by Robert Wilkinson
A friend of the site suggested that I compose something about this sacred day, May 8, called the "White Lotus Day" commemorating the death of one of the highest Beings of all time, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
H.P. Blavatsky, also known as "HPB," was a remarkable Being, the one the Masters of the Wisdom deemed the only European body fit to go forth in the 19th century to offer the core of the Eastern Wisdom to the Western world. She blew the doors off Western materialistic religion and science through her two masterworks, "Isis Unveiled" and "The Secret Doctrine."
This world traveling adept founded the Theosophical Society, an organization formed in 1875 to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as "Theosophy." It's credo is "There is no religion higher than Truth," and HPB stated that the society's purpose was:
1. to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.
2. to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science.
3. to investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.
Though the Theosophical Society (TS) has for the most part degenerated into a pale shadow of all that HPB stood for, the seeds she set into motion globally are still thriving today. All current "new age" doctrines and teachings have at their core at least one element of what is called "Theosophy," though some are very watered down and layered with ego fantasies.
So today we gather globally to celebrate the death day of a most remarkable Spiritual Being. Simultaneously loved and hated in extraordinary ways when she was alive, humanity still owes her a huge debt of gratitude for showing us the way from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality.
Why is May 8 called "White Lotus Day?" I felt that Wikipedia gave a succinct explanation, and so reproduce it here. I put in paragraph breaks to make it read easier.
White Lotus Day is a celebration that encourages meditation about the metaphor of the lotus. The lotus is born under the mud, growing through the water to achieve the surface, and therefore the air and the light of sun. This growth is identified with man's life, born in earth but desiring the elevation to the air; representing his middle stage between animals and the ultimate reality.
The seeds of lotus contain (even before they germinate) perfectly formed leaves, a miniature shape of what they would become. This flower is often present in eastern religions, which influence is key in the Theosophical Movement.
Lotus (Gr.) A most occult plant, sacred in Egypt, India and elsewhere; called “the child of the Universe bearing the likeness of its mother in its bosom”. There was a time “when the world was a golden lotus” (padma) says the allegory. A great variety of these plants, from the majestic Indian lotus, down to the marsh-lotus (bird's foot trefoil) and the Grecian “Dioscoridis”, is eaten at Crete and other islands. It is a species of nymphæa, first introduced from India to Egypt to which it was not indigenous. See the text of Archaic Symbolism in the Appendix VIII. “The Lotus, as a Universal Symbol”. (Theosophical Glossary by H.P.B.)
WHITE LOTUS DAY: In her will, HPB suggested that her friends might gather together on the anniversary of her passing (May 8, 1891) and read from Sir Edwin Arnold's The Light of Asia and from The Bhagavad-Gita. Lotuses grew in unusual profusion one year later. Hence, May 8 became known as White Lotus Day.
ONE of the symbolic figures for the Dual creative power in Nature (matter and force on the material plane) is Padma, the water lily of India. The Lotus is the product of heat (fire) and water (vapour or Ether); fire standing in every philosophical and religious system as a representation of the Spirit of Deity, the active, male, generative principle; and Ether, or the Soul of matter, the light of the fire, for the passive female principle from which everything in this Universe emanated. Hence, Ether or Water is the Mother, and Fire is the Father.
Sir W. Jones (and before him archaic botany) showed that the seeds of the Lotus contain—even before they germinate—perfectly formed leaves, the miniature shape of what one day, as perfect plants, they will become: nature thus giving us a specimen of the preformation of its production ...the seed of all phanerogamous plants bearing proper flowers containing an embryo plantlet ready formed. The Lotus, or Padma, is, moreover, a very ancient and favourite simile for the Kosmos itself, and also for man.
The popular reasons given are, firstly, the fact just mentioned, that the Lotus-seed contains within itself a perfect miniature of the future plant, which typifies the fact that the spiritual prototypes of all things materialised on Earth. Secondly, the fact that the Lotus plant grows up through the water, having its root in the Ilus, or mud, and spreading its flower in the air above. The Lotus thus typifies the life of man and also that of the Kosmos; for the Secret Doctrine teaches that the elements of both are the same, and that both are developing in the same direction. The root of the Lotus sunk in the mud represents material life, the stalk passing up through the water typifies existence in the astral world, and the flower floating on the water and opening to the sky is emblematical of spiritual being. (The Secret Doctrine I, 57-58.) THEOSOPHY, Vol. 89, Issue 4, May/June 2001 (Pages 165-166)
So today, if you have a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, "The Light of Asia," or just want to meditate on the sacred Lotus, by all means spend some time experiencing the Eternal. And of course, please remember to give thanks to the one who put her life on the line so that future generations would be able to keep the Light of the Love of Wisdom alive through the Ages.
(And yes, she's still my dream date!)
To read a little more about this remarkable woman for the Ages, here are a few articles I've composed in the past. Some link to each other, but these all offer a little something about the larger sacred Work that calls to us all at some point in our evolution across lifetimes.
On a related note:
© Copyright 2010 Robert Wilkinson
(ps- In an not-so-odd coincidence, my Spiritual Brother Felipe over at Moonflower Enterprises and Maya Earth Coffee reminded me today is also World Fair Trade Day, where we celebrate the Fair Trade movement. The link takes you a page listing various gatherings all over the world.)