Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Mother of Modern Spirituality

The publicity campaign for Garry Lachman’s Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality continues. ReadTheSpirit, an online magazine “for readers who believe that spiritual diversity builds stronger communities,” has a January 14 post with an interview titled “Madame H.P. Blavatsky: Dawn of interfaith exploration.” Editor David Crumm, who says he has “often described her [Blavatsky] as a kind of P.T. Barnum of world religions,” and Lachman dialogue back and forth on the subject of the mysterious Madame but there appears to be some errors in the transcription, for it has Lachman saying things that go against what is known about her life:

“She stayed in New York for a while. Then, she had to leave for India by the mid 1880s because of scandal surrounding claims that she was a fraud.”

“Blavatsky herself says that Buddhism was the kind of teaching that she found on tablets in a monastery.”

And of course, the off-repeated old chestnut, “Yates [sic: W.B. Yeats] was asked to leave” her Society, which has already been put to rest here.

Even Lachman’s claim that “She’s the person who kick started modern spirituality” might be considered an overstatement.

Blavatsky is a catalyst who comes into people’s lives and stirs up things. Olcott probably wouldn’t have gone to India on his own, for example, but Blavatsky gets him to go to India and the Theosophist movement goes to India with them. Blavatsky’s message is this very positive forward-looking view of the progression of humanity out of slavery in the past into freedom. Even people like Thomas Edison took some ideas from Theosophy. People like Edison weren’t signed up to the full Theosophist creed, but they were attracted to some of the new ideas.

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