THEOSOPHY, Vol. 60, No. 2, December, 1971
(Pages 51-55; Size: 14K)
THE SECRET DOCTRINE(1)What I know, I give out; that which I cannot explain, the student must find out for himself.SECRET DOCTRINE is the general name given to the esoteric teachings of antiquity. It is needless to explain that this book is not the Secret Doctrine in its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets, special attention being paid to some facts which have been seized upon by various writers, and distorted out of all resemblance to truth.
--H. P. BLAVATSKY
The main body of the Doctrines given is found scattered throughout hundreds and thousands of Sanskrit MSS., some already translated -- disfigured in their interpretations, as usual -- others still awaiting their turn. One of the greatest, and, withal, the most serious objection to the correctness and reliability of the whole work will be the preliminary STANZAS: "How can the statements contained in them be verified?" True, if a great portion of the Sanskrit, Chinese, and Mongolian works quoted in the present volumes are known to some Orientalists, the chief work -- that one from which the Stanzas are given -- is not in the possession of European Libraries. The Book of Dzyan (or "Dzan") is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name.
Volume I of "Isis" begins with a reference to "an old book." The "very old Book" is the original work from which the many volumes of Kiu-ti were compiled. Not only this latter and the Siphrah Dzeniouta but even the Sepher Jezirah, the book of Shu-king, China's primitive Bible, the sacred volumes of the Egyptian Thoth-Hermes, the Purânas in India, and the Chaldean Book of Numbers and the Pentateuch itself, are all derived from that one small parent volume. Tradition says, that it was taken down in Senzar, the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of Divine Beings, who dictated it to the sons of Light, in Central Asia, at the very beginning of the 5th (our) race; for there was a time when its language (the Sen-zar) was known to the Initiates of every nation, when the forefathers of the Toltec understood it as easily as the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, who inherited it, in their turn, from the sages of the 3rd Race, the Manushis, who learnt it direct from the Devas of the 2nd and 1st Races.
The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in the exotericism of the Puranas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs.
The attempt to render in a European tongue the grand panorama of the ever periodically recurring Law -- impressed upon the plastic minds of the first races endowed with Consciousness by those who reflected the same from the Universal Mind -- is daring, for no human language, save the Sanskrit -- which is that of the Gods -- can do so with any degree of adequacy. It is not taught in any of the six Indian schools of philosophy, for it pertains to their synthesis -- the seventh, which is the Occult doctrine. It is not traced on any crumbling papyrus of Egypt, nor is it any longer graven on Assyrian tile or granite wall. The Books of the Vedanta (the last word of human knowledge) give out but the metaphysical aspect of this world-Cosmogony; and their priceless thesaurus, the Upanishads -- Upa-ni-shad being a compound word meaning "the conquest of ignorance by the revelation of the secret, spiritual knowledge" -- require now the additional possession of a Master-key to enable the student to get at their full meaning.
In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found.
Modern science believes not in the "soul of things," and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony. It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the "Wise Men" of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. But, the day when much, if not all, of that which is given here from the archaic records, will be found correct, is not far distant.
Having never claimed infallibility, that which is given on the writer's authority may leave much to be desired, in the very abstruse cases where too deep metaphysic is involved. The teaching is offered as understood; and as there are seven keys of interpretation to every symbol and allegory, that which may not fit a meaning, say from the psychological or astronomical aspect, will be found quite correct from the physical or metaphysical. Facts are there, and they can hardly be denied. But, owing to the intrinsic difficulties of the subjects treated, and the almost insurmountable limitation of the English tongue (as of all other European languages) to express certain ideas, it is more than probable that the writer has failed to present the explanations in the best and in the clearest form; yet all that could be done was done under every adverse circumstance, and this is the utmost that can be expected of any writer.
Occult philosophy divulges few of its most important vital mysteries. It drops them like precious pearls, one by one, far and wide apart, and only when forced to do so by the evolutionary tidal wave that carries on humanity slowly, silently, but steadily toward the dawn of the Sixth-Race mankind. For once out of the safe custody of their legitimate heirs and keepers, those mysteries cease to be occult; they fall into the public domain and have to run the risk of becoming in the hands of the selfish -- of the Cains of the human race -- curses more often than blessings.
