The identity of this woman is still controversial in the scientific and non-scientific environment. Mahatma Gandhi regretted that he could not touch the edge of her clothes, Roerich dedicated the painting “Messenger” to her. Someone considered her a charlatan, a preacher of Satanism, emphasizing that the theory of racial superiority was borrowed by Hitler from the theory of indigenous races, and the seances that she held were nothing more than a farce performance. Her books were both admired and called frank compilation and plagiarism, in which all the world’s teachings are mixed.
However, until now, the works of Helena Blavatsky have been successfully reprinted and translated into many foreign languages, gaining new fans and critics.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born into a wonderful family: on the part of her mother, the famous novelist Elena Gan (Fadeeva), who was called nothing more than “Russian George Sand”, her family was directly connected with the legendary Rurik, and her father came from the family of the counts of Macklenburg Gan (German: Hann). The grandmother of the future ideologist of theosophy, Elena Pavlovna, was a very unusual keeper of the hearth – she knew five languages, was fond of numismatics, studied the mystics of the East, and corresponded with the German scientist A. Humboldt.
Little Lena Gan showed remarkable abilities in teaching, as her cousin noted, the outstanding Russian statesman S.Yu. Witte, grasped everything literally on the fly, achieved particular success in studying German and music.
However, the girl suffered from sleepwalking, jumped up in the middle of the night, walked around the house, sang songs. Because of the father’s service, the Gan family often had to move, and the mother didn’t have enough time to pay attention to all the children, so Elena imitated epileptic attacks, rolled on the floor, shouted out various prophecies in fits, a frightened servant brought a priest to exorcise demons. Later, these childhood whims will be interpreted by her admirers as direct evidence of her psychic abilities.
Dying, Elena Petrovna’s mother frankly said that she was even glad that she would not have to watch Lena’s bitter and not at all feminine life.
After the death of the mother, the children were taken to Saratov by the mother’s parents, the Fadeevs. There, a significant change happened to Lena: a previously lively and open girl, who loved balls and other social events, sat for hours in the library of her grandmother, Elena Pavlovna Fadeeva, a passionate collector of books. It was there that she became seriously interested in the occult sciences and oriental practices.
In 1848, Elena enters into a fictitious marriage with the elderly vice-governor of Yerevan, Nikifor Blavatsky, only to gain complete independence from her annoying Saratov relatives. Three months after the wedding, she fled through Odessa and Kerch to Constantinople.
No one can accurately describe the subsequent period – Blavatsky never kept diaries, and her travel memories are confused and more like fascinating fairy tales than the truth.
At first she performed as a rider in the circus of Constantinople, but after breaking her arm, she left the arena and went to Egypt. Then she traveled through Greece, Asia Minor, tried several times to get to Tibet, but did not advance further than India. Then she comes to Europe, performs as a pianist in Paris and after a while ends up in London, where she allegedly makes her debut on the stage. None of her relatives knew exactly where she was, but according to the recollections of a relative, N.A. Fadeeva, her father regularly sent her money.
In Hyde Park, London, on her birthday in 1851, Helena Blavatsky saw the one who constantly appeared in her dreams – her guru El Morya.
Mahatma El Morya, as Blavatsky later claimed, was a teacher of the Ageless Wisdom, and often dreamed of her from childhood. This time, Mahatma Morya called her to action, because Elena has a high mission – to bring the Great Spiritual Beginning into this world.
She goes to Canada, lives with the natives, but after the women of the tribe stole her shoes from her, she becomes disillusioned with the Indians and leaves for Mexico, and then – in 1852 – begins her journey through India. The route was indicated to her by Guru Morya, and he, according to Blavatsky’s memoirs, sent her money. (However, the same N. A. Fadeeva claims that the relatives who remained in Russia had to send her funds every month for a living).
Elena spends the next seven years in Tibet, where she studies the occult. She then returns to London and suddenly gains popularity as a pianist. Another meeting with her Guru takes place and she goes to the USA.
After the USA, a new round of travel begins: through the Rocky Mountains to San Francisco, then Japan, Siam and, finally, Calcutta. Then she decides to return to Russia, travels around the Caucasus, then through the Balkans, Hungary, then returns to St. Petersburg and, taking advantage of the demand for seances, successfully conducts them, having received the fame of a medium.
