She was born of Russian nobility and later became the secretary
of the Theosophical Society. Also, she was referred to as HPB. She did much to evolve Eastern religious, philosophical
and occult concepts
throughout the Western world.
Her father Peter von Hahn
was in the Russian army.
Shortly after he wed Helena Andreyevna
he was called into war
and his wife returned to her parent' home
when their daughter Helena was born.
Helena Andreyevna composed novels concerning restricted Russian
women and known as the George Sand of Russia.
She died when Helena was twelve,
but later Helena would claim that her mother had died
when she was a baby.
The question is why did Helena Blavatsky
deny the existence of her mother in her childhood?
It is true that she grew from an ill baby into a problem child
subjected to hysteria and convulsions.
When dying her mother observed sadly,
"Ah well, perhaps it is best that I am dying,
so at least I shall be spared seeing what befalls Helena.
Of one thing I am certain, her life will not be that of other women,
and she will have much to suffer."
This statement that her mother died when she was a baby seems to
suggest that there was much negativity between mother and daughter.
That Helen resented her mother's long absences, her intimate friendships
and felt it as a desertion of the home and herself is an understatement.
Her mother seemed to have severly damaged her daughter's emotional
well-being and her pride.
Helena's childhood was certainly not the usual one.
She displayed neurotic behavior from almost infancy by walking
and talking in her sleep at four,
exhibiting morbid tendencies,
and her fascination with the weird and fantastic.
One of her earliest recollections was macabre in deatil.
the countryside was said to be haunted with russalkas,
green-haired nymphs living in willow trees
along the river banks.
Whenever her nannies upset her,
Helena threaten to have the russalkas tickle them to death.
One day when Helena was four she was walking by the river bank
with one of her care-givers while a boy of fourteen followed them,
annoying Helena by pulling her perambutor.
She them imitated her father's loud roars,
threatening to have the russalkas tickle the boy to death.
The boy being quite frightened,
took to his heels over the river bank.
He was not seen again until fishermen discovered his dead body
Helena's family supposed he had accidentally
stepped into a sand-pit whirlpool.
But, the household inhabitants believed otherwise;
they knew without doubt that the four-year-old girl had withdrawn
her protection from the boy
and delivered him over to the russalkas.
It is significant that HPB should later accuse herself of homicide
at the age of four,
and the victim a boy ten years her senior.
Those who tended to her, besides her parents,
were women who had learned and believed in superstitions.
At the time Old Russia was a very supportive of superstitions.
It was alive with tales of wolves, monsters, ghosts, leshes, brownies
which were thought to manipulate human lives..
Even though the educated people accepted
along with its icons, priests and sacraments, their serfs still
kept alive the Empire's pagan religion among themselves.
The nannies of Helena, or Lelinka,
as they affectionately called her,
believed these superstitions.
Furthermore, Lelinka, being born in the seventh month of the year,
was called a sedmitchka,
a word that is difficult to translate,
but is connected with the number seven.
According to legend it was believed that supernatural beings could
be placated or even controlled by people like Helena.
On the night of her birthday the servants
would carry the little girl around the house
and stables while sprinkling holy water
and repeating magical incantations to appease the domovoy,
a goblin in the form of an old man who lived behind the stove and
played tricks whenever upset.
Some thought each household had one.
Supposedly such activities were not known
by her mother or grandparents.
If they did know about them,
initially they refused to assign any importance to them
It was not that the household servants thought that Helena was
she simply showed it.
She threw temper tantrums whenever she did not get her way. Finally,
as she later recalled, the family members noticed her abnormalities
and she was exorcised many times,
but the rituals proved to no avail.
Even scolding and punishments failed to change her outrageously
She fail to change as a child because,
it seems, after the boy drowned,
plus the attention she was receiving,
she felt she was powerful and invulnerable,
and increasingly believed that mighty forces
would carry out her wishes.
A belief that seemed to permeate her life.
Her only happy childhood memories seem to be between six and twelve
in her father's army camps.
She was petted and spoiled as the enfant du regiment.
She tyrannized over her father's orderlies whom she preferred to
her female nurses and governesses.
While being pampered she managed to pickup a smattering of knowledge
about shamans and magic which she put to good use later in life.
After the death of their mother, at age 28,
Helena with her sister and brother
lived with their maternal grandparents.
