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VOICE OF THE SILENCE - Text - Section 1

Jul 20, 1996 11:44 AM
by Keith Price

Thanks to Jim M. for retrieving this for theos-roots discussion from a web site.
Best wishes to all as we listen to the Voice of the Silence by HPB. - I am also
sending this to theos-l as it is a good advertisement for the discussion on
theos-roots, theos-l, theosophy and Blavatsky.  How will people who haven't read
Blavatsky know if they might be interested?  Could it hurt anyone to read it?
It is BLavatsky!  -Keith

THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE is in about 8 parts, counting Glossaries and forward.
Section I is attached to this post 


                            VOICE OF THE SILENCE

                                 AND OTHER

                              CHOSEN FRAGMENTS

                                  FROM THE

                        BOOK OF THE GOLDEN PRECEPTS.

                            FOR THE DAILY USE OF



                        TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED BY

                                 "H. P. B."


                                 NEW YORK.
                        THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING CO.
                             244 LENOX AVENUE.
                     KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO.
                        DRYDEN HOUSE, 43 GERRARD ST.

          Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1889,
      in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.
                            BY H. P. BLAVATSKY.

                           DEDICATED TO THE FEW.

                         THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.



THE following pages are derived from the Book of the Golden Precepts, one
of the works put into the hands of mystic students in the East. The
knowledge of them is obligatory in that School, the teachings of which are
accepted by many Theosophists. Therefore, as I know many of these Precepts
by heart, the work of translating has been relatively an easy task for me.

It is well known that, in India, the methods of psychic development differ
with the Gurus (teachers or masters), not only because of their belonging
to different Schools of Philosophy, of which there are six, but because
every Guru has his own system, which he generally keeps very secret. But
beyond the Himalayas the method in the Esoteric Schools does not differ,
unless the Guru is simply a Lama, but little more learned than those he

The work from which I here translate forms part of the same series as that
from which the "Stanzas " of the Book of Dzyan were taken, on which the
Secret Doctrine is based. Together with the great mystic work called
Paramartha, which, the legend of Nagarjuna tells us, was delivered to the
great Arhat by the Nagas or "Serpents" (in truth a name given to the
ancient Initiates), the Book of the Golden Precepts claims the same origin.
Yet its maxims and ideas, however noble and original, are often found under
different forms in Sanskrit [ii] works, such as the Dnyaneshvari, that
superb mystic treatise in which Krishna describes to Arjuna in glowing
colors the condition of a fully illumined Yogi; and again in certain
Upanishads. This is but natural, since most, if not all, of the greatest
Arhats, the first followers of Gautama Buddha, were Hindus and Aryans, not
Mongolians, especially those who emigrated into Tibet. The works left by
Aryasangha alone are very numerous.

The original Precepts are engraved on thin oblongs; copies very often on
discs. These discs, or plates, are generally preserved on the altars of the
temples attached to centres where the so-called "contemplative" or Mahayana
(Yogacharya) Schools are established. They are written variously, sometimes
in Tibetan but mostly in ideographs. The sacerdotal language (Senzar),
besides an alphabet of its own, may be rendered in several modes of writing
in cypher characters, which partake more of the nature of ideographs than
of syllables. Another method (lug, in Tibetan) is to use the numerals and
colors, each of which corresponds to a letter of the Tibetan alphabet
(thirty simple and seventy-four compound letters), thus forming a complete
cryptographic alphabet. When the ideographs are used there is a definite
mode of reading the text; as in this case the symbols and signs used in
astrology, namely, the twelve zodiacal animals and the seven primary
colors, each a triplet in shade, i.e. the light, the primary, and the dark
- stand for the thirty-three letters of the simple alphabet, for words and
sentences. For in this method, the twelve "animals" five times repeated and
coupled [iii] with the five elements and the seven colors, furnish a whole
alphabet composed of sixty sacred letters and twelve signs. A sign placed
at the beginning of the text determines whether the reader has to spell it
according to the Indian mode, when every word is simply a Sanskrit
adaptation, or according to the Chinese principle of reading the
ideographs. The easiest way, however, is that which allows the reader to
use no special, or any language he likes, as the signs and symbols were,
like the Arabian numerals or figures, common and international property
among initiated mystics and their followers. The same peculiarity is
characteristic of one of the Chinese modes of writing, which can be read
with equal facility by anyone acquainted with the character: for instance,
a Japanese can read it in his own language as readily as a Chinaman in his.

