We will periodically post passages here from B.P. Wadia's  Studies on the Secret Doctrine 

Feel free to comment on them at any time.

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In regards to the second passage.  I wonder if what we are being asked to do is regard the key ideas of the Secret Doctrine as if they were mathematical propositions with the primary aim to understand and try and use them in equations? Once we have done this we can move onto further evaluation.  But the first step is to understand them on their own, without the colorings of other outside ideas.

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Exoteric and Esoteric

It is good to remember that there is veil upon veil ahead and veil upon veil behind.

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More from B.P. Wadia

The study of this book and the grasping of the teachings it contains, like those of any other volume, naturally depends on the capacity of the reader; but, just as the nature of the capacity differs according to the subject matter of study and investigation and the musical faculty is necessary for the appreciation of music, and the mathematical faculty for grasping mathematics, so also for the study of The Secret Doctrine a definite type of capacity and a particular faculty are essential.

Thus we are warned beforehand in the Introductory itself:

Every reader will inevitably judge the statements made from the stand-point of his own knowledge, experience, and consciousness, based on what he has already learnt. This fact the writer is constantly obliged to bear in mind: hence, also the frequent references in this first Book to matters which, properly speaking, belong to a later part of the work, but which could not be passed by in silence, lest the reader should look down on this work as a fairy tale indeed — a fiction of some modern brain. (I:xlvi.)

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As students of the Secret Doctrine what can we do to maximize the benefit of studying the Secret Doctrine?  What should we do and what should we not do when approaching the Secret Doctrine as a student?

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1.  Start and continue, no matter how difficult we find it.

2. Don't get sidetracked into studying some other student's book about the Secret Doctrine, and end up leaving your own copy on the shelf - whether at home or still in the bookshop.  

3.  Use other people's views and works as valuable assistance but develop your own relationship with the work itself and make that primary.

4.  Don't try too hard to understand it - put aside regular time to study the Secret Doctrine and let the Ideas / Ideation contained therein work on you.

5.  Follow up on those small areas you do understand or which particularly resonate 'within', adding to them slowly and steadily through research.  

6.  Not everything needs to be read page by page. Pick up and follow a theme (e.g. cycles; the Great Breath; Mahat, Dhyan Chohans, the Races or whatever speaks to you) and draw upon other works by HPB, the Mahatmas or any you feel valuable in helping you understand it a little better.

7.  If you are doing 6 remember no. 2.

8.  Remember that however grand the doctrines contained therein, its only a glimpse into the real nature of things.

9.  Start wondering about how what we learn can be turned into something valuable for other beings.

I'm sure there are plenty of other things we could say about what might maximise the benefits of study.  The above just popped up first.

ps: "you" stands for I/we/us.

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This is a wonderful list.  I would add the following -

10.  Pick those small topics that we resonate within and ponder on them over and over again and try to apply those ideas or awareness of those themes in our daily lives.

11.  Notice the energies behind the words and see how they affect our consciousness.   

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Peter,

Thanks so much, these are very good suggestions and they ring true.   You've put into words something that has been hard to describe.  I've heard that the study of the SD is designed to develop our intuition.  Do you think that is so?

 

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Thank you Don.

I'm not sure if the SD is specifically designed to develop our intuition, although it does seem that we won't be able to understand key aspects of the SD without it.  As you know, in the Proem of the SD HPB states that the Stanzas in particular are meant to appeal to the inner faculties, including our intuition, rather than the physical brain (p21).   At the same time, I think HPB really does expect us to engage in thought, to think deeply about the Doctrine that is being presented to us.  Partly we need to do this to free ourselves from the existing structures of thought and the dominant ideologies that are so pervasive throughout the world and which limit our view of ourselves and the universe in which we live.

In terms of our study, perhaps one question might be, 'is intuition something we need to develop?'  Or, is it that we need to find an approach to our study that allows our already existing Intuition to have a voice?

 

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I would second what Peter is saying here by adding that it is through a growing capacity to think metaphysically and universally that we unveil and awken our intuitive powers.  The mind must be trained in the capacity to focus and the capacity to think metaphysically before intuitive powers are fully available.  This is my understanding.  In other words you cannot just skip over the mind and jump to intuition.

