Since the appearance of Theosophical literature in England, it has become customary to call its teachings “Esoteric Buddhism.” And, having become a habit—as an old proverb based on daily experience has it—“Error runs down an inclined plane, while Truth has to laboriously climb its way up hill.”Old truisms are often the wisest. The human mind can hardly remain entirely free from bias, and decisive opinions are often formed before a thorough examination of a subject from all its aspects has been made. This is said with reference to the prevailing double mistake (a) of limiting Theosophy to Buddhism; and (b) of confounding the tenets of the religious philosophy preached by Gautama, the Buddha, with the doctrines broadly outlined in Esoteric Buddhism. Any thing more erroneous than this could hardly be imagined. It has enabled our enemies to find an effective weapon against Theosophy, because, as an eminent Pâli scholar very pointedly expressed it, there was in the volume named BAHASA INGGRIS HARDCOVER UKURAN B5 COVER WARNA ISI HITAM PUTIH BARU CONDITION : NOT ORIGINAL
Madame Blavatsky's Victorian-era masterpiece is now scaled down to its essentials, providing the most readable, accessible experience ever of one of history's seminal occult works.
The Secret Doctrine, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's masterwork on the origin and evolution of the universe and humanity itself, is arguably the most famous, and perhaps the most influential, occult book ever written. Published since 1888 only in expensive, two-volume editions of some 1,400 pages, it has long eluded the grasp of modern readers- until now.
This single-volume edition, abridged and annotated by historian and Theosophical scholar Michael Gomes, places the ideas of The Secret Doctrine within reach of all who are curious. In particular, Gomes provides a critical sounding of the book's famous stanzas on the genesis of life and the cosmos- mysterious passages that Blavatsky said originated from a primeval source and which form the heart of The Secret Doctrine. Gomes scrupulously scales down the book's key writings on symbolism to their essentials, and offers notes and a glossary to illuminate arcane references. His historical and literary introduction casts new light on some of the book's sources and on the career of its brilliant and elusive author, one of the most intriguing personages of the nineteenth century.
At once compact and representative of the work as a whole, this new edition of The Secret Doctrine brings unprecedented accessibility to the key esoteric classic of the modern era.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Theosophy Hall of the United Lodge of Theosophists on East Seventy-Second Street in Manhattan is one of those strange, wonderful, time-warp spaces you can find all over the city, if you know where to look. From threadbare armchairs in the lobby to a library of occult books in the basement, it’s the kind of place that hasn’t changed in decades. It could be a museum, if someone hung a velvet rope.
I was at the ULT on a recent Wednesday evening to attend the weekly study group on The Key to Theosophy, by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. My interest had been piqued by a new biography, Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality, by Gary Lachman, who (for those interested in such trivia), was the bassist for Blondie before reinventing himself as a writer on occult topics. A man in a brown sweater vest and a silver-haired woman wearing gold-rimmed glasses led the discussion from a semi-circular stage that, under pink and purple lighting, looked like an old-fashioned science fiction set. With the ancient furnishings, solemn proceedings, and casual talk of 1,500-year reincarnation cycles, the scene was delightfully weird.
Theosophy, literally meaning “divine wisdom,” generally refers to the mystical and spiritual teachings of Blavatsky—also known as “Madame Blavatsky,” or “HPB”—who helped found the Theosophical Society at an apartment on Irving Place in 1875. (Today the Theosophical Society, of which the ULT is a breakaway group, is headquartered in Adyar, a neighborhood in Chennai, India, and claims an international membership of about 40,000 people.) Depending on whom you ask, Blavatsky—a fat, chain-smoking Russian noblewoman with a profane vocabulary and reputation for occult powers—was either one of the major innovators of modern religious thought or a complete fraud, her books works of great erudition and synthesis or piles of pasted together rubbish. For a few years in the late nineteenth century, she was all the rage.
Born Helena Petrovna von Hahn on August 12, 1831, in Ekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine), Blavatsky was descended from the German petty nobility and the Russian aristocracy, her father a captain in the Russian Royal Horse Artillery and her mother a well-known novelist. Raised as an army brat, Blavatsky spent her childhood moving from one post to another, living for a time with her maternal grandfather who, as Lachman tells us, was “a trustee for the nomadic Kalmuck Buddhist tribes of Astrakhan.” At age seventeen she married Nikifor Blavatsky, vice governor of the province of Erivan, which is now most of Armenia.
Blavatsky later claimed that she never slept with her husband, nor with anyone else: “Never physically speaking, has there ever existed a girl or woman colder than I,” she wrote. “I had a volcano in constant eruption in my brain, and—a glacier at the foot of the mountain.” Like many details of Blavatsky’s biography, no one knows for sure if this is true. What is certain is that after just a few months of marriage she left her husband and went to Constantinople, the first stop in a twenty-five-year period of travel that is almost totally unaccounted for.
