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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- May, 2002
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And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Man's Divinity and Sophistication," by B.P. Wadia
"Theosophy: Its Beneficient Potentialities," Part I,
by Geoffrey A. Farthing
"Chaucer and the "Knight's Tale," Part II, by Isabel B. Clemeshaw
"Silence," by Lady C.C. Vyvyan
"Gottfried de Purucker and the Theosophical Society," Part II
"The Story of a Star," by George William Russell
"HPB Highlights," Part I, by Boris de Zirkoff
> Nature's heart is compassion absolute, because that compassion
> is absolute harmony. Nature moves on a cosmic scale, and in
> comparison therewith our ordinary brain-minds are microcosmic,
> with small reaches of understanding of the great cosmic issues
> G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, page 664.
MAN'S DIVINITY AND SOPHISTICATION
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 197-99.]
> How can a man expect spiritual gifts or powers if he persists in
> ignoring spiritual conditions, in violating spiritual laws?
At the core of every man's heart, there is the aspiration to be
good, noble, and generous. What happens to it? How is it that
that Divine Intuition which each feels from time to time does not
express itself more abundantly and more frequently?
Man's divinity is natural to him. His sophistication is
acquired. Born alone with his experience, the Soul possesses the
capacity to deal with the material universe, to learn from it and
to enrich his wisdom. The child experiences the first touch of
sophistication in his schooling at home and his breeding at
school. He acquires by osmosis thoughts and feelings not natural
to the Soul, which affect adversely his native goodness, rhythm,
and light. The Soul's own vesture is of sattva-guna. Its native
hue is golden. Its native content is bliss.
Every Soul is born with the prospective vision of his future
life, the purpose of which is that he shall live in harmony by
dissolving disharmony and labor for and in unity with others,
with all men, with the whole of Nature.
The Great Seers have reported that at the end of Swargic bliss,
of the joy which each disembodied Ego experiences, there comes to
him, on the threshold of a new incarnated existence, a Vision of
what is to be. The Soul sees in silhouette his next incarnation.
The radiating lines of forces reveal the picture of his coming
life. It is like an architect's plan of a new house -- a
blueprint whose delineations are in its own peculiar language of
linear measurements. It gives some idea, however hazy to
intelligent beholders of the blueprint, of what the house is
going to be. The details are not on the blueprint but the size
of the rooms and the general character of the structure are
The human soul comes down to material life "trailing clouds of
glory." The doors and the windows of his body bring him
intimations of his heavenly affiliations. Soon, however, by the
influence of his family at home and his companions at school, a
"strong personality" is developed, i.e., one that becomes
possessive, fights for possessions, and overpowers others in
securing them. Thus, the boy or girl becomes a dual intelligence
-- the Vision of the Being of Sattva is clouded over.
Shankara and other Occultists have taught that there is the
projective power of ignorance. The power of projection that
envelops the Soul is that of false knowledge, worldly wisdom. It
leads men astray into the belief that "all is for enjoyment only"
which THE GITA describes in its Sixteenth Chapter. This force
becomes in man the womb of love and hate -- for the world. Its
chief characteristic is that it smothers the noetic memory of the
divine and the heavenly, and induces the psychic memory of the
devilish and the earthy.
In pain, anguish, and suffering, the Soul's noetic memory
awakens. The man is lulled into sleep by worldly wisdom -- again
and yet again. Thus a whole life, a full incarnation, finishes
-- much lost, little gained.
There are two ways of beings in the world -- the one divine, the
other demoniacal. The latter predominates in our civilization.
How true is the description in THE GITA of the demoniacal, who
> ... know not the nature of action nor of cessation from action,
> they know not purity nor right behavior, they possess no
> truthfulness. They deny that the universe has any truth in it,
> saying it is not governed by law, declaring that it hath no
> Spirit; they say creatures are produced alone through the union
> of the sexes, and that all is for enjoyment only ... Fast-bound
> by the hundred chords of desire, prone to lust and anger, they
> seek by injustice and the accumulation of wealth for the
> gratification of their own lusts and appetites ... Indulging in
> pride, selfishness, ostentation, power, lust, and anger, they
> detest me who am in their bodies and in the bodies of others.
The Divine persists. Unlike the demoniacal, a quality that is
changing and mortal, the Rhythm of the Divine persists for it is
ever abiding, Immortal. Its intimations come to each of us in
darkness and gloom as well as through light and beauty. Man has
to seize these intimations and work with them. Therefore, it is
said, "Put yourself at once in line with the Divine ways, in
harmony with the Divine laws."
THEOSOPHY: ITS BENEFICENT POTENTIALITIES, Part I
By Geoffrey A. Farthing
[This was the 2001 Blavatsky Lecture, given July 29, 2001 at the
Summer School of the Theosophical Society in England. Slightly
edited, it appears now with permission of the speaker and the
Geoffrey Farthing was born in England on 10 December 1909;
educated conventionally at two boarding schools; matriculated
London University, but became apprenticed into engineering,
attended night school at Manchester College of Technology of
which he became an Associate; served six years in the Army in the
Royal Signals, leaving the service as Major.
Geoffrey joined Leeds Lodge of The Theosophical Society in
England (Adyar) in 1945. With his background of reading, it was
soon discovered by the Lodge members that he was knowledgeable
enough to start giving lectures, and this he did almost as soon
as he joined. Since then he has lectured in many countries
around the world and held most positions in the Theosophical
Society in England, including a spell as General Secretary
(1969-72). He served a term as a member of the Society's General
Council at Adyar, India, and was a member of the Executive
Committee of the European Federation for several years.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Geoffrey was a regular course leader
at annual residential weekends exploring THE SECRET DOCTRINE,
held at Tekels Park, Camberley, Surrey. He has taken an active
part in the Theosophy/Science weekends held each year within the
English Section and continues as a tutor in the European School
of Theosophy, of which he is a founding member. In the 1970s,
Geoffrey set up a sister organization -- Blavatsky Trust -- whose
aim is to disseminate knowledge of the writings of H.P.
Farthing has written a number of theosophical books: AFTER-DEATH
STATES AND CONSCIOUSNESS; DEITY, COSMOS AND MAN; THEOSOPHY,
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT; WHEN WE DIE; and EXPLORING THE GREAT BEYOND.
In 1974, he gave the prestigious Blavatsky Lecture at the Annual
Convention of the English Theosophical Society on Life, Death and
Dreams, and in 1996, he was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his
significant contribution to theosophical literature.
> But you, Occultists, Kabalists, and Theosophists, you well know
> that a Word, old as the world, though new to you, has been
> sounded at the beginning of this cycle, and the potentiality of
> which, unperceived by others, lies hidden in the sum of the
> digits of the years 1-8-8-9; you well know that a note has just
> been struck which has never been heard by mankind of this era;
> and that a New Idea is revealed, ripened by the forces of
> evolution. This Idea differs from everything that has been
> produced in the nineteenth century; it is identical, however,
> with the thought that has been the dominant tone and the keynote
> of every century, especially the last -- absolute freedom of
> thought for humanity.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, COLLECTED WRITINGS, XI, 133
Theosophy is in its fullness a comprehensive knowledge of the
nature and the workings of Nature, in which man plays a prime
part. The human kingdom is a critical stage in the immense
evolutionary program when 'Man,' the thinker, is born.
The knowledge of Theosophy is gained by generations of trained
seekers and enquirers, Initiates in the Arcane Mysteries. It
claims to be an expression of Truth, the facts of existence. It
is therefore not a matter of conjecture or belief.
Nature herself is seen as a collectivity of all that comprises
her in a series of hierarchies of living beings from the very
lowliest to the highest, from the elements comprising the matter
of our objective world, up the evolutionary ladder through the
kingdoms of Nature to man and beyond, into the realms of
super-humanity. Theosophy postulates grades of superhuman beings
which, as collective beings with their accumulated wisdom and
knowledge, comprise the 'creators' and 'governors' of our
Theosophy tells us that one common Essence is at the heart of all
things. This essence manifests as 'Life.' Everything is endowed
with it. There is no dead matter. Similarly everything has its
degree of sentience, even if only an ability to respond to, or
just 'feel,' i.e., react to outside stimuli, and even memory.
In its more developed forms, sentience becomes consciousness.
This sentiency manifests from the lowliest elemental or mineral
forms, through the more complex ones of vegetable and animal, to
full-blown consciousness in man. Thereafter it passes through
all gradations to levels of awareness of a grandeur hardly dreamt
of at our level of evolution.
Because of the developed faculties and purified spiritual nature
of these denizens of the highest levels of being, we may regard
them as gods. As they have developed them in themselves, so they
can bequeath to man who can express them the most ennobling and
compassionate impulses. These increase as the ladder of
evolution is ascended.
The potentialities of Theosophy then can be thought of in terms
of the ways that they affect behavior. This is particularly the
case in man himself and the whole human situation. Twelve
aspects of these potentialities can readily be identified:
1. The notion of Deity in Cosmos and Man.
2. The Occult Constitution of Man and the Planes of Being.
3. Divine Law, regulating the all-embracing cosmic process.
4. Evolution, Life ever becoming, the majestic march to
5. The notion of Reincarnation, in relation to Cycles of
6. Religion: all systems for the guidance of Man on his
7. After-death states, Spiritualism and the Paranormal.
8. Ecology, a sympathetic relationship to Nature.
9. The Ordering of society: freedom within a framework of wise
10. Education: the instilling of healthy values and right
culture of the individual.
11. Science: man's attempts to understand the workings of
12. The Arts, Health, Psychology, and Parapsychology.
Some students of Theosophy may wonder why Theosophy's grand
Cosmology has not been mentioned. The Cosmology when studied in
depth provides answers to many questions as to how things come to
be and to be as they are, and 'things' here include those things
which to us at the physical level are not only objective but
subjective, pertaining to our inner natures. This Cosmology, or
an acknowledgment of it, is not, however, a potentiality for the
benefit of humanity ordinarily now.
