From p. 335-337 of “HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky” by Sylvia Cranston
Note: The following occurrences are from the final few years of H.P. Blavatsky’s life, when she was living in London, England.
HPB never professed to have the power to cure diseases, but there is evidence that she had knowledge along these lines. Alice Cleather tells of this in her book H.P. Blavatsky As I Knew Her. Shortly after Blavatsky’s death, Mrs. Cleather had occasion to consult Dr. Z. Mennell, HPB’s London physician, and noted:
“It was a memorable visit, lasting nearly two hours (he kept a roomful of patients waiting while we talked). Very little was said about my own health. . . . But we talked much about HPB. He told me what an inspiration she had been to him in his medical work; how much she had taught him about the nature of the body and its powers – particularly the brain. Some of the things which she had demonstrated with her own organism, were so far beyond anything then known to medical science that it would have been useless to lay them before the College of Physicians, of which I believe he was a distinguished member. He told me that he had brought one instance before them, but was met with such hopeless and determined scepticism that he never repeated the attempt.”
As to HPB’s healing power, one example is related by Archibald Keightley in his “Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky.” He tells of becoming ill with a form of erysipelas, accompanied by high fever, after a strenuous schedule of Theosophical work:
“It so happened that Mme. Blavatsky’s physician was calling and he looked in on me. What was said I do not know, but as I lay in a kind of stupor I found that Mme. Blavatsky had made a progress up two flights of fairly steep stairs (she who never went up a step if it could be helped, on account of the pain so caused) and had arrived to judge for herself of her doctor’s report of me. She sat and looked at me, and then she talked while she held a glass of water between her hands, and this water I afterwards drank; then she went downstairs again bidding me to follow. Down I went and was made to lie on the couch in her room and covered up. I lay there half asleep while she worked away at her writing, sitting at her table in her big chair, with her back towards me. How long I was there I do not know, but suddenly just past my head went a flash of deep crimson lightning. I started, not unnaturally, and was saluted through the back of the chair with “Lie down, what for do you take any notice?” I did so and went to sleep and, after I had been sent upstairs to bed, I again went to sleep and next morning was quite well, if a little shaky. Then I was packed off to Richmond and forbidden to return till I was strong.”
In the same reminiscences, Keightley gives an intriguing report of the meetings at the Blavatsky Lodge when located at Lansdowne Road:
“The discussions were informal and all sat around and asked questions of Mme. Blavatsky. . . . One part of our delight was for Mme. Blavatsky to reply by the Socratic method – ask another question and seek information on her own account. It was a very effective method and frequently confounded the setter of the conundrum. If it was a genuine search for information which dictated the question, she would spare no pains to give all information in her power. But if the matter was put forward to annoy her or puzzle, the business resulted badly for the questioner. The meetings took up a lot of time, but Mme. Blavatsky enjoyed the contest of wits.
“All nations would be represented in those rooms on Thursday nights, and one could never tell who would be present. Sometimes there would be unseen visitors, seen by some but not by others of us. Results were curious; Mme. Blavatsky felt the cold very much and her room was therefore kept very warm, so much so that at the meetings it was unpleasantly hot very often. One night before the meeting time, I came downstairs to find the room like an ice-house, though fire and lights were fully on. I called HPB’s attention to this, but was greeted with a laugh and “Oh, I have had a friend of mine here to see me and he forgot to remove his atmosphere.”
“Another time I remember that the rooms gradually filled until there was no vacant seat. On the sofa sat a distinguished Hindu, in full panoply of turban and dress. The discussion proceeded and apparently our distinguished guest was much interested, for he seemed to follow intelligently the remarks of each speaker. The president of the Lodge arrived that night very late, and coming in looked around for a seat. He walked up to the sofa and sat down – right in the middle of the distinguished Hindu, who promptly, and with some surprise, fizzled and vanished!”
In between meetings and during the day, the Blavatsky Lodge was a hive of activity, reports a resident worker, the Irish Theosophist Claude Falls Wright. In addition to the stream of visitors there were always a number of volunteer helpers around, who assisted with various jobs. One day a group of workers were huddled together discussing what they considered an urgent problem. Having come to an impasse, one of the younger volunteers knocked on HPB’s door and asked her to resolve the matter:
“Madame,” she said, “what is the most important thing necessary in the study of Theosophy?”
“Common sense, my dear.”
“And Madame, what would you place second?”
“A sense of humour.”
“And third, Madame?”
At this point, patience must have been wearing thin.
“Oh, just MORE common sense!”
~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~
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