Jun 13, 2016

The ‘Judge’ Letters of H.P.Blavatsky - 13

The Authentic Letters of H.P.B., As Edited by One
Of the Main Founders of the Theosophical Movement

William Q. Judge

H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge

Introduction to Chapter 13, which  
Closes the Present Online Edition:

We abstain from including in this collection the so-called “Letters of H.P.B. to Dr. Hartmann”, which were first published by “The Path” in its editions of  January 1896, pp. 297-300, and February 1896, pp. 366-373. 

William Q. Judge, the editor of the magazine, seems to have been optimistic about their authenticity. 

However, their originals are unknown and probably never existed. It is highly unlikely that HPB could write anything similar to those letters. Initiates cannot be forced to use flattery, and  HPB would scarcely send letters,  even to her students who were loyal,  letters with sentences like these, which Hartmann says she wrote to him:

* “My dear Doctor, you must really forgive me for my seeming neglect of you, my old friend. I give you my word of honor.” (“Path”, January 1896, p. 297.)

* “Glad to receive from your letter such an emanation of true holiness.” (“Path”, January 1896, p. 299.) 

* “Every word of your letter shows to me that you are on the right path, and I am mighty glad of it for you.” (“Path”, February 1896, p. 366.) 

* “My dear Doctor, I had given up all hope of ever hearing from you again, and was glad to receive today your letter.” (“Path”, February 1896, p. 368.) 

These are a few examples among many: the main object of the “Letters of H.P.B. to Dr. Hartmann” seems to be convincing  its readers that Franz Hartmann was a great occultist.

One may find the true opinion of H.P. Blavatsky regarding Franz Hartmann in her letters to A. P. Sinnett and his wife. HPB was frank about people, and she wrote to Mrs. Patience Sinnett:

“The arrival of Dr. H. was the signal for the arrival of Profes. Selin, Hubbe Schleiden, my dear two Schmiechens, and that for a whole week I had a fair in my rooms. It made me positively sick. I had to give up to Hartmann my (own) room, and slept for six nights on the sofa in my writing room. The magnetism of that man is sickening; his lying beastly; his slander of Hubbe Schleiden, his intrigues unaccountable but on the ground that he is either a maniac - utterly irresponsible for the most part, or allowed to be possessed by his own dugpa Spirit. He is exceedingly friendly with me - and was trying all the time to put me up to every kind of mischief.” [1]

In another letter addressed to Alfred and Patience Sinnett,  HPB said:

“Poor Hartmann. He is a bad lot, but he would give his life for the Masters and Occultism, though he would do far more progress with the dugpas than with our people. He is like the tortoise - one step forward and two back; with me now he seems very friendly. But I cannot trust him. (…) No man is more quick at catching occult ideas, no one less apt to comprehend them spiritually.” [2]

Franz Hartmann’s novel “The Talking Image of Urur” was published in the pages of Blavatsky’s magazine in London. It contains scarcely veiled, brutal attacks against her, and she had to force the end of its publication. However, Hartmann always tried to maintain an elegantly ambiguous position, thus being able deceive many in the theosophical movement. 

More on the views of H.P. Blavatsky (and her Masters) regarding Franz Hartmann can be seen in “Letters Between Blavatsky and Judge - 01”, which is available in our associated websites. Readers are invited to take into consideration especially its opening Editorial Commentary.

In the present and final chapter, H.P.B.  says the theosophists are worried about her health, but it is fair to note that in her lower self  H.P.B. also worried about her own health, at least as long as her mission had not been reasonably accomplished yet. Constance Wachtmeister referred to H.P.B. in a letter to Alfred Sinnett dated from Würzburg, March 28, 1886:

“I hope Madame will live to write the S.D. The doctor here does not seem very hopeful of her case. She is very nervous about herself and her health now is her great preoccupation.” [3]

And again six months and two weeks  later, from Ostende, in Belgium,  on October 13, 1886:

“Madame is terribly nervous about herself and once when I ventured to ask her if she had made her will and if all her papers were in order, she got very angry with me.” [4]

The present chapter opens referring to February 1890, when the situation had already changed. An acceptable level of accomplishment for her incarnation had been attained in London some time after the publication of “The Secret Doctrine” in 1888.