One of the principal potentialities of Theosophy is its
explanatory nature. It provides us with an encyclopedic
knowledge, data for a viable universal model or paradigm to use
the language of modern science, until we can know for ourselves.
Potentiality One: THE NOTION OF DEITY
The notion of Deity can be regarded as Theosophy's foremost
beneficent potentiality. By it, man, in his inner essence, is
regarded as divine, with an inseverable relationship to the
Cosmos. He is not just in it. He is of it. This is exemplified
in the theosophical constitution of man, wherein all his
principles reflect the cosmic planes of being. Cosmos functions
on various levels, from the physical to the highest spiritual.
The total universal process is an expression of the One Life.
This is the animating dynamism behind the activities of
everything. It is its life manifesting as its internal energy.
It is the vast dynamic force which keeps the whole ordered
process going, right from the beginning of a period of activity,
i.e., the birth of the Cosmos (Manvantara), to its end when the
whole mighty process subsides into rest (Pralaya) bearing with it
the fruits of its immense period of activity. These fruits are
the aggregate experience of countless myriads of lives that have
come and gone in their season during the whole mighty process.
All is garnered and stored as universal memory.
Deity is the very essence of each man's being. The influence of
this idea may at first be tentative and spasmodic but it
increases as does his spiritual nature with his experiences in
his long series of personal lives. He slowly becomes more or
less conscious of his inner divine nature. This manifests as
inspired motivation in his actions; he feels the guidance of
Concerning the notion of Deity in the creation and governance of
> [the Secret Doctrine] admits a Logos or a collective "Creator"
> of the Universe; a Demiourgos -- in the sense implied when one
> speaks of an "Architect" as the "Creator" of an edifice, whereas
> that Architect has never touched one stone of it, but, while
> furnishing the plan, left all the manual labor to the masons; in
> our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe,
> and the constructive labor was left to the hosts of intelligent
> Powers and Forces. But that Demiourgos is no personal deity, --
> i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god -- but only the aggregate of
> the Dhyani-Chohans [Archangels] and the other forces.
> As to the latter -- They are dual in their character; being
> composed of (a) the irrational brute energy, inherent in matter,
> and (b) the intelligent soul or cosmic consciousness which
> directs and guides that energy, and which is the Dhyani-Chohanic
> thought reflecting the Ideation of the Universal Mind.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 279
The Theosophical Deity is an Entity, but only in the sense of a
collectivity, an aggregate of the Dhyani-Chohans.
> [They are] the highest gods . . . the divine intelligences
> charged with the supervision of Kosmos.
> -- THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
This might cause us to think of Deity as "out there," something
apart from us individually. Be mindful of HPB when she teaches:
> No matter what one may study in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, let the mind
> hold fast, as the basis of its ideation, to the following ideas:
> a) The FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF ALL EXISTENCE. This unity is a thing
> altogether different from the common notion of unit -- as when we
> say that a nation or an army is united; or that this planet is
> united to that by lines of magnetic force or the like. The
> teaching is not that. It is that existence is ONE THING, not any
> collection of things linked together. Fundamentally, there is
> ONE BEING.
> -- Robert Bowen, HOW TO STUDY THEOSOPHY
The implications of this are profound, far-reaching, and hard to
realize, but the clear meaning is that there is not Deity and us.
There is only one thing. Everything, including each human being,
is that 'One Thing.' For Theosophy to become real, every student
must come to this realization. What a change in perspective, in
attitude towards one s self, is thus engendered!
This principle of UNITY is of greatest significance in the fields
of Science, Religion, Education, and Ecology.
Unity expresses itself during manifestation as almost infinite
diversity. This diversity leads to the sense of separateness in
humans causing the prolific difficulties in human affairs.
Eradication of the effects of these difficulties in our society
is a major benefit of this Potentiality. The notion of Deity as
Unity, when sufficiently realized and worked out, becomes a
powerful background to our attitudes.
There is a significant corollary to the idea of Unity in the
> The third basic idea to be held is that Man is the MICROCOSM. As
> he is so, then all the Hierarchies in the Heavens exist within
> him. But the truth is there is neither Macrocosm nor Microcosm
> but ONE EXISTENCE. Great and small are such only as viewed by a
> limited consciousness.
> -- Robert Bowen, HOW TO STUDY THEOSOPHY
This idea should be kept in mind when studying the Constitution
of Man, Potentiality Two.
Potentiality Two: THE OCCULT STRUCTURE OF COSMOS AND MAN
In the teachings of the Great Knowledge, Theosophy, there are
seven levels of cosmic being, each classified according to its
characteristic nature. Of these seven one is physical, the
others are non-physical, inner and invisible to it. They are,
first, at the highest level, Spirit (Atma) which is supreme, but
without some vehicle to operate in or through it is ineffective.
The next level down is that of the vehicle (Buddhi).
Taken together these two levels constitute a duality, or two
poles of Being, Spirit and Matter, referred to as Monad, which
pass down through all levels of creation. The duality is the
basis of subjectivity and objectivity manifesting in us as
consciousness, and that in which consciousness can arise, i.e.
form or vehicle. It is also that of which consciousness can be
The two aspects of the One in manifestation (the Monad) give rise
to the dualities of life and form, positive and negative, active
and passive, male and female, and so on. Their Essence is the
ultimate universal Unity, common to every thing in existence, to
all creatures including man. Their existence is according to
cyclic law. Periodically they (or it, the Monad) manifest as
substance or things with form, the objective side of Nature, and
as inner or subjective which is motion or activity, the basis of
sentience or a degree of consciousness depending on evolutionary
status, i.e. the development of forms.
All activity of living things is subject to alternations of
activity and rest, in-breathing and out-breathing, heart beats,
tide and season, and so on. These rhythms are universal. The
nature of their diverse expressions depends upon the
characteristics of the vehicles, the life forms, through which
they function. These vehicles, in the aggregate, constitute
manifest or objective Nature, at all her levels, physical and
In man, his Individuality (Ego), his feeling of "I," focuses in
his mind, his thinking principle (Manas). In universal terms,
this is Mahat, the cosmic principle of Mind or Divine Ideation.
Manas has two aspects, an upper and a lower. The upper is
orientated towards the Monad, i.e., Spirit (Atma) operating
through its vehicle Buddhi, and the lower is the vehicle for the
normal personal thinking process. There is, however, only one
mind principle but it operates at these two levels: one the
divine (the Universal) and the other the personal self, during
the life of a man.
Ordinarily these two aspects of mind are in effect separate, the
higher affecting the lower only occasionally. The lower mind is
the personal one, periodically in incarnation in distinct
successive physical bodies. The higher spiritual individuality
(Ego) is on a long evolutionary journey. It gathers its nurture
from the purely spiritual experience of its personalities. The
ordinary experiences of personal life do not contribute to it.
The personal man is four-principled. He has his lower mind
(Manas), emotions (Kama), a 'life' principle (Prana), with its
vehicle (Astral), and lastly the objective, physical body.
In the average man, the personal mind is associated closely with
his desires, passions, and concerns of a mundane, purely personal
nature, his immediate family, his possessions, his livelihood,
his social position, etc. This personal mind is his 'tool' for
performing all the necessary functions of a mental nature, i.e.,
calculating, memorizing, forming judgments, coming to decisions,
all necessary for his effectiveness as a person in the world.
The majority of them are not spiritual. Faculty and competence
may be acquired by experience at personal level but they are of
no consequence to the development of the divine Egoic entity.
Only the highest of motivations like duty, love, compassion,
pity, altruistic helpfulness and so on, affecting actions, are of
a spiritual nature.
This list of spiritual qualities not only reflects the nature of
our divine selves but also reflects into the sub-principles of
our personal emotional nature. There are aspects of them in
different modes at different levels of being. In their pure
form, they are spiritual but at personal level, most of even our
highest emotions are tinged with selfishness.
Below mind (Manas), the next principle is the personal emotional
one: the principle of desire in all its forms. This principle is
closely coupled with the lower mind, which can always justify
what we 'want' to do. This combination of mind and emotion is
sometimes referred to as the 'psyche' or mortal soul.
The last of our principles is our physical body, in which during
earth life all our internal subjective activities are focused.
Emotional urges are turned into appetites, hence our more animal
urges. Our bodies are our means of perception and action in the
physical world. It is in our bodies (physical brains) that we
are normally conscious. The 'here and now' for us wherein we
have our very existence is tied up with our bodies. There is
evidence, however, that independent subjective existence is
possible, for example, in out-of-the-body experiences.
It is obvious that our physical bodies are endowed with 'life'
that is regarded as a separate principle. This 'life' principle
(Prana or Jiva), as animating energy, is 'collected' and stored
in another principle closely associated with the physical, a very
important one, known as the Astral body. It reflects the Astral
Plane wherein exist the forms that are projected into the
physical world. The Astral as either a body or plane is also the
reservoir of memory.
This information about the occult constitution of man is,
perhaps, not in itself a beneficent theosophical potentiality but
it is essential to an understanding of the religions, the post
mortem states, the spiritualistic phenomena, the operations of
(To the more advanced student, man's relationship to the
Hierarchies of the Heavens becomes of importance to his fuller
understanding. See the Bowen Notes and the COLLECTED WRITINGS OF
H.P. BLAVATSKY, II, 568, and Diagram V opposite, page 660).
It is through our physical bodies, however, that normally all our
activities both inner and outer express themselves. The
significant experiences we gain from living depend on its
Our physical bodies are living entities, composed in their
entirety of hosts of subordinate lives (cells). All of them are
specialized to perform the body's various functions. Even our
brains are composed of such specialized cells. One of the
secrets for the proper understanding of the functioning of our
brains is that they, and even each of their constituent cells,
like us, have their principles in the invisible worlds.
