H.P. Blavatsky, HPB and the current Messianic Cycle
You never really get a general idea about H.P. Blavatsky, lesser even of HPB, when you study her as a single phenomenon, because HPB can only be understood in a much broader, yes, in a more universal perspective. If you can’t manage that, then it will be like trying to unravel the appearance of a single mushroom that, after a night of rain, suddenly appears in an autumnal forest. But a mushroom is just the fruit of a big underground network of fungus. In the same way HPB is a product of the Universal Hierarchy of Wisdom, Compassion and Peace. Without that Hierarchy there is no HPB at all.
Hierarchy of Wisdom and Compassion
That Hierarchy of Wisdom forms the Light side of the Universe. Compassion is its main characteristic. It reaches into the heart of the Universe. That hierarchy is represented as a tree whose roots are in heaven. It is referred to as Ašwattha in the Bhagavad-Gîtā. Gods, Dhyān-Chohans, all conscious divine and lofty beings are the stem and branches. The Masters, the teachers of H.P. Blavatsky, are parts of that tree here on earth. Throughout the long history of man we were helped, inspired and taught by representatives of that Universal Hierarchy.
As taught in The Secret Doctrine, it were the Mānasaputras – the Sons of Manas, sons of Mind – who overshadowed the human vehicles 18 million years ago. When the right time arose, they kindled in us, like one candle lighting another, inflaming our minds. We became self-conscious beings, awakened by the gods.
That was perhaps the first help – at least as far as we know – coming from the Lodge of Wisdom and Compassion; the first encouragement to continue our evolutionary journey. And do not think lightly of this. For those divine beings helping us meant that they became active in regions which were far beneath their normal state of consciousness.
This story has been told in many myths. Prometheus, the Greek titan who gave humanity fire – the blazing intellect – was chained by Zeus to the rock Caucasus. And wasn’t the serpent in Genesis – symbol of the Mānasaputras – 'punished' for giving humanity the capacity to think? His legs were taken from him, so he had to swing crawling on the ground. All symbols that these divine beings descended to a for them far inferior realm.
We are talking about the third Root Race, which lived millions of years ago. In that distant epoch there was intuitive knowledge for everybody. There was a natural respect and acceptance for those beings who know more than we do, just like young children respects their parents. And with the help of those divine beings and their direct pupils the loftiest societies were erected.
But eventually man descended more into matter. In the fourth Root Race selfishness, desire and greed became the main characteristics. Men focused on living in their personalities. They lived in the illusion that they were separated from others. The divine wisdom was more and more abused for selfish purposes.
So there came a time that knowledge had to be veiled. The Mysteries were installed. No longer was everybody allowed to receive the teachings. Only those who proved to be pure and unselfish had the right to be initiated in those schools of wisdom and compassion.
In the Collected Writings, part 14, in the chapter ‘The origin of the Mysteries’ H.P. Blavatsky(1) gives abundant evidence and many quotes from all the sages of antiquity, how highly esteemed these Mysteries were. They exerted an uplifting influence on society. For although only those who had proven to be unselfish were allowed to enter the Greater Mysteries, there were also the so called Lesser Mysteries, which ensured by means of myths, parables and rituals, that the spiritual light of mankind was not extinguished.
Those Mysteries, or Mystery Schools, were in all parts of the world. And supporting all of them was the force of the Lodge of Wisdom and Compassion. All arts, all knowledge, genuine religion, philosophy and science had the Mysteries as source.
Some 1500 years ago, in the 6th century of the Christian era, seven initiates of the Mysteries of old Greece, asked Justinian, the Christian emperor of Byzantium, to close the last open school in Athens.(2) The Mysteries were profaned and heavily degenerated. And better than letting them rot even more, those holy men pleaded to close them. Of course they knew that on the inner planes the Mystery School can never be closed and for those who knock rightly at the door, it will always be opened. But in the outer world the school had disappeared.
Then the dark night of the Middle Ages fell down upon us in Europe. During centuries man was not free to think. The dogmas of the church, which are the totally misunderstood teachings of the avatar Jesus, were represented as the absolute truth and to doubt whether they were true, was punished by torture and stake.
At the end of the 15th century there was a small but bright light burning in Florence. Ficino and Pico della Mirandola – who by the way was according to HPB a chela of the Masters – made tentative attempts to revive the knowledge of the Mystery Schools. But it was not until 1875 – some 1300 years after the closing of the Mysteries in Europe – that a serious attempt was undertaken to reestablish the old Mystery Schools. The Theosophical Society was founded. For the TS was meant to be the cradle of a new epoch, where ideas about life and death, about the hierarchical structure of the universe and especially about the Oneness of all beings would be commonly known again like in the old days.
