H. P. Blavatsky: The Mystery

By Gottfried de Purucker in collaboration with Katherine Tingley

Chapter IV -- Over the Threshold

Men have their unselfish moods; but even their great purposes are fickle and changing; their aspirations are here today and gone tomorrow. How then could such a one as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky have been understood by her time? The slanders of her enemies are a tribute to her greatness: she will always be a mystery to a world that does not look towards the sources of light. Except to those who have discovered that the worldly life is not the delightful thing it claims to be, who have come to the limit of it and found ambition and selfishness delusions, she will remain forever a mystery.

Those who did understand her must have had that experience. Before they left their bodies in some previous life they must have waked to the unreality and impermanence of the things men mostly set their hearts on; and then they must have waked to the Reality beyond, which demands of us the will to grow and the will to serve; and it was this will, this desire, that drew them to be her pupils. She knew when she came that many would be waiting for her; and her Teacher would have told her and she would have known it for herself -- what he told her would have been confirmation of her own knowledge -- that of the many who would profess faith and friendship, but few would stand the tests.

Every Teacher has hours of loneliness. With all their knowledge of and love for humanity, and their hopes for the future, there must come to them a sadness and a loneliness at times; because the links in the disciples' hearts with the Teacher are not always strongly forged, and the grand truths are brushed aside for the falsities; and because insincerity and hypocrisy and selfishness, and vice are the powerful agents of today; but most of all the loneliness comes when the disciples fail, and turn and would destroy the work that has helped and sought to save them. With her disciples that sometimes happened, as we know; and she did her utmost always to avert their disaster; and knew in each instance that of her duty to them she had left nothing undone.

There is about H. P. Blavatsky a certain grandeur that impels us towards search for the inner meaning of things and an effort to awaken the deepest part of our nature where all truth abides for us to discover. We have not identified ourselves with her work for our own salvation's sake; our aim is at a mark more unusual: to make mankind happy glimpsing the wonderful hope that we cherish, glimpsing the wonderful truths; to unfold in our lives a divine influence to take out into the world and to give to humanity, that the great heart of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky may be understood; and that the doors of the temple of peace and brotherhood may be opened wider and wider, that we may look out beyond and see other and other portals of other and other temples opening and opening to the utmost heights; and that many may see and come forward who now fall back and die, and must, until the light so shines through their lives that without speech or writing it will make itself known.

This was the light that she brought into the world; it was for these ends she came, and was heroic, and suffered. Therefore if we would pay right tribute to her we must weigh well every word that we utter and protest against the entry into our minds of any single worthless or personal thought. For she offered her life on the altar of truth, and had little to support her but the power of the great doctrines that she brought with her; for the whole world was against her in the beginning. Through every phase and action of her career that superb courage shone which manifests in the world but here and there, in those whom we call the heroes; and then only when their highest motives are dominant in their minds, and some lofty emergency calls into play that which is greater than the normal self. For this kind of courage is spiritual: it is inherent in the Spiritual Will, the noble ruler of the mind; it is a quality that marks the Divine Soul of Man.

Science goes on accepting one after another many of the great ideas she promulgated, but usually ignores their source; while the more she opposed materialism and labored to bring the supreme religious truth of human brotherhood to the knowledge of mankind, the more she was hunted down by the professed followers of religion.

She saw how humanity had been drifting through the ages unaware of its birthright and unconscious of its dignity; how the indefiniteness of modern ideas had confused the minds of the people and engendered everywhere uncertainty and helpless doubt; how the essential truths of religion had been honeycombed with falsehood by the tortuous forces that retarded the progress of mankind: and she left for posterity a body of teachings with power in them to change the whole world, and as it were to raise from the dead the Immortal Part of man.

