H.P. BLAVATSKY: THE LIGHT BRINGER
byGeoffrey A Barborka
The Blavatsky Lecture 1970
The Theosophical Publishing House Ltd, London
THIS LECTURE commemorates the coming to the western world of one who was the representative of a great Brotherhood; a Brotherhood which is known by many names. One of its epithets, especially in connection with its origin, is a symbolic one: the Sons of Ad or Sons of the Fire-Mist. Little has been written about these Sons. However, the meaning associated with the term is clear enough; for it links up with the name given to those Divine Beings who came to the assistance of humanity during one of its most critical periods. These are the Agnishvâtta Pitris, the awakeners of the fire — which signifies the mind-principle.
About the Sons of the Fire-Mist we read in The Secret Doctrine:
In the first or earlier portion of the existence of this Third Race, while it was yet in its state of purity, the ‘Sons of Wisdom,’ who .... incarnated in this Third Race, produced by Kriyâšhakti a progeny called the ‘Sons of Ad’ or ‘of the Fire-Mist,’ the ‘Sons of Will and Yoga,’ etc. They were a conscious production, as a portion of the race was already animated with the divine spark of spiritual, superior intelligence. It was not a Race, this progeny. It was at first a wondrous Being, called the ‘Initiator,’ and after him a group of semi-divine and semi-human beings ‘Set apart’ in Archaic genesis for certain purposes, they are those in whom are said to have incarnated the highest Dhyânis, ‘Munis and Rishis from previous Manvantaras’ — to form the nursery for future human adepts, on this earth and during the present cycle. These ‘Sons of Will and Yoga’ born so to speak, in an immaculate way, remained, as it is explained, entirely apart from the rest of mankind. [Volume I, Page 297, First Edition; Volume I, Pages 255-6, Adyar Edition;Volume I, Page 228, third edition]
The secret abiding place of the Sons of the Fire-Mist was an island situated in a vast inland sea, which extended over Middle Asia north of the Himalayas. The ‘Island’, according to belief, exists to the present hour; now, as an oasis surrounded by the dreadful wildernesses of the great Desert, the Gobi — whose sands ‘no foot hath crossed in the memory of man.’[ II, 220, FirstEdition;Volume III, 224, Adyar Edition; Volume 2, Pages 230-1, third edition]
While the above account may be traditional, we have the authoritative statement of Mâhatmâ K.H. about the existence of the Brotherhood in the nineteenth century, in a letter addressed to the London Lodge of The Theosophical Society, dated December 7, 1883, from Mysore:
There are even at the present moment three centres 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 [The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, page 339, first Edition; Page 393, third edition]
To one of these centres an injunction was given, in conformity with the purposes of the establishment of these centres. It reads:
Among the commandments of Tsong-Kha-pa there is one that enjoins the Arhats to make an attempt to enlighten the world, including the ‘white barbarians,’ every century, at a certain specified period of the cycle. [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 5, Page 396 Adyar Edition;Volume 3, Page 412, third edition]Apparently the last quarter of the nineteenth century was a propitious period for making an effort in compliance with the injunction of this great reformer of Buddhism in Tibet — especially so because this time-period nearly coincided with two other important cyclical periods, namely with one of the minor cyclical periods of the Kali-yuga and with the ushering in of another Messianic cycle. The Messianic Cycle referred to is that of the 2160 year period connected with the precession of the equinoxes. It marked the conclusion of the Piscean Age. With regard to the Kali-yuga cycle, The Secret Doctrine says:
In about nine years hence, the first cycle of the first five millenniums, that began with the great cycle of the Kali-Yuga, will end. And then the last prophecy contained in that book (the first volume of the prophetic record for the Black Age) will be accomplished. We have not long to wait, and many of us will witness the Dawn of the New Cycle, at the end of which not a few accounts will be settled and squared between the races. [Volume I, Page xliv, first edition; Volume 1, page 65 Adyar Edition; Volume 1, Page 27 third edition]
The ending of the nine-year referred to took place on February 16, 1898. The Dawn of the New Cycle signifies the coming of the Aquarian Age.
In accordance with the injunction laid on the Brotherhood that an effort should be made every century to enlighten the western world, it would seem likely that some of the members of the Fraternity were given the task of finding a suitable individual who would act as a representative or vehicle for that purpose. Statements are on record to show that these ideas are not far-fetched. First, with regard to the notion that individuals are born with constitutions enabling them to act in unusual ways:
Some persons are born with organisations so exceptional that the door which shuts other people in from communication with the world of the astral light can be easily unbarred and opened, and their souls can look into, or even pass into, that world and return again. Those who do this consciously, and at will, are termed magicians, hierophants, seers, adepts; those who are made to do it, either through the fluid of the mesmeriser or of ‘spirits’, are ‘mediums’. The astral soul when the barriers are once opened, is so powerfully attracted by the universal, astral magnet that it sometimes lifts its encasement with it and keeps it suspended in mid-air, until the gravity of matter reasserts its supremacy, and the body re-descends again to earth. [Isis Unveiled, I. 198]The second statement deals with the search that was instituted for ‘nearly a century’, in the words of Mâhatmâ K.H:
Notwithstanding that the time is not quite ripe to let you entirely into the secret; and that you are hardly yet prepared to understand the great Mystery, even if 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 [H.P.B’s] 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 exemplar — a 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’. [The Mahatma Letters, pages 203-4, first edition; pp 201-2, third edition]
When the information given in the above extract is read in connection with that which follows, there should be no doubt about the fact that H.P. BLAVATSKY was definitely sent to America for the purpose of founding a Society, to be a transmitter of the occult doctrine. Writing to A. P. Sinnett, Mâhatmâ M. states:
I will tell you something you should know, and may derive profit from. On the 17th of November next the Septenary term of trial given the Society at its foundation in which to discreetly ‘preach us’ will expire. One or two of us hoped that the world had so far advanced intellectually, if not intuitionally, that the Occult doctrine might gain an intellectual acceptance, and the impulse given for a new cycle of occult research. Others — wiser as it would now seem — held differently, but consent was given for the trial. It was stipulated, however, that the experiment should be made independently of our personal management; that there should be no abnormal interference by ourselves. So casting about we found in America the man to stand as leader — a man of great moral courage, unselfish and having other good qualities. He was far from being the best, but (as Mr. Hume speaks in H.P.B’s case) — he was the best one available. With him we associated a woman of most exceptional and wonderful endowments. Combined with them she had strong personal defects, but just as she was, there was no second to her living fit for this work. We sent her to America, brought them together—and the trial began. From the first both she and he were given to clearly understand that the issue lay entirely with themselves. [Op. cit.,Letter xliv, p 263, firstEdition; page 259, third edition]
IN SUPPORT of the statement that H.P. BLAVATSKY was selected to become an emissary, there is evidence that during her childhood she was watched over and protected from serious injury; and that in later life this guardianship was even more protective, at times saving her when death was imminent. Even her birth was a precarious event, for she was born prematurely soon after midnight, July 30-31 (Russian style; or August 11-12 according to the present mode of reckoning), her mother being the wife of Captain von Hahn. Cholera was raging throughout Russia. Some members of her family had succumbed to it and her grandparents were fearful that the child might not survive, so a hasty baptism was arranged in order that she might have the protection of the holy church. The church dignitaries donned their ceremonial robes and vestments; the members of the family gathered and were given lighted candles, as was customary in the Greek Church. One of the ceremonialists was a child, who stood in the first row behind the officiating priest, and also held a lighted candle. At the height of the ceremony the robes of the officiating priest caught fire, and the service had to come to an abrupt end. It was whispered that a most unusual career was in store for the one who was undergoing such a baptism!
The next unusual event would undoubtedly have had dire results but for timely assistance. It occurred in the home of her grandparents. In one of the rooms of their mansion large portraits were hanging on the walls. One of them was covered by a curtain, and little Helena wondered why. One day, when she was all alone, she made up her mind to find out. As she could not reach the curtain, she dragged a small table against the wall and climbed on to it. Still she could not reach. So she put a chair on the table, climbed up again and pulled the curtain aside. The chair must have been precariously placed, for it suddenly gave way and the child would have been thrown to the floor but for the fact that strong arms grasped her and laid her gently on the floor.
When she opened her eyes, the table had been put back in its usual position, also the chair; and the curtain was drawn over the portrait. But there was one telltale mark left as evidence of the occurrence. High up on the wall beside the curtain was an imprint of a tiny hand.
Another incident demonstrates the continued watchfulness of her guardian. Helena was now in her early teens, old enough to ride alone, even bareback, as the Cossacks did — and how she loved it. During one gallop, however, her horse got frightened and jerked the reins out of her hands, and her foot got entangled in one of the stirrups. Again she was rescued from her predicament. Supporting arms held her up so that she did not fall, and the horse was brought under control.
It was recorded by Helena’s sister Vera that in May, 1848, the sisters travelled with both of their aunts and their uncle, Yuliy F. Witte, to Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk for winter cures. While on the journey between Koyshaur and Kobi, Helena narrowly escaped being engulfed in an avalanche.
About a year later Helena was married to N. V. Blavatsky, a State Official. But the marriage was in name only, for within three months — one month of which was spent with her grandparents – Mme. Blavatsky had left Russia and begun her travels. Then in 1851 the most momentous event of her life occurred. She met face to face the person she had come to regard as her guardian — the one who had in fact thus far protected her. This was in London during the International Exhibition featuring the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. She made this note of the meeting in her Sketchbook, at the time:
A memorable night. A certain night by the light of the setting moon — at Ramsgate, 12 of August, 1851 — when I met the Master of my dreams. The 12 of August — that is July 31, Russian style — the day of my birth — 20 years. [Reminiscences of H.P. BLAVATSKY and The Secret Doctrine by Countess Constance Wachtmeister, pp 56-8]However, Mme Blavatsky told Countess Wachtmeister that the meeting with her guardian had actually occurred in London, although she had placed it as taking place in Ramsgate, ‘so that anyone casually taking up her book would not know where she had met her Master, and her first interview with him had been in London’ in Hyde Park, near the Serpentine.
The important point about this meeting — although this was not included in the vivid impression she put into writing at the time — was that it was the turning-point of her life. When she related the episode to Countess Wachtmeister she said that the Master asked her whether she would be willing to co-operate in a work which he was about to undertake, and that this would necessitate certain preparatory features. From the sparse references she made to it, there is no doubt that she underwent rigorous training for the work and furthermore that she was excellently fitted for the task.
After this physical meeting with her Master, Mme. Blavatsky continued to have what we may regard as miraculous escapes from near death, although in relating the circumstances about these incidents she did not attribute any of them to rescues made by her guardian. The first one is mentioned in a letter written to Georgina Johnston from London in 1887. Therein she states that in Greece her life was saved by an Irishman names Johnny O’Brien — but gave no further particulars. Whether this was before or after meeting her Master in London it is difficult to say, because there are many conflicting accounts in regard to her travels between 1850 and 1851. From what she herself wrote, it would seem that some time after her memorable meeting she was in America in the fall of 1851. She also journeyed to South America, then to the West Indies, and on to India, Java and Singapore, sailing from there back to England. The ship was the SS Gwalior, which was wrecked near the Cape, but she was saved along with twenty others.
The next critical incident which befell her was the dramatic one she described in Isis Unveiled, when she was in a desert with a Tatar Shaman. Since our purpose is to demonstrate the efforts of Mme Blavatsky made to acquire the status she later gained — that of being an accepted chela of her Master — her ability to overcome the difficulties she encountered during her quest is well exemplified in her recital of this episode. She began by referring to a carnelian stone she possessed.
Every Shaman has such a talisman, which he wears attached to a string, and carries under his left arm.
‘Of what use is it to you, and what are its virtues? was the question we often offered to our guide. To this he never answered directly, but evaded all explanation, promising that as soon as an opportunity was offered, and we were alone, he would ask the stone to ‘answer for himself’. With this very indefinite hope, we were left to the resources of our own imagination.
But the day on which the stone ‘spoke’ came very soon. It was during the most critical hours of our life; at a time when the vagabond nature of a traveller had carried the writer to far-off lands, where neither civilization is known, nor security can be guaranteed for one hour. One afternoon ... the Shaman, who had become our only protector in those dreary deserts, was reminded of his promise. He sighed and hesitated; but, after a short silence, left his place on the sheepskin, and, going outside placed a dried-up goat’s head with its prominent horns over a wooden peg, and then dropping down the felt curtain of the tent, remarked that no living person would venture in, for the goat’s head was a sign that he was at work.
After that, placing his hand in his bosom, he drew out the little stone, about the size of a walnut, and, carefully unwrapping it, proceeded, as it appeared, to swallow it. In a few moments his limbs stiffened, his body became rigid, and he fell, cold and motionless as a corpse. But for the slight twitching of his lips at every question asked, the scene would have been embarrassing, nay ....dreadful. The sun was setting, and were it not that dying embers flickered at the centre of the tent, complete darkness would have been added to the oppressive silence which reigned. We have lived in the prairies of the West, and in the boundless steppes of Southern Russia; but nothing can be compared with the silence at sunset on the sandy desert of Mongolia; not even the barren solitudes of the deserts of Africa, though the former are partially inhabited, and the latter utterly void of life. Yet, there was the writer alone with what looked no better than a corpse lying on the ground. Fortunately, this state did not last long.
uttered a voice, which seemed to come from the bowels of the earth, on
which the Shaman was prostrated. ‘Peace be with you, what would you
have me do for you?’...
For over two hours, the most substantial, unequivocal proofs that the Shaman’s astral soul was travelling at the bidding of our unspoken wish, were given us.
We had directed the Shaman’s inner ego to... the Kutchi of Lha.Ssa, who travels constantly to British India and back. We know that he was apprised of our critical situation in the desert; for a few hours later came help, and we were rescued by a party of twenty-five horseman who had been directed by their chief to find us at the place where we were, which no living man endowed with common powers could have known. The chief of this escort was a Shaberon, an ‘adept’ whom we had never seen before, nor did we after that, for he never left his soumay (lamasery), and we could have no access to it. But he was a personal friend of the Kutchi. [Isis Unveiled, II, 626-8]
A passing reference to what may have resulted in serious consequences for Mme. Blavatsky during her travels in Burma is also referred to in Isis Unveiled:
A fearful fever contracted by the writer near Rangoon, after a flood of the Irrawaddy River, was cured in a few hours by the juice of a plant called, if we mistake not, Kukushan, though there may be thousands of natives ignorant of its virtues, who are left to die of fever. [Op. cit., II, 621]This is comparable to another remarkable cure — although this time no medicine is announced as having been given; nor does Mme. Blavatsky relate how she came to be relieved from the situation in which she found herself, nor how the wound from which she suffered was inflicted. For that matter, the more one probes into the incidents of her life the more mysterious does each of them become. As usual one cannot give a precise date. The event is related to have taken place in the spring of 1859 after she had spent some time with her father and her half-sister Lisa, in St. Petersburg. From there she went on a visit to her widowed sister, Vera de Yahontov, at Rugodevo. There Mme. Blavatsky was prostrated by a serious illness: a wound appeared near her heart. She was in what appeared to be a deathlike trance for three or four days; then suddenly and unaccountably she was cured.
