To Understand The Real HPB

During H. P. Blavatsky’s lifetime, William Quan Judge and Damodar K. Mavalankar were just about the only prominent Theosophists who knew and understood the real HPB; who consciously and accurately perceived who and what she really was.

Mr Judge, who had been a co-founder of the modern Theosophical Movement with HPB, once wrote these words in a letter to an American Theosophist regarding a powerful experience the latter had had: “Your vision that when you looked at HPB and saw no old woman but a God is correct. You were privileged to see the Truth – For the Being in that old body called H. P. Blavatsky is a mighty Adept working on his own plan in the world. And thus we do not need to go to Tibet or S. America to find the sort of Being so many wish to see. Yet having seen the reality better keep silent and work with that in view. For even did you go and tell Him you knew He was there he would smile while he waited for you to do something such as you could in your limited sphere. For flattery counts not and professions are worse than useless. But it is a great thing to see as much as you have, and a greater thing it will be if you do not doubt – for you may never see it again.”

To another, he once wrote, “As to HPB you cannot judge her by any rule. There is a great Adept there and he uses that body for His own purposes, both for use and trial of others.”

In the early 1880s, Damodar – who lived and worked alongside HPB during her several years in India, until he was finally called by the Master K.H. to go and join the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood in person – wrote in a letter to Mr Judge in New York:

“About a month after I joined the Society I felt as it were a voice within myself whispering to me that Madam Blavatsky is not what she represents herself to be. It then assumed the form of a belief in me which grew so strong within a short time that four or five times I thought of throwing myself at her feet and beg her to reveal herself to me. But then I could not do so because I thought it would be useless, as I knew that I was quite impure and had led too bad a life to be trusted with that secret. I therefore remained silent with the consolation that she herself would confide the secret to me when she would find me worthy of it. I thought it must be some great Indian Adept that had assumed that illusionary form. But there a difficulty occurred to me. I knew that she received letters from her aunts and that she communicated with persons almost in every part of the globe. I could not therefore reconcile my belief, as I thought she would then have to practise the illusion all over the world. Various explanations suggested themselves to me except the right one. I was, however, right (as I have subsequently ascertained) in my original conception that she is some great Indian Adept.”

Several years later, HPB herself wrote privately to an Indian friend that “[Damodar] was the only true, devoted friend I had in all India, the only one who having the Masters’ and my secret, knew the whole truth and therefore knew that whatever people thought being blinded by appearance I had never deceived anyone – though I was bound on my oath and pledge to conceal much from everyone, even Olcott.”

Of course HPB never permitted anything of this nature to be publicly stated or printed while she was still alive, as it would only have resulted in even more ridicule and criticism being poured upon the Theosophical Movement by its many opponents and enemies. Much of the time she described herself as being merely “a poor old woman who knows very little” or words to that effect. But Mr Judge, Damodar, and perhaps a few others knew the facts because they had earned the right.

The Master K.H. once wrote to a group of Theosophists, regarding the true nature of HPB, “Notwithstanding that the time is not quite ripe to let you entirely into the secret; and that you are hardly yet prepared to understand the great Mystery, even if told of it, I am empowered to allow you a glimpse behind the veil.”

The modern Theosophical Movement was founded in 1875. Significantly, the period 1875-1900 marked the intersection of three great cycles for humanity. Not only was it the regular “centennial attempt,” first initiated by the great Tsong-Kha-Pa, when in the last quarter of every century an effort is made by the Brotherhood of Adepts to bring about a further spiritual awakening of the human race, but it also coincided with the close of the first 5,000 years of the Kali Yuga as well as the closing – astronomically and astrologically – of the “Old Age” of Pisces and the gradual dawning of the New Age of Aquarius. According to HPB and the Masters, the opening of the Aquarian Cycle would begin around the year 1900.

Such a serious and vitally important intersection of occult cycles only occurs once in every several thousand years. The realisation of this fact alone should readily indicate the truly great nature and high spiritual status of the one sent by the Masters as their Messenger and Direct Agent at such a time. To suppose that at such a crucial moment they would select and send a bumbling and error-prone individual, incapable of delivering their Message in the way that they wished, and unsuited for the full task, is such a serious insult that it is tantamount to a slap in the face for the Masters.

The main part of this present article consists of extracts from some unpublished letters of B. P. Wadia – these extracts having been published in “The Theosophical Movement” magazine since his death – in which the way that all true and reflective students of Theosophy view HPB is clearly shown and illustrated. Bahman Pestonji Wadia (1881-1958) better known simply as B. P. Wadia, played an influential role in the growth and development of the United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT), both in his native India and around the world. Initially a member of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, India, he was there an associate of Annie Besant and an avid supporter of the teachings and practices promoted by her and her colleague C. W. Leadbeater.