Preparing the founding of the Theosophical Society
The preparation of the founding of the TS was very well planned. The Asian born Master Koothoomi, studied some years in Europe to learn the European way of thinking. He learned to speak English and French fluently. But the Masters needed a messenger. In The Mahatma letters we read that they searched for nearly a century until they found the ‘only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soil to serve as a connecting link between that country and ours’.(3) Blavatsky was not perfect, but she was the best available messenger.
So long before 1875, yes I presume even before 1831, the year Helena was born, the foundation of the TS was already planned. For when she was still a young girl she had already had some kind of contact with Master Morya. When she was twenty and she met for the first time her Master in the flesh in London, she recognized him as the man she had seen many times in her dreams. He asked her to participate in the project, telling her that it would bring her innumerable suffering. The love for humanity and for her Guru was so great that she could not refuse.
The next 24 years were years of training. She travelled all over the world. She succeeded to enter Tibet. There are many mysteries about that period. Blavatsky herself did not give any details about those years. Esoterically you can say that during those years she revived all those Mysteries from the past. All the esoteric schools which did not function anymore in the outer world, had to pour out their spiritual influences again. Therefore she visited amongst others the Druses in Lebanon, the various schools in Asia. That’s why she studied the Voodoo rites in New Orleans and the old religions of Egypt and so on. The most mysterious part of those wandering years were those in Tibet, while there something in her constitution was changed, or rather, something was put aside. That was necessary in order to fulfill the great work she had to do. We’ll talk more about that later.
But first we want to dwell on 1875. Why was the Theosophical Society founded in that year?
Would another time have been appropriate as well?
Now, the Masters always work on with Nature. They know Nature better than we do. They can fathom the deeper movements in Nature and know the major and minor cycles, which are often hidden for us. And if you want to start a movement you had better do it at a cyclic auspicious time. That is to say: at the beginning of a cycle, or sometimes halfway through, or at the end, which is the beginning of the succeeding cycle. Compare it with our habits. A good time to start something is the beginning of the day (at dawn) or at the winter solstice on the 21th of December. At that time the solar forces enforce the decision and there is a far greater chance to succeed.
Now, at the end of the nineteenth century there were various cyclic important moments, such as the start of a new Messianic Cycle, a cycle of 2160 years. It was the dawning of Aquarius. The previous cycle, which stood in the sign of Pisces, was launched by the Avatāra Jesus. Moreover, the first 5000 years of kali-Yuga ended in 1897. Finally, the last quarter of a century is always the most spiritual and is therefore a good reason to launch a spiritual movement. There were also other cyclical important facts of which we know practically nothing.
So there was a very good reason for the Masters to send HPB to New York, to let her meet Colonel Olcott and William Quan Judge and to start the theosophical movement.
The TS was very much needed
The TS was very much needed, for humanity was entering a dangerous evolutionary period. The religious belief in the Western world was extremely dogmatic and led increasingly to superstition and prejudice; on the other hand, science was so materialistic, that scientists simply denied everything the senses could not observe.
The Maha-Chohan, the Master of the Masters, describes this situation as follows:
"mankind is divided into two classes, a superstitious one preparing for itself long periods of temporary annihilation or states of non-consciousness; and a materialistic one indulging its animal propensities with the deliberate intention of submitting to annihilation pure and simple in cases of failure, to millenniums of degradation after physical dissolution" (4).
So the time was ripe for a theosophical view. Although among the masters themselves there was doubt whether the new attempt of the Lodge of Wisdom and Compassing would possibly be successful, ‘consent was given’.(5) That means that the Maha-Chohan gave his blessings, which is very important.
The difference between H.P. Blavatsky and HPB
A vehicle, a messenger – i.e. a link between the Masters and the world – was needed for that new attempt. And, as already mentioned, human beings suitable for such a tremendous task, are extremely rare. Blavatsky had that needed strength of will, that unquestionable devotion towards her Master and a great compassionate heart. But that was not enough. She had to exercise her will, she had to master her nature. But for such an important task still more was necessary. She was prepared to function as the instrument of the Hierarchy of Wisdom and Compassion, of which the Chohan was the head here on earth.
Blavatsky was a compassionate, wise, unselfish, loyal and courageous high chela of the Masters. She had activated in former lives her spiritual and divine nature. But HPB was even more than that. HPB was the voice of the whole Hierarchy of Compassion. She was their direct agent. We are talking about Tulku now. Tulku is a Tibetan word, which literally means: taking a human form on earth. It is similar to the Sanskrit word Avatāra.
