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Feb 02, 1996 02:03 AM
by ti

Text supplied by Eldon B. Tucker,
Uploaded by Alan Bain


Being extracts from the notes of personal teachings given by H.P.
Blavatsky to private pupils during the years 1888 to 1891, included in a
large manuscript volume left to me by my father, who was one of the

H.P.B. was specially interesting upon the matter of "The Secret
Doctrine" during the past week. I had better try to sort it all out and
get it safely down on paper while it is fresh in my mind. As she said
herself, it may be useful to someone thirty or forty years hence. The
Secret Doctrine is only quite a small fragment of Esoteric Doctrine
known to the higher members of the Occult Brotherhoods. It contains, she
says, just as much as can be received by the world during this coming
century. "The World" (she explained) means Man living in the Personal
Nature. This "world" will find in the two volumes of the S.D. all its
utmost comprehension can grasp, but no more. But this is not to say that
the Disciple who is not living in "the world" cannot find any more in
the book than the "world" finds. Every form, no matter how crude,
contains the image of its "creator" concealed within it. So likewise
does an author's work, no matter how obscure, contain the concealed
image of the author's knowledge . . . From this saying, I take it that
the S.D. must contain all that H.P.B. knows herself, and a great deal
more than that, seeing that much of it comes from men whose knowledge is
immensely wider than hers. Furthermore, she implies unmistakably that
another may well find knowledge in it which she does not possess
herself. It is a stimulating thought to consider that it is possible
that I myself may find in H.P.B.'s words knowledge of which she herself
is unconscious. She dwelt on this idea a good deal. X said afterwards:
"H.P.B. must be losing her grip," meaning, I suppose, confidence, in her
own knowledge. But . . .

NOTE.--These extracts from Robert Bowen's notes on H.P.B.'s Secret
Doctrine, taken from The Theosophical Forum, Aug. 1932, were reprinted
in THEOSOPHY, Vol. 54.

and . . ., myself, also, see her meaning better, I think. She is telling
us without a doubt not to anchor ourselves to her as the final
authority, nor to anyone else, but to depend altogether upon our own
widening perceptions.

(Later note on above: I was right. I put it to her direct and she nodded
and smiled. It was worth something to get her approving smile!)

At last we have managed to get H.P.B. to put us right on the matter of
the study of the S.D. Let me get it down while it is all fresh in mind.
Reading the S.D. page by page as one reads any other book (she says)
will only end us in confusion. The first thing to do, even if it takes
years, is to get some grasp of the "Three Fundamental Principles" given
in the Proem. Follow that up by study of the Recapitulation--the
numbered items in the Summing Up to Volume 1, Part 1. Then take the
Preliminary Notes (Vol. II) and the Conclusion (Vol. II) . . .

H.P.B. seems pretty definite about the importance of the teaching (in
the Conclusion) relating to the times of coming of the Races and Sub-
Races. She put it more plainly than usual that there is really no such
thing as a future "coming" of races. "There is neither COMING nor
PASSING, but eternal BECOMING," she says. The Fourth Root-race is still
alive. So are the Third and Second and First--that is, their
manifestations on our present plane of substance are present. I know
that she means, I think, but it is beyond me to get it down in words. So
likewise the Sixth Sub-Race is here, and the Sixth Root-Race, and the
Seventh, and even people of the coming Rounds. After all, that's
understandable. Disciples and Brothers and Adepts can't be people of the
everyday Fifth Sub-Race, for the race is a state of evolution.

But she leaves no question but that, as far as humanity at large goes,
we are hundreds of years (in time and space) from even the Sixth Sub-
Race. I thought H.P.B. showed a peculiar anxiety in her insistence on
this point. She hinted at "dangers and delusions" coming through ideas
that the New Race had dawned definitely on the World. According to her
the duration of a Sub-Race for humanity at large coincides with that of
the Sidereal Year (the circle of the earth's axis--about 25,000 years).
That puts the new race a long way off.

We have had a remarkable session on the study of the S.D. during the
past three weeks. I must sort out my notes and get the result safely
down before I lose them.

She talked a good deal about the "Fundamental Principles." She says: "If
one imagines that one is going to get a satisfactory picture of the
constitution of the Universe from the S.D. one will get only confusion
from its study. It is not meant to give any such final verdict on
existence, but to lead towards the truth." She repeated this latter
expression many times. It is worse than useless going to those whom we
imagine to be advanced students (she said) and asking them to give us an
"interpretation" of the S.D. They cannot do it. If they try, all they
give are cut and dried exoteric renderings which do not remotely
resemble the Truth. To accept such interpretation means anchoring
ourselves to fixed ideas, whereas Truth lies beyond any ideas we can
formulate or express. Exoteric interpretations are all very well, and
she does not condemn them so long as they are taken as pointers for
beginners, and are not accepted by them as anything more. Many persons
who are in, or will in the future be in, the T.S. are of course
potentially incapable of any advance beyond the range of a common
exoteric conception. But there are, and will be others, and for them she
sets out the following and true way of approach to the S.D.

