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It is regarded as "one of the monuments of modern esotericism. Originally published in , it gave the spiritual history of the development of the cosmos or kosmos, as the author would have it and of human life on earth. In doing this Mme. Blavatsky drew on her impressive knowledge of myth and ancient scripture for verification of the lineage of her theories. The book has gone on to become one of the most influentuial expositions of esoteric ideas, and its two volumes, comprising more than fifteen hundred pages, remain in print.
Charles Johnston wrote of the challenge of reading the books:. I always think that to read the S. Charles Johnston described a writing process that differed from that used to create Isis Unveiled : "The Masters, instead of writing thru the H.
Blavatsky is best known as the author of The Secret Doctrine , the crowning achievement of her literary endeavors. It was intended as an enlarged and improved rendering of Isis Unveiled which, according to the Master K. In January the Supplement to The Theosophist published an advertisement announcing that "a New Version of Isis Unveiled ," which was to be published as monthly articles.
Although Mme. Blavatsky had some written material to start the monthly installments, this plan never came to fruition in the way planned, due to ill-health, her travel to Europe , and the Coulomb affair. In January the monthly installments plan was dropped, and The Secret Doctrine was conceived as a book. In the fall of that year, a few months after HPB moved to Wurzburg, Germany, she started working steadily on writing. As the writing of the book developed with the help of Masters M.
In a letter to A. Sinnett she said she felt that this could vindicate the Theosophical Society after the unfavorable Report that Richard Hodgson had made. In the spring of she sent a preliminary manuscript of the first volume to Adyar, where T. Subba Row was supposed to read it and contribute additional material related to Hindu philosophy. However, he refused to do so. HPB moved to Ostende, Belgium, where she continued working on the book. By the end of March she fell gravely ill with a kidney infection, and was not expected to live.
Master Morya came at night and asked her if she wanted to be freed from the body, or to live, with much suffering, to finish The Secret Doctrine.
She agreed to finish the book. On May 1 , , she moved to London where a group of earnest students helped her to prepare the huge manuscript for publication.
The First Volume of The Secret Doctrine came off the press on October 20 , and all copies were sold out before the date of publication. The Second Volume came out towards the end of the year. The third volume, in which HPB planned to write of the history of occultism and the lives of the adepts, was never completed under her supervision.
She placed that work in the hands of Annie Besant , who published it in June, See Editions: Theosophical Publishing House below. Some of the original manuscript was not included in the first two volumes published.
It includes H. These comprise cosmogenesis, and a few on anthropogenesis. Most of the chapters in this introductory section were later published in the third volume of The Secret Doctrine. As with the commentaries on the stanzas, here we have her unrevised versions.
Her manuscript of the almost completed Secret Doctrine was copied by two or more scribes to send to India for revision by T.
Subba Row , which revision did not occur. Only part of this copy has been found. What we have is estimated to be about a fourth or a third of the whole that was sent to India.
Fortunately, it includes the whole cosmogenesis section, all seven stanzas and their commentaries. In , W. As I turned over page after page the interest became absorbing; but how familiar it seemed; how my mind leapt forward to presage the conclusions, how natural it was, how coherent, how subtle, and yet how intelligible. I was dazzled, blinded by the light in which disjointed facts were seen as parts of a mighty whole, and all my puzzles, riddles, problems, seemed to disappear.
The effect was partially illusory in one sense, in that they all had to be slowly unravelled later, the brain gradually assimilating that which the swift intuition had grasped as truth. But the light had been seen, and in that flash of illumination I knew that the weary search was over and the very Truth was found.
It would be difficult to find a book presenting more difficulties to the "reviewer with a conscience" than these handsome volumes bearing the name of Mdme.
Blavatsky as author or, perhaps, it would be more accurate to say, as compiler and annotator. The subject-matter is so far away from the beaten paths of literature, science, and art; the point of view so removed from our Occidental fashion of envisaging the universe; the lore gathered and expounded so different from the science or the metaphysics of the West, that to ninety-nine out of every hundred readers perhaps to nine hundred and ninety-nine among every thousand the study of the book will begin in bewilderment and end in despair.
The would-be reader must have an intense desire to know, and to know not merely the relations between phenomena but the causes of phenomena; he must be eagerly searching for that bridge between matter and thought, between the vibrating nerve-cell and percipiency Stainton Moses admitted to his own "absolute incapacity to tackle that mountain of promiscuous erudition in any manner at all likely to be profitable to me readers that has kept me silent with regard to its contents. The Secret Doctrine was originally published in two volumes, with three parts to each volume.
Boris de Zirkoff explained its contents as follows:. Sanskrit scholar Charles Johnston wrote a letter to Dr. Buck , discussing the "Secret Doctrine outline" that each of them planned to write:. I hope to make a single volume of my outline, to sell for two shillings or so, but it will take me some months to finish it Please send me any notes on my "outline" that occur to you; except your letter, I have not received any comment from anyone, though I believe the outline is appearing in India and America Path as well as here [London].
On April 19, , he wrote notes about her recommendations for how to study The Secret Doctrine :. I had better try to sort it all out and get it safely down on paper while it is fresh in my mind.
As she said herself, it may be useful to someone thirty or forty years hence First of all then, The Secret Doctrine is only quite a small fragment of the Esoteric Doctrine known to the higher members of the Occult Brotherhoods. It contains, she says, just as much as can be received by the World during this coming century Reading the SD page by page as one reads any other book she says will only end in confusion.
The first thing to do, even if it takes years, is to get some grasp of "Three Fundamental Principles" give in Proem. Follow that up by study of the Recapitulation - the numbered items in the Summing up to Vol. I Part 1. Then take the Preliminary Notes Vol. II and the Conclusion Vol. See Robert Bowen Notes for the complete text. This is virtually a reprint of the original edition with a scholarly transliteration of Sanskrit words according to an accepted standard, some corrections of faulty Greek and Latin and of obvious typographical errors, and the occasional substitution of square brackets in place of parentheses for clearness.
No changes were made in H. Blavatsky's language and no passages were eliminated. This is the standard edition still being published by the Theosophical University Press, Covina. The edition was reprinted in as Second Point Loma edition, bound in four volumes, and a Third Point Loma edition took place in bound in two and four volumes , all published by the Aryan Theosophical Press. The Fourth edition was published by the Theosophical University Press, Covina, California, in , as a reprint of the edition.
The edition of is verbatim with the original edition. This was reprinted in The Netherlands in and , and in the United States in The Theosophy Company of Los Angeles published in a photographic facsimile of the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine , bound in one volume. This edition provides the opportunity to study the work in exactly the way the author wrote it, although this edition perpetuates many typographical errors. The Secret Doctrine has been translated into numerous languages, including the following editions:.
Theosophists worldwide have written and lectured about The Secret Doctrine. Over articles are listed in the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals giving reviews, excerpts, quotations, and analyses of the books' contents. That count is based only on the term "Secret Doctrine," and searching on additional terms reveals a vast periodical literature dealing with Blavatsky's masterwork.
Several authors have attempted to make The Secret Doctrine more accessible by creating abridgements and commentaries. From Theosophy Wiki. Jump to: navigation , search. Blavatsky, abridged and annotated , New York: Jeremy P.
November 17, Cincinnati Lodge Records. Theosophical Society in America Archives. Trevor Barker, The Letters of H. Blavatsky to A. Sinnett Letter No. May 5, May 24, Theosophical Society in America Archives digital files. Letter number Cincinnati Theosophical Society Records. Records Series
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