Among the claims Blavatsky made about this time—or that were made about her—are that she smoked hashish with the Universal Mystic Brotherhood in Cairo, studied voodoo in New Orleans, found a lost Incan treasure in South America, performed as a concert pianist in England, visited the Mormons in Salt Lake City, was wounded and left for dead fighting alongside Garibaldi, survived two sea disasters, had an affair with Italian opera singer Agardi Metrovich, discovered an ancient language called Senzar, and studied in Tibet with a group of “Masters” who would later become central to her Theosophical teachings. Whatever the credibility of these claims (and some, like the affair with Metrovich, are more credible than others), it wasn’t until she came to the U.S. on July 7, 1873, at age forty-two, that she reentered the historical record.
Blavatsky was a hit in America. At that time the country was in the grip of Spiritualism, a movement whose main purpose was to make contact with the dead. Though she would later turn against Spiritualism—the spirits it reached, she claimed, were merely a kind of astral husk rather than real human souls—Blavatsky joined forces in its fight against scientific materialism and mainstream Christianity. It also helped her make valuable connections. In 1874, at a séance in Chittenden, Vermont, she met Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, a Civil War veteran, lawyer, and journalist who was covering the event for the New York Daily Graphic. Together, Blavatsky and Olcott would become the twin pillars of the Theosophical Society until her death in May of 1891.
It was while living with Olcott in an eccentrically furnished suite of rooms at the corner of Forty-Seventh Street and Eighth Avenue that Blavatsky published her first major work, Isis Unveiled. In it, she posited the existence of an ancient wisdom at the root of all religions, forgotten except by a secret brotherhood of adepts. Knowledge of this wisdom gave its bearers paranormal powers such as clairvoyance, astral projection, and the ability to materialize objects out of thin air. She had received instruction from these Masters herself, Blavatsky maintained, and could perform paranormal feats. Inevitably such claims drew accusations of charlatanism and fraud, but some scholars took her ideas seriously. Gershom Scholem later remarked that “there is, of course, a lot of humbug and swindle, but at least in Blavatsky’s writings, yet something more.”
That “something more,” received its fullest expression in 1888 with the publication of Blavatsky’s magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine. Divided into two fat volumes, Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis, the book lays out the spiritual structure of the universe based on three principles: that there is one absolute, infinite, eternal, unknowable reality; that the universe is a periodic emanation from that absolute reality (that is, it goes from a state of latent spiritual potential to a period of material existence and back again, eternally); and that everything in the universe—each individual “monad”—is in unity with the absolute reality. Humans, who possess the power of self-awareness and free will, can, by doing good, ascend on the chain of being through a process of karma and reincarnation, becoming godlike themselves before returning to a state of pure spirit along with everything else.
For the most part there was nothing original about Blavatsky’s ideas, which derived from a variety of mystical sources. But Blavatsky’s presentation appealed to the needs of her time. The concept of an evolving universe seemed to square Darwinism with religion, and the emphasis on an individual’s ability to propel herself upwards echoed an Emersonian ethos of self-improvement. Blavatsky also had a penchant for a social progressivism, as expressed in the first principle of the Theosophical Society: “To form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.” For educated, liberal, middle-class people disillusioned with Christianity and disappointed by Darwin, she was an attractive alternative.
In 1878, Blavatsky having received her U.S. citizenship, she and Olcott packed up and moved to India. At that time they were among the first Westerners to visit the country in search of enlightenment; like so many clichés, it was an original idea to begin with. Their interest in Asian religions, which ran counter to colonialist attitudes, had a significant impact on Indian nationalist thinkers, including Gandhi. (Theosophy had a similar impact on members of the Irish literary renaissance, including Yeats.) Olcott made a special effort to revive Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and has been honored there by several statues and a postage stamp. In India the Theosophical Society reached the peak of its influence in 1917 when Annie Besant, who succeeded Olcott as president, became the first woman and the last European to head the Indian National Congress.
The decline of Theosophy in subsequent decades can be traced to an array of causes, including schisms, scandals (a few Theosophical leaders were alleged to be pedophiles), and changes in spiritual style. But it also has to do with Theosophy’s success. The occult trend fueled by Blavatsky led to a host of successor groups including, arguably, the entire New Age movement of the 1960s and ’70s. The ideas she introduced to American and European readers have now become commonplace. In a conversation I had recently with Michael Gomes, director of the Theosophical Society’s Emily Sellon Memorial Library, he put it to me best: “Do you need to join a society to know what karma is?”
Still, Theosophy continues to attract a trickle of followers, who come to study sessions and lectures to talk about Masters and monads and reincarnation. Their doctrine is now, as it was, a mixture of old-fashioned utopianism, intellectual eclecticism, and offbeat spirituality. And if the Theosophical movement has become a bit of a relic? Well, that’s half the charm. Ancient wisdom, after all, never goes out of style.
