Retirement of Madame Blavatsky
Theosophist, May, 1885
The following circular issued to the Branches of the Theosophical Society by the President-Founder, is now, by permission made public:—
14th April, 1885.
The President-Founder by order of the General Council, announces the retirement from the office of Corresponding Secretary of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, co-founder of this Society. Following are the texts of her letter of resignation and of the Resolution of Council thereupon:—
Adyar, March 21st, 1885.
To the General Council of the Theosophical Society.
The resignation of office, which I handed in on September the 27th, 1884, and which I withdrew at the urgent request and solicitation of Society friends, I must now unconditionally renew. My present illness is pronounced by my medical attendants mortal; I am not promised even one certain year of life. Under these circumstances it would be an irony to profess to perform the duty of Corresponding Secretary; and I must insist upon your allowing me to retire. I wish to devote my remaining few days to other thoughts, and to be free to seek changes of climate should such be thought likely to do me good.
I leave with you, one and all, and to every one of my friends and sympathizers, my loving farewell. Should this be my last word, I would implore you all, as you have regard for the welfare of mankind and your own Karma, to be true to the Society and not to permit it to be overthrown by the enemy.
Fraternally and ever yours—in life or death.
(Signed) H. P. Blavatsky.
At about this time Madame Blavatsky was having severe attacks of palpitation of the heart, and all at Head-quarters were kept in a state of alarm, as the physicians had expressed the opinion that under any sudden excitement death might be instantaneous.
Following is the Certificate of her Medical attendant:—
I hereby certify that Madame Blavatsky is quite unfit for the constant excitement and worry to which she is exposed in Madras. The condition of her heart renders perfect quiet and a suitable climate essential. I therefore reccommend that she should at once proceed to Europe, and remain in a temperate climate—in some quiet spot.
(Signed) Mary Scharlieb,
M. D. and B. S., London.
Madame Blavatsky accordingly left in company with three friends—one European lady, one European gentleman, and one Hindu gentleman—who had volunteered to take charge of her. It was not decided where she should go upon reaching Europe, but discretion was left to her escort to choose some quiet spot answering to Dr. Scharlieb’s description. Should her health be sufficiently re-established, she will finish The Secret Doctrine, which she means to make her greatest life-work. To obey strictly the general injunctions of her medical adviser, as confirmed by her personally, I shall not forward to her any letters or publications calculated to interfere with the mental repose which is now so necessary for her recovery, and I trust that all her friends will show her a like kindness.
The local members of the General Council, meeting at Headquarters upon my invitation as an Executive Committee, on the 12th instant, adopted unanimously the following
“Resolved that Madame Blavatsky’s resignation be accepted, and that the President be requested in the name of the Council to inform her of the great regret with which they have learnt that she is compelled, on account of her extreme ill-health, to relinquish her duties as Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society. The Council further record their high sense of the valuable services she has rendered to the cause of Science and Philosophy.”
(Signed ) R. Ragoonath Row, Chairman.
To mark our respect for Madame Blavatsky’s exceptional abilities the vacancy caused by her retirement will not be filled and the office of Corresponding Secretary is hereby abolished. Official correspondence upon philosophical and scientific subjects will, however, be conducted as heretofore by other members of the Executive Staff, and enquiries may be addressed to the Recording Secretary, at Adyar.
By the Executive Committee of the General Council,
H. S. Olcott,
President of the Theosophical Society.