* Sky Sports in the U.K., reporting on a recent horse race in Newcastle, England, says that “Madame Blavatsky was only beaten a head on her racecourse debut at Musselburgh and is sure to be popular here with Graham Lee taking over the reins.” Musselburgh is the famous Scottish racecourse located six miles east of Edinburgh, and Madame Blavatsky is the name of a four year old grey filly. Her stats can be seen here.
* The American newspaper Newsday for December 26, 2011 carries a news item from the Russian news service TASS:
A monument to Russian philosopher and the founder of the Theosophical Society Helena Blavatsky is to be set up in India’s southern city Chennai, Russia’s Consul in India Nikolay Listopadov stated on Monday. The Theosophical Society was founded in New York City 1875 to study Occultism and the Cabala. The International Headquarters was located at Adyar, the suburbs of Chennai.
* The December 25, 2011, Indian Express features an article by Sudheendra Kulkarni titled “Russia’s rendezvous with Hinduism.” Reporting that “a fringe section of the Russian Orthodox Church” had called for “a ban on the Bhagavad Gita” in Russia, the writer notes the long connection between Indian and Russian peoples: “There is a mystical connectivity between the souls of India and Russia.”
The Gita was first brought to Astrakhan on the Volga by Indian merchants in 1615—nearly two centuries before it was translated in Europe. Peter the Great allowed them to build a Hindu temple and exempted them from all taxes. The best minds in Russia had a deep fascination for Hindu philosophy and eastern mysticism.
Helena Blavatsky, who co-founded the Theosophical Society, was deeply influenced by Hindu-Buddhist philosophies. The Theosophy movement, aimed at forming “a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour”, made a significant contribution to India’s freedom struggle.