HPB: The Greatest of Theosophic Mysteries

The first of these two articles comes from the “Theosophy School” section of Theosophy Magazine (the main monthly publication of the United Lodge of Theosophists) for May 1926. The briefest and simplest way to describe Theosophy School would be to say that it is the Theosophical equivalent of “Sunday School” as found in many Christian churches, with the important difference that at Theosophy School the emphasis is on universal spiritual principles, the oneness and divineness of all life, and central Theosophical teachings such as Karma, reincarnation, and the sevenfold nature of the human being.

Teachers at Theosophy School are trained so as to be able to relate to and deal with children on an individual basis while they still remain part of a collective group. Theosophy School still operates on a regular basis at a number of ULT Lodges around the world.

The second dates from the 1940s and comes from one of the textbooks used in Theosophy School, titled “The Eternal Verities – For Old Souls in Young Bodies.” Although originally meant for young people, these articles may be a source of inspiration for people of any age and the somewhat dated feel of the excerpt from “The Eternal Verities” only adds to its charm.

Here are clear examples and illustrations of true Bhakti – heartfelt spiritual devotion and adoration. No Theosophist would ever agree with or support the idea of someone worshipping or praying to HPB. This would be ridiculous and foolish! But to cultivate and practice a deep, sincere, reverential, grateful, and heartfelt love and appreciation for her – for the real and inner HPB – and for her great work for humanity . . . there is nothing at all wrong with this. Not only does it assist us in balancing head and heart (which is something very important) but it also fires and inspires us to live and work for the great Cause for which she sacrificed herself so valiantly.

This great reverence and love for a Guru – which literally means a “destroyer of ignorance” – is the hallmark of the spirituality of India and the East.

So many spiritual seekers, many Theosophists included, have been desperately looking and longing for a “Great Teacher” to come along and change the global situation for the better. But, as some Theosophists, especially in the ULT, have long recognised, such a Teacher has already come and gone and set things in motion. Now it is up to us, as His/Her students, to make a real difference in this world.

~ * ~


H. P. BLAVATSKY is known among Theosophists as H.P.B. This has a meaning. The name of the body is one thing; the Name of the Soul is another. When a child is born a name is given to its form, and both these, name and form – Namarupa in Sanskrit – are but masques. In most cases the masque passes as the Real, the Soul; for, in most the Real Self or Atman, does not shine forth.

Intuitive students know that the body which bore the name of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was a masque; in that form a mighty Soul dwelt and toiled; that Soul loved humanity and labored for it. Her pupils, students, friends, felt the power behind and, not knowing how to distinguish that Great Soul from the Masque, called it H.P.B. The Name of the Soul is sacred; therefore it is kept secret – for It has power. All Great Initiates have Their True Mystery Names. Therefore once a Mahatma wrote, “the personality known as H.P.B. to the world but otherwise to us.”

Look at her picture and contemplate: look behind those penetrating and all-seeing eyes; observe those resolute closed lips which, if they would open, could tell the secrets of worlds unknown; that noble forehead, the shrine of the Ageless Wisdom of the great Lodge; that beautiful but strong hand – protector of humanity; the whole massive grandeur, symbolic of her mighty dynamic soul. Behind and beyond those symbols dwelt the Soul – the Greatest our age has known.

H.P.B. left no successor. All those who learn what she taught, practise what she preached, live true to the Message she delivered, and propagate those Teachings, are her true successors. Aspire strongly, each one of you, to become the true successor. But, beware of pride and egotism and desire to lead; shun the life of the flesh, seek the life of the Soul. As souls only can you become the pupils of H.P.B. To be successors of H.P.B. in the true sense – that is the great destiny for you. What is the worth of money compared to the wealth of Wisdom? What is fame in the world compared to the inner soul-satisfaction of Sacrifice? Aspire ardently, work patiently, persevere till you come to know H.P.B.

For today, then, what shall we take to heart among all her benevolent Teachings? Here are three:

1. Through joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, the Soul comes to a knowledge of itself. There is a great idea – we all must come to a knowledge of ourselves as the soul. That is a difficult task, but she says:

2. All the past shows us that difficulty is no excuse for dejection, much less for despair, else the world would have been without the many wonders of civilization. Let us persist, let us go on seeking the knowledge of the Soul, but let us be on our guard, for she warns us:

3. Virtue and wisdom are sublime things, but if they create pride and a consciousness of separateness from the rest of humanity, they are only the snakes of self reappearing in a finer form.

Through such Teachings we will attain as she attained. That Christ-like strength was born of loving deeds. That Buddha-like knowledge was born of patient search. That Krishna-like compassion was born of holy aspiration. The universal real H.P.B. ought to be for all of us symbol of the Goal, the Comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the Resting Place, the Asylum and the Friend.

Who was that Great Soul? None of us mortals can truly know and those who do will not reveal. Here is the greatest of Theosophic Mysteries. H.P.B. left behind the token of her immortality – the flowers of noble deeds, the fruits of inspiring ideas. Her writings are like deep, deep mines – full of Kohinoors fit for the crown of the Soul. Just as behind her photograph lies hidden the mystery of the true H.P.B., so within her words is concealed the mystery of her Message. You, young friends, can know the truth if you make yourselves worthy of relationship with her; live wisely according to her teachings, love impersonally as she did, sacrifice all you have and all you are, as she gave to the Masters and the Lodge, and – you will know H.P.B., the Thinker of Eminence, the Compassionate Discriminator, the Lord over death itself.

~ * ~


From “The Eternal Verities”

“Do you know, Alice,” began Bertha, as she looked into the heart of a great white rose, “whenever May 8th comes around, the greatest longing seizes me to know just what H. P. B. looked like, and was like, as a person. We talk of her Work, and of her as a Being – but, just the same, it haunts me to know exactly what was the color of her eyes – what her voice was like – and…and – yes, what kind of clothes she wore.”