Each cell of our body is a living thing, very importantly with
its own consciousness and memory (and even will). It has its
counterpart in the Astral and, whether active or dormant, at even
higher levels of being, i.e., the emotional, mental and
spiritual. Obviously also the cells are suffused with the life
energies which sustain and animate our physical bodies.
Through the inner subjective realms, we are given some
understanding of ourselves otherwise unknown to us. For example,
they provide data for a more comprehensive system of psychology,
relating us not only to emotional but to mental and spiritual
levels, right up to the divine.
These principles of man are seen as reflections of the seven
cosmic planes. By analogy -- "as above, so below" -- man's total
being in all respects is the same as that of the Universe. He is
a microcosm to its Macrocosm. As everything in Cosmos is living,
the planes are constituted of lives that in turn are members of
an ascending Hierarchy.
Overriding all these various aspects of being is that of Unity,
never to be overlooked or forgotten by the student. (See the
Appendix for the Occult Constitution of Man in THE KEY TO
THEOSOPHY on pages 22, 91, and 175 of the original edition).
CHAUCER AND THE "KNIGHT'S TALE," PART II
By Isabel B. Clemeshaw
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1951, pages 166-75.]
After seven solitary years (a cycle of preparation) on the third
day of May, Prince Palamon made his escape from the prison and
wandered into the enchanted wood nearby, a free man. Prince
Arcite also strolled into the same wood. It was Friday and with
fickle Venus ever changing her aspect, he was one moment
downhearted and the next moment singing lustily. Soon they saw
each other and had hot words over the Beautiful Lady. As Palamon
was not equipped for a duel, Arcite promised to bring armor and
spear better than his own that his rival might not be at a
In the morning of the next day, Arcite appeared as arranged.
With courtesy, each helped the other to arm. Then the battle
began and they laid on to each other with the ferocity of tiger
and lion. They were up to their ankles in blood when that
interference known in all drama, as in life, came: the Ultimate
Law of the Universe. People have called it Accident, Destiny,
Fate, Fortune, and Karma. Later, they called it the will of God.
Chaucer says it is a foreordained Providence, which though the
world went contrary to it, it would still prevail and befall only
at that particular time in a thousand years.
The watchful eye of Providence guided the good Duke Theseus to
that spot. The Duke forced both disputants to give themselves
up. The pity of the ladies accompanying the Duke (symbolizing
his Higher Self) saved them from death. He softened the sentence
as he stood reasoning over the follies of a man in love, until
his ire had departed.
Then with shining eyes, the Duke praised the God of Love who had
just worked a miracle in his own heart and helped him to discern
between pride and humility. Was it not love, even if foolish
love, that had placed before him this temptation to use his
authority cruelly? The Duke reasoned that since these two Knights
were serving the God of Love -- "Are they not in a noble plight?"
for they deemed themselves "full wise." "I know myself that a man
may sometimes be a fool." He decided to forgive them "every
The two Princes swore devotion, but he still had a problem.
Which should have the Beautiful Emily? He had to consider their
destiny. With destiny, he must not interfere. He would have to
give them an opportunity to work that out. He offered them the
usual terms by which Knights settled their disputes. They must
depart for fifty weeks whither each one wished, and at the end of
that time, each was to return bringing one hundred knights "armed
in all perfection" and contend for their prize. To the winner he
would give the hand of the Fair Lady. The Knights rode away for
this season of preparation.
The noble Theseus straightway addressed himself to building a
theater fit for this battle. He called all the craftsmen in the
land to aid the architects and builders, including specialists in
geometry, mathematics, and sculpture. The theater was within a
wall of stone surrounded by a moat. The seating capacity was
sixty paces high encircling the stoa a mile around. The entrance
gates at the east and west were of white marble. It contained
three Temples: one to Venus, one to Mars, and one to Dian. These
represented Love, Ambition, and Chastity.
The Temple of Dian was of coral and alabaster, free of all human
art but of her statue and her hounds, for it was dedicated to
that chaste spiritual goddess. The decoration of the Temples of
Venus and Mars appealed so strongly to the earthly passions that
none would be able to look beyond them.
The Temple of Venus was emblazoned in noble carvings. Its walls
were wrought in imagery portraying of the Earthly conquests of
Venus until it would seem that no fortitude could hold out
against her attraction. Here was the fall of the powerful
Hercules, the hard-hearted Turnus, the enchantments of Medea and
Circe, Croesus with his wealth, and pensive Narcissus. There
were scenes of pale sobs, insomnia, burning pangs, sacred tears,
and lamentations. There were oaths and covenants, flattery, and
anxiety carved in the walls. There were feasts, music, singing,
dancing, and all the paraphernalia of love. In sooth, an image
of Venus herself floated waist deep in a green sea. She played
on a lyre and the rose garland on her head was so fresh that it
was sweet smelling.
Could the Prince Palamon after his long absence worship here and
tear his heart away from possessive love? Could he plead for the
Beautiful Lady in purity of heart?
The Temple of Mars was as forbidding as the temple of his supreme
home in cold grizzly Thrace. On its walls were painted a forest
of gnarled old leafless trees and sharp hideous stumps, a forest
in which neither man nor beast could live. Through it blew a
tempest, a rushing noise unpleasing to the ears. There was a
picture of his great Temple, wrought in burnished steel. It
showed a deep narrow doorway out of which blew a terrifying
blast. Its only light was a chill north ray at the entrance
door. The pillars weighed a ton and were of iron. The heavy
doors were of everlasting adamant.
In this Temple was pictured pale dread, felony, cruel ire, the
smiling one with the knife under his mantle, the treacherous
murder in bed. There with a gaping mouth was the slayer of
oneself. There were many slain but like the corpse in the bushes
with throat cut, not slain by pestilence. Here was dejection and
sorry vision and armed complaint; the barber and butcher were
forging sharp swords. The statue of Mars stood armed on a
chariot. A wolf was before him at his feet, red-eyed and
devouring a man.
Could the Prince Arcite worship here upon his return without
succumbing to the ambition that would make him a ruthless rival
and the slayer of himself?
Chaucer interrupts to tell us that there were pictures shown in
the Temple of Mars of events that had not yet happened on Earth.
The Stars have the picture long before the events appear here.
The Stars know who shall be slain and who die for love.
Upon the day of their returning to Athens, each Prince came to
keep his covenant with an hundred Knights armed for combat.
Never since God made sea or land have there met so noble a
fellowship for knightly exploits. From all parts, they came
armed in hauberk, breastplate, light jupon, shield, and mace,
each after their own conceit.
Let us describe one of Prince Palamon's chosen Knights. It will
be the King of Thrace, Lycurgus himself. His beard was black and
his visage manly. His eyes glowed of a smoldering yellow and
red. He scouted about like a griffin because of his shaggy grim
brows. He had great hard limbs, broad shoulders, and long round
arms. Typical of his countrymen, he stood unusually high in his
chariot of pure gold, driving four white bulls. Over his
harness, he wore an ancient coal-black bearskin with yellow nails
bright as any gold. His hair was long and shone like the raven's
feather. On his head was a diadem of gold as large as an arm, of
huge weight, and set full of dazzling jewels, rubies, and
diamonds. Twenty white mastiffs played about his chariot, each
one as great as any steer and eager for lion or hart hunting.
King Lycurgus had an hundred stouthearted lords in his own troop.
As the opponents were equal, we must do justice to the commanding
spectacle of King Emetreus of India whom accompanied the Prince
Arcite. He compared with Mars himself, riding in on a bay horse
armored in steel and covered with a diapered cloth of gold. The
King's tunic was of cloth of Tartary studded with large white
pearls. His saddle was of fresh forged gold well burnished.
Upon his shoulders, he wore a short mantle inlaid stiff with
fiery red rubies. The Sun was not brighter than his crisp curly
hair. His nose was high, his lips full, and his eyes bright
citron. He was about twenty-five years of age with a young beard
and a voice that thundered like a trumpet. Lusty green laurel
crowned his head and a tame eagle white as any lily perched on
his hand. One hundred richly attired knights attended him, and
on every side, tame lions and leopards frolicked in great
numbers. For the sake of love and upholding the glory of
knighthood, this noble company gathered.
It was on Sunday at noon that these warriors arrived. The
excellent Duke Theseus entertained and feasted them
extravagantly, having the fairest ladies for the dance and song
and having hawks and hounds for the hunt. Early the next
morning, Mars' own day, Palamon heard the lark and arose in
Venus' watch, with a holy heart to make his pilgrimage to her
Temple. There, he fell upon his knees and acknowledged his
bewilderment and said that he cared not for victory nor for the
vain recognition of the world, nor did he care if Arcite was
victorious, if only in some way he could gain the hand of
Beautiful Emily in marriage. He would forever wage war in
chastity. Venus promised him victory -- with delay.
Emily arose with the Sun. She went immediately to the Temple of
Dian and begged to be a maid all her life. Emily asked that the
two Princes come to peace and be brothers. Dian told her that
the gods decreed that she must marry one of them. Sorrowing,
Emily put herself in the care of the higher Powers.
In the hour of Mars on that morning, Arcite went forth to the
Temple of fierce Mars to do sacrifice. He prayed ardently that
he might win over Palamon with the force of arms and have Emily
as his reward. Mars promised him Victory.
This caused such strife in heaven that Old Saturn, wise in
experience, said the matter was hers to settle, as her course
circled so widely that she had the duty of the chastisement,
being in her right aspect, the sign of the Lion, for that
function. (This symbolizes the return of karma in a large cycle
from a bygone time.)
The party jousted and danced all day Monday as only they could do
"in the lusty season of May." Tuesday morning broke clear to the
excitement of the tourney. The clattering of mail and sound of
horses accompanied rare sights of goldsmithry and embroidery in
gleaming shields and harness, and of gold helmets, hauberks, and
tunics mixed with foamy steeds gnawing on golden bridles.