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From B.P. Wadia's Scope, Structure and Method

Here we come across a view about synthesis and unification of knowledge which is different from the one ordinarily held in the modern world. Mme. Blavatsky’s synthesis has this advantage that the propositions of science, religion and philosophy brought together in her system do not clash with each other, but on the other hand blend together in a harmonious whole.

This synthesis is arrived at not by the method of putting details together, but, unlike so many modern syntheses, it proceeds from Universals to particulars. Parts do not lead to the whole; the whole reveals the parts. Thus the risks of the Inductive method are avoided and, from Principles and Fundamentals, applications are made and details are derived. From within without, Unity multiplying into diversity according to the Hermetic axiom of “As Above so Below” — the synthesis of The Secret Doctrine is like a burgeoning blossom; every petal of the bud stands revealed in its proper station and signifies its place, utility and value in the whole scheme of the flower.

From Universals to particulars has always been the process of teaching and exposition in the schools of esoteric science. We may mention in passing that care should be taken not to identify this old system with that of the Realists, the opponents of Nominalists who fought over a passage in a translation of Porphyry by Boethius. Nor should this procedure be mistaken for deductive or syllogistic inference in the science of Logic; for the prevailing use of deduction is practically identical with Aristotelian propositions which themselves have assumed different forms since they were brought before Western thought by Bacon. True Induction and Deduction are like spirit and matter — they exist and evolve together and are never separate. Pythagoras learnt to use them both correctly in connection with his Decad, and the intelligent student, if he is in earnest, will soon learn the art in the task that awaits him in The Secret Doctrine.

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Could we liken the movement of universals to particulars to the movement of light as it passes through a prism making one beam divide into 7 colored beams?

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 On the Importance of the Analogy and Correspondence

If synthesis and the processes of deduction and induction have undergone change for the worse, the law of analogy has met with a still sadder fate. Analogy which with the Ancients meant Correspondence on the side of life and principles, has, with the modern, become resemblance on the side of forms and appearances. The Law of Analogy used to provide indisputable facts; now one has to beware of “false analogy” all the time. In The Secret Doctrine, on the authority of a Master’s letter we are advised “to hold to the doctrine of analogy and correspondences.” 2 In fact, without a clear understanding of what the Law of Analogy is in the conception of the Ancients, the study of The Secret Doctrine becomes very difficult indeed. “Analogy is the guiding law in Nature, the only true Ariadne’s thread that can lead us, through the inextricable paths of her domain, toward her primal and final mysteries.” 3 One more quotation and we will pass on:

From Gods to men, from Worlds to atoms, from a star to a rush-light, from the Sun to the vital heat of the meanest organic being — the world of Form and Existence is an immense chain, whose links are all connected. The law of Analogy is the first key to the world-problem, and these links have to be studied co-ordinately in their occult relations to each other. (I:604.)

The Law of Analogy of The Secret Doctrine speaks of manifestation proceeding from within without, refers to the Hermetic axiom of “as Above so Below,” and in full measure correlates Cosmos to atom, and clearly shows the interdependence of Noumena to phenomena, archetypes to types.

From B.P. Wadia  Studies in the Secret Doctrine  Scope, Structure and Method

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Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 1, 2014 at 2:11pm
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From the article Knowledge -Absolute and Relative by B.P. Wadia

Outside of initiation, the ideals of contemporary religious thought must always have their wings clipped and remain unable to soar higher; for idealistic as well as realistic thinkers, and even free-thinkers, are but the outcome and the natural product of their respective environments and periods. The ideals of both are only the necessary results of their temperaments, and the outcome of that phase of intellectual progress to which a nation, in its collectivity, has attained. Hence, as already remarked, the highest flights of modern (Western) metaphysics have fallen far short of the truth. (S.D., Vol. I, Original Edition, pp. 326-327.)

A quiet reflection on the above brings the earnest student to these questions: Are there two types of psycho-mental evolution? What is the difference between the thinker who is the outcome and the natural product of his environment and period and the knower of Truth“initiated into perceptive mysteries,” referred to in the text which precedes the above quotation? Are there two fundamental classes of Knowledge? What is the difference between that which exists and is discovered, and that which the evolving intelligence of man invents in ever-renewed attempt which implies abandonment of that which was previously found and accepted?

… Otherwise — outside such initiation — for every thinker there will be a “Thus far shalt thou go and no farther,” mapped out by his intellectual capacity, as clearly and as unmistakably as there is for the progress of any nation or race in its cycle by the law of Karma. (S.D., Vol. I, Original Edition, p. 326.)