The grandmother, Helena Palovna de Fadeev,
was a princess of the Dolgorkurov family,
and a famous botanist.
So from her mother and grandmother HPB inherited her characteristics
of stubbornness, a fiery temper, and a disregard for social norms, all of which she amplified.
Helena's first love affair, at age 16, had been with Prince Alexander
Galistin, cousin to the Viceroy of the Caucasus.
At the time her grandfather served as his Imperial Councilor. Her
interest in the Prince was because of his interest in occultism and magic.
She later claimed the affair ended on the Prince's death,
but he jilted her.
At 17 she married General Nicephore Blavatsky.
There are several stories for this union,
but it seems to be that a governess had scolded Helena for her
saying she could not even get an old man to marry her.
To prove the governess wrong,
and to divert attention from her unhappy affair
with Prince Galistin,
she married Blavatsky, who she called old
and about seventy or eighty.
Actually he was around forty when they married
and outlived her.
After three unhappy months of a honeymoon,
HPB managed to escape from the General's bodyguards
and return to her grandfather who was not glad to see her.
She was quickly shipped her off to her father, now retired
and living near St. Peterburg,
in charge of a maid and three men servants,
all of whom she escaped.
Her father traveled two thousand miles for nothing
to meet her in Odessa.
Helena was aboard an English bark,
some say eloping with the skipper,
sailing for Constantinople.
The years between 1848-1858 are called
Helena's 'vagabond' years.
The actual events are rather sketchy.
The important thing to HPB, at least,
was the two years she was in Tibet studying with the Lama.
In 1856, according to her version, while in India she met a Lutheran
minister who was with two mystics.
None had passports or proper identification.
The mystics did not enter Tibet, but the minister,
although not permitted in the country, did travel a good way with
the party to a mud hut.
Helena wore a mysterious disguise
supplied by a Tartar shaman.
At a hut they met the Chief Lama who would not allow them admittance
until Helena showed him a carnelian talisman given to her as a child by a high priest of a Calmuck tribe.
Within the hut, which was a great hall, they witnessed a reincarnation
A four-month-old baby laid on a carpet in the center of the hall.
"Under the influence of the venerable lama, the baby rose to its feet and walked up and down the strip of carpet, repeating,
`I am Buddha, I am the old Lama, I am his spirit in a new body.'" The three men accompanying Helena were terrified.
The minister said his blood ran cold because the infant's eyes
"seemed to search his very soul."
Some believe that HPB fabricated the reincarnation story because
similar descriptions could be found in Abbe Huc's Recollection's of Travel in Tartary, Tibet and China Further they reasoned,
her reason for the story was for psychological importance, showing
she had traveled in Tibet where other men could not, and her talisman had admitted them to see the ritual;
however, it must be remembered these were her critics.
When returning to Russia Helena agreed to return to
Nicephore Blavatsky on the condition that she would be required
to see him as little as possible,
which she did.
Also, at this time her grandfather Andrey Fadeyev was 71
and retiring from the Viceroy's Board of Caucasus.
He usually retired early and Helena's two cousins,
both unmarried, came to the Fadeyev home in Taiflis to entertain
while seances were held.
At the time the many of the Russian intellectuals were beginning
to be fascinated with the paranormal.
Helena made a big impression.
Her cousin Sergei Witte wrote,
"My cousin did not confine the demonstrations of her power to table
rapping, evocation of spirits, and similar mediumistic hocus-pocus.
On one occasion she caused a closed piano in an adjacent room to
emit sounds as if invisible hands were playing upon it. This was done in my presence,
at the insistence of one of the guests."
It seemed that the lady's activities
included more than hold seances.
A young baron from Estonia, Nicholas Meyendorff
who was an ardent Spiritualist, found HPB delightful. Meyendorff
was a closed friend of D. D. Home, in fact, he considered Home as a brother,
so he confided his affair with HPB to Home.
He insisted she divorced Blavatsky and marry him,
or so the lady later claimed.
It seems Meyendorff later said Helena was unfaithful.
From latter correspondence, in 1886, to her biographer
it seems that Meyendorff was correct.
About this time unexpectedly Agardi Metrovich appeared sometime
in the early 1860's.
He was an opera singer accompanied by a female singer
who it seems was his wife.
Metrovich had known Helena and her family previously.
It seems he now wanted her back.
He was almost sixty in 1861,
his latest opera 'Tiflis' was one of the worst in Europe.
