OF THE CHIEF EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF H. P. BLAVATSKY AND
COL HENRY S. OLCOTT,
FROM MARCH, 1882, TO JUNE, 1883, INCLUSIVE.
(the period to which the material in the present volume belongs)
1 8 8 2
March (middle)—Approximate time when Wm. Q. Judge went to Carupano, South America, on mining business (HR, 20) .
March 22-24—Dates of the SS Vega incident, involving William Eglinton and Master K.H. (ODL, II, 340; LBS, Letters Nos. II, X-B, X-C; Hints, I, pp. 153-79, in 2nd ed.; Vania, 132).
March 26—Swāmi Dayānanda Sarasvatī lectures in Bombay and launches an attack denouncing the Founders and the T.S. (Ransom, 169).
March 31—H.P.B. indicates she is to leave on that date for Allahabad and Calcutta (LBS, pp. 13, 14).
April 5—Col. Olcott lectures in Calcutta on “Theosophy, the Scientific Basis of Religion,” with Baba Piari Chand Mitra in the Chair (Ransom, 169) .
April 6-H.P.B. arrives in Calcutta by the early mail train. Goes directly to Howrah to Col. and Mrs. Gordon, but transfers her residence the same day to the Mahārājā's palace at his express invitation. On the evening of the same day the Bengal Theosophical Society is organized at the palace, with Bābū Piari Chand Mitra as President (ODL., II, 340-41; Ransom, 169; Theos., III, Suppl. to May, 1882) .
April 19-The Founders sail for Madras on board the SS India,
arriving the 23rd. Meet for the first time T. Subba Row and G. Soobiah
Chetty (ODL., II, 342-43; Ransom; 170; LBS, p. 142; Theos., III, Suppl,
to June, 1882, p. 1; G. S. Chetty's recollections in Theos., Vol.
XLVII, Meh., 1926, p. 741).
April 26—H.S.O. delivers his lecture on “The Common Foundation of All Religions,” at Pachiappas Hall, Madras. Ace. to H.P.B., parts of it had been dictated by one of the Teachers (ODL., II, 344; G. S. Chetty's recoll. as above).
April 27—Madras Theosophical Society founded, with Divān Bahādur R. Ragunāth Rāo as President, and T. Subba Row as Corr. Sec'y (ODL., II, 343-44; Theos., III, Suppl. to June, 1882, p. 2).
April 30—The Founders in company of some of the newly-admitted Fellows go by rail to Tiruvallam, near Arcot, to visit one of the oldest temples of Southern India. It is likely that H.P.B. saw somewhere in the vicinity one of the Adepts said to live there. Return to Madras next day (ODL., II, 344; Theos., III, Suppl. to June, 1882, p. 2; G. S. Chetty's recoll. as above, p. 742).
April—A. O. Hume publishes Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No. 1 (Vania, 110).
April—The Sinnetts go to Simla and take up residence at a house called the Tendrills; they are joined after a time by the Gordons (Autobiogr.).
May 3—H.P.B. and H.S.O. start in the evening on their trip up Buckingham Canal in a houseboat, on their way to Nellore and Guntur. They are accompanied by several of the newly-initiated Fellows sailing in a second boat. They reach Nellore on the evening of the third day (ODL., II, 347; Ransom, 170; Theos., III, Suppl. to June, 1882, pp. 2-3; G. S. Chetty's recoll. as above, pp. 743-45) .
May 10—The Founders and their party, after organizing the Nellore Branch, re-embark on the same boats; they disembark at Padagangam, after an unusually fast trip due to favorable winds; from here they travel 5 5 miles to Guntur, carried in palanquins through some of the most difficult and dangerous terrain, fording streams and evading cobras in a temperature of 100° Fahrenheit. They reach destination at nightfall on the 15th. After an unprecedented reception on the part of the whole population, and the founding of a Branch, the Founders leave Guntur on the evening of the 18th and retrace their way to the Buckingham Canal and Nellore. After a stay of three days, they leave May 27th by bullock-carriages for Tirupati, the nearest railway station some seventy miles off, and return to Madras by rail on May 30th (Vivid description in ODL, II, 345-60, and Theos., III, Supplements to June and July, 1882).
