Letters of H. P. Blavatsky: 1861-1879

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Helena P. Blavatsky, or "H.P.B." as she preferred her friends to call her, was the most influential esotericist of modern times, a student and direct agent of those spiritual adepts who were members of the "Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood." She referred to herself as "a psychological enigma, a puzzle for future generations, a Sphinx!" H.P.B. was born in 1831 to an upperclass family of Russian statesmen, military officers, and intellectual women. Her maternal grandfather was a privy councilor and provincial governor, ...
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Overview

Helena P. Blavatsky, or "H.P.B." as she preferred her friends to call her, was the most influential esotericist of modern times, a student and direct agent of those spiritual adepts who were members of the "Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood." She referred to herself as "a psychological enigma, a puzzle for future generations, a Sphinx!" H.P.B. was born in 1831 to an upperclass family of Russian statesmen, military officers, and intellectual women. Her maternal grandfather was a privy councilor and provincial governor, whose library was filled with mystical, esoteric, and Masonic literature. Her father was a colonel in the Russian army and an advocate of Voltairean skepticism. Her maternal grandmother was a princess and an amateur scientist who corresponded with such European scholars as the geographer and meteorologist Alexander von Humboldt. Her mother was a novelist of social protest who was called the George Sand of Russia. Given only the domestic education appropriate to women of her class and time, H.P.B. educated herself by reading and also by studying with native shaman-like tribesmen in the Caucasus and among the Kalmuks of Astrakhan. Even as a young child she displayed psychic abilities that evoked the awed respect of the servants in her grandparents' house. At the age of eighteen, a few months after her unwilling marriage to a civil servant, Nikifor Blavatsky, who was old enough to be her father, she set out alone on a series of world travels in quest of spiritual knowledge. During those travels she met many teachers, including her particular Masters, and at their direction eventually arrived in New York City in 1873.

H.P.B. had investigated the Spiritualist movement during her travels, so when she came to America, where it had begun, she quickly became involved, especially through Henry Steel Olcott, a lawyer and gentleman correspondent for several New York newspapers who was reporting on the subject for their readers. Her first publication, "Marvellous Spirit Manifestations," treated the topic and began a career of writing journal articles that now fill fourteen volumes of her Collected Writings. H.P.B. and Olcott attracted around them a following of New York intellectuals interested in the esoteric and unexplained. From that coterie, with the assistance of a young Irish-American lawyer, William Quan Judge, they formed the Theosophical Society in 1875. Its primary focus quickly shifted, as H.P.B.'s teachers had intended from the start, to an emphasis on brotherhood and comparative cultures to balance naive enthusiasm for phenomena.