Are we to infer from the above that our very intellectual capacity is also a Karmic limitation? And if philosophers are limited and metaphysics fall “far short of the truth” what fate must befall the poor and humble seeker of the Wisdom — he who earnestly desires to pass on from this dungeon of ignorance into the light of Knowledge?

Let the reader meditate on this whole passage; let him read and re-read and then brood over the ideas as they emanate from between the lines and within the words. It is one of those passages in The Secret Doctrine which yields regular seasonal harvests in terms of the mental sowing done.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 1, 2014 at 5:39pm
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Thus H. P. Blavatsky’s system of thought, to quote her own words applied to spiritualism, “gives us facts that we may investigate, not assertions that we must believe without proof.” With a clarity and an emphasis which are unmistakable she says in her Key to Theosophy: “As all theosophists have to be judged by their deeds and not by what they write or say, so allTheosophical books must be accepted on their merits, and not according to any claim to authority which they may put forward.”  And the S.D. itself says: “It is above everything important to keep in mind that no theosophical book acquires the least additional value from pretended authority.”

Suggestion on approaching the book:

An impartial and critical study of her system of thought, not with a desire either to prove that she is right or to prove that she is wrong, but to find out what her teachings are: that is what is wanted. Do they solve the intricate problems which confront us? Do they illuminate our intelligence? Do they satisfy the yearnings of the human heart? Do they inspire us to a noble life-struggle, to a greater altruism, to a grander selflessness? Above all are they in harmony with the established facts of ancient science, proven laws of ancient ethics, profound truths of ancient philosophy? Do they illumine the obscure and make known that which is unknown today but which has been fully known in the past?

Exoteric and Esoteric

In pursuing our study, then, we should remember that we are contacting but a part of the mighty whole; that part deemed suited and worthy to be given out to this day and generation. In the process of giving out that which was esoteric and hidden and secret, it had to be clothed in the vestures of exotericism and publicity, and though a “silence of centuries is broken” it is broken along similar lines and in a similar way as on previous occasions, however far past. That is, the language of symbol and allegory has been often used, personification of principles has been resorted to for purposes of explanation, and names and forms are given as indicators of the nameless and formless. Suited to our civilization is the limited presentation in The Secret Doctrine of THE SECRET DOCTRINE — Imperishable, Eternal, Ancient, Constant and Consistent.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 5, 2014 at 10:23pm
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From the Article The Message of H.P.B.

If history has taught any lesson it has certainly taught this: every genuine spiritual Message has suffered corruption at the hands of well-meaning but non-intuitive and therefore non-spiritual followers of the Messenger. Such have blundered into separating the Message and the Messenger; in proceeding from the latter to the former; in examining the former in the light of the life-activities of the latter, instead of studying these life-activities in terms of the Message. In the Theosophical Movement of our age history repeats itself and anyone who cares to do so can draw the parallel of its events in the early centuries of the Christian era. The pure teachings of Jesus, which influenced the three cultures of Egypt, Greece and Judea, met the ancient enemy very soon after the passing of the Teacher. The quarrels of Peter and Paul, compromises fatal to the pure Teachings, the hunt for heretics, the rise of Ammonius Saccas and his school are all reproduced in our own Theosophical Movement. What then took more than three hundred years has now been repeated on a higher spiral within half a century. The same story can be told of other Theosophic impulsions; the same drama can be seen enacted elsewhere in other eras.

To make adequate use of that lesson of history in the interests of the pure Teachings of H.P.B., for the preservation in as complete an integrity as is possible for imperfect human nature, no better course can be adopted than to point out reiteratedly this basic principle, to warn ourselves and our co-students against the pitfalls and dangers hinted at above.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 13, 2014 at 12:49pm
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From Mr. Judge's article "Of Studying Theosophy"

But what is study? It is not the mere reading of books, but rather long, earnest, careful thought upon that which we have taken up. If a student accepts reincarnation and karma as true doctrines, the work is but begun. Many theosophists accept doctrines of that name, but are not able to say what it is they have accepted. They do not pause to find out what reincarnates, or how, when, or why karma has its effects, and often do not know what the word means. Some at first think that when they die they will reincarnate, without reflecting that it is the lower personal I they mean, which cannot be born again in a body. Others think that karma is – well, karma, with no clear idea of classes of karma, or whether of not it is punishment or reward or both. Hence a careful learning from one or two books of the statement of the doctrines, and then a more careful study of them, are absolutely necessary.