There are various kinds of Tulku, but right now we just want to discuss now that specific Tulku that HPB was. In her case there was a high Master of the White Lodge, who sent out a part, or a ray of himself, to take embodiment in a chela, a messenger that this Master was sending into the world. That combination of Master and chela – that kind of Tulku – may last a lifetime or perhaps just a single day. The messenger, such as HPB, is a transmitter of the spiritual and divine powers of the Mahatmas into this, our world. When HPB spoke, acted or wrote, it was not the chela who was acting, it was the Master’s mind speaking and working through her.
So H.P. Blavatsky was the chela, a far advanced chela, one who was already initiated in the Gupta Vidyâ, the Universal Theosophia, so that she could serve the Master as a useful instrument to work in this outer world. And HPB was a Master speaking through that vehicle, yes, in fact it was the voice of the very Lodge of Compassion and Wisdom.
Read the first lines of The Secret Doctrine: The Author – the writer, rather –, thus she begins. Well, the Author – mind you: it is written with a capital A – is the Master; the writer is the chela, the vehicle of which the Author makes use.
Or think about the dedication to herself she wrote in her personal copy of The Voice of the Silence
"H.P.B. to H. P. Blavatsky, with no kind regards."(6)
Only the fact that HPB was a Tulku can explain these mysteries. HPB embodied the life of a Master. The higher essence of this Master was at times incarnated in her. Only when that influence was withdrawn, the Tulku became nonexistent.
Becoming such a Tulku is a work of white magic. A great part of the intermediate nature of the constitution of the chela has to be put aside. For how can a Master work through the chela, if the intermediate part – that what we usually call the soul – is active and propagates its own opinions and ideas. How can I – for instance – be the spokesman of somebody greater than I, when I mix up his ideas with my own opinions. I have to silence my own opinions, my own intermediate part, if I want to be a pure channel for the one of whom I am the spokesman.
In the case of HPB, she was not just the spokesman, she was the transformer of a divine influence, flowing out of the Heart of the Universe to our human community. The intermediate part of the high chela, whose task was so overwhelming great, had to be silenced, yes had to be put aside almost completely. During her stay with the Masters in Tibet this occult 'surgery' – as I may call it – took place. Nevertheless, not everything of the chela was put aside permanently, for sometimes she had to formulate the thoughts in her own words.
Try to grasp just a bit of this process of Tulku and you get an idea of how great the sacrifice of Blavatsky was. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if you silenced your own soul so that someone wiser and nobler than you, can make use of your vehicle. In a certain way you lose your “me”, you lose who you are. Of course you lose it only temporally, but nevertheless this loss will give a lot of instability in your consciousness.
HPB – the Mystery
Do you understand now the mystery HPB was? Can you imagine that for most of the people she was a riddle. Even members of the TS thought she was an unfit link between them and the Masters. Master Koothoomi, when trying to explain to Sinnett her situation by saying that she did not have the possession of the seven principles of consciousness, called her a psychological cripple.(7) And from a technical point of view she really was. But it was voluntarily. She knew what she was doing when she accepted the ungrateful task, that, according to the Master, ‘lay her low and desolate in the ruins of misery, misapprehension, and isolation’.(8)
You may ask, who was this Master who worked through her. Some think it was her own Master, Morya, of whom she was a chela. Maybe there were different Masters who worked through her. She had to revive various occult traditions all over the world, schools of different Masters. But maybe there was even still a greater Being working through HPB. There is a very interesting letter of Master Koothoomi to a chela, Mohini, who alludes to this. HPB went from Nice to Paris in 1884, and Mohini M. Chatterji who was in Paris, received, the following letter.
"When Upasika (Upasika was the way the Masters called HPB, B.V.) arrives, you will meet and receive her as though you were in India, and she your own Mother. (…); and if Colonel asks you why, you will answer him that it is the interior man, the indweller you salute, not H.P.B., for you were notified to that effect by us. And know for your own edification that One far greater than myself has kindly consented to survey the whole situation under her guise, and then to visit, through the same channel, occasionally, Paris and other places where foreign members may reside. You will thus salute her on seeing and taking leave of her the whole time you are at Paris — regardless of comments and her own surprise."(9)
Please, note: Mohini should treat HPB, with the utmost respect, because the interior man in HPB is somebody who is far greater than even Koothoomi himself. That interior man is therefore in our view the Master of Master Koothoomi, the Maha-Chohan to whom the Masters asked permission to set up the TS and he agreed. Being the head of the Masters on earth he is directly linked to more developed beings. In fact he is a ray of the Dhyāni Buddha of the planetary chain of the earth, that Wondrous Being that HPB calls the Silent Watcher, the ever-living-human-Banyan.(10) It was that same divine force that 2,100 years ago inspired the man who was born in Syria and who is known as Jesus Christ.