A somewhat similar prostration took place during 1864-65, when she was living in the military settlement of Ozurgety, in Mingrelia. The local physician was unable to diagnose her condition or give any help; he therefore ordered that Mme. Blavatsky, apparently near death, should be placed in a boat and taken down the river Rion to Kutais; from there she was to be transported in a carriage to Tiflis. But again there was another sudden cure. Referring to this episode later, she commented: ‘between the Blavatsky of 1845-65 and the Blavatsky of the years 1865-82 there is an unbridgeable gulf.’[H.P. BLAVATSKY Speaks, II 58] She was referring to this fact: during the period 1845-65 whatever occult or psychic manifestations had taken place could be regarded as occurring without her conscious control, therefore unconsciously; whereas from 1865-82 whatever occult phenomena were produced were under her control, and she was consciously able to direct them.
After recovering from this strange illness, Mme. Blavatsky went to the Caucasus, where she spent some years. While there she was thrown from her horse and fractured her spine. No further firsthand knowledge is available regarding this injury nor as to her recovery from it. Likewise no information is given about a more calamitous occurrence, or the reason why Mme Blavatsky became involved in the affair. She was present at the battle of Mentana, Italy, between Garibaldi red shirts and French troops on November 2, 1867, and was wounded five times. Her left arm was broken in two places by a sabre stroke, and she received bullets in her shoulder and leg. Col. Olcott testifies that he actually felt the bullets when Mme. Blavatsky pointed out the spots to him. But not a word was forthcoming in regard to her convalescence.
As though this were not enough, she had one still more frightening experience. About three years later she left Greece for Egypt, sailing from Piraeus in the SS Eunomia. In those days it was necessary for ships plying between Piraeus and Nauplia to carry cannon and a supply of gunpowder, as protection against pirates. On July 4, 1871, between the islands of Docos and Hydra, while the Anaemia was in sight of the island of Spezia in the gulf of Nipple, there was a terrific explosion: the ship sank and there were only a few survivors. Mme. Blavatsky was one of them; but all her possessions were lost. The Greek government provided transport for the survivors, so that Mme. Blavatsky was able to reach Alexandria; but she arrived there without funds.
The next mishap to befall her was in New York, when she fell and injured her knee — most likely on the icy pavement, as it happened during the last days of January, 1875. Then on February 13 she had another accident. As she was trying to move her bed, it fell on her leg and seriously injured it. By May it was much worse and on May 26 it became paralysed and soon it was feared that it would have to be amputated. On June 3 the Spiritual Scientist journal announced that Mme. Blavatsky was seriously ill. This was followed by a second notice stating that the crisis was reached at midnight, June 3. Her attendants had supposed her to be dead, because she lay cold, pulseless and rigid, while her injured leg had swollen to double its normal size; it had also turned black. In fact, her physician had given her up. Nevertheless, after a few hours the swelling subsided and she revived.
During the rest of the month, according to correspondence Col. Olcott received during the interval, Mme. Blavatsky was undergoing certain trials which were in the nature of initiations.
Two other times may also be noted when H.P. BLAVATSKY was so gravely ill that death would have ensued had she not been revivified by occult means. The first was on the 5 February, 1885; at Adyar. Referring to this she wrote to A.P. Sinnett:
For though, doctors notwithstanding (who proclaimed my four days’ agony, and the impossibility of recovery), I suddenly got better thanks to Master’s protecting hand, I carry two mortal diseases in me which are not cured — heart and kidneys. At any moment the former can have a rupture, and the latter carry me away in a few days. [The Mahatma Letters, pp 469-70, First Edition; page 462, third edition]On being revivified Mme. Blavatsky left India for Europe on March 31, never to return.
On the second occasion she was at Ostend, engaged in writing The Secret Doctrine. In March, 1887, she was in great agony with a kidney infection. Dr Ashton Ellis was cabled to come to her from London; he came and gave his report. The American consul in Ostend was called to prepare notarial service prior to death. Both men thought death to be imminent. But there was a sudden turn. One night in the last week of March, her Master came and gave her the choice of finishing The Secret Doctrine or dying. He also showed her a vision of what was in store for her in connection with the future of The Theosophical Society. In heroic manner, true to the precepts of the Lodge she was serving, H.P.B chose to continue the task she had undertaken — that of writing The Secret Doctrine so that the message of the Ancient Wisdom could be made available to the western world. Thus was she truly carrying on the tradition of the Occult Brotherhood of being a torchbearer.
H.P.B gave a hint as to the method which was used for revivifying her. It is to be found in a brief passage in The Secret Doctrine:
For Sound generates, or rather attracts together, the elements that produce an ozone ... It may even resurrect a man or an animal whose astral ‘vital body’ has not been irreparably separated from the physical body by the severance of the magnetic or odic chord. As one save thrice from death by that power, the writer ought to be credited with knowing personally something about it. [Op. cit., I 555, First Edition; Volume 2, Page 279, Adyar Edition; I, 606, Third edition]
THEOSOPHISTS are much interested in learning about the time that H.P.B was in Tibet, for if she was a messenger of the occult Brotherhood, she must have undergone certain experiences in Tibet and received training under her Teachers there.
One thing is certain: she was very reticent about giving information as to how or when she entered Tibet. The reason is obvious. She had given her pledge to maintain secrecy regarding her doings in that ‘Forbidden Land,’ as Tibet was referred to in her days. Nevertheless, by searching through available data, an interesting account may be given of her presence in Bod-las — as the land of Tibet is referred to by her Teachers. Probably the most direct statement that Mme. Blavatsky gave concerning the period she was there was made in answer to a journalist who was critical regarding her stay in Tibet and her qualifications:
I have lived at different periods in Little Tibet as in Great Tibet, and that these combined periods form more than seven years. Yet, I have never stated either verbally or over my signature that I had passed seven consecutive years in a convent. What I have said, and repeat now, is, that I have stopped in Lamaistic convents; that I have visited Tzi-gadze, the Tashi-Lhunpo territory and its neighbourhood, and that I have been further in, and in such places of Tibet as have never been visited by any other European, and that he can ever hope to visit. [Light, Volume IV, No. 188, pages 323-4; republished in H.P. BLAVATSKY Collected Writings, VI, 269-80]
The events described took place in the 1860-70 period. Later on, however, Mme. Blavatsky narrated how on one occasion she entered Tibet. But this was in 1882 after the Theosophical Society headquarters had moved to Adyar:
When journeying from Chandernagor to Darjeeling, instead of proceeding to it direct, I left the train half way, was met by friends with a conveyance, and passed with them into the territory of Sikkim, where I found my Master and Mâhatmâ Koot Hoomi. Thence five miles across the old borderland of Tibet. [Ibid.]One of the very few accounts which Mme. Blavatsky penned regarding her stay with the Masters in Tibet may be traced to the year 1870. In a letter dated January 6, 1886 she stated that the episode occurred ‘sixteen years ago’.
I went to bed and I had the most extraordinary vision ... in my sleep I saw them both [the Masters], I was again (a scene of years back) in Mah. K.H.’s house. I was sitting in a corner on a mat and he was walking about the room in his riding dress, and Master was talking to someone behind the door. ‘I remind can’t’ — I pronounced in answer to a question of His about a dead aunt. He smiled and said ‘Funny English you use.’ Then I felt ashamed, hurt in my vanity, and began thinking (mind you in my dream or vision which was the exact reproduction of what had taken place word for word 16 years ago) ‘now I am here and speaking nothing but English in verbal phonetic language I can perhaps learn to speak better with Him.’ (To make it clear with Master I also used English, which whether bad or good was the same for Him as he does not speak it but understands every word I say out of my head; and I am made to understand Him — how I could never tell or explain if I were killed but I do. With D.K. I also spoke English, he speaking it better than the Mah. K.H.) Then, in my dream still, three months after as I was made to feel in that vision — I was standing before Mah. K.H. near the old building taken down he was looking at, and as Master was not at home, I took to him a few sentences I was studying in Senzar in his sister’s room and asked him to tell me if I translated them correctly — and gave him a slip of paper with these sentences written in English. He took and read them and correcting the interpretation read them over and said ‘Now your English is becoming better — try to pick out of my head even the little I know of it.’ And he put his hand on my forehead in the region of memory and squeezed his fingers on it (and I felt even the same trifling pain in it, as then, and the cold shiver I had experienced) and since that day He did so with my head daily, for about two months. Again, the scene changes and I am going away with Master who is sending me off, back to Europe. I am bidding goodbye to his sister and her child and all the chelas. I listen to what the Masters tell me. And then come the parting words of Mah. K.H. [The Mahatma Letters, Letter EXI, pp. 478-9, firstEdition; p 471, third edition]
In another letter, this time written to Dr. Hartmann, Mme. Blavatsky gives a detailed picture of one of the Tibetan temples near Shigatse and also describes the characteristics of most other temples. [From The Path, Jan., 1896; quoted in Personal Memoirs of H.P. Blavatsky, p 162]
Further evidence that Mme Blavatsky was in Tibet and received instruction from those who later sent her to the western world appears in a letter written by one of her instructors. This letter was written in French five years before the founding of The Theosophical Society and sent to one of the members of her family, who had not heard from her for many years. It was addressed to Nadyejda A. Fadeyev — in translation:
The noble relatives of Mme. H. Blavatsky have no cause whatsoever for grief. Their daughter and niece has not left this world at all. She is living and desires to make it known to those whom she loves that she is well and feels very happy in the distant and unknown retreat she has selected for herself. She has been very ill, but is so no longer; for owing to the protection of the Lord Sang-gyas she has found devoted friends who take care of her physically and spiritually. Let the ladies of her house, therefore, remain calm. Before 18 new moons shall have risen — she will have returned to her family. [Published in Collected Writings, Volume VI, page 275]At the time the letter was received the following notation was made upon the envelope in Russian and signed by the recipient (in translation):
Received at Odessa November 7, about Lelinka probably from Tibet — November 11, 1870. Nadyejda F. [Op.cit., p 277]Lelinka is the Russian ‘pet name’ of Yelena (the Russian form of Helena). Furthermore, a memorandum concerning the receipt of the letter was sent to Col. Olcott by Nadyejda Fadeyev dated June 26, 1884 from Paris:
Two or three years ago I wrote to Mr. Sinnett in reply to one of his letters, and I remember telling him what happened to me about a letter which I received phenomenally, when my niece was on the other side of the world, and because of that nobody knew where she was — which made us deeply anxious. All our researches had ended in nothing. We were ready to believe her dead, when — I received a letter from Him Whom I believe you call ‘Kouth Humi,’ which was brought to me in the most comprehensive and mysterious manner, in my house by a messenger of Asiatic appearance, who then disappeared before my very eyes. This letter, which begged me not to fear anything, and which announced that she was in safety — I have still, but at Odessa. Immediately upon my return I shall send it to you, and I shall be very pleased if it can be of any use to you. 8 [Op. cit., VI, 274 Col. Olcott received both letters and placed them in the archives of The Theosophical Society, Adyar. India]
EVIDENCE that emissaries from the occult Brotherhood had been sent to the western world prior to H.P. BLAVATSKY’s coming is contained in a letter from Mâhatmâ K.H. to A.P. Sinnett, who placed a note on it saying that it was received at Umballa on the way to Simla on August 5, 1881. In the opening sentence of the passage quoted the Mâhatmâ comments on a book by Eliphas Lèvi entitled High Magic, because Sinnett had mentioned this work in his letter to the Mâhatmâ:
No wonder you find it cloudy, for it was never meant for the uninitiated reader. Eliphas studied from the Rosicrucian MSS. (now reduced to three copies in Europe). These expound our eastern doctrines from the teachings of Rosencrauz, who, upon his return from Asia dressed them up in a semi-Christian garb intended as a shield for his pupils, against clerical revenge. One must have the key to it and that key is a science per se. Rosencrauz taught orally. Saint Germain recorded the good doctrines in figures and his only cyphered MS. remained with his staunch friend and patron the benevolent German Prince from whose house and patron and in whose presence he made his last exit — Home. [The Mahatma Letters, Letter No. xIix, page 280, First Edition; p 276, third, Eliphas Lévi’s book was first written in serial instalments in French and published in Paris in 1856 under the title Dogme et Rituel de la haute magic]In order to show the status that H.P. BLAVATSKY had attained in becoming the messenger of the great Brotherhood, some passages on the requirements which candidates must fulfil are apposite.
we take candidates for chelas, they take the vow of secrecy and silence
respecting every order they may receive. One has to prove himself fit for chelaship,
before he can find out whether he is fit for adeptship. [Op.
cit., Letter Iiii, page 295, first edition; page 291, Third
Once we are upon the topic, I wish you would impress upon your London friends some wholesome truths that they are but too apt to forget, even, when they have been told of them over and over again. The Occult Science is not one in which secrets can be communicated of a sudden, by a written or even verbal communication. If so, all the ‘Brothers’ should have to do, would be to publish a Handbook of the art which might be taught in schools as grammar is. It is the common mistake of people that we willingly wrap ourselves and our powers in mystery — that we wish to keep our knowledge to ourselves, and of our own will refuse — ‘wantonly and deliberately’ to communicate it. The truth is that till the neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most if not all of the Secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must come from within. Till then no hocus pocus of incantations, or mummery of appliances, no metaphysical lectures or discussions, no self-imposed penance can give it. All these are but means to an end, and all we can do is direct the use of such means as have been empirically found by the experience ages to conduce to the required object. And this was and has been no secret for thousands of years. Fasting, meditation, chastity of thoughts, word, and deed; silence for certain periods of time to enable nature herself to speak to him who comes to her for information; government of the animal passions and impulses; utter unselfishness of intention, the use of certain incense and fumigations for physiological purposes, have been published as the means since the days of Plato and Iamblichus in the West, and since the far earlier times of our Indian Rishis. How these must be compelled with to suit each individual temperament is of course a matter for his own experiment and the watchful care of his tutor or Guru. [Op. cit., Letter xIIx, pp 282-3; pp 278-9, third edition]
Every human being contains within himself vast potentialities, and it is the duty of the adepts to surround the would-be-chela with circumstances which shall enable him to take the ‘right-hand path,’ — if he has the ability in him. We are no more at liberty to withhold the chance from a postulant than we are to guide and direct him into the proper course. At best, we can only show him after his probation period was successfully terminated — that if he does this he will go right; if the other, wrong. But until he has passed that period, we leave him to fight out his battles as best he may; and have to do so occasionally with higher and initiated chelas such as H.P.B once they are allowed to work in the world....It was not a meaningless phrase of the Tathagata that ‘he who masters Self is greater than he who conquers thousands in battle’; there is no such other difficult struggle. [Op.cit., Letter liv, p 316, first edition; p 311, third edition]
To show you how exact a science is occultism, let me tell you that the means we avail ourselves of, are all laid down for us in a code as old as humanity to the minutest detail, but every one of us has to begin from the beginning, not from the end. Our laws are as immutable as those of Nature, and they were known to man and eternity before this strutting cock, modern science, was hatched...we build our philosophy upon experiment and deduction. [Op. cit., Letter xxii, p 144, First Edition; pp 140-1, third edition]
UNQUESTIONABLY, the best way of evaluating the statement that H.P. BLAVATSKY acted as a light-bringer to the western world, is to study the message she gave by means of her writings, Theosophists are so accustomed to regard her two major works — Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine — as source books for the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom — and rightfully so — that they are apt to by-pass her other writings. This should not be done. Her literary production amounts to ten other volumes bearing the title The Collected Writings of H.P. BLAVATSKY. These works are filled with a wealth of information on all sorts of subjects as well as occult lore. In fact there are close to one thousand articles in the series. Every page was hand-written in pen and ink, without secretarial assistance—and this was so also with Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine — and this amazing achievement was performed in less than seventeen years!
