The constitution, no doubt, of the Society is broad enough to include minds more sceptical than my own in regard to the alleged sources of its vitality and influence. But let any one try to realise this nominal freedom, and he will find himself, not only in an uncongenial element, but in an attitude of controversy with his ostensible leaders, with the motive forces of the Society. That is not consistent with the sympathetic subordination or co-operation which is essential to union.
TS Founder C.C. Massey explaining his resignation, July 22, 1884 (from Blavatsky Archives)
Removal of the name Blavatsky from the header of this site came after long deliberation. I was not party to the discussion or decision, but it contributed to my willingness to return as a participant. This change comes as a welcoming gesture to the minority of site members who are not Theosophists, but likely at cost of offending many who are. Having written books in which Blavatsky was indubitably the central figure, I can't point a finger of blame at others, saying Blavatskycentrism is false and bad, without self-incrimination. That conclusion is hard to escape—yet Blavatskycentrism has been also in other ways both true and good. Hence I think the subject needs to be discussed here. "Theosophy= teachings of HPB and the Mahatmas" is the crucial factor alienating most of the TS Founders. It's still a big elephant in the room, an unquestioned dogma in a movement that denies having any. The more fervent believers in K.H. and M., and therefore HPB's phenomena, bullied everyone else out of the British TS by 1885, including one of the TS Founders. Anna Kingsford's experience with A.P. Sinnett in London was very much that of a monolithic personality cult taking over and (in her and Massey's view) destroying a heretofore diverse organization ostensibly devoted to impersonal investigations.
It is unquestionably true that the writings and personality of Blavatsky, and those of the Mahatma Letters, are central to the thoughts and feelings of Theosophists in multiple organizations, and that this has been the case since 1884. But it is also an anachronism to read the present and longterm monopoly of HPB, Mahatmas, and derivative authors as in any way being the original Theosophical Society. Two dozen Founders of history have been edited down into two or three Founders of hagiography; dozens of adepts of history have been edited down into two Mahatmas of epistolary legend. Evidence suggests that Blavatskycentrism is both a) false as history of Theosophical origins and b) harmful, possibly fatal, to the future health of the modern Theosophical movement. It also is paradoxically both a) true as history of Theosophy post-SPR Report and b) helpful, perhaps essential, as a reaction to the excesses of Leadbeater, defection of Krishamurti, and the proliferation of competing Master contactees in the 20th century. Blavatskycentrism, when I was a young Theosophist in the 1970s and 80s, seemed like a way to rescue Theosophy from the crazies. Perhaps it was in the late 20th century. But thirty years later it seems like it was the kiss of death for the movement in the 21st, at least in the West. "No religion higher than truth" has been displaced by "our religion is higher than and impervious to historical truth."
Three separate questions that seem to have gotten harmfully confused:
How central historically were HPB and her Mahatmas to the creation of the Theosophical Society?
How central are HPB and her Mahatmas in the contemporary Theosophical movement?
How central should HPB and her Mahatmas be to the future Theosophical movement?
Comments are open, and I ask only that no one address blame to living persons and especially not fellow TN members in their remarks, but focus on the questions themselves.