Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mme. Blavatsky’s Ashes

Mme. Blavatsky was cremated in London. Her ashes were divided into three parts: one portion kept in London, one sent to New York, and the other sent to Adyar, Madras, India. The portion of the ashes sent to New York eventually went to Point Loma, California, and should be at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Pasadena, California. The portion sent to India was eventually buried by Col. Olcott under the statue of HPB he had commissioned for the meeting hall at Adyar (later a portion was taken for the Garden of Remembrance on the compound).

The portion kept in London was placed in an elaborate urn, based on a design by the artist Reginald Machell, and executed by a Swedish theosophist, Sven Bengtsson, in 1892. An account at the time gives the following description: Beneath the flaming heart rising from an unfolded lotus, wrought in silver, is a square block bearing the dates 1831, 1875, 1879, 1891. This block rests on the fluted copper dome, round the base of which runs the motto of the T.S., Satyat nasti paro dharma [There is no religion higher than truth]. The pedestal of the dome is carved in panels, with Theosophical emblems graven thereon; the Tau with the Serpent, the interlaced Triangles, the Triangle of the initiate, the Elephant of Wisdom, and others. The whole stands on a three-stepped square block, at each corner of which is a small dome on light pillars. The urn was later transferred to the Theosophical headquarters at Adyar, and now resides in the museum there. It is still quite impressive, standing over two feet high, wide, and deep. The ashes it once contained were deposited in the Ganges River in Benares.

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