Eventually, as he began a serious and dedicated study of the original teachings of Theosophy as presented in the books and writings of H. P. Blavatsky, he became painfully aware that the Theosophical Society, under the leadership and influence of Besant and Leadbeater, had become little more than a deceptive and harmful sham, as un-Theosophical as it was anti-Theosophical. He later declared, “The Theosophical Society is disloyal to Theosophy.”

Wadia, extremely disheartened at how HPB’s books and teachings had been pushed aside, neglected, and replaced by supposed psychic revelations and spurious claims, unhesitatingly left the Adyar Society when he learnt of the United Lodge of Theosophists. The ULT had been founded in Los Angeles in 1909 by Robert Crosbie (who had been a private esoteric pupil of HPB and a close friend and colleague of WQJ) with the expressed mission statement “To spread broadcast the Teachings of Theosophy as recorded in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.” Wadia enthusiastically aligned himself with the work and mission that Crosbie had begun and ended up being one of the greatest and most influential blessings that the ULT – and the Cause of Theosophy itself – had ever known.


Who was H.P.B.? – “known otherwise to us,” said a Master. What kind of a divine incarnation was hers? Some spoke of her as even less than a chela. Like the housemaids in Kipling’s poem, “They talk a lot of loving, but what do they understand?” Her recorded Message radiates its knowledge to our lower mind, can radiate it to our Higher Mind, can further make our Buddhi active, and so forth. The more I learn the greater is my amazement at what she knew. And think who or what keeps us going when we know our foibles and frailties, our errors of omission and commission! When assailed one’s whole temptation is to give up. What keeps us going? I, for one, am convinced it is her compassion. H.P.B.’s knowledge, its memory, its depth and her magnanimity and love protect and guide us in the darkest hour. Consider this viewpoint calmly and dispassionately. But for her record of the Teachings and the Masters, I would feel lonely.

To understand the real H.P.B. is difficult and it does take time. Her avatara, appearance or personality was and is apt to mislead. The Masters Themselves wrote of her and Her and it requires some viveka [discrimination] to evaluate Their words and accord them the right place. What was hidden behind the “peculiar mannerisms” of her personality? She had a purpose every time – to help, to instruct, to guide, to protect; always an unselfish purpose founded upon Compassion Absolute (see the clauses in the Voice on pp. 75-76). The testing of people’s fidelity was rare. She wanted them to be faithful to the Teachings and to the Real Pitris and Masters. My own view is that as an Occultist she was deliberate and purposeful every hour and in every event. She was Dharma-pravin, knew not only what to say but also how to act. Her deeds were small and great yagnas, sacrifices. Holiness was in her heart. To my way of thinking she made no mistakes. The safe way to proceed is from the Teachings to the Teacher. No doubt H.P.B. baffles, but every time calm consideration reveals her as a Being of Light and Sacrifice, the Justice which is Mercy and Mercy ever just.

[Note: In regard to what Mr Wadia says in the above paragraph, we may turn to Letter Seventeen in “The Friendly Philosopher” (p. 173) by Robert Crosbie, founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists, in which he writes regarding a particular Theosophist that “His saying that H.P.B. made mistakes is a pitiful attempt to drag her down to the level of his own ignorance. It might very well be that she (He) purposely laid herself open to a charge of errancy in unimportant things, in order to prevent dependence upon her “as a person,” but I for one do not believe that she made one single “mistake”; but that everything that she did was intentional, and with a beneficent end in view.”]

She did not belong to our Kali Yuga or even to our Fifth-Race evolution, though she was affected by both. An incarnation like hers cannot be evaluated by our rules, our cycles, etc. Herein is a clue to understand her. Her motives and methods were hers, deliberate in wisdom and in compassion.

H.P.B. is our anchor when we are in harbour; our compass when we are travelling abroad, to high heaven or to dark hell. We have to find our Dharma as an inner force to shape our outer Karma. You are wise in determining that every day and in whatever way you can you will strengthen your perception about H.P.B. The more you study the more you will find what a Personage she is.

Devotion to H.P.B., if it is of the right type, and so enduring and lasting, must be rooted in her recorded message. It is as we assimilate her writings that we see the breadth and depth of her mind and the magic power of her heart.

