Did Helena P. Blavatsky
Study with the Druzes of Lebanon?
Some may sense a tinge of Islamic theosophy in aspects of Blavatsky’s private faith. Perhaps, there is near partial fact underlying the suspicion, and one looked over — a primary source, or a letter? We find a clue no doubt, atleast to some connection to Middle Eastern lineages of esotericism in H.P.B.’s own letter 110 in The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky, Volume 1, 1861-1879. These letters were prior to her later formal conversion into Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
In it she says:
“People (foolish Spiritualists) call and believe me an “adept.” They verily [believe] that I was initiated in the pagodas! I, a woman, and a European!! The absurdity of the notion is really…calculated to make one stare in amazement! I, at least never pretended such a flagrant lie. I know too much of India and its customs…that no European man, let alone a woman, could ever penetrate into the inner recesses of the pagodas. But I have had many friends among Buddhists and knew well two Brahmins at Travancore and learned a good deal from them. I belong to the secret sect of the Druzes of the Mount Lebanon and passed a long life among dervishes, Persian mullahs, and mystics of all sort.” (The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky, Vol 1, Letter no. 110, 1861-79)
Charles Johnston remarked once:
“Then she told me something about other Masters and adepts she had known — for she made a difference, as though the adepts were the captains of the occult world, and the Masters were the generals. She had known adepts of many races, from Northern and Southern India, Tibet, Persia, China, Egypt; of various European nations, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, English; of certain races in South America, where she said there was a Lodge of adepts.” (Johnston, Charles. Hidden Wisdom V.4: Collected Writings of Charles Johnston, pg. 12)
On the Druze, or Muwahiddun (Unitarians) who broke from Islam in the 11th c. — suggesting certain activity of some brothers — K.H. said:
“The Egyptian operations of your blessed countrymen involve such local consequences to the body of Occultists still remaining there and to what they are guarding, that two of our adepts are already there, having joined some Druze brethren and three more on their way. I was offered the agreeable privilege of becoming an eye-witness to the human butchery, but — declined with thanks. For such great emergency is our Force stored up, and hence — we dare not waste it on fashionable tamasha.” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 16.)
This should be no surprise. We know that there were associates of many nationalities and regions.
Helena P. Blavatsky was no imposter, from our observation of the ideas she presents. Persons of real knowledge were indeed associated with the theosophical cause, which involved much sacrifice, to be merely denounced without full examination. It wasn’t just about religion. The hierarchy of cosmic planes, subtle soul (among some Sufis) and angelology is a feature among Muslim theosophers, e.g., Illuminationism, which embodies Islam, Zoroastrian philosophy, Hermeticism, New Platonism into a school of thought in Islam..
Briefly, on the Knights Templars, Rosicrucians and Freemasons. The myth goes, that a Christian Rosenkreuz traveled to Damascus, whereby upon return to Europe, he claimed to have supposedly learned of esoteric doctrines from Arab mystics, who possessed a wealth of knowledge and books with obscure doctrines translated to him. Just as H.P.B. mentioned about some book she titled and claimed were held in secret, called the Chaldean Book of Numbers among some Sufis (K. Paul Johnson believes she learned of it from Jamal al-Din).
H.P.B.’s long-time friend, Prof. A.L. Rawson made no secret of his initiation into the “Brotherhood of Lebanon,” i.e., the Druzes.
Edward Burman stated the following concerning the Druzes in The Assassins: “Their [the Druzes] faith makes them many ways the closest of the breakaway sects of Isma’ilism to the Assassins.” In his Journey to the Orient, De Nerval comments to the Druze sheik, “The Druze have been compared to the Pythagoreans, the Essenes, and the Gnostics, while some scholars claim that the Knights Templar exploited many of your ideas, and that the Rosicrucians and Freemasons have done the same today.”
From The Theosophical Encyclopedia, article on the Druze.
“Helena P. Blavatsky is not in agreement with scholars’ accounts of the origin of the Druze religion. In an article, Lamas and Druses (CW III:175-89) she maintains that al-Hakim was not the founder of the Druze religion, but that they are the descendants of, and a mixture of, Kurds, Mardi-Arabs, and other tribes. She writes that they are a mixture of mystics of all nations and reaffirms the close and impenetrable wall of secrecy which has always protected the rites and scriptures of these people. Blavatsky considers that the Druzes are the last survivors of the archaic Wisdom-Religion which is practical mysticism of which branches have come into existence, such as Kabalism, Theosophy and Occultism.
In the article quoted, Blavatsky writes that in the mystical system of the Druzes there are five “messengers” or interpreters of the “Word of the Supreme Wisdom” who are equivalent to the five chief BODHISATTVAS each of whom is the bodily temple of the spirit of one of the five Buddhas.
Above these messengers are ten Incarnates of the supreme wisdom, the last of whom is to return at the end of the cycle.
According to Blavatsky, there is no room in the Druze system for a personal deity, unless a portion of the divine impersonal and abstract wisdom incarnates itself in a mortal individual.
Blavatsky does not quote her sources for the fairly detailed information she includes in the above mentioned article, to which the reader is referred. It is worth mentioning that sufficient knowledge is known about Blavatsky’s background to suggest that during her extensive travels she might well have had close contact with members of the Druze community.”
Philip Sydney Harris.
Later, H.P.B. converts to Buddhism in Sri Lanka.