May 31—Date on which the property of Huddlestone's Gardens was
found, to be used as a new Headquarters for the Theosophical Society.
The idea of moving the Headquarters from Bombay to Madras had been
suggested by Soobiah Chetty and had already
been discussed at a meeting of the Madras Branch (ODL., II, 360; G. S. Chetty in Theos., Vol. XLVII, Mch, 1926, pp. 745-46) . The Founders visit the property in company with S. Chetty and his brother. H.P.B. gets an intimation from her Teacher to secure the property (Ibid.; Theos., Vol. L, May, 1929, pp. 117-19).
June—Beginning of strained relations between Sinnett and his employer, Mr. Rattegan, of the Pioneer (Autobiogr.).
June—H.S.O. prepares the Defense Material against Swami Dayānanda's attack, and has it published as an Extra Supplement to the July Theosophist.
June 8—The Founders return to Bombay (ODL, II, 361).
June—The Founders accept an invitation to visit Baroda, the capital of H. H. the Gaekwar. They also visit their friend, the reigning Thakur Sahib of Wadhwan, and then return to Bombay (ODL., II, 363-68) .
July-Extra Supplement to The Theosophist, Vol. III, contains a full documentary account of the relations between the Founders and Swami Dayānanda Saraswatī
July—Rev. A. Theophilus reads before a Diocesan Clerical Conference at Madras a paper on “he Theosophical Society, its Objects and Creed, its Attitude towards Christ, and its Work in India” (Ransom, 172).
July 15—H.S.O. sails from Bombay to Ceylon (ODL., II, 368-69; Ransom, 172). It is on this trip that H.S.O., acting on the direct order of his Master, does his first healing by mesmeric power (Ransom, 172-73; H.P.R. in footnote in Theos., IV, April, 1883, p. 153) .
August—C. C. Massey elected President of the T.S. in England, succeeding Dr. George Wyld.
August—Dāmodar goes for a month or so to rest and recuperate at Poona, staying with A. D. Ezekiel who offered him the hospitality of his house; his health had become very delicate, owing to persecutions and overwork (Theos., III, Suppl. to Aug., 1882, p. 6) .
September—H.P.B.'s health takes a turn for the worse; she suffers from Bright's disease; she speaks of her blood being “transformed into water”; yearns to go and see the Masters (LBS., No. XVIII, p. 37; Path, X, Sept., 1895, p. 169) .
September—Third installment of “Fragments of Occult Truth”
published in The Theosophist, Vol. III. Mildly critical remarks by
Master M. concerning this essay result in great irritation on the part
of A. 0. Hume, its author (ML., No. XLIII, p. 259) .
September (end)—H.P.B. leaves Bombay for Sikkim. Goes through Benares; thence via Calcutta and Chandernagore to Cooch Behar, where she is laid up for three days with fever. She is accompanied by a dozen native Theosophists from Calcutta and four or five Buddhists from Ceylon and Burma. Most of them fell ill, and only the Buddhists followed her to Sikkim. The Foreign Office refuses to give her a pass to Sikkim. As it was too late in the season to go to Shigatse, though it seems to have been her intention to do so, H.P.B. decides to go to the “Lama Monastery” some four days from Darjeeling; she goes on foot accompanied by a few of her original travelling companions, and takes eight days to make the journey. At the frontier between Bhutan and Sikkim, which is a fast-flowing stream, some Englishmen and Indians were waiting for admission but were refused entry. The Chief Lama of the Monastery across the frontier, however, ordered H.P.B. together with three Sinhalese to be brought over, and they stayed there three days (H.P.B. to Prince Dondukov-Korsakov, in HPBS II, pp. 96-100).
