Theosophical Encyclopedia

Gardner, Edward Lewis (1896-1969).

A prolific writer on Theosophical subjects and a dedicated worker for the Theosophical Society. He was born at Coggeshall, Essex, England. He joined the Society on April 17, 1907, was General Secretary of the English Section in 1924-8, and travelled widely as an international lecturer. In 1926 he founded a Theosophical community at Stamford House, Wimbledon, London, and presided over it until 1940. Gardner was one of a group that bought Tekels Park, now vested in the English section of the Society. His first wife was Clara Beard, who died in 1920; in 1922, he married Eliza Adelaide Draper.

Publications include The Fourth Creative Hierarchy (1913), Matter Is the Shadow of Spirit (1918), The Web of the Universe (1936), The Play of Consciousness (1939), This World and the Next (1941), The Mysteries (1945), Chains and Rounds (1948), Fairies: The Cottingley Photographs and Their Sequel (2nd ed. 1951), The Heavenly Man (1952),and A Mind to Embrace the Universe (1960).

Mavalankar, Damodar K. (1857–after 1885).


An important early worker for the Theosophical Society, which he joined on August 3, 1879. Damodar was born in September 1857 at Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, into a wealthy family of the Karhada Maharashtra Brahmana caste. In his childhood, he suffered a severe illness, during which he had a vision of an imposing person who gave him medicine that led to his recovery and whom he later identified as the Master Koot Hoomi. Damodar was reared as a Hindu and received an excellent English education, which he used in his later literary work for the Society.

Damodar read Isis Unveiled, Helena Blavatsky’s first major work, which so impressed him that he contacted the TS, then located in Bombay. He joined the Society in 1879 and renounced his Hindu caste status. Almost immediately he was made joint secretary with HPB and business manager of the publications department, with considerable editorial duties. He wrote many articles for the Theosophist magazine. In 1880, while in Sri Lanka with Olcott and Blavatsky, Damodar and the founders “took pansil,” that is, recited the panca-sila, the five moral precepts that every Buddhist promises to observe.

He was reported to have demonstrated remarkable psychic powers and claimed to recall an association with the Master Koot Hoomi in earlier lives. He also claimed to have visited Koot Hoomi’s ashram in November 1883, when he is said to have left Adyar as a frail, timid, and deferential person, but returned robust, energetic, and sun-tanned. 

The year 1884 was critical, not only for Damodar, but for the TS as well. It was the year that saw the commencement of the Coulomb crisis. Olcott and Blavatsky were in Europe, and Damodar had been left to shoulder a great deal of responsibility for affairs at the Adyar headquarters. He wrote long and detailed letters to the founders, warning them of the serious nature of the Coulombs’s plotting, but there was little that they could do at such a distance. Friction also developed between Damodar and Franz Hartmann, chairman of the Board of Control at Adyar. Hartmann seems to have resented the correspondence that took place between Damodar and the founders. The stresses of this time aggravated the tubercular condition that Damodar suffered from, and he began hemorrhaging. He sought and received permission from his Master to go to his ashram in Tibet. 

Damodar left Adyar on February 23, 1885. He was never seen again, but a message came from the Tibetan ashram in June 1886, claiming that he was alive and well. Nothing more was heard from him. Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement (1965), by Sven Eek, recounts his work in the early Theosophical Society.

Wachtmeister, Countess Constance Georgina Louise (née de Bourbel de Monpiçon; 1838-1910).


A close friend of Helena P. Blavatsky, Wachtmeister was born on March 28, 1838, in Florence, Italy. Her parents were the Marquis de Bourbel, formerly of the French diplomatic service, and Constance Bulkley. She lost her parents when she was very young and was sent to an aunt in England, where she lived and in 1863 married a cousin, Count Karl Wachtmeister, then Swedish and Norwegian minister at the Court of St. James. After three years, they moved to Scandinavia, where her husband served as a government minister in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Wachtmeister was widowed in 1871. She had one son, Count Axel Raoul, a well-known musical composer in his day.

Wachtmeister joined the Theosophical Society in 1881 and met H. P. Blavatsky in London in April 1884. She was secretary and treasurer of the Blavatsky Lodge in London and also worked for the Theosophical publishing company there, contributing generously to its funds. In 1887, Wachtmeister, the Keightleys, and Blavatsky acquired a large house at 17 Lansdowne Road, London, where Blavatsky continued to write The Secret Doctrine.