“Well, can’t you guess the color of her eyes by her pictures? And don’t they tell you enough about the clothes?”

“But, you see, those were dress-up clothes in the pictures. And besides, I guess that wasn’t really what I meant by ‘clothes’ – not the way they looked. What I was thinking about was the Her-ness of the clothes she wore.”

“Goodness gracious, Bertha, you are the queerest girl. Whatever in the world do you mean?”

“Why, isn’t there something about the clothes of the people you love best that tells you whose they are, no matter whether you ever saw them wearing them, or not? I think it must be the stream of elementals – lives – coming and going through the garments. It isn’t perfume – fragrance – exactly, nor odor, but it reminds you of things. Now,” Bertha went on, half-musing, “with Mother’s – I always think of spicy roses. Margaret’s bring a dim thought of violets. And Brother Ted’s” – Bertha’s voice grew merry – “they carry me off to far hills where the sage brush grows. But H. P. B.—”

“Oh, now I know!” exclaimed Alice, with the light of a new vision in her eyes. “H. P. B. was like the sun – and the wind – and the waves – and the stars. Sunlight doesn’t have odor, but it brings out sweet odors in the flowers. And the wind doesn’t have any odor, but it bears sweet odors from many gardens. And the waves don’t have odor, but they send a salty tang into the air. The stars – ”

“That’s it, Alice” – caught up Bertha breathlessly. “And the stars don’t have odor either, but they are a Presence. Yes — that was H. P. B.”

Then, after a pause, “Would you think her eyes must have been very blue, Alice, from the way they look in her pictures?”

“Yes, I think they were blue. But I think they were other colors, too. Grandfather’s eyes were like that – I mean, the way I think hers were. Sometimes, his were turquoise blue; sometimes, they were gray; and sometimes, when he was talking about Theosophy, they were so violet blue they were black! And that reminds me, Bertha. Grandfather read me one day a description Col. Olcott wrote of the time when he first met H. P. B. Let’s see if we can find it. I think you would love it.”

And Bertha did “love” it. For it was this:

“It was from the entrance door of the bare and comfortless dining-room that I first saw H. P. B. She had arrived shortly before noon with a French Canadian lady, and they were at table as we entered. My eye was first attracted by a scarlet Garibaldian shirt the former wore, as in vivid contrast with the dull colors around. Her hair was then a thick blond mop, worn shorter than her shoulders, and it stood out from her head, silken-soft and crinkled to its roots, like the fleece of a Cotswold ewe. This and the red shirt were what struck my attention before I took in the picture of her features. It was a massive Calmuck face, contrasting in its suggestion of power, culture, and imperiousness, as strangely with the commonplace visages about the room as her red garment did with the grey and white tones of the walls and woodwork and the dull costumes of the rest of the guests.”

“There must be some other place in the book where he tells about her appearance, Alice. Don’t you remember any others?”

“No, but there was one I remember about her laughter – Let’s hunt for it. See here:

“I do not know how I could better illustrate this joyous exuberance of hers than by quoting the expression used by a Hartford reporter in writing to his paper. “Madame laughed,” he writes. “When we write Madame laughed, we feel as if we were saying Laughter was present! for of all clear, mirthful, rollicking laughter that we ever heard, hers is the very essence. She seems, indeed, the Genius of the mood she displays at all times so intense is her vitality.” This was the tone of our household; and her mirthfulness, epigrammatic wit, brilliance of conversation, caressing friendliness to those she liked or wanted to have like her, her fund of anecdote, and chiefest attraction to most of her callers, her amazing psychical phenomena – made the “Lamasery” the most attractive salon of the metropolis from 1876 to the close of 1878.”

And Bertha sighed, saying: “I’m glad she was merry like that. Her eyes are too far seeing for gayety – so full of world-sadness in the pictures of her later years.”

“Yes, but she was too brave and too undaunted to lose the power of laughter, surely. And don’t you remember, when Mr. Judge himself was suffering from the wrongs done him, what he said: ‘Who is greater than our old and valiant “old Lady”? Ah, were she here, what a carnage! Wonder, anyhow, how she, or he, or it, looks at the matter? Smiling, I suppose, at all our struggles.’”

“How strange, Alice, that he speaks of H. P. B. – from the body – as ‘she’ or ‘he’ or ‘it’!”

“Well, you couldn’t think of electricity as ‘he’ or ‘she,’ could you? Perhaps, that is just what he meant – that H. P. B. is a living conscious Force, rather than a Person.”

“Yes, I know. But still – I would have loved her as a Person, too. I think her face is beautiful, because it is so noble. I would not have her different in any way.”

“I would, Bertha – next time He or She comes, anyway. I would have her always joyous, seeing the Work go on with ever greater knowledge and power. White Lotus Day is the Great Reminder, isn’t it, of what ought to be because of Her sacrifice?”

Alice stepped back to view the World Mother face, framed between the jars of stately pure white roses. “Oh,” she murmured, “What a wonderful world it is that there may come to it such Beings!”

~ * ~


Who are you, Madame Blavatsky?
The Masters and Madame Blavatsky
Words from The Masters about H. P. Blavatsky
Gandhi on Blavatsky and Theosophy
Responding to Lies about H. P. Blavatsky
Praise for H.P. Blavatsky and Theosophy
How to successfully study the Teachings of H. P. Blavatsky
Who was William Quan Judge?
In Memory of William Q. Judge
12 Things Theosophy Teaches
The United Lodge of Theosophists
The Man Who Rescued Theosophy
Theosophy – An Explanation and Overview

~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~