Knights' retainers and squires could be heard nailing on
spearheads, buckling helms, and lacing shields. There were thick
crowds of yeomen, and burgesses with staves massed by the battle
sound of bloody blasts from pipes, trumpets, drums, and clarions.
The crowds in the hall were full of conjecture as to which side
should win, causing loud argument.
The thunder of this clamor awakened the great Duke Theseus from
his quiet sleep and he arose and attired himself like a god on
his throne where people pressed to do him reverence. He had a
herald call for silence from a high scaffold and then the mighty
Duke declared his will. Upon seeing the nobility of the
warriors, he was touched and could not bear the sight of mere
destruction of noble blood. He ordained such modification of his
intention that none should perish in mortal battle. He barred
from the lists any manner of missile, or pole-ax, or short knife,
all short swords for stabbing, and all sharp spears. The
assembly shouted for joy that the victory was not to be gained by
destruction and death.
The ride of the bands of Knights to the lists through the broad
city of Athens would need pages to describe its splendor. They
followed the Duke Theseus and the Beautiful Emily, flanked by
Kings festooned with gold cloth. About high noon, Theseus and
Emily sat in their tiers. The crowds pressed to their seats in
the great arena. With a red banner, Prince Arcite entered under
the Gate of Mars. With white banner, Palamon entered the east
Gate under the shrine of Venus. In the entire world, people have
never known two companies so even, so without inequality. The
roll was called and the herald cried, "Do now your devoir, proud
young Knights!" The battle was on.
Only a bard could describe the thunder of shafts shivering on
thick shields, and mighty maces hewing and splitting helms, and
the hurtling of knights as one after another was dragged to the
stake wounded and out of the lists. As the afternoon wore on,
woeful Palamon was reluctantly brought to the stake.
Arcite had won, so Theseus called off the tourney. Arcite's
success caused a deafening uproar from the entire assembly. Both
parties were eager to acclaim the appearance of distinction. The
fierce Arcite doffed his helm to show his fine face to the
admiring crowd while on a courser he spurred down the long field
gazing up at Beautiful Emily. Saturn ordered Pluto to do his
duty, and Pluto obediently sent "an infernal Fury" up that burst
the ground and frightened Arcite's steed so that it jumped,
throwing Arcite on the crown of his head. This mortally wounded
him. So terrible was his fall, he had to be carved out of his
armor. Soon "his spirit changed house."
Duke Theseus, Prince Palamon, and Princess Emily mourned in
infinite sorrow and tears until Aegeus had to come, because of
his greater experience, and comfort them. He explained the
transmutations of the world and of all things and the painless
peace brought by death. The grandest scene in this TALE is the
cremation ceremony of Arcite, which space bars us from telling.
Its pyre and flame reached the heavens and it sparkled with
thousands of jewels, and there was incense from every known wood
from the surprised ground of the enchanted forest.
Years rolled over the sad heart of Prince Palamon of Thebes
before the Duke Theseus of Athens approached to inform him that
the time had come for marriage with the Beautiful Emily. Nature,
he said, did not take her origin from any part of a thing, but
from a stable and perfect state. She had descended and had
become corruptible. Things below can endure only by succession
and not eternally. Even the oak and the hard stone in time waste
away. All things convert to their proper source from which they
derive. Therefore, man must accept what is decreed for him. To
murmur would be folly and make him a rebel against Nature.
Palamon and Emily must ever find where the most sorrow is and
there go and make amends. Palamon lived thus with Emily in all
weal, ever serving her kindly and she loved him tenderly.
By Lady C.C. Vyvyan
[From pages 692-96 of the November 1934 issue of THE ARYAN PATH,
published by Theosophy Company in Bombay, India.]
Ever since the first echo of human speech rang and died upon the
air, man must have recognized, if he did not actually define, the
worth of silence. Before ever a poet scanned his rhymes,
interpolating syllables, marking a caesura, silence alternating
with sound had beat out the universal rhythm to whose law natural
forces are forever subject.
The groaning of the ice pack, falling of a leaf, thunder's
reverberation, backwash of a broken wave, howling of the
storm-wind, and whisper of a breeze, all are intermittent with
the force that is credited, in the kingdom of sound, with a
merely negative existence, the force that men have dowered with
the strange, elusive name of Silence.
There are many, assuredly, for whom silence is only the
flat-faced negation of sound, carrying no more significance than
the mere absence of any of the other senses might carry, the
absence of taste, touch, or scent. They would join Robert
Browning in his curt dismissal of silence as existing only to
imply sound. Only a deep intimacy with silence will lead one to
realize that it has a quality and indeed a force of its own.
There is an experience connected with one of our five senses that
goes far to strengthen such a theory. The absence of color,
interpreted in human phrase as the quality of whiteness, owns the
strange power of absorbing into itself every ray of the sun. It
is possible that silence will operate in ways analogous. While
appearing to be devoid of positive attributes, it is possible
that silence is unobtrusively the storehouse of great power.
It is perhaps easier to apprehend the meaning and scope of
silence after considering what is the meaning and scope of sound.
Every sound is a form of self-expression, every sound of nature
and humanity is but a cry, uttered in plaint, growl, croon, or
alleluia of "Me, me." The part of any listener is nothing more
than surrender, in the guise of a victim, to the worldwide clamor
of individuality. The oratory of a tub-thumper is in truth no
more insistent in its demand for a hearing, no more egocentric in
its disregard for other personalities, only perhaps a little more
self-conscious, than bird-song, the sigh of wind, the roar of
breaking waves, or the ripple of a stream.
We are bound as listeners to suffer partial disintegration from
the sounds that impinge upon us, and that no doubt is the
explanation why those who sought to possess at least their own
souls withdrew as hermits into places where no sound could touch
In speech or sound, there is always a triple journey to be made
before one being can reach another. It is a journey from the
soul of the speaker into the thing uttered, from the thing
uttered across a great gulf into the thing heard, and from the
thing heard down into the soul of the listener. Seeing that this
triple journey is inevitable before the act of listening, even of
deliberate willing earnest listening, can reach its consummation,
speech or sound as means of intercourse must needs be imperfect;
a conclusion that inclines one readily to contemplate the rival
merits of silence.
In such contemplation, we shall become aware that there are more
far-reaching effects of silence than the enabling of a man to
possess his own soul. First, there is in silence a means of
direct communion with some individual, human or inanimate, a
means quite independent of the clumsy action of the senses. In
deep surrender to the emanations of silence, the human spirit may
achieve communion with a rock, a tree, a friend, or a cloud.
The phrase "emanations of silence" has interposed a veil between
the truth and us. If silence were indeed, as Carlyle said, the
element in which great things fashion themselves, then silence is
but a medium through which the emanations reach us.
Imagination need not travel far to picture silence as a bridge
between unknown worlds and the more receptive beings in our own
universe. There is no reason to believe that such emanations
come only from the human and inanimate individuals to which we
have referred, and it may even be possible for men of fine
perceptions, on entering a quiet place, to achieve communion with
the very spirit of love, of mercy, of courage, of pity. At the
mere thought of such a possibility, veil after veil lift and we
are carried far beyond the range of our senses into regions
nearer abstract truth.
For myself, I know not such experience, but even in this short
lifetime, I have once known direct communion with the spirit of
Time. I knew it in an ancient Spanish town, in the dim aisle of
a Romanesque cathedral some eight hundred years old.
The heavy, very ancient leather door fell softly to its jamb and
I stepped down into twilight that flooded nave and aisles to the
roof. My first impression was a vivid sense or memory of the
sunshine in that square I had just left, of the noises in the
city all now completely muffled by the leather door, the honking
of cars, the shouting of urchins, the shrill talk of women. They
seemed to die away reluctantly in that dim silent place, like the
reverberations of an echo.
A moment later, I had lost all memory of sound and sunlight, in
contemplation of the massy pillars. They, it seemed to me, were
self-appointed guardians of the silence that hung within this
building like a presence. So vivid was my sense of a living
presence within the cathedral that I held my breath, apprehending
that in another moment I would hear a voice or feel a touch.
After a while, this restless feeling of expectation died away,
consciousness of physical things blotted out, and I enwrapped
into the very spirit of Time that had gathered all the worship,
prayer, and praises that in eight hundred years men had offered
to their God.
There is another type of silence. We may hardly define it. We
never may seek and find it at will. We might say that in this
silence a soul contacts the spirit behind all things. Our words
would be but fumbling round things inexpressible.
Represent this silence in pictorial fashion. For the sake of
contrast, draw first a man in the act of speech. Our picture
would be a little biped radiating spokes from his own person,
these spokes forming a shield or veil so that the light of the
sun can never fall directly on him, nor the wind's breath shake
his equilibrium, nor any emanation reach him from the soil.
Then draw the same figure, now mute and clear in outline. Upon
him fall gigantic rays from the far spaces of earth and sky. He
is in communication with the entire world. In such a pose, at
such a moment, an ant's movement and the roar of an avalanche may
awaken similar echoes. The clarity of his own silence enhances,
enshrines, and perpetuates vibrations indescribably faint and
It is clear then that all those, whether they are hermits, world
listeners, or otherworld listeners who recognize that silence is
something other than and something greater than the negation of
sound. All through the ages, the powers and products of silence
have been innumerable.
Some, like the leader of the Chorus in Agamemnon, have "learnt to
drug all woes by silence." Some, like Savonarola, have prescribed
it as an aid to devotion, while Street and other writers have
advocated its use as a steppingstone to fortitude. Thoreau,
Maeterlinck, and others characterize it as a prelude to
friendship. To Carlyle, it is the sole repository of greatness.
For Oliver Wendell Holmes, it has a healing property after the
blows of sound.