In order to give an exposition of the remarkable manner in which H.P.B employed her talents, we propose to place her writings in seven categories, in order to call attention to the different processes she employed. Moreover, because this achievement could not have been performed by ordinary means in writing, one must conclude that she employed Siddhis. Therefore, the question arises: How did she obtain the knowledge and power to utilize these Siddhis? The answer is obvious. It is the reply she herself gave: she was born with the ability to see certain powers unconsciously; then she was taught how to use the Siddhis consciously by her Teachers.
Listing the Siddhis which would be utilized in connection with writing: (1) the ability to see clairvoyantly; (2) the ability to hear clairaudiently; (3) the ability to place oneself en rapport with persons having similar capabilities; (4) the power of receptivity; (5) the power of perceptivity; (6) the power of projectivity; (7) the power of using psychometry; (8) the power of using intuition; (9) the power of demonstrating precipitation. All of these were demonstrated by Mme. Blavatsky. Her writings are proof of this. We repeat, her literary works simply could not have been produced by ordinary means.
For example, consider the phenomenal amount of works quoted in Isis Unveiled: 1,339 different works! Have we any idea of the labour that would be required for an ordinary writer to search through over a thousand books to find a particular passage? Think what it would mean to buy all these books! If the volumes were not purchased, one would have to go to a university library to find them — and some works would not even be there.
In The Secret Doctrine, 1,147 works are quoted [The count of the works listed is computed from the excellent compilation added to the index forming the sixth volume of the latest 5th edition set of The Secret Doctrine, published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, India. 1962] and these two computations do not take into consideration how many times any one volume is quoted.
Let us now consider the seven kinds of process involved in her writings. Each one will be considered separately, beginning with the one in which Mme. Blavatsky displayed her talents as a writer:1) Descriptive Writing; 2) Writing by means of Instruction; 3) Writing by Dictation; 4) Writing by Directive Clairvoyance; 5) Writing by Psychometry; 6) Writing by means of Precipitation; 7) Writing by means of a process analogous to Tulku.
HERE IT IS possible to give no more than a selected passage from one of Mme Blavatsky’s stories. This extract is from the least known story, entitled Legend of the Night Flower, [Op. cit.,I, pp 7-9] published posthumously as recently as 1966 in the revised Volume 1 of the Collected Writings of H.P. BLAVATSKY.
At the very beginning of the creation of the World, and long before the sin which became the downfall of Eve, a fresh green shrub spread its broad leaves on the banks of a rivulet. The sun, still young at that time and tired of its initial efforts, was setting slowly, and drawing his veils of mists around him, enveloped the earth in deep and dark shadows. Then a modest flower blossomed forth upon a branch of the shrub. She had neither the fresh beauty of the rose, nor the superb and majestic pride of the beautiful lily. Humble and modest, she opened her petals and cast an anxious glance on the world of the great Buddha. All was cold and dark about her! Her companions slept all around bent on their flexible stems; her comrades, daughter of the same shrub, turned away from her look; the moths, winged lovers of the flowers, rested but for a moment on her breast, but soon flew away to more beautiful ones. A large beetle almost cut her in two as it climbed without ceremony over her, in search for nocturnal quarters. And the poor flower, frightened by its isolation and its loneliness in the midst of this indifferent crowd, hung its head mournfully and shed a bitter dewdrop for a tear. But lo, a little star was kindled in the sombre sky. Its brilliant rays, quick and tender, pierced the waves of gloom. Suddenly the orphaned flower felt vivified and refreshed as by some beneficent dew. Fully restored, she lifted her face and saw the friendly star. She received its rays into her breast, quivering with love and gratitude. They had brought about her rebirth into a new life.
Dawn with its rosy smile gradually dispelled the darkness, and the star was submerged in an ocean of light which streamed forth from the star of day. Thousands of flowers hailed it their paramour, bathing greedily in his golden rays. These he shed also on the little flower; the great star deigned to cover her too with its flaming kisses. But full of the memory of the evening star, and of its silvery twinkling, the flower responded but coldly to the demonstrations of the haughty sun. She still saw before her mind’s eye the soft and affectionate glow of the star; she still felt in her heart the beneficent dewdrop, and turning away from the blinding rays of the sun, she closed her petals and went to sleep nestled in the thick foliage of the parent-shrub. From that time on, day became night for the lowly flower, and night became day. As soon as the sun rises and engulfs heaven and earth in its golden rays, the flower becomes invisible; but hardly does the sun set, and the star, piercing a corner of the dark horizon, makes its appearance, than the flower hails it with joy, plays with its silvery rays, and absorbs with long breaths its mellow glow.
Such is the heart of many a woman. The first gracious word, the first affectionate caress, falling on her aching heart, takes root there deeply. Profoundly moved by a friendly word, she remains indifferent to the passionate demonstrations of the whole universe. The first may not differ from many others; it may be lost among thousands of other stars similar to that one, yet the heart of woman knows where to find him, near by or far away; she will follow with love and interest his humble course, and will send her blessings on his journey. She may greet the haughty sun, and admire its glory, but, loyal and grateful, her love will always belong to one lone star.
Now a passage from The Secret Doctrine illustrating descriptive writing on an entirely different theme. It is a description of atoms, viewed from the standpoint of Occultism. It portrays what is visioned by one who has developed the Siddhi of spiritual clairvoyance, one who is a ‘spiritual seer, whose inner Eye is opened, and who can see through the veil of matter’. [Op. cit.,633-4, First Edition; II, 35 8-9, Adyar Edition; I, 694-5, third edition]
Atoms are called ‘Vibrations’ in Occultism; also ‘Sound’ — collectively...The waves and undulations of Science are all produced by atoms propelling their molecules into activity from within. Atoms fill the immensity of Space, and by their continuous vibration are that MOTION which keeps the wheels of Life perpetually going. It is that inner work that produces the natural phenomena called the correlation of Forces. Only, at the origin of every such ‘force,’ there stands the conscious guiding noumenon thereof — Angel or God, Spirit or Demon — ruling powers, yet the same.
As described by Seers — those who can see the motion of the interstellar shoals, and follow them in their evolution clairvoyantly — they are dazzling, like specks of virgin snow in radiant sunlight. Their velocity is swifter than thought, quicker than any mortal physical eye could follow, and, as well as can be judged from the tremendous rapidity of their course., the motion is circular...Standing on an open plain, on a mountain summit especially, and gazing into the vast vault above and the spacial infinitudes around, the whole atmosphere seems ablaze with them, the air soaked through with these dazzling coruscations. At times, the intensity of their motion produces flashes like the Northern lights during the Aurora Borealis. The sight is so marvellous, that, as the Seer gazes into this inner world, and feels the scintillating points shoot past him, he is filled with awe at the thought of other, still greater mysteries, that lie beyond, and within, this radiant ocean...
TO SHOW that H.P. BLAVATSKY acted in the capacity of a messenger in bringing the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom to the western world and that she was instructed to do so by means of her writings, there is nothing better than her own words:
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: anyhow, I did as I was ordered. [Quoted in Old Diary Leaves, I, pp 202-3 by H.S Olcott]
The significance of this quotation is that it describes how the writing of Isis Unveiled began. This was a short time before the founding of The Theosophical Society. ‘One day in the Summer of 1875, H.P.B showed me some sheets of manuscript which she had written’, [Ibid.] wrote Col. Olcott, when she made the statement given above.
Regarding the writing of The Secret Doctrine, a sentence from one of her letters to A.P. Sinnett, after he had visited her at Ostend, simply dated Sunday, reads:
‘It is true that ever since you left, Master has made me add some thing daily to the old MSS. so that much of it is new and much more that I do not understand myself. [The Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A.P. Sinnett, page 226]There was supervision of the manuscript of The Secret Doctrine as the writing progressed. A striking illustration was narrated by Countess Wachtmeister, who was Mme. Blavatsky’s companion during the preparation of that work:
When I walked into H.P.B’s writing room, I found the floor strewn with sheets of discarded manuscript. I asked the meaning of this scene of confusion, and she replied: ‘Yes, I have tried twelve times to write this one page correctly, and each time Master says it is wrong. I think I shall go mad, writing it so often; but leave me alone; I will not pause until I have conquered it, even if I have to go on all night.’The Countess also related that assignments were often given by means of precipitated messages:
I brought a cup of coffee to refresh and sustain her, and then left her to prosecute her weary task. An hour later I heard her voice calling me, and on entering found that, at last, the passage was completed to satisfaction. [Reminiscences, etc., pp 32-3 by Countess Wachtmeister]
Another incident of frequent occurrence came under my notice from time to time, and marks another mode in which guidance and aid were given to H.P.B in her work. Often, in the early morning, I would see on her writing-table a piece of paper with unfamiliar characters traced upon it in red ink. On asking her what was the meaning of these mysterious notes, she replied that they indicated her work for the day. [Reminiscences, etc., page 38]
IT MAY appear strange to have one of the classifications of Mme. Blavatsky’s writings listed as Writing by Dictation. Nevertheless, it is used because of what she herself wrote in one of the last, if not the very last, article she penned. It is dated April 27, 1891, eleven days before she died — and is entitled My Books. The work she refers to in the opening sentence is her earliest one, Isis Unveiled:
Every word of information found in this work or in my later writings comes from the teachings of our Eastern Masters; and that many a passage in these 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 distance do not exist for thought; and if two persons are in perfect mutual psycho-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 a room. [Lucifer, London, Volume VIII, No. 43, May 15, 1881, pp 241-47]
The explanation of the method used by the Mâhatmâs in thus ‘dictating’ to Mme. Blavatsky, was described in a letter to A.P. Sinnett, in response to one he had written hoping that he could have direct communications with the Mâhatmâ:
I must tell you now that for opening ‘direct communication’ the only possible means would be: (1) For each of us to meet in our own physical bodies. I being where I am, and you in your own quarters, there is a material impediment for me. (2) For both to meet in our astral form — which would necessitate your ‘getting out’ of yours, as well as my leaving my body. The spiritual impediment to this is on your part. (3) To make you hear my voice either within you or near you as ‘the old lady’ does. This would be feasible in either of two ways: (a) My chiefs have but to give me permission to set up the conditions — and this for the present they refuse; or (b) for you to hear my voice, i.e., my natural voice without any psycho-physiological tamasha being employed by me (again as we often do among ourselves). But then, to do this, not only have one’s spiritual senses to be abnormally opened, but one must himself have mastered the great secret — yet undiscovered by science—of, so to say, abolishing all the impediments of space; of neutralising for the time being the natural obstacle of intermediary particles of air and forcing the waves to strike your ear in reflected sounds or echo. [The Mahatma Letters, Letter VIII, page 28]
One of the most important articles by Mme Blavatsky was written from dictation. It was very long and was published in The Theosophist, the journal which she founded soon after inaugurating the work of The Theosophical Society in India. Col. Olcott was aware of the significance of this article, because he refers to it in this manner:
On August 22, 1883 I joined Mme. Blavatsky at Ootacamund, the summer resort in the Nilgiri Hills. While there part of her work was the taking from dictation from her invisible teacher of the ‘Replies to an English F.T.S.’...That she was taking down from dictation was fully apparent to one who was familiar with her ways. [Old Diary Leaves, II, 466]Here is a portion of one of these ‘replies’:
The gradual development of man’s seven principles and physical senses has to be coincident and on parallel lines with Rounds and Root-races. Our fifth race has so far developed but its five senses. Now, if the Kâma or Will-principle of the ‘Fourth-rounders’ has already reached that stage of its evolution when the automatic acts, the unmotivated instincts and impulses of its childhood and youth, instead of following external stimuli, will have become acts of will framed constantly in conjunction with the mind (Manas), thus making of every man on earth of that race a free agent, a fully responsible being — the Kâma or our hardly adult fifth race is only slowly approaching it. As to the sixth sense of this, our race, it has hardly sprouted above the soil of its materiality. It is highly unreasonable, therefore, to expect for the men of the fifth to sense the nature and essence of that which will be fully sensed and perceived but by the sixth — let alone the seventh race — i.e., to enjoy the legitimate outgrowth of the evolution and endowments of the future races with only the help of our present limited senses. The exceptions to this quasi universal rule have been hitherto found only in some rare cases of constitutional, abnormally precocious individual evolutions; or, in such, where by early training and special methods, reaching the stage of the fifth rounders, some men in addition to the natural gift of the latter have fully developed (by certain occult methods) their sixth, and in still rarer cases their seventh, sense. As an instance of the former class may be cited the Seeress of Prevorst; a creature born out of time, a rare precocious growth, ill adapted to the uncongenial atmosphere that surrounded her, hence a martyr ever ailing and sickly. As an example of the other, the Count St. Germain may be mentioned. Apace with the anthropological and physiological development of man runs his spiritual evolution. To the latter, purely intellectual growth is often more an impediment than a help. [The Theosophist, Volume IV, p 295, September 1883. Quoted in Collected Writings, V. 144-5]
THE TERM Directive Clairvoyance is used to indicate a specific method Mme. Blavatsky employed, signifying a particular kind of clairvoyance. She explained that she had been taught how to use this faculty by her Teachers during the period she was undergoing training in Tibet. Before giving her explanation of how she used this Siddhi, let us note the special capacity needed for it: The ability to select a book on a specific theme. Then, although never having seen the volume before, from any page in the work, choose a selected, appropriate passage on a predetermined subject. Having selected a citation, the ability to copy it verbatim, and give its correct page. Continuing the process: in order to support this citation by quoting another author, an extract from a further book would be required — and it would be forthcoming in the same manner. In either case there would be no need to see the book itself, or to handle it, nor to search through its pages. It would be a matter solely of visualizing the page from which the desired extract was to be copied.
