Elena Blavatskaya – founder of the Theosophical Society
Elena Blavatskaya was a Russian noblewoman, religious philosopher, writer, occultist and spiritualist, traveler. She was a founder of the Theosophical Society and the World Brotherhood. Elena’s main works were written in English. Some authors suggested that she had the ability to clairvoyance.
Elena was born on July 31 (12 August), 1831 in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire into a family of famous writer-novelist Elena Hahn (people called her Russian George Sand) and Colonel Peter Hahn. Blavatskaya’s great-grandfather, Prince Pavel Dolgorukov (1755-1837) was awarded the highest military award – the Order of St. George, and he was Kutuzov’s friend and colleague. Sergei Witte, highly influential policy-maker, was Elena’s cousin. Elena’s sister Vera, the future writer Jelihovskaya, was born in 1835 in Odessa.
In 1838, mother and little girls went to Poltava, where Elena was engaged in dancing and her mother taught her to play the piano.
In 1844 Blavatskaya traveled to London and Paris to study music.
On July 7, 1849 Elena Petrovna married vice-governor of Erivan Province Nikifor Blavatsky, who was much older than her. But 3 months after the wedding she escaped from her husband.
Blavatskaya told that she worked as a circus rider in Constantinople and moved to London after a hand injury. In Britain, she allegedly acted in drama theater, and still had time to go to Egypt and to join the ancient pagan cults.
She went on a trip to Europe and gave piano concerts in several countries. Biographers say that she also had time to travel to Greece and Asia Minor, in 1851 she was in India.
In 1858 she returned to Russia, where she reunited with her family and arranged spiritual séances.
In 1860, Blavatskaya went on a trip to the Caucasus and then she went to India and Tibet.
In 1875 in New York, together with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and lawyer William Quan Judge Elena founded the Theosophical Society. They wanted “to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.”
In 1858 Elena spent several months in France and Germany and then went to Russia.
The Theosophical Society built several Buddhist schools in Ceylon, most notably Ananda College in Colombo, Mahinda College in Galle, Dharmaraja College in Kandy and Maliyadeva College in Kurunegala.
Blavatskaya stayed in Tibet for seven years and studied occultism.
Blavatskaya died on April 26 (8 May), 1891 in London, England. Her followers celebrate the day of her death as “the day of the White Lotus”.
There were nine Russian theosophical clubs in 1908 – four in St. Petersburg, two – in Warsaw, one – in Smolensk, Kaluga and Kiev. On September 20, 1908, these clubs were united into the Russian Theosophical Society.
In 1924, the famous painter, traveler and public figure Nicholas Roerich created the painting The Herald, which was devoted to Blavatskaya.
The movie “Who are you, Madame Blavatsky?” was filmed in 1991. People’s Artist of the Russian Federation Irina Muravieva played the main role.
In 1975, the Government of India has issued a commemorative stamp dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Theosophical Society. The stamp shows a seal of the Company and its motto: “There is no religion higher than truth.”