In epic, history, and drama, silence has played a notable rather
than a negative part. There have always been momentary
experiences of joy and anguish that cut deep across the path of
accustomed life. They evoke not a cry of gladness nor a wail of
sorrow, but the silence wherein feeling glows like molten fire.
They are experiences when perhaps the struggle of a lifetime
comes face to face with failure or success, when despair turns
feeling to stone and expression of feeling to muteness, when one
must seal resolution with something stronger than speech, when
joy emerging from the fetters of language can only reach the
greatest heights in silence.
Such was the silence of Cortez on that peak in Darien; of
Clytemnestra before and after she committed murder that fulfilled
the House of Atreus' doom, of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who sat
upon the ground seven days and seven nights by the side of their
unhappy friend, of Niobe wordless at the tomb of her children,
transformed into a stone that she might be through the ages a
symbol of dumb grief, of Captain Macwhirr, Cordelia, Chryses the
priest, and many another famed in history or fiction. Always,
such a silence would prolong the action or heighten the emotion,
being poignant as the reverberation of a deep-toned bell.
So much for silence as a medium of understanding, silence as a
force directed to some end, and silence as a form of
self-expression more eloquent than speech. Silence is also an
integral part of nature, a property of stones, and an efflux of
Without adhering to a pantheistic or any other creed, many human
beings have sought these silent aspects of nature as flowers turn
to the sun. It is not possible to define the character of man's
communion with a silence of nature that, like some clear jewel in
ornate setting, is often to be found encircled by earth's
Among animate forms, the tribes of butterflies and fishes are
mute exceptions to creatures that express themselves in tones
ranging from nightingale melody to the squeak of rodents.
As for inanimate forms, nearly all are subject eventually to that
lord of nature's music, endowed with power to awaken the very
stones. The forest with a million leaves and branches will lend
itself as a single harp string to his touch. The little grasses
whisper to each other under his caress. The billows gathering
momentum at his command hurry with a roar to dissolution. Yet
there are times and places in which the wind will not roar, wail,
nor whisper. There are the stars that from ancient days have
kept their counsel in serenity and the mountaintops that hold
inviolate silence as in some cloud-defended sanctuary.
The silence of the hills inspired the Psalmist to lift his eyes
thither for help. Ever since his day, silence has drawn to the
heights men of every caliber: the mystic, the adventurer, the man
of action, and the man of thought, the man who sought escape from
self and the man who sought to find himself. Many are the
mountain-lovers who have borne witness to the spell of mountain
silence. They include Archdeacon Hudson Stuck on the summit of
Mount Denali, Seton Gordon in his well-loved Hebrides, Robert
Service with phrases hard-bitten as the features of a Klondike
pioneer, Obermann the plaintive pessimist, and Miguel de Unamuno
from the sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de la Pena de Francia.
As for those poets who celebrate the silence of the stars, they
are innumerable. Wordsworth in quiet communion with the "silence
that is in the starry sky" stormed a citadel impregnable to all
man's restless questioning. Heine read in the
many-thousand-year-long silence of the stars what he also read in
the face of his beloved. Matthew Arnold went so far as to hold
up the quiet stars for a moral example:
> These demand not that the things without them
> Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.
In truth, those who have paid homage to silence as integral part
of nature have done so in every attitude and manner, ranging from
Walt Whitman's boisterous fellowship with the sun:
> Give me the splendid silent sun
to Pascal's timorous recognition of the silence of space:
> Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m'effraie.
Yet, each of those to whom we have referred has done nothing more
than express his own emotional reaction to one form or another of
In our world, men who have won dominion over steam, electricity,
and mechanism are the doorway to their Paradise of speed.
Herein, what part can silence play save a Devil's negation of
their newfound deity?
Others have never sought nor won dominion over things that we can
see. What can the silence of a Quakers' meeting say to them?
What says the owl's mysterious flight, the quiet shining of the
stars, the stillness of new-fallen snow, or the movement of a
tide "too full for sound or foam?" For them, these soundless
things express life's deepest meaning.
Yet, as our words go probing, pushing, circling, with denial,
definition, or eulogy, we are still far from the heart of
silence. In this everyday world that we call Life, it sometimes
seems as if silence were no more than a little star pricking the
universal background of sound and movement.
It may be that in some other world, silence is the universal
background and every sound but a Devil's whispered protest to the
God that said "Be still." Or it may be, in that other world, that
silence is an element which will never for a moment project one
particle of itself in sound or movement, but forever in quietude
will absorb into its own stillness the sounds that break against
Imagine what we may about the silence in worlds heretofore and
worlds hereafter, we can never change surmise for certainty, but
in our world today, we may well believe that each man finds in
silence his deepest need which is his own ideal. Certain it is
that man has nearly always found in silence exactly what he
sought. The wanderer has found rest, the troubled spirit power
to endure, the lonely man his friend, the worshipper his deity.
GOTTFRIED DE PURUCKER AND THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, Part II
[From a booklet that appeared when G. de Purucker became head
of the Theosophical Society with International Headquarters
at Point Loma, California.]
GOTTFRIED DE PURUCKER and THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
[From THE SAN DIEGO UNION, July 27, 1929]
Appointment of Dr. Gottfried de Purucker to succeed the late
Madame Katherine Tingley as Leader and Official Head of the
Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society was announced
yesterday at the International Headquarters of the Society on
Point Loma. Katherine Tingley made this appointment before she
died. Dr. de Purucker also assumes duties as Outer Head of the
Esoteric Section established by Helena P. Blavatsky.
The new Leader of Theosophy is fifty-five years old, a native of
the United States, and a bachelor. He has been identified with
Theosophy for many years and came to Point Loma to live in 1903.
His acquaintance with the late Madame Tingley began in 1896 in
Switzerland, where he was instrumental in selecting the present
international headquarters of the Society he now heads.
Resident members of the International Headquarters were informed
on July 26 of Dr. de Purucker's elevation to Leadership. The
announcement was made by Joseph H. Fussell, General Secretary.
Secretary Fussell stated that immediately upon receipt of the
news of the passing of Katherine Tingley a meeting of her cabinet
officers was held at the Point Loma Headquarters. At that
meeting, recognition of the appointment of Dr. de Purucker as
the new Theosophical Leader was given, and with the full trust
and confidence not alone of the cabinet officers and members of
the executive committee, but also of the entire headquarters
staff, he at once assumed general direction of the Society
throughout the world.
Mr. Fussell added that the general administration of the
Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society and all the work
connected with the International Headquarters at Point Loma would
be conducted with expanding energy, branching out into wider
fields of activity made possible by the new resources that will
be available to the Society in the near future. Plans for the
progress and development of the Theosophical work, including
additional activities at the International Headquarters, as
outlined by the late Leader, Katherine Tingley, also will be put
in operation very shortly, inaugurating the new Theosophical
cycle just opening with unusual promise, Mr. Fussell said.
News of the elevation of Dr. de Purucker was given to reporters
at a gathering of the Theosophical cabinet that preceded the
private meeting of last night. The reporters were conducted in a
body to the cabinet meeting, where Mr. Fussell handed to each
reporter a plain envelop, saying that it contained the name of
the new Leader, his photograph, and biography.
The newsmen were requested not to open the envelopes until they
had left the grounds and a Theosophical automobile carried them
back to the gate.
It was stated that while Theosophists the world over had agreed
to accept the Leader that Katherine Tingley named, his identity
was known only to the cabinet and executive committee until
yesterday afternoon. Cablegrams went out last night from
Theosophical Headquarters giving the name of the new Leader.
The rest of this article is part of the statement prepared for
the newspapers by Mr. Fussell:
Gottfried de Purucker, M.A., D. LITT., the new Leader of the
Theosophical Movement throughout the world, successor to
Katherine Tingley, who herself succeeded Helena P. Blavatsky and
William Quan Judge, is an American by birth, a German-American by
parentage, and a cosmopolitan by education and sympathies. He
was born at Suffern, Rockland County, New York, on January 15,
1874. He has occupied the chair of Hebrew and Sanskrit at
Theosophical University since its foundation by Katherine Tingley
in 1919. He is now its President.
Dr. de Purucker is well known to Theosophists throughout the
world. He has traveled extensively all over Europe and in South
America, as well as in this country. In 1903-4, he accompanied
Katherine Tingley on a Theosophical tour around the world. Their
itinerary included Egypt and Japan, touching also many other
oriental countries. In Egypt, he and his late Teacher visited
many of the temples of the upper and lower Nile.
Gottfried de Purucker's father came of a very old German family
of social and official distinction. His mother belonged to an
old and distinguished New England family allied with the noted
Winthrops and descended from William Brewster of Mayflower fame.
Both parents are dead. The father was ordained a clergyman of
the Episcopal Church in the United States and served as clergyman
for a time in England and as American and English chaplain on the
continent. He was a man of liberal ecclesiastical sympathies and
of broad human understanding, a profoundly learned scholar,
widely read in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and throughout his whole
life a devoted Christian.
Katherine Tingley described Dr. de Purucker's mother: "My ideal
of a woman -- physically, mentally, and spiritually well rounded
out … The dearest and most beloved woman friend I ever had."
Gottfried de Purucker was one of a family of seven, of whom three
sisters survive with him. The youngest of these, Miss Peggy, is
a violinist of some European renown, professor at the Academie de
Musique in Geneva, Switzerland, and was one of Katherine
Tingley's party in the automobile at the time of the accident
near Osnabruck, Germany, on May 31, from which accident the late
Theosophical Leader herself never fully recovered. Miss de
Purucker has now completely recovered and expects to come to
Point Loma early next month with the rest of the members of
Madame Tingley's party.
