Thursday, July 24, 2014
Blavatsky and Alexandra David-Néel
In their “Persons of Interest” series, the site The Thinker’s Garden—“a place to uncover Knowledge, marvel at strange Sights, and approach the Mysterious. It is not an academe, though we hope it will stimulate intellectual curiosity and it is not a forum, though topical discussion is encouraged. It is in its most basic sense an ambulatory and storehouse of ideas”—looks at the lives of Alexandra David-Néel and Helena Blavatsky.
The occult revivalist, feminist, and orientalist Helena Blavatsky was several years older than Néel and shared a strong and abiding attraction to Eastern mysticism. When she was a child, the young aristocrat appeased her bibliophilic appetite by constantly immersing herself in the volumes of esoteric literature within her great-grandfather’s library.… Critics to this day still question the veracity of her teachings and narratives; nevertheless as the patron and founder of the Theosophical Society, Blavatsky presided over one of the first European organizations to transmit Indian philosophy to Western audiences.