Among us who look upon H.P.B. as our Guru there ought to be a bond of love and devotion. It seems to me that among our students, if they in their own consciousness truly regard H.P.B. as Teacher, there ought to be the sign or omen of mutual affection and trust. Where this is absent, real attachment to H.P.B. remains to be born.

About devotion to H.P.B.: you are bound to develop this virtue as you study and serve. She did not love Humanity because she taught the race; she loved all mankind and therefore she came to teach, for ignorance is the great foe. You will have slowly to deepen as well as widen your sphere of service. That also will come.

As to an intermediary on the Way to Chelaship, even Lay Chelaship, for this cycle it is H.P.B. and remains so. She is akin to our Higher Manas joined to Atma-Buddhi. She is alive in her instructions. Then, she has said that Judge is the Antahkarana, the Bridge, and the implication is that our own Antahkarana is the principle of right personal action.

Chelaship in this cycle, especially the beginning of such a life, is different, thanks to the sacrifices of H.P.B. She has done a tremendous beneficence to all devotees and aspirants by opening a regular door to the Masters. The knock at the door becomes necessary.

That H.P.B. is the Guru is not a truth to be spoken from the platform as is so often done. What I mean is that so often students speak without any real feeling or true understanding. Reread Judge’s article “Blavatskianism In and Out of Season.” That H.P.B. was an Adept-Soul who can doubt if he is a student of the S.D.? But how many of those who repeat “our Guru H.P.B.” from the platform are real, intelligent devotees?

As to the biographies of H.P.B., there are several attacks written by or under the inspiration of the Roman Catholic Church. There is not a biography of hers which is, from my point of view, very reliable; even those which are favourable and are written by her friends naturally are partial and do not do justice to her colossal mind and her lion heart. These will have to be read for what they are worth, for it is one thing to know about the events and incidents in the life of a person and altogether another thing to understand their real significance and interpret them accurately. I am saying this because my approach to H.P. Blavatsky has been through her works. Her Secret Doctrine has been a constant companion for over half a century; and, knowing her mind, not only versatile but profound, I have come to the conclusion that her personality was but a mask and that a really powerful intelligence worked within it.

Of course all students want to know about the real H.P.B., but there is hardly anything that is printed which would give you an absolutely clear picture. You can read several books, but between the facts and the interpretation there is a hiatus, and we shall have to bridge that gulf. It seems to me that the very best we at the present hour have to do is to study her writings, because invariably the law of the spiritual life is: From the teachings to the teacher. It is only by an elevated mind that we can understand the great mind of H.P.B. So the study of The Secret Doctrine and the promulgation of its doctrines is very necessary for the purpose of reading the books on H.P.B. to determine what is what.

In the case of the martyrdom of a great soul like Jesus or Gandhiji, however, or the sorrows and persecutions visited upon our H.P.B., another aspect of Karma has to be taken into account: the Karma of the group, nation or race which they are trying to help and for which they become, as it were, a focus, drawing upon themselves the opposition of all reactionary forces. Is there a Prophet anywhere who does not have the priests of all creeds in league against him? It was Jewish orthodoxy that martyred Jesus as aggressive Hindu orthodoxy martyred Gandhiji. Gandhiji’s martyrdom, like the crucifixion of Jesus, was his own deliberate action. Both clearly foresaw what was ahead; both acted in the knowledge of the forces they were challenging and both were therefore willing martyrs. Suffering may be voluntarily undergone, not only for self-purification and self-development, but also for the sake of others – in the case of H.P.B. and Gandhiji, for the sake of the world.

~ * ~


Since she sacrificed – not so calling it herself – all that mankind holds dear to bring the glad tidings of Theosophy to the West, that West, and especially the Theosophical Society, thereby stands to her as a chela to his Guru, in so far as it accepts Theosophy. Her relation to these Theosophists has its being in the highest Law, and cannot be expunged or ignored. So those who regard her personality, and, finding it discordant from theirs, try to reach the Masters by other means while disregarding or underrating scornfully her high services, violate a rule which, because it is not made of man, cannot be broken with impunity. Gratitude and the common sentiment of man for man should have taught them this, without occult teaching at all. Such persons have not reached that stage of evolution where they can learn the higher truths. She who accepts the pains of the rack in the torments of a body sapped of its life force by superb torrents of energy lavished on her high Cause; she who has braved the laughter and anger of two continents, and all the hosts of darkness seen and unseen; she who now lives on, only that she may take to herself the Karma of the Society and so ensure its well-being, has no need of any man’s praise; but even she has need of justice, because, without that impulse in our hearts and souls toward her, she knows that we must fail for this incarnation. As the babe to the mother, as harvest to the earth, so are all those bound to her who enjoy the fruit of her life. May we try, then, to understand these occult connections brought about by the workings of Karma, and bring them to bear upon our diurnal, as well as our theosophical, life. Madame Blavatsky is for us the next higher link in that great chain, of which no link can be passed over or missed.