Dr. de Purucker himself has never married and has devoted all
his time and energies since young manhood to his Theosophical
labors and private studies. The new Theosophical Leader was
educated mainly in Geneva, Switzerland, where his father at one
time was pastor of the American church. Before coming to Point
Loma in 1903, Gottfried de Purucker was associated for a time
with Norman Angell on the editorial staff of the PARIS DAILY
MESSENGER, one of the oldest and most famous continental papers
published in English, which attained its great reputation under
the name of its founder, Galignani, and was at first called
Ever since he came to Point Loma, Dr. de Purucker has been
Katherine Tingley's chief assistant in editing the official
monthly organ of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical
Society, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH. In more years, he has delivered
a public lecture course at Theosophical University on "Theosophy,
Religion, Science, and Philosophy."
During Katherine Tingley's numerous and extended tours abroad
within recent years, Dr. de Purucker has occupied a leading
position in the executive committee appointed by her to
administer the affairs of the Universal Brotherhood and
Theosophical Society and its allied activities during her
absence. He joined the Theosophical Society during the nineties
of last century under Katherine Tingley's predecessor, William
Quan Judge. It was Mr. Judge himself who spoke to Katherine
Tingley about Gottfried de Purucker and of the importance of her
meeting him, expressing to her also his complete trust and
confidence in him.
The following is of interest because it gives in the new
Theosophical Leader's own words, a brief statement about his
early training. It is quoted from an address on the subject,
"How I Became a Theosophist," delivered recently in the Temple of
Peace on Point Loma.
> My father destined me for the church. He was a clergyman of the
> Anglican Communion and pastor of the American church in Geneva.
> My father taught me Greek and Hebrew. He had teachers for me in
> other languages. Living in a French-speaking country, of course
> I spoke French; my mother being an American, of course I spoke
> English; my father being a German, of course I spoke German. I
> was also taught Italian and Spanish. I was likewise taught
> Anglo-Saxon … When I was about fourteen years old, I remember
> translating, as a Christmas gift for my father, the entire Greek
> New Testament, and he said it was very well done … When I was
> seventeen, I translated from the Hebrew the book of Genesis as a
> birthday gift to my father.
Dr. de Purucker is a born mystic. When there first fell into
his hands the translation of one of the noble Upanishads -- the
Theosophy of ancient Hindustan -- this trait of his character,
this inner urge for more light, impelled him to study the
original Sanskrit; and as time passed, he perfected himself under
tutors in this perhaps noblest of Aryan languages.
Continuing the report of his address on "How I Became a
> The speaker then recounted how his studies had led him to choose
> a different career from that to which his parents had destined
> him; how a small book on Theosophy fell into his hands, and how
> he was startled.
> > I saw high thinking! I felt that there was more in this book than
> > what an agnostic had seen. My years of study and reading of the
> > literatures of the world -- ancient literatures especially -- had
> > taught me to recognize ancient truth when I saw it. I was
> > fascinated with something that I had always known in my heart;
> > and it was this, that there has always existed, and that there
> > exists today, a band, a company, a society, an association, of
> > noble Sages, great Seers, "Wise Men of the East," as this book
> > called them.
> The lecturer then related how he came to San Diego thirty-five
> years ago, when it was a small town of fifteen or sixteen
> thousand inhabitants. He said how he had casually attended a
> Theosophical lecture here and subsequently joined the
> Theosophical Society under the Leadership of William Quan Judge,
> Katherine Tingley's predecessor. He then said how he had visited
> the Theosophical library following "the memorable night" of
> attendance at his first Theosophical lecture.
> > From that day to this, I have studied Theosophy daily, meditated
> > upon it in the silence of the nighttime; and the more I think and
> > the more I reflect, the more I see in it. I have given to you a
> > brief outline of what took one human being out of unhappiness
> > into happiness that passeth the understanding of any man or woman
> > who has not experienced it as I have and as my fellows of the
> > Theosophical Movement have.
History will always link Gottfried de Purucker's name with the
establishment of the International Theosophical Headquarters on
Point Loma by Katherine Tingley. The story of his connection
with this great event in the history of the Theosophical Movement
and of his first meeting with Katherine Tingley reads like an old
symbolic myth of the webs of destiny that control human events.
Here are his words.
> It was during the summer of 1896 that I first met Katherine
> Tingley in Geneva, Switzerland, where I was at the time living
> with my family. On the preceding day, Katherine Tingley had
> arrived in Geneva in the course of her Theosophical tour around
> the world. She had dispatched one member of her staff to insert
> in the newspapers a notice of a public Theosophical meeting held
> on the following day.
> It so happened that the young man in charge of the advertising
> bureau was an old friend of mine, himself an Irish-Scot belonging
> to a family of high distinction. My friend immediately told
> Madame Tingley's envoy that he knew me to be a member of her
> Society; and it so happened that this envoy also was a
> Theosophical acquaintance of mine. He immediately called for a
> cab and drove around to my home; and in a few moments after that,
> we were speeding to meet Madame Tingley at the hotel.
> I never shall forget the effect that the great Theosophical
> Teacher produced on me -- an impression of strength, reserve
> power, compassion, and of a mind that looked through one. I was
> instantly and strongly drawn to her. Our conversation lasted for
> an hour or more, during the course of which she invited me to
> accompany her party on their tour. To my lasting regret, I felt
> obliged to refuse. I now wish that I had accepted her
> invitation. It would have meant my immediate union with the
> Theosophical forces.
> It was also during the course of this conversation that Madame
> Tingley asked me if I had ever been in America.
> I said, "Yes, certainly."
> "In what part of America?"
> "In California."
> "In what part of California?"
> "In San Diego."
> Imagine my surprise when two of her party, who were present,
> jumped from their chairs and exclaimed, "My God!"
> Katherine Tingley then asked me if I knew the surroundings of San
> I said, "Certainly."
> She said, "Is there a promontory or headland near San Diego?"
> I said, "Yes. There is -- a very beautiful one called Point
> She said, "Is there any land that can be purchased there?"
> I said, "Certainly, the southernmost tip is owned by the United
> States government, the rest, I believe, is held under private
> ownership." Thereupon I drew a pencil sketch of the outline of
> Point Loma and of San Diego bay and Coronado, and soon after
> left. I met her at her hotel the morning after, before she
> Some years later, I came to the United States and within a few
> weeks was on my way to Point Loma to join the Theosophical
> Headquarters staff. There, some time afterwards, Madame Tingley
> showed me, with eyes suffused with gladness, the very pencil
> sketch that I had made. She told me that had it not been for
> that she might have lost the land which she had seen in her
> childhood dreams as the site to be for her headquarters -- or, as
> she then called it, her "White City in the Gold Land of the
> The most interesting part of this story about my assistance to
> Katherine Tingley in the purchase of this land on Point Loma in
> 1896 was that she had been informed by her own agent, at that
> very moment in San Diego trying to find the land she had
> described to him, that no such land was procurable anywhere. She
> had just cabled that most certainly there was and that he should
> continue the search. I have never understood how such a cable
> could have come from San Diego. There it was. She had it in her
> hand when I entered the room.
> Since I had been in San Diego only two or three years before, I
> gave her my information. The same evening, Madame Tingley
> dispatched a long cable to her San Diego representative giving
> the name of the promontory and a brief description of the land
> that she could procure. Because of this, they acquired the
> property at Point Loma on which they built the International
> Theosophical Headquarters.
THE STORY OF A STAR
By George William Russell [1867-1935]
[From THE IRISH THEOSOPHIST, August 1894.]
The emotions that haunted me in that little cathedral town would
be most difficult to describe. After the hurry, rattle, and
fever of the city, the rare weeks spent here were infinitely
peaceful. They were full of a quaint sense of childhood, with
sometimes a deeper chord touched -- the giant and spiritual
things childhood has dreams of.
The little room I slept in had opposite its window the great gray
cathedral wall. It was only in the evening that the sunlight
crept round it and appeared in the room strained through the
faded green blind. It must have been this silvery quietness of
color that in some subtle way affected me with the feeling of a
The bells, chiming hour after hour, strengthened this. The
pathos, penitence, and hope expressed by the flying notes colored
the intervals with faint and delicate memories. They haunted my
dreams. I heard with unutterable longing the dreamy chimes
pealing from some dim and vast cathedral of the cosmic memory,
until the peace they tolled became almost a nightmare, and I
longed for utter oblivion or forgetfulness of their
More remarkable were the strange lapses into other worlds and
times. Almost as frequent as the changing of the bells were the
changes from state to state. I realized what is meant by the
Indian philosophy of Maya. Truly my days were full of Mayas, and
my work-a-day city life was no more real to me than one of those
bright, brief glimpses of things long past.
I talk of the past, and yet these moments taught me how false our
ideas of time are. In the Ever-living, yesterday, today, and
tomorrow are words of no meaning. I know I fell into what we
call the past, and the things I counted as dead forever were the
things I had yet to endure. Out of the old age of earth, I
stepped into its childhood, and received once more the primal
blessing of youth, ecstasy, and beauty. These things are too
vast and vague to speak of. The words we use today cannot tell
their story. Nearer to our time is the legend that follows.
I was, I thought, one of the Magi of old Persia, inheritor of its
unforgotten lore, and using some of its powers. I tried to
pierce through the great veil of nature, and feel the life that
quickened it within. I tried to comprehend the birth and growth
of planets. To do this, I rose spiritually, and passed beyond
earth's confines into that seeming void which is the matrix where
On one of these journeys, I was struck by the phantasm, so it
seemed, of a planet I had not observed before. I could not then
observe closer, and coming again on another occasion, it had
disappeared. After the lapse of many months, I saw it once more,
brilliant with fiery beauty. Its motion was slow, revolving
around some invisible center.
I pondered over it, and seemed to know that the invisible center
was its primordial spiritual state, from which it emerged a
little while and into which it then withdrew. Short was its day.
The planet's shining faded to a glimmer, and then into darkness
in a few months. I learned its time and cycles. I made
preparations and determined to await its coming.