Proficiency in this process would dispense with any need of extraneous assistance, such as a special chair or particular paper. There would be no necessity for a list of books on the subject; no book, no reference to hunt up, no authority to consult; not even an encyclopaedia or an index. It hardly seems necessary to state that H.P. BLAVATSKY had no books on her desk; likewise she had no access to a library. Here are her words on her method of procedure:
Well, you see, what I do is this. I make what I can only describe as a sort of vacuum in the air before me, and fix my sight and my will upon it, and soon scene after scene passes before me like the successive pictures of a diorama, or, if I need a reference or information from some book, I fix my mind intently, and the astral counterpart of the book appears and from it I take what I need. The more perfectly my mind is freed from distractions and mortifications, the more energy and intentness it possesses, the more easily I can do this. [Reminiscences etc ., by Countess Wachtmeister, page 33]Countess Wachtmeister, who was Mme. Blavatsky’s companion while The Secret Doctrine was being written, describes watching the author at work:
I saw her write down sentences as if she were copying them from something before her, where, however, I saw nothing. I did not pay much attention to the manner of her work from the standpoint of a hunter of phenomena, and did not control it for that purpose; but I know that I saw a good deal of the well-known blue K.H. handwriting as corrections and annotations on her manuscripts as well as in books that lay occasionally on her desk. And I noticed this principally in the morning before she had commenced to work. [Op.cit., pages 112-3]There was another method which H.P. BLAVATSKY was able to use, to which the term Directive Clairvoyance would be applicable, although her visioning this time would not be from books, it would be in the form of pictures, somewhat similar to that of a television screen. She also employed this process in writing her major works. She described it in a letter from New York to her sister Vera:
Well, Vera, whether you believe me or not, something miraculous is happening to me. You cannot imagine in what a charmed world of pictures and visions I have. I am writing Isis; not writing, rather copying out and drawing that which She personally shows to me. Upon my word, sometimes it seems to me that the ancient Goddess of Beauty in person leads me through all the countries of past centuries which I have to describe. I sit with my eyes open and to all appearances see and hear everything real and actual around me, and yet at the same time I see and hear that which I write. I feel short of breath; I am afraid to make the slightest movement for fear the spell might be broken. Slowly century after century, image after image, float out of the distance and pass before me as if in a magic panorama; and meanwhile I put them together in my mind, fitting in epochs and dates, and know for sure that there can be no mistake. Races and nations, countries and cities, which have for long disappeared in the darkness of the prehistoric past, emerge and then vanish, giving place to others; and then I am told the consecutive dates. Hoary antiquity makes way for historical periods; myths; myths are explained to me with events and people who have really existed, and every event which is at all remarkable, every newly-turned page of this many coloured book of life, impresses itself on my brain and photographic exactitude. My own reckonings and calculations appear to me later on as separate coloured pieces of different shapes in the game which is called casse-tête (puzzles), I gather them together and try to match them one after the other and at the end there always comes out a geometrical whole. [The Path, Volume ix No 10, pages 301-1, January, 1895]
An example of the faculty of Directive Clairvoyance is shown on the opening pages of The Secret Doctrine: [Volume I, Pages 1-2, First Edition; Volume I, 69-70, Adyar Edition; Volume I, Pages 31-32, third edition]
An Archaic Manuscript — a collection of palm leaves made impermeable to water, fire and air, by some specific unknown process — is before the writer’s eye. On the first page is an immaculate white disk within a dull black ground. On the following page, the same disk, but with a central point. The first, the student knows to represent Kosmos in Eternity, before the reawakening of still slumbering Energy, the emanation of the Word in later systems. The point in the hitherto immaculate Disk. Space and Eternity in Pralaya, denotes the dawn of differentiation. It is the Point in the Mundane Egg, the germ within the latter which will become the Universe, the ALL, the boundless, periodical Kosmos, this germ being latent and active, periodically and by turns. The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns. Its circumference — a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind — indicates the abstract, ever incognizable Presence, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one. Only the face of the Disk being white and the ground all around black, shows clearly that its plane is the only knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man. It is on this plane that the Manvantaric manifestations begin; for it is in this SOUL that slumbers, during the Pralaya, the Divine Thought, wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony.
It is the ONE LIFE, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations, between which periods reigns the dark mystery of non-Being; unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness; unrealisable, yet the one self-existing reality; truly, ‘a chaos to the sense, a KOSMOS to the reason.’ Its one absolute attribute, which is ITSELF, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called in esoteric parlance the ‘Great Breath,’ which is the perpetual motion of the universe, in the sense of limitless, ever-present SPACE. That which is motionless cannot be Divine. But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul.
H.P. BLAVATSKY herself described the subject of writing by means of psychometry in her first major work:
One of the most interesting discoveries of modern times is that of the faculty which enables a certain class of sensitive persons to receive from any object held in the hand or against the forehead impressions of the character or appearance of the individual, or any other object with which it has previously been in contact. Thus a manuscript, painting, article of clothing, or jewellery — no matter how ancient — conveys to the sensitive a vivid picture of the writer, painter, or wearer; even though he lived in the days of Ptolemy or Enoch. Nay, more; a fragment of an ancient building will recall its history and even the scenes which transpired within or about it. A bit of ore will carry the soul-vision back to the time when it was in process of formation. This faculty is called...psychometry. [Isis Unveiled,Volume I, Page 182]The psychometer, by applying the fragment of a substance to his forehead, brings his inner-self into relations with the inner soul of the object he handles. It is now admitted that the universal aether pervades all things in nature, even the most solid.
It is beginning to be admitted, also, that this preserves the images of all things which transpire. When the psychometer examines his specimen, he is brought in contact with the current of the astral light, connected with that specimen, and which retains pictures of the events associated with its history. These, according to Denton, pass before his vision with the swiftness of light; scene after scene crowding upon each other so rapidly, that it is only by the supreme exercise of the will that he is able to hold any one in the field of vision long enough to describe it.
The psychometer is clairvoyant; that is, he sees with the inner eye. Unless his willpower is very strong, unless he has thoroughly trained himself to that particular phenomenon, and his knowledge of the capabilities of his sight are profound, his perceptions of places, persons, and events, must necessarily be very confused. [Isis Unveiled, Volume I, 183-184]
In an article on Psychometry, Mme, Blavatsky explains the difference between the use of that faculty and Clairvoyance:
Psychometry embodies even more potentialities for instructing and elevating average humanity than Clairvoyance. While the latter faculty is most rare, and more rarely still to be found, unless accompanied by a tendency in the clairvoyant to self-deception and the misleading of others, by reason of imperfect control over the Imagination, the psychometer sees the secrets of the Âkâša by the ‘Eye of Siva,’ while corporeally awake and in full possession of his bodily senses. A perfectly independent clairvoyant one may meet with once or twice in a lifetime, but psychometers abound in every circle of society, nay, may be found in almost every house. [Collected Writings, VI, 181-2; from The Theosophist, V, 147-488]
The significance of the Eye of Siva, is apt to be overlooked: it is a mystical way of describing the functioning of the pineal gland. It is also referred to as the Eye of Dangma.
Mme. Blavatsky also explained why the psychometer is able to describe a person who has had contact with an object; first clarifying the difference between life-atoms and sleeping atoms:
We regard and call in our occult phraseology those atoms that are moved by Kinetic energy as ‘life-atoms,’ while those that are for the time being passive, containing but invisible potential energy, we call ‘sleeping atoms,’ regarding at the same time these two forms of energy as produced by the one and same force, or life. [Op. cit., V. 113; The Theosophist, IV, 286-288]
Heat is produced whenever visible energy is transformed into molecular energy we are told, and it may be thrown out by any material composed of sleeping atoms or inorganic matter as it is called: whereas the magnetic fluid projected by a living human body is life itself. ‘Indeed it is life atoms’ that a man in a blind passion throws off, unconsciously, and though he does it quite as effectively as a mesmeriser who transfers them from himself to any object consciously and under the guidance of his will. Let any man give away to any intense feeling, such as anger, grief, etc., under or near a tree, or in direct contact with a stone; and many thousands of years after that any tolerable Psychometer will see the man and sense his feelings from one single fragment of that tree or stone that he had touched. Hold any object in your hand, and it will become impregnated with your life-atoms, indrawn and outdrawn, changed and transferred in us at every instant of our lives. Animal heat is but so many life atoms in molecular motion. It requires no adept knowledge, but simply the natural gift of a good clairvoyant subject to see them passing to and fro, from man to objects and vise versa like a bluish lambent flame. [Op. cit., V, 115-116, from The Theosophist, IV, 288]
PRECIPITATION in connection with writing generally signifies the materialization of a message on paper (or other substance). By extension of meaning it also has come to have the added significance of the delivery of the message, although the latter is actually a distinct process from the former.
As an introduction to this type of writing, a comment made by Mme. Blavatsky in one of her letters to A.P. Sinnett, dated Adyar, March 17, 1885, is worthy of note:
I have never, before beginning the service for you and Mr. Hume, transmitted and received letters to, and from Masters, except for myself. If you had any idea of the difficulties, or the modus operandi you would never have consented to be in my place. And yet I never refused [The Mahatma Letters p 470, First Edition; pages 462-3, third edition]Writing on precipitation, she gave an explanation of the method used, with specific reference to the Mâhatmâ letters received by Sinnett and Hume. Nevertheless, this also clarifies the process Mme. Blavatsky would have been called upon to employ for precipitations she herself performed.
Those having even a superficial knowledge of the science of mesmerism know how the thoughts of the mesmeriser, though silently formulated in his mind are instantly transferred to that of the subject. It is not necessary for the operator, if he is sufficiently powerful, to be present near the subject to produce the above result. Some celebrated practitioners in this Science are known to have been able to put their subjects to sleep even from a distance of several days’ journey. This known fact will serve us as a guide in comprehending the comparatively unknown subject now under discussion. The work of writing the letters in question is carried on by a sort of psychological telegraphy; the Mâhatmâs very rarely write their letters in the ordinary way. An electromagnetic connection, so to say, exists on the psychological plane between a Mâhatmâ and his chelas, one of whom acts as his amanuensis. When the Master wants a letter to be written in this way, he draws the attention of the chela, whom he selects for the task by causing an astral bell (heard by so many of our Fellows and others) to be rung near him just as the despatching telegraph office signals to the receiving office before wiring the message. The thoughts arising in the mind of the Mâhatmâ are then clothed in word, pronounced mentally, and forced along the astral currents he sends towards the pupil to impinge on the brain of the latter. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents to the palms of his hands and the tips of his finger, which rest on a piece of magnetically prepared paper. As the thought-waves are thus impressed on the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean of Akâsa (permeating every atom of the sensuous universe), by an occult process, out of place here to describe, and permanent marks are left.
From this it is abundantly clear that the success of such writing as above described depends chiefly upon these things: (1) The force and the clearness with which the thoughts are propelled, and (2) the freedom of the receiving brain from disturbance of every description. [Collected Writings, VI, PAGES 119-20, from The Theosophist, Volume V, page 64]
Further information is provided in an interview Charles Johnston once had with Mme. Blavatsky, although the report of the occurrence was not published until after her death. Of special interest is the explanation given of how a Mâhatmâ is able to produce the precipitation in English even though knowing nothing of that language. H.P.Blavatsky opened her explanation with a question she herself proceeded to answer:
Have you ever made experiments in thought-transference? If you have, you must have noticed that the person who receives the mental picture very often colours it, or even changes it slightly, with his own thought, and this where perfectly genuine transference of thought takes place. Well, it is something like that with the precipitated letters. One of our Masters, who perhaps does not know English, and of course has no English handwriting, wishes to precipitate a letter in answer to a question sent mentally to him. Let us say he is in Tibet, while I am in Madras or London. He has the answering thought in his mind, but not in English words. He has first to impress that thought on my brain, or on the brain of someone else who knows English, and then to take the word-forms that rise up in the other brain to answer the thought. Then he must form a clear mind-picture of the words in waiting, also drawing on my brain, or the brain of whoever it is, for the shapes. Then either through me or some Chela with whom he is magnetically connected, he has to precipitate these word-shapes on paper, first sending the shapes into the Chela’s mind, and then driving them into the paper, using the magnetic force of the Chela to do the printing, and collecting the material, black or blue or red, as the case may be, from the astral light. As all things dissolve into the astral light, the will of the magician can draw them forth again. So he can draw forth colours of pigments to mark the figure in the letter, using the magnetic force of the Chela to stamp them in, and guiding the whole by his own much greater magnetic force, a current of powerful will. [Collected Writings, VIII, 397-8; from The Theosophical Forum, New York]
With regard to the synchronization of the two minds — the Mâhatmâ’s and the chela’s — a sloka from the Yogasutras may be quoted:
The nature of the mind of another person becomes known to the ascetic when he concentrates his own mind upon that other person. [Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali (W.Q. Judge’s recension Book III, sloka 19)] Mme. Blavatsky gave an explanation of a different type of precipitation, which illustrates the use of another method:
I have often seen M sit with a book of the most elaborate Chinese characters that he wanted to copy, and a blank book before him and he would put a pinch of black lead dust before him and then rub it in slightly on the page; and then over it precipitate ink; and then, if the image of the characters was all right and correct in his mind the characters copied would be all right. [The Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A.P. Sinnett, page 32]
THE LAST of the seven methods of writing chosen for consideration could be termed Writing by means of a process analogous to Tulku. [For a full explanation of the meaning of the Tibetan word Tulku and its significance in connection with H.P.B the reader is referred to the author’s book entitled H.P.Blavatsky, Tibet and Tulku] This description endeavours to express the significance of the idea suggested by the word Tulku, for there is no single English word equivalent to the Tibetan one. To some extent it explains the state or condition in which Mme. Blavatsky functioned from time to time. She referred to this state in a rather vague manner, leaving it to one’s intuition to determine what was meant. For instance here is a passage from one of her letters to A. P. Sinnett:
I too was made a reflection several times and during months; but I never abused of it, to try and palm off my personal schemes on those who mistook H.P.B of Russian, for the high Initiate of xxx whose telephone she was at times. And this is why the MASTERS have never withdrawn Their confidence from me, if all others (saving a very few) have. [Op.cit., p 174 (Letter No. Ixxii)]
In similar vein she wrote this significant statement in her own copy of her book The Voice of the Silence: ‘H.P.B to H.P. BLAVATSKY with no regards.’