There is too little of such right study among theosophists, and too much reading of new books. No student can tell whether Mr. Sinnett in Esoteric Buddhism writes reasonably unless his book is learned and not merely skimmed. Although his style is clear, the matter treated is difficult, needing firm lodgment in the mind, followed by careful thought. A proper use of his book, The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy, and all other matter written upon the constitution of man, leads to an acquaintance with the doctrines as to the being most concerned, and only when that acquaintance is obtained is one fitted to understand the rest.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on January 25, 2014 at 12:30am
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From B.P. Wadia's Studies in the Secret Doctrine    The Message of HPB

The book, The Secret Doctrine, is a ray of the SECRET DOCTRINE, eternal and unevolving, constant and unchanging, consistent and unvarying. The soul and substance of the SECRET DOCTRINE have to be looked for in the body of The Secret Doctrine, with its material organs and organisms. Not the soul in its completion, nor the substance in its entirety have incarnated in the book. Further, let the student make note of the very important fact that the Message of H.P.B.’s Secret Doctrine is not her whole message. Four eternal basic principles have come into incarnation in Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy, and The Voice of the Silence. The first is like the human voice of conscience, warning and advising us to beware of the dangers of the lower self of the world of matter; then came the monumental volumes which enlighten the human head to think spiritually. The Key to Theosophy enables our hands to act in terms of that thinking, and, lest one-sided activity engendered should push the student into exaggerations, The Voice of the Silence was given.

A proper study of the soul and substance of these four works will not only enable the student to assign proper valuations to the material in which they clothe themselves, but will also help him to appraise H.P.B.’s innumerable articles, descriptive narratives of strange happenings in strange caves and jungles of this world, and thrilling reports of nightmares in the world of dreams. Just as to understand the nature of the soul of one life is to understand the nature of the same soul in other lives, so also a proper valuation of the soul and substance of H.P.B.’s Message brings a correct appreciation of the nature of the Wisdom-Religion — the undying SECRET DOCTRINE.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 29, 2014 at 11:01am
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From B.P. Wadia's article  Archetypal Knowledge in his Studies in the Secret Doctrine

Gupta Vidya, the Secret Knowledge that leads to Para Vidya, is like the way to Mount Everest; the latter in all its beauty, grandeur and dignity causes awe and reverence in mortal minds and inspires the few earnest hearts to the perilous adventure of climbing its steep ascents, the necessary knowledge whereof is lost. Thus Para Vidya, the Knowledge of the Self, stands guard over all arts, sciences, philosophies and religions, but the hazardous journey to Self-Realization is only accomplished by the daring soul who wills to seek the Hidden Light and, having sought, knows the Secret Art. Shiva, the patron-saint of Yogis and Sannyasis, is supposed to be sitting in silent tapas in company of His consort, Shakti-Parvati, on Mount Kailasa (Heaven); children of mortality behold the picture of the Couple in awesome dread, as for them Shiva is the destroyer, and they make obeisance to Him from the far distance which separates their earth from His high heaven. The immortal sons of Yoga, however, confident of their soul-strength and bent on reaching Home where the parents dwell in eternal felicity, hasten and climb the steep ascents.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on February 17, 2014 at 5:52pm
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"The one Life-principle when in action runs in circuits even as known in physical science.  It runs the round in human body, where the head represents, and is to the Microcosmos (the physical world of matter) what the summit of the cycle is to the Macrocosmos (the world of universal spiritual Forces); and so with the formation of worlds and the great descending and ascending "circle of necessity." All is one Law. Man has his seven principles, the germs of which he brings with him at his birth. So has a planet or a world.  From first to last every sphere has its world of effects, the passing through which will afford a place of final rest to each of the human principles — the seventh principle excepted."

— Mahatma M

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on February 19, 2014 at 4:52pm
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The laws of the universe are moving  in a  divine dance both within and without, above and below, in the concrete and in the metaphysical realms.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on February 18, 2014 at 10:20pm
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From B.P. Wadia's  Studies in the Secret Doctrine

Another fact brought out is that true appreciation of The Secret Doctrine depends on correct assimilation of its contents through the unfoldment of that spiritual faculty which follows the purification of mind by study of metaphysics. This faculty is Buddhi conjoined with Manas. Further, an attempt was made to examine the Three Fundamental Propositions which are the veritable foundations of her monumental volumes.

