Helena P. Blavatsky and Her Teachings
The Present And Future Readers Have to Swim Through
And Collect the Scintillating Diamonds In HPB’s Writings
N. C. Ramanujachary
Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Dr. N. C. Ramanujachary
Dr. N. C. Ramanujachary is the author
of various books, including “A Lonely
Disciple – Monograph on T. Subba Row”.
He is a long-standing member of the Adyar
Theosophical Society and lives in Chennai, India.
There is need to have a clear understanding on the Teachings of Helena P. Blavatsky, their origin and expansion. It must be remembered that she herself mentioned many a time that all her work was restatement of forgotten and extraordinarily treasured facts. When asked to say how the Teachings were divided into two classes viz., Exoteric and Esoteric, she clearly answered:
“The WISDOM-Religion was ever one, and being the last word of possible human knowledge, was, therefore, carefully preserved. It preceded by long ages the Alexandrian Theosophists, reached the modern, and will survive every other religion and philosophy.” (“The Key to Theosophy”, Theosophy Co., India, p. 7)
It was so preserved, she says, “among Initiates of every country; among profound seekers after truth – their disciples; and in those parts of the world where such topics have always been most valued and pursued; in India, Central Asia, and Persia.” (p. 8)
She mentions two main reasons for secrecy:
“1.The perversity of average human nature and its selfishness, always tending to the gratification of personal desires to the detriment of neighbours and next of kin. Such people can never be entrusted with divine secrets. 2.Their unreliability to keep the sacred and divine knowledge from desecration.” (p. 12)
As to why “this system did come to be put forward just now”, she has the following to say:
“Just because the time was found to be ripe, which fact is shown by the determined effort of so many earnest students to reach the truth, at whatever cost and wherever it may be concealed. Seeing this, its custodians permitted that some portions at least of that truth should be proclaimed.”
Her teaching was, therefore, the “anciently universal Wisdom-Religion”, as the only possible key to the Absolute in science and theology. (“Isis Unveiled”, Theosophy Co., vol. I, p. vii)
She quotes from her own preface to The Secret Doctrine, “she gave out the doctrines that she has learnt from the Masters, but claims no inspiration whatever for what she has lately written.” (“The Secret Doctrine”, Theosophy Co., Vol. I, p. viii & “The Key”, p. 298)
Her writings were coupled by her own study, observation and experimentation.
She clearly explains the differences between Theosophy and Occultism, spiritualism etc. she was affirmative that Theosophy is not an admixture of Hinduism (Brahmanism) and Buddhism, as many thinkers have felt.
She refers to the six systems of Indian Philosophy and clearly states that they are incomplete without the seventh viz., the Occult (Esoteric) doctrines.
While commenting on the book Esoteric Buddhism by A P Sinnett, she unambiguously stated:
“The spelling of the word (Buddhism) had only to be altered, and by common consent both pronounced and written ‘Budhism’ instead of ‘Buddhism’. Nor is the latter term correctly spelt and pronounced, as it ought to be called, in English, Buddha-ism, and its votaries ‘Buddha-ists’.” (S.D., Vol. I, p. xviii)
She quotes many systems, Chaldean, Egyptian, Kabala, Indian etc. in substantiation of what she teaches. She suggests that “hints” and “blinds” are already available there but they are not integrated or synthesized. She cites from over 1200 of earlier texts, more than a hundred from Vishnupurana, many times correcting the wrong interpretations they carry and incidental misunderstandings thus cropping. She explains the inadequacy of English, any language for that matter, in explaining the aphorisms (Sutra-s) of metaphysical, philosophic ideas besides showing how indecisive and misleading they could be. Teachings were given by the earlier teachers, when there was no printing or copying was available. The student had to memorize, deeply reflect upon the short statements till it totally sinks into him and then prepare himself for further lesson.
She relied on the texts of Indian Upanishads and their English versions available in her time, used many “ideas” expressed by T. Subba Row which had leaning towards the Adwaita system, more specifically the Taraka Raja Yoga. But it cannot be said that she was not aware of the other systems, such as of Ramanuja and Madhava. When someone commented that her teaching in the Isis was moving substantially towards the doctrines of Visishtadwaita, she had the following to say:
“A sceptic in my early life, I had sought and obtained through the Masters the full assurance of the existence of a principle (not Personal god) –‘a boundless and unfathomable ocean’ of which my ‘soul’ was a drop. Like the Adwaitees, I made no difference between my Seventh Principle and the Universal Spirit, or Parabrahm; nor did, or do I believe in an individual, segregated spirit in me, as a something apart from the whole. Whether it be orthodox Adwaita or not, I maintain as an occultist, on the authority of the Secret Doctrine, though merged entirely into Parabrahm, man’s spirit while not individual per se, yet preserves its distinct individuality in Paranirvana, owing to the accumulation in it of the aggregates, or skandhas that have survived after each death, from the highest faculties of the Manas. Ii the most spiritual - i.e., the highest and divinest aspirations of every personality follow Buddhi and the Seventh Principle into Devachan (Swarga)after the death of each personality along the line of rebirths, and become part and parcel of the Monad.” (Article in “The Theosophist”, January, 1886)
When W.Q. Judge said: “The only fault with Sinnett’s book (Esoteric Buddhism) is that he too often says - ‘this knowledge is now being given out for the first time’. He does not do this because he wants glory for himself, but because he makes a mistake”, Helena Blavatsky elucidated the point thus:
