Life, research and esoteric works of Helena Blavatsky

Eléna Petróvna von Hahn, in Russian Еле́на Петро́вна Ган, married to Blaváckij; Anglicized into Helena Blavatsky or even, Madame Blavatsky was a philosopher, theosophist, occultist essayist and Russian naturalized American medium.

He was born on August 12 or 31, 1831 in Dnipro, Ukraine and died on May 8, 1891 in London.

Also known with the initials of its acronym, HPB, she was the co-founder of the Theosophical Society in 1875; as the international theoretical leader of modern theosophy he compiled texts promoting esotericism such as Isis unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.

Her family was aristocratic and of Russian-German origins, she traveled extensively throughout the Russian Empire as a child. Mostly self-taught, she developed a strong interest in Western esotericism as a girl; according to his subsequent statements, since 1849 he undertook a series of trips around the world.

Moving to the USA around 1873, she established a solid relationship of friendship with Henry Steel Olcott (American agronomist, journalist, lawyer and esotericist, co-founder of the Theosophical Society together with her) and began to be noticed by public opinion by attracting attention as a medium. In New York he founded the modern “Theosophical Society” with the help of Olcott and William Quan Judge, in 1875.

On September 7, 1875, together with some other eminent figures, he founded “The Theosophical Society”, established to spread the ancient teachings of Theosophy, or the wisdom concerning the Divine, which was the spiritual basis of other great movements of the past such as the Neo -Platonism, Gnosticism and the Mystery schools of the classical world. The inaugural speech of President-founder Colonel Olcott, was delivered on November 17, 1875, the date that is considered the official one of the foundation of the Company.

Starting from a generalized presentation of the objectives, ie Reorder and spread the knowledge of the laws that govern “the Universe”, the founders soon expressed them more specifically, after some second-rate changes, in the formulation of those basic objectives to be pursued : 

1) Form a core of universal brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color. 

2) To encourage the comparative study of religions, philosophies and sciences. 

3) Investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the latent powers in man.

She will remain a highly controversial figure throughout her life, supported by supporters who saw her as an enlightened Guru; while she was mocked as a charlatan and fraudulent plagiarist by the most severe critics. His theosophical doctrines influenced the spread of Hindu thought, but above all of the history of Buddhism in the West, as well as the development of western esoteric currents such as Ariosophy, Anthroposophy and New Age movements after the mid-twentieth century.

At the age of 17, Helena married Nikifor V. Blavatsky, a Russian military officer and provincial vice-governor. They went to live in the castle-fortress of Yerevan, but after repeatedly trying to escape and return to Tbilisi from the grandparents, the wedding ended quickly, most likely without being consumed, even if it was never formally dissolved, so that Helena always continued to bear the husband’s surname with which it is still known today.

He then spent several years in India and Tibet studying under Hindu gurus.

In 1877 his first major work, Isis Unveiled, was published. In this book he criticized the science and religion of his day and claimed that the mystical experience and doctrine were the means of achieving true intuition and spiritual authority. Although Isis Unveiled has attracted attention, the company has shrunk. In 1879 Blavatsky and Olcott went to India; three years later they established the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, south-east India, and began publishing the company newspaper, The Theosophist , which Helena published from 1879 to 1888. The company soon developed a strong following in India.

Claiming to possess extraordinary psychic powers, during her travels to Paris and London, she was accused by the Indian press in late 1884 of having invented phenomena of fictitious spiritualism. After protesting his innocence on a tour of Germany, he returned to India in 1884 and met an enthusiastic reception. The “Hodgson Report”, the results of an investigation conducted in 1885 by the London Society for Psychical Research, declared it a fraud. (A century later, however, the company published a critical study of the Hodgson Report and announced in a press release that Blavatsky had been unjustly sentenced.) Shortly thereafter, he left India in poor health. He lived quietly in Germany, Belgium, and finally in London, working on his small, classic meditativeThe Voice of Silence (1889) and his most important work, The Secret Doctrine (1888), which was an overview of theosophical teachings. It was followed in 1889 by its key to theosophy. His collected writings were published in 15 volumes (1950-1991).

In 1880, during a trip to Ceylon, Madame Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott became officially Buddhists.

During his American stay he married a second time (without the first marriage having been canceled), in a difficult period in which he needed support. Even this marriage, however, was not consummated and ended quickly. For the rest of her life, we find other women next to her, including aristocrats, who joined the role of companion to that of patron. After a brief parenthesis in India, where in October 1884 he reported the master Hilarion (writing his name Hillarion), claiming that he recently passed away, in August 1890 he founded the “Inner Circle” of 12 disciplines.

In The Secret Doctrine , Blavatsky articulated the belief that absolute nothingness existed at the beginning of time. This primordial essence then separated into seven Rays, which were also intelligent beings known as Dhyan Chohans; these seven rays then created the universe using an energy called Fohat. Earth was created and underwent seven Rounds, in each of which different living beings were created.