However, some researchers are very skeptical about this ten-year period of travel. According to L. S. Klein, an archaeologist and anthropologist, all these ten years she has been living with relatives in Odessa.
In 1863, another ten-year travel cycle begins. This time in the Arab countries. Miraculously surviving in a storm off the coast of Egypt, Blavatsky opens the first Spiritual Society in Cairo. Then, disguised as a man, he fights with the rebels of Garibaldi, but after being seriously wounded, he again goes to Tibet.
It is still difficult to say whether Blavatsky became the first woman, and besides, a foreigner, who visited Lhasa, however, it is known for certain that she knew well Panchen-lamu VII and those sacred texts that she studied for three years were included in her work “Voice of Silence”. Blavatsky herself said that it was then in Tibet that she became initiated.
From the 1870s, Blavatsky began her messianic activity. In the USA, she surrounds herself with people who are morbidly passionate about spiritualism, writes the book “From the caves and wilds of Hindustan”, in which she reveals herself from a completely different side – as a talented author. The book consisted of sketches of her travels in India and was published under the pseudonym Radda-Bai. Some of the essays were published in Moskovskie Vedomosti, they were a huge success.
In 1875, Blavatsky wrote one of her most famous books, Isis Unveiled, in which she smashes and criticizes both science and religion, arguing that only with the help of mysticism can one understand the essence of things and the truth of being. The circulation was sold out in ten days. The reading society was divided. Some were amazed at the mind and depth of thought of a woman who did not have any scientific knowledge, while others no less fiercely called her book a grandiose garbage dump, where the foundations of Buddhism and Brahmanism were collected in one heap.
But Blavatsky does not accept criticism and in the same year opens the Theosophical Society, whose activities still cause heated debate. In 1882, the headquarters of the society was established in Madras, India.
In 1888, Blavatsky wrote the main work of her life, The Secret Doctrine. Publicist V.S. Solovyov publishes a review of the book, where he calls Theosophy an attempt to adapt the postulates of Buddhism for the European atheistic society. Kabbalah and Gnosticism, Brahminism, Buddhism and Hinduism merged in a bizarre way in the teachings of Blavatsky.
Researchers attribute theosophy to the category of syncretic philosophical and religious teachings. Theosophy is “god-wisdom”, where God is impersonal and acts as a kind of Absolute, and therefore it is not at all necessary to go to India or spend seven years in Tibet if God can be found everywhere. According to Blavatsky, man is a reflection of the Absolute, and therefore, a priori, one with God.
However, critics of Theosophy notice that Blavatsky presents Theosophy as a pseudo-religion that requires unlimited faith, and she herself acts as an ideologue of Satanism. However, it cannot be denied that Blavatsky’s teachings had an influence both on Russian cosmists and on the avant-garde in art and philosophy.
From India, her spiritual homeland, Blavatsky had to leave in 1884 after being accused by the Indian authorities of charlatanism. This is followed by a period of failure – one after another, her hoaxes and tricks are revealed during séances. According to some sources, Elena Petrovna offers her services as a spy to the III branch of the royal investigation, the political intelligence of the Russian Empire.
Then she lived in Belgium, then in Germany, wrote books. She died after suffering the flu on May 8, 1891, for her admirers this day is the “day of the white lotus.” Her ashes were scattered over the three cities of the Theosophical Society – New York, London and Adyar.
Until now, there is no unambiguous assessment of her personality. Blavatsky’s cousin S.Yu. Witte ironically spoke of her as a kind person with huge blue eyes, many critics noted her undoubted literary talent. All her hoaxes in spiritualism are more than obvious, but pianos playing in the dark and voices from the past fade into the background before The Secret Doctrine, a book that opened to Europeans a doctrine that combines both religion and science, which was a revelation for the rational, atheistic worldview of people at the beginning of the XNUMXth century.
In 1975, a postage stamp was issued in India commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Theosophical Society. It depicts the coat of arms and the motto of the society “There is no religion higher than truth.”
Text: Lilia Ostapenko.