current religions and sciences in the West and in the modern East. The evidence of antiquity was brought to bear on the phenomena and discoveries of the present. HPB showed that this evidence was continuous.
This study points to a common source from which they have all drawn their origins: the WISDOM-RELIGION of the Ancients. Metaphysical and philosophical logic, as well as the records of ancient, archaic, and Eastern sources are adduced to demonstrate this unity and familiarity with Nature's laws. Members of the Fraternity have included Krishna, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tse, Confucius, Quetzalcoatl, Pythagoras, Plato, Socrates, Hermes, Osiris, the ancient Rishis of India, Manco Capac, Moses, Hillel, Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus, Simon Magus, Iamblichus, Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, Hypatia, Zoroaster, Tson-ka-pa, Shankaracharia, Paracelsus, Saint Germain, and innumerable other personages known to history.
[Read more about Isis Unveiled.]
1878 May 16 HPB receives orders from her Master to leave for India.
1878 July 8 HPB is naturalized a citizen of the U.S.A. C W B I p. 224fn
Col. Olcott given diplomatic status by the President of the US C W B I p. lxvi
1878 Dec 17 HPB and Olcott embark on S Canada for England. Actual sailing is delayed till the 19th waiting for the
tide to cross Sandy Hook bar. B C W I p lxvi
1879 Jan HPB and Olcott in England at the newly formed branch of the TS (C.C. Massey, president) Stay with Dr. H J. Billing. British TS meeting on Jan 5th. B C W II p. xxv
1879 Jan 17 General Abner Doubleday appointed Acting President of the TS ad interim. ODL II p. 8 ; RANSOM 124-5 (Judge let. text)
1879 Jan 18 Embark on S Speke Hall for Bombay with Miss Rosa Bates and Mr. E. Wimbridge (sail on 19th) CW B II p xxv - vi
ARRIVAL IN INDIA
1879 Feb 16 HPB and Olcott arrive in Bombay. MODERN PANARION p. 220-1, 217; B C W II p. xxvi-vii. CAVES & JUNGLES OF HINDOOSTAN
1879 Mar 7 HPB and Olcott reside at 108 Girgaum Back Rd. Babula, servant for HPB, hired March 2nd. B C W II p. xxvi
1879 May 23 HPB outlines and begins work on a new book -- later develops into The Secret Doctrine. ODL II p.
1879 Oct 1st issue of The Theosophist issued in Bombay (400 copies, 381 subscribers, next issue 750 copies). BCW II xxvii-viii
1879 Dec Visit to Mr. A.P.Sinnett, editor of The Pioneer at Allahabad. Mr. A. O. Hume also met (later founder of
the INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS in 1885) This organization was eventually used to stimulate national sentiment which led to the independence of India in 1948.
1880 Jan Bombay branch of the TS established - First formal meeting of the TS in India. O D L II p. 137
1880 April 17 HPB writes General Abner Doubleday advising him of his formal election as Vice-President of the TS. T. FORUM XV Nov 1939
1880 May 16 HPB and party embark for Ceylon on S. ELLORA.
1880 May 25 HPB and Col. Olcott take "pansil" (the non-sectarian statement made by those who endorse Buddhism):
"I take my refuge in the Buddha.
(the Enlightened One)
I take my refuge in the Dhamma.
I take my refuge in the Sangha.
1880 June Colombo Branch of TS started
1880 July 13 HPB and party embark on S CHANDA for return to Bombay
1880 Sept-Oct HPB and Olcott visit A. P. Sinnett and his wife Patience at Simla in northern India.
1880 Oct Sinnett and A.O. Hume begin to consider the formation of an Anglo-Indian TS. Around Oct. 15th Sinnett seems
to have sent his first letter to the Mahatma. Response prompt. OCCULT WORLD p. 93-4, 116-24, 121; B C W II p. xxxiv [See also Sinnett's first article in which he relates the beginning of his correspondence with the Mahatma.]
1880 Oct 16 Hume sends HPB his first letter to the Mahatmas for transmission OCCULT WORLD P. 59-60, ODL II 242-3 CWB II xxxiv-v [For more on the Mahatma Letters, see The Mahatmas and Their Letters.]
1880 Dec Family motto of the Maharaja of Benares adopted by TS: "THERE IS NO RELIGION HIGHER THAN TRUTH."
1881 July 24 Olcott's Buddhist Catechism is published. It includes a rendition of the Dhammapada - sayings of the Buddha.
1882 Purchase of the Adyar property near Madras city to be used as a future Head-quarters of the Theosophical Society by HPB and Col. Olcott.
1882 May Subba Row first met in Madras
1882 Oct Visit to Sikkhim (HPB mortally ill-kidneys) to see the Master. MOD. PANARION p. 256, HPB SPEAKS II p. 35, 85, 5 YEARS OF THY. p.280, 293, PATH X, p.170
Letter from the Ghum Monastery HPB SPEAKS II, p. 96-99
1882 Dec Transfer of TS H.Q. from Bombay to Adyar.
1884 Feb 20 HPB and Olcott together with 3 Hindus leave Bombay for Europe (arrive at Marseilles March 12)
1884 Feb HPB to Nice at the home of the Duchess de Pomar
To Paris, at 46, Notre-Dame des Champs.