He supported the idea of ​​”radical races”, each of which was divided into seven sub-races. In Helena’s cosmogony, the first Root Race was created from the pure spirit and lived on a continent known as the “Imperishable Sacred Land”. The second Root Race, known as Hyperborean, was also formed of pure spirit and lived in a land near the North Pole, which therefore had a mild climate. The third lived on the continent of Lemuria, which according to Blavatsky survives today as Australia and Rapa Nui. Blavatsky claimed that during the fourth round of Earth, higher beings descended on the planet, with the development of human physical bodies and the separation of the sexes. At this point the fourth Root Race appeared, living on the continent of Atlantis; they had physical bodies but also psychic powers and advanced technology. He claimed that some Atlanteans were giants and built ancient monuments such as Stonehenge in southern England and that they also mated with “she-animal”, giving birth to the creation of gorillas and chimpanzees. The Atlanteans were decaying and abused their power and knowledge, so Atlantis sank into the sea, although several Atlanteans fled and created new societies in Egypt and the Americas.

The fifth radical race to emerge were the Aryans and was found all over the world at the time he was writing. He believed that the fifth Race would be replaced by the sixth, which would be announced by the arrival of Maitreya , a figure from Mahayana Buddhist mythology. He also believed that humanity would eventually turn into the last, seventh Radical Race. Lachman suggested that by reading Blavatsky’s cosmogonic claims as a literal account of history, “we could do a disservice.” Instead, he suggested that it could be read as Blavatsky’s attempt to formulate “a new myth for the modern era, or as a great, fantastic science fiction story”.

The Blavatsky Lodge had formulated and initiated theosophical ideas by making them public. 

HPB founded in September 1887 ” Lucifer “, a monthly magazine designed, as stated on its title page, “to illuminate the mysterious things hidden by darkness”. In the same month Helena moved to 17 Lonsdowne Road, Holland Park, London.

He continued to write his great work, which he had finally completed and published in two large volumes in October / December 1888. Among his indefatigable collaborators for the transcription and publication of the manuscripts were Bertram and Archibal Keightly, whose financial support was big help. ” The Secret Doctrine ” was the crowning glory of HP Blavatsky’s literary work. The first volume mainly concerns the evolution of the universe. The backbone of this volume consists of seven rooms, translated from Dzyan’s book, with commentary and explanation by Helena. In this volume there is also an extensive elucidation of the fundamental symbols contained in the great religions and mythologies of the world. The second volume contains a further series of rooms from “The book of Dzyan” which describes the evolution of Humanity. In October 1888, Madame Blavatsky established the Esoteric Section (or school) of the Theosophical Society for a deeper study of Theosophy faced by consecrated students and wrote “Three ES instructions” for them. In 1889 he published ” The Key of Theosophy “, a clear exposition in the form of questions and answers regarding ethics, science, philosophy and the study of the purpose for which the Theosophical Society was founded; as well as the mystical-devotional gem called “ The Voice of Silence“Containing passages extracted and translated from an oriental sacred text:” The book of the golden precepts “which she had memorized during her training in the Orient. In July 1890, HPB established the European Headquarters of Theosophical Society at No. 19 on Avenue Road, St. John’s Wood in London, where he died on May 8, 1891 due to a violent epidemic flu that broke out in England. His remains were cremated in Surrey.

For the cultural background of his writings and teachings, his life and strong character, his mission and extraordinary psychism, HP Blavatsky is destined to be recognized over time in all its value and originality, as a sincere and great popularizer of principles and knowledge of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood of Adepts.

The New York Times recently wrote about her: « Helena Petrovna Blavatsky … has had bad press service since her first appearance as organizer of the Theosophical Society … One of the great free women of her time – she could only attract the contempt and fiery criticism of all his actions or words, especially when he claimed to be able to defy the strongest orthodoxies of the time with impunity. Even today, people who have never read a line of his writings continue to have the Adamantine belief that she was a visionary or a maniac … »

Mentioned several times as a Freemason, he received a Certificate of Membership in the Adoption Rite from John Yarker in 1877.

The influence of his life, his writings and teachings has been important and has certainly influenced the “spirit” of our time. 
The following three quotations, taken from works by academic scholars who are not members of the Theosophical Society, can certainly provide an idea of ​​the vastness of Madame Blavatsky’s influence.

” … Blavatsky … rises as the source of modern occult thought; she was both the initiator and popularizer of most of the terms and ideas that came together a century later in the New Age movement. The Theosophical Society, of which she was the co-founder, was the main supporter of occult philosophy in the West and the only most important way of Eastern teaching in the West “. – (J. Gordon Melton, New Age Almanac, Detroit, Michigan, Gale Research Inc. 1991, p. 16).

“ Theosophy occupies a central place in the history of new spiritual movements. Through the works of Blavatsky and some of his followers he had a great influence outside his organization … The importance of Theosophy in modern history should not be underestimated. The works of Blavatsky and others have not only inspired several generations of occultists but the movement has played a remarkable role in restoring the colonial peoples of 19th century Asia to their spiritual heritage “- (Robert S. Ellvood,” Religions and Spiritual Groups in modern America “, ’89 p. 63).

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky … is certainly among the most original and perceptive minds of her time. Buried in the disordered mass of his two major works, the first philosophy of psychic and spiritual evolution that appeared in the modern world lies in a rudimentary form. With all the criticism thrown at her, HPB emerges as a reproductive talent of our time … After all, she is among the ardent modern drivers of the unreal (visionary) idea. At the same historical moment in which Freud, Pavlov and James began to formulate the secular and materialistic theory of mind, which so quickly dominated modern Western thought, HPB and his fellow Theosophists liberated a forgotten psychology from the occult traditions of exotic religions. superconscious and extrasensory.“. – (Theodore Roszak, “The Unfinished Animal: The Aquarian Frontier and The Evolution of Consciousness, NY Harper and Row, 1975, p. 118 ff.).

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