THE BIRTH OF A PLANET
At first silence and then an inner music, and then the sounds of
song throughout the vastness of its orbit grew as many in number
as there were stars at gaze. Avenues and vistas of sound! They
reeled back and forth. They poured from a universal stillness
quick with unheard things. They rushed forth and broke into
myriad voices gay with childhood. From age and the eternal, they
rushed forth into youth. They filled the void with reveling and
exultation. In rebellion, they then returned and entered the
dreadful Fountain. Again, they came forth, and the sounds faded
into whispers. They rejoiced once again, and again died into
All around glowed a vast twilight. It filled the cradle of the
planet with colorless fire. I felt a rippling motion that
impelled me away from the center to the circumference. At that
center, a still flame began to lighten. A new change took place.
Space began to curdle. A milky and nebulous substance rocked
back and forth. At every motion, the pulsation of its rhythm
carried it farther and farther away from the center. It grew
darker. A great purple shadow covered it so that I could see it
no longer. I was now on the outer verge, where the twilight
still continued to encircle the planet with zones of clear
As night after night I rose up to visit it, they grew
many-colored and brighter. I saw the imagination of nature
visibly at work. I wandered through shadowy immaterial forests,
titanic vegetation built up of light and color. I saw it growing
denser, hung with festoons and trailers of fire, and spotted with
the light of myriad flowers such as earth never knew.
Coincident with the appearance of these things, I felt within
myself, as if in harmonious movement, a sense of joyousness, an
increase of self-consciousness. I felt full of gladness, youth,
and the mystery of the new. I felt that greater powers were
about to appear, those who had thrown outwards this world and
erected it as a palace in space.
I could not tell half the wonder of this strange race. I could
not myself comprehend more than a little of the mystery of their
being. They recognized my presence there, and communicated with
me in such a way that I can only describe it by saying that they
seemed to enter into my soul, breathing a fiery life.
I knew that the highest I could reach to was but the outer verge
of their spiritual nature. To tell you but a little I have many
times to translate it, for in the first unity with their thought,
I touched on an almost universal sphere of life. I peered into
the ancient heart that beats throughout time. This knowledge
became changed in me, first into a vast and nebulous symbology,
and so down through many degrees of human thought into words
which hold not at all the pristine and magical beauty.
I stood before one of this race, and I thought, "What is the
meaning and end of life here?" Within me, I felt the answering
ecstasy that illuminated with vistas of dawn and rest. It seemed
"Our spring and our summer are an unfolding into light and form,
and our autumn and winter are a fading into the infinite soul."
I questioned in my heart, "To what end is this life poured forth
He came nearer and touched me. Once more, I felt the thrill of
being, which changed itself into vision.
"The end is creation, and creation is joy. The One awakens out
of quiescence as we come forth, and knows itself in us. As we
return, we enter it in gladness, knowing ourselves. After long
cycles, the world you live in will become like ours. It will be
poured forth and withdrawn; a mystic breath, a mirror to glass
He disappeared, while I wondered what cyclic changes would
transmute our ball of mud into the subtle substance of thought.
In that world, I dared not stay during its period of withdrawal.
Having entered a little into its life, I became subject to its
laws. The Powers on its return would have dissolved my being
utterly. I felt with a wild terror its clutch upon me. I
withdrew from the departing glory, from the greatness that was my
destiny -- but not yet.
From such dreams, I would be aroused, perhaps, by a gentle knock
at my door, and my little cousin Margaret's quaint face would
peep in with a "Cousin Robert, are you not coming down to
Of these visions in the light of after thought, I would speak a
little. All this was but symbol, requiring to be thrice sublimed
in interpretation ere its true meaning can be grasped.
I do not know whether worlds are heralded by such glad songs, or
whether any have such a fleeting existence, for the mind that
reflects truth is deluded with strange fantasies of time and
place in which seconds are rolled out into centuries and long
cycles are reflected in an instant of time.
There is within us a little space through which all the threads
of the universe are drawn. Surrounding that incomprehensible
center, the mind of man sometimes catches glimpses of things that
are true only in those glimpses. When we record them, the true
has vanished, and a shadowy story -- such as this -- alone
remains. Yet, perhaps, the time is not altogether wasted in
considering legends like these, for they reveal, though but in
fantasy and symbol, greatness we are heirs to, a destiny that is
ours though it be yet far away.
HPB HIGHLIGHTS, Part I
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the first part of a tape recording entitled
"HPB Highlights" made of a private class held on January 9,
1955. Some spots on the tape were hard to make out so there
may be a few inaccuracies in the edited version of the talk.]
Blavatsky's life and work was of considerable importance in the
development and growth of the modern theosophical movement.
What do we know of the personal lives of the great teachers of
ancient days? As far as recorded history, we know little. The
full record likely exists in the hands of Initiates. What we
read of Plato or Pythagoras is sketchy. What do we know of the
personal events in the life of Jesus? Certainly, we know nothing
Blavatsky was the chief founder of a movement that probably will
go on for centuries. In her case, we have a well-known life of a
great teacher. The records of that life are available in detail,
except for some obscure periods prior to her public work. She
never said much about that time. Short of loss to some future
cataclysm, history will still know her.
She was born in Russia. On one side, her parentage was Old
Russian. Princess Dolgorukov was her grandmother, from an Old
Russian family. On the other side, it was from a German family
that immigrated to Russia 300 years before. By then, it was
Russian too. Her maiden name, Von Hahn, was German.
From childhood, Blavatsky was an unusual individual. She was
exceedingly psychic, rebellious, and independent. She was born
at night between the 30th and the 31st of July (according to the
Russian calendar). In the Slavonic tradition, on that night
certain elemental forces are active in nature and seem to
prevail. Any child born then is supposed to be in control over
the elements. She certainly was!
From 1831 until maybe her fourteenth year in 1843, she grew up in
an ordinary way. Blavatsky studied with her own people mainly,
not at school. She always felt she had some protective agency.
Occasionally, she saw a figure in a long robe psychically. Later
in life, she understood this robe to have been the Hindu dress.
This individual protected her from danger.
Once she was climbing up on a table, chair, and other things to
hang a picture. Everything collapsed! She knew that somebody
picked her up so that she would not hit the floor. Another time,
she was on horseback. She was quite a horsewoman. She was
riding without a saddle. She started to fall. The horse was
about to drag her. She also saw that same individual keeping her
from crashing and keeping the horse from dragging her.
Blavatsky was exceedingly independent. Socials or dances were
altogether too much for her. She did not have the slightest use
for them. According to her own story, her French governess told
her she was so independent, rebellious, and naughty at times that
nobody would ever marry her except perhaps some nitwit. She took
She said, "That is wrong! I can make anybody marry me -- for
instance, that old man over there." She pointed to a state
official named Blavatsky, who served under her grandfather. Yes,
he was old enough not only to be her father but beyond that.
Sure enough, she had him propose to her. He married her. She
was completely uncontrollable.
No one has ever told the full story. Nobody really knows it. We
can read some of her letters and put two-and-two together. This
may have been her way to get out from under the thumb of her
family and start out on her own. That is our best explanation.
She was only eighteen. She ran away from that man within three
and one-half months. She had never been his wife. She boarded
an English steamer docked in one of the Caucasian harbors in the
Black Sea heading for Constantinople.
Only her father, an artillery officer, knew where she was at all
times. She idolized him. He knew where she ended up. Nobody
else knew. She traveled in Turkey, Greece, France, and England.
She was sometimes in the company of a Russian woman, a distant
relative who lived in Europe and sometimes all by herself. For
ten years, she never set foot on Russian soil.
At one point, she had been to England and France. Now she had
gone to France and then to England, where she became sick. In
that month, there came from India an ambassador from the Prime
Minister of Nepal. His party had important business to transact
between Nepal and Great Britain. Within that staff was the Hindu
she had seen psychically during her childhood.
She was walking in London, watching the Nepalese procession to
the palace with all its pomp and ceremony. A little off from the
ceremony, a man on horseback came to her. He was that Eastern
teacher and high initiate later known as "M." In his physical
body, Master Morya was on the staff from Nepal. That was her
first meeting with her teacher in physical body.
No one has ever told what transpired between the two in the next
few minutes. He took her under custody as disciple more
definitely. Two or three years later, she met him in England in
physical body again. The teachers travel. They attend to their
own business. We just do not know what it is.
She went to Canada and the United States. Manly P. Hall once
was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There was an old house there. He
heard that about 100 years ago a Russian woman lived in it for a
while. People were not sure if she was a witch. Chances are
great that HPB was in Santa Fe for some reason. The years
Blavatsky studied many things including people's customs, occult
practices, psychic forces among the Indian tribes, and even
voodoo. After traveling through the United States, she boarded a
steamer in New Orleans for South America.
In ISIS UNVEILED, she wrote about South America, including Peru
and Chile. This is probably from what she witnessed on that
journey. She met two or three individuals, one German, the
disciples of the same teacher. They went together to Java and
thence to India. She tried to penetrate into Tibet but failed.
The British authorities turned her away. It was an unsuccessful
attempt. She was not ready. She went back to England.
In 1854, she went to the United States again, crossing the
continent all the way to San Francisco in a covered wagon. We
know little about that trip. She traveled in men's clothes in
independent fashion. An old member told me that. We have found
no mention in the early newspapers of San Francisco, but the
information is probably in a foreign paper.
There was an account in a San Francisco paper. It was about a
Russian woman present at the opera with a Hindu wearing a turban.
I understand that to be HPB with her teacher. Was that teacher
in his physical or astral body? We do not know. I am still
looking for it, but the earthquake and fire destroyed many
Blavatsky traveled a lot during those ten years. Then she turned
up at the home of her sister in northern Russia, coming from a
visit to southern Russia. She stayed with her for a while and
then went with her down to the Caucasus.