The end in view is to provoke thought. No one could translate the weighty contents of the two volumes into language which the man in the street can grasp without effort. It is necessary to point this out because of criticisms which have come to our notice.

The great function of H.P.B.’s writings is to evolve in the student a new perception of Nature — a perception which is synthetic, universal, impersonal. This is Buddhi-Manas “incarnated” in the individual. Different people read in The Secret Doctrine different things. It has been said that it all depends on what interpretation each puts on its expositions. This is not so. The volumes are not capable of diverse and conflicting interpretations. Each tenet, each teaching, each doctrine has but one interpretation, and no more. The applications of the true interpretation can be varied and many; they ought to be. As the grasp of the teachings is profound so will the applications be numerous. The completeness of understanding is related to that of applications. The true test that a teaching is correctly interpreted lies in the student’s ability to make applications. When our interpretation is correct our applications fit in with our understanding of other and related teachings. The sincere and earnest student persists in getting at the whole philosophy, all the correlated teachings, in patience and perseverance. He is not satisfied with piecemeal understanding of a tenet here and a doctrine there. True interpretation of one tenet dovetails with true interpretation of all other tenets; a false interpretation does not agree with either a true interpretation of any tenet or false interpretations of several tenets.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on February 19, 2014 at 4:51pm
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Is there a distinction to be drawn between different perspectives on a SD passage and different interpretations of a passage?  Mr. Wadia seems to be saying there is a singular correct interpretation and incorrect ones.

Permalink Reply by Peter on February 20, 2014 at 12:40pm
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Gerry, I think we can appreciate what he is saying in so far as Wadia is referring to "tenets"  - these being the core 'beliefs' of the Wisdom Religion as set out in the Secret Doctrine. For example, either there is reincarnation (the doctrine of cycles) or there is not. Either there is a Fundamental Principle from which all things arise and into which all things return at the end of a Manvantara or there is not.  The 'tenets' or core beliefs of any system should all support each other (or at least not contradict each other), otherwise there is an internal weakness in that system.

The word "interpretation" may not be a good one as it provides a rather black and white (either-or) view of our approach to the SD.  Sometimes, of course, our understanding is simply wrong.  Sometimes it may just be incomplete, but not necessary wrong - we may not yet have grasped the whole picture and need to build on the little we know.   Perhaps this is essentially what he is saying - we need to get a feeling for the Secret Doctine 'as a whole'  and test our understanding, as it grows, against that 'whole'.  

The problem is that false interpretations often do agree with other false interpretations - one wrong view so often supports another, if not many more.  That's what makes them so hard to undo in ourselves and to challenge when we meet them in others.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on February 20, 2014 at 2:16pm
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Those are good points.  I think one of the biggest challenges for the student of the Secret Doctrine is the tendency to measure it against or blend it with our own inherited opinions and perspectives.  Bending the idea of the ABSOLUTE into some notion of a personal God is an example.

Mr. Wadia is urging us to try to understand what it is HPB is saying and not try so much to make it correspond with our own ideas at present.  Worst still to render judgement this way or that without fully understanding what the SD is pointing out.

We all know from experience that the SD is a challenging read.  Many of us feel it is the study of a lifetime(s).  So suspending final judgements, putting opinions aside and trying to make out what she is saying without clouding it with preconceptions is a real challenge but necessary for progress with the SD.

I took Calculus with my wife in college.  Being argumentative, I kept arguing with the professor about it.  My wife straightened me out.  "Don't you think you should understand it first before you want to debate it?  And furthermore, why do you want to argue about Math?"  Those were sage words for me.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on March 18, 2014 at 11:22am
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You can see how the idea of altruism is born  from such sentiments.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on February 27, 2014 at 10:35am
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From the Bhagavad-Gita:

"Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions and humility; the wise who see the truth will communicate it unto thee, and knowing which thou shalt never again fall into error."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on March 14, 2014 at 11:56pm
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From the Great Master's Letter

To be true, religion and philosophy must offer the solution to every problem.  That the world is in such a bad condition, morally, is a conclusive evidence that none of its religions and philosophies — those of the civilized races less than any other — has never possessed the TRUTH.  The right and logical explanations on the subject of the problems of the great dual principles, right and wrong, good and evil, liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism, are as impossible to them now as they were in 1880 years ago.  They are as far from the solution as they ever were; but to these problems there must be somewhere a consistent solution.