Here is another citation, selected from one of her articles:
I once slept for eleven weeks, believing myself to be awake the whole time and walking around like a ghost of Pontoise, without being able to understand why no one appeared to see me and to answer me. I was entirely unaware that I was liberated from my old carcass which, at that time, however, was a little younger. That was at the beginning of my studies. [The Complete Works of H.P. BLAVATSKY, Volume II, Page 46]Then there is this passage, which occurs in a letter to her sister Vera; consequently no technical terms are used:
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...Col. Olcott was aware of this change that would occur to H.P.Blavatsky when she was engaged in the writing of Isis Unveiled, for he narrates:
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. [Letters from H.P. Blavatsky to Mme. Vera de Zhelihovsky.’ published in The Path, December 1894, Volume IX, pages 269-70]
...the H.P.B manuscripts varied at times, and there were several variants of the one prevailing script; also that each change in the writing was accompanied by a marked alteration in the manner, motions, expression, and literary capacity of H.P.B [Old Diary Leaves, I, 243]
ALTHOUGH the list of books published during the lifetime of Mme. Blavatsky may not be large, their content is unparalleled in the literary field, for her volumes give access to the secret lore of the Orient—where the Ancient Wisdom has been preserved by its Custodians. However, the articles written by her in pen and ink for periodicals amount to about a thousand. When these are gathered together and printed in book form — as has been done posthumously — they comprise more than eleven volumes.
The first work to be published, in 1877, was Isis Unveiled, a work of two volumes, subtitled‘a master-key to the mysteries of ancient and modern science and theology’. Although this was her first published work, it was preceded by many articles written for journals in the United States. These have been gathered and published posthumously in the first volume of the Collected Writings.
The second, in order of publication, in 1883: Iz pescher i debrey Indostana, (From the Caves and of Jungles of Hindostan), subtitled Pisma na rodinu (Letters to the Fatherland) written for Russian periodicals.
The next book, published in 1885, was entitled Five Years of Theosophy: Mystical, Philosophical, Theosophical, Historical and Scientific Essays, selected from The Theosophist.
In 1888 The Secret Doctrine was published, subtitled 'The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy.’ Volume I — Cosmogenesis; Volume II — Anthropogenesis. A third volume was added posthumously containing essays by H.P. BLAVATSKY not incorporated in the original two-volume printing.
In 1889 The Key to Theosophy appeared, ‘being 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.’ A second edition soon followed, which was amplified by the addition of a glossary.
Also in 1889 The Voice of the Silence, ‘being chosen Fragments from the Book of the Golden Precepts, for the daily use of Lanoos (Disciples)’.
This was followed in 1890 by Gems from the East, a birthday book of precepts and axioms.
Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, in two parts: the first in 1890, the second in 1891; consisting of replies given by H.P.B to questions asked upon the Stanzas of Dzyan during the sessions of the Lodge. Of special significance for students of The Secret Doctrine.
THE FIRST posthumous work to appear was a collection of seven occult stories published in 1892 under the title of Nightmare Tales, although the stories had already appeared in various periodicals during her lifetime.
In the same year The Theosophical Glossary was published although Mme. Blavatsky did not have the opportunity of checking and correcting it.
Also in 1892, From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan, translated from the Russian by Mrs Charles Johnston (although it was not a complete version of the original volume). This was followed by two books consisting of articles originally printed in Russian journals, entitled Zagadochniya plemena na Golubih Gorah (The Enigmatical Tribes on the Azure-Blue Hills) published in 1893; and Durbar u Lahore (The Durbar in Lahore).
A Modern Panarion, published in 1895, was the name given to a collection of articles written for periodicals before the publication of Isis Unveiled. This work contains many of the articles appearing in Volume I of the Collected Writings series.
In 1925 The Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A. P. Sinnett and other miscellaneous Letters were published under the supervision of A.T. Barker, intended as a companion volume to The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett.
Another volume of Letters was brought forth between 1925 and 1935 by E. R. Corson under the title Some Unpublished Letters of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. These letters were written to Dr. Corson’s father and mother between February 9, 1875 and March 12, 1876.
By far the most important posthumous publications are the H.P.Blavatsky Collected Writings series, for her literary labours were so prolific that it has taken many years to gather them and prepare the articles for publication. This work is principally due to the efforts of her grandnephew, Boris de Zirkoff. The series begins with a collection of articles written during the years 1874-78. This formed the first of a uniform set of Volumes published under the title of The Complete Works of H.P. BLAVATSKY. This first volume appeared in 1933 and was followed by three more: Volume II for articles from The Theosophist during 1879-80; Volume III comprising articles in 1881-82; Volume IV containing articles from 1882-83 (published during 1933-36). Long out of print, these four volumes have now been reissued as part of the H.P. BLAVATSKY Collected Writings — in conformity with Volumes V—X. Volume V contains articles written during 1883 (published 1950); Volume VI, articles of 1883-85 (published 1954); Volume VII, articles of 1886-87 (published 1958); Volume VIII, articles principally from Lucifer written during 1887 (published 1960); Volume IX, articles of 1888 (published 1962); Volume X, articles of 1888-89 (published 1964). Articles yet to appear in the series are those written in 1890 and 1891 for Lucifer — some of which were published posthumously. Forthcoming volumes will also reproduce translations of her writings in Russian.
THE LITERARY achievements of H.P. BLAVATSKY undoubtedly provide the testimonial that she acted as the light-bringer of the Ancient Wisdom to the western world. This achievement naturally obscured her other talents which are deserving of more recognition. It is fitting that her artistic abilities should be described. Thus the word artist, which has a dual significance, may well be applied to her. Although she did not work with a brush and palette and do oil paintings, nevertheless her pen and ink sketches were truly artistic creations and her cartoons clever and humourous. In addition, she worked in a distinctive field, because she could produce a picture without pen or pencil or brush by precipitation, by Kriyâsakti (literally by willpower alone). The best way of describing her ability in this field is to quote Colonel Olcott’s account of how she made a unique portrait. No pencil or crayon work would be able to duplicate it; nor could an artist with a brush.
At the close of dinner we [W. Q. Judge, L. M. Marquette, M.D. and H.S. Olcott] had drifted into talk about precipitations, and Judge asked H.P.B if she would not make somebody’s portrait for us. As we were moving towards the writing-room, she asked him whose portrait he wished made, and he chose that of this particular yogi, whom we knew by name as one held in great respect by the Masters. She crossed to my table, took a sheet of my crested club-paper, tore it in halves, kept the half which had no imprint, and laid it down on her own blotting-paper. She then scraped perhaps a grain of the plumbago of a Faber lead-pencil on it, and then rubbed the surface for a minute or so with a circular motion of the palm of her right hand; after which she handed us the result. On the paper had come the desired portrait and, setting wholly aside the question of its phenomenal character, it is an artistic production of power and genius...The yogi is depicted in Samadhi, the head drawn partly aside, the eyes profoundly introspective and dead to external things, the body seemingly that of an absent tenant. There is a beard and hair of moderate length, the latter drawn with such skill that one sees through the upstanding locks as it were — an effect obtained in good photographs, but hard to imitate with pencil or crayon. The portrait is in a medium not easy to distinguish: it might be black crayon, without stumping, or black lead; but there is neither dust nor gloss on the surface to indicate which, nor any marks of the stump or the point used: hold the paper horizontally towards the light and you might fancy the pigment was below the surface, combined with the fibres. [Old Diary Leaves, Volume I, pages 367-8]
A well-known American artist of that epoch provided this testimonial regarding the portrait: it is ‘unique, distinctly an “individual” in the technical sense; one that no living artist within his knowledge could have produced.’[Le Clear, quoted in O.D.L.., I. 368] The yogi’s name is Tiruvalluvar. Mâhatmâ K.H. wrote to Sinnett in regard to this phenomenal portraiture by Mme. Blavatsky:
She can and did produce phenomena, owing to her natural powers combined with several long years of regular training, and her phenomena are sometimes better, more wonderful and far more perfect than those of some high, initiated chelas, whom she surpasses in artistic taste and purely Western appreciation of art—as for instance in the instantaneous production of pictures: witness her portrait of the ‘fakir.’[The Mahatma Letters, p 312, First Edition; pages 307-8, Third Edition]
Another striking example of her artistry is H.P.B’s portrayal by means of a pen and ink sketch of two opera singers, drawn on page 24 of her Sketchbook. It depicts not only their roles in the opera in which they performed — that of Gounod’s Faust — but also graphically tells who they are, namely Teresina Signora Mitrovich and her husband Agardi Mitrovich, and where they were performing, in Tiflis on April 7, 1862. Signora Mitrovich is portrayed as Marguerite, absorbed in prayer before a crucifix, while there is no doubt as to the personification of the individual who is glancing with evil eyes over Marguerite’s shoulder—Mephistopheles.
Mention was made of the use of the word artist in a dual sense: the first usage has been applied to one who is proficient in portraiture. The second use of the term is often applied to a polished musician. In this sense it is also applicable to H.P.B, for she was a gifted pianist. Dr Corson in his book about Mme. Blavatsky writes:
My mother described to me how H.P.B would sit down at the piano and improvise with great skill, showing remarkable efficiency for one who played but at odd times as the spirit might move her. Her biographers have not dwelt at any length on her musical talent. Her cousin, Count Witte, in his Memoirs, refers to this musical talent at some length. [Some Unpublished Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY, page 33] Col. Olcott enthused over H.P.B’s playing:
She was a splendid pianist, playing with a touch and expression that were simply superb. Her hands were models — ideal and actual — for a sculptor and never seen to such advantage as when flying over the keyboard to find its magical melodies. She was a pupil of Moscheles, and when in London as a young girl [lady], with her father, played at a charity concert with Madame Clara Schumann and Madame Arabella Goddard in a piece of Schmann’s for three pianos. Some weeks after the above was published I learned from a member of her family that shortly before coming to America, H.P.B had made some concert tours in Italy and Russia under the pseudonym of ‘Madame Laura.’
During the time of our relationship she played scarcely at all. Once a cottage piano was bought and she played on it for a few weeks, but then it remained closed ever after until sold, and served as a double bookshelf. There were times when...she would sit in the dusk sometimes, with nobody else in the room beside myself and strike from the sweet-toned instrument improvisations that might well make one fancy he was listening to the Gandharvas, or heavenly choristers. It was the harmony of heaven. [Old Diary Leaves, Volume I, PAGES 458-9] William Kingsland provided this reminiscence:
I well remember on one occasion, on a visit by her to my house in London in 1889, she sat down at the piano and played Schubert’s Erl-Konig, to my great surprise and delight, as I had never even heard that she had even been a pianist. [The Real H.P. BLAVATSKY, by William Kingsland, page 38]Her sister Vera, speaks of ‘her musical talents and of the fact that she was a member of the Philharmonic Society in London.’ [Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, by A. P. Sinnett, page 51]
NOT a word is said about Mme. Blavatsky receiving remuneration for her musical performances. From her literary work she did not receive such income as one might expect. Even with her two major works Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, a great deal of the cost of publishing was borne by H.P.B herself because of her fondness for making changes on proof-sheets. Dr. Keightley, who assisted her in preparing and publishing The Secret Doctrine wrote:
It went through three or four other hands besides H.P.B’s in galley proof, as well as in revise. She was her own most severe corrector, and was liable to treat revise as MSS, with alarming results in the correction item in the bill. [Reminiscences of H.P. BLAVATSKY etc., page 100]Col. Olcott had the same to say about the changes made on the proofs of Isis Unveiled. However, even before the publication of her first book, Mme. Blavatsky’s finances had sustained a heavy loss, because of the help she had given to the editor of the Spiritual Scientist, a Boston journal. H.P.B had this comment to make:
‘Between Col. Olcott and myself, H.P.B, we have spent over a 1000 dollars given him to pay his debts and support his paper. [Collected Writings, Volume I, page 95]
The meagreness of H.P.B’s financial status is attested in a document written by Countess Wachtmeister. While living with Mme. Blavatsky at Ostend, Belgium, the Countess had called a lawyer, and when he was prepared to draw up the will, H.P.B stated that she wished to leave everything to Constance Wachtmeister. The Countess continues the narration:
The lawyer now expostulated. Had she no relations; would it not be right to leave her property to them? And then he looked askance at me, as if he thought that I might have been unduly influencing H.P.B to leave her money to me to the detriment of her relatives. H.P.B flew out at him, and asked him what business it was of his; she should leave her money, she declared, to whom she chose. Madame Gebhard, fearful of a scene, interposed and said gently to the lawyer: ‘Perhaps, when you know the amount which Madame Blavatsky has to will away, you will have no further objections to making the will as she desires; for had Madame Blavatsky died there would not have been sufficient money to pay for her funeral expenses.’Countess Wachtmeister also relates that H.P.B had received an offer from a Russian journal which would have enabled her to recoup her dwindling finances. However, Mme. Blavatsky declined to take advantage of it, as narrated by the Countess:
The lawyer could not restrain an expression of surprise, but set to work without further comment. In a few minutes the will was made and signed by those present. [Reminiscences etc., page 77]
One day a temptation came to her in the form of a large yearly salary if she would write for the Russian papers. She might write, she was told, on occultism or any other subject which pleased her, if she would only contribute to their columns. Here was a promise of comfort and ease for the remainder of her life. Two hours’ labour every day would be ample to satisfy all demands made on her time; but then no Secret Doctrine would be written. I spoke of a compromise, and asked her if it would not be possible for her to accept this engagement, and, at the same time, continue her Theosophical work. ‘No — a thousand times no!’ she answered. ‘To write such a work as The Secret Doctrine I must have all my thoughts turned in the direction of that current. It is difficult enough even now, hampered as I am with this sick and worn-out body, to get all I want, how much more difficult, then, if I am to be continually changing the currents into other directions. I have no longer the vitality or the energy left in me. Too much of it was exhausted at the time when I produced my phenomena. [Op. cit., page 48]However, there was another reason why H.P.B was often without funds. She explained it to the Countess when the latter inquired concerning the task which Mme. Blavatsky had undertaken, namely to bring the knowledge of the Ancient Wisdom to the western world:
In occultism, a most solemn vow has to be taken never to use any powers acquired or conferred for the benefit of one’s own personal self, for to do so would be to set foot on the steep and treacherous slope that ends in the abyss of Black Magic. I have taken the vow, and I am not one to break a pledge the sanctity of which cannot be brought within the comprehension of the profane. I would rather suffer any tortures than be untrue to my pledge. As for securing more favourable conditions for the execution of my task: it is not with us that the end is held to justify the means, nor is it we who are permitted to do evil that good may come. And it is not only bodily pain and weakness and the ravages of disease that I am to suffer with what patience I may, subduing them by my will for the sake of the work, but mental pain, ignominy, opprobrium and ridicule. [Op. cit.,page 46]From time immemorial there have been human beings who have demonstrated superior faculties and abilities. Some have declared that they have come to assist humanity in one way or another. This was especially portrayed in the Mysteries of ancient Greece. For instance, in the Eleusinian Mysteries certain families were selected as being representatives of carrying on the tradition of passing on the teachings and customs in a particular manner. Thus the Hierophants were chosen from one family living in Athens named the Eumolpidae; the Torchbearers were drawn from the family of Lycomidae, also living in Athens.
In similar manner to the torchbearers, who lit the way for the processions to and from the temple where the ancient wisdom was conveyed to the initiants by the Hierophants, so does H.P. BLAVATSKY illumine the path for those who are eager to pursue the quest for knowledge. And in what an incomparable manner has the age-old wisdom been presented by her! Read the words she penned in regard to her search for the custodians of the ancient lore of the Orient:
When, years ago, we first travelled over the East, exploring the penetralia of its deserted sanctuaries, two saddening and ever-recurring questions oppressed our thoughts: Where, who, what is God? Who ever saw the immortal Spirit of man, so as to be able to assure himself of man’s immortality?
