Michael Gomes


Emily Sellon Memorial Library in New York

Michael Gomes is Director of the Emily Sellon Memorial Library, a Theosophically themed library organized in New York in 1931. He is author of a number of studies on the life and work of H. P. Blavatsky, and has produced abridgements of her two major books, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, the latter published by Penguin in 2009. He studied South Asian history at Columbia University and was awarded the Herman Ausubel Memorial Prize for achievement in history by Columbia University after the publication of his Dawning of the Theosophical Movement in 1987. His latest book, to be issued this year, is an edition of Blavatsky's Esoteric Instructions, which provided her theories on light and color. He was a presenter at the first Theosophical conference, organized at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in November 1994, along with Antoine Faivre and Jean Pierre Laurent, and the keynote speaker at the University of Sydney's 2010 Legacies of Theosophy Conference. This paper draws on research from his larger project on Eastern Esotericism: the History of an Idea.

His research looks at the development of the idea of an Eastern esotericism, of which Theosophists were large contributors, created not only for comparison but also as confirmation of the existence of a Western esotericism. Some of these findings will appear in his fifth book of edited Blavatsky texts, a critical edition of her Esoteric Instructions, which will be published next year, as well as in the chapter on Theosophy in The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.