The Maha Chohan

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 6, 2014 at 9:06pm
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From B.P. Wadia's article: Metaphysics of the Secret Doctrine from his Studies in the Secret Doctrine

The Stanzas of Dzyan, on which The Secret Doctrine is based, belong to the same series as the fragments published under the title, The Voice of the Silence. This information conveyed in the preface to the latter should be made a subject for meditation, for it is a practical hint with an occult significance which students of The Secret Doctrine ought not to miss.

Wisdom and Compassion are inherent in Law and manifested in Nature. They are not two distinct qualities but two phases of one quality. In man the head and the heart are regarded as two different organisms. All our struggles and sufferings arise from this fundamental misconception. Once recognized that head and heart are but two aspects of one nature, there opens for us the way of the inner life. What follows is the removal of the obstacles which have covered over and obscured the narrow bridge between head and heart; then the establishment of communication; and finally the coadunition of both.

These two aspects of Wisdom and Compassion are the soul of the Stanzas of Dzyan and The Voice of the Silence. The treatises conjointly used will help to remove the barrier, to bridge the two worlds — to make our reason compassionate and our love intelligent. The Bhagavad-Gita performs this double task within its eighteen discourses, as does the Dhammapada and the very first sermon Gautama, the Buddha, delivered on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

In the present cycle our minds are separated from compassion, and our ethical impulses prompted more by our psychic than by our spiritual nature. The study of H.P.B.’s writings uncovers the foundation-principles, intellectual and philosophic, for our ethical beliefs and views; shows us where and how we are mistaken and by what method correction can take place; endows with a living and vital soul our mental perceptions and speculations and indicates how our general knowledge can be practically applied for self-improvement and the service of others.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 11, 2014 at 7:29pm
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From B.P. Wadia's Article The Writer of the Secret Doctrine from his Studies in the Secret Doctrine

An impartial and critical study of her system of thought, not with a desire either to prove that she is right or to prove that she is wrong, but to find out what her teachings are: that is what is wanted. Do they solve the intricate problems which confront us? Do they illuminate our intelligence? Do they satisfy the yearnings of the human heart? Do they inspire us to a noble life-struggle, to a greater altruism, to a grander selflessness? Above all are they in harmony with the established facts of ancient science, proven laws of ancient ethics, profound truths of ancient philosophy? Do they illumine the obscure and make known that which is unknown today but which has been fully known in the past? While performing such a miracle, do these teachings clearly convey through their innate and inherent nature that they have escaped the fault, and the degeneration it brings, of their teacher’s ahankara, egotism, which incarnates in the teachings? Richter, the German thinker, once wrote: “I have heard that some philosophers in seeking for Truth, to pay homage to her, have seen their own image in the water and adored it instead.” Has Mme. Blavatsky done this? These are the tests. Along such lines the proofs must be sought.

The method of such testing is shown to us by Mme. Blavatsky. In Lucifer, Vol. I, p. 431 she says:—

Theosophy is divine knowledge, and knowledge is truth; every true fact every sincere word are thus part and parcel of Theosophy. One who is skilled in divine alchemy, or even approximately blessed with the gift of the perception of truth, will find and extract it from an erroneous as much as from a correct statement. However small the particle of gold lost in a ton of rubbish, it is the noble metal still, and worthy of being dug out even at the price of some extra trouble. As has been said, it is often as useful to know what a thingis not, as to learn what it is.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 30, 2014 at 1:11pm
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From the Bhagavad-Gita

"Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions and by humility; the wise who see the truth will communicate it unto thee, and knowing which thou shalt never again fall into error."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 6, 2014 at 12:20pm
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"There was a time, when from sea to sea, from the mountains and deserts of the north to the grand woods and downs of Ceylon, there was but one faith, one rallying cry — to save  humanity from the miseries of ignorance in the name of Him who taught first the solidarity of all men. How is it now? Where is the grandeur of our people and of the one Truth? These, you may say, are beautiful visions which were once realities on earth, but had flitted away like the light of a summer's evening..... The world has clouded the light of true knowledge, andselfishness will not allow its resurrection, for it excludes and will not recognize the whole fellowship of all those who were born under the same immutable natural law.