October 1—H.P.B. is at Ghum, staying apparently at the monastery, some 23 miles from Darjeeling. It is on this trip that H.P.B. spent two or three days in Sikkim in the company of the Masters and was restored to much better health. She was told to go to Darjeeling and to stay there for two months (Path, X, Sept., 1895, pp. 169-70; Blech, 127-28; LBS., No. XIX, p. 38; ML., No. LIV, pp. 313-14; H.P.B. to Prince Dondukov-Korsakov, as above).
October 6—S. Ramaswamier meets Master M. in Sikkim (Theos., IV, December, 1882, pp. 67-69).
October—H.P.B. is at Tindharia, near Darjeeling, most of the month (ML., No. CX, p. 445; Path, X, Sept., 1895, p. 170; LBS., No. XIX, p. 38) .
October—Approximate time when two Chelas, Darbhagiri Nāth and Chandra Cusho, visit Sinnett at Simla (Autobiogr.; ML., No. CXI, p. 446) .
October (end)—The Sinnetts leave Simla for Allahabad (Autobiogr.).
November—Sinnett advised by Mr. Rattegan of The Pioneer that his services are no longer required (Autobiogr.; Ransom, 173).
Nov. 1—H.S.O. sails from Ceylon for Bombay; arrives three days later (ODL., II, 390) .
November (middle)—H.P.B. goes from Darjeeling to Allāhābād to stay with the Sinnetts (ED., 37-38; OW., 136-38; Autobiogr.).
Nov. 17—Balance of Rs. 7,000 paid by S. Chetty's father to
secure the property of Huddlestone's Gardens and complete its purchase
(S. Chetty's recollections in Theos., Vol. XLVII, Mch., 1926, pp.
Nov. 25—H.P.B. returns to Bombay with S. Ramaswamier and several others who come as delegates to the forthcoming Convention (ODL., II, 391; Ransom, 173-74; LMW., I, 121).
December—Approximate time when W. Q. Judge goes to Mexico on silver mining business (Theos., IV, Suppl. to Dec., 1882, p. 8).
Dec. 6—Large gathering at Headquarters in Bombay, at which S. Ramaswamier tells of his meeting with Master M., and H.S.O. speaks of his work in Ceylon and shows early portraits of M. and K.H. (Ransom, 174).
Dec. 7—Anniversary Celebration of the T.S. held at the Framji Cowasji Institute, Bombay; Sinnett in the Chair (Theos., IV, Suppl. to Jan., 1883; ODL., II, 391; Ransom, 174).
Dec. 17—The Founders leave by train for Adyar; accompanied by
the Coulombs, Dāmodar, “Mr. Deb,” Dora Swami Naidu, and five Hindū
servants (Theos., IV, Suppl. to Jan., 1883, p. 6; Journal, I, Jan.,
1884, p. 11; ODL., II, 391). Arrive on the 19th (Path, X, Sept., 1895,
pp. 170-71) .1883
1 8 8 3
January—H.P.B.'s serial story, From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan originally running in the Moskovskiya Vedomosti (Moscow Chronicle), begins to be reprinted in the Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Messenger). It runs through August, 1883, before being temporarily interrupted.
Jan. 7—Annual election of officers at the London Branch T.S. Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford elected President; Edward Maitland and Dr. Geo. Wyld (ex-president) elected Vice-Presidents. At the time, Dr. Kingsford is still in Paris (Theos., IV, Suppl. to Mch., 1883, pp. 4-5 ; AK., II, 106) .
January (first week)—The Founders settle the household at Adyar, buy furniture (ODL., II, 393).
Jan. 14—Circular issued by H.S.O. regarding how Adyar was bought and paid for (Theos., Vol. LXVII, Aug., 1946, p. 293, fnote; Theos., Vol. L, May, 1929, pp. 116-18) .
Jan. 16—Public reception given to the Founders by the Madras
native public at Pachiappa's Hall. H.S.O. broaches the idea of
organizing a Hindu Sunday School Union for regular religious
instruction of children and as an impetus to the study of Sanskrit; he
proposes that a series of Catechisms and reading books should be
compiled, embodying the fundamental principles of Hindu moral and
systems, and containing translations from Sanskrit classics. Proposal is unanimously carried (ODL., II, 395; Theos., IV, Suppl. to Feb., 1883, p. 1) .