H.P.B. mentions “Cerberuses”. In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed dog. Having sometimes a serpent as a tail, it was the guardian of the gate to the underworld, the world of the dead. By defeating Cerberus, taking it from the underworld and bringing it to the upper air, Hercules (Heracles) did his last task, according to one version of his twelve labours’ legend. Hercules had permission from Pluto to do that,  provided that he did not use any weapons. With this labour done, Hercules - a symbol for any high Initiate - was ready to “die” or attain adeptship. He then received from his father Jupiter (Zeus) a place among the gods, or Adepts. [5]

By the end of the chapter, W.Q. Judge says  H.P.B. had a foreboding she was to die in her new house in London.   Indeed, in a series of articles named “Helena Petrovna Blavatsky”, her sister Vera wrote:

“When in the spring of 1890, the Headquarters of the Society in London was moved into a new house, better adapted to accommodate her increased staff, H.P. Blavatsky said, ‘I shall never move again, they will take me from this house to the crematorium.’  When asked why she foretold this, she gave as a pretext that this house had not her lucky number; the number seven was lacking.” [6]

H.P.B. got ill by April 26th, 1891, and Laura Cooper described thus the scene of her final departure on May 8th:

“When all hope was over the nurse left the room, leaving C. F. Wright, W.R. Old and myself with our beloved H.P.B.; the two former knelt in front, each holding one of her hands, and I at her side with one arm round her supported her; thus we remained motionless for many minutes, and so quietly did H.P.B. passed away that we hardly knew the second she ceased to breathe; a great sense of peace filled the room and we knelt quietly there...” [7]

A similar atmosphere is present in a poem by Christina  Rossetti, whose poetry both the Masters of the Wisdom and H.P.B. appreciated:

Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west
     The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
     Upon her hand.

Rest, rest, for evermore.
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart’s core
     Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
     Her perfect peace. [8]

As to Laura Cooper, she closed her article on H.P.B. with this idea:

“She has bequeathed to us all as a legacy (.....) the service of the cause to which her life was given (.....) .” [9]

Chapter 13 starts with H.P.B. calmly taking some rest on the seashore.

By the end of the chapter, H.P.B. mentions “Charlie and Vera”.  In August, 1888,  theosophist Charles Johnston had married Vera Vladimirovna de Zhelihovsky,  the daughter of H.P.B.’s sister Vera Petrovna. The marriage was at H.P.B.’s home at  Lansdowne Road, in London.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)


[1] “Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.  P. Sinnett”, TUP, Letter L, p. 121. Other references made by HPB on F. Hartmann  will be found on pp. 118, 158, 159, 229, 237, in the same volume.

[2] “Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.  P. Sinnett”, TUP, Letter XLVIII, p. 118.

[3] “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, transcribed by A.T. Barker, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, California, 1973, 404 pp., see Letter  CL, p. 299. 

[4] “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett”, see Letter  CXXXIII, p. 277. 

[5] The legend about Hercules and Cerberus can be seen at “Greek and Roman Mythology”, Thomas Bulfinch, Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, N. York, copyright 2000, 301 pp., pp. 118-119.

[6] “Lucifer” magazine, London, April 1895, Concluding part of  a text by Vera P. Jelihovsky entitled “Helena Petrovna Blavatsky”, pp. 99-108, see pp. 103-104.  

[7] “How She Left Us”, a text by Laura Cooper included in the volume “In Memory of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, by Some of Her Pupils”, Theosophical Publishing Society, London, 1891, 96 pp., see pp. 3-7.

[8] “The Works of Christina Rossetti”, Wordsworth Poetry Library, Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1995, Great Britain, 450 pp., see the poem “Dream Land”, at pp. 50-51.

[9] “In Memory of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, by Some of Her Pupils”, Theosophical Publishing Society, London, 1891, p. 7.

Letters of H.P. Blavatsky  [1]

Chapter  XIII

[THE PATH, Volume X, New York,  December 1895, pp. 267-270. ]

In February, 1890, she wrote to Mme. Jelihovsky:

“As you see, I am in Brighton, on the seashore, where I was sent by the doctors, to inhale the oceanic evaporations of the Gulf Stream, to get rid of a complete nervous prostration. I do not feel any pains, but palpitations of the heart, a ringing in the ears - I am nearly deaf - and weakness too, such weakness that I can hardly lift my hand.  I am forbidden to write or read or even to think, but must spend whole days in the open air  - ‘sit by the sea and wait for the fair weather.’  My doctor got frightened, himself, and frightened all the staff.  It is an awfully expensive place; and my money - alas!  So my esotericists put their money together immediatly and persuaded me to go.  And now subsidies fly to me from all points of the compass, for my care; some of them even unsigned,  simply to my address.  America especially is so generous that, upon my  word, I feel ashamed.  I admit that  they ‘want’ me, as they repeat twenty times a day,  but  still, why should they spend so much?  They keep me in a luxury as if I were an idol, and don’t allow me to protest.