To make perfectly clear what we have said before, let us repeat: the case of H. P. Blavatsky was identical with what has taken place at other times, when, for various reasons, a Messenger is sent forth from the glorious Association of the great Sages and Seers, exactly as she was. In all cases of the appearance of these Messengers, their work is based on the combination, briefly speaking, of two facts, or rather the concurrence of two quite distinct and yet closely similar sources of spiritual and intellectual inspiration: first, inspiration from the Messenger's own Spiritual Self or Inner Essential Divinity, and in the manner already outlined, and this is in large part the result of previous initiations which the Messenger has passed through; and second, constant and continuous help in an intellectual and psycho-spiritual way from the Messenger's Teacher or Teachers, who have sent the Messenger forth into the world in order to do the work which the civilization of the time, in its cyclic evolution, has made possible.

It is one of our Theosophical teachings that, as the great Plato put it, human history is composed of periods of spiritual barrenness and periods of spiritual fertility, which succeed each other regularly in time. When the periods of spiritual fertility occur, the streams of natural inspiration and intuitive intellectual action in the leaders of the human race, and of whatever country, are running more or less strong; whereas the periods of spiritual barrenness are marked by times when the evolutionary cycle is running strong in matter and weak in the channels of native spiritual illumination. It is in these latter times, in the times of spiritual barrenness, that the Messengers usually appear among men, and strike the keynote of a new age.

So in the famous Hindu work, the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna refers to the same thought that was in the mind of Plato, and sets forth that, as the Spirit of true illumination, he then incarnates for the destruction of evil, the righting of wrong, and the re-establishment of righteousness upon earth. Plato's idea is a very old one, and in all the great World-Religions and World-Philosophies precisely the same idea occurs and is expressed in a more or less clear manner.

If it were not for the Cimmerian darkness which exists in the minds of Occidentals with regard to what real psychology is, the entire situation which we are attempting to explain as regards H. P. Blavatsky would be so clear that a mere word of allusion to it would be sufficient. But to a people such as Occidentals are, whose ideas regarding the 'soul' are of the vaguest, and who have scarcely any belief that such a super-physical organ as 'the soul' exists, the attempt to explain this Mystery is very difficult indeed and it is necessary once again to remind the reader that if he wishes clearly to understand the problem he must be willing to study it faithfully and to realize that a very cursory reading will not help him very much.

Does what we have before said imply that H. P. Blavatsky was psychologized by her Teacher? Most positively it does not. It does mean, however, that she was a Mediator -- acquiescent, willing, and fully self-conscious of it -- between the Association of the World-Teachers or great Seers and Sages, and ordinary human beings such as men and women usually are. The Mediator or Intermediary is a highly evolved human entity always possessing a strong and vigorous individuality, and usually a forceful and positive personality, and is the Messenger or Transmitter between others greater than he or than she is, and human beings in general.

The main idea to keep in mind is that the foundation of H P. Blavatsky's spiritual and intellectual inspiration lay in the stream of illumination received from her own essential divinity -- her own Inner Spiritual Inspirer, and that this was rendered possible by the complete stilling of the ever-active and often misleading brain-mind, which in all human beings is an organ that, however useful it may be in daily affairs, is the greatest hindrance, on account of its fevered and fretful activities, to the reception of the calming and refining influences flowing from the monadic essence or spiritual-divine nature within. The idea therefore is most certainly not that the intermediate or psychological nature steps aside or abandons temporarily the constitution, for such an act would have resulted in mere sleep or trance; but that it is trained to be still, to be quiet, to be as pellucid and clear as the waters of a mountain tarn, receiving and mirroring the rays of the golden sun.

The idea is not, again, that this temporary 'absence' or functional 'disjunction' of the intermediate part of H. P. Blavatsky's constitution worked injury, or damage, or degradation, or hurt of any kind, to her or to any part of her constitution. The truth is that the psychological condition which we call by the phrase 'temporary disjunction' or 'absence,' is so expressed in human language only because more accurate and exact terms do not exist in European tongues to describe it with accuracy. It must not be thought that the intermediate or psychological nature is disrupted from the rest of the constitution, but, on the contrary, that it there still remains, but in a state of undisturbed receptivity; and that this condition took place through the exercise of H. P. Blavatsky's own will-power. In fact, this condition is not different, either in fundamentals or in principle, from what occurs in vastly minor degree to every human being almost every day, when he feels himself, as the saying runs, 'in the mood' to receive a new and illuminating idea: beautiful, sublime, inspiring, helpful, uplifting: and makes it a part of his own consciousness and store of rich thoughts.