He was on a decline in his career.
It is somewhat of a puzzle how Helena managed living with her husband,
lover Meyendoroff, and Metrovich at the same time while holding seances in her grandfather's home.
But, the fact is that she became pregnant and a child was born.
The only existence of the child's birth date is on a passport dated August 23 "(Old Style)" 1862.
It designated him as an infant, leaving speculation he was born
in 1862, or late 1861.
His name was Yuri, and he was deformed.
He was born in the settlement of Ozurgety
which had a military surgeon.
Helena settled there buying a house to escape the scandal
her pregnancy had caused in Tiflis.
All men she knew denied fathering the child,
but Blavatsky continued her monthly allowance.
Helena referred to him as "the poor crippled child,"
while Meyendorff's relatives said he had a hunchback.
Whether the handicap resulted from a birth defect
or an accident cause by the military physician unaccustomed to
delivering babies is not known.
After the birth Helen faked a nervous breakdown.
The significance of which is that she describes
as a dual personality:
"When awake and myself, I remembered well who I was in my second
capacity, and what I had been and was doing. When someone else, i.e., the personage I became, I know I had no idea of who
was H. P. Blavatsky! I was in another far-off country, a total different individuality from myself, and had no connection
at all with my actual life."
Yuri was about five years when Helena took him Bologna trying to
It is known that Metrovitch accompany them.
But, the journey proved fruitless and the child died.
They buried him in a small town in Southern Russia under Metrovitch's
name; the latter saying that
"he did not care."
Even though Helena had reason to detest Russia,
she could not bury her son on foreign soil.
This among other things illustrated that she
dearly loved the child.
It had been difficult for her to keep the child,
and easier for her to have abandoned him as an orphan,
but this she did not do.
She did everything she could for him.
Although later she denied he was her child.
When taking him to visit her father,
she wrote that her father suspected her of wrongful sexual conduct
and she produced evidence from two doctors that she was unable to bare children.
Perhaps she did this more for Yuri's sake than her own, because,
it is thought, she could not bear for anyone to think ill of her son.
She also claimed Yuri was an illegitimate child of Meyendorff and
a friend of hers.
The stories she told got so tangled that her biographer,
Alfred Sinnett, omitted Yuri altogether.
However, the child seems an important factor in her life.
Her career in the paranormal was of great concern to her. Factors
concerning the child outweighed this.
Yuri, ironically, resembled the little hunchback invisible
which she had played with in her own childhood.
She, herself, described Yuri as "the only being who made life worth
a being whom I loved according to the phraseology of Hamlet as
`forty thousand fathers and brothers will never love their children and sisters.'"
Later she wrote to Metrovitch,
"'I loved one man deeply but still more I love occult science,'
but the one she loved `more than anything else in all the world,' or anything, was Yuri."
It was later after Yuri's death that Helena confided in writing
to her cousin Nadyezha Fadeyev of her rejection of Christianity, "the Russian Orthodox god had died for her on the day of
Although, she had never been at peace with Christianity,
"there were moments when I believed deeply that sins can be remitted
by the Church,
and that the blood of Christ has redeemed me,
together with the whole race of Adam."
Yet it should be noted toward the end of Helena's life,
as with so many others,
the encroachment of fragments of an earlier religious experience
Increasingly in her writings she used words like
the Holy Cause, with their ecclesiastical flavor,
phrases reminiscent of the childhood religion
which she had rebelled against all of her life.
She was humbling her pride to join the host of other rebel spirits
who creep back to the sanctity of the Holy Church.
She even admitted when in Paris she had in secrecy slipped off
to the Russian Cathedral.
In secrecy was correct,
because even though in her heart toward the end her life her confidence
in her Mahatmas and the occult
may have decrease or fallen away, in public her concern was to
insure the realty of her Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi and all the hierarchy for her followers.
She apologized for the mistakes and misrepresentations in her works
but not for the Masters who had dictated her books. The faults of the books she laid on others.
After 1869 both the Fadeyev and Witte families had dwindled. Adey
Fadeyev had died at 81.
The families pooled their assets and moved to Odessa where Helena
and Metrovitch joined them.
It was tough going for everyone, but Helena,
in her flighty manner,
tried starting several small businesses,
but in the perilous times they all failed.
Metrovitch still trying to make a comeback
got an engagement with the Italian opera of Cairo,
so he and Helena sailed for Egypt.
