Since Secret Doctrine Classes represent the major Theosophical effort undertaken by the writer for several years, first-hand knowledge has been gained of the problems confronting many who endeavor to study H. P. Blavatsky's writings. Again and again has the wish been expressed that there could be a book that would be of assistance in the study of the teachings. To meet this need, this work is offered. The effort has been made to overcome the difficulties that students encounter; hence the manner in which it is prepared. What actually caused the writing of the book came about in this way.
The writer was requested to take part in a symposium to be presented at the 1956 Summer School convening at the Headquarters of the American Section of The Theosophical Society at Wheaton, Illinois. This formed part of the proceedings of the regular annual convention held at this Theosophical center. The symposium was entitled: " Methods of Approach to the Study of The Secret Doctrine." The theme was of paramount importance, since this was the very line of endeavor being carried on in classes. Because of the problems encountered in class study, the decision was made to present a practical approach to the subject, emphasizing the aspect of how to read the volumes.
The idea was stressed that The Secret Doctrine was written from the Platonic standpoint rather than the Aristotelian. Therefore a universal outlook must be sought for primarily. So often, difficulty is experienced in understanding the teachings because of attempting to view them " from below "-that is, from the individual's viewpoint-rather than " from above," from a cosmic standpoint. Therefore, the effort must be made to look down from above, as though a panoramic picture were being unrolled. There is no need to be concerned about details in the first glance-that is, in the first effort to understand a doctrine. The details may be examined later and placed in proper sequence. The example of man's sevenfold principles was instanced. Too often the seven principles are viewed from below". Thus, the Sthilla-iarira (physical body) is considered first, and the other six principles super-imposed upon it. Because of this, it becomes difficult to comprehend the significance of Atman (man's divine self), from below. Instead, viewed from above, Atman is a universal principle; it is even united with its Originating Source. It sends its radiance through the six emanated principles, which are all linked with the Self (Atman). Thus man from the standpoint of the Esoteric Philosophy is a Saptaparna-an unfolding " seven-leaved man-plant "; not an entity consisting of seven separate principles which may be peeled apart as one separates an onion (as H. P. B. has expressed it).
With specific reference to The Secret Doctrine: the suggestion was made that one should not attempt to read it in the way that an ordinary book is read. Especially is this the case if one has no knowledge of Theosophy and is not acquainted with the terms used-not to mention Hebrew or Sanskrit words. How, then, could such a person commence reading the work ? The recommendation was made that The Secret Doctrine should be read by " subjects," rather than page by page, using the index to jot down references to the chosen topic, then reading all the pages connected with the theme. Ways for conducting study-classes were considered, and selected pages were indicated for especial reading.
The response of the assemblage was most heartening. So much enthusiasm was shown that it brought about an unexpected turn of events. After the meeting, while waiting at the railway station of the small mid-western town for the arrival of the train to take us on our homeward journey, the group of Theosophists were silently contemplating the beauty of the evening and also reflecting upon the session of the afternoon. Although the sun had set, the horizon was radiant with a golden glow, and a balmy breeze scarcely swayed the tall trees in the distance. Overhead night-hawks were languidly coasting back and forth without so much as flapping their wings. The evening reverie was interrupted by a startling question (startling because of its implications) : " Why don't you write a book along the lines you were describing at the Convention-it would be such a help to Theosophists!
" Thus was the idea born-the inspiration was provided. Ah, but the labor involved! Little did my wife realize how calls would be forthcoming for her to hunt up references; to search for passages containing desired topics; to comb the index for items which were not listed! It is one thing to specify the type of citation desired, but quite another to find it. In passing, it may be remarked that in this type of work, sifting is of primary importance; mere references (which are plentifully provided) generally prove to be of little value-yet each one must be examined. Each item, as well as being appropriate to the particular subject, must fit into the great over-all pattern. The labor is something like putting a picture-puzzle together: each individual piece must fit exactly into its proper place -otherwise it must be left out, waiting until the appropriate setting is provided for its use. Needless to say, the task is much more difficult than writing without citations.
It is one thing to have an idea, quite another to formulate it into a vine actuality, still another to accomplish it. Here one is reminded of the era’s philosophical concept explaining the coming into being of a cosmos through s it’s the instrumentality of the Three Logo. First there is the Unmanifested with Logos-providing the idea of the cosmos-to-be. The second stage, the Hilo- Second Logos, conveys the idea from the unmanifested to the manifest-,t a bridging the gap between that which is non-manifest to the plane of miniport festation. The third stage, the Third or Manifested Logos, proceeds to make the idea manifested.
Howsoever, the work was commenced. Some thoughts were jotted ok is down, a frame-work outlined, memoranda garnered, quotations searched ) for, and chapter one was started. Two or three copies of The Secret Doctrine, V or of each volume, always lay opened on tables along with shorthand note-; the books. (For those who may be interested in the actual process, or method d be employed: a rough draft was put down in shorthand. If satisfactory it ) jot was then transcribed direct on the typewriter. Oftentimes revised in long acted hand, worked over with emendations and then typed. Sometimes a third and or fourth revision were necessary, especially if searching would bring to light a more apt citation.)