But in H. P. Blavatsky's case it took place in eminently greater degree, as it did likewise in the cases of all other Messengers or World-Teachers who occupied the same relation to their Teachers on the one hand, and to humanity on the other. Her intermediate or psychological nature was as fully connected by all natural vital bonds with the remaining two portions of her own inner constitution as at any time. We repeat: it was merely that the personal will and brain-mind and psycho-mental apparatus were temporarily perfectly stilled by her own will-power into full psychological quiescence, so that the overshadowing -- if we may here use this rather misleading word -- or the inflowing thought and will and consciousness of her own Inner Spiritual Essence, the spiritual-divine Individual, or Self, of her, could work through her psychological and vital-astral mechanism undisturbed and with ease and facility of self-expression.

In the ancient literatures often very wonderful and mystic and psychological teachings and most illuminating references are made to what was then spoken of as a man being filled with the glory of his inner divinity. There is nothing strange or supernatural about this. Nothing is so natural, nothing is so holy, nothing is so helpful. The Christian New Testament, in referring to the transfiguration of Jesus, later called the Christ, speaks of the same identical fact of his having been filled with the divine spirit within him, which later ages construed to mean the spirit of the extracosmic Deity which it had become the fashion to believe in.

With reference to the Greek Mysteries, the ancient literatures of Greece and Rome occasionally refer to the fact that in certain stages of the initiatory procedures the initiant or postulant was so filled with the energy and splendor of his own Inner God that his body was clothed with light -- 'clothed with the sun,' were the words -- and that his face shone, so that his whole being was transfigured.

It is therefore abundantly clear that the case of H. P. Blavatsky was not self-hypnotization in any sense of the word, nor psychologization by the will of another, either of which would be utterly against the teachings and rules of the Great Sages; a condition which would have utterly unfitted one to be the disciple, and, a fortiori, the Messenger of the Great Sages and Seers.

As we survey H. P. Blavatsky's life from her childhood-days, and mark the different stages of growth of the developed and wonderful nature that was her native heritage, we see not only that growing power that was her own, but also quite clearly the appearance at times -- the comings of which the average person could not predict -- of what the world, using popular language, would call a genius still greater than hers: the appearance of a mighty and rushing tide of sublime thought, stamped with an individuality distinct from her own ordinary brain-mind thought, and yet obviously working in and through her physical personality.

This subordination of personality to quasi-divinity is one of the most mysterious facts in human history, and is one which has always furnished the greatest problem even to the most intuitive historians. They sense the presence of splendor; they perceive the workings of an illumination which dazzles, in the life and teachings of this or some other World-Figure; and puzzled by the phenomenon, which they fail to understand, they speak of the man or woman whom they are then studying as one of the inexplicable figures of history.

We see H. P. Blavatsky in childhood, surrounded by her family, a child full of mystical thought, tender and loving to those who surrounded her, strangely touched by any story of suffering or pain, living an inner life of her own, which those around her never could understand; we see her in later years traveling from land to land, learning everywhere, gathering knowledge and unusual teaching in unexpected places; we see her arriving at New York in 1873, and gathering around her a devoted body, not merely of friends but of men and women keen to take from her what they felt by a sort of spiritual instinct she had to give to them; we see her in later years leaving for India with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, and in that far distant peninsula creating a veritable furor of interest and astonishment, gathering around her some of the keenest minds of the keen-minded Hindu peoples. We see her at last beginning to proclaim to the world through the pages of her magazine, The Theosophist, and through her letters, written to correspondents all over the world, a philosophy of the Universe and of life generally, at which she had previously but hinted, as in her Isis Unveiled instance.