March 1884 Visited by W. Q. Judge who is on his way to visit India. He stays with HPB for a while to help with a revision of Isis Unveiled in preparation for her writing of the new book projected: The Secret Doctrine.
1884 May 13 HPB visits Enghien and stays with Countess d'Adhemar. Mr. W. Q. Judge also visits, and continues work with H.P.Blavatsky indexing Isis Unveiled preparatory to her writing The Secret Doctrine.
1884 April-May The Society for Psychical Research of London becomes interested in HPB's "phenomena". Olcott, Sinnett and others are invited to give testimony. They do. [See testimonies of Olcott, Sinnett & Chatterji.]
COULOMB CONSPIRACY WITH MISSIONARIES
In HPB and Olcott's absence from Adyar, a great scandal develops. Emma and Alexis Coulomb, abetted by Madras Christian Missionaries, try to discredit HPB, her phenomena and Theosophy. HPB accused of imposture by local Christian missionaries who fear her influence and that of Theosophy on the Indians and particularly students. They pay the Coulombs for false testimony and for constructing certain apparatus in HPB's absence in her rooms at Adyar. This was first discovered by the TS Council, exposed, and later the fake apparatus is destroyed by Mr. Judge who had been given "full powers" to act there for HPB and Col. Olcott during his visit. Neither the missionaries nor Mr. Hodgson ever saw the apparatus that Mr. Coulomb had attempted to construct, but left unfinished.
1884 May Coulombs are expelled from Adyar by Secretary, Damodar K. Mavalankar and the Council.
1884 July 15 Judge arrives in Bombay - travels in India to Adyar by Aug 10th. He witnesses the crude constructions made by Mr. Coulomb and has them destroyed.
1884 Aug-Oct HPB visits the Gebhards at Elberfeld in Germany.
1884 Sept & Oct issues of The Madras Christian College Magazine give an expose of HPB (two-part article is titled "The Collapse of Koot Hoomi") together with letters said to be hers provided by the Coulombs. Later these letters when subjected to a rigorous and impartial examination were declared to be forgeries.
1884 Sept 14 Over 300 students of the Madras Christian College protest attack against HPB.
1884 Oct-Nov Judge leaves India and returns to the US.
1884 Nov 1 HPB embarks for India - stops at Cairo to secure information on the Coulombs whom she had met when there in l873. (Penniless, they had earlier appealed to her for help in Bombay, and had been taken into the TS headquarters and given work and shelter in Bombay and Adyar.)
1884 Nov 15 Olcott returns to Adyar from Europe.
1884 Dec 21 HPB returns to Adyar -- is visited the next day by Richard Hodgson, investigator for The Society for Psychical Research.
1884 Dec 23 Mrs. Coulomb publishes her slanderous pamphlet titled Some Account of My Intercourse with Madame Blavatsky, from 1872 to 1884. Hodgson, perplexed, visits the missionaries and the Coulombs.
1885 Jan 3 Hodgson is captivated by missionary views and their claims against Theosophy and HPB. Begins interviewing in India.
1885 Mar 26 Hodgson leaves India after visiting Adyar - no hint of the "Report position" he will take against the TS and HPB
1885 March HPB not permitted by the TS Council to take the Coulombs to Law for slander. Fear the Mahatmas' names would be further desecrated if dragged into court.
1885 Mar 29 HPB gives her resignation as Corresponding Secretary T S WHY I DO NOT RETURN TO INDIA, HPB ART ULT V. I 106; B C W , Vol 12, p. 162 ]
1885 Mar 31 HPB seriously ill is carried on board a ship to go to Europe
1885 April 23 HPB arrives at Naples.
1885 Nov 3 Her doctor (Dr. Leon Oppenheim) issued a certificate stating that she was unable to bear any children because of a congenital defect in her reproductive organs. HPB TO APS. p. 177 151 208 Dr. L. Oppenheim' certificate is quoted
in full. Kingsland, THE REAL HPB p 54
1885 Dec HPB at Wurzburg. Countess Wachtmeister cares for her. She recovers from illness -- begins writing The Secret Doctrine. Wachtmeister "Reminiscences of H.P.Blavatsky, and The Secret Doctrine, TPH, 1893.
1885 Dec 200 page account of Hodgson's investigation published in the Proceedings of the SPR -- inaccurate and insulting to HPB. SPR REPORT
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th Edition, stated:
"...Whilst in India Madame Blavatsky exhibited many phenomena which were accepted by many, and often discredited by those who had not witnessed them; every effort was made in certain quarters to bring her work and teaching into disrepute. Notwithstanding this opposition, and a very adverse report on her phenomena by a Member of the Society for Psychical Research, who went out to India to investigate, but never saw any phenomena himself, Madame Blavatsky had in 1891 nearly 100,000 acknowledged followers in all parts of the world."