Even Theosophists don’t really understand the utmost importance of HPB. HPB was not just a high chela of the Masters, was not even a combination of a high chela and a Master, in fact she – or rather it – was the force that originated in the Dhyāni Buddha of our planetary chain, emanating through the chief of the Masters, the Maha-Chohan, who transformed it, so that that lion-heart-woman could bear it and fulfill that very important work on earth, that must give direction to the great Orphan,(11) as the Master called humanity. So the more you ponder about HPB, the more you get an idea about the compassionate structure of the universe.
After the death of HPB
Do you think that when HPB died in 1891 the Masters left humanity alone? In my opinion that would be absurd. Even an ordinary man does not give up his project when it is not yet accomplished. Of course the Masters knew the Tulku would cease to exist as the Chela Blavatsky died; and of course they knew that the TS would not be immediately a 100% success, nor that it would be a 100% failure. The first impulse had taken place but the work needed to continue.
HPB herself speaks frankly about another disciple sent by the Masters, who may be more informed and far better fitted to explain the Gupta Vidyā, or the Secret Doctrine.(12)
We, from the Point Loma tradition, think that disciple really came and that his coming was planned long before the founding of the TS. If you read the books of Gottfried de Purucker you have a far better understanding of the teachings that HPB started to teach. He lifted up the veil a bit more. He was part of the great plan of the Masters.
Whether you believe it or not that he was sent by the Masters it is a fact that the Masters, after the passing of HPB, were still occupied with the work. Annie Besant received a letter from Koothoomi in 1900, nine years after the passing of HPB.(13) And William Quan Judge and Katherine Tingley asserted that they had contact with the Masters. So there is proof that in the beginning of the 20th century they were still involved in the cause.
That cause is the foundation of a new Mystery School. That school finds it origin in the spiritual part of the earth and has branched to all parts of the world.
So the Theosophical Society, or the Theosophical Movement, is not just an organization of well-intentioned good willing men and women. It is not just a philanthropic club that was founded in 1875. The TS is the forecourt of a Mystery School. You can reach the Masters through the TS.
How inspiring is this picture. We all can be a part of the oldest organization on earth, which is rooted in de Silent Watcher of our Planet, whose life, compassion and influence are transformed by the Master and their chelas to us. So we can be integrated parts of the Hierarchy of Compassion, cooperate with the Masters for the spiritual welfare of humanity, by making Theosophy a living power in our lives.
Theosophy is therefore not just a philosophy, a theory like so many others. It is the truth, expressed in human language, about the order of nature, about the meaning and purpose of life. It gives plenty of food for thought for centuries to come, not just for the new Messianic cycle, but for many centuries thereafter.
Theosophy is able to turn the tide of materialism, dogmatism and the foolish ideology of selfishness, and above all it can give perspective and hope for a loftier future, where people are more and more aware of their inextricable links with each other and realize that brotherhood is a fact in nature. HPB sacrificed her life for this.
Only by applying Theosophia humanity is able to take the impending turning point in the current cycle. The immense work of the Masters and HPB at the beginning of a new cycle was badly needed. Without the knowledge of the Ancient Wisdom it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to develop the right abilities to go along with the upward flow.
So what a responsibility lies in our hands to continue our work! How thankful we should be for the knowledge that flowed from the Heart of the Universe, through the Masters and HPB to us! We can express that gratitude best by, unitedly, spreading Theosophy among our fellow men. We are privileged. We can continue the work and cooperate on our plane with the Masters.
- HPB, Collected Writings IVX, page 246-259.
- See: G. de Purucker Fundamentals, chapter 38.
- The Mahatma Letters (Letter XXVI)
- Only letter of the Maha-Chohan. This letter is published on various internet sites, for instance: http://www.katinkahesselink.net/chohan.htm
- The Mahatma Letters , letter XLIV, page 263.
- The facsimile of this inscription was published by Mr. C. Jinarajadasa at “The Theosophist”, August 1931 edition, page 560.
- The Mahatma Letters (Letter XXVI, page 204).
- The Mahatma Letters (Letter IX).
- Letters from the Masters of Wisdom , II, page 124-5; see also: Charles J. Ryan, H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement , page 158-9.
- The Secret Doctrine , I, page 207-8.
- &The Mahatma Letters , Letter VIII, page 32. H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine , page 798. http://www.katinkahesselink.net/lastkh.htm.