Hi everyone... just found this article and also was reading a book by rene guénon pointing some of the same facts also mentioned in this article... I'm trying to see it neutral and not pointing my finger at her or the Teosophical Society... Just want to know your opinion on this facts since according to what I've been reading most of her claims were totally false.. the Mahatmas, the entities "guiding" her... her membership to the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, initiations, etc...
Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891), founder of the Theosophical Society, was perhaps the greatest fraudulent medium of the 19th century. At her death, years after having been exposed as a fraud, publicly humiliated, and disowned by her business partner, such was her personal magnetism and authority that her society boasted over a hundred thousand members around the world.
She was born Helena Petrovna Hahn on July 31, 1831 at Ekaterinoslav, Russia. As her name suggests, her paternal heritage was German. Her father served as a colonel in the Russian military. Her early years were spent in Saratow in a great, rambling family mansion.
Even as a small child, she exhibited some of the traits of character that would distinguish her throughout her life. She claimed that she could see hunchbacked spirits (presumably gnomes) all around her in the cellars of her house, where she liked to play, and amused herself mesmerizing pigeons by turning them on their backs in her hand and stroking them. Her sister recorded that she habitually walked and spoke while fast asleep, and often saw eyes and faces staring out at her from patterned shapes in drapery and furniture. She enjoyed telling vivid stories to other children -- these were so effective, they induced hallucinations in her listeners (undoubtedly she used a form of hypnosis to produce these visual images in the imagination of the other children -- this would not be a difficult feat).
Her manner as a child is described as "mannish" and unruly, her temper as passionate and explosive. Once while riding astride a galloping horse, she fell from the saddle and was dragged for some distance by her foot, which caught in the stirrup. Blavatsky claimed later in life that her preservation on this occasion was due to the intervention of spirits that held her up from the ground, but there is no reason to credit this tale -- she was not the first nor the last person to have been dragged by a horse without sustaining serious injuries.
At 17 she married Nicephore Blavatsky, a Russian official who was considerably older than herself. Whatever may have induced this union, it was unhappy from the start. Three months after the wedding, she left her husband and traveled outside of Russia. She visited the southern United States and Mexico, then went to Canada and sailed for India. Twice she tried to enter Tibet, on one occasion by disguising herself as a man, but was turned back.
For the next ten years she lived and traveled abroad. We can only speculate about her activities because Blavatsky refused to reveal the specific events of this period in her life, saying only that it was a "veiled" time -- she did drop hints that seven of the ten years were spent in Tibet in a "Himalayan Retreat," as she put it.
There is no reason to believe that she spent any amount of time in Tibet, or in a religious retreat. It seems far more likely that she occupied this decade in her life learning the trades of confidence artist and fraudulent medium -- skills that served her so well in later years. Criminal activities were probably involved, which may explain her reluctance to discuss this "veiled" time.
When she returned to her family mansion in 1858, she brought with her a travelling bag full of wonders. Suddenly, she could produce raps, whispers and strange sounds from any part of the house. She was able to move objects with only the power of her will, and to increase or decrease their weight. She could call the wind through the open windows to extinguish lamps and candles, and see visions of remote and hidden matters. A story is told that she used her clairvoyance to locate a murderer, a performance that so impressed the Russian police that she narrowly escaped being charged as an accomplice in the crime.
These startling psychic talents, if any of them were genuine, occurred spontaneously -- Blavatsky could not control them. After a serious illness in 1860, she claimed that her psychic abilities came under the command of her will, and ceased to manifest of their own accord.
The stories told of her life over the next decade have an air of complete fabrication, they are so fantastic and improbable. She claimed to have traveled abroad disguised as a man, and to have fought as a soldier in the army of Giuseppe Garibaldi at the battle of Mentana, and to have nearly died in the defeat his forces suffered on that blood-soaked day of November 2, 1867. On another occasion she barely escaped death when she was a passenger on a Greek ship that was blown up.
Her life story regains some small measure of credibility in 1871, at which year in Cairo, Egypt, she founded the Societé Spirite, a kind of trial run for the Theosophical Society. A married couple named Coulomb helped her to run the Spirit Society, but the venture was of short duration. Within a brief time it collapsed under the combined accusations leveled against Blavatsky of fraud and embezzlement of funds.
Inconvenienced but undaunted, Blavatsky folded her spirit tent like a gypsy and moved her operations to New York, where she stepped off the boat in July of 1873. For a time she was forced to work as a dressmaker to earn a living, but after meeting Colonel Henry Olcott in Vermont during a gathering of spiritualists, her fortunes took a turn for the better.
Around this period she married for a second time. Presumably her former husband had died during her world wanderings. Her second marriage ended like the first, with Blavatsky leaving her husband.
It would be easy to speculate about Blavatsky's sexual inclinations, in view of the rapid failure of two marriages, and her habit of disguising herself as a man. I have not encountered any solid evidence to indicate that she ever took a female lover, but am inclined to believe that she had lesbian leanings and rigorously suppressed them throughout her life.
In December of 1875 she and Olcott founded the Theosophical Society. Olcott assumed the post of Chairman.
The stated goals of the Society were to form a universal fraternity devoted to the study of ancient religions and philosophies, and to the investigation of the laws of nature, for the purpose of developing the latent spiritual potential of the human race. From the first Theosophy looked to the East for its inspiration. This is hardly surprising given Blavatsky's lifelong fascination with Tibet. Theosophy accepted both men and women as members, an example that would later be followed by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In their efforts to develop their latent psychic abilities, and to progress up the ladder of spiritual rebirth, members would be guided by the Elder Brothers, later called the Mahatmas after Blavatsky and Olcott settled on a more overtly Eastern ambiance for the Society.