Later the SPR claimed that the "report" did not have their official endorsement hence, they would let it stand, even if apparently damaging to the TS. This "report" was finally repudiated by the SPR in 1980s in the face of evidence proving
it to be prejudiced and inaccurate.
HPB was never given access to the testimony or the so-called letters said to be hers that Mrs. C. had forged and published.
All documents are now in the British Museum and these letters (supplied by Mrs. Coulomb) now examined by an impartial expert have been determined to be forgeries. See Adlai Waterman in his Obituary: The 'Hodgson Report' on Mme. Blavatsky, 1885-1960, Adyar, TPH; also Mr. Vernon Harrison of the SPR pointed out many flaws in the "Hodgson Report." See his article titled "J'ACCUSE," in the Journal of the SPR, April, 1986, Vol. 53, pp. 286-310. Reprinted by The Theosophical Society, Pasadena, CA.
One of Hodgson's accusations had been that HPB had forged the "Mahatma Letters." V. Harrison's findings parallel and endorse those of Dr. E. Shutze (1886), Dr. P. L. Kirk of the University of California in 1964, and Dr. C. Marshall (1980). The latter used a computerized analysis of the writing styles and syntax used by HPB and the Masters to prove that she could not be the author of their letters. See "A Syntactic Investigation into the Possibility of Forgery by Helena P. Blavatsky, a 19th Century Occultist," Viewpoint Aquarius, London, Oct. 1980.
For a while the Hodgson-SPR Report had a devastating effect. The only positive value it had was that it combed out foes from friends and consolidated those who were staunch to HPB.
1885-6 Sinnett writing Some Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky. HPB TO APS p. 149
1886 Jan 1 HPB, at this date addressed a solemn letter of protest, to "Theosophists and Men of Honour." But, until her death HPB had to take recourse to the law courts to protect her honor and the TS which was being attacked through her. [NOTE: The philosophy of Theosophy has never been seriously challenged or attacked. all attacks when made have been directed at persons in the Movement, HPB first of all.]
1886 April Judge in New York signaled renewed work. The first issue of The Path was issued. Financed entirely by
him. Later readers and friends seeing its worth assisted, and promoted its circulation. Great interest in America and more
Lodges. Respect for HPB and for the TS grew.
1886 May-July HPB visits the Gebhards in Elberfeld, Germany where she is visited by her sister Vera and her aunt Nadyeja.
1886 July HPB moves to Ostend, Belgium. HPB TO APS p.201
1886 Autumn-Winter London students repeatedly visit her and try to get her to come to stay there.
1886 Nov-Dec The first installment of material for Vol. I of The Secret Doctrine is copied and sent to Adyar for T. Subba Row, one of the chelas of HPB's Master, to review and annotate as earlier arranged. Subba Row, an initiated and orthodox Brahmin is worried that too much of the secret wisdom is being revealed to the profane world, and refuses to do the promised work in spite of the fact that he knows that the Master himself had directly inspired and even had dictated portions of the work to HPB. His orthodoxy was the barrier. HPB TO APS p. 64 197 222
1887 Winter-Spring Friends from London continue to visit HPB in Ostend where she has been living in isolation solely looked after by Countess Wachtmeister. They plead with her to come and settle in England, in London. They plead that under Mr. Sinnett the London Lodge had tried to interest the "upper classes," and had grown stagnant. Archibald and Bertram Keightley arranged for accommodations and assisted her in her transfer there.
1887 March HPB, exhausted falls into a coma from which she revives, as had happened several times in the past,
with energy renewed. She later on tells her friends that during this comatose period she had been visited by her Master and had been given a choice of relief, through bodily death, or the continuation of her life of torture in order to finish The Secret Doctrine. She made the choice to remain and finish this.
1887 May 1 Finds HPB now in London where her friends have arranged a place for her to stay and work. Able to work
again, she labors day and night to bring The Secret Doctrine to a conclusion. That portion sent to India, was rewritten, the manuscript sent there was never returned to her.
1887 May The Blavatsky Lodge of the TS is launched
1887 May 25 A publishing house is founded in London [Theosophical Publishing Company] to help with the production of The Secret Doctrine.
1887 Sept The first issue of HPB's magazine Lucifer appears. The aim of this journal she declares is to "Bring to Light the Hidden Things of Darkness." Its emphasis was to be ethics and philosophy rather than psychic phenomena and spiritualism. Mabel Collins offered to be Co-Editor and was accepted. She worked at this for a short while. Later, Annie Besant became Co-Editor, after she read and reviewed The Secret Doctrine .
In addition she explains that "LUCIFER ... the Light-Bearer is the Morning Star ... and 'LUCIFER' is no profane or satanic title. It is the Latin Luciferus. The Light-bringer, the Morning Star, equivalent to the Greek Phosphorus ... The name of the pure Herald of the Daylight." -- Yonge.
HPB was thus able to gather around her Theosophists who were serious students and who were anxious to receive her oral instructions, receiving directly from her answers to their questions. She was also freed to do her writing and to complete it as a full and complete message.
