[H. P. B.’S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT]
[On April 17, 1892, just before the expiration of one year since H. P. B.’s passing—May 8, 1891—Colonel Henry S. Olcott issued from Adyar an Executive Order instituting “White Lotus Day,” which was the name suggested by him for the anniversary of her passing. In this Order, he mentioned H. P. B.’s Will, quoting from it a brief passage, and made certain specific recommendations with regard to the annual commemoration. This Will and Testament was written by H. P. B. on January 31st, 1885, at Adyar. The original was removed to the High Court of Madras in the latter part of August 1892. The following text has been transcribed from a copy of the Will secured in 1938 from the Madras High Court Registrar, and furnished through the courtesy of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India.—Compiler.]
This is the last Will and Testament of me Helena Petrovna Blavatsky of Adyar, Madras, India. I desire my body to be burned in the Compound of the Theosophical Society’s Headquarters at Adyar, Madras, and the ashes to be buried in the said Compound and that none who are not Theosophists shall be present at the burning. I desire that yearly, on the anniversary of my death some of my friends should assemble at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society and read a chapter of Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia and Bhagavad Gita. After payment of my just debts (if any), and funeral and testamentary expenses, I give devise and bequeath unto Colonel H. S. Olcott of Adyar, Madras, my books, for the use of the Literary Committee of the Theosophical Society, also my furniture for use at the Head Quarters of the said Society. Also my property in Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine and The Theosophist, also one of the two pairs of Candlesticks given me by my aunt, also to Damodar, Babajee and Ananda, my three silver mugs. Also to Dr. Hartmann one of the pairs of Candlesticks given me by my aunt. Also to my nieces all my dresses and clothing (but not sheets or bedding), also to Louisa Mitchell the shawl now in the possession of Mr. Holloway. Note that the oval silver box is the property of Damodar, and as to the residue and remainder of my property, I give devise and bequeath the same unto Colonel Henry S. Olcott requesting him to
distribute any small articles of no great value which I may die possessed of, to such friends and acquaintances as are Theosophists, according to his own discretion. And I hereby appoint Colonel Henry S. Olcott and Damodar K. Mavalankar, or the Survivor of them, to be executors of this my Will as witness this 31st day of January 1885, Adyar, Madras, India.
H. P. Blavatsky.
Signed and acknowledged by the said Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the Testator, as and for her last Will and Testament, in the presence of us being present at the same time, who at the testator’s request and in her presence and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
P. Sreenivasa Row.
E. H. Morgan.
T. Subba Row.
[We append herewith the full test of the Executive Order issued by Col. Henry S. Olcott, as it appeared in Lucifer, Vol. X, No. 57, May, 1892, pp. 250-51:]
Adyar, April 17th, 1892
White Lotus Day.
In her last Will, H. P. Blavatsky expressed a wish that yearly, on the anniversary of her death, some of her friends “should assemble at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society and read a chapter of The Light of Asia and [extracts from] Bhagavad Gîtâ”; and since it is meet that her surviving colleagues should keep green the memory of her services to humanity and her devoted love for our Society, the undersigned suggests that the anniversary be known among us as “White Lotus Day,” and makes the following Order and recommendation:
1. At Noon, on the 8th May, 1892, and on the same day in each succeeding year, there will be held a commemorative meeting at the Headquarters, at which extracts from the before-mentioned
works will be read, and brief addresses made by the Chairman of the meeting and others who may volunteer.
2. A dole of food will be given, in her name, to the poor fisher-men of Adyar and their families.
3. The T. S. flag will be half-masted from sunrise until sunset, and the Convention Hall decorated with white lotus flowers or lilies.
4. Members living outside Madras and intending to be present, can arrange for their food by applying to the Recording Secretary at least one week in advance.
5. The undersigned recommends to all Sections and Branches throughout the world to meet henceforth annually on the anniversary day, and, in some simple, unsectarian, yet dignified way, avoiding all slavish adulation and empty compliments, express the general feeling of loving regard for her who brought us the chart of the climbing Path which leads to the summits of KNOWLEDGE .
H. S. OLCOTT,
President of the Theosophical Society.