The Brothers or Mahatmas were claimed to be spiritual beings who had formerly lived as mortals, but had acquired great wisdom and ascended to a higher plane. From their spirit realm, they looked down upon the earth with compassionate eyes and aided humanity on its path of evolution. "The Elder Brothers of Humanity are men who were perfected in former periods of evolution" (William Q. Judge, The Ocean of Theosophy, page 6). Blavatsky, through her mediumistic talents, was able to communicate with these Mahatmas and to convey their teachings to the rank and file of Society members.
While Colonel Olcott took care of the recruitment of new members and the paperwork, Blavatsky communed with the Mahatmas and passed on their wisdom in the form of letters handwritten by these exalted Brothers that mysteriously appeared out of thin air. This type of appearance is known as an apport, and was a common feature of the spiritualism of the 19th century. Blavatsky used such apports when necessary to strengthen the faith of her followers.
In 1877 Blavatsky published in New York her first great work, Isis Unveiled. This is a huge and bewildering document, quite readable in small amounts, but impossible to comprehend as a whole. Blavatsky claimed that this work, and her later writings, were produced in a mediumistic state, and were inspired by the Mahatmas with whom she was in constant communication while writing them. This may have some measure of truth -- it is difficult to imagine how a single writer can have created such a book in so short a span of time without supernatural intervention. It demonstrates that Blavatsky was gifted with an extraordinary mind, or that she was the recorder of a psychic dictation from spiritual intelligences, perhaps both.
Late in 1878 the fledgling Theosophical Society moved from New York to Bombay. In 1880 Blavatsky called upon her old friends in spirit fraud from her Cairo days, the Coulombs, to fill her staff -- M. Coulomb became Librarian for the Society, and his wife was appointed Assistant Corresponding Secretary. It proved very convenient for Blavatsky to have her old confederates in positions where they were able to assist her in producing her "effects."
The Society acquired a degree of notoriety as tales of the miraculous happenings around Madame Blavatsky spread through the popular press. In addition to letter apports, Blavatsky was able to cause the materialization of the heads and shoulders of Mahatmas, who spoke their wisdom aloud to the wonder of her audiences. Chief among these occult masters was one known as Koot Hoomi Lal Sing, and another called Mahatma Morya. Blavatsky claimed a direct communication with these discarnate Elder Brothers.
Other miracles were arranged, such as locating a lost brooch in a flowerbed by psychic means, and the vanishing and reappearance at another location, indicated by Blavatsky, of cigarettes previously marked for purposes of identification.
Blavatsky's fame as a medium became so great, the Society for Psychical Research sent Dr. Richard Hodgson to investigate the truth of the matter. Hodgson spent three months determining the situation. His report was devastating for Blavatsky. Hodgson was able to extract a confession from the Coulombs, who had been acting as Blavatsky's confederates in the manufacture of spiritual phenomena.
In order to cause the magical appearance of the "Mahatma letters" recourse was had to a sliding panel that connected the Shrine in the Occult Room directly with Blavatsky's own bedroom. In this way, it was a simple matter to deposit letters inside the Shrine. The Coulombs admitted that the letters of Koot Hoomi and Mahatma Morya were written by Blavatsky in a disguised hand, or by another member of the Society who imitated her disguised style of writing. Alternatively, letters were shot through cracks in the floor of the room above Blavatsky's seance room by the Coulombs, using a spring-loaded mechanism, so that the letters appeared to magically materialize out of thin air.
The Coulombs simulated the materialization of the Mahatmas by using a dummy head and shoulders in dim light during Blavatsky's seances. This effect must have been quite startling, since it completely fooled intelligent persons. There's little doubt that Blavatsky and the Coulombs had used much the same tricks in Cairo in 1871.
In summarizing his report for the S.P.R. Hodgson wrote "no single phenomenon which came within the scope of my investigation in India, was ... such as would entitle it to be regarded as genuine."
Blavatsky's guilt was so obvious to everyone, she made no attempt to deny it. Olcott, who had been duped along with every other member of the Theosophical Society, banished Blavatsky from Adyar, where the headquarters of the Society was located.
It took time for Blavatsky to rally support, but she eventually succeeded in regaining the faith of key followers, such as Annie Besant and A. P. Sinnett, who began to claim that Blavatsky's downfall had been engineered by sinister otherworld forces antagonistic to the purposes of the Mahatmas.
Blavatsky continued to teach and write as head of the Theosophical Society. In some respects, the last decade of her life was the most productive. In 1888 her second great work, The Secret Doctrine, was published. This shares many features in common with Isis Unveiled -- it also is enormous, filled with esoteric facts and speculations concerning the lost secret wisdom of the ages and the future evolution of the human race, and is almost unreadable. Blavatsky claimed that it was written under the direct control of the Mahatmas.
There can be no serious doubt that Blavatsky was a fraudulent medium, that she used parlor tricks to intensify the loyalty and devotion of her followers and spread the rumor of her psychic power. However both Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine are remarkable, even though bewildering, documents. It would not be farfetched to speculate that while physical effects were beyond Blavatsky's abilities, she did indeed have a mental link with spiritual intelligences who communicated their teachings through her. The value of these teachings is a matter that each reader of her books must decide independent of apports and other miracles.
Article from: http://www.donaldtyson.com/blavat.html
You can read the book RENE GUENON - TEOSOPHY: HISTORY OF A PSEUDO RELIGION ... here : http://books.google.com.sv/books?id=7_WwVFntyFwC&pg=PA288&l...