Read more: Wachtmeister, Countess Constance Georgina Louise (née de Bourbel de Monpiçon; 1838-1910).

Tingley, Katherine Augusta (1847-1929).


The successor to William Quan Judge as leader of the Point Loma Theosophical Society. She was born on Ju1y 6, 1847, in Newbury, Massachusetts, and educated in Newburyport schools and by private tutors. As a child she would talk with her grandfather, Nathan Chase, a mystic and Freemason, and his neighbor, John Greenleaf Whittier, about the White City she would build in the golden West. Her encounter with “the horror and appalling insanity” of the Civil War in Virginia in 1861 was a pivotal experience from which her father tried to protect her by enrolling her in the Villa Marie Convent in Montreal, Canada.

After she left the convent, two unsuccessful marriages followed, both childless. While she lived in New York City, the plight of prisoners and the conditions in East Side tenements weighed heavily on her. Early in 1887, she formed a Society of Mercy to visit hospitals and prisons. The following spring she married Philo B. Tingley, a steamship employee and in¬ventor. From their West End Avenue home, they launched philanthropies for those she described as “worsted in the struggle for life. . . . I saw hardship as the result of vice and vice as the outcome of hardship. I realized that all our systems of helpfulness were totally backhanded” (quoted in Boston Herald, Sept. 21, 1913).


Read more: Tingley, Katherine Augusta (1847-1929).

Arundale, Francesca Eliza (1847-1924).

An early member of the Theosophical Society, having joined in 1881. She was aunt and mother by adoption of the Society’s third international president, George Arundale. Her house at 77 Elgin Crescent, London, became the nucleus of the London Lodge of the English Section. She was a pioneer Co-Mason in Britain and in 1902 introduced Annie Besant to Freemasonry for men and women. Arundale followed her Co-Masonic work in Britain by further work in India; she was principal of the Central Hindu College Girls' School and also of the National Girls' School at Mylapore, near Adyar.  In 1922 she was appointed honorary head of the Women’s Branch of the Education Department of the Holkar State in India. Arundale was one of the few persons to receive letters from the Masters of the Wisdom. She died on March 23, 1924.


Francesca E. Arundale

Publications include The Idea of Rebirth (1890), Intuitional Consciousness (1916), and My Guest: H. P. Blavatsky (1932).

Codd, Clara (1876-1971).

A prolific Theosophical writer and lecturer. Codd was born on October 10, 1876, at Barnstaple in North Devon, England. She joined the Theosophical Society on December 16, 1903, and was General Secretary of the Australian Section in 1934-36. She also served as General Secretary of the TS in South Africa in 1938. In 1906 she was appointed first National Lecturer of the English Section and in 1922 became an official International Lecturer. Codd was an energetic campaigner for women's rights and suffered imprisonment during the time of the English suffrage movement. She was Chief Link in the Golden Chain, a Theosophical movement mainly for children. Codd died in England on April 3, 1971.

Publications include The Ageless Wisdom of Life (1957), Introduction to Patanjali’s Yoga (1966), Masters and Disciples (1928), Meditation: Its Practice and Results (1930), The Mystery of Life (1963), So Rich a Life (1951), The Technique of the Spiritual Life (1958), Theosophy As the Masters See It (1953), Theosophy for Little Children (1930), Trust Yourself to Life (1975), and The Way of the Disciple (1964).

Collins, Mabel (1851-1927).

English novelist and mystical writer. She was born in Guernsey, Channel Islands, on September 9, 1851. Mabel Collins liked to refer to herself as a "Nine" because she was the ninth child and was born on the ninth day of the ninth month. In 1871 she married Kenningale Robert Cook, from whom she later separated. Collins joined the Theosophical Society in 1884, becoming a member of the London Lodge. She worked as assistant editor to Helena P. Blavatsky on the periodical Lucifer from September 1887 to February 1889. She was devoted to the welfare of animals and opposed vivisection. Collins was a prolific writer, having produced about a score of novels (several of them three-volume romances a la Barbara Cartland), such as The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw (1885) and Juliet’s Lovers (1893).

Publications include As the Flower Grows (1915), A Cry From Afar (1905), Fragments of Thought and Life (1908), Idyll of the White Lotus (1884), Light on the Path (1885), The Story of Senza (1913), The Story of the Year (1895), Through the Gates of Gold (1887), and When the Sun Moves Northward (1912).

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