Ezra Glinter is the deputy arts editor of the Forward.
Madame Blavatsky’s Victorian-era masterpiece is now scaled down to its essentials, providing the most readable, accessible experience ever of one of history’s seminal occult works.
The Secret Doctrine, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s masterwork on the origin and evolution of the universe and humanity itself, is arguably the most famous, and perhaps the most influential, occult book ever written. Published since 1888 only in expensive, two-volume editions of some 1,400 pages, it has long eluded the grasp of modern readers- until now.
This single-volume edition, abridged and annotated by historian and Theosophical scholar Michael Gomes, places the ideas of The Secret Doctrine within reach of all who are curious. In particular, Gomes provides a critical sounding of the book’s famous stanzas on the genesis of life and the cosmos- mysterious passages that Blavatsky said originated from a primeval source and which form the heart of The Secret Doctrine. Gomes scrupulously scales down the book’s key writings on symbolism to their essentials, and offers notes and a glossary to illuminate arcane references. His historical and literary introduction casts new light on some of the book’s sources and on the career of its brilliant and elusive author, one of the most intriguing personages of the nineteenth century.
At once compact and representative of the work as a whole, this new edition of The Secret Doctrine brings unprecedented accessibility to the key esoteric classic of the modern era.
Doctrine the secret
The Secret Doctrine
THE SYNTHESIS OF SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND PHILOSOPHY.
By H. P. Blavatsky
Volume 1: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Volume 2: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
(Link to Full "Verbatim" Table of Contents of Volume 1 and Volume 2)
PREFACE ... vii
INTRODUCTION ... xvii.
PROEM ... 1
BOOK I. -- PART I: COSMIC EVOLUTION.
SEVEN STANZAS FROM THE BOOK OF DZYAN ... 27
STANZA I. -- THE NIGHT OF THE UNIVERSE... 35
STANZA II. -- THE IDEA OF DIFFERENTIATION ... 53
STANZA III. -- THE AWAKENING OF KOSMOS ... 62
STANZA IV. -- THE SEPTENARY HIERARCHIES ... 86
STANZA V. -- FOHAT: THE CHILD OF THE SEPTENARY HIERARCHIES ... 106
STANZA VI. -- OUR WORLD, ITS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT ... 136
THEOSOPHICAL MISCONCEPTIONS ... 152
EXPLANATIONS CONCERNING THE GLOBES AND THE MONADS ... 170
STANZA VI. -- CONTINUED. ... 191
STANZA VII. -- THE PARENTS OF MAN ON EARTH ... 213
(continued in )Formation of Man: the Thinker ... 238
SUMMING UP ... 269
BOOK I. -- PART II. THE EVOLUTION OF SYMBOLISM IN ITS APPROXIMATE ORDER.
I. SYMBOLISM AND IDEOGRAPHS ... 303
II. THE MYSTERY LANGUAGE AND ITS KEYS ... 310
III. PRIMORDIAL SUBSTANCE AND DIVINE THOUGHT ... 325
IV. CHAOS -- THEOS -- KOSMOS ... 342
V. THE HIDDEN DEITY, ITS SYMBOLS AND GLYPHS ... 349
VI. THE MUNDANE EGG ... 359
VII. THE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF BRAHMA ... 368
VIII. THE LOTUS AS A UNIVERSAL SYMBOL ... 379
IX. DEUS LUNUS ... 386
X. TREE AND SERPENT AND CROCODILE WORSHIP ... 403
XI. DEMON EST DEUS INVERSUS ... 411
XII. THE THEOGONY OF THE CREATIVE GODS ... 424
XIII. THE SEVEN CREATIONS ... 445
XIV. THE FOUR ELEMENTS. ... 460
XV. ON KWAN-SHI-YIN AND KWAN-YIN ... 470
BOOK I. -- PART III. SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE CONTRASTED.
I. REASONS FOR THESE ADDENDA ... 477
II. MODERN PHYSICISTS ARE PLAYING AT BLIND MAN'S BUFF ... 482
III. AN LUMEN SIT CORPUS NEC NON? ... 483
IV. IS GRAVITATION A LAW? ... 490
V. THE THEORIES OF ROTATION SCIENCE ... 500
VI. THE MASKS OF SCIENCE ... 506
VII. AN ATTACK ON THE SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF FORCE BY A MAN OF SCIENCE ... 523
VIII. LIFE, FORCE, OR GRAVITY? ... 529
IX. THE SOLAR THEORY ... 540
X. THE COMING FORCE ... 554
XI. ON THE ELEMENTS AND ATOMS ... 566
XII. ANCIENT THOUGHT IN MODERN DRESS ... 579
XIII. THE MODERN NEBULAR THEORY ... 588
XIV. FORCES -- MODES OF MOTION OR INTELLIGENCES? ... 601
XV. GODS, MONADS, AND ATOMS ... 610
XVI. CYCLIC EVOLUTION AND KARMA ... 634
XVII. THE ZODIAC AND ITS ANTIQUITY ... 647
XVIII. SUMMARY OF THE MUTUAL POSITION ... 668
BOOK II. -- PART I.: ANTHROPOGENESIS.
