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Re: Theos-World Re: Countess Blavatskaya

Oct 15, 2008 08:28 AM
by Drpsionic

The image of HPB in a boson's chair is priceless!
Chuck the Heretic
In a message dated 10/15/2008 1:00:49 A.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

--- In _theos-talk@yahoogrotheos-t_ ( ,  
Drpsionic@..,  Dr

> Better to admire her for what she was, a  person of extraordinary 
energy and 
> knowledge whose presence still  looms over the world, who is a 
source of 
> inspiration for us and  of horror to our enemies. Let us honor her 
for that and at 
> the  same time have a good laugh at the extreme gravity of her 
person which  
> could break chairs and capsize boats if she looked over the side.  
(I used to 
> joke that she was the reason my family ended up in  America because 
she caused 
> the Great Pasta Famine.)
> And let us never, ever forget her humanity.

After reading your  moving tribute to HPB, Chuck, I could not resist 
posting some excerpts of  Leadbeater's description of some incidents 
in his travel with her from  Cairo to India in 1884:

"Among the passengers were several  missionaries, and they, with one 
exception, seemed distinctly disposed to  regard us as emissaries of 
the Prince of Darkness. The exception was a  young Wesleyan minister 
named Restorick, with whom I used to play  deck-tennis; I found him 
quite friendly and reasonable, and willing to  discuss without 
acrimony all kinds of religious matters. A very different  type was an 
earnest but quite uneducated missionary from America, named  Daniel 
Smith, who made no secret of the fact that he had been a  bricklayer, 
but found the hard work and the exposure too severe for his  health, 
and so, as he put it, the Lord had called him to preach the gospel  to 
the heathen.

Perhaps because of his ignorance, he was apt to be  aggressive, and 
used frequently to engage in arguments with Madame  Blavatsky which 
were a source of great amusement to the passengers. I am  afraid that 
our Leader took a kind of impish pleasure in entangling him in  his 
talk and inducing him to commit himself to the most impossible  
theological statements. She knew the Bible far better than he did, 
and  would constantly quote unexpected and little-known texts which 
drew from  him the indignant protest: "That's not in the Bible! I'm 
sure that's not  in the Bible!"

Then Madame Blavatsky would turn to me with deadly  composure:

"Leadbeater, fetch my Bible from my cabin!" and would  proceed to 
confound him with chapter and verse. Once he was so ill-advised  as to 
rejoin: "Well, anyhow, I'm sure it's not in my copy!" But the ripple  
of amusement which ran round among the audience warned him to avoid  
such a rash assertion in the future.

As we were crossing the Indian  Ocean I remember walking the deck with 
Madame Blavatsky early one morning  in all the glory of a tropical 
sunrise, when this worthy missionary  appeared at the top of the 
staircase, and she at once hailed him with the  words:

"Now, Mr. Smith! Look round you! See the calm shining sea, and  the 
lovely colours! See how good your God is! Surely on such a glorious  
morning as this you can't tell me that I am going to be burnt in hell  
for ever and ever!"

I must do the Rev. Daniel the justice to admit  that he blushed deeply 
and looked very uncomfortable, but he stuck  manfully to his guns, and 
replied with an evident effort:

"Well,  I'm very sorry, ma'am, but I guess you will!"

Naturally Madame  Blavatsky's brilliant and powerful personality 
impressed itself upon the  whole company, officers and passengers 
alike (always excepting the  Captain) and whenever she chose to show 
herself upon deck in good weather  she speedily gathered round her a 
kind of court of interested auditors,  who asked her questions upon 
all sorts of subjects, and listened  fascinated to her stories of 
experience and adventure in out-of-the-way  corners of the world. At 
night especially they asked always for tales of  the weird and 
supernatural, which she told so well and with such gruesome  realism 
that her audience shuddered with delightful thrills of horror â  but I 
noticed that they had a distinct tendency to herd together  
afterwards, and that none would adventure into a dark passage  alone!

Landing at Madras

After a day or two in Colombo we  resumed our voyage on the Navarino, 
and duly arrived at Madras, to find an  uncomfortably heavy swell, 
which made our landing a distinctly unpleasant  and even somewhat 
hazardous business. A breakwater had been erected some  years 
previously, but had not proved strong enough to resist the seas  
raised by the monsoon, so that all that was left of it were a few  
scattered heaps of stone. Consequently we had to be taken off the 
ship  in enormous boats of a very unusual type. The planks of which 
they were  constructed seemed to be not nailed together in the 
ordinary way, but as  it were stitched together with rope, so that 
there was a curious  collapsibility about the sides; and we were told 
that this method of  construction enabled them to resist the impact of 
the tremendous surf  better than if they had been more rigid.

The boats were of great depth,  and the rowers with their long paddles 
perched themselves somehow on the  sides, the very gunwale of the 
boat, while the unfortunate passengers were  dumped into the central 
hollow far below the feet of the rowers, in what  would have been the 
hold of the craft if it had been decked. It will  perhaps be 
understood that to descend into such a craft from a steamer  which was 
rolling heavily in the open roads (for of course there was then  
nothing like a harbour) required great agility, and was indeed a  
decidedly dangerous feat, as the boat was sometimes level for a 
moment  with the ship's bulwarks and directly afterwards twenty or 
thirty feet  below, for the seas were positively mountainous.

One had to jump at  exactly the right moment, and one by one most of 
the passengers achieved  it, though with a good deal of trepidation, 
mostly bundling ungracefully  and ignominiously into the bottom of the 
boat. Obviously gymnastics of  this sort were impossible for Madame 
Blavatsky, and the only alternative  was to tie her carefully into a 
chair, and lower her by means of the  ordinary cargo winch. I need 
hardly say that she did not appreciate this  operation, and I think 
that her language on the occasion rather surprised  even the hardened 
officers. She was, however, lowered and received with  perfect safety, 
and though the process may have appeared undignified, I  think some of 
the rest of us rather envied her.

Presently we were  all safely in the boat, very wet but otherwise 
uninjured. We have to  remember that Madame Blavatsky was returning to 
India to meet a mass of  most wicked and slanderous charges which had 
been brought against her by  the Madras Christian College 
missionaries, that these so-called  missionaries had confidently 
predicted that she could never return to face  these charges, and that 
consequently the Indian population regarded her as  a hero and a 
martyr, and came down in their thousands to give her such an  ovation 
as might have been accorded to a victorious general."

( )



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