It was during their voyage that Metrovitch lost his life in an
explosion of gunpowder and fireworks
aboard the ship was carrying.
Helena was one of seventeen passengers out of 400
She latter said Metrovitch died trying to save her life,
although there are other versions of his death
which are not connected with the explosion at all.
Anyway Helena thought that Metrovitch
would want her to go on.
She went to Alexandria with help of Greek government funds. It
is thought she buried Metrovitch's remains there,
and then proceeded to Cairo when she became a medium by teaming
up with another woman.
The relationship in Cairo lasted for some time,
then both went back to Odessa.
However, Russia did not provide the stimulation which Helena longed
and she tired of quarreling with her aunts
whom she said did not understand her.
She saw other people and then went to Paris.
It was there she heard of the enthusiasm for Spiritualism that
was spreading in the United States.
She almost immediately sailed, saying that it was
"my mysterious Hindu" that ordered her "to embark for
North America, which I did without protesting."
She did not travel first class though.
On the dock at Le Havre,
she by chance met a German peasant and her children,
who had been sold bogus tickets.
Helena gave the woman and children her deluxe passage and traveled
herself in steerage because
that was all she could then afford.
She, like millions of other poor emigrants,
and rebellious aristocrats traveled to America,
the land of opportunity and hope.
It was her second chance.
As with thousands of other immigrants Helena's second chance did
not come easy,
but she was determined to obtain it.
It was July, 1873 when she reached New York.
As did other single women,
she first lodged in a home for woman that was a tenement house
that had be made into a cooperative
by the 65 occupants.
The landlord introduced Helena
to the owners of a shirt-and-collar factory
where she tried selling elaborate designs to the owners.
The designs were good but she was bad at selling,
so it was Odessa all over again.
HPB was penniless but said that she had wrote home to her relatives
for money and expected to receive it from the Russian Council at anytime.
This is how she survived in the home.
She managed to divide the home into two groups,
those not liking her and those that did.
She entertained the latter group with stories of her life
and by holding seances on Sunday nights.
This seemed to work until a newspaper took a dislike to her and
accused her of using hashish and opium.
Soon after this her father died and she received $500 of her modest
inheritance which went fast.
She moved into a smart hotel and began to live Bohemian again in
a cooperate flat with three journalists,
two men and another woman.
Then a new phenomenon appeared.
Ordinary photographs left in a wooden box overnight were found
in the morning to be tinted with water colors by spirits. Although impressive, the others occupants became skeptical of HPB's
Then one night they watched the Madame leave her room in night
carrying paint and brushes to assist the spirits.
Following this HPB worked whenever she could, one job was in a
sweatshop making artificial flowers, and accepting charity from whomever gave it.
This continued until June, 1874
when she met Clementine Jerebko
and her husband who has just arrived from Caucasus.
She had known them both in Russia.
The Jerebkos had just bought farmland on Long Island
and HPB agreed to join in the adventure by buying in at $1,000.
By the end of the first month all parties knew it was a disastrous decision.
Clementine agreed to return Helena's money after the farm been
sold by auction,
but three days later she and her husband disappeared.
Helena tried pursuing them by hiring a creditable law firm
which took the case to court.
The next important event in her life occurred ten days after Henry
Steele Olcott's first article on the Eddy seances appeared in New York, on October 14, 1874, when she introduced herself to
Olcott at the remote
Chittenden, Vermont farm.
Immediately she claimed to be a spiritualist who had spent fifteen
years in the cult,
but it soon became apparent that she had come to see Olcott.
During the next ten days Helena exhibited her techniques.
Her seances accompanied those of the Eddy Brothers. Although Olcott
was not a Spiritualist, he had a keen interest in the phenomena.
Each night the seance began at ten minutes to seven.
The procession of apparitions began drifting in and out of the
Eddy cabinet on the schedule of every one to five minutes.
The appearances of Honto and the Indians were slightly dim compared
to Madame Blavatsky's peopled apparitions. "Hassan Aga," the wealthy merchant wearing a black Astarkhan cap and tasseled hood
who said three times he had a secret to revel, but never did;
"Safer Ali Bak," the man that guarded Helena for
Nicephore Blavatsky in Erivan,
now appearing as a Kurd warrior carrying a feathered spear;
a Circassian noukar who bowed, smiled and said,
"Tchock yachtchi (all right);
a giant muscular black man in
a conjurer who she had met in Africa.
