BlavatskyH.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society

Quotes and articles by and about HPB, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Madame Blavatsky

HPB, as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is often called, is a giant in the history of Western Occultism and the history of 19th century eastern religion. She, through her writings and her contributions to the Theosophical Society, brought eastern concepts like karma and reincarnation to the West. She was also instrumental in helping people in Asia appreciate their own religions more. Olcott did a lot of the heavy lifting, but Madame Blavatsky's contribution can't be ignored. Books like Isis Unveiled weren't read by Westerners alone. It also paved the way for theosophy in India. 

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Blavatsky's life and influence

Hesselink, Katinka

Blavatsky compared the science of her day, studied the world religions and came up with her own synthesis, which she called 'theosophy', or ancient wisdom. With Col. Olcott she founded the Theosophical Society, which played a significant part in the development of Western esotericism, Indian independence and the revival of Buddhism, Hinduism and other Asian religions.

Blavatsky3 reasons I admire Blavatsky

  1. Blavatsky was an independent woman in an age when most women stayed at home.
  2. Blavatsky traveled to India to her spiritual teachers, when nobody did that yet.
  3. Blavatsky spread the love for Eastern Wisdom to the West.

Blavatsky's education

Blavatsky was raised as noble ladies in her time were raised: educated by governesses.

She learned languages (besides her native Russian English and French), played the piano and that was about it.

On Education - a Blavatsky quote

From the Key to Theosophy

What is the real object of modern education? Is it to cultivate and develop the mind in the right direction; to teach the disinherited and hapless people to carry with fortitude the burden of life (allotted them by Karma); to strengthen their will; to inculcate in them the love of one's neighbour and the feeling of mutual interdependence and brotherhood; and thus to train and form the character for practical life? Not a bit of it. And yet, these are undeniably the objects of all true education. No one denies it; all your educationalists admit it, and talk very big indeed on the subject. But what is the practical result of their action? Every young man and boy, nay, every one of the younger generation of schoolmasters will answer: "The object of modern education is to pass examinations," a system not to develop right emulation, but to generate and breed jealousy, envy, hatred almost, in young people for one another, and thus train them for a life of ferocious selfishness and struggle for honours and emoluments instead of kindly feeling.

Blavatsky - an early feminist, or was she?

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was a woman of noble birth, educated very well for a lady of the 19th century. She learned French, English, literature and piano playing.

The time was one in which women did not have a lot of rights. For instance while Jewish men were being given the right to vote in most European countries while she was alive, women weren't allowed to vote until the early 20th century: after Blavatsky's death.

Blavatsky is a name in esotericism now. Her works are remembered, but for the people of her time it was essential that the Theosophical Society she founded was headed by a man: Col. Olcott. Col. Olcott is still remembered: mainly for his work for the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. I have nothing against him, but it does seem strange that Blavatsky would need a man in the first place. She did. Any strong woman had a prominent man beside her back then.

Books about Blavatsky - a selection

Helena Blavatsky (Western Esoteric Masters) Good introduction to Blavatsky and her influence on Western Esotericism and New Age by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.

The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky: Insights into the Life of a Modern Sphinx A collection of quotes and whole letters by people who knew Blavatsky, selected and organised by Daniel Caldwell.

Blavatsky and Her Teachers, Jean Overton Fuller Great read. Great book. Although written by a Blavatsky enthusiast, the book goes into the controversies surrounding Blavatsky and argues out both sides. Fuller writes in a style that is just never boring and never predictable.

More books by HPB

There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind,
but yet a road, and it leads to the very heart of the Universe:
I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway
that opens inward only,
and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore.
There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer;
there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through;
there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount.
For those who win onwards there is a reward past all telling
- the power to bless and save humanity;
for those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.

H.P. Blavatsky Col. Wr. XIII, p. 219
... once that a student abandons the old trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought - Godward - he is a Theosophist, an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth, with 'an inspiration of his own' to solve the universal problems.

H.P. Blavatsky Col. Wr. II, p. 102

Various Authors about H.P. Blavatsky

Algeo, John

Olcott and Blavatsky: Theosophical Twins, An Essay in Archetypes

Besant, Annie

The Evolution of the Universe, Annie Besant's second book review of the Secret Doctrine

Mead, G.R.S.

Address read by G. R. S. Mead, B. A. (Cantab) at the Cremation of the Body of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Burnier, Radha

H.P.Blavatsky's Signet Ring

H. S. Olcott

On H.P. Blavatsky, from Old Diary Leaves

H.P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott as Buddhists

Hugh Shearman

A Message Ahead of its Time

Marina Cesar Sisson

New Light on the First Marriage of HPB

Helena Blavatsky and the Enigma of John King (off site)

Wachtmeister, Countess Constance

Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine

Selected Articles and quotes by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, also known as HPB

Be your own pilot - Blavatsky quote

... it has been decreed, from time immemorial, that each one must be his own sufficient pilot and body-guard so far as visible things are concerned.

The 'Kingdom of Heaven,' which I need not tell you is but the dominion of man's immortal spirit over the inner force of the Universe, must be taken by violence.

I am sorry to be compelled to tell you, that the prize of Wisdom and Power must be won through danger, trial, temptation, the allurements of sense and all the besetments of this world of matter which they counterpoise, hence antagonists of spirit. Broad, smooth and flower-sprinkled is the way to the world's rewards; narrow, hard, sorrow beset the path to the Temple of Truth.

letter from H.P. Blavatsky to Thomas H. Evans, Occult World, dec. 1885

Blavatsky Quotes, H.P. (Helena Petrovna, with Mahatmas and other writers)

The sacrifice of the individual to the whole

Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.

Blavatsky Col. Wr. VIII, p. 14

Blavatsky, H.P. (Helena Petrovna), with Bowen, R. (Robert) (though HPB having co-authored this is contested)

The "Secret Doctrine" and its study

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