It was while most anxious to solve these perplexing problems that 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 lend a ready ear. They showed us that by combining science with religion, the existence of God and immortality of man’s spirit may be demonstrated like a problem of Euclid. For the first time we received the assurance that the Oriental philosophy has room for no other faith than an absolute and immovable faith in the omnipotence of man’s own immortal self. We were taught that this omnipotence comes from the kinship of man’s spirit with the Universal Soul — God! The latter, they said, can never be demonstrated but by the former. Man-spirit proves God-spirit, as the one drop of water proves a source from which it must have come. Tell one who had never seen water, that there is an ocean of water, and he must accept it on faith, or reject it altogether. But let one drop fall upon his hand, and he then has the fact from which all the rest may be inferred. After that he could by degrees understand that a boundless and fathomless ocean of water existed. Blind faith would no longer be necessary; he would have supplanted it with KNOWLEDGE. [Isis Unveiled, I, P 6 (Preface)]
We are not asked to accept on faith alone the message which H.P.Blavatsky brought to the western world. But we are requested to consider the fundamental propositions upon which her writings are based. Nevertheless, in due time we are expected to test the validity of each one of the doctrines which she presented. For, as stated by one of her teachers:
We tell you what we know, for we are made to learn it through personal experience. [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett xxx, p 131; First Edition; p 128, Third Edition]One of the required experiences in this testing is that of passing through the portals of death while retaining full consciousness, and that of going through the after-death states fully conscious.
Not only did H.P. BLAVATSKY provide illumination upon what happens to man when he dies — thus enabling one to banish the fear of death — but she presented esoteric knowledge concerning the process of birth. Then, too, the reason for living nobly is stressed; so is the purpose of existence: why we are on earth and where we are going. Above all she expounded the inner meaning of the life on earth and reaffirmed the knowledge of man’s spiritual powers and faculties — which although at present dormant are available to him who would make the requisite effort to awaken them.
When presenting The Secret Doctrine to the western world, H.P. BLAVATSKY quoted these words: ‘My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.’[John, vii, 16] Thus there is every assurance that she came as a messenger from the Fraternity representing the Sons of the Fire-Mist. In fact, she truly acted as a Light-bringer to the western world, ushering in a new age.
SUCH has been the destiny of those who sought to benefit the human race. For H.P.B was not the first one to bring the knowledge that there was a Divine Wisdom, which may be described as the basis upon which all religions are founded. This Theo-sophia — Divine Wisdom, or the Wisdom-Religion, as it is sometimes called — is not a system of belief formulated by an individual; instead it is the cumulative result of many ages of systematic search. It is not a religion in the ordinary meaning of the word, denoting formalized worship and devotional practices, rather it is the accumulated wisdom of innumerable eras.
In reviving the search for this Ancient Wisdom, as represented by Theosophy, its object was ‘to reconcile all religions, sects and nations under a common system of ethics based on eternal verities.’ [The Key to Theosophy, page 3] Furthermore,
The ‘Wisdom-Religion’ was
one in antiquity; and the sameness of primitive religious philosophy is
proven to us by the identical doctrines taught to the Initiates during
the Mysteries, an institution once universally diffused. [Ibid, page
What is also needed is to impress men with the idea that, if the root of mankind is one, then there must also be one truth which finds expression in all the various religions. [The Key to Theosophy page 45]
As to the message H.P.Blavatsky brought: it is based on fundamental concepts formulated into three propositions. These propositions from the basis for the presentation of the doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom, also known as the Esoteric Philosophy. Generations of sages and seers have had the opportunity of checking these doctrines by practical experience as well as by study. They have found that the teachings thus enunciated are in harmony with the philosophical system formulated by them. These three fundamental propositions are:
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 the rootless root of ‘all that was, is, or ever shall be’.
2. The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically ‘the playground of a numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing,’ called ‘the manifesting stars,’ and the ‘sparks of Eternity’. ‘The Eternity of the Pilgrim is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence.
3. The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Oversoul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Room; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or ‘Necessity’) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. [The Secret Doctrine,Volume I, pages 14-17, First Edition; Volume I, Page 82 Adyar Edition; Volume 1, Page 45, third edition]
Key = The Key to Theosophy
M.L = The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett
S.D. = The Secret Doctrine
Th. Glos = Theosophical Glossary
Ad, Sons of - Term used by Occultism for a group of beings who presided by hundreds of centuries what is called the Age of Iron.
Adept - Used with a great deal of latitude. Herein applicable to those superior human beings who compose the occult Brotherhood
Agnishâvatta Pitris - (Sk: compounded of agni, fire or inner essence, applied figuratively to the mind, hence the fire of mind; svatta from svad, meaning to taste or sweeten; pitris, fathers). The term may be explained in two ways: (1) Beings who have tasted of the fire of mind and who have become stimulated to achieve and conclude the evolutionary cycle (the Cycle of Necessity); (2) Beings who have been sweetened by the fire of suffering and experience in the Cycle of Necessity and have graduated therefrom. It was the Agnishvatta Pitris (also termed Mânasaputras or Sons of Mind) who awakened the dormant mind-principle of humanity during the fifth sub-race of the Third Root-Race.
Akâsa - (Sk) The Supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space; sometimes referred to as the Primordial Light manifesting through Divine Ideation. Best described as manifesting in seven degrees or aspects. In its highest aspect it is equivalent to the Root of All, for it is defined in Southern Buddhism as that from which everything in the universe comes into being. In this aspect Akâsa is equivalent to the Tibetan term Tho-og, Space, or Aditi in Hindu scriptures. Other equivalent terms: Adî-Buddhi in Northern Buddhism, or Alaya; Svabhavat in the Stanzas of Dzyan; Mûlaprakriti in the Vedântin system; Pradhâna
in the Brahmânical; Anima Mundi or the ‘Soul of the World’; Primordial Aether (in Western terminology). In its lowest aspect Akâsa is often referred to as the Astral Light.
Aquarian Age - Best explained by considering the precession of the equinoxes — the westward movement of the equinoxes on the ecliptic. The equinoxes (vernal and autumnal) do not occur at the same points of the ecliptic every solar year, for the plane of the ecliptic and the plane of the equator revolve in opposite directions. Therefore, the two planes make a complete revolution with respect to each other once every 25,868 years. As the twelve signs of the zodiac are regarded as being stationed along the ecliptic, and divided into 30 degrees each, the ‘entry of the equinox’ into another sign of the zodiac would occur every 2155 years. As the ‘entry of the equinox’ in the zodiacal sign of Pisces is described as having occurred in 255 BC, the entry of the equinox into the zodiacal sign of Aquarius represents the present epoch as the Aquarian Age.
Arhat - (Sk: derived from verbal root arh — to be worthy, to be entitled to — hence one who is entitled to the distinction of having achieved the goal). Herein used as an individual who is a member of the occult Brotherhood.
Astral Light - Used with much latitude for lack of suitable English equivalents. In connection with the Earth, the Astral Light acts as a receptacle for the vital energies or life-principle (cosmic Jîva) proceeding from the sun, thus acting as the conveyor of it to the Earth. In this aspect it is equivalent to the Linga-sarîra (pattern vehicle) in the sevenfold constitution of man, which likewise is the conveyor of Prâna (life-principle) to the physical body. In this capacity each planet, and for that matter each sun, has its specific Astral Light. Furthermore, the Astral Light also represents what may be regarded as the ‘picture gallery’ of Eternity, preserving the record of every event occurring on earth — whether on physical or astral plane. Also used as an equivalent for Kâma-loka, the region associated with the first after-death state.
Astral Soul - As used in H.P.Blavatsky’s narrative signifies the Mâyâvi-rûpa, which by the use of Siddhis enables one to project one’s consciousness to any desired distance. She also referred to it as the ‘inner ego’.
Astral Vital Body - As here used signifies the Linga-sarîra (the model body or ethereal double) vitalized by the life-principle (Prâna), See Seven Principles.
Atom - In Occult Science thus: ‘Atoms fill the immensity of Space, and by their continuous vibration are that Motion which keeps the wheels of Life perpetually going.’ (Secret Doctrine I, 633 First Edition; II, 358; Adyar Edition; I, 694 Third ed.)
Black Magic - Term of the ancient Mystery-Schools, signifying the use of Siddhis (occult powers) for selfish or unholy purposes. ‘For this is black magic, abomination and spiritual sorcery’, to quote H.P. BLAVATSKY (Key p 68). She also refers to mediumship as ‘unconscious black magic.’
Helena Petrovna - (1831-91)
Daughter of Capt. Peter Alexeyevich von Hahn and Helena Andreyevna de Fadeyev;
granddaughter of Privy Councillor Andrey Mihailovich de Fadeyev and Princess
Helena Dolgorukov. Born at Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine, Russia, August 11-12.
Her first ten years were spent in a sequence of moves, accompanying her
father who was in the horse artillery. When Helena’s mother died
she lived with her grandparents, principally at Saratov and Tiflis, until
her marriage (July 7, 1849) to N. V. Blavatsky, a State Official. The marriage
was in name only, for within three months Mme. Blavatsky had left her homeland
and began a series of travels, continuing for several years. The momentous
event of her life occurred when she met her Master in London on her twentieth
birthday. She never gave a sequential account of her journeys except for
one notebook during the year of 1867. That she was in Tibet more than once
is certain because she wrote: ‘I have lived at different periods in Little
Tibet as in Great Tibet, and ... these combined periods form more than seven
years.’ (Collected Writings,
It was during her stay in Tibet that she studies under her Teachers and was taught how to use the Siddhis which enabled her to produce her writings in a remarkable and unparalleled manner. On July 7, 1873, she arrived in New York; a year later she met Col. Olcott, and W. Q. Judge; these three with fourteen others founded The Theosophical Society in September, 1875, H.P.Blavatsky’s first work, Isis Unveiled, was published in 1877. In December 1878 Mme. Blavatsky left America for India, remaining there until 1885. In 1879 The Theosophist was established for which she wrote many articles. She began writing The Secret Doctrine in Wûrzburg in 1885, and then continued it in Ostend and London until its publication in 1888. The magazine Lucifer was established by her in 1887; it was published monthly until her death in 1891.
Bod-Las - Tibetan for the land of Tibet. Bod is derived from Bhota (Sk) — the land of Tibet.
Brotherhood - An occult fraternity whose origin may be traced to the Sons of Ad, the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom. H.P. BLAVATSKY affirmed that she was sent to the western world by this fraternity to present certain teachings of the esoteric doctrine. Members of this Brotherhood are known by various names: Mâhatmâs, Chohans, Chang-Chubs, Byanz-Tzyoobs, Bodhisattvas, Khubil-Khans, Adepts, Initiates. Arhats.
Buddhism - Usually defined as the religion founded by Gautama Buddha. However, there are two main divisions: Mahâyana Buddhism, referred to as the Doctrine of the Heart, or Northern Buddhism; Hinayana Buddhism, the Doctrine of the Eye, or Southern Buddhism. The principal factor in Buddhism is its ethical teachings presented as the Noble Eightfold Path: (1) Right Understanding; (2) Right Attitude of Mind; (3) Right Speech; (4) Right Action; (5) Right Livelihood; (6) Right Effort; (7) Right Recollection; (8) Samma Samadhi — ecstatic beatitude, or the highest state of yoga.
Chela - A term used in India for a disciple. Specifically, a personal disciple of a guru, or spiritual teacher. When used in connection with H.P. BLAVATSKY it signified an initiated disciple, even though her Teachers often referred to her as Upasika, signifying a female disciple.
Chiefs - As used herein signifies those who are in the superior stages of evolution in connection with the occult Brotherhood (q.v.).
Clairaudience - Faculty of hearing with the ‘inner ear’; or spiritual hearing of occult sounds at any distance.
Clairvoyance - Faculty of seeing with the ‘inner eye’; or spiritual sight. As defined by H.P.Blavatsky: ‘Real clairvoyance means the faculty of seeing through the densest matter (the latter disappearing at the will and before the spiritual eye of the Seer), and irrespective of time (past, present and future) or distance.’ (Th. Glos. p 85).
Cycle of Necessity - Also termed the Cycle of Incarnation, or the Circle of Necessity. It refers to the ancient doctrine which postulates the necessity for the immortal component of man — the Pilgrim or the Monad — to return again and again for incarnation on earth, in order to accomplish seven major evolutionary developments, each one of which represents a change of form and greater manifestation of potencies.
Dangma - The Eye of Dangma is also called the deva-eye, the eye of wisdom, the eye
of Siva. This refers to the pineal gland, at present dormant. When awakened
by occult process, the ‘Opened Eye of Dangma’ functions as ‘the
faculty of spiritual intuition, through which direct and certain knowledge
is obtainable.’ (Secret Doctrine, I, 46, First Edition; I, 118
Adyar Edition, I, 77 Third ed.)
Denton - W. Geologist and author of The Soul and Things: Psychometric Researches and Discoveries, Boston, 1873. He asserts that the images of the events are imbedded in that all-permeating universal and ever-retaining medium, which he terms the ‘Soul of Things’ — which philosophers called Anima Mundi — the Soul of the World.
Dhyânis - (Sk) Used in Secret Doctrine in place of Dhyânins — an abbreviated form of Dhyâni-Chohans, literally ‘the Meditative Lords.’ Generalizing term for Divine Being, superior in status to the Human Kingdom: representing the Divine Intelligences who supervise a cosmos.
Enoch - In the Bible (Genesis iv and v) three Enochs are mentioned: the son of Cain, the son of Seth, the son of Jared. An interpretation of one of the meanings of Enoch is given by H.P.B: ‘Esoterically, Enoch is the “Sons of man,” the first; and symbolically, the first Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race. And if his name yields for purposes of numerical and astronomical glyphs the meaning of the solar year, or 365, in conformity to the age assigned to him in Genesis, it is because, being the seventh, he is, for Occult purposes, the personified period of the two preceding Races with their fourteen Sub-Races. Therefore, he is shown in the Book as the great grandfather of Noah who, in his turn, is the personification of the mankind of the Fifth, struggling with that of the Fourth Root-Race — the great period of the revealed and profaned Mysteries.’ (Secret Doctrine Volume 5, Page 106, Adyar Edition; Volume 3, Page 90, Third edition.)
Eye of iva - Conscious use of the pineal gland for clairvoyance is called by Hindu mystics the operation of the Eye of Šiva. Also referred to as the third eye. (See under Dangma.)
Fifth Circle - A specific grade or status of superior degree attained in the Occult Fraternity, achieved by initiation.
