The “Karmic Visions” of H.P. Blavatsky

from It is quite well known that the highly renowned Carl Jung had a powerful premonition of the First World War about a year or so before it began. What is unfortunately not so well known is that H.P. Blavatsky had what “The New Yorker” magazine of May 1964 called a “much earlier and even more realistic vision” of things to come.

HPB clearly foresaw – and described in soberingly accurate detail – not only the First World War but also the Second World War. She did so in 1888, 26 years before the first conflict and 51 years prior to the outbreak of the second.

She describes past, present, and future events in compelling story form in her article titled “Karmic Visions” which was published in the British Theosophical magazine “Lucifer” in June 1888. It is not actually known for definite how she came to be in possession of such profoundly prophetic insight into the coming Wars. She may indeed have literally had a vision but may also have simply been able to access the information as easily as you or I can access information on the internet, by means of her undeniably highly developed spiritual powers. Alternatively, it may be that her Indian Masters – the Mahatmas of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood – worked together with her on the article.

Whatever the case may be, the “Visions” referred to in the article’s title are not her own but are those attributed to the protagonist of the story.

Referring to this in her book “HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky,” Sylvia Cranston remarked that “At the time the story was written there had been no major wars in Europe for two decades, and this peace would continue for another twenty-five years. European observers were encouraged to predict a millennium of peace, prosperity, and scientific progress. It is in this setting that HPB’s story foretells the onslaught of World War I and the time period subsequent, when armies would have weapons to destroy millions of people instantaneously.”

So, unlike with Jung’s prophetic insight, war was most definitely not “in the air” at the time that HPB penned the article. Yet it would seem, from its nature and contents, that both World Wars were already unavoidable and that it was now too late in the day to put a stop to them or prevent them from happening. And why was this? Because of KARMA. The causes had already been set in motion, even as far back as the 5th century AD, and now those causes and a conglomeration of other related causes were on the verge of resulting in a massive and deadly Karmic effect.

What we sow, we must eventually reap. What we reap, we must have previously sown. This is the Law of Karma. It is nothing to do with fatalism or with the judgment or anger of any type of God. The Law of Karma is the law of self-created destiny. In the past we created our present and in the present we are creating our future. Each one of us possesses tremendous and almost unthinkable responsibility but very few actually realise this to be the case. Our actions now, even some of those which may seem inconsequential, will have great bearing and effect not only on ourselves but also on others in both this and future lifetimes.

The protagonist of “Karmic Visions” is Frederick III of Germany. Although unnamed in the article, the details and descriptions all serve to make it plainly apparent that it was him. Frederick III died of throat cancer at the age of 56 just as the article was going to press. The article concludes with the individual, obviously Frederick, terribly weak and on the verge of death from throat cancer, a malady which, it is implied, was part of his Karma for having callously driven his spear straight through the throat and neck of an aged seeress or prophetess during his incarnation as Clovis, the 5th century ruler and founder of the Frankish kingdom.

The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes and Clovis was, in HPB’s words, a “heartless despot,” a vicious, evil, and bloodthirsty warrior, his famed conversion to Christianity (at the instigation of his wife Clotilde, the Burgundian princess) notwithstanding.

Then we see the soul that had incarnated as Clovis eventually reborn, in the same part of the world, as Frederick, son of Kaiser Wilhelm I. A brief yet informative overview of his life can be read in the Wikipedia article about him at,_German_Emperor.

As HPB expresses it in the story: “Son of a Prince, born to rule himself one day his father’s kingdom; surrounded from his cradle by reverence and honours; deserving of the universal respect and sure of the love of all – what could the Soul-Ego desire more from the Form it dwelt in? And so the Soul-Ego goes on enjoying existence in its tower of strength, gazing quietly at the panorama of life ever changing before its two windows – the two kind blue eyes of a loving and good man. One day an arrogant and boisterous enemy threatens the father’s kingdom, and the savage instincts of the warrior of old awaken in the Soul-Ego. It leaves its dream-land amid the blossoms of life and causes its Ego of clay to draw the soldier’s blade, assuring him it is in defence of his country. Prompting each other to action, they defeat the enemy and cover themselves with glory and pride. They make the haughty foe bite the dust at their feet in supreme humiliation. For this they are crowned by history with the unfading laurels of valour, which are those of success. They make a footstool of the fallen enemy and transform their sire’s little kingdom into a great empire. Satisfied they could achieve no more for the present, they return to seclusion and to the dreamland of their sweet home.”

But it would not be too long before Frederick was to develop the debilitating cancer of the larynx which caused him such awful, prolonged, and debilitating suffering throughout the remainder of his life.