“Two or three Theosophists at a time take turns at my  side, coming from London; watching my every movement like Cerberuses.  Now one of them is putting his head in  with a tearful request to stop writing, but I must  let you know that I am still alive.  You have been to Brighton,  have you?  We have splendid spring weather here; the  sun is simply Italian, the air is rich; the sea is like a looking glass, and during whole days I am pushed to and fro on the esplanade, in an  invalid chair.  It is lovely. I think I am already strong enough.  My brain moves much less, but before I was simply afraid for my head.   My doctor said . . . . . .  exhaustion of the brain and nervous prostration.  ‘You have overworked yourself’, he says, ‘you must give yourself a rest.’  That’s it!  And  with all this  work on my hands!   ‘You have written your full,’ he says; ‘now drive about.’

“It is easy for him to speak, but all the same I must put the third volume of the Doctrine in order,  and the fourth - hardly begun yet, too.  It is true though that in my present state of weakness my head keeps nodding, I feel drowsy.  But, all the same , don’t be afraid.  There is no  more danger.  Take consolation from the enclosed newspaper cuttings.  You see how the nations magnify your sister!  My Key to Theosophy will bring many proselytes, and The Voice of the Silence, tiny book though it is, is simply becoming the Theosophists’ bible.

“They are grand aphorisms, indeed. I may say so, because I know I did not invent them! I only translated them from Telugu, the oldest South-Indian dialect.  There are three treatises, about morals, and the moral principles of the Mongolian and Dravidian mystics.  Some of the aphorisms are wonderfully deep and beautiful. Here they  have created a furore, and I think they would attract attention in Russia, too. Won’t you translate them?  I will be a fine thing to do.”

The sea air did her good, but  she  did not keep her strength long.  Not later than April she was again forbidden to work, abstaining from which was a real torture for her, as with her failing strength the activity of her thought seemed only to increase.  She knew she had not much time to lose,  and yet she had to spend whole days in her bed doing absolutely nothing.  She wrote to her sister:

“And  still I have a consolation:  my Theosophists grudge nothing for me either in labor, time or money. Formerly I used to think  they could not do without me, having imagined I am a  well of wisdom, and so took care of me  as of a precious jewel, which has come from far across the seas.  And now I see I was mistaken, many of them simply love me as a dear mother of theirs.  For instance Mrs. Candler: she is not a very deep Theosophist, and yet she spent the whole of the last summer petting me and now again she  writes, asking me to settle beforehand where I feel inclined to spend the season, and wants to take me to all kinds of places, having wraped me in wadding.  But I shall not go anywhere.  I want you, Vera, you and your children.  Besides, it seems likely that Charlie and Vera will also return from  India.  They could not stay long in Russia;  you are free to do what you like, so instead of the country come to me, all  of you. . . . . . . or maybe you would prefer to spend the summer in Stockholm, near the seaside instead of England.  Seriously  - my Swedish Theosophists are very eager that I should come; one of them offers me a whole villa at my service, with a park an d a yacht to sail in the bay . . . . . . . . But I think we might as well  stay in London. Our new house, the Theosophical  Headquarters, is right in Regent’s Park,  near the Zoological Garden.  I am forbidden to work now, but all the same I am awfully busy changing  from one end of London to the other.  We have taken three separate houses, joined by a garden, for several years; 19 Avenue Road, with building-right.  So I am building a lecture hall, to hold 300 people; the hall is to be in Eastern style, made of polished wood,  in a brick shell, to keep the cold out; and no ceiling inside, the roof being supported by beams and made also of polished wood.  And one of our Theosophists who is a painter is going to paint allegorical signs and pictures over it.  Oh, it will be lovely!”

Mme. Blavatsky was as pleased as a child with all the new arrangements,  and yet she had a foreboding she was to die in this new house,  and spoke of it to her sister.

Her next letter,  dated July, describes the opening of her new lecture hall.

“At one end of the hall they placed a huge arm-chair for me and I sat as if enthroned.   I sat there hardly able to keep myself together, so ill was I, my doctor near me at hand in case I should faint.  The hall is lovely, but about 500 people had assembled, nearly twice as many as it would hold . . . . . . And imagine my astonishment: in the first row I was shown Mrs. Benson, the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom my Lucifer addressed “a brotherly message”.  I am sure you remember it?  What are we coming to!   The speeches were by Sinnett and others, but, needless to say, no one spoke so well  as Annie Besant.  Heavens, how this woman speaks!  I hope you will hear her yourself.  She is now my coeditor of Lucifer and the president of the Blavatsky Lodge.  Sinnett is to remain the president of the London Lodge alone.  As for me, I have become a regular theosophical pope now: I have been unanimously elected president of all the European theosophical branches.  But  what is the use of all this to me? . . . . . . .  If I could get some more health - that would be business.  But honors and titles are altogether out of my line.”


[1] Copyright 1895.


On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.  

Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.