1888 HPB at this time was determined that the TS be the medium through which Theosophy would be propagated, at least in all those areas where she had a free hand to do so; and even if the By-laws of the TS obliged none to follow her lead.
ESOTERIC SECTION OF THE TS STARTED
It was equally felt that food for those who were seeking even more deeply for the secret doctrine of antiquity should be provided. Mr. Judge had written HPB from New York on the 18th of May 1887 asking if she could allow the forming of an "Esoteric Section of the TS" where those who desired to draw closer to Masters and Their Work could enter and learn, and be "tested" -- much as in the earlier "Mysteries" it had been done.
1888 Oct A public notice announcing the formation of HPB's Esoteric Section was made in Lucifer. Notice also published in The Path.
1888 Nov-Dec Mr. Judge comes to London. He helps HPB in the drafting of the Rules and Pledge relating to the "Esoteric Section." On this trip, Mr. Judge, who had been born in Ireland, also visited the Dublin Lodge of the TS, and imparted a large measure of his enthusiasm to its members. His trip served as a point of inspiration for the new generation of Irish poets and writers, such as W.B. Yeats, George W. Russell (AE) and others.
THE SECRET DOCTRINE IS PUBLISHED
1888 Oct 20 Volume I of The Secret Doctrine was finally published. Volume II was issued in December. It had taken HPB 4 years to finish her magnum opus.
The original 1888 edition of the The Secret Doctrine consists of 2 volumes:
VOLUME I covers COSMOGENESIS - the evolution of our Earth and of the Universe. It reviews some of the
material already mentioned in Isis Unveiled and expands it.
VOLUME II covers ANTHROPOGENESIS - the evolution of Man on our Earth, his future role, and the goals of evolution.
The Secret Doctrine is based on verses (stanzas) of the Book of Dzyan (wisdom); and written in a style quite
different from that of the previous book Isis Unveiled. It had become necessary, after over 10 years of its consideration and the inquiries of student seekers after the wisdom of the ages, to give them material which was both philosophically profound as well as the accurate history of the evolution of Nature and of Man, and of the origins of religions.
Those doctrines unique to Theosophical philosophy include:
1. the universal and impersonal law of Karma, under which the whole of evolution proceeded.
2. The fact that all beings were of the same ONE SPIRITUAL ESSENCE. Therefore,
3. as regards their interaction, all beings, including men, had all to be considered as brothers because of the identity of the nature of that ONE ESSENCE, regardless of the apparent difference in the stage of evolution which they presently occupied.
4. The great fact of Nature and its implicit order is the rule of analogy and correspondence: as above, so below, as in the past, so in the future.
5. That is a statement of the economy of Nature in the operation of her laws which carry all beings through the endless chain of evolution; and, in the case of mankind, this process is by reincarnation until the Man-Spirit reaches the summation, the goal of life on this Earth. He masters all avenues of knowledge and learns to apply them by choice benevolently, just as a professor or teacher does in dealing with pupils in his charge, imparting to them what he or she may have learned.
The evolution of the Universe is seen to be similar to that of our Earth. The evolution of the form of man follows the evolution of the inner, invisible sheaths of man's soul. Man is essentially a Mind-Soul, and he is constantly dealing with the evolution of sentient nature all around him, including that which passes through him.
Every feeling, thought or action impresses the motive of his moment on the forms of nature around. They record it on their sensitive surface and later return the impress to him during the incidents and circumstances of his future, partially in this life, and partially in a future life. We are constantly rewarding, or punishing ourselves in this fashion. "The hands that smite us are our own."
3 FUNDAMENTAL PROPOSITIONS
To make the whole philosophy clear HPB offers three great ideas, principles, or propositions to use in regarding the world conditions we now find ourself in:
DEITY OR SPIRIT IS UNIVERSAL, IMMUTABLE, EVER-ACTIVE.
"We believe in a Universal Divine Principle, the root of ALL, from which all proceeds, and within which all shall be absorbed at the end of the great cycle of Being." KEY TO THEOSOPHY, p. 62
"In every Cosmogony, behind and higher than the creative deity, there is a superior deity, a planner, an Architect, of whom the Creator is but the executive agent. And still higher, over and around, within and without, there is the UNKNOWABLE and the unknown, the Source and Cause of all these Emanations." SD II 43
LAW IS UNIVERSAL, IMMUTABLE, JUST, MERCIFUL AND FAIR TO ALL.
"We describe Karma as that Law of re-adjustment which ever tends to restore disturbed equilibrium in the physical, and broken harmony in the moral world. Karma does not act in this or that particular way always; but...it always does act so as to restore Harmony and preserve the balance of equilibrium, in virtue of which the Universe exists." KEY, p. 203
"There is one eternal Law in nature, one that always tends to adjust contraries and to produce final harmony. It is owing to this law of spiritual development superseding the physical and purely intellectual, that mankind will become freed from its false gods and find itself--SELF-REDEEMED." SD II 420
EVOLUTION IS UNIVERSAL, ETERNAL AND AN EVER-BECOMING FOR ALL.