Jan. 30-Feb. 8—H. H. Daji Rājā Chandra Singhjee, the young reigning Thākur of the Kāthiāwar State of Wadhwān, visits Adyar, having joined the T.S. some time before (ODL., II, 397; Theos., IV, Suppl. to Mch., 1883, p. 5).
January (?)—The so-called “Occult Room” is built, and a wooden cupboard later called the “Shrine” is hung in it (Vanaa, 153).
January (?)—W. Q. Judge meets Mrs. Laura Langford Holloway in New York, from which results her association with the T.S. (Holloway MSS destroyed some years ago).
February—The Theosophist (Vol. IV, No. 5) begins to appear from Madras instead of Bombay.
Feb. 1—Announcement in the Pioneer regarding A. P. Sinnett's retirement (Scrapbook IX).
Feb. 12—While H.S.O. and the Coulombs work in the “Occult Room,” there falls a note from Master K.H. with Rs. 150, and the plan of a sanctuary for a statue of the Buddha with orders to have it constructed (Ransom, 177; Diaries, entry of Feb. 14, 1883).
Feb. 15—Commandant D. A. Courmes arrives in Ceylon. Has an interview with the High Priest H. Sumangala and is present at the festival at Kotahena. He is translating the “Fragments of Occult Truth” into French (Theos., IV, Suppl. to May, 1883, p. 7).
Feb. 17—H.S.O. embarks for Calcutta on the French mail steamer SS Tibre, for a tour of Bengal. Reaches destination on the 20th, staying at the Palace as the guest of Mahārājā Sir Jotendro Mohun Tagore (ODL., II, 398; Theos., IV, Suppl. to Mch., 1883, p. 1).
February (late)—The Sinnetts leave Allāhābād for England. First to Madras (ED., 39) .
March 2—The Sinnetts arrive at Madras on the SS Verona and are welcomed on the pier by H.P.B. and others (Autobiogr.; ED., 39; Theos., IV, Suppl. to April, 1883, p. 7).
March—First traceable use of the “Shrine” for occult purposes, namely by Mrs. Sinnett during her stay at Adyar (ED., 39-40); Autobiogr.; Vania, 154).
March 9—While in Calcutta, H.S.O. is shown exceptional honors
by Pandit Taranath Tarka Vachaspati, a Brahmana and Compiler of a
famous Sanskrit Dictionary, who cooked food and gave it to H.S.O., and
then initiated him into his own gotra and gave him the Brahmanical
sacred thread and his mantram (ODL., II, 410) .
March 11—First religious Sunday School opened by H.S.O. in Calcutta, with Mohini Mohun Chatterji as chief teacher (ODL., II, 411; Theos., IV, Suppl. to April, 1883, p. 7).
March 12-30—H.S.O. travels in Bengal, heals the sick and lectures. Visits Krishnager, Dacca(16th), Darjeeling (22nd-24th), where he meets one of the senior disciples of the Masters, Jessore (28th-29th), Narail(30th). Has very large audiences everywhere (ODL., II, 411.-17; Theos., IV, Suppl. to May, 1883, pp. 1-3).
March—While at Adyar, Sinnett is engaged writing his Esoteric Buddhism; sends questions to the Teachers via H.P.B. and the “Shrine”; receives immediate reply. He is planning to return to India to publish a new Journal, The Phoenix, as soon as capital has been made available (Inc., 257; ED., 39-40; Ransom, 179).
March 30—The Sinnetts sail for Europe on the P. & O. steamer SS Peshawar (LMW., II, 149; Theos., IV, Suppl. to April, 1883, p. 7) .
March—In an article entitled “Under the Shadow of Great Names,” published in The Theosophist (Vol. IV, p. 137), H.P.B. and H.S.O. declare that under no circumstances will they communicate with trance mediums after they pass on. H.S.O. repeats this some years later (Theos., Vol. XIV, Suppl. to Dec., 1892, p. xxiv).