We see her leaving India at different times for more or less protracted sojourns in European countries, where in 1890, she finally settled in London at 19 Avenue Road, and where she then delivered in literary form the full-grown flowering of her mission to men.

We see her idolized as a woman of sublimely beautiful and wonderful character by her friends; we see her decried and ridiculed by those who had no understanding of her; we see her in her last days, in her loose and comfortable garment, sitting in her arm-chair, writing, writing, writing, every day -- until she finally passed away in 1891-- an uninterrupted stream of literary productions; and we see her finally, one morning, surrounded by her friends, and in the same arm-chair where she so loved to work, quietly and with scarcely a movement of the muscles of her face, pass on to what she always called 'Home.'

Through all this period of time she was always the same H. P. Blavatsky, firm friend, true and steady counselor, devotion itself to her Mission, a hater of shams, an unfolder of men's hearts and minds, a revealer of their own souls, laying bare the Wisdom-Religion of the ancients to all who would pay attention to what she had to say; and laying the foundations of a new civilization reposing on the everlasting rock of the Archaic Wisdom. She brought peace and solace and wisdom and happiness to men's hearts, and to their minds she brought surcease from sorrow and pain.

How profoundly H. P. Blavatsky's Message has moved the world, and how greatly it has stirred the intuition of all thinking men and women, is abundantly manifest today in the amazing approaches of the various branches of science, through the speculations of the most eminent scientific men, to her teachings, given between 1873 and 1891. Her greatest work, The Secret Doctrine, may fitly be said to be filled from cover to cover with an unending series of invaluable hints and allusions to Nature's secrets, and concerning its constitution inner and outer, and therefore also the nature and constitution of man.

Modern chemistry, modern biology, as examples, are beginning to discover, and their foremost exponents are beginning openly to teach, secrets of Nature and philosophical deductions regarding those secrets, that would have brought about the social ostracism of any scientist of H. P. Blavatsky's day, had he dared even to voice his possible intuition of such knowledge.

The unreal and illusory nature of matter; the energic constitution of the physical world; the ultra-modern scientific speculations regarding the nature and constitution of atomic structure; the great changes that have come over men's minds with regard to the real meaning of evolution, and the rapidly progressing rejection of the teachings of Darwinism in favor of a more spiritual and loftier interpretation of the undoubted truth of evolution; the appearance in authoritative scientific works of statements that bear directly on the existence of invisible but discoverable energies working through man and the universe: these and many more such, which have now become the commonplaces of scientific thinking, all exemplify most forcefully the statement just made as to the approach that the greatest men in science are now making, and in larger degree with the passage of every year, to the teachings of Theosophy, the modern presentation of the Wisdom-Religion of the archaic ages.

Science has advanced with strides of seven-league boots since H. P. Blavatsky's time; and in all directions, philosophic as well as technically scientific, it is today giving voice to theories and hypotheses based on the most recent scientific discoveries which corroborate in general and often in particular, statements and doctrines broadcast by H. P. Blavatsky as teachings of the Ancient Wisdom imbodied in her books.

We have but to turn to the revolutionary theories of Dr. Albert Einstein regarding the relativity of natural laws and substances and energies and their phenomena, to see in them, modern scientific formulations of facts in Universal Nature which H. P. Blavatsky, as the Messenger of the Archaic Wisdom, clearly taught and brilliantly elucidated in 1888, as far as it was possible to do so in an age when not even the most intuitive minds understood the ABC of what the coming years were to bring forth. Whatever Dr. Einstein's mathematical demonstrations may prove, and whether these demonstrations at the present time be subject or not to correction, is another matter; we allude solely to his principal thesis of Relativity.

Most recently, indeed [1929], the newspapers have carried reports of another advance made by Einstein regarding the nature of gravitation and its connection, and probable fundamental identity, with cosmic electricity and magnetism. Here again the famous German philosopher and scientist is endeavoring to cover ground that H. P. Blavatsky in 1888 pointedly and definitely called to the attention of the scientific world, and then wrote about, and explained with unparalleled success, to those intuitive minds who were able to grasp her meaning and to follow her reasoning.