Also, there were less exotic phantoms
such as an old woman in a babushka,
whom Helena said was Vera's nurse;
and the portly man in a black evening suit and frilled white shirt,
around whose neck hung a Greek cross of St. Anne suspended by a red moiré ribbon with two black stripes.
"Are you my father?" she asked, confessing later that she was trembling.
The apparition approached her and stopped,
"Djadja," he answered reproachfully.
HPB knew that Olcott was enthused with her performance, although
his articles about her would not be published for several weeks,
she decided much could be achieved in the meantime.
She with another medium rushed back to New York.
When Olcott mentioned putting his collection of articles that appeared
in the Graphic into a book she volunteered to translate them into Russian for the Psychisen Studien or some other Russian
Olcott was thrilled with the idea.
She did like Olcott,
but still considered him immature and gullible.
She knew, even though she had warned him that
William Eddy's spooks were not necessarily proof of
spirit entities, that Olcott was "in love with the spirits,"
as she put it.
Nevertheless, they continued working together.
HPB had feelings for Olcott,
but they were not mutually shared at first.
Olcott considered her androgynous.
He just did not see her as an attractive sexual person,
even though she was in her earthly, sensual manner.
It was at this time that she engaged in a confrontation with a
New York neuropathologist,
Dr. George Beard,
who claimed in the Daily Graphic that the Eddy brothers were frauds
and that Colonel Olcott had been blinded by a handful of bad magicians' tricks.
HPB had two reasons to be upset by the article.
First, her first real success in Spiritualism might be thwarted;
and secondly, the article questioned Olcott's integrity as a serious investigator.
If this went unchallenged it would dash any hopes of selling any
translations of his articles.
This episode became a fight between Beard and Helena,
but took an unexpected turn when she was recognized by both the
Spiritual Scientist and Daily Graphic.
The editor of the former said he would publish
all she could write.
In an interview with the Graphic she gained so much publicity that
Helena Blavatsky was now known
throughout the New York area.
But, as usual, her troubles were not over.
She had tried to sell the Russian translation of Olcott's articles
through Andrew Jackson Davis who admired her as a medium, a friend of Alexander Aksakov who could get the articles in the
In his reply to Davis, Aksakov said that he had heard of Madame
Blavatsky, and she was a powerful medium, but her communications show moral flows.
Toward Davis Helena appeared casual,
and Davis thought his friend didn't know her as well as he did.
However, Helena suspected Aksakov had heard rumors and hastily sent a letter to him pleading with him not to exposed everything
It is later noted that Alsakov did receive some of the translations,
but he never printed them,
nor did any other publication.
Fearing that Aksakov revelations would come down upon her at any
time Helena was in a desperate period.
She still conducted seances, hoping for the best.
She still needed financial support.
The man, Henry Olcott, she wanted was unavailable to her. Olcott
was supporting an estranged wife and two children, also his law practice had been neglected
during his Spiritualism investigations.
Michael Betanelly was available and wanted to marry her to look
he said he would expect no martial privileges of her.
Betanelly was friend to both Helena and Olcott.
It was Betanelly who had written a letter to Olcott,
on Helena's behalf,
verifying the Georgian that materialized
during a seance at Chittenden.
The letter was to served to disprove Dr. Beard's accusations aimed
at Olcott and also give Olcott more creditability.
The truth was that Betanelly knew nothing about Spiritualism when
writing the letter.
Helena and Betanelly were married on April 3, 1875.
They had not told Olcott,
when he heard of the marriage he called it
"a freak of madness."
He later said he had ridiculed her for marrying a man so much younger
and unequal to her mental capacity.
However, Helena already had her defense planned: she said,
" their fates were linked by karma, and the marriage was her punishment
for `awful pride and combativeness."
She added that Betanelly had threaten suicide if she did not marry
Helena assured Olcott the marriage would not be consummated;
although her reason was not clear,
it would seem she did so because of her interest in Olcott. Olcott
It may have been a non-sexual marriage,
but it is doubtful her entire relationship with Betanelly
Helena's main concern seemed to always lie in Olcott.
To her he was always essential to the Spiritualist movement. Later
many would say she broke up his marriage,
even though the Spiritualists eventually denied it,
it is a fact they met shortly before his divorce.