March—The Ladies’ Theosophical Society formed at Calcutta, with Mrs. Alice Gordon as President, and Mrs. Kumari Devi Ghosal, daughter of Devendro Nath Tagore, as Secretary. The outcome of this movement was the foundation of the newspaper Bhāratī (ODL., II, 411; Theos., IV, Suppl. to April, 1883, p. 6).
April 2—H.S.O. returns to Calcutta for a 3-day rest (ODL., II, 417).
April 4—H.S.O. resumes travelling. Visits Berhampur (5th), visiting the Nawab Nazim of the Lower Provinces in his Palace at Murshidābād, then Bhāgalpur (9th), Jamālpur (11th), Dumraon (15th17th), Buddha Gayā, Arrah, and Bānkipur (19th-20th). Lectures widely (ODL., II, 417-32; Theos., IV, Suppl. to May and June, 1883).
April 23-30—H.S.O. visits Darbhangā, Rānīganj, Searsole and Bānkurā (ODL., II, 432-35; Theos., Suppl. to June, 1883); he is at Burdwān, Chakdighi and Chinsura, May 2-6 (ibid.).
April 26—The Sinnetts reach England, after stopping at Venice, and going via Basel and Calais (ED., 41; Awtobiogr.).
May 8—H.S.O. returns to Calcutta, staying there until 14th;
then goes to Midnapore (17th), Ulubāria and Bhāwānipur (20th). Does a
good deal of healing (ODL., II, 435-36; Theos., IV, Suppl. to June,
1883, p. 6) .
May 17—Sinnett writes a letter to the London Times, entitled “Public Feeling in India” (publ. Sat., May 19th), which the Master considers most unfortunate (M.L., No. LXXXI, p. 385; LBS., No. XXV, p. 48) .
May 20—Dr. Anna B. Kingsford and Edward Maitland return to England, after a stay in Switzerland, to commence their duties in connection with the T.S. Mrs. K. Suggests that name of the Society be changed to “London Lodge of the Theos. Society” (AK., II, 119).
May 21—H.S.O. returns to Calcutta; celebrates the first anniversary of the Bengal Theos. Soc., with a large gathering at the Town Hall; lectures on Dr. James Esdaile (ODL., II, 436-38; Theos., IV, Suppl. to July, 1883, pp. 1-10) .
May 22—H.S.O. sails for Madras; arrives the 25th (ODL., II, 438; Theos., ibid., p. 12).
May 26—H.S.O. receives in the Occult Room two vases and a letter from the Master (ML., No. LXVII, p. 371; Vania, 157, 349).
May—Approximate time when was published A Collection of Lectures on Theosophy and Archaic Religions delivered in India and Ceylon, by H. S. Olcott. Madras: A. Theyaga Rajier, F.T.S., 1883 (Theos., IV, Suppl. to May, 1883, p. 1) . This was later expanded into Theosophy, Religion and Occult Science (London: Geo. Redway, 1885).
June 3—At a meeting held at 1, Albert Mansions, Victoria St., London, S.W., the English Fellows decide, at Dr. Anna Kinsford's wish, seconded by A. P. Sinnett, to change their name from the British Theos. Soc., to the London Lodge of the Theos. Society. Frederick Myers is elected Fellow (ED., 42; Theos., IV, Suppl. to Aug., 1883, p. 4) .
June 11 (approx.) —Esoteric Buddhism published by Trilbner & Co., London (ED., 42).
June 27—H.S.O. sails for Colombo, Ceylon, on the SS Dorunda, reaching destination on the 30th. While in Ceylon, sees the Governor and other Officials, and prepares Appeals for the Home Government and House of Commons, in the cause of defence of the Buddhists against Roman Catholics (ODL., II, 441-42; Theos., IV, Suppl. to July, 1883, p. 12).