Fifth Race or Fifth Root Race - As described by Occult Science, represents the fifth major developmental evolution of the human kingdom. The term is specifically applicable to the Indo-European branch of humanity, which had its origin in northern Asia, in the vicinity of Lake Manasasarovara — a sacred lake in Tibet in the Himalayas. As a race sui generis it has already been in existence about one million years.
Fire-Mist, Sons of, or Children of - Equivalent to the Sons of Ad. These Beings are termed the Sons of Fire, or Fire-Mist, because they were the first humans in which ‘the Fire of Mind’ functioned. They were produced by Kriâšakti (by thought-power and yoga) in the first portion of the Third Race (q.v.).
Fifth-Rounders - Forerunners of the human race, such as the Mâhatmâs, having the ability to function in a superior degree of evolutionary development. They represent what the advanced members of the human race will be during the Fifth Round of the cyclical state of evolutionary development, whereas the mass of humanity on earth function as Fourth-Rounders.
Fourth Rounders - As explained by the Occult Sciences, the human race represents the stage of evolutionary development comparable to its Fourth Round, or fourth circuit of the required seven cyclical stages of evolutionary development. Each Round, or each circuit of the seven, represents a specific stage in the evolutionary development of the human race, in that one of the seven principles of man is developed to its fullest capacity. During the Fourth Round the fourth principle, Kâma, is in its phase of development.
Mary - (née L’Estrangge
1832-92). Best known in theosophical circles for the assistance given to
Mme. Blavatsky during 1884 in Germany and 1886 in Belgium. Mme. Blavatsky
lived with the Gebhards from August to October 1884, and again in May and
Of interest also is the fact that after Mary L’Estrange’s marriage to Consul Gustav Gebhard in 1852, she made the acquaintance of Eliphas Lévi and studied the Kabbala under his tuition until his death in 1875.
Great Breath - Symbol used to portray the coming into being of a universe, or a cosmos, for a period of manifestation and activity (termed a Manvantara)—the Outbreathing of the Great Breath. Similarly the dissolution (or Pralaya) of a cosmos is represented as the Inbreathing of the Great Breath. In the words of the Occult Catechism: ‘What is it that is ever coming and going?’ ‘The Great Breath.’
Guru - (SK) A spiritual teacher: one able to expound philosophical and metaphysical doctrines.
Hermes - Herein the reference is not to the Greek messenger of the gods but to a generic name of many ancient Greek writers on philosophy and alchemy. Then, too, there is Hermes Trismegistus, the ‘thrice great Hermes’ in Egypt. The Hermetic philosophy which arose in that land is due to him. ‘The forty-two Sacred Books of the Egyptians, mentioned by Clement of Alexandria as having existed in his time, were but a portion of the Books of Hermes (Stromata, II, 324) Iamblichus, on the authority of the Egyptian priest Abammon, attributes 1200 of such Books to Hermes, and Manetho, 36.000.’ (Secret Doctrine, Volume 5, Page 58, Adyar Edition;Volume 3, Page 37, Third edition)
Hierophant - Derived from Greek hieros, sacred; hence one who expounds sacred things; also an initiating priest, particularly in temples where the Mysteries were celebrated.
Hume, Allan Octavian, C.B. - (1829-1912) Secretary to the Government of India from 1870 to June 1879; was acquainted with metaphysical thought. Met Mme. Blavatsky in December 1879 and became interested in Theosophy. Wished to contact the source from which she obtained her knowledge, consequently wrote direct to Mâhatmâ K.H. and corresponded with him. For a time he was interested in the philosophical teachings which were presented to him; many of the letters he received were published in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. After a few years he lost touch with Theosophy. Later he became the prime mover in organizing the Indian National Congress and was called the ‘Father of the Congress.’
Initiation - When a candidate desired to be admitted into the ancient Mysteries he underwent a process termed initiation. This practice was observed in all the ancient religions. Plutarch, writing from knowledge, mentioned the joy that was experienced when one was initiated into the sacred Mysteries: it was the most sacred of all solemnities as well as the most beneficent and greatly promoted virtue. The clue to the esoteric significance of initiation was expressed in this passage: ‘ The degree of an Adept’s initiation mark the seven stages at which he discovers the secret of the sevenfold principles in nature and man and awakens his dormant powers.’ (Mahatma Letters, Page 99, First Edition; Page 97 Third edition )
Inner Ego - Used in H.P. BLAVATSKY’s narrative to designate the Mâyâvi-rûpa, which was projected by the Shaman. (See Astral Soul).
Judge, William Quan - (1831-96) Theosophist and author: born in Ireland; came to Brooklyn, America, with his parents while in his teens became a US citizen in 1872. Met H.P.Blavatsky in 1874 and was a constant visitor at her residence during her stay in New York. On the occasion of the founding of The Theosophical Society in September, 1875, Judge proposed that Col. Olcott should be elected chairman of the Society. Later, when the officers of the Society were elected in October, Judge became Counsel. In the spring of 1884 he went to Paris and worked with H.P. BLAVATSKY on a projected revision of Isis Unveiled, which was later abandoned and superseded by the writing and publishing of The Secret Doctrine in 1888. In June 1886 Judge was elected General Secretary of the T.S. in America, having already founded earlier in the year a theosophical magazine entitled The Path. He wrote many articles for it and continued its publication until his death in 1896. Judge is best known for his writings in his magazine as well as through his books, principally The Ocean of Theosophy, his recension of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ and Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali.
Kali-Yuga - (SK: kali, the die with one dot; yuga, a cycle, an age). The length of the Kali-yuga is stated to be 432,000 years. As figured in India it is the current cycle, for it began in 3102. B.C., coincident with the death of Krishna. It is referred to as the Black Age, because it is an era when strife and vice are predominant.
Kâma - (SK: from the verbal root kam, to desire). Applied in the sevenfold classification of principles in the human constitution to the desire principle as well as the energetic principle. In the Occult Sciences Kâma is regarded as the Will-principle (The Theosophist, IV 295)
Kapila, The Rishi - A great sage; a great adept of antiquity; author of the Sankhya philosophy.
Also the generic name of the Kumâras, the celestial ascetics and virgins;
therefore the very fact of Bhagavata-Purâna calling that Kapila — which
it showed just before as a portion of Vishnu — the
author of Sankhya philosophy, ought to have warned the reader of a ‘blind’
containing an esoteric meaning. Whether the Son of Vitatha, as Harivansa shows
him to be, or of anyone else, the author of Sankhya cannot be the same as the
Sage of the Satya-Yuga’ (Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 572,
First Edition; Volume 4, Page 142 Adyar Edition; Volume 2, Page 604 Third
‘The Sankhya philosophy may have been brought down and taught by the first, and written out by the last Kapila.’ (Ibid.) ‘ The Kapila of the Satya-Yuga, and the Kapila of the Kali-yuga, may be one and the same individuality, without being the same personality.’ (Ibid)
Keightley, Archibald - (1859-1930) physician and Theosophist: practised in New York. Joined The Theosophical Society in 1884 and met Mme. Blavatsky. In 1887 he assisted H.P.B in moving from Ostend to London and settling, first at Norwood, then at 17 Lansdowne Road. It was while living at the latter house that he with his uncle Bertram helped H.P.B in preparation and typing The Secret Doctrine, as well as seeing it through the press.
Kingsland, William - (1855-1936) engineer, scientist, Theosophist and author; employed with early installation of telephone and electricity in England and Scotland. In 1888 Kingsland contacted Theosophy, became a member of the Society and met Mme. Blavatsky. In January, 1889, he was elected President of Blavatsky Lodge, London, holding that office for almost two years. Was also a member of H.P.B’s Inner Group.
Kriyâšakti - (SK) The power of creative thought, especially when energized by willpower. One of the seven great powers which yogins are able to make manifest, i.e.., one of the Siddhis.
Life-Atom - The essential element of life associated with an atom, or the indwelling spark vitalizing an atom. Life-atoms may be classified in two categories: (1) atoms that are moved by kinetic energy — hence always in motion; (2) atoms that are temporarily passive, although they contain invisible, potential energy. These are termed ‘sleeping atoms.’ ‘Each atom is of course a soul, a monad, a little universe endowed with consciousness hence with memory.’ (Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 672, First Edition; Volume 4, Page 241, Adyar Edition; Volume 2, Page 710 Third edition)
Lucifer - (Latin). Literally the light-bearer, therefore used by H.P. BLAVATSKY as the title for her magazine which she founded in September 1887 and continued monthly until May 1891. Published posthumously until 1897. A passage in Rev. xvi, 22 reads: ‘I am ... the bright morning star,’ signifying Lucifer, or Phosphor in Greek, the planet Venus. The first issue, which appeared on September 15, 1887, bore this message on the title-page. ‘A Theosophical Magazine, designed to bring to light the hidden things of darkness.’
Lycomidae - The word is derived from the Greek luke, light: hence signifying the light-bearers — those who carried torches in the processions of the Mysteries.
Mahâ Guru - (SK) Literally the ‘Great Teacher.’ Herein signifies the Wondrous Being, the Great Watcher.
Mâhatmâ - (SK: mâhatmân, compound of mâha, great âtman, the divine self). Usually rendered a ‘great soul.’ Herein the term signifies a member of the occult Brotherhood. Specifically applicable to the two individuals who were instrumental in sending H.P. Blavatsky as a messenger from the Brotherhood to the western world, namely Mâhatmâ M. (Morya — H.P.B’s spiritual guru), and Mâhatmâ K.H. (Koot-Hoomi). The correspondence between Sinnett and these two Mâhatmâs is published in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett.
Manas - (SK) Derived from the verbal root man, to think. Applied to the mind principle, in the sevenfold classification of principles in the human constitution. The ability to use the mind principle marks the difference between the human and the animal kingdoms.
Manvantaras - (SK: Manu, a divine being and antara, between: hence literally a period between two Manus). Herein used as a cyclic period of activity comprising 7 Rounds of evolutionary development. Equivalent to a Day of Brahma, or 1,000 revolutions of the Mahâ-yugas, or 4,320,000,000 years.
Master - The individual referred to by H.P.B as ‘my Master’ is known as the Mâhatmâ Morya (or M:) her Guru. She relates that she first met him in the physical body in London in 1851, although she had known him in his astral form during her childhood and had regarded him as her guardian. She underwent tuition and training under his tutelage in Tibet and under his direction went to America, where she met Col. Olcott and founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.
Masters - H.P.Blavatsky referred to her Teachers as Elder Brothers, because of their association with the occult Brotherhood (q.v.); or again as Masters or Mâhatmâs. Two members of the Fraternity who were particularly instrumental in the founding of the T.S. were known as K.H. (Koot Hoomi) and M : (or Morya), her specific guru or spiritual teacher.
Messianic Cycle - As used herein the Messianic Cycle represents the period associated with the advent of a Messiah. It is a cycle of 2155 or 2160 solar years. The significance of the number 2160 is this: it is just one half of 4320 — 4-3-2 being the key-figures of esoteric reckoning. The Messiah of the present Messianic Cycle was represented as coming through H.P. BLAVATSKY, who acted as the channel. Hence it is asserted that she acted in the capacity of a Light-Bringer.
Mundane Egg - The symbol of an egg is used in connection with the coming into birth of a new world. Just as the egg-cell is the point within the egg which eventually brings to birth a new being, so the Point within the World-Egg represents the Logos, which enables a new cosmos to come into manifestation.
Munis - (SK) Usually rendered Seers or Sages. Herein used for Divine Beings from previous Manvantaras (q.v) who associated with the Sons of Will and Yoga (q.v).
Mysteries - Derived from Greek muo, to be shut, or closed referring to the lips and eyes. Those initiated into the Mysteries were instructed to keep their lips sealed regarding what happened in the temples. The Mysteries consisted of dramatic portrayals of episodes connected with the deities represented in the mythologies of ancient nations. The hidden meanings of the myths and allegories were then explained to the initiated candidates. The three principal Mysteries were the Orphic, the Eleusinian and the Dionysiac.
Nadyejda - Given name of Nadyezhda Andreyevna Fadeyev (1829-1919) sister of H.P.B’s mother and youngest daughter of Andrey Mihailovich de Fadeyev and Princess Helena Pavlovna Dolgorukova. She was H.P.B ‘s favourite aunt and corresponded with her through the years. She was the recipient of the first known Mâhatmâ letter, receiving it at the time that H.P. BLAVATSKY was undergoing tuition in Tibet. The letter was delivered to her in person by Mâhatmâ M.
Occult Doctrine - The Secret Doctrine, which forms the basis of Theosophy as transmitted by H.P. BLAVATSKY to the western world.
Occult Science - One of the names by which the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom refer to it. A rendering of the Sanskrit Gupta-Vidyâ.
Olcott, Henry Steel - (1832-1907) For distinguished service as Special Commissioner for the War Department as well as in the Navy Department during the Civil War in America, Olcott was awarded the rank of Colonel. In 1874, while acting as a special reporter for the New York Daily Graphic, covering the spiritualistic phenomena appearing at the Eddy farmhouse at Chittenden, Vermont, he met H.P. BLAVATSKY, who had been sent there by her Teacher. As a result of this meeting and the interest Col. Olcott showed in Spiritualism, as well as the explanations of the phenomena which Mme. Blavatsky herself demonstrated, a close association followed which in due time led to the founding of The Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. Olcott devoted the rest of his life to the cause of Theosophy, being President of the Society until his death in 1907.
Omnipresent Principle - (See Principle, an Omnipresent).
One Life - The Causeless Cause of Spirit and Matter — which are the cause of Kosmos — is called the One Life, or the Intra-Cosmic Breath, in esoteric philosophy. ‘From the ONE LIFE formless and uncreate, proceeds the Universe of lives.’ (Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 250, First Edition; Volume 1,Page 294, Adyar Edition;Volume 1, Page 269, Third edition)
Orpheus - As used herein refers not to the Greek mythological singer and player of the lyre (son of Apollo and Calliope), but to the great founder of a religio-philosophical system or school as well as the Orphic Mysteries. Herodotus stated that the Mysteries were brought from India by Orpheus. Pausanias relates that there was a sacerdotal family who committed to memory all the Orphic Hymns and that they were thus transmitted from one generation to another; hence they were not written down. This is why references to the Orphic Hymns are so scarce.
Over-Soul, The Universal - A rendering of the Sanskrit Paramâtman, signifying the originating source of Âtman, inasmuch as ‘Soul’ is one of the translations of Âtman, as used in the phrase ‘the fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul.’
Pilgrim - As here used the Pilgrim signifies the immortal component in the sevenfold constitution of a human being. As defined in the Occult Science, ‘the Pilgrim is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations.’ (Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 16, First Edition; Volume 1, Page 82, Adyar Edition; Volume 1, Page 45 Third Edition) The ‘two in one’ signifies the union of Atman, the divine spirit, with Buddhi, the discriminating principle. The reference to the eternity of the Pilgrim calls attention to the immortality of the Monad, which takes on a new vesture for each one of its incarnations on earth.