The Book of the Golden Precepts - some of which are pre-Buddhistic while
others belong to a later date - contains about ninety distinct little
treatises. Of these I learned thirty-nine by heart, years ago. To translate
the rest, I should have to resort to notes scattered among a too large
number of papers and memoranda collected for the last twenty years and
never put in order, to make of it by any means an easy task. Nor could they
be all translated and given to a world too selfish and too much attached to
objects of sense to be in any way prepared to receive such exalted ethics
in the right spirit. For, unless a man perseveres seriously in the pursuit
of self-knowledge, he will never lend a willing ear to advice of this

[iv] And yet such ethics fill volumes upon volumes in Eastern literature,
especially in the Upanishads. "Kill out all desire of life", says Krishna
to Arjuna. That desire lingers only in the body, the vehicle of the
embodied Self, not in the SELF which is "eternal, indestructible, which
kills not nor is it killed". (Kathopanishad.) "Kill out sensation", teaches
Sutta Nipata; "look alike on pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and
defeat". Again, "Seek shelter in the eternal alone" (ibid). "Destroy the
sense of separateness", repeats Krishna under every form. "The Mind (Manas)
which follows the rambling senses, makes the Soul (Buddhi) as helpless as
the boat which the wind leads astray upon the waters". (Bhagavad Gita, II.)

Therefore it has been thought better to make a judicious selection only
from those treatises which will best suit the few real mystics in the
Theosophical Society, and which are sure to answer their needs. It is only
these who will appreciate these words of Krishna-Christos, the "Higher

"Sages do not grieve for the living nor the dead. Never did I not exist,
nor you, nor these rulers of men; nor will any one of us ever hereafter
cease to be". --Bhagavad Gita, II.

In this translation, I have done my best to preserve the poetical beauty of
language and imagery which characterizes the original. How far this effort
has been successful, is for the reader to judge.




                                FRAGMENT I.


                         THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.

THESE instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower


He who would hear the voice of Nada,(2) the "Soundless Sound", and
comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of Dharana.(3)

Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out
the Rajah of the [2] senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.


When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he
sees in dreams;

When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE - the inner
sound which kills the outer.

Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of Asat, the false,
to come unto the realm of Sat, the true.

Before the Soul can see, the harmony within must be attained, and fleshly
eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.

Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings
as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing
of the golden firefly.

[3] Before the Soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the
Silent Speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modelled is
first united with the potter's mind.

For then the Soul will hear, and will remember.

And then to the inner ear will speak-

                         THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE,

And say:

If thy Soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy Soul
sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy Soul weeps inside
her castle of illusion; if thy Soul struggles to break the silver thread
that binds her to the MASTER; (4) know, O Disciple, thy Soul is of the

When to the World's turmoil thy budding Soul (5) lends ear; when to the
roaring voice of the [4] Great Illusion thy Soul responds; (6) when
frightened at the sight of the hot tears of pain, when deafened by the
cries of distress, thy Soul withdraws like the shy turtle within the
carapace of SELFHOOD, learn, O Disciple, of her Silent "God" thy Soul is an
unworthy shrine.

When waxing stronger, thy Soul glides forth from her secure retreat; and
breaking loose from the protecting shrine, extends her silver thread and
rushes onward; when beholding her image on the waves of Space she whispers,
"This is I"- declare, O Disciple, that thy Soul is caught in the webs of
delusion. (7)

This earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path
of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called "Great
Heresy". (8)

This earth, O ignorant Disciple, is but the dismal entrance leading to the
twilight that precedes the valley of true light - that light which no wind
can extinguish, that light which burns without a wick or fuel.

[5] Saith the Great Law: "In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF, (9)
thou hast first of SELF to be the knower". To reach the knowledge of that
SELF, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then
thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest
between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM (10)
throughout eternal ages. (11)

Bestride the Bird of Life, if thou would'st know. (12)

Give up thy life, if thou would'st live. (13)

Three Halls, O weary Pilgrim, lead to the end of toils. Three Halls, O
conqueror of Mara, [6] will bring thee through three states (14) into the
fourth, (15) and thence into the seven Worlds, (16) the Worlds of Rest

If thou would'st learn their names, then hearken and remember.

The name of the first Hall is IGNORANCE - Avidya.

It is the Hall in which thou first saw'st the light, in which thou livest
and shalt die. (17)

The name of Hall the second is the Hall of LEARNING.* {The Hall of
Probationary Learning.} In it thy Soul will find the blossoms of life, but
under every flower a serpent coiled. (18)

[7] The name of the third Hall is WISDOM, beyond which stretch the
shoreless waters of AKSHARA, the indestructible Fount of Omniscience (19).

If thou would'st cross the first Hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the
fires of lust that burn therein for the sunlight of life.

If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its
stupefying blossoms to inhale. If freed thou would'st be from the karmic
chains, seek not for thy Guru in those Mayavic regions.

The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses.

The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.

Seek for him who is to give thee birth, (20) in the Hall of Wisdom, the
Hall which lies beyond, wherein all shadows are unknown, and where the
light of truth shines with unfading glory.

