Thursday, May 6, 2010

White Lotus Day

This is the last Will and Testament of me Helena Petrovna Blavatsky of Adyar, Madras, India. I desire my body to be burned in the Compound of the Theosophical Society’s Headquarters at Adyar, Madras, and the ashes to be buried in the said Compound and that none who are not Theosophists shall be present at the burning. I desire that yearly, on the anniversary of my death some of my friends should assemble at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society and read a chapter of Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia and Bhagavad Gita.

After payment of my just debts (if any), and funeral and testamentary expenses, I give devise and bequeath unto Colonel H. S. Olcott of Adyar, Madras, my books, for the use of the Literary Committee of the Theosophical Society, also my furniture for use at the Head Quarters of the said Society. Also my property in Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine and The Theosophist, also one of the two pairs of Candlesticks given me by my aunt, also to Damodar, Babajee and Ananda, my three silver mugs. Also to Dr. Hartmann one of the pairs of Candlesticks given me by my aunt. Also to my nieces all my dresses and clothing (but not sheets or bedding), also to Louisa Mitchell the shawl now in the possession of Mr. [sic] Holloway.

Note that the oval silver box is the property of Damodar, and as to the residue and remainder of my property, I give devise and bequeath the same unto Colonel Henry S. Olcott requesting him to distribute any small articles of no great value which I may die possessed of, to such friends and acquaintances as are Theosophists, according to his own discretion. And I hereby appoint Colonel Henry S. Olcott and Damodar K. Mavalankar, or the Survivor of them, to be executors of this my Will as witness this 31st day of January 1885, Adyar, Madras, India.
H. P. Blavatsky

A year after HPB's death in 1891, Col. Olcott, on the basis of this Will at the High Court of Madras, established White Lotus Day as a day of remembrance. At the first observance in London on May 8, 1892, Annie Besant added the reading of HPB’s Voice of the Silence, and this has become part of the tradition. The name “White Lotus Day” also probably hearkens to the fact that the lotus blooms in profusion at this time in Madras. Although numerous groups throughout the world observe White Lotus Day on their closest meeting to the date, the headquarters at the Theosophical Society in Adyar for the past 118 years has been adhering the terms of her Will and holds its gathering on May 8 itself. Residents and visitors meet in the morning in the hall where a portion of HPB’s ashes are buried and after the suggested readings make an offering, in typical Indian fashion, of a few flowers before her statue. She has not been forgotten.

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