“Hot and feverish,” that soul’s present body “tosses about in restless agony. For it, the time of happy dreams is now a vanished shadow, a long bygone recollection. Through the mental agony of the soul, there lies a transformed man. Through the physical agony of the frame, there flutters in it a fully awakened Soul. The veil of illusion has fallen off from the cold idols of the world, and the vanities and emptiness of fame and wealth stand bare, often hideous, before its eyes. The thoughts of the Soul fall like dark shadows on the cogitative faculties of the fast disorganizing body, haunting the thinker daily, nightly, hourly. … The sight of his snorting steed pleases him no longer. The recollection of guns and banners wrested from the enemy; of cities razed, of trenches, cannons and tents, of an array of conquered spoils now stirs but little his national pride. Such thoughts move him no more, and ambition has become powerless to awaken in his aching heart the haughty recognition of any valourous deed of chivalry.”

For indeed, “Visions of another kind now haunt his weary days and long sleepless nights.”
And here begins the prevision of the First World War in HPB’s “Karmic Visions”…

“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, blessed to success by the servants of his God. What he now dreams of are bleeding, wounded and dying men, with missing limbs and matted locks, wet and soaked through with gore. … 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. His eyes are once more rivetted to the torrents of blood, every drop of which represents a tear of despair, a heart-rent cry, a life-long sorrow. He hears again the thrilling sighs of desolation, and the shrill cries ringing through mount, forest and valley. He sees the old mothers who have lost the light of their souls; families, the hand that fed them. He beholds widowed young wives thrown on the wide, cold world, and beggared orphans wailing in the streets by the thousands. He finds the young daughters of his bravest old soldiers exchanging their mourning garments for the gaudy frippery of prostitution, and the Soul-Ego shudders in the sleeping Form. … His heart is rent by the groans of the famished; his eyes blinded by the smoke of burning hamlets, of homes destroyed, of towns and cities in smouldering ruins.”

But unfortunately for Crown Prince Frederick, that is not all he sees. The soul within him shows him that as a result of “those bloody victories” wrought by he and his armies in both the present and preceding lifetimes and the awful and enduring effects resultant on both outer and inner levels from these, it will so happen that after the first great war he has just witnessed with horror in his turbulent dream, his beloved land of Germany will end up being little more than “a legion of war-puppets as units, a great wild beast in their collectivity. A beast that, like the sea yonder, sleeps gloomily now [i.e. after the close of the first war], but to fall with the more fury on the first enemy that is indicated to it. Indicated by whom?”

Hardly anyone alive today, with even the faintest knowledge of modern world history, will fail to recognise exactly who HPB is referring to: “It is as though a heartless, proud Fiend, assuming sudden authority, incarnate Ambition and Power, had clutched with iron hand the minds of a whole country. By what wicked enchantment has he brought the people back to those primeval days of the nation when their ancestors, the yellow-haired Suevi, and the treacherous Franks roamed about in their warlike spirit, thirsting to kill, to decimate and subject each other? By what infernal powers has this been accomplished? Yet the transformation has been produced and it is as undeniable as the fact that alone the Fiend rejoices and boasts of the transformation effected.”

And then? “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 Europe. The cloud is approaching. It comes nearer and nearer. Oh woe and horror!”

“I foresee once more for earth the suffering I have already witnessed,” cries Frederick silently within himself. “I read the fatal destiny upon the brow of the flower of Europe’s youth! But if I live and have the power, never, oh never shall my country take part in it again!”

But it was too late. Nothing can turn back the implacable hand of Karma. Wilhelm I died in March 1888 and “the younger man is henceforth a monarch. Voiceless and helpless, he is nevertheless a potentate, the autocratic master of millions of subjects. Cruel Fate has erected a throne for him over an open grave, and beckons him to glory and to power. Devoured by suffering, he finds himself suddenly crowned. The wasted Form is snatched from its warm nest amid the palm groves and the roses; it is whirled from balmy south to the frozen north, where waters harden into crystal groves and “waves on waves in solid mountains rise”; whither he now speeds to reign and – speeds to die.”

After a reign of just 99 days, Frederick III, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia, passed away amidst great physical and mental suffering. Heir to the throne was his eldest son, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who went on to become one of the prime movers of the First World War. One month after Frederick’s death and the publication of “Karmic Visions,” Adolf Hitler was conceived. He was born in April 1889. The rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

In the section on “Cyclic Evolution and Karma” in “The Secret Doctrine,” HPB wrote that “in the prognostication of such future events, at any rate, all foretold on the authority of cyclic recurrences, there is no psychic phenomenon involved. It is neither prevision, nor prophecy; no more than is the signalling of a comet or star, several years before its appearance. It is simply knowledge and mathematically correct computations which enable the WISE MEN OF THE EAST to foretell, for instance, that England is on the eve of such or another catastrophe; France, nearing such a point of her cycle, and Europe in general threatened with, or rather, on the eve of, a cataclysm, which her own cycle of racial Karma has led her to.”

The “Karmic Visions” article probably meant little to those who read it at the time, other than the obvious identity of the protagonist. But who can read it today, after the occurrence of the events it describes, and not feel profoundly sobered or even shocked and deeply moved?

Will there be a Third World War? “If you could foresee what I foresee, you would begin heart and soul to spread the teaching of universal brotherhood,” HPB told an interviewer towards the end of her life. “It is the only safeguard!”

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