But it seemed they just collaborated, with HPB being dominate,
at first, intimacy would come later.
HPB dictated Olcott's writings and where to send them.
Before the establishment of the Theosophical Society there was
the founding of the Miracle Club.
This was a club where members were admitted to seances conducted
by the club medium David Dana,
brother of Charles Dana editor of the New York Sun, and suggested
Members were forbidden to disclose their experiences or the address
of the meeting place.
The club only lasted a few weeks because David wanted to be paid,
which HPB did not agree to.
The failure of the Miracle Club, however, sparked the founding
of the Theosophical Society.
The membership itself, with the enthusiasm of HPB,
did not disperse.
In striving to find a common purpose Olcott scribbled a hasty note
"Would it not be a good thing to form a society for this kind of
The phrase this kind of study referred to subjects such as the
Egyptian mysteries and the kabbalah which had been discussed in a lecture previously given to an informal group by J. H. Felt,
an architect and engineer.
He had said, "the dog-and hawk-headed figures of
Egyptian hieroglyphics were accurate pictures of elementals, the
spirits who convey messages at seances."
The infant society was eagerly formed in September1875.
It was co-founded by Olcott along with William Q. Judge.
Its name was furnished by Charles Sotheran who was of independent
means, a high Mason, a Rosicrucian, and a student of the kabbalah.
Sotheran thought the name of the Miracle Club was too cheap; he
considered Egyptological Society, too limited;
looking through a dictionary, he found the word theosophy, a word
that was unanimously agreed on at the next meeting because it seemed to express esoteric truth as well as covering the aspects
of occult scientific research, both of which were goals of the Society.
Because of Olcott's love for red tape and Helena's ritualism the
Society included all of the pomp originally planned for the Miracle Club.
There was the policy of secrecy, each member wrote F.T.S (Fellow,
Theosophical Society) after their name, and recognized each other by secret signs,
most of which were borrowed from Egyptian occultism
and the Grand Lodge of Cairo.
After its establishment the Theosophical Society expounded the
esoteric tradition of Buddhism aiming to form an universal brotherhood of man,
studying and making known the ancient religions, philosophies and
sciences, and investigating the laws of nature and divine powers latent in man.
The direction of the society was claimed to be directed by the
secret Mahatmas or Masters of Wisdom.
After reading the evidence of the letters supposedly written from
these Mahatmas many concluded that they were written by friends of HPB, or by HPB herself.
The letters conveyed her ideas.
These conclusions were drawn after earnest men and women lavished
an aggregate of several lifetimes of study and research on the Mahatmas letters.
Several books and monographs, pro and con, were written. Who Wrote
the Mahatmas Letters,
a book by the Hare brothers,
one a disillusion Theosophist,
was a well researched work.
Although there is not any certain evidence of these Mahatmas or
Masters of Wisdom,
Helena's first book Isis Unveiled, 1877,
outlined the basic precepts and the secret knowledge which they
In the book's preface HPB inserted `a plea for the recognition
of the Hermetic philosophy,
the ancient universal wisdom."
The success of the book was greater than that of the society, which
by 1878 almost collapsed.
In July 1878 Helena P. Blavatsky became the first Russian woman
to acquire United States citizenship.
Some say she did so not to have the English in India think she
was a Russian spy.
She and Olcott went to India in December of that year in order
to revive the society's study of Hindu and Buddha religions.
It was in India that HPB and the society gained much support. Newly
acquired supporters included Sinnett,
the statesman Allen O. Hume,
and various high-caste Indians and English officials.
At this time HPB aided Sinnett and Hume in corresponding with the
Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya.
From this the first suspicions of the Masters occurred,
when their handwriting closely resembled that of HPB. However,
nothing was every proven conclusively.
In 1882 the headquarters of the society was moved to an estate
in Adyar, near Madras.
There HPB had a shrine room constructed for the Mahatmas where
they could directly manifest their communications.
A former colleague of HPB, Emma Cutting Coulomb and her husband
managed the household.
They were later discharged for dishonest practices.
In 1884 HPB and Olcott toured Europe while in the
United State the Coulomb's published letters which they claimed
to be written by HPB containing instructions for the Masters' manifestations and for the operation of the shrine through secret
Apparently, the panels were constructed by Coulomb during HPB's
absent to destroy her reputation.