"From Gods to men. from Worlds to atoms, from a star to a rush-light, from the Sun to the vital heat of the meanest organic being--the world of Form and Existence in an immense chain, whose links are all connected. the law of Analogy is the first key to the World-problem, and these links have to be studied co-ordinately in their occult relations to each other." SD I 604
"From center to circumference, from the imperceptible vesicle to the uttermost conceivable bounds of the Kosmos, those glorious thinkers, the Occultists, trace cycle merging into cycle, containing and contained in an endless series. The embryo evolving in its prenatal sphere, the individual in his family, the family in the state, the state in mankind, the Earth in our system, that system in its central universe, the universe in the Kosmos, and the Kosmos in the ONE CAUSE--thus runs their philosophy of evolution." THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, p. 189
"Evolution is an eternal cycle of becoming...and nature never leaves an atom unused. Moreover, from the beginning of the Round, all in Nature tends to become Man. All the impulses of the dual, centrepetal and centrifugal Force are directed towards one point--Man." THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, p. 170
Man is thus considered to be an immortal mind dwelling in a highly refined animal body. The object of the attainment of personal perfection (graduation) is not to retire from active work (as the Nirvana concept seems to imply), but to continue as a worker with Nature, as a Teacher, and assist in the current development and elevation of all other beings including the rest of humanity without distinctions of any kind whatsoever.
In considering the great periods of time that make up the cycles of man's evolution on the Earth, HPB considers the ancient concept of the change of "age." There are 4: The "Golden Age," (the infancy of a race or nation); the "Silver" Age. (adolescence); the "Bronze" Age of maturity, and finally, the "Iron" Age of final development, senility, and ultimately "death and re-embodiment." She declared that we are all entering into this 4th "age," being already about 5,000 years into it. This age, is called the Kali Yuga by the Hindus (the "black age") and it is said to last for 432,000 years. See SD Vol. II, p. 68-70 where the great periods of evolution are given according to the Hindu system.
About her own book, HPB wrote:
"It is written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judged. Its author recognizes no inferior court of appeal. Abuse she is accustomed to; calumny she is daily acquainted with; at slander she smiles in silent contempt."
"...there are about half-a-dozen Theosophists who have been busy in editing it, who have helped me to arrange the matter correct the imperfect English, and prepare it for print. But that which none of them will ever claim from first to last, is the fundamental doctrine, the philosophical conclusions and teachings. 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, xlvi) from Montagne: 'I have here made only a nosegay of culled (Eastern) flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them.' " MY BOOKS - HPB ARTICLES I, p. 484
Dr. Thaddeus P. Hyatt of Stamford, Connecticut spent many years tracing the quotations and references that HPB used in The Secret Doctrine.
In 1940 he issued a Check List of Some of the Books and Authors Quoted or Referred to in the Two Volumes of The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky.
In his Introduction he observes:
"It is difficult to appreciate the wealth of material quoted and the diversity of subjects included...they are scattered throughout the thousands of pages in the two volumes...[so that the reader] may gain a better understanding of the inclusiveness of all the different aspects of each subject presented, and that the The Secret Doctrine is not the dogmatic presentation of any one religion, or any one philosophy, or of any one science."
Many of the finest minds of her time were influenced by the ideas that The Secret Doctrine expounded. Some are: Dr. Hubbe-Schleiden, editor of The Sphinx; J. Ralston Skinner, Kabalist; Sir. Wm. Crookes, George W. Russell (AE); W. B. Yeats, W K. Magee, Charles Weekes, Annie Besant, who after reviewing The Secret Doctrine interviewed HPB and became subsequently her devoted student, co-worker and friend.
[Read more about The Secret Doctrine.]
1888-9 During this time the Esoteric Section began to draw into its ranks the elite of the student body of Theosophists, those who had dedicated themselves to the service of humanity and to the work of learning and promulgation necessary.
HPB also watched closely over the growth and development of Theosophical work in the United States. Each year (from 1888 to 1891) she sent a key-note "Message" to the Annual Convention of American Theosophists.
In these Five Messages will be found wise counsel, encouragement, and reminders of the essential purpose and objectives of the TS -- and contained her hopes for the future, also found framed in the last pages of The Key to Theosophy.
She hopes that the TS will sustain its purity of method and of effort into the 20th Century, when she declared, a new "messenger" from the Great Lodge might again visit the West, and be able to take advantage of the gains made by loyal and industrious Theosophists in the interim. She stated there that she hoped that the TS would survive, its adherents, following the lines laid down for study and self-purification, so that the whole World would profit from the effort being made by the Masters to "change the Manas [mind-set] and Buddhi [discernment] of the Race."
1889 May 10 Annie Besant, who had been asked to review The Secret Doctrine when it was published, was deeply struck with the value of the wisdom evident therein. She visited HPB to interview her and to discuss The Secret Doctrine. She joined the Theosophical Society in London and constituted herself thereafter, HPB's assistant. She became co-editor of Lucifer magazine with HPB, and was able to give her some relief from her constant day-long work. This was two years before HPB's body died.
