Madame Blavatsky – Who Was She?
Madame Blavatsky was born in Russia in 1831 and died in England in 1891. She is the pioneer esotericist of our age.
What She Did.
- Launched the Theosophical Movement calling her message Theosophy (Knowledge of the Divine).
- First introduced knowledge of eastern religions to the West – including the ideas of karma and reincarnation.
- First showed that all major religions are derived from one original religious philosophy.
- Demonstrated that the ancient wisdom was still known.
- Presented a portion of that ancient wisdom. Performed phenomena not explainable by “known” laws of science.
- Gave the logical basis for morality and brotherhood. Required that the first objective of the Theosophical Movement be Universal Brotherhood without regard to race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
What She Wrote
- 1877 Isis Unveiled – over 1300 pages. Sold out first day in print.
- 1879 The Theosophist – monthly magazine started in India.
- 1887 Lucifer – monthly magazine (literally meaning “light bringer”) started in London.
- 1888 The Secret Doctrine – her master work – over 1500 pages.
- 1889 Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge – stenographic recording of Blavatsky’s answers to student questions in 1889.
- 1889 The Voice of the Silence – an inspirational book – studied by disciples.
- 1889 The Key to Theosophy – an introductory book.
- 1892 Theosophical Glossary – published posthumously – not fully edited by her. Miscellaneous other articles, notes, and personal correspondence during her life.
Chronology of Her Life
- 1831 Born August 12 at Dnepropetrovsk (Ekaterinoslav), Ukraine. Daughter of Col. Peter von Hahn and Helena Andreyevna, nee de Fadeyev, renowned novelist who died young. Granddaughter on maternal side of Privy Councilor Audrey de Fadeyev and Princess Helena Pavlovna Dolgorukov, who supervised her education at Saratov and Tiflis, Caucasus. Endowed from childhood with remarkable psychic powers.
- 1849 Married Nikifor Blavatsky, a State Official, very much her senior.
- 1849-50 Left him and traveled in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, and France.
- 1851 Met her Master in London.
- 1852 Embarked for Canada later in the year; went to New Orleans, Mexico, South America, West Indies, thence via the Cape and Ceylon to India.
- 1853 Attempted but failed to enter Tibet. Returned to England via Java.
- 1854 Came to America again, crossing the Rockies with a caravan of immigrants. May have visited South America again.
- 1855 Left for India late in the year, via Japan and the Straits.
- 1856-57 Traveled throughout India, Kashmir, Ladakh, parts of Tibet, Burma.
- 1858 Returned to Europe via Java, staying in France and Germany. Then returned to Russia, reaching Pskov on Christmas Night.
- 1860 Left for the Caucasus early in the year, where she traveled among the native tribes, remaining there until 1864-65. Experienced severe physical and psychic crisis acquiring complete control over her occult powers.
- 1866-67 Left Russia again and traveled extensively in Balkans, Egypt, Syria, Italy. Returned to Italy in 1867 and paid a short visit to southern Russia. Was present at the battle of Mentana, November 3, 1867, and was wounded.
- 1868 Went to India and Tibet with her Master.
- 1870 Returned to Greece.
- 1871 Embarked for Egypt and was shipwrecked near the island of Spetsai, July 4.
- 1871-72 Settled in Cairo. Traveled to Syria, Palestine, Lebanon in 1872, returning for a short time to Odessa.
- 1873 After brief travels in Eastern Europe, went to Paris in spring. On her Master’s orders left for New York, landing July 7.
- 1874 Met Col. Henry Steel Olcott at the Eddy farmhouse, Chittenden, Vermont, October 14.
- 1875 September 8, founded the Theosophical Society, together with Col. Olcott, William Q. Judge, and others. Inaugural address of Col. Olcott delivered November 17.
- 1877 Published her first great work, Isis Unveiled, in the fall.
- 1878 Became an American citizen, July 8. Left for India with Col. Olcott, December 17, settling at Bombay.
- 1879 Launched her first magazine, The Theosophist, in October, which resulted in rapid growth of Theosophical work in India, 1879-83.
- 1882 Transferred headquarters to Adyar, Madras, India on December 19.
- 1884 Left for Europe, February 20, accompanied by Olcott and others. After visiting Nice, settled for a while in Paris to work on The Secret Doctrine. Briefly visited London. Moved to Elberfeld, Germany, in the fall. Went to London in October and soon after sailed to India, reaching Adyar December 21.
- 1885 Gravely ill, February. Sailed for Naples March 31, leaving India for good. After a brief stay at Torre del Greco, settled at Wurzburg, Germany, where she wrote a large part of The Secret Doctrine.
- 1886 Moved to Ostende in July, visiting Elberfeld on her way.
- 1887 Transferred her residence to London in May, where the Blavatsky Lodge was established, and her second magazine, Lucifer was launched in September.
- 1888 Published The Secret Doctrine, late fall. Founded the Esoteric School.
- 1889 Published The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence.
- 1890 Established European headquarters of the Theosophical Society, at 19 Avenue Road, London, where she died.
- 1891 Died May 8. Cremated at Woking Crematorium, Surrey, England.
Note: Chronology taken from “H.P.B.: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement” by Sylvia Cranston – the best biography of Madame Blavatsky. Unfortunately this book is now out of print. (Note: Much controversy has swirled around Madame Blavatsky. If you are interested, see also: Refutation of charges against Madame Blavatsky.)
William Q. Judge, a co-founder of the Theosophical Society and Movement wrote on HPB’s death a brief recount of her life, entitled “Esoteric She.”
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