THE SECRET DOCTRINE, one of the most important, but sometimes poorly read, books on occultism ever compiled and published, has exerted influence not only on modern and contemporary occult students but on scientists and others. It is, without doubt, a most controversial book, easily dismissed like others that have acquired a certain 'fame' while its author, MADAME BLAVATSKY gained a general notoriety except among her more devoted and astute followers.
Many books on THEOSOPHY and THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT in modern times, since the 1800's have appeared,including those 'authorized' and issued by various organizations in the MOVEMENT as well as many groups outside the MOVEMENT. Various splinter groups exist that have been inspired by the original members and founders of the THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY created in New York City and several books deal with the actual history and accounts of that day and afterwards, right up to the present and,doubtless, many more will appear.
Aside from this HPB, the initials standing for HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY, has been the subject of many books and articles that vary from outright praise and admiration to outright condemnation and criticism and 'exposes' and the like. As always, sensationalism often attracts more than reason or objectivity.
However, many persons of note have been attracted to the various 'theosophical' teachings, however difficult to penetrate and understand if one does not have an intense interest and background in such endeavors and studies. Most persons will not take up this book or any of the writings of HPB unless something motivates them, such as, 'a search for truth' or 'a quest for the miraculous'.
THOMAS EDISON, NIKOLA TESLA, ALBERT EINSTEIN, & possibly G.I. GURDJIEFF all took at look at her massive work and certainly P.D. OUSPENSKY, a follower of Gurdjieff, did. Ouspenksy also looked at her other works at some time but more research will have to be done as well as for the others mentioned here to fully establish just how much they did read, possibly find useful and what, if anything, it did to influence their lives and work,especially when such is usually ignored by most writers on famous people,except in rare instances.
'THE ESOTERIC WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY, INSIGHTS into the LIFE of a MODERN SPHINX', collected by DANIEL CALDWELL and published by Quest Books, 2000 (originally published as :'THE OCCULT WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY in 1991) gives a well-rounded view of what others thought, saw, and felt important to say about her,along with references and other information for those further interested in such.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING TO FIND CONNECTIONS WITH GURDJIEFF, HIS TEACHINGS, THE WORK, THE FOURTH WAY, AND THE LIKE, the book has places that would tend to indicate of possible 'connections' & 'influences',some obvious and others requiring 'a stretch of the imagination' perhaps.
One thing I noticed is this: WHY DID GURDJIEFF CHOOSE FRANCE FOR HIS INSTITUTE AND,IN PARTICULAR, FONTAINBLEU?
In the book mentioned, HPB spent some 'vacation' time there during the year that her book,THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY was published and began writing, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, which Ouspensky had read while in Russia. While there, HPB was visited by ANNIE BESANT.
G.R.S. MEAD, HPB's secretary and author of two important works: PISTIS SOPHIA,A GNOSTIC GOSPEL(which I have on my library shelves) and FRAGMENTS OF A FAITH FORGOTTEN( which I may have also but will have to look).
These persons were there in MAY OF 1889.
At any rate, these accounts are well worth reading to round out a better picture of how these movements start and go and then tend to lose momentum, then sometimes pick up again and go in other directions. The accounts by both the followers of HPB & G.I. GURDJIEFF always mention their eyes, their compassion, their methods and 'eccentricities' and other things that seem sometimes unbelievable and misunderstood,especially by those attempting to follow either of them.
In the background looks the 'POSSIBILITY OF TIBET' with hints of MASTERS & SEEKERS OF TRUTH. .