Annie Besant offered her own home as a refuge to the sick and weary HPB and this afforded her the opportunity of a
THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
1889 July HPB wrote and published The Key to Theosophy. It is written in question and answer form so that her students may learn what THEOSOPHY is, and in turn use it to teach other inquirers. She sub-titled it: "A clear exposition ...of the ETHICS, SCIENCE, and PHILOSOPHY for the study of which the Theosophical Society has been founded."
The 2nd edition published in 1890 contains at the end of the book an addition: a 60 page Glossary.
To answer the many questions on Practical Theosophy she devoted many pages in The Key to explaining its application in the fields of: Duty, Political Reforms, Self-Sacrifice, Charity, Promulgating Theosophy to the masses, Helping the Society and "What a Theosophist ought Not to Do." She also considered Asceticism, Marriage, Education, Prejudice against the TS, "Does the TS Make Money?," and what is the "Working Staff of the TS." These practical guidelines have helped solve many a difficult personal problem in the lives of Theosophists.
She considers in detail the operation of the law of Karma, and its particular applications in regard to man's progress.
The Key also deals with the inner constitution of man, his goals and the part he can play in regard to the objectives of evolution as a whole.
1889 July HPB went to Fontainebleau to rest and used the time there to write her last book: The Voice of the Silence.
Published later in 1889, The Voice of the Silence was dedicated to "the few"-- to those who desired to make Theosophy a "living power in their lives."
To those who chose to make personal use on a daily basis of the ethical precepts found in Theosophy, these practical applications are dedicated for study, as they are the application of the metaphysical statement of facts in Nature.
Mme. Blavatsky taught that theosophists ought to make Theosophy a guide in their lives. To the aspirant for self-improvement, it gave a glimpse of the future -- of the "goal" to which all may aspire--a "god-like" living.
The Voice of the Silence is based on a further series of verses drawn from the Book of Dzyan which formed the basis for The Secret Doctrine in considering the history of the evolution of mankind and of our Earth. It is a sketch of the ancient and difficult "path" of discipleship, and of the progress that a Man who decides to accelerate his own evolution can make. It warns of dangers and difficulties, but also provides examples of success, and an illustration of the means and methods an aspirant can use to achieve the goal of all Life.
[Read more about The Voice of the Silence.]
1889 July In line with the first "Object" of the TS: "to form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood," a club was opened in a poor section of London for "working women." Some of the TS members lent their spare time and energy to providing a different kind of environment for these disadvantaged persons. This might be considered one of the first visible effects of a great change in attitude that was to sweep during the following decades over the entire world, where the rights of women, of the poor and the disenfranchised were to be given increasing weight and care. HPB was asked to open it.
Theosophy burgeoned into the ecological movement which focuses on all aspects of our common environment and the rights of plants and animals to protection in addition to those of humans. One might even trace the political liberalism and the disencumbering themselves by "master" countries of their satellites and colonies, which has proceeded apace since the end of the second World War as a manifestation of this spirit of freedom and brotherhood and while much is still to be done, the various health and social plans brought into being to protect the needs of the poor are also a result of Theosophical teachings being studied accepted and applied, though not always acknowledged.
1889 Other important Theosophical activities in 1889 should be noted. Col. Olcott was invited to spend four months in Japan working to give more life and cohesion to the various Buddhist sects there. He was successful in an attempt to bring more understanding, leading to unification, between the two great Schools of Buddhism, the Northern (Mahayana) and the Southern (Hinayana).
1890 July Administratively it had become necessary for the European Section of the TS Lodges to organize themselves into a more efficient group. With HPB as their President and the agreement of Col. Olcott as the Theosophical Society's President for Life, the EUROPEAN SECTION of the TS was established.
1890-1891 The Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge were issued in two parts. This material was prepared from stenographic reports made during question and answer sessions at the Blavatsky Lodge (Dec. 1888-March 1889). HPB's answers were found to throw additional and important light on subjects treated in The Secret Doctrine, on the subject of Dreams and States of Consciousness and other matters. Both parts were edited by HPB prior to publication. [Read more about the Transactions.]
DR. COUES SLANDERS H.P.B. IN THE NEW YORK SUN -- PAPER LATER MAKES RETRACTION
1890 July 20 In America, Professor Elliott Coues, of Washington D.C., who had aimed at becoming the President of the AMERICAN SECTION of the TS (of which Mr. Judge had been for many years the General Secretary), finding himself at odds with the original TS objects and their functioning, and not being able to force his ways and ideas on that Section, or on HPB, or to oust Mr. Judge, published in The New York Sun a defamatory article attacking HPB.
This article brought into one focus all the libel that had hitherto been aimed at HPB's character. This demanded an immediate redress at Law.
Mr. Judge accordingly filed a suit for Libel in New York on behalf of HPB. Unfortunately HPB did not see the final success of this suit, as she died before the verdict was passed.
The New York Sun fully investigated every charge that Prof. Coues made and found none of them to have any substance.
