Taking Theosophical ideas
into the 21st century
Did H P Blavatsky predict
The First World War
“The whole world is hushed in breathless expectation.
Not a wife or mother, but is haunted in her dreams
by the black and ominous storm-cloud that overhangs
the whole of
“I read the fatal destiny upon the brow
“He rises from his couch weaker and wearier than ever,
to see around him endless lines of troops armed with
a new and yet more murderous weapon of destruction –
ready for the battlefield.”
From Karmic Visions By H P Blavatsky 1888.
In this unusual saga, a victorious Frankish 10th century
Christian warrior king is cursed and reincarnated
to be king of his enemies and to suffer the misery
he has inflicted. He is now heir to the throne of
the German militarist state and given visions of defeat
by the Franks and other tribes in a horrendous war.
In “Karmic Visions”, tormenting visions of a catastrophic future war come the heir to the throne of the German militarist state.
The heir to the throne is the reincarnation of a brutal warrior king of the Franks named Clovis who is now born to become king of his old enemies who were the Germanic tribes. As Clovis, he nominally converted to Christianity but was warned that the Gods of his fathers had risen against him and he would be born as king of his enemies and suffer the miseries he had inflicted.
As the heir to the throne he experiences a charmed existence and even makes a name for himself in a small war.
Haunted by the militarist tradition he has inherited as a result of Karma, the first visions come to him as a nightmare. The scenes of carnage conjure up images of a battlefield in the industrial age.
These images are only a sample;
“What he now sees is a throng of bayonets clashing against each other in a mist of smoke and blood; thousands of mangled corpses covering the ground, torn and cut to shreds by the murderous weapons devised by science and civilization,”
“The nightmare shows him men expiring on the battlefield with a curse on those who led them to their destruction.”
“He sees and feels the torture of the fallen millions, who die after long hours of terrible mental and physical agony; who expire in forest and plain, in stagnant ditches by the road-side, in pools of blood under a sky made black with smoke.”
There seems to be a reference to Prussian Militarism and the success it has brought in the past at great cost in human misery and liberty. There is also a realization that the long military tradition and focus on the art of war has produced a war machine which is effectively a country of robots;
"What have they brought thee or to thy fatherland, those bloody victories!" . . . whispers the Soul in him. "A population clad in iron armour," it replies. "Two score millions of men dead now to all spiritual aspiration and Soul-life.”
“What is thy future Kingdom, now? A legion of war-puppets as units, a great wild beast in their collectivity.”
The lines above, along with scenes of bereavement, with substantial casualties and devastation, suggest that the military triumphs of the heroic past have been a Pyrrhic victory.
The king (the father) dies at this point and his son is immediately installed as king and he inherits a kingdom on the road to ruin which it is his Dharma (duty) to lead as absolute monarch;
“Cruel Fate has erected a throne for him over an open grave, and beckons him to glory and to power.”
His reign appears doomed as he is not equal to the task and has inherited the Karma of a violent past;
"waves on waves in solid mountains rise"; whither he now speeds to reign and -- speeds to die.”
He is then projected into the future and sees visions of Germanic heroism as portrayed in Wagnerian legend.
He meets several figures from Wagnerian legend, who clearly represent the German people, and who are concerned with the past and the future. There is clearly a Karmic debt to be paid;
(Orlog is the God of War)
"What is my Past?" enquires the Soul-Ego of Urd, the eldest of the Norn sisters.
"Why do I suffer?"
“A long parchment is unrolled in her hand, and reveals a long series of mortal beings, in each of whom the Soul-Ego recognizes one of its dwellings. When it comes to the last but one, it sees a blood-stained hand doing endless deeds of cruelty and treachery, and it shudders. . . . . . .”
“Guileless victims arise around it, and cry to Orlog for vengeance.”
"What is my immediate Present?" asks the dismayed Soul of Werdandi, the second sister.”
"The decree of Orlog is on thyself!" is the answer. "But Orlog does not pronounce them blindly, as foolish mortals have it."
"What is my Future?" asks despairingly of Skuld, the third Norn sister, the Soul-Ego. "Is it to be for ever dark with tears, and bereaved of Hope?" . . .
“No answer is received.”
These exchanges suggest that a severe Karmic debt must ultimately be paid and as a result something on the lines of Wagner’s Gotterdamerung for the German people lies in the future.
The young king’s vision continues and he sees a future of peace and harmony but awakes to find himself sick and exhausted at the head of his national war machine with war imminent.
“He rises from his couch weaker and wearier than ever, to see around him endless lines of troops armed with a new and yet more murderous weapon of destruction -- ready for the battlefield.”
The young king’s defeat was predicted in his previous warrior incarnation and he is clearly in no state to lead his country in war.
I suggest that this final scene represents a militarist nation which, although a formidable fighting force, eventually exhausts itself by war.
If H P Blavatsky did predict the First World War in “Karmic Visions”, she was not alone. The term “The Great War” was originally coined by German Chancellor Otto von Bismark who said that a cataclysmic European war would come. He died in 1898. Bismark also believed that the Germans would be worn down and defeated if they had to fight on two fronts.
The British Government were also thinking along the same lines, Tower Bridge was built in the 1880s to prevent a German naval attack on London
This is my interpretation of the piece and as everything in Theosophy is negotiable, you may have a different view. There are many other themes in this story and I may do future postings on these.
Here is a link to the complete text so you can make you own mind up.
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