As the writing progressed, it became evident that the first ideas were ents. undergoing alteration; a larger theme was developing. It was just as mid- though my assistant's favorite ilea had actually come to pass-and the rend, verse was recited: " I shall send thee a fire when they work is commenced." the (Words addressed by the Lord of the Shining Face to the Lea of the Earth ought Book II, Stanza I, slake 3.)
In actuality, something had really happened. There was no doubt light- about it; it necessitated a revision of the manuscript. A completely new aping plan had come into being; the result-the present book.
As this guide-book is declared to be " written in the form of a Com-dong monetary on H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine," it hardly seems necessary to help remark that citations are plentiful. This method was adopted for the following reasons. In order to read The Secret Doctrine understandingly it t the is necessary to know: (1) the meaning of a term itself-in the case of Ming Sanskrit, going to the root-meaning of the word is of great importance; sired (2) the manner in which the term is used in relation to the passage; (3) the hang meaning of the whole passage; (4) the relation of the passage to the doctrine In as a whole; (5) whether the term or passage is used in a generalizing sense wary or specifically; (6) whether a symbolical meaning is being employed; :rally (7) whether more than one interpretation is applicable. Thus by having item, citations placed in desired positions, the reader may follow the sequence ) the without need of turning for verification to the original.
Then this factor, too, would be taken care of: in Secret Doctrine )lace Classes the writer is constantly challenged in regard to statements made or Lag is views expressed, in which the request is made to " quote page and line ". than Therefore, by supplying the original citations, those who wish to view the actual words of The Secret Doctrine may do so. They may check the ideas that are being presented with the source-book. This will prove to be of great value to lecturers who would like to see authentic passages under " subjects," instead of being obliged to hunt through an index, only to discover that they are unable to locate the passage desired. There need be no doubt as to the authenticity of citations, for the writer is as zealous as the most enthusiastic supporter in holding to the original teachings as presented by H. P. Blavatsky. Therefore the original edition is always used and quoted verbatim.
Yet another difficulty confronting study-classes is the matter of different editions of The Secret Doctrine, since the work has been published so very many times. This problem has been solved in the following manner. The various editions may be classified into three main groups: (1) the original edition, published in two volumes in London, 1888, (entitled the First Edition) ; followed by the Second Edition and then by all subsequent editions adhering to the original pagination (whether reproduced photo-statically or by type-setting processes). (2) The Third and Revised Edition, published in two volumes in 1893, the revision resulting in a different set of pages. This edition has been reprinted many times: in 1902, 1905, 1908, 1911, 1913, 1918, 1921 and 1928. (3) The editions published at Adyar, India, first in 1938, entitled the Fourth (Adyar) Edition, followed by the Fifth and Sixth Editions in 1946 and 1952: in six volumes, Volumes 1 and 2 of this edition represent Volume I of the original edition; volumes 3 and 4 equivalent to Volume II of the original edition. These editions resulted in yet another change in pagination. Volume 5 of this edition consists of the work known as the " third volume," first printed in 1897 after H. P. Blavatsky's passing, while Volume 6 is solely an index.
Each citation carries references to these three classified groups in the following manner: the volume and page references included in parentheses after each citation refer to the pagination of the original edition. Following this reference a footnote indicates the volume and page of the Adyar editions -always referred to as the 6 volume edition, for quick identification. This is followed by the volume and page of the 3rd edition (signifying the third and revised edition with its subsequent London reprinting). The fifth volume (of the Adyar editions), representing the third volume of the London editions, is alone referred to for citations from that volume.
Wherever possible, page references are given to original editions: this applies to H. P. Blavatsky's other writings-The Key to Theosophy, The Voice of the Silence, Isis Unveiled, Five Years of Theosophy, The Theosophical Glossary, and Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge. It was deemed superfluous to add The Secret Doctrine after every citation. The references in parentheses following quoted passages-which are clearly indicated by means of indentation-always refer to that work; likewise the abbreviation S.D.
The Divine Plan is a manifestation of Divine LAW. Just as the sun emits innumerable rays which are of the same essence as their emanating source, so rays are emitted from Divine Law, which are of the same essence as their Source; therefore these rays are Divine Laws. These maintain the Divine Plan.
The Divine Laws are fundamental in their scope; they were operative before the universe came into being: they continue functioning so long as the universe remains in manifestation, and will go on operating when the universe ceases to exist. Since these laws continue to operate, regardless of the fact that a man, a planet, a sun, or even a universe may be in manifestation or non-manifestation, they are Divine Laws, because they are beyond the reach of space or time (in the sense that we are accustomed to think of space or time).
Since the Universe came into being because of laws governing it, then everything within it must be under the regency of those laws and partake of that Divine Plan, inasmuch as the part must follow the same pattern that the whole follows. Consequently you, your very self, are part of that Plan.
Do you doubt it? Do you wonder whether you are part of Divinity? Even as the scriptures aver: " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelled in you ?" Truly, God is the same as the Divine-one with the Divine Spirit-the Divine Plan. Albeit, doubts may be replaced by certainty when Divine Laws are stated and placed before you for contemplation. You will then see how you fit into the Grand Design, how you and every other entity in the cosmos exist because of this Divine Plan and because of the Divine Laws that preside over it.