Accordingly The New York Sun made a full retraction, and invited Mr. Judge to write an article on HPB, which he did, entitling it "The Esoteric She." The importance of this should not be lost on reviewers of Mme. Blavatsky's life and work: every charge and rumor that had been circulated concerning HPB had been proved to have no substance.
Subsequent biographers of HPB have not all taken adequate notice of this fact. HPB is no longer here to take issue with, or to defend herself. it is manifestly unfair to level false accusations at her. A few of her friends will always demand "fair play."
DEATH OF MME. BLAVATSKY'S BODY
1891 May 8 On this day, HPB, who had suffered from a chronic kidney disease for many years and who had contracted the flu -- as an epidemic was then raging in London -- after a few days of illness, died at 2.25 p.m. in the presence of several of her friends.
Her last words as reported by her friends then present are:
"Keep the link unbroken. Let not my last incarnation be a failure."
1891 May 11 Her body was cremated at Woking crematorium, Surrey, after a simple service conducted by her friends and followers.
The news of her death spread like wild-fire. Telegrams and letters of condolence and sympathy poured in just as if she had been one of the great rulers of the age. The press around the world took note of her passing and took opportunity to discuss her work and Theosophy again.[Read some of the articles: 1 2 3 4 5]
Those of her friends and students who remained now had the difficult task of carrying out on their own the objectives that she had outlined, and the study for which she had provided the texts and philosophy. This was due to humanity at large for whom she wrote and for whom she hoped there would be the increasing recognition of their common rights, together with the establishment of universal freedoms and safeguards, and such liberties as would raise them to their rightful level as true members of the world community: women, children, the poor, the down-trodden, the "colonials," in fact all those to whom the benefits of education, political and human freedom had hitherto been denied.
Reviewing the last 100 years could we not say that much of her hopes in this direction have seen fulfillment? Many of the great patriots of the world, of disadvantaged countries, previously "colonies" of the powerful European nations, can trace some early contact with Theosophical ideas, or even acknowledge a debt to the view of liberty that its philosophy gave reasons for.
Meantime, this heritage of the race is available still in its original form, untampered with. HPB wrote thousands of pages in providing proof, TESTIMONY and substance for her contention.
THE IMPACT OF HPB's WORK
It would be difficult to measure the extent to which the Theosophical teachings have influenced the thinking of some of the "leaders of men," and the social and ecological structures of our day, a 100 years later. There has been an enormous change in thinking and a more compassionate regard bent on society and the creatures of the world around us.
The word "Theosophy" is known to many, even if they are unsure of its doctrines, ideas or teachings.
MISSION OF HPB SURVEYED
A survey of the mission of HPB will show:
1. It focused attention on the Lodge of Living Adepts, specifically on their service of Humanity as the preservers of knowledge and wisdom down the ages, and their help in individual progress when merited through moral excellence.
2. It declared man's immortality as a spiritual being, since a portion of the UNIVERSAL SPIRIT is in him -- as it is in all other beings in Nature.
3. It demonstrated the universal reign of LAW -- which no being, however powerful, can transgress.
4. It showed how cycles of civilization arose, then fell.
5. It declared that a sincere and conscientious application of the innate sense of morality everyone has (Voice of Conscience and Intuition) is the only key to spiritual and occult progress for man.
6. It demonstrated the existence of the invisible (astral, spiritual) realms of being, within the physical.
7. Karma, the law of moral compensation, and Reincarnation are shown to be the active agents and the process of man's evolution. Man alone is the maker of his own destiny. He has the inalienable power to choose.
UNBROKEN CONSISTENCY OF HPB's TEACHINGS
Students of Theosophy have noticed that from the first of her writings to her last article entitled "My Books," there is an unbroken continuity of ideas, a single theme.
The same basic propositions that describe the world situation: its emanation from the "ABSOLUTE - UNKNOWABLE" as an all inclusive deific SOURCE, it evolves according to regular intransgressible laws of progression, which take into account every part and aspect of being, including man, the "atom," and, the UNIVERSE. Evolution is seen to be continuous, universal, and involves every atom of the living Universe. There is no universal waste-pile to which are consigned unused components. Every part has its due place.
Theosophy declares that evolution is a development of consciousness and that this is the permanent center of each "being" -- the result of its experience. The final objective of Life is declared to be the assumption of a cooperative assistance towards all beings: an active and universal Brotherhood.
Theosophy therefore posits an ethical conduct of life applied through the individual self-choice of one's embodied self (personality) - a form of discipline which in effect treats all others as one's "brothers," to put it simply.
Finally, it declares that the only key to acquire the "secret knowledge of antiquity, which is of the minutest operations of the Universe, whether visible or invisible -- as force and as energy -- is through this self-imposed moral posture. Obviously this cannot be a matter of superficial or hypocritical pretense, but has to be sincerely and completely adopted and practiced. This alone opens the gates to "adeptship." The great Adepts, she declared had the power to "look into the hearts of men, and see the Soul of things there." To Them, there were no secrets.
