Feb 8, 2017

The Life of Boris de Zirkoff

The Editor Who Compiled the Writings of Helena
Blavatsky Never Went to School and Never Had a Job

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

Boris de Zirkoff (1902-1981)



“Let us try our best to get along
with others. It can be done in an easier
and more dignified way if we look upon
others as fragments of the One Universal Life.” 

(Boris de Zirkoff)



One of the leading theosophists in the 20th century, Boris de Zirkoff was the great-grandnephew of Helena P. Blavatsky and edited her “Collected Writings”.

Born in Russia on March 7, 1902, Boris felt an early inclination towards theosophy. He wrote about it in his Autobiographical notes:

“About nine years of age I distinctly saw my mother’s worried look when I told her that a little man about one foot tall in a multi-colored dress and night-cap was coming out of the fireplace and played with me. We talked about the fire and the twigs in the fireplace. I was interested in whether I could meet some other gnomes or salamanders, but he never brought any.” [1]

During the first World War, Boris was 14 years old when the Karma of Russia accelerated in an unusual way.  He writes:

“On the 16th of December, 1916, Rasputin was murdered, and this event seemed to precipitate all sorts of changes. Very soon afterwards the Revolutionary engaged in various violent actions (…).  Eventually, the Czar had to abdicate to meet the demands for a constitutional change, and the power passed into the hands of a Provisional Government.” [2]

In 1917, Boris and his family left Russia. In 1923 he lived in Stockholm when he first came in contact with Theosophy. After a meeting with Katherine Tingley, he transferred his residence to Point Loma, California. He joined the Point Loma Theosophical Society in January 1924 and in the same year, at 22, he saw what his lifetime task would be and began working on it. 

He wrote:

“… I took a resolution to compile H.P.B.’s works into one uniform edition of many volumes as source material for future work. Knowing well what H.P.B.’s published volumes were at the time, I realized very soon that there was a great deal more material available, and that it would take much time and effort to put it together in chronological order. Only then could it be said what was the scope of her writings, and what they contained. I believe it was sometime in December 1924 that I started compiling her writings.” [3]

In Point Loma, he accomplished various tasks:

“Sometimes I ushered visitors into the Temple, or attended to their seating; taking my shift in serving at the cafeteria counter and also at washing the dishes; trimming with a curved saw dead leaves off the palm trees on a high ladder, gathering everything that was cut and burning it up at a special location. (….)  The most pleasant period was when I was helping in the forestry with most of my day occupied trimming, cutting, burning, and irrigating.” [4]

Boris went to Los Angeles during the 1940s.  

On December 12, 2005, an experienced theosophist from California wrote a few lines on Boris’ life:

“… Boris lived with Sven Eek’s family in Los Angeles for at least ten years. Boris’s life was unusual, in that he never attended a school, never had a job, driver’s license, insurance, house, credit card, social security number, never paid taxes. A sort of non-entity, officially. His whole life was theosophy, and he lived at various apartments starting 1958, existing entirely on donations, and living extremely frugally.”[5]

Besides editing HPB’s Collected Writings, Boris de Zirkoff edited “Theosophia” magazine, which he started in 1943. He produced many important texts of his own about theosophy and the esoteric movement.  In one of them, published in 1962, he examines the duty of practicing universal brotherhood, always a challenge for theosophists everywhere:  

“Let us try our best to get along with others. It can be done in an easier and more dignified way if we look upon others as fragments of the One Universal Life.”

And he goes on:

“We should also remember that what we see in others is quite often what others see in us. We are mirrors to each other. Though differing outwardly, we all partake of the same fundamental consciousness - the consciousness of the One Universal Self. Viewed in this light, men are but life-atoms of a vast evolutionary current that flows from age to age.”

Boris closes the article saying:

“Above all else, let us stand for Principles and not for personalities! The latter are but the shimmering waves on the ocean of life, while the former are the deep currents of life itself, bearing toward distant goals. If we wish to grow inwardly and to become nobler and stronger, we will of necessity be tested. There is no other way. Life is a series of awakenings, and each awakening is a birth into a larger sphere of life. Each birth has its pangs; therefore growth is often painful. The chrysalis of the lower, personal self must be broken through before the butterfly - the Soul reborn - can emerge into the boundless freedom of the sky.”  [6]

Having made an enormous contribution to the theosophical literature, Boris de Zirkoff died in the United States in 1981, at 79. His work helps students in many countries around the world, who talk in different languages and belong to every sector of the esoteric movement.    
  
NOTES:

[1] “The Dream That Never Dies”, Boris de Zirkoff, Compiled and Edited by W. Emmet Small, Point Loma Publications, Inc., San Diego, California, USA, copyright 1983, 232 pp., see p. 209. Boris was born on March 7 according to the present calendar; in the old Russian calendar of the Orthodox Church, it was February 22. (“The Dream That Never Dies”, p. 205.)

[2] “The Dream That Never Dies”, pp. 213-214.

[3] “The Dream That Never Dies”, p. 221.

[4] “The Dream That Never Dies”, p. 222.

[5] The theosophist said that while most of the short testimony could be used in an article, its author should not be identified. The message is in a postcard covered by words typewritten in small letters. The present article is written five years after the testimony was included in our archives.

[6] “The Dream That Never Dies”, p. 11.
  
000

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.  

000 

E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

000