June 28—La Société Théosophique d'Orient et d'Occident founded in Paris, with Lady Marie, Countess of Caithness, Duchesse de Pomar, as President (Blech, 143; Theos., IV, Suppl. to Aug., 1883; H.P.B. to Comm. Courmes, July 17, 1883, in Blech, 30-31) .
June-La Société des Occultistes de France chartered in Paris,
with Dr. Fortin as President (as above).
KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS
AK—Anna Kingsford. Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work, by Edward Maitland. 2 vols. Illus. London: George Redway, 1896. 3rd ed., J. M. Watkins, 1913.
Autobiogr.— An Autobiography of A. P. Sinnett, dated June 3rd, 1912, with additions dated May, 1916, and Jan. 2, 1920, which exists in the form of a typewritten MSS. in the Archives of the Mahatma Letters Trust in London.
Blech—Contribution ą l'Histoire de la Société Théosophique en France, by Charles Blech. Paris: Editions Adyar, 1933.
Diaries—The Diaries of Col. H. S. Olcott in the Adyar Archives.
ED—The Early Days o f Theosophy in Europe, by A. P. Sinnett. London: Theos. Publ. House, Ltd., 1922. 126 pp.
Hints—Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No. I, Published Anonymously by Allan O. Hume in April, 1882; another edition is of 1909.
Hist. Retr.—A Historical Retrospect of The Theosophical Society, 1875-1896, by Col. H. S. Olcott, Madras, 1896.
HPBS II—H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II. Edited by C. Jinarājadāsa. Adyar, Madras: Theos. Publ. House, 1951. xvi, 181 pp.
Inc.— Incidents in the Life o f Madame Blavatsky, by A. P. Sinnett. London: George Redway; New York: J. W. Bouton, 1886.
Journal—Journal of The Theosophical Society, Madras, India. Title for the Supplement to The Theosophist, from January to December, 1884. Twelve issues, pp. 1-168.
LBS—The Letters o f H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, and
Other Miscellaneous Letters. Transcribed, Compiled, and with an Introd.
by A. T. Barker. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1924. xvi, 404 pp.
LMW I—Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1881-1888.
Trancribed and Compiled by C. J. First Series. With a Foreword by Annie
Besant. Adyar, Madras: Theos. Publ. House, 1919. 124 pp.; 2nd ed.,
1923; 3rd ed., 1945; 4th ed., with new and additional Letters, cowering
period 1870-1900, publ. in 1948.-Second Series. Adyar: Theos. Publ.
House, 1925; Chicago: The Theos. Press, 1926.
205 pp., fats.
ML—The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (from the Mahatmas M.
and K.H. ) . Transcribed, Compiled and with an Introd. by A. T. Barker.
London: T. Fisher Unwin, December, 1923; New York: Frederick A. Stokes
Co., 1923. xxxv, 492 pp.; 2nd rev. ed., London: Rider & Co.,
1926; 3rd rev. ed., Adyar, Theos. Publ.
ODL—Old Diary Leaves, by Henry Steel Olcott. Second Series, 1878-83. Adyar: Theos. Publ. House, 1900. The original edition contains nine illustrations, all of them being views of the Theos. Society's Estate at Adyar. Being too faded for further reproductions, eight of these have been eliminated from the 2nd ed, of 1928.
Path—The Path. Published and Edited in New York by W. Q. Judge. Vols. I-X, April, 1886-March, 1896 incl.
Ransom—A Short History of The Theosophical Society. Compiled by Josephine Ransom. With a Preface by G. S. Arundale. Adyar, Madras: Theos. Publ. House, 1938. xii, 591 pp.
Scrapbook—H.P.B.'s Scrapbooks in the Adyar Archives.
Theos— The Theosophist. Conducted by H. P. Blavatsky. Bombay (later Madras) : The Theos. Society, October, 1879—, in progress (Volumes run from October to September incl. ) .
Vania—Madame H. P. Blavatsky, Her Occult Phenomena and the
Society for Psychical Research, by K. F. Vania. Bombay, India:Sat Publ.
Co., 1951. xiv, 488 pp.