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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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Refutation of charges against Madame Blavatsky

General Refutation of Charges

Madame Blavatsky's Baboon

Rebuttal of Hodgson Report

Rebuttal of K. Paul Johnson's books

Academic Nonsense

Best Biography of Madame Blavatsky

General Refutation of Charges - Madame Blavatsky has received more than one person's fair share of slander and libel. It still continues. Overview.

How to test a biography of Madame Blavatsky - The body of this article suggests a number of standards for fairness in assessing any biography of Madame Blavatsky. Any reader of any negative biography of Madame Blavatsky would find a good deal to ponder in reading this list of standards. (RC-we lost the link and are looking for it, hope to have it back up shortly)

Madame Blavatsky's Baboon

This book by Peter Washington has received wide notice but slants the facts against Blavatsky with obvious inuendo and with less obvious error. Will Thackara wrote "Notes on Madame Blavatsky's Baboon" for the October 1997 issue of Theosophical History. Professor James Santucci, introducing the notes, calls them a "remedial essay." A slightly expanded version of the full text of Thackara's essay has been posted. (This version gives page numbers into Washington's text.) In his analysis Thackara notes numerous factual errors in Washington's book and comments in part:

On superficial examination the book appears to be well-researched and objective. But a more careful inspection -- especially of the theosophic section, to which these remarks are limited -- discloses serious errors and omissions. Aside from fairly obvious use of innuendo and half-truths to bolster his negative conclusions about H. P. Blavatsky and Katherine Tingley, the author is frequently inaccurate, misrepresents theosophic teaching, relies on uncorroborated assertion (often from unfriendly secondary and tertiary sources), omits rebuttal evidence, garbles dates, events, and attributions, downgrades, trivializes, and generally gives a one-sided account. Whatever merit the book may have is defeated by its unreliability and prejudice.

Rebuttal of Hodgson Report

In 1885 a committee of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) issued a report by Hodgson condemning Madame Blavatsky. It caused substantial damage to her reputation and was assumed by many to be the official opinion of the SPR. The damage to Blavatsky's reputation and that of Theosophy due to the falsehoods of that report has lingered on still today. One hundred years later, in 1986, the SPR published in its magazine an article by Vernon Harrison debunking the century old committee report.

Rebuttal of Hodgson Report - Press Release - by (May 8, 1986). The publication of Vernon Harrison's analysis in the SPR Journal was of such significance - contradicting a position that had been held for a century, on an erroneous report that had tumultuous and undesirable consequences - that the SPR issued a Press Release announcing the publication of the new article. The press release itself is a little bland but its heading says

"Madame Blavatsky ... Unjustly Condemned."

It concludes by quoting the General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in England:

We welcome the publication of Dr. Harrison's findings, which independently confirm what many Theosophists have pointed out in the past century. We hope that the Theosophical message in general, and Madame Blavatsky's work in particular, can now be studied without the distraction of the Hodgson allegations.

Rebuttal of Hodgson Report - Editor's preface - to Vernon Harrison's article by the Editor of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. This contains more helpful background than the press release above. The editor says:

In this issue of our Journal, coming as it does almost exactly one hundred years after the publication of the Hodgson Report, we are happy, in the interests of truth and fair play, and to make amends for whatever offence we may have given, to publish here one such critical analysis by a hand-writing expert.

Rebuttal of Hodgson Report - Conclusion - Conclusion of Vernon Harrison's article published in April 1986 Journal of Society for Psychical Research. Amongst other comments, Harrison says:

Had she [Blavatsky] been allowed the legal and expert help she begged for, both Hodgson and the Society for Psychical Research would have been in dire trouble.

In 1997, Dr. Harrison published a new book entitled H. P. Blavatsky and the SPR. This book includes a line-by-line examination of 1,323 color slides of the Mahatma Letters, and concludes that "the Hodgson Report is even worse than I had thought."

The book is published by Theosophical University Press. TUP has provided an online version.

Rebuttal of K. Paul Johnson's books

K. Paul Johnson authored three books that generate still more false ideas about Blavatsky. There are two analyses online that show the flaws in his reasoning.

David Pratt - Pratt's article concludes in part:

Johnson shows an astonishing willingness to dismiss all witnesses who offer testimony contrary to his pet theory as liars and frauds, but is happy to make use of anything reported by these same witnesses that seems consistent with his theory. He quotes out of context and twists statements to suit his beliefs. His interpretations lead to many inconsistencies, contradictions, and absurdities.

Daniel Caldwell - Caldwell concludes in part:

Unfortunately, Johnson’s books are marred by numerous serious mistakes and inaccuracies. ...

All in all, Johnson’s "identifications" of the two Masters don’t withstand a critical analysis of the sum total of evidence and testimony concerning the adepts involved. I believe that anyone who carefully studies the evidence and seriously thinks thorough the issues involved will reasonably conclude that Johnson’s so-called "persuasive case" about the Masters M. and K.H. is nothing but a "house of cards." Even as "suggestions", Johnson’s conjectures on these two Masters are highly implausible and dubious when carefully scrutinized in light of all the known facts.

Academic Nonsense

In is often de rigueur for an academic paper to position itself as quite above HPB and able to assert the nature of her sources correctly - in the process assuming HPB's own assertions as to her sources are not correct. Such an example is at http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a7502210/hpbtibet.html. You may find the refutation by Siémons much more instructive. It is Some Reflections on the Note, by Grigor V. Ananikian, about "The Blavatsky/Tibet and Stanzas of Dzyan Connection." by Jean-Louis Siémons Member of the American Academy of Religions.

Best Biography of Madame Blavatsky

H.P.B.: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement - by Sylvia Cranston. The definitive biography of HPB - based on many years of research. This book provides a proper understanding of HPB and disposes of the charges against her. Written by a long time student of Theosophy. (We are in the midst of ascertaining whether this book is still available or not.)

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