[8] That which is uncreate abides in thee, Disciple, as it abides in that
Hall. If thou would'st reach it and blend the two, thou must divest thyself
of thy dark garments of illusion. Stifle the voice of flesh, allow no image
of the senses to get between its light and thine, that thus the twain may
blend in one. And having learnt thine own Ajnyana, (21) flee from the Hall
of Learning. This Hall is dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but
for thy probation. Beware, Lanoo, lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy
Soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light.

This light shines from the jewel of the Great Ensnarer, (Mara). (22) The
senses it bewitches, blinds the mind, and leaves the unwary an abandoned

The moth attracted to the dazzling flame of thy night-lamp is doomed to
perish in the viscid [9] oil. The unwary Soul that fails to grapple with
the mocking demon of illusion, will return to earth the slave of Mara.

Behold the Hosts of Souls. Watch how they hover o'er the stormy sea of
human life, and how, exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one
after other on the swelling waves. Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by
the gale, they drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great

If through the Hall of Wisdom thou would'st reach the Vale of Bliss,
Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of
Separateness that weans thee from the rest.

Let not thy "Heaven-Born", merged in the sea of Maya, break from the
Universal Parent (SOUL), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost
chamber, the chamber of the Heart, (23) and the abode of the World's
Mother. (24)

[10] Then from the heart that Power shall rise into the sixth, the middle
region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the
ONE- SOUL, the voice which filleth all, thy Master's voice.

'Tis only then thou canst become a "Walker of the Sky," (25) who treads the
winds above the waves, whose step touches not the waters.

Before thou set'st thy foot upon the ladder's upper rung, the ladder of the
mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner GOD* {The Higher
SELF.} in seven manners.

The first is like the nightingale's sweet voice chanting a song of parting
to its mate.

The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening
the twinkling stars.

The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its

[11] And this is followed by the chant of Vina (26).

The fifth like sound of bamboo-flute shrills in thine ear.

It changes next into a trumpet-blast.

The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud.

The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They die, and then are heard no

When the six (27) are slain and at the Master's feet are laid, then is the
pupil merged into the ONE (28), becomes that ONE and lives therein.

Before that path is entered, thou must destroy thy lunar body, (29) cleanse
thy mind-body, (30) and make clean thy heart.

[12] Eternal life's pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon
tempest's muddy torrents cannot mingle.

Heaven's dew-drop glittering in the morn's first sunbeam within the bosom
of the lotus, when dropped on earth becomes a piece of clay; behold, the
pearl is now a speck of mire.

Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they over-power thee. Use them as
they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know
well these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, Disciple, suffer
not, e'en though it be their shadow, to approach. For it will grow,
increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy
being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster's presence.

Before the "mystic Power" (31)* {Kundalin=EE, the "Serpent Power," or mystic
fire.} can make of thee a God, Lanoo, thou must have gained the faculty to
slay thy lunar form at will.

[13] The Self of Matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet. One of the
twain must disappear; there is no place for both.

Ere thy Soul's mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed
out; the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection.

Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself.

Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its
heart to drink the morning sun.

Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it
from the sufferer's eye.

But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain; nor
ever brush it off until the pain that caused it is removed.

[14] These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that
irrigate the fields of charity immortal. 'Tis on such soil that grows the
midnight blossom of Buddha, (33) more difficult to find, more rare to view,
than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from
rebirth. It isolates the Arhat both from strife and lust, it leads him
through the fields of Being unto the peace and bliss known only in the land
of Silence and Non-Being.

Kill out desire; but if thou killest it, take heed lest from the dead it
should again arise.

Kill love of life; but if thou slayest Tanha,(34) let this not be for
thirst of life eternal, but to replace the fleeting by the everlasting.

Desire nothing. Chafe not at Karma, nor at Nature's changeless laws. But
struggle only with the personal, the transitory, the evanescent, and the

Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her
creators and make obeisance.

[15] And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers,
lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her
pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of Matter, she shows her treasures
only to the eye of Spirit- the eye which never closes, the eye for which
there is no veil in all her kingdoms.

Then will she show thee the means and way, the first gate and the second,
the third, up to the very seventh. And then, the goal; beyond which lie,
bathed in the sunlight of the Spirit, glories untold, unseen by any save
the eye of Soul.

There is but one road to the Path; at its very end alone the Voice of the
Silence can be heard. The ladder by which the candidate ascends is formed
of rungs of suffering and pain; these can be silenced only by the voice of
virtue. Woe, then, to thee, Disciple, if there is one single vice thou hast
not left behind; for then the ladder will give way and overthrow thee; its
foot rests in the deep mire of thy sins and failings, and ere thou canst
attempt to cross this wide abyss of matter thou hast to lave thy feet in
Waters of Renunciation. Beware lest thou [16] should'st set a foot still
soiled upon the ladder's lowest rung. Woe unto him who dares pollute one
rung with miry feet. The foul and viscous mud will dry, become tenacious,
then glue his feet unto the spot; and like a bird caught in the wily
fowler's lime, he will be stayed from further progress. His vices will take
shape and drag him down. His sins will raise their voices like as the
jackal's laugh and sob after the sun goes down; his thoughts become an
army, and bear him off a captive slave.