Come to the S.D. (she says) without any hope of getting the final Truth
of existence from it, or with any idea other than seeing how far it may
lead towards the Truth. See in study a means of exercising and
developing the mind never touched by other studies. Observe the
following rules.

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. This unity is a thing
altogether different from the common notion of unity--as when we say
that a nation or an army is united; or that this planet is united to
that by lines of magnetic force or the like. The teaching is not that.
It is that existence is one thing, not any collection of things linked
together. Fundamentally, there is ONE BEING. This Being has two aspects,
positive and negative. The positive is Spirit, or consciousness. The
negative is substance, the subject of consciousness. This Being is the
Absolute in its primary manifestation. Being absolute there is nothing
outside it. It is ALL BEING. It is indivisible, else it would not be
absolute. If a portion could be separated, that remaining could not be
absolute, because there would at once arise the question of comparison
between it and the separated part. Comparison is incompatible with any
idea of absoluteness. Therefore it is clear that this fundamental One
Existence, or Absolute Being, must be the Reality in every form there is
. . . (I said that though this was clear to me I did not think that many
in the Lodges would grasp it. "Theosophy," she said, "is for those who
can think, or for those who can drive themselves to think, not mental
sluggards." H.P.B. has grown very mild of late. "Dumbskulls" used to be
her name for the average student.)

The Atom, the Man, the God (she says) are each separately, as well as
all collectively, Absolute Being in their last analysis, that is their
real individuality. It is this idea which must be held always in the
background of the mind to form the basis for every conception that
arises from study of the S.D. The moment one lets it go (and it is most
easy to do so when engaged in any of the many intricate aspects of the
Esoteric Philosophy) the idea of separation supervenes, and the study
loses its value.

(b) The second idea to hold fast to is that there is no dead matter.
Every last atom is alive. It cannot be otherwise, since every atom is
itself fundamentally Absolute Being. Therefore there is no such thing as
"spaces of ether," or Akasha, or call it what you like, in which angels
and elementals disport themselves like trout in water. That's the common
idea. The true idea shows every atom of substance, no matter of what
plane, to be in itself a life.

(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. Great
and small are such only as viewed by a limited consciousness.

(d) Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in the Great
Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesizes 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

No matter what one takes as study in the S.D. one must correlate it with
those basic ideas.

I suggested that this is a kind of mental exercise which must be
excessively fatiguing. H.P.B. smiled and nodded. One must not be a fool
(she said) and drive oneself into the madhouse by attempting too much at
first. The brain is the instrument of waking consciousness, and every
conscious mental picture formed means change and destruction of the
atoms of the brain. Ordinary intellectual activity moves on well-beaten
paths in the brain, and does not compel sudden adjustments and
destructions in its substance. But this new kind of mental effort calls
for something very different--the carving out of new "brain paths," the
ranking in different order of the little brain lives. If forced
injudiciously it may do serious physical harm to the brain.

This mode of thinking (she says) is what the Indians call Jnana Yoga. As
one progresses in Jnana Yoga one finds conceptions arising which, though
one is conscious of them, one cannot express nor yet formulate into any
sort of mental picture. As time goes on these conceptions will form into
mental pictures. This is a time to be on guard and refuse to be deluded
with the idea that the new-found and wonderful picture must represent
reality. It does not. As one works on, one finds the once admired
picture growing dull and unsatisfying and finally fading out or being
thrown away. This is another danger point, because for the moment one is
left in a void without any conception to support one, and one may be
tempted to revive the cast-off picture for want of a better to cling to.
The true student will, however, work on unconcerned, and presently
further formless gleams come, which again in time give rise to a larger
and more beautiful picture than the last. But the learner will now know
that no picture will ever represent the truth. This last splendid
picture will grow dull and fade like the others. And so the process goes
on, until at last the mind and its pictures are transcended and the
learner enters and dwells in the world of no-form, but of which all
forms are narrowed reflections.

The true student of The Secret Doctrine is a Jnana Yogi, and this Path
of Yoga is the True Path for the Western student. It is to provide him
with sign-posts on that Path that The Secret Doctrine has been written.

Later note: I have read over this rendering of her teaching to H.P.B.,
asking if I have got her aright. She called me a silly dumbskull to
imagine anything can ever be put in words aright. But she smiled and
nodded as well, and said I had really got it better than anyone else
ever did, and better than she could do it herself.

I wonder why I am getting all this. It should be passed to the world,
but I am too old ever to do it. I feel such a child to H.P.B. yet I am
twenty years older than her in actual years.

he has changed much since I met her two years ago. It is marvelous how
she holds up in the face of dire illness. If one knew nothing and
believed nothing, H.P.B. would convince one that she is something away
and beyond body and brain. I feel, especially during these last meetings
since she has become so helpless bodily, that we are getting teachings
from another and higher sphere. We seem to feel and know what she says
rather than hear it with our bodily ears. X said much the same thing
last night.

19th April, 1891

(Comdr.) R.N.

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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