Her so-called husband was there. That man whose name she had was
old, but still alive. She says in a letter that she stayed
around the Caucasus for a year or two until he died. In Russia,
one could have a marriage annulled if no one had seen any sign of
the spouse for ten years. He or she did not need to get a
That period was her preparatory career. What kind of training
was she under? We do not know. She had not been to Tibet. She
traveled most of the time. She lived on money sent to her by her
father, but also undertook industrial ventures. She made
artificial flowers. She played the piano beautifully and had
concerts in France and England. Having returned to the Caucasus
once under a pseudonym, she had a project to get cork from the
Caucasian Mountains flowing down river to the harbor for resale
abroad. I would say that she was quite enterprising!
During that sojourn in the Caucasus, profound internal changes
took place in her. She underwent an initiation and began to
control her inner principles and forces. Instead of just having
visions and being psychic, she came to command some elemental
forces of nature as only an initiate could do. This is obvious
from study of that period, her letters, evidence furnished by
others, and her own statements. (She always only made casual
statements about that period.)
Then she left for parts unknown. For several years, she traveled
in Europe, Africa, Asia Minor, and to the Orient. It was during
those years of 1865 to 1871 that she penetrated into Tibet on two
occasions, spending considerable time there.
Blavatsky says that she lived in the home of the sister of Master
KH. He was a close friend of her teacher, Master M. That period
was her most severe training. She never said anything about it.
Even the dates are unsure.
About 1871 or 1872, she emerged from the orient and visited
southern Russia for a few weeks. This came after travels in
Egypt and Greece. She had been on a steamer that blew up. It
carried powder. Perhaps two-thirds of the people died. She lost
everything. Miraculously escaping injury, Blavatsky picked up
out of the sea and landed in Egypt. Many things followed,
including another crisis in Egypt that she also escaped.
She received peremptory orders from her teacher to take the first
steamer to the United States. Landing in July 7, 1873, she
received an order to investigate the Spiritualistic seances of
the Eddy brothers at their farm in Vermont. The papers were
reporting their impressive seances, well known in those days.
She was to find out what was going on. The first day she went
there, she met a man in the audience. Colonel Henry Steel Olcott
was retired from the United States Army and working as a reporter
for the DAILY GRAPHIC of New York. He was a man of considerable
achievement. At that time, he was 41 and she was 42.
Their association never ended, except by death. As we learn from
the letters of the teachers themselves, they pre-arranged that
meeting. They saw these two as most suitable to do certain work
in the western world. She would help as an advanced occultist
and he as an able but exoteric executive of a society to be born.
HPB and Olcott struck a close friendship on that basis. Present
at seances and in complete control over certain elemental forces,
she produced phenomena without anybody knowing she had anything
to do with it.
She was told to begin training Olcott, showing him how
immeasurably greater are trained powers, unlike the negative
psychic phenomena of an ordinary medium. The Eddy brothers were
good, but they were ordinary mediums.
Another year passed without them forming a society. HPB did
considerable work with her pen. She published some of her first
articles, the first that she wrote in any language. They
appeared in the Spiritualistic press of the day, and they
appeared in THE NEW YORK SUN, THE DAILY GRAPHIC, and THE NEW YORK
WORLD. Olcott often helped her with her English. She spoke
Italian, French, and one or two Oriental dialects, but her
English was poor.
When she was small, her family got an English governess.
Blavatsky began to learn and speak some English. The first time
Blavatsky arrived in England, she discovered she spoke the
Yorkshire dialect. That is the last thing to speak in England!
In an independent mood after having run away, she decided to
forget that she ever knew anything of the language! When she got
to the United States, she began to learn ordinary English.
Olcott helped her, polishing up her English articles. Having a
remarkable talent for languages, she did not take long to master
The effort continued for two years with articles and personal
contacts with Spiritualists. The Spiritualists did not see the
point. With manifestations, materializations, and messages their
mediumship completely enthralled them. They did not know where
the messages came from. Not wanting to set aside their
preconceived ideas, they ignored the philosophy and real
explanation. Spiritualism was becoming a sectarian church.
After she and Olcott had made considerable effort, HPB's teachers
decided that this approach would not work. It was now up to the
few earnest individuals coming along who saw a greater vision.
There were 17 with more progressive minds included well-known
Spiritualists C.C. Massey and Mrs. Emma Hardinge-Britten, as
well as Colonel Olcott, Madame Blavatsky, and the Irish lawyer
William Quan Judge.
After two preliminary meetings, they formed The Theosophical
Society on November 17, 1875. It was for the study of higher
metaphysical teachings. Its declared objects were: (1) To form a
nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood; (2) To study Oriental and
Occidental religions, sciences, and philosophies; and (3) to
investigate the potential, the inner powers of man.
The Society had a specific purpose that was not a stated
objective. It would help the most earnest and sincere
Spiritualists by explaining the cause of phenomena and how they
might go beyond psychism.
Soon, many people dropped out. Most active were Blavatsky,
Olcott, Judge, General Doubleday (the founder of American
baseball), and a few others. As an organization, the Society had
a small beginning in New York. There was a center there, another
in Philadelphia, then a third center, and soon one in London.
Next came one on the island of Corfu, off Greece. There were
remarkable people there.
From 1875 to 1877, Madame Blavatsky wrote her first work. She
was still in America when ISIS UNVEILED was published.
The Society still being small, most of the activity was lecturing
by Olcott. HPB was not lecturing. I do not think she delivered
more than one or two lectures in her life. Olcott lectured.
Many including HPB wrote. There were no Theosophical magazines.
With the exception of Spiritualistic magazines, other journals
would not accept her articles. At least for that, the
Spiritualists were open.
Around 1913, we began to dig out the articles she wrote in
Spiritualist journals. They constituted the first volume of
HPB's COLLECTED WRITINGS, of which we are publishing the sixth
volume now. They were difficult to get, coming from all over,
including Europe, the United States, and Australia.
In 1877, ISIS UNVEILED came out. Bouton Publishers dealt with
progressive metaphysical, mystical, and oriental books in New
York. J.W. Bouton was an American publisher with a French name.
Thinking that the book would do well, he was willing take a
chance by publishing the two big volumes.
HPB had named the book THE VEIL OF ISIS. Bouton had already set
up the first volume when he discovered that somebody else had
written a book by the same name. They could not use her title.
After a big scramble, Bouton suggested turning the title around
and making it into ISIS UNVEILED. If you look at the first
volume of the book today, you will see the running head on top of
its pages still has that original title, THE VEIL OF ISIS. It
was a curious incident.
The first edition was around eight hundred to a thousand copies.
It sold out within two to three weeks. Since those days, ISIS
UNVEILED has remained an occult bestseller. I do not know why.
It was Blavatsky's first literary production. Later on, she
pointed out many errors in it. It does not hang together well.
In it, she speaks of magic around the world and the history of
magic. Because the subject is so fascinating, people love it
best. This was never the case with THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
At the end of 1878, Olcott and Blavatsky received orders to go to
India. They were to found a center somewhere it might flourish.
They were to revive oriental literature, presenting it to the
west. They were also to introduce the Hindus to the riches of
their own ancient scriptures, largely forgotten.
The two went to India and founded the headquarters of the
Theosophical Society in Bombay. That center had financial
troubles galore. Within eighteen months, they moved south. They
bought a property on the Adyar River near Madras. The property
was renamed Adyar. It has remained a center of Theosophical work
They did tremendous work in the area, from Nepal in the north to
Ceylon in the south. In the early eighties, they made two trips
to Europe. After an enormously telling work in India, HPB moved
back to Europe permanently around 1885. Her health was unable to
stand the climate any longer.
In 1879 a few months after her arrival in Adyar, Blavatsky
started her first Theosophical magazine, THE THEOSOPHIST. It
became famous, attracting subscribers from the best minds in
India. THE THEOSOPHIST is still running today. Still a good
magazine, it is not what it was. In those days, it was the first
shot. It was the first Theosophical magazine published at Adyar.
In 1885, she moved back to Europe, seriously beginning to put her
mind on writing THE SECRET DOCTRINE. She was going to write
another great work. At first, it had no particular title.
HPB lived in Germany, then briefly in Italy, France, and then
Belgium. She kept looking for a better climate and cheaper
conditions. She had no private income. Her father had died.
Her relatives were unfriendly. The society had slim means. She
wrote in Russian travel stories from India, publishing them in
two Russian periodicals and living on that money. Having learned
English, she was a brilliant writer in both Russian and English
In Russia, she became famous as storyteller but not as
Theosophist. She wrote a series called FROM THE CAVES AND THE
JUNGLES OF HINDUSTAN. Written in Russian, only part of this
fascinating account has since then been translated into English.
We will complete that job and publish it in the COLLECTED
WRITINGS. It is quite long, and may take about two volumes. It
will be something new to most Theosophists. It is in a lighter
vein than other writings. It has is a great deal of mythology
from India, national customs, and occultism woven throughout its
After all her travels, she finally established herself in London
in 1887. That is where she completed THE SECRET DOCTRINE, wrote
THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, and wrote THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE. She
also founded the famous Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical
Society, with many prominent members including the great
physicist Sir William Crookes. Thomas Edison was among the
From 1887 until 1891 when she passed away, she did her major
literary work. She had been sick with various troubles. She
just drove herself to death, working 16 to 17 hours a day for
years without much exercise. Her teacher came and restored her
to relative health by occult means when she was on the verge of
dying. This happened over a half dozen times.
To use her own expression, she was finally ready to "peg out" and
go home. She died on May 8, 1891. HPB had suggested than when
she passed on, she would like that date commemorated. This was
not to focus on her, but to honor her mission impersonally.
Based upon what she had said, Colonel Olcott had her wishes
honored. Since then, Theosophists have respected May 8 as White
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application