Kill thy desires, Lanoo, make thy vices impotent, ere the first step is
taken on the solemn journey.

Strangle thy sins, and make them dumb for ever, before thou dost lift one
foot to mount the ladder.

Silence thy thoughts and fix thy whole attention on thy Master, whom yet
thou dost not see, but whom thou feelest.

Merge into one sense thy senses, if thou would'st be secure against the
foe. 'Tis by that sense alone which lies concealed within the hollow of thy
brain, that the steep path [17] which leadeth to thy Master may be
disclosed before thy Soul's dim eyes.

Long and weary is the way before thee, O Disciple. One single thought about
the past that thou hast left behind, will drag thee down and thou wilt have
to start the climb anew.

Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences. Look not behind or thou art

Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated,
for this is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by feeding vice that it
expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's

The rose must re-become the bud, born of its parent stem before the
parasite has eaten through its heart and drunk its life-sap.

The golden tree puts forth its jewel-buds before its trunk is withered by
the storm.

The Pupil must regain the child-state he has lost 'ere the first sound can
fall upon his ear.

The light from the ONE MASTER, the one unfading light of Spirit, shoots its
effulgent [18] beams on the Disciple from the very first. Its rays thread
through the thick, dark clouds of Matter.

Now here, now there, these rays illumine it, like sun-sparks light the
earth through the thick foliage of the jungle growth. But, O Disciple,
unless the flesh is passive, head cool, the Soul as firm and pure as
flaming diamond, the radiance will not reach the chamber (23), its sunlight
will not warm the heart, nor will the mystic sounds of the akasic heights
(35) reach the ear, however eager, at the initial stage.

Unless thou hear'st, thou canst not see.

Unless thou see'st, thou canst not hear. To hear and see, this is the
second stage.

                              . . . . . . . .

When the Disciple sees and hears, and when he smells and tastes, eyes
closed, ears shut, with mouth and nostrils stopped; when the four senses
blend and ready are to pass into the fifth, that of the inner touch - then
into stage the fourth he hath passed on.

[19] And in the fifth, O slayer of thy thoughts, all these again have to be
killed beyond re=E4nimation. (36)

Withhold thy mind from all external objects, all external sights. Withhold
internal images, lest on thy Soul-light a dark shadow they should cast.

Thou art now in DHARANA, (37) the sixth stage.

When thou hast passed into the seventh, O happy one, thou shalt perceive no
more the sacred Three, (38) for thou shalt have become that Three thyself.
Thyself and mind, like twins upon a line, the star which is thy goal [20]
burns overhead (39). The Three that dwell in glory and in bliss ineffable,
now in the World of Maya have lost their names. They have become one star,
the fire that burns but scorches not, that fire which is the Upadhi (40) of
the Flame.

And this, O Yog=EE of success, is what men call Dhyana, (41) the right
precursor of Samadhi. (42)

And now thy Self is lost in SELF, Thyself unto THYSELF, merged in THAT SELF
from which thou first didst radiate.

Where is thy individuality, Lanoo, where the Lanoo himself? It is the spark
lost in the fire, [21] the drop within the ocean, the ever-present ray
become the All and the eternal radiance.

And now, Lanoo, thou art the doer and the witness, the radiator and the
radiation, Light in the Sound, and the Sound in the Light.

Thou art acquainted with the five impediments, O blessed one. Thou art
their conqueror, the Master of the sixth, deliverer of the four modes of
Truth. (43) The light that falls upon them shines from thyself, O thou who
wast Disciple, but art Teacher now.

And of these modes of Truth-

Hast thou not passed through knowledge of all misery - truth the first?

Hast thou not conquered the Maras' King at Tsi, the portal of assembling -
truth the second? (44).

[22] Hast thou not sin at the third gate destroyed, and truth the third

Hast thou not entered Tau, the "Path" that leads to knowledge - the fourth
truth? (45).

And now, rest 'neath the Bodhi tree, which is perfection of all knowledge,
for, know, thou art the Master of SAMADHI - the state of faultless vision.

Behold! thou hast become the Light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art
thy Master and thy God. Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search: the
VOICE unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change,
from sin exempt, the Seven Sounds in one,

                         THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.

                                OM TAT SAT.

Section 2: to follow next week to theos-roots and NOT to theos-l
Namaste - KP

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