The Path – August 1895


H.P.B. was in perfect raptures over the climate and scenery of Switzerland. All her life she adored nature. "I have never breathed so freely. I can even walk as I have not been able to walk for ten years past."

At this time all the sad troubles of the past year appeared to Helena Petrovna not in a black but in a humorous light. She wrote to Madame Jelihovsky in September, 1885:

"My faithful Theosophists won't let me alone. They invite me to London. They want me to put myself at the head of the European Theosophical Society; and to edit my Theosophist from there. And the Hindus are also piling letters on me, telling me I must come back to India, threatening poor Olcott with a mutiny without me. In their eyes he is only the realizer of my inspirations, and I am the chief priestess and Pythia. Have you read about the Psychists (the members of the S. P. R.) and their meeting in London, publicly accusing me of having created Theosophy, of having invented the Mahatmas, and of having played all kinds of tricks — all with the only aim and object of political intrigue for Russia, which paid me for it?!! Even such enraged Conservatives and Russophobes as Mr. Sinnett and Lord Borthwick were disgusted with such meaningless rubbish. The only foundation for their accusation is that during my arrival in India some Anglo-Indian papers stopped abusing Russia, as they had been doing up till then. There is some truth in this. Some of the editors of the best papers, as The Indian Mirror, Amrita Bazaar Patrika, The Hindu, etc., are Theosophists and my personal friends, and so they knew very well that every word uttered by them against Russia cut me to the heart — especially if it is Englishly unjust. And so they abstained from it, and for this I was promoted into a paid official spy. Oh Lord, I recognize my usual fate! D'avoir la reputation, sans en avoir eu la plaisir! And if I only had the consolation of having been of some use to dear Russia: but such was not the case; only negative, trivial results."

"I understand," wrote H.P.B. in another letter, "that the Psychical Research Society could not help separating from us. Though at the beginning it warmed itself in the nest of the Theosophical Society, like the thievish cuckoo warming its progeny in someone else's nest — at the time, as you remember, when Myers so constantly wrote to you, (2) and also requested me to write to you asking you to act as his Russian correspondent. It would be too dangerous for Myers, as he makes a point of not separating himself from European Science, to proclaim honestly and fearlessly what are no tricks and no lies but the result of powers not known to European scientists. He would have against him all the greatest social peers of England, the clergy and the corporations representative of Science. As to us Theosophists, we have no fear of them, as we swim against the stream. Our Society is a kind of constant poke-in-the-eye for all the bigoted Jesuits and pseudo-scientists. As for me, being a Russian, I am a regular scapegoat for them all. They had to explain my influence in some way or another, and so they wrote an indictment — a whole book by a former colleague and friend, Myers. It begins with the words: 'We proclaim Madame Blavatsky the grandest, the cleverest, the most consummate impostor of the age!' And in truth it looks like it! Just think of it: I arrive all alone in America; choose Olcott, a spiritualist, and begin work on him as a kind of prologue, driving him mad without any delay! But from an ardent follower of Spiritualism he becomes a Theosophist; after which I, though unable at the time to write three English words without a mistake, sit down and write Isis. Its appearance produces a furore on one side and gnashing of teeth on the other. Here I invent the Mahatmas, and immediately dozens of people take to believing in them, many see them — there begins a series of phenomena under the eyes of hundreds of people. In a year the Society counts a thousand members. Master appears to Olcott ordering him to migrate to India. We start, baking new Branches like hot loaves on our way, in London, in Egypt, in Corfu. At last in India we grow to be many thousands. And, mind you, all these are my tricks. Letters of the Mahatmas simply pour from all the points of the compass, in all languages; in Sanskrit, in Indian dialects, in ancient Telugu — which is little known, even in India. I fabricate all this and still alone. But after a short time I very adroitly make confederates out of those whom till then I had deceived, leading them by their noses; I teach them how to write false letters in handwritings which I have invented and how to produce jugglers' tricks. When I am in Madras, the phenomena happening in Bombay and Allahahad are produced by my confederates. Who are they, these confederates? This has not been made clear. Take notice of this false note. Before Olcott, Hubbe-Schlieden, the Gordons, the Sinnetts, and other people of standing, Myers politely excuses himself, acknowledging them to be only too credulous, poor dupes of mine. Then who are the deceivers with me? This is the problem which my judges and accusers cannot explain anyhow. Though I point out to them that these people must necessarily exist: otherwise they are threatened with the unavoidable necessity of proclaiming me an out-and-out sorceress. How could it be otherwise? In five years I create an enormous Society, of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Without going anywhere, being constantly ill, sitting as if rooted at my work, the results of which are evident — I, an old Russian 'gossip,' spreading nets over thousands of people who without any signs of insanity believe in my phenomena; as also hundreds of thinkers and learned people who from being materialists became visionaries — how can people help seeing in me the 'greatest impostor of the age'?

"In the enumeration of my sins, it is openly proclaimed: 'You naive Anglo-Saxon Theosophists, do not believe that Madame Blavatsky's influence in India only reaches you; it goes far further. When she came back to Madras, about eight-hundred students, not Theosophists at all, presented her with an address of sympathy. Her influence is immense. Nothing would be easier for her than to instil hatred towards England in the hearts of the Hindus, and to prepare the soil slowly but surely for a Russian invasion.' So this is what they fear, is it? A Russian spy indeed! no spy at all, but a regular conqueror. You may be proud of such a sister

"It is no longer my business, but the business of all Theosophists. Let them fight for me; as for me, I am sitting quietly in Wurtzburg, waiting for Nadya's (Madame Fadeef's) promised visit, and won't stir from here. I am writing a new book which will be worth two such as Isis."

About the same time she informed her friends that the phenomena of her clairvoyance and clairaudience, which took place many years ago in New York, were taking place again and were considerably intensified. She said she saw "such wonderful panoramas and antediluvian dramas," had such clear glimpses and vistas into the hoary past, maintaining she had never heard or seen better with her inner faculties.

About this time the half-restored health of Madame Blavatsky came to grief again. The worry of her final rupture with V. S. Solovioff, whom she had taken for a true disinterested friend until then, and the death of a beloved cousin of hers were partial causes of it. Her sister writes concerning it: "V. S. Sovolioff did not succeed in his earnest wish to 'ruin' Madame Blavatsky, but by this new scratch at her sore heart he certainly succeeded in shortening her life." The result of all was a day's swoon.

"I have frightened them all, poor people," writes H.P.B., "I am told that for half an hour I was like one dead. They brought me back to life with digitalis. I fainted in the drawing room, and returned to consciousness when undressed in my bed, with a doctor at the foot of my bedstead, and Mlle. Hoffman crying her eyes out over me. The kind hearted Hubbe-Schleiden, President of the German Society, brought the doctor personally from town, and my kindly ladies, wives of the painters Tedesco and Schmiechen, and Mlle. Hoffman sat up all night with me."


1. Copyright, 1895. (return to text)

2. He wrote so often asking questions about H.P.B. that Madame Jelihovsky's family got wearied and almost gave the postman directions not to deliver the letters! (return to text)

The Path