Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Russian: Еле́на Петро́вна Блава́тская), born in Yekaterinoslav, formerly as Helena von Hahn(Russian: Елена Петровна Ган; 12 August [O.S. 31 July] 1831 – 8 May 1891), was a Russian philosopher, and occultist.[1] In 1875, Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, and William Quan Judge established a research and publishing institute called the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky defined Theosophy as “the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization.”[2] One of the main purposes of the Theosophical Society was “to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color”.[3] Blavatsky saw herself as a missionary of this ancient knowledge.

Her extensive research into the spiritual traditions of the world led to the publication of what is now considered her magnum opus,The Secret Doctrine, which organizes the essence of these teachings into a comprehensive synthesis. Blavatsky’s other works include Isis Unveiled, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence. Well-known and controversial during her life, Blavatsky was no stranger to criticism. Some authors have questioned the authenticity of her writings and the validity of her claims,[4][a] while others have praised them.[b][7] Blavatsky is a leading name in the New Age Movement.[8]

The Theosophical Society had a major influence on Buddhist modernism[9] and Hindu reform movements, and the spread of those modernised versions in the west.[9] Blavatsky and Olcott took part in Anagarika Dharmapala‘s revival of Theravada Buddhism in Ceylon.[10]