The Secret Doctrine
The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy is a book originally published as two volumes in 1888 written by Helena Blavatsky. The first volume is named Cosmogenesis, the second Anthropogenesis. It was an influential example of the revival of interest in esoteric and occult ideas in the modern age, in particular because of its claim to reconcile ancient eastern wisdom with modern science.
- The author does not feel it necessary to ask the indulgence of her readers and critics for the many defects of literary style, and the imperfect English which may be found in these pages. She is a foreigner, and her knowledge of the language was acquired late in life. The English tongue is employed because it offers the most widely-diffused medium for conveying the truths which it had become her duty to place before the world
- These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world’s history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil.
- What is now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole. The sole advantage which the writer has over her predecessors, is that she need not resort to personal speculations and theories. For this work is a partial statement of what she herself has been taught by more advanced students, supplemented, in a few details only, by the results of her own study and observation. The publication of many of the facts herein stated has been rendered necessary by the wild and fanciful speculations in which many Theosophists and students of mysticism have indulged, during the last few years, in their endeavour to, as they imagined, work out a complete system of thought from the few facts previously communicated to them.
- It is perhaps desirable to state unequivocally that the teachings, however fragmentary and incomplete, contained in these volumes, belong neither to the Hindu, the Zoroastrian, the Chaldean, nor the Egyptian religion, neither to Buddhism, Islam, Judaism nor Christianity exclusively. The Secret Doctrine is the essence of all these. Sprung from it in their origins, the various religious schemes are now made to merge back into their original element, out of which every mystery and dogma has grown, developed, and become materialised. It is more than probable that the book will be regarded by a large section of the public as a romance of the wildest kind; for who has ever even heard of the book of Dzyan?
- The writer, therefore, is fully prepared to take all the responsibility for what is contained in this work, and even to face the charge of having invented the whole of it. That it has many shortcomings she is fully aware; all that she claims for it is that, romantic as it may seem to many, its logical coherence and consistency entitle this new Genesis to rank, at any rate, on a level with the “working hypotheses” so freely accepted by modern science. Further, it claims consideration, not by reason of any appeal to dogmatic authority, but because it closely adheres to Nature, and follows the laws of uniformity and analogy.
- The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not “a fortuitous concurrence of atoms,” and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe; to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions ; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring; finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization. If this is in any degree accomplished, the writer is content. It is written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judged. Its author recognises no inferior court of appeal. Abuse she is accustomed to; calumny she is daily acquainted with; at slander she smiles in silent contempt.
- As the “ Satya-yuga” is always the first in the series of the four ages or Yugas, so the Kali ever comes the last... Anyhow, it is curious to see how prophetic in almost all things was the writer of Vishnu Purâna when foretelling to Maitreya some of the dark influences and sins of this Kali Yug. For after saying that the “barbarians” will be masters of the banks… he adds: “ There will be contemporary monarchs, reigning over the earth— kings of churlish spirit, violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and wickedness. They will inflict death on women, children, and cows; they will seize upon the property of their subjects, and be intent upon the wives of others; they will be of unlimited power, their lives will be short, their desires insatiable... People of various countries intermingling with them, will follow their example; and the barbarians being powerful... in the patronage of the princes, while purer tribes are neglected... Wealth and piety will decrease until the world will be wholly depraved. Property alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation; and women will be objects merely of sensual gratification. Vol I, p. 377
Quotes about The Secret DoctrineEdit
- But those of us who really studied it and arrived at some understanding of its inner significance have a basic appreciation of the truth that no other book seems to supply. HPB said that the next interpretation of the Ageless Wisdom would be a psychological approach, and A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, which I published in 1925, is the psychological key to The Secret Doctrine. None of my books would have been possible had I not at one time made a very close study of The Secret Doctrine.
- Alice Bailey in The Unfinished Autobiography, Lucis Trust (1951)
- A niece of Einstein’s, in India during the 1960s, paid a special visit to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar. She explained that she knew nothing of theosophy or the society, but had to see the place because her uncle always had a copy of Madame Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine on his desk. The individual to whom the niece spoke was Eunice Layton, a world-traveled theosophical lecturer who happened to be at the reception desk when she arrived.
- HPB - The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement, Sylvia Cranston, (1994), p. 557-558.
- My information (from my own Master) is that the broad general outline and scope of The Secret Doctrine was conveyed verbally to H.P.B. by the Masters K.H. and Morya, while the bulk, the esoteric lore, was given to her telepathically by D.K.. She herself gave the correspondences between the esoteric science and the exoteric science of her day. It was in fact a group work.
- Benjamin Creme in Maitreya's Mission Vol 1, Ch 7, (1986)
- It's a very strange book and I've even told professor Heisenberg, my fellow physicist, to get a copy and keep it on his desk. I urged him to dip into it when he’s handicapped by some problem. The strangeness of this book may relax or possibly inspire him.
- I will admit that I find some interesting observations in her book which was published as you know, back in 1888, at a time when physics and science were in their swaddling clothes... I'm astonished how much in keeping it is with modern Physics... There are many other significant statements of hers which I find interesting, but for which i have no time to discuss now.
- The Secret Doctrine is one of the most remarkable books in the world. I realize how far beyond my feeble powers is the task of conveying an adequate idea of the teachings contained within its covers. It has a history, however, a history of peculiar interest to the student who from its rich store seeks to garner the wisdom which, as the apostle has said, is like meat fit only for the strong. How it came to be written, and under what circumstances it was written, and under what circumstances it was written, is the topic of this book.
- It is first necessary for us to realize that Madame Blavatsky, or as she liked to be called, H.P.B., was, as she herself often expressed it, only the compiler of the work. Behind her stood the real teachers, the guardians of the Secret Wisdom of the ages, who taught her all the occult lore which she transmitted in her writings. She had a threefold ability which eminently qualified her for the task. First, she was able to assimilate the transcendental knowledge which came to her. Second, she was a worthy messenger of the Masters. Third, she had a marvelous aptitude for rendering abstruse Eastern metaphysical thought into a form intelligible to Western minds, and for verifying and comparing Eastern Wisdom with Western Science. She also deserves great credit for her high moral courage in representing to the world thoughts and theories wholly at variance with materialistic science. Many of these teachings, however, have since been verified by science.
- No matter what one may study in the S.D. let the mind hold fast, as the basis of its ideation to the following ideas: (a) The Fundamental Unity of All Existence... It is that existence is One Thing, not any collection of things linked together... (b) The second idea to hold fast to is that there is no dead matter. Every last atom is alive... (c) The third basic idea to be held is that Man is the Microcosm. As he is so, then all the Hierarchies of the Heavens exist within him. But in truth there is neither Macrocosm nor Microcosm but One Existence... (d) Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in the Great Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesises all the others. As is the Inner, so is the Outer; as is the Great so is the Small; as it is above, so it is below; there is but One Life and Law; and he that worketh it is One. Nothing is Inner, nothing is Outer; nothing is Great, nothing is Small; nothing is High, nothing is Low, in the Divine Economy.
No matter what one takes as study in the S.D. one must correlate it with those basic ideas.
Theosophical Teachers & TeachingsEdit
- Annie Besant
- H.P. Blavatsky
- Gems from the East
- Geoffrey Hodson
- William Quan Judge
- C.W. Leadbeater
- Henry Steel Olcott
- Alfred Percy Sinnett