STANZAS FROM THE BOOK OF DZYAN . . . 15
THE BEGINNINGS OF SENTIENT LIVE ... 22
TWO ANTEDILUVIAN ASTRONOMERS ... 47
STANZA II. -- NATURE UNAIDED FAILS ... 52
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE BRAHMINS ... 66
STANZA III. -- ATTEMPTS TO CREATE MAN ... 75
STANZA IV. -- CREATION OF THE FIRST RACES ... 86
STANZA V. -- THE EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND RACE ... 109
STANZA VI. -- THE EVOLUTION OF THE SWEAT-BORN ... 131
STANZA VII. -- FROM THE SEMI-DIVINE DOWN TO THE FIRST HUMAN RACES ... 161
STANZA VIII. -- EVOLUTION OF THE ANIMAL MAMMALIANS -- THE FIRST ... 180
WHAT MAY BE THE OBJECTIONS TO THE FOREGOING ... 185
STANZA IX. -- THE FINAL EVOLUTION OF MAN ... 191
EDENS, SERPENTS AND DRAGONS ... 202
THE SONS OF GOD AND THE SACRED ISLAND ... 220
STANZA X. -- THE HISTORY OF THE FOURTH RACE ... 227
ARCHAIC TEACHINGS IN THE PURANAS AND GENESIS ... 251
A PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE EARLY RACES ... 263
STANZA X. -- Continued ... 271
ARE GIANTS A FICTION? ... 277
THE RACES WITH THE "THIRD EYE" ... 289
THE PRIMEVAL MANUS OF HUMANITY ... 307
STANZA XI. -- THE CIVILIZATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE FOURTH AND FIFTH RACES ... 316
CYCLOPEAN RUINS AND COLOSSAL STONES AS WITNESSES TO GIANTS ... 341
STANZA XII. -- THE FIFTH RACE AND ITS DIVINE INSTRUCTORS ... 351
The Origin of the Satanic Myth ... 378
Western Speculations founded on the Greek and Puranic Traditions ... 402
ADDITIONAL FRAGMENTS FROM A COMMENTARY ON THE VERSES OF STANZA XII. ... 423
CONCLUSION ... 437
BOOK II. -- PART II. THE ARCHAIC SYMBOLISM OF THE WORLD-RELIGIONS.
ESOTERIC TENETS CORROBORATED IN EVERY SCRIPTURE ... 449
� XVI. ADAM-ADAMI ... 452
XVII. THE "HOLY OF HOLIES": ITS DEGRADATION ... 459
XVIII. ON THE MYTH OF THE "FALLEN ANGEL," IN ITS VARIOUS ASPECTS ... 475
The many meanings of the "War in Heaven" ... 492
XIX. IS PLEROMA SATAN'S LAIR? ... 506
XX. PROMETHEUS THE TITAN ... 519
XXI. ENOICHION-HENOCH ... 529
XXII. THE SYMBOLISM OF THE MYSTERY NAMES IAO AND JEHOVAH ... 536
XXIII. THE UPANISHADS IN GNOSTIC LITERATURE ... 563
XXIV. THE CROSS AND THE PYTHAGOREAN DECADE ... 573
XXV. THE MYSTERIES OF THE HEBDOMAD ... 590
The Septenary Element in the Vedas ... 605
The Seven Souls of the Egyptologists ... 630
BOOK II. -- PART III. ADDENDA. SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE CONTRASTED.
I. ARCHAIC, OR MODERN ANTHROPOLOGY? ... 645
II. THE ANCESTORS MANKIND IS OFFERED BY SCIENCE ... 656
III. THE FOSSIL RELICS OF MAN AND THE ANTHROPOID APE ... 675
IV. DURATION OF THE GEOLOGICAL PERIODS, RACE CYCLES, AND THE ANTIQUITY OF MAN ... 690
(c) Esoteric Geological Chronology ... 709
V. ORGANIC EVOLUTION AND CREATIVE CENTRES ... 731
VI. GIANTS, CIVILIZATIONS, AND SUBMERGED CONTINENTS TRACED IN HISTORY ... 742
(a) Statements about the Sacred Islands ... 760
VII. SCIENTIFIC AND GEOLOGICAL PROOFS OF THE EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL SUBMERGED CONTINENTS ... 778
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY
Well, okay, I have to tell you about yesterday, sorry for the high syllable. - Something rolled over. The day yesterday was marked by a late rise, headache and dry mouth.
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