“The knowledge given out in Esoteric Buddhism is, most decidedly, ‘given out for the first time’, inasmuch as the allegories that lie scattered in the Hindu sacred literature are now for the first time clearly explained to the world of the profane. Since the birth of the Theosophical Society and the publication of Isis, it is being repeated daily that all Esoteric wisdom of the ages lies concealed in the Vedas, the Upanishad and Bhagavad-Gita. Yet, unto the day of first appearance of Esoteric Buddhism, and for long centuries back, these doctrines remained a sealed letter to all but a few initiated Brahmans who had always kept the spirit of it to themselves. (…) Yet, surely, he who got it first from its finder and cut and polished it, may be permitted to say that the particular diamond is ‘given out for the first time’ to the world, since its rays and luster are now shining for the first in broad day-light.” (Coll. Writ. Vol. VI, pp. 146-148)
Discussing “The Masks of Science” and of “Forces”, she highlights the Visishtadwaita Vedantins thus:
“Ramanujacharya, being born in AD 1017, at a time when European ‘Science’ still believed in the squareness and flatness of the Earth, of Cosmos-Indicopleustes of the 6th century taught: Before evolution began, Prakriti (Nature) was in a condition of laya or absolute homogeneity, as ‘matter exists in two conditions, the sukshma, or latent and undifferentiated, and the sthula or differentiated condition’. Then it became Anu, atomic. It (the Vedanta) teaches of suddha-sattwa - a substance not subject to the qualities of matter, from which it is quite different, and adds that out of that substance the bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuntaloka (the heaven of Vishnu), the gods, are formed. That every particle or atom of Prakriti contains Jiva (divine life), and is the sarira (body)of that Jiva which it contains, while every Jiva in its turn the sarira of the supreme spirit, as ‘Parabrahm pervades every Jiva, as well as every particle of matter’. Dualistic and anthropomorphic as may be the philosophy of the Visishtadwaita, when compared with that of the Adwaita - the non-dualists -, it is yet supremely higher in logic and philosophy than the cosmology accepted by either Christianity, or its great opponent, modern Science.” (“The Secret Doctrine”, Vol. I, p. 522)
Helena Blavatsky was and is a Teacher, in her own right, for reestablishing the Guru-sishya parampara, informing the public of an Occult Hierarchy, introducing a Path-Proper to enlighten oneself and sequentially/eventually to receive the rays of Divinity. She laid a “Golden Staircase” for those interested in climbing up the ladder to the Temple of Divine Wisdom.
Her presentation of the classified Human Principles with their exoteric meanings and explanations, by itself, happens to be a great source for stimulation leading to a scrupulous insight. (“The Key”, p. 90)
Similar is her literal translation of the terms, viz., The Higher self; The Spiritual divine Ego; The Inner, or Higher “Ego” and The Lower, or Personal ego, from the Occult Eastern texts, for “future use” to “settle on some definite nomenclature.” (“The Key”, pp. 173-174)
For ready comprehension, they are reproduced below:
“The Higher Self is: Atma, the imperishable ray of the Universal and One Self. It is the God above, more than within, us. Happy is the man who succeeds in saturating his inner Ego with it.”
“The Spiritual divine Ego is: the Spiritual soul or Buddhi, in close union with Manas, the mind-principle, without which it is no Ego at all, but only the Atmic Vehicle.”
“The Inner, or Higher ‘Ego’ is: Manas, the ‘fifth’ Principle, so called, independently of Buddhi. The Mind-Principle is only the Spiritual-Ego when merged into one with Buddhi, - no materialist being supposed to have in him such an Ego, however great his intellectual capacities. It is the permanent Individuality or the ‘Reincarnating Ego’.”
“The lower or Personal ‘Ego’ is: the physical man in conjunction with his lower Self, i.e., animal instincts, passions, desires, etc. It is called the ‘false personality’, and consists of the lower Manas combined with Kama-rupa, and operating through the Physical body and its phantom or ‘double’.”
“The remaining ‘Principle’, ‘Prana’ or ‘Life’, is, strictly speaking, the radiating force or energy of Atma - as the Universal Life and the One self - its lower or rather (in its effects) more physical, because manifesting, aspect. Prana or Life permeates the whole being of the objective Universe; and is called a ‘principle’ only because it is an indispensable factor and the dues ex machine (=light in operation) of the living man.”
The esoteric and occult doctrines are her main pillars of support and she informs the discerning seekers and leads to that specific interest. The essential unity of all constituents of nature, the oneness of manifestation are the key-points which she, radically and well-substantiated, presents. Her main contention is that that there is a Divine Order (Divya-ajna) which surpasses in rule (administering) and becomes relevant for all Time, Space and State of Being; it moves on from strength to strength, undisturbed in modifications and undaunted in courage.
Her Teaching is primarily based upon the Occult Doctrines, catechisms and Esoteric Texts; her citing the numerous scriptural texts of the world is only to show that the statements are suggestively available earlier but “forgotten” or “got eclipsed” for recorded and unrecorded historical reasons.
Her literary period is limited to 16 years (1875-1891) and is backed by “knowledge not her own.” Her out-put is amazingly enormous and profusely abundant. As she did from the hitherto concealed records, the present and future reader too has to swim through and collect the scattered and scintillating pearls and diamonds from her bulky volumes. One needs to be reminded, again, that “it but needs the right perception of things objective to finally discover that the only world of reality is the subjective.” (“Isis”, Vol. II, p. 639)
The Teaching needs to be read and reflected upon, not merely textually but more contextually for the simple reason the History and Philosophy are inseparably interwoven. She often says, “my English is poor” and “book-writing novice”. It is good to take such wordings for example of her modesty than anything else.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).
Helena P. Blavatsky and Her Teachings