Perhaps it may appear to you that there does not seem to be a Divine Plan in operation, that the world is in disorder, at times in turmoil even topsy-turvy when armed conflicts rage-then, in truth, you have acknowledge-edged the need for this book. For its purpose is to point out to you that there is a Divine Plan and that Divine Laws are coequal with it and are operative in it.
In regard to the imperfections which you envision: these are due to the actions of imperfect beings. So long as there are imperfect beings, whether in the administration of the affairs of the world or in the regency of the cosmos, imperfections are bound to occur. It is not maintained that perfection exists, or that the cosmos is a manifestation of perfection. The reason that this idea is not held is because the cosmos itself is evolving, seeking to become a better cosmos, striving to come into a greater degree of harmony with the Divine Plan. This is so because the cosmos represents the manifestation of a Great Being, however lofty in status the attainment may be. Indeed, there is a term for such a Great Being, called, technically, the Logos or " Watcher " of a cosmic system. The cosmos, then, is under the regency of a Cosmic Logos, Who is encom-passed by lesser Beings, who in turn administer the Laws applicable to its sphere of influence. These lesser Beings-albeit far superior to humans in their degree of evolution-are termed Dhydni-Chohans-literally the " Meditative Lords "-divine intelligences.
Since the function of the Dhya.ni-Chohans is to administer the Divine Laws, their main endeavor is to carry out their task ever more efficiently, in order to become more able executors of the Plan. Moreover, no matter how consummately high the status of the Dhyani-Chohans may be, in comparison to the human stage of evolution, these lofty Beings are themselves pursuing their evolutionary development for the purpose of becoming more lofty and more experienced, in order that their magistracy of the Divine Laws may be more perfect and more in consonance with the Divine Plan. Even as they are pursuing their evolutionary development, so are all the other beings which come under their sphere of operation, irrespective of the evolutionary status of these lesser beings.
Each being has an innate urge to endeavor to come into closer harmony with the operation of the Divine Plan, striving ever to be a more able exponent of its Laws, even though apparently misapplying his abilities and at times acting contrariwise to the Divine Laws. Yet even by so doing, such a one has but placed himself under the operation of one of its Laws, the specific function of which is to set him all right; so that in time he will learn to work in harmony with the Great Law, instead of working against it.
Having stated that Divine Laws exist, the next step is to demonstrate that they are operative. This is undertaken by means of the exposition of doctrines which have been selected to exemplify the operation of the Laws. The doctrines represent teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, or the Esoteric Philosophy (Gupta-Vida is the Sanskrit term), as presented in the work entitled The Secret Doctrine. But first, notice the enumeration of the Laws and associated doctrines, as this will give the sequence in which they are considered, while at the same time it will provide an insight into the nature and scope of the work.
THE LAW OF PERIODICITY
This is set forth in the axiom that for every period of activity there is a consequent interval of rest, observable in nature as day and night, the flow and ebb of tides, the processes of waking and sleeping, birth and death, and so on. One phase of this Law maniests as the Law of Constant Renewal, in which the necessity for rebirth, or embodiment, is demonstrated. The doctrine exemplifying the Law of Periodicity is therefore entitled the Doctrine of Constant Renewal.
THE LAW OF ADJUSTMENT
Since harmony follows as the natural sequence of the enfoldment of the Divine Plan, whenever it is disturbed an adjustment must be made in order that the disrupted equilibrium may be restored. A word explaining the action of this Law is well known, in fact it is even called the Law of Karma. The exposition of the Law of Karma is given under the Doctrine of Balance and Harmony.
THE LAW OF ESSENTIAL UNITY
This Law truly illustrates the operation of the Divine Plan: every entity lives its life in the field or I-p.ere of a greater being; the greater being maintains the sphere for the ;mea-. The Doctrine of Hierarchies is the name chosen for the doctrine that exemplifies the Law of Essential Unity. "Graded beings," is the definition :ended for the word "hierarchies," infinite in number. The beings the universe and living in it are all linked together because of a =on bond of origin, in keeping with the Law.
THE LAW OF SELF-UNFOLDMENT
This is demonstrated by the e which causes every entity to seek to express itself in accordance its essential characteristics. The doctrine associated with this Law c7I1led the Doctrine of Essential Identity.
THE LAW OF MOTION
Everything demonstrates the action of this Law, for nothing can remain isolated or static. Some force ever impels onward, ever seeking a loftier status. " It is a fundamental law in Occultism that there is no rest or cessation of Motion in Nature." This IL ion is applicable not only during periods of activity but during periods of rest. The Doctrine of Continuous Change exemplifies the Law of Ceaseless Motion.
THE SEPTENARY LAW
The prevalence of the number seven-so firseili2r in the seven days of the week, the seven colors of the rainbow, the se-van notes of the musical scale-is indicative that such a Law is operative. Special attention is given to the following "sevens ": the seven Planes, the seven Lukas and Tales, the seven Tetras or Element-Principles, the r. Cosmic Principles and the sevenfold constitution of man.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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