THEOSOPHY, Vol. 5, No. 5, March, 1917
(Pages 193-196; Size: 10K)
(Number 1 of a 10-part series)
STUDIES IN ISIS UNVEILED
INTRODUCTORYIn Isis Unveiled the explanations of a hundred mysteries lie but half buried, only waiting for the application of intelligence guided by a little Occult knowledge to come out into the light of day.ISIS UNVEILED is the first published work of H. P. Blavatsky. It was issued at New York by the publishing house of J. W. Bouton in the fall of 1877.
--H. P. BLAVATSKY.
The plates were stereotyped and in all six numbered editions have been issued with the Bouton imprint at varying dates down to 1895. All these editions are identical except that after the fourth edition a new portrait of Madame Blavatsky was used for the frontispiece of the first volume.
Subsequently, the Bouton plates came into the possession of Madam Katherine Tingley and were used for the "Point Loma Edition" of Isis Unveiled, with such inserts and changes as that edition contains.
Another edition of Isis Unveiled was issued in London in 1911 by the Theosophical Publishing Society, affiliated with the Theosophical society of which Mrs. Annie Besant is President. This edition has the same pagings as the original Bouton editions, but, being reset throughout, is authentic and accurate only to the extent that it faithfully reproduces the original text.
The Bouton editions of Isis Unveiled are now, of course, out of print, but can still be obtained with a little effort, through the medium of the dealers in second-hand and rare books. [Note: Since 1931 a Photographic facsimile reproduction of the Original Edition, both volumes bound in one book, has been available through The Theosophy Company, publishers of THEOSOPHY magazine. --Compiler.]
Isis Unveiled is H.P.B.'s first gift to Humanity. In many respects it is her greatest. It is the first direct communication from the Masters of Wisdom to the world of men in many, many centuries. It constitutes Their invitation to all who will listen, to enter upon the study of the Spirit and Nature with Those who know how to teach. It is intended to convey information and do a work of clearance for the individual student, without which he cannot make true progress, and without which Their subsequent Teachings cannot be properly availed of.
Nature's modes and actions do not obey the whims or the mandates of the individual. The student succeeds only as he waits upon and studies nature in her operations. The laws and processes of the higher nature are the same. They can only be successfully studied in their manifestation, and these do not conform to the prejudices or the preconceptions of the would-be neophyte in their mysteries.
More than once, in later years, H.P.B. threw out hints about Isis. These hints, like the book itself, were addressed to the intuition and not to the curiosity of the reader. Thus, writing in The Theosophist in November, 1882, five years after the publication of Isis, she said, in the form of a mere obiter dictum:In Isis the explanations of a hundred mysteries lie but half buried ... only waiting for the application of intelligence guided by a little Occult knowledge to come out into the light of day.This was written and published in India -- on the other side of the world from New York. Nearly eight years later, in May, 1891 -- and again on the other side of the world from India -- she gave a final statement in regard to Isis in her article, "My Books," printed in Lucifer at London. This was written a few days before her death, when she knew she was going, and was not printed till after her departure from the body. It ought, therefore, to bear an especial significance to all who believe in her sincerity and good faith. This is what she said:I maintain that Isis contains a mass of original and never hitherto divulged information on occult subjects.... I defend the ideas and teachings in it, with no fear of being charged with conceit, since neither ideas nor teaching are mine, as I have always declared; and I maintain that both are of the greatest value to mystics and students of Theosophy...Almost numberless are the false charges that have been made against H.P.B. and against Isis Unveiled. These are constantly being revived by new generations of writers, theosophical and otherwise. They rest upon malice, conceit or ignorance. Few indeed, even among earnest and sincere students, have taken the trouble to get the facts, and fewer still have made diligent study of the work itself.
Every word of information found in this work or in my later writings, comes from the teachings of our Eastern Masters, and ... many a passage in these works has been written by me under their dictation. [Note: A link to "My Books" has been placed at the end of this article. --Compiler.]
It is human nature to desire to reap where we have not sown. It is so much easier to take things at second-hand. Yet the very first lesson in Occultism is accuracy as to the facts. And again, students often begin with The Secret Doctrine, which they read upside down, without aim or direction, because they have neither undergone the necessary preliminary study and training, nor established a connection. Making no headway, they fall easily prey to the thousand and one claims as to teachers and teachings. Seeking something easy and promising, they go far astray in blind paths -- or worse.
Not for naught nor in lightness did H.P.B. write on the title page of Isis that it is a Master Key to the mysteries that encompass the two greatest problems with which the human mind has wrestled in all ages -- Science and Theology.
We propose, therefore, in perseverance of a most solemn and sacred self-imposed obligation to our fellow students of all organizations and of none, to take up for consideration some of the teachings in Isis Unveiled. If our fellow students everywhere will join with us in the work, and foster it with their study, their thought, their questions and their contributions, we do not doubt that we will all make discoveries of great value, and be doubly enriched -- enriched in what we achieve for others, and enriched in what we achieve for ourselves.
For the differences that separate us, weakening each, and dividing the power of all to help on the progress of the race, are due to our ignorance and misconceptions. And these, in turn, are due to our neglect to study and apply what the Masters have recorded for our instruction and guidance.
If H.P.B. was the Agent of Masters, and did Their work, what She has left of record must be a true guide for every student in any and every difficulty, and must have been recorded for that very purpose. That she was Their Agent is shown by the Message she brought, by her life, by her word, and by Theirs. To suppose that anything she wrote can be neglected, cast aside, explained away, or rejected, is to affirm that the Masters are as weak, as impotent and as unreliable as human nature.
We believe that the more we study Isis Unveiled, the more will our conviction be strengthened in Theosophy, in Masters, and in H.P.B., Their Messenger. We believe that only by such study will our present differences be dissolved, and that unity of aim, purpose and teaching obtain among all students of Theosophy that assuredly obtains among the Masters of Wisdom.
In that profound conviction we undertake our present task: one more link in the chain of effort to "teach, preach, and above all, practise Theosophy." May Ishwara be near!
[Note: Here is the link to HPB's article, entitled "My Books", that was quoted from and pointed to by the Editors in the above article. --Compiler.]
STUDIES IN ISIS UNVEILED
ADEPTS AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
(Part 2 of a 10-part series)
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