The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism, except in the Hindu sense of the word nastika, or the rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. In this sense every Occultist is a Nastika. Without throwing any discredit upon time-honoured beliefs, in whatever direction, we are forced to draw a marked line between blind faith, evolved by theologies, and knowledge due to the independent researches of long generations of adepts; between, in short, faith and philosophy. There have been -- in all ages -- undeniably learned and good men who, having been reared in sectarian beliefs, died in their crystallized convictions. For Protestants, the garden of Eden is the primeval point of departure in the drama of Humanity, and the solemn tragedy on the summit of Calvary, the prelude to the hoped-for Millennium. For Roman Catholics, Satan is at the foundation of Kosmos, Christ in its centre, and Antichrist at its apex. For both, the Hierarchy of Being begins and ends within the narrow frames of their respective theologies: one self-created personal God and an Empyrean ringing with the Hallelujahs of created angels; the rest, false gods, Satan and fiends.
Every old religion is but a chapter of the entire volume of archaic primeval mysteries -- Eastern Occultism alone being able to boast that it is in possession of the full secret, with its seven keys. But while supposing that the whole cycle of the universal mystery language will not be mastered for whole centuries to come, even that which has been hitherto discovered in the Bible by some scholars is quite sufficient to demonstrate the claim -- mathematically.
The hour has now struck to ascertain whether the walls of the modem Jericho are so impregnable that no blast of the Occult trumpet is ever likely to make them crumble. Science cannot, owing to the very nature of things, unveil the mystery of the universe around us. Science can, it is true, collect, classify, and generalize upon phenomena; but the occultist, arguing from admitted metaphysical data, declares that the daring explorer, who would probe the inmost secrets of Nature, must transcend the narrow limitations of sense, and transfer his consciousness into the region of noumena and the sphere of primal causes. To effect this, he must develop faculties which are absolutely dormant -- save in a few rare and exceptional cases -- in the constitution of the offshoots of our present Fifth Root-race in Europe and America. He can in no other conceivable manner collect the facts on which to base his speculations. Is this not apparent on the principle of Inductive Logic and Metaphysics alike?
One feels a serious doubt whether, with all its intellectual acuteness, our age is destined to discover in each western nation even one solitary uninitiated scholar or philosopher capable of fully comprehending the spirit of archaic philosophy. But, we write for the future.
No disbeliever who takes the "Secret Doctrine" for a "hoax" is forced or even asked to credit our statements. Nor, is it after all, necessary that any one should believe in the Occult Sciences and the old teachings, before one knows anything or even believes in his own soul. No great truth was ever accepted a priori, and generally a century or two passed before it began to glimmer in the human consciousness as a possible verity, except in such cases as the positive discovery of the thing claimed as a fact. The truths of today are the falsehoods and errors of yesterday, and vice versa. It is only in the twentieth century that portions, if not the whole, of the present work will be vindicated.
The ancient adepts have solved the great problems of science, however unwilling modern materialism may be to admit the fact. The mysteries of Life and Death were fathomed by the great masterminds of antiquity; and if they have preserved them in secrecy and silence, it is because these problems formed part of the sacred mysteries; and, secondly, because they must have remained incomprehensible to the vast majority of men then, as they do now.
Nor is there any need of proselytizing. As remarked by the wise Cicero, "Time destroys the speculations of man, but it confirms the judgment of nature." Let us bide our time. Meanwhile, it is not in the human constitution to witness in silence the destruction of one's gods, whether they be true or false. And as theology and materialism have combined together to destroy the old gods of antiquity and seek to disfigure every old philosophical conception, it is but just that the lovers of old wisdom should defend their position, by proving that the whole arsenal of the two is, at best, formed of new weapons made out of very old material.
But no true theosophist, from the most ignorant up to the most learned, ought to claim infallibility for anything he may say or write upon occult matters. Again, the reader can never be too often reminded that, as the abundant quotations from various old Scriptures prove, these teachings are as old as the world; and that the present work is a simple attempt to render, in modern language, and in a phraseology with which the scientific and educated student is familiar, archaic Genesis and History as taught in certain Asiatic centers of esoteric learning. They must be accepted or rejected on their own merits, fully or partially; but not before they have been carefully compared with the corresponding theological dogmas and the modern scientific theories and speculations.
STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
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