During December 1884, Richard Hodgson of the
Psychical Research Society (PRS) in London went to Adyar
to investigate the activity there.
In the following spring he released a scathing report alleging
fraud and trickery by HPB and her associates.
To HPB and the Theosophical Society the report was controversial
for over one hundred years.
It put a tarnish upon the name of HPB and the Society.
In 1986 the PRS published an article in its Journal calling the
saying that Hodgson had ignored all evidence favorable to HPB,
and, that an apology was due.
Because of the controversy,
Olcott sent HPB to Europe in 1885, where she toured different countries
finally settling in Germany due to deteriorating health. By then the French-born Swedish Countess Constance Wachrmeister had
moved in with HPB and helped her with her work, especially her second book,
The Secret Doctrine (1888),
which is said to be her greatest work.
The Secret Doctrine outlined a scheme of evolution relating to
the universe (cosmogenesis) and humankind (anthropogenesis), and is based on three premises: (1) Ultimate Reality, as an omnipresent,
transcendent principle beyond the reach of thought; (2) the universality law of cycles throughout nature; and (3) the identity
of all souls with the Universal Oversoul and their journey through many degrees of intelligence by means if reincarnation,
in accordance with "Cyclic and Karmic law."
The Secret Doctrine is claimed to have been largely based on the
archaic manuscript of The Book of Dyzan,
which HPB interpreted.
She claimed the Mahatmas communicated parts of
The Secret Doctrine to her,
claiming they impressed thoughts in her mind
which she put to paper.
Critics say she copied her thoughts
from various existing works.
During 1889 HPB finished two more books:
The Key to Theosophy an introduction to theosophical thought and
The Voice of the Silence, a mystical and poetic work on the path
The work of the Theosophical Society was continued by activist
Annie Wood Besant, a reviewer of The Secret Doctrine and a convert to Theosophy. Besant's home in London became the headquarters
of the Society.
She actively supported progressive causes, bringing another generation
of liberal intellectuals into the society, and became president following Olcott's death in 1907.
In all respects it is not difficult to believe that HPB possessed
genuine occult inspiration and powers for she exerted enormous influence over some of the most talented individuals of her
Touched by her were persons like Horace Greeley,
the Honorable John L. O'Sullivan, ex-Ambassador to Portugal; P.
B. Randolph, leading American Rosicrucian;
Also among those influenced by her are
W. B. Yeats, the Irish poet, and "AE" (George W. Russell).
She was influential in the development of the
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
by promoting the translations
of Hindu scriptures and philosophical works.
HPB died in her home on May 8, 1891.
She became unable to walk and suffered from various diseases. She
was cremated with a third of her ashes remaining in Europe, and a third going to America and India each. Theosophists commemorate
her death on May 8,
called White Lotus Day.
It would not be a mere understatement to say
Madame's Blavatsky's life was different,
because it was unquestionably very different.
There seems to be no single reason for this difference;
one cannot say it was just her childhood, her adolescence,
her adult life; the death of her son, or the child she dearly
loved; or her love of occult science.
One is forced to say that is was several or all of these factors
which made her different and who she was.
Over a hundred years following her death
people are still fascinated by Madame Helena Blavatsky.
One presumes this fascination is generated by the unique pursuit
of Madame Blavatsky's life itself.
One never could say she allowed life to pass her by;
if anything, she propelled life.
Divine revelations appealed to her as
she was mystical by nature.
Yori resembled her invisible playmate in early childhood.
She did not share Christian visions because of her violent rebellion
against the church.
Her life was amongst the people.
Her saints were the Mahatmas or Masters of Wisdom, modeled on Buddhist
and Christian monks, who resided in the inaccessible portion of the earth.
They were the "old souls" who had completed their rounds of incarnations
but frequently returned to help members of humankind who deserved
it: the Theosophists.
Even though many have been and are skeptical of HPB,
and it must be said they have cause to be,
it is not be believed she deliberately intended to hurt anyone.
Although some of her methods were questionable,
it is doubtful that she intentionally exploited people with her
glimpses of the truth.
This seems contradictory to the nature of a woman who gave her
deluxe accommodations to a peasant family and came to America in steerage.
She seemed to possess a strange and uncanny power,
even in youth, to hurl defiance in the face of proper society,
and then have the ability to make so many take her
This is the charm and complexity of Madame Blavatsky
which still today compels
individuals to try and follow her.