Or we may turn to Professor A. S. Eddington, Plumian Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University, England, a remarkable British philosophical scientist, who amazed his fellow-scientists attending a very recent meeting [1929] of the Royal Society in England, with his championship of the existence of consciousness functioning throughout Nature in individual particulars -- in other words, teaching precisely in modern scientific phraseology what H. P. Blavatsky did in 1888 and in previous years regarding the existence of a graded series of consciousnesses throughout Universal Nature; all of which is one way of stating that the universe is but imbodied consciousnesses.

This conception was in the background of the philosophy of archaic times, when the ancients spoke of the Universe as being filled full of gods and daimones, etc., in practically infinitely varying grades or stages of evolutionary development, some very high and some very low, with all intermediate degrees.

Professor Eddington's amazingly correct theory, if we have understood aright newspaper-cables carrying the news, is briefly summarized by Professor A. Wolf, professor of Scientific Theory, London University, as follows:

"It is Professor Eddington's theory that they [physical events an phenomena] all partake -- everything partakes -- of the nature of mental activity, of consciousness, or sub-consciousness, sometimes of a low and sometimes of a higher order, and these mental activities can be described by other and higher minds, but all these have a consciousness of self which is different from their appearance in the consciousness of other minds and from the description. . . . Electrons are to be thought of in terms of rhythm and energy, electric charges, not in terms of infinitely small 'billiard-balls,' etc., etc."

We may likewise instance the forecasting of the discovery of radio-activity in physical nature which H. P. Blavatsky in 1888 likewise clearly outlined, also pointing out that what we now call radio-activity was not merely existent in certain natural provinces, so to say, or in certain physical elements, but was universal; and she then instanced the so-called 'radiant matter' of Professor William Crookes, as being the starting point of remarkable discoveries to come, regarding the constitution of Nature and its foundation on invisible and inner elements; and this is exactly what has taken place.

Whence did she derive the power to descry, and, descrying, to describe in her great books these things? How was it that she was so truly a prophet as to see so clearly, and to set forth so pointedly, what was to take place within two generations from the time when she wrote? How is it that in The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888, she should describe in extraordinarily similar words, as teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, what Sir James H. Jeans today (1929) calls his 'singular points' -- points existent in cosmical nebulae, which, according to him, are the open doors, or channels, connecting our physical, visible universe with one which is invisible and non-physical, and which, let it be said in passing, he speaks of as another 'dimension.'

These singular points of Dr. Jeans, H. P. Blavatsky then called 'Laya-Centers,' which she described with the remarkable facility native to her writings, and also pointed out that the ascription to these invisible worlds or spheres of the term 'other dimensions' is entirely wrong; for these invisible spheres are not dimensions of physical matter in any sense, but, exactly speaking, are other worlds having their own natural dimensions, as our physical world has its dimensional series; calling attention at the same time to the fact that while the word 'dimensions' is wrong, it nevertheless did signify an intuition on the part of the writers of her day of the fact that other and more subtil and causal realms were at the basis of the physical universe.

This single instance illustrates what we might fill many pages with by way of proof of the statement that H. P. Blavatsky foresaw scientific discoveries soon thereafter to be made, but in her day unguessed at. As regards Dr. Jeans' 'singular points,' the student who is interested may turn to her The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 148, and elsewhere.

These questions of priority in scientific and philosophical matters as belonging to H. P. Blavatsky, the historian of the future will certainly have to answer, for they are too important for him ever to be able to leave them unnoticed. Meanwhile, students of the Message which H. P. Blavatsky brought to the world from the Guardians of the Ancient Wisdom, move steadily along in their work of disseminating the age-old Truth wherever it can find even a remote chance to strike its roots deep into human hearts and minds.

Chapter V