When I was young, I took an interest in people whose lives led them along roads less traveled and yet who were influential. Rasputin was one. He lived in the 19th century as a religious pilgrim and was embraced as a healer by Alexandra, the last Czarina of Russia. Count Calistoga was another. He lived in the 18th century, dabbled in the occult and was nearly hanged as a Freemason. Emanuel Swendenborg was a third person of interest. He was a man of the 18th century, also, who considered himself a scientist but wrote accounts of his conversations with angels. Now a new biography has been written which will make my reading list. This time the subject is a woman, Madame Petrovna Blavatsky, of the 19th century, who is the founder of Theosophy, a movement meant to foster universal brotherhood. The book is entitled Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality by Gary Lachman.
As John Crowley wrote in his review of the book, “There are people whose life stories resemble novels, replete with adventures, wild coincidences, struggles and happy (or tragic) endings. Then there are people whose life stories are novels…[for] to read accounts of their lives requires suspension of disbelief.” (“Madame and the Masters,” by John Crowley, Harper’s February, 2013, pg. 81) According to him, Madame Blavatsky’s story is among the latter.
Remarkably enough, her ideas are now being whispered among theoretical physicists and mathematician as possible explanations for scientific questions. For example, if we are all made of star dust, the residue of the Big Bang, do we carry with us a consciousness that is universal even to inanimate objects like pebbles and stones? (Ibid. pg. 82) Certainly, in her time, many people of note were drawn to her philosophy — Arthur Conan Doyle, William James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W. B. Yeats and Thomas Edison among them. Even Charles Darwin attended a séance and, for a time, Mohandas Gandhi became a student. (Ibid, pg. 83)
It does seem to me that after all the measurements, analysis and dissections of the natural worlds that science has made, the sum or should I say the soul of the parts is missing and so many minds keep searching for that higher plane. To the curious and the seekers, I bring this biography to their attention. They may find Madame Blavatsky’s unique journey worthy of their time.
(Courtesy of abebooks.com)