Plato - This most famous of the ancient Greek philosophers, was stated to be a ‘Fifth Rounder.’ (q.v — Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 161-162; First Edition;Volume 1, Page 216 Adyar Edition; Volume 1, Page 185, Third edition. Also Mahatma Letters- Page 84, First Edition; Page 83 Third Edition).
Point Within a Circle - One of the most important symbols used in Occult Sciences to explain the process of manifestation: the appearance of the Point (i.e. the First Logos) on the infinite and shoreless expanse of the Boundless — Space. The latter is represented by the Circle, i.e. the Circle of Infinitude, ‘whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere.’ The Point thus represents the germ of primeval differentiation.
Pralaya - (SK) Literally a ‘dissolving away’, hence a period of dissolution — following upon a period of manifestation. But the dissolution applies to the forms which are no longer manifested. It does not apply to the immortal principles, which in no wise are dissolved away.
Precipitation - The ability to make writing appear on paper (or other substance) by spiritual powers, without pen, pencil, crayon or brush. Also included is the ability to deliver the message — whether written or precipitated—to any desired location.
Principle, An Omnipresent - Whereas the concept of an Omnipresent Principle — which is also Eternal, Boundless and Immutable — may be baffling to the Western mind, the reason for presenting such a concept in connection with the Secret Doctrine of antiquity is easily explained. As soon as the mind has a fixed idea concerning a principle, it has immediately limited the comprehension of that principle. Therefore by postulating that this Boundless may not be limited by the mind, one can ever strive to obtain a clearer knowledge of immutability and boundless reaches of Infinitude.
Principles, The Seven - (See under Seven Principles).
Projectivity - Using one of the Siddhis (q.v). This signifies employing Tulku or the ability to project one’s consciousness — technically termed the Mâyavi-rûpa. In other words, the conscious withdrawal of the ‘inner self’ from the ‘outer self’.
Psychometer - One who has the power of psychometry (q.v).
Psychometry - Ability to receive from any object — held in the hand or against the forehead — impressions of the characteristics or appearance of a person or objects with which it has previously been in contrast.
Ptolemy - When used generalizingly (as in the quoted passage), applies to any one of the Macedonian rulers of Egypt.
Pyatigorsk - Town south of Kislovodsk, Russia, north of the Caucasus Mountains, not far from the Black Sea.
Receptivity - Here signifies the ability to place oneself en rapport with individuals by means of spiritual powers. Such individuals have the power to transmit messages to any desired distance by occult means.
Rishis - Term used with a great deal of latitude; commonly regarded as singers of sacred hymns; inspired poets or sages. Also applied to seven great sages who composed the Vedic hymns. Herein referred to as Divine Beings from previous Manvantaras who associated with the Sons of Will and Yoga.
Rootless Root - Also the Unknown Root. Term associated with the Omnipresent Principle (q.v), of which this concept is but an aspect. The explanation given for the Omnipresent Principle also applies here; for how can the human mind which is finite, grasp Infinity? How can one conceive of all that ever was, all that is, or all that ever shall be? Hence the expression ‘the Rootless Root.’
Samâdhi - (SK) In the Hindu classification of the four states of consciousness, the fourth and highest state: a beatific state of contemplative yoga. Also defined as the eighth and final state of yoga, signifying intense and supreme concentration of the mental and spiritual faculties: a state in which one loses consciousness of every individuality, including one’s own, and becoming conscious of the ALL.
Sang-Gyas - (Tibetan sans-rgyas: pronounced sang-gyas, literally perfect, holy). Tibetan name of Gautama the Buddha.
Seers - As used herein refers particularly to those who can see into the records preserved in the Akâsa (q.v.)
Senzar - Name of the ancient ‘Mystery-speech’ of initiated Adepts. A secret, sacerdotal language; hence also called a Mystery Language; preceding the Sanskrit language.
Principles - Also referred
to as the sevenfold constitution of man, or the septenary classification
of man’s principles. In Theosophy the constitution of a human
being is composed of seven principles, or is classified as consisting of seven
components. These are enumerated in Sanskrit, with English equivalents:
1 Stûla-šarîra — Physical
Body, regarded as the carrier of the six components.
2 Linga-šarîra — Model Body, also termed etheric body, ethereal double, astral body: the conveyor or:
3 Prâna — Life Principle, representing the vital fluid.
4 Kâma — Desire Principle, representing the energetic principle.
5 Manas — Mind Principle, representing the functions of the lower mind, especially in conjunction with desire.
6 Buddhi — Discriminating Principle, representing the functioning of the higher mind by noble thoughts and deeds.
7 Âtman — Divine Principle, or spirit, conveying immortality to the sixth and fifth principles.
Seven Satellites - A symbolic manner of referring to the Seven Principles (q.v) of the human constitution.
Seventh Sense - As the Occult Science postulates further development of faculties and powers now dormant in man, of greater potency than the five senses which function at the present time, the culmination of the evolutionary development of the human race on this globe will bring into use both the sixth and the seventh senses. H.P. BLAVATSKY describes what will occur when the sixth sense works in consonance with the seventh: ‘The light which radiates from this seventh sense illumines the fields of infinitude. For a brief space of time man becomes omniscient; the Past and the Future, Space and Time, disappear and become for him the Present.’ (Secret Doctrine, Volume 5, Page 482, Adyar Edition; Volume 3, Page 505, Third edition)
Shaberon - Tibetan equivalent of Chutuktu, which H.P. BLAVATSKY explained as: ‘an incarnation of Buddha or of some Bodhisattva, as believed in Tibet, where there are generally five manifesting and two secret Chutuktus among the high Lamas. (Th. Glos page 85)
Shaman - Medicine-man or priest-doctor among the tribes of Siberia; regarded as a conjurer and an exorcist.
Siddhis - (SK) Literally attainments: phenomenal powers, associated with psychic faculties. ‘There are two kinds of Siddhis. One group which embraces the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies; the other is one which exacts the highest training of Spiritual powers.’ (The Voice of the Silence, Fragment I, footnote I).
Sinnett, Alfred Percy - (1840-1921) Editor of the Anglo-Indian paper The Pioneer when H.P. BLAVATSKY arrived in India in 1879. In December of that year, in response to Sinnett’s invitation, Mme. Blavatsky visited him at Allahabad. He became interested in the message she brought, and wished to contact those from whom she derived her knowledge. He wrote to a Mâhatmâ and received a reply, which led to a remarkable correspondence, published after the editor’s death as The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. As a result of the correspondence, Sinnett wrote and published The Occult World, Esoteric Buddhism and other theosophical books. The letters he received from Mme. Blavatsky — a whole volume of them — were published posthumously as The Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A. P. Sinnett. From these letters Sinnett wrote a biography entitled Incidents in the Life of Mme. Blavatsky.
Sixth Sense - The sense to be brought to function in the Sixth Root-Race: spiritual clairvoyance. It will be brought about when Manas (the mind-principle) is consciously merged with the sixth sense, resulting in the use of Jnana-šaktî — one of the Siddhis described as the power of real wisdom.
Skins - A graphic expression, referring to one of the seven principles of the human constitution. (See Seven Principles).
Sleeping Atoms - Life atoms endowed with potential invisible energy but temporarily passive. (See Life-Atoms)
Šloka - (SK) Usually rendered ‘verse’. In Sanskrit works a sloka generally consists of two metrical lines.
Sons of Will and Yoga - The Divine Beings produced by Kriyâ-šakti (q.v) (See Fire-Mist, Sons of or Children of.)
Sons of Wisdom - The Sons of Ad, or Sons of the Fire-Mist (q.v)
Soumay - A lamasery, a Buddhist monastery or convent of Tibet, also of Mongolia. Usually under the direction of a chief lama (equivalent is an abbot or abbess).
Space - Used in the Secret Doctrine for the boundless, frontierless ALL — the One Eternal Element, dimensionless in every sense. The equivalent Sanskrit term is Parabrahman, or the Vedic
TAT — That.
Stanzas of Dzyan - These Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan form the basis of the Secret Doctrine The original was written in Senzar, but extracts are also made from Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit translations. The Book of Dzyan — from the Sanskrit word Dhyâna (mystic meditation) — is the first volume of the Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te and a Glossary of the public works of the same name.’ (Secret Doctrine Volume 5, Page 389, Adyar Edition; Volume 3, Page 405, Third edition.) The Stanzas ‘are the records of a people unknown to ethnology; it is claimed that they are written in a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted; they are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science.’ (Secret Doctrine I, xxxvii First Edition; I 59 Adyar Edition; I 24 Third ed.)
Svastika - (SK literally well-being). Has been used in both Old and New Worlds from prehistoric times. ‘In Esoteric Philosophy, the most mystic and ancient diagram. It is the originator of the fire by friction and of the Forty-nine Fires.’ (Th. Glos p 315).
Tamasha - East Indian word of Arabian or Persian origin signifying spectacle, entertainment. By extension, applied to a psychic phenomenon.
Terrestrial Chain - Best explained by one of the postulates in the Secret Doctrine; ‘every sidereal body, every planet, whether visible or invisible, is credited with six companion globes.’ (I 158 -9 First Edition; I 213 Adyar Edition; I 182 Third Edition) The seven globes comprising the Earth-system are therefore termed the Terrestrial Chain or the Earth Chain.
Third Race or Third Root-Race - Used in the Secret Doctrine for a specific evolutionary development of the human race on this globe. This ‘Race’ was preceded by two major evolutionary developmental stages (the First and Second Root-Races), each of which underwent seven minor developmental stages termed Sub-races. During the early portion of this Third Race the Sons of the Fire-Mist were produced by Kriyâsšakti. The Third Race is divided into three distinct divisions: (1) the Sweat-Born — the primary developmental aspect of this Race; (2) the twofold—referring to the androgynous state of humanity; (3) the two sexes of humans (as at present) which occurred during the fifth sub-race of this Third Race, 18 million years ago.
Thought Transference - The power of transferring one’s thoughts without words. As explained by H.P. BLAVATSKY: ‘When two minds are sympathetically related, and the instruments through which they function are tuned to respond magnetically and electrically to one another, there is nothing which will prevent the transmission of thoughts from one to the other at will.’ (Key p 2910
Tiruvalluvar - A yogi or fakir who attains the goal of yoga, represented by Samadhi (q.v). In addition H.P. BLAVATSKY’s precipitated portrait the yogi is portrayed in that state of consciousness.
Tsong-Kha-Pa - (1358-1419) Great reformer of Buddhism, both exoteric and esoteric, in Tibet in 14th century. Instituted a purified form of Buddhism, freeing it from the Bon worship, which had crept into it from the Order of the Red Caps. To distinguish the Reformed Buddhists from the other Orders, Tsong-Kha-pa instituted the Yellow Caps (Gelugpas). He also founded the monasteries of Sera and Ganden and was the presiding hierarch of the latter. Tsong-Kha-pa ‘is the founder of the secret school near Tji-gad-ji, attached to the private retreat of the Teshu-Lama. It is with Him that began the regular system of Lamaic incarnations of Buddhas (Sang-gyas)’ (Secret Doctrine V 391 Adyar Edition; III 407 Third Edition).
Tulku - (Tibetan sprul-sku, pronounced tulku). Literally ‘to appear in a body.’ Has the popular connotation of an ‘incarnation of the Buddha,’ whereas the esoteric significance implies the use of one of the Siddhis, namely the ability to project one’s consciousness by means of an illusory vehicle.
Vera - Name of H.P.B’s younger sister, born 1835 at Odessa, died 1896. Married first Nikolay de Yahontov (1827-58) and secondly Vladimir de Zhelihovsky. Became widely known in Russia as writer of children’s stories; also contributed to Russian periodicals. Of special interest are her essays concerning her sister, Helena; the first one entitled ‘ The Truth about H.P. BLAVATSKY’ published serially in Rebus in 1883, and later in book form. H.P.B herself translated the series. In 1884 Vera wrote a series entitled ‘The Inexplicable or the Unexplained: From Personal and Family Reminiscences,’ also published by Rebus. Yet another series was written for the Russian Review on ‘H.P. BLAVATSKY: A Biographical Sketch,’ and published in 1891. Another biographical sketch in Russian was added to the Russian edition of H.P.B’s book ‘Mysterious Tribes of the Blue Hills (published 1893). Vera also wrote two books concerning her sister’s and her own childhood: When I Was Small and My Adolescence published in 1893 and 1894.
Wachtmeister, Constance (née de Bourbel —1838—1910) Born at Florence, Italy, but reared in England. In 1863 married Count Karl Wachtmeister, then Swedish and Norwegian Minister at the Court of St. James’s, later at Copenhagen and Stockholm. The Countess lived with H.P. BLAVATSKY, first at Würzburg, Germany, then at Ostend, Belgium. She related her experiences in Reminiscences of H.P. BLAVATSKY and ‘The Secret Doctrine,’ published in 1893. Many of her letters written at the time she was with H.P.B are published in a section of the book Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A.P. Sinnett.
Witte, Count Serguey Yulyevich - (1849-1915) Statesman who became Prime Minister of Russia. In 1892 was appointed Minister of Communications. In 1903 became President of the Committee of Ministers. The Count’s outstanding accomplishment was the negotiation of the terms of peace closing the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. He was related to Mme. Blavatsky through his mother, Katherine, who was a younger sister of H.P.B’s mother: Katherine was married to Yuliy Feodorovich de Witte. As Count Witte was born just one month before his cousin Helena was married to N.V. Blavatsky, his account published in his Memoirs is based on gossip rather than factual knowledge. In spite of slanderous statements in those Memoirs, Count Witte at least testified to Mme. Blavatsky’s great writing ability: ‘She could write pages of smoothly flowing verse without the slightest effort, and she could compose essays in prose on every conceivable subject.’ (Quoted in Corson’s — q.v — prose on every conceivable subject.’ (Quoted in Corson’s book, pages 19-20).
Wondrous Being - Name for the Supreme Hierarch of the Earth, represented as the ‘Root Base’ of this globe, to which a name is applied in translation: ‘the ever-living-human-Banyan.’ This Great Being descended from a high region in the early part of the Third Age. Other names are: the Initiator, the Nameless one, the Great Sacrifice, the Mahâ-Guru, the Silent Watcher.
Yogasûtras - (SK) Sûtra signifies a thread, but when applied to a written work means a rule, a principle. In the West the sûtras on yoga by Patanjali are known under the name of Yoga Aphorisms. Little is known about Patanjali; what has come down to our day is legendary. His aphorisms indicate that he possessed wisdom and imparted it in his work. He expects the practitioners of his system of yoga to acquire right knowledge of what is and what is not real and to practice all virtues. The opening sloka gives the keynote of Patanjali’s sûtras: ‘Assuredly, the exposition of Yoga or Concentration, is now to be made.’
Yogi - (SK: yogin — the nominative case is yogi). A practitioner of yoga. One who aims to attain union of the human spirit with the Universal Spirit. One of the methods pursued by the practitioner is that of the withdrawal of the senses from all external objects.
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