In 1877 H.P.B. produced her first book, Isis Unveiled, which was an immediate sensation. The following year, H.P.B. and Olcott moved to India, eventually establishing the Society's international headquarters at Adyar, Madras (now Chennai), on the southern coast of the Bay of Bengal. There she continued her writing and edited her first magazine, The Theosophist, until in 1885 she left India for Europe and England, where she spent the remaining six years of her life producing her major works. The crowning works of H.P.B.'s life include The Secret Doctrine (1888), The Key to Theosophy (1889), The Voice of the Silence (1889), and the foundation of her Esoteric School (1888). She died in London on May 8, 1891, but the movement she started lives on and has continued to bring to the world her message of brotherhood, understanding among cultures, acknowledgment of the unexplained in life, and development of the powers latent in all of us.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835608367
  • Publisher: Theosophical Publishing House
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 2.01 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Editorial Principles
History of the Project
Acknowledgments
Before 1875
Background Essay A HPB's Early Life 1
1 Between 1861 and 1864: To her relatives 10
2 1865: To her relatives 11
Background Essay B The Lost Years 12
3 Early 1872: To V. de Zhelihovsky 15
4 ca. January 1872: To The Medium 19
5 ca. March or early April 1872: To her relatives 20
6 ca. late April 1872: To her relatives 21
7 December 26, 1872: To the Director of the Third Department 24
Background Essay C Early Days in New York 31
8 October 28, 1874: To A. N. Aksakoff 33
9 ca. Oct. 31 and Nov. 6, 1874: To H. S. Olcott 36
10 ca. November 12, 1874: To H. S. Olcott 38
11 November 14, 1874: To A. N. Aksakoff 44
12 December 13, 1874: To A. N. Aksakoff 47
13 1874: To her relatives 52
1875
Background Essay D HPB's Leg Injury 58
14 January 30, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 59
Background Essay E The Katie King Affair 61
15 February 9, 1875: To H. P. Corson 66
16 Early February 1875: To H. P. Corson? 69
17 February 11, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 70
18 February 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 73
19 ca. February 1875: To ?? 74
20 ca. February 13, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 75
Background Essay F The John King Portrait 78
21 February 16, 1875: To H. P. Corson 85
22 ca. February 22, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 88
23 ca. February 23, 1875: To L. Andrews 91
24 March 6, 1875: To H. P. Corson 92
25 March 7, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 94
26 Mid March 1875: To L. Andrews 98
27 March 15, 1875: To H. P. Corson 99
28 Late March 1875: To H. S. Olcott 104
29 Late March 1875: To H. S. Olcott? 107
30 March 20, 1875: To H. P. Corson 108
31 ca. March 24, 1875: To H. P. Corson 116
32 ca. March 24, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 124
33 March 24, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 126
34 March 30, 1875: To H. P. Corson 128
Background Essay G HPB's Marriage in Philadelphia 135
35 April 3, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 137
36 Early to mid April 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 138
37 April 12, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 141
38 April 14, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 144
39 April 20, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 146
40 Mid April to early May 1875: To H. P. Corson 151
Background Essay H HPB's Lawsuit in America 156
41 April 28, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 159
42 May 20, 1875: To H. P. Corson 161
43 May 21, 1875: To H. P. Corson 164
44 May 21, 1875: To H. S. Olcott 165
45 May 24, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 171
46 June 9, 1875: To H. P. Corson 174
47 June 10, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 176
48 June 19, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 184
49 June 30, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 187
50 June 1875: To V. de Zhelihovsky 191
51 June 1875: To V. de Zhelihovsky 192
52 July 6, 1875: To F. J. Lippitt 193
53 July 18, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 194
54 September 10, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 194
55 September 20, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 195
56 Latter half of 1875: To V. de Zhelihovsky 196
57 October 13-16, 1875: To H. P. Corson 197
58 Late 1875 or thereafter: To V. de Zhelihovsky 201
59 November 16, 1875: To S. Moses 202
60 December 1, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 213
61 December 6, 1875: To A. N. Aksakoff 214
62 Late 1875 or early 1876: To V. de Zhelihovsky 215
63 Late 1875 or early 1876: To V. de Zhelihovsky 216
Background Essay I The Founding of the Theosophical Society and Controversy over the Inaugural Address 218
1876
64 January 8, 1876: To H. P. Corson 231
Background Essay J Further Controversy over the Inaugural Address 238
65 February 1876: To C. C. Massey 246
66 ca. February 1876: To A. N. Aksakoff 250
67 March 12, 1876: To C. R. Corson 251
68 March 22, 1876: To H. P. Corson 256
69 Spring or summer 1876: To A. N. Aksakoff 259
70 July 1876: To A. N. Aksakoff 263
71 August 1876: To A. Wilder 265
72 October 5, 1876: To A. N. Aksakoff 270
73 October or November 1876: To V. de Zhelihovsky 271
74 November 1876: To C. C. Massey 273
75 ca. December 6, 1876: To A. Wilder 281
76 Late 1876: To A. N. Aksakoff 285
1877
77 February 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 289
78 Early February 1877: To the Editor of the Banner of Light 296
79 March 1, 1877: To N. de Fadeyev 297
80 ca. March 1, 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 299
81 ca. May or June 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 300
82 June 8, 1877: To N. de Fadeyev 301
83 June 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 309
84 June 1877: To her relatives 310
85 June 15, 1877: To A. N. Aksakoff 311
86 ca. June 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 312
87 ca. June 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 313
88 July 19, 1877: To N. de Fadeyev 314
89 ca. July 1877: To E. Hardinge Britten 329
Background Essay K The Writing and Publication of "Isis Unveiled" 330
90 October 2, 1877: To A. N. Aksakoff 340
91 October 10, 1877: To W. H. Burr 342
92 October 28-29, 1877: To N. de Fadeyev 342
93 November 6, 1877: To N. de Zhelihovsky 359
94 November 6, 1877: To A. N. Aksakoff 361
95 November 7, 1877: To A. R. Wallace 362
96 November 16, 1877: To M. D. Evans 363
97 November 19, 1877: To W. H. Burr 370
98 Late 1877: To her relatives 373
99 November 20, 1877: To T. Madhava Rao 375
100 December 11, 1877: To N. de Fadeyev 379
101 December 12, 1877: To P. C. Mittra 390
102 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 393
103 Late 1877: To V. de Zhelihovsky 394
104 Late 1877: To her relatives 395
105 Late 1877 or early 1878: To her relatives 396
1878
106 Late January 1878: To her relatives 397
107 January 26, 1878: To J. C. Bundy 398
Background Essay L The Arya Samaj and Hurrychund Chintamon 399
108 February 9, 1878: To H. Chintamon 402
109 ca. March 1878: To V. de Zhelihovsky 407
110 April 10, 1878: To P. C. Mittra 409
111 April 25, 1878: To N. de Zhelihovsky 412
112 April 1878: To H. Chintamon? 417
Background Essay M Thomas Alva Edison 418
113 April 30, 1878: To T. A. Edison 422
114 ca. May 1878: To V. de Zhelihovsky 424
115 May 4, 1878: To H. Chintamon 426
116 May 9, 1878: To H. Chintamon 431
117 May 21, 1878: To H. Chintamon 433
118 May 22, 1878: To H. Chintamon 435
119 May 30, 1878: To S. Krishnavarma 438
120 May 30, 1878: To H. Chintamon 439
121 July 3, 1878: To N. de Fadeyev 443
122 July 8, 1878: To N. de Fadeyev 452
123 July 30, 1878: To C. H. van der Linden? 453
124 August 7, 1878: To S. Krishnavarma 455
125 August 21, 1878: To H. Chintamon 461
126 August 28, 1878: To C. R. Corson 464
127 August 28, 1878: To A. N. Aksakoff 468
128 October 13, 1878: To the editor of the New York Sun 473
129 October 25, 1878: To E. P. Mitchell 478
130 November 28, 1878: To Mrs. C. Daniels 480
131 November 29, 1878: To J. D. Buck 485
132 December 10, 1878: To F. E. Burr 487
133 December 14, 1878: To T. A. Edison 489
134 December 16, 1878: To F. E. Burr 492
1879
135 January 1, 1879: To A. Sturge 493
Background Essay N English Reactions to HPB 493
136 January 14, 1879: To V. de Zhelihovsky 500
Bibliography 501
Glossary-Index 509
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