~ * ~


Woe is set apart – not by Masters but by Nature’s laws – for those who, having started in the path with the aid of H.P.B., shall in any way try to belittle her and her work, still as yet not understood, and by many misunderstood. This does not mean that a mere person is to be slavishly followed. But to explain her away, to belittle her, to imagine vain explanations to do away with what is not liked in that which she said, is to violate the ideal, is to spit back in the face of the teacher through whom the knowledge and the opportunity came, to befoul the river which brought you sweet waters. She was and is one of those brave servants of the universal Lodge sent to the West to take up the work, well knowing the pain and obloquy and the insult to the very soul – worst of all insults – which were certain from the first to be hers. “Those who cannot understand her had best not try to explain her; those who do not find themselves strong enough for the task she plainly outlined from the beginning had best not attempt it.” She knew, and you have been told before, that high and wise servants of the Lodge have remained with the West since many centuries for the purpose of helping it on to its mission and destiny. That work it would be well for the members of the Theosophical Movement to continue.

~ * ~


Krishna is to be considered as not only representing the Self in all beings, but as a Divine Being embodied in a human form. Arjuna had asked to see the “divine form,” and having seen it, was awed by its grandeur and glory, and realized that he had conducted himself towards Krishna as a human being like himself, although of vastly greater learning; he therefore besought forgiveness for his presumption, and asked Krishna to resume the form to which he was accustomed.

Here in this ancient scripture is pictured the fatal error made again and again by mankind in the failure to recognize a divine teacher when he appears among them in human guise. Buddha, Jesus, and many others before and after them, were treated by their contemporaries as ordinary human beings actuated by similar motives as the rest of mankind. They were opposed by the established interests, religious and otherwise, because the doctrines they taught were destructive of the hard and fast conclusions upon which those interests were founded; their speech and acts, although intended to instruct, enlighten, and benefit, were construed as violations of law and custom, and were frequently characterized as criminal in nature. Even among their immediate disciples, suspicion, doubt, jealousy, fear, resentment and self-interest were to be found, none of which could have had existence had the real nature of the teacher been understood. These conditions prevented the true relation between teacher and disciple which is so necessary to the latter if he would benefit fully from that relation. It is true that all the disciples learned something in spite of their defects, but it is also true that the lack of intuitive perception of the divine nature of their teachers was the most important factor in the failure of those disciples to truly transmit the teachings they had received; for that lack closed the door in themselves through which the divine enlightenment could come. Even Arjuna, loyal and devoted disciple as he was, had failed to perceive the wondrous nature of his teacher. It was not until that teacher by his favor and power had caused “the divine eye” in Arjuna to open that the ability to see on that plane of substance was gained. It is natural to suppose that Arjuna had by his unshaken confidence and constant devotion arrived at a stage of development where such help was merited.

It might be well for students of Theosophy to consider whether they may not have made a similar mistake in regard to Those who brought the message of Theosophy to the Western world, and so kept closed the only door through which direct help could come.

~ * ~

It would be strange and foolish indeed to presume that the disappearance in death of the physical bodies of H. P. Blavatsky and William Quan Judge resulted in those two great Souls suddenly losing their interest and concern regarding the Movement they had founded and the individual and collective progress and development of Theosophists.

Their help and assistance is given where the channels of heartfelt trust, respectful appreciation, and intelligent devotion are left open to allow and enable such help and assistance. But how and why could they offer such assistance to those who ignore, reject, belittle, and criticise them and who remain wilfully ignorant and dismissive of the vast Teaching they have given out to the world, preferring instead the diluted distortions and sheer deceptions offered by later “Theosophists”? The very “vibration” of such unfortunately misguided individuals shuts off and prevents all possibility of connection.

In this 21st century, however, there are certain students of Theosophy all over the world who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that HPB and WQJ are just as alive and active today as they were 120 years ago, albeit no longer seen with physical eyes but sensed and known by the inner vision of the soul.

To gain a clearer perspective on the above, we would recommend reading Who are you, Madame Blavatsky? and Who was William Quan Judge? as well as other articles on this site about them and their work. As Robert Crosbie used to say, “We are working in the present for the future. Unless the nature of H.P.B. and W.Q.J. is grasped, Theosophy is not understood, and cannot be understood.”

~ ~

Madame Blavatsky