THEOSOPHICAL INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD
It has served to introduce some ancient Sanskrit terms into our everyday language: karma, dharma, yoga, nirvana, Bhagavad Gita, Mahatma, are some; and in addition, Theosophical doctrines like reincarnation, the law of justice, universal Spirit, astral body and astral light, universal evolution, "the moral universe," "the invisible universe," "consciousness," and "intelligence" residing in all forms, cycles of civilization ... are some powerful ideas defined and integrated into a philosophy of living.
Many great figures initiating, sustaining and promoting social and political reforms, not to mention the ecological movement, where the rights of species other than the races and nations of Man are considered valid enough to draw understanding and protection, may be seen to be at some time influenced by the Theosophical ideas.
GREAT MINDS INFLUENCED BY THEOSOPHY
Some of the great names, either members of the TS, or connected or influenced at some time with the Theosophical
movement can be mentioned:
Dr. Albert Einstein (who kept a copy of The Secret Doctrine on his desk for ready reference); Thomas A. Edison, (inventor); Prof. Wm. Crookes (chemist, physicist and investigator into the psychic and the "astral" realm); Camille
Flammarion (astronomer); A. O. Hume (administrator, and founder of THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS -- a body active in securing independence for India in 1948).
M. K. Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Bhagavan Das, Bhavani Shankar, Subba Row, and hundreds of the most prominent
Indians who sacrificed to secure independence through non-violence, for India. Annie Besant (Social reformer);
Herbert Burrows, and Christmas Humphreys (philosophers, social reformers); Rudolph Steiner (founder of Anthroposophy); Piet Mondrian (artist); B.P.Wadia (labor reformer, philosopher, founder of THE INDIAN INSTITUTE OF WORLD CULTURE).
Dr. Alexander Wilder and G.R.S.Mead, (Greek scholars); Charles Johnston (Orientalist and Sanskrit scholar); Baron du Potet (healer and magnetist); Alexander Aksakof (Chancellor of Imperial Russia); Rev. H. Sumangala (High Priest of Singalese Buddhists); W. B. Yeats and George W. Russell (AE) (poets and writers of Ireland).
Col. H. S. Olcott, (jurist, investigator and reporter); Kandinski, Paul Klee, (artists); Scriabine, (musician); Roerich (artist); James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, Henry Miller (writers); D. T. Suzuki (Specialist in Buddhism); Kazi Dawa Sandup (translator of The Tibetan Book of the Dead). . . the list can be greatly extended.
ATTACKS ON THEOSOPHY AND ON HPB
It is interesting and important to note that all the "attacks" made on Theosophy have been aimed at the discrediting of HPB. No one has yet successfully attacked or disproved the validity of any of the propositions she advanced under that name nor any of the historical facts she sets forth.
The greatest proportion of the "Attacks" made on HPB have been on episodes alleged to have occurred during the
period of her travels and preparation up to 1871. From 1871 onward she lived in the pitiless glare of publicity and during
that period none of the accusations made have been found to be provable or valid. She wrote:
"For the last fifteen years...an incessant shower of ugly accusations has been poured upon me. Every libelous charge, from immorality and the "Russian spy" theory down to my acting on false pretenses, of being a chronic fraud and a living lie, an habitual drunkard, an emissary of the Pope--paid to break down Spiritualism, and Satan incarnate.. Every slander that can be thought of has been brought to bear upon my private and public life. The fact that not a single one of these charges has ever been substantiated;...I have lived surrounded by friends and foes like as in a glass-house,--nothing could stop these wicked, venomous, and thoroughly unscrupulous tongues..." MY BOOKS - HPB ARTICLES, Vol. I, p. 477
[See also Walter A. Carrither's work The Truth About Madame Blavatsky.]
WORKS BY H. P. BLAVATSKY AVAILABLE FROM THE THEOSOPHY COMPANY
[See The Theosophy Company's listing of HPB's books.]
Isis Unveiled 1877 - 2 volumes (1,300 pages +) facsimile reprint of 1st edition
The Secret Doctrine 1888 - 2 volumes (1,500 pages +) facsimile reprint of 1st edition
Index to The Secret Doctrine 1939 - (180 pages )
The Key to Theosophy 1889 - (310 pages) facsimile reprint of 1st edition
The Voice of the Silence 1889 - verbatim reprint of the original text (per W. Q. Judge New York)
The Theosophical Glossary 1892 - (389 pages) facsimile reprint
Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge 1889 - (150 pages) verbatim reprint
A Modern Panarion 1895 - (504 pages) facsimile reprint of volume containing early articles of HPB
Theosophical Articles by HPB - 3 volumes (1,550 + pages & Index) verbatim reprint of original articles
H.P.B.'s articles in pamphlet form -- arranged by subjects.
Theosophical Articles & Notes by HPB et al. - (310 pages & Index, 70 pp. by HPB not included in the above 3 volume set) verbatim reprint of original articles
Five Messages to American Theosophists by HPB (1888 -1891) - (32 pages)
Five Years of Theosophy by HPB et al. - (575 pages, Index) facsimile reprint of 1885 edition
[See The Theosophy Company's listing of HPB's books.]