— Mahatma M.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 13, 2014 at 9:54pm
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It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world. Otherwise you would vainly seek those visions, those flashes of sudden light which have already helped to solve so many of the minor problems and which  alone can bring the truth before the eye of the soul.  It is with jealous care thta we have to guard our mind-plane from all the adverse influences which daily arise in our passage through earth-life.

— Mahatma KH

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 6, 2014 at 2:07pm
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"All of us have to get rid of our own ego, the illusory, apparent self, to recognize our true Self, in a transcendental divine life."

-The Maha Chohan

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 6, 2014 at 2:25pm
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" In Cosmogony and the work of nature the positive and the negative or the active and passive forces corresponds to the male and female principles.  Your spiritual efflux comes not from 'behind the veil' but is the male seed falling into the veil of cosmic matter.  The active is attracted by the passive principle and the Great Nag, the serpent emblem of the eternity, attracts its tail to its mouth forming thereby a circle (cycles in the eternity) in that incessant pursuit of the negative by the positive........ That one and chief attribute of the universal spiritual principle - the unconscious but ever active life-giver - is to expand and shed; that of the universal material principle to gather in and fecundate.  Unconscious and non-existing when separated, they become consciousness and life when brought together.   Hence again -Brahma, from the root 'brih' the Sanskrit for 'to expand, grow,or to fructify'. Brahma being but the viviifying expansive force of nature in its eternal evolution."

-Mahatma M.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 14, 2014 at 9:50am
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From the SD book i page 533 On the Nonsense of the Personal God Idea

Philosophy rejects one finite and imperfect God in the universe, as the anthropomorphic deity of the monotheist is represented by his followers. It repudiates in its name of Philo-Theo-Sophia the grotesque idea that Infinite, Absolute Deity should, or rather could, have any, whether direct or indirect, relation to finite illusive evolutions of matter, and therefore cannot imagine a universe outside that Deity, or the latter absent from the smallest speck of animate or inanimate substance. *

* This does not mean that every bush, tree or stone is God or a god; but only that every speck of the manifested material of Kosmos belongs to and is the substance of "God," however low it may have fallen in its cyclic gyration through the Eternities of the ever becoming,; and also that every such speck individually, and Kosmos collectively, is an aspect and a reminder of that universal One Soul—which philosophy refuses to call God, thus limiting the eternal and ever-present root and essence.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on July 15, 2014 at 9:49am
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How does the personal God idea lead to the personal self idea?

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Permalink Reply by Samantha Province on July 17, 2014 at 1:11pm
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I like this small passage from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's 24th dialogue in I Am That:

Q: Isn't God a person?

M: As long as you think yourself to be a person, He too is a person. When you are all, you see Him as all.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on July 17, 2014 at 2:13pm
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Bravo my dear.  It is important to remember the word person comes originally from the Greek word "persona" meaning mask.  The personality is a mask for the immortal soul.  The mask gets us into the play so to speak. Without it we have no role to play.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on July 17, 2014 at 2:14pm
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Very nice - succinct and deep;  it also points to how very subjective we are in our perception. 

Permalink Reply by Peter on July 18, 2014 at 3:36am
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"How does the personal God idea lead to the personal self idea?"

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I've always felt it was the other way round - the personal self idea leads to the notion of a personal God.  We project an image of ourselves onto the 'unknown' deity.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 31, 2014 at 1:22pm
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From B.P. Wadia's Studies on the Secret Doctrine: Scope, Structure and Method

The writings of H. P. Blavatsky constitute the latest incarnation of the Ageless Wisdom. The ever-recurring Impulse of Theosophy brings into expression one or more aspects of the Wisdom of the world of men. Re-embodiment of that Wisdom is like unto reincarnation of the human soul. Never fully and completely can the Fire of the Soul install itself in the temple of flesh, lest the latter be consumed; thus too only in part can the Wisdom of the Immemorial Fire descend from on high to this globe of earth.

The recurring Impulse of Theosophy produces the manifestation of its Mind on the one hand and its vehicle of matter on the other; that Impulse expresses a certain quantity of knowledge, and secondly manifests a body, an organization, a polity, an order, which in course of time invariably usurps and corrupts the first, producing a sect, a caste, a creed, a dogma.

Of all her writings The Secret Doctrine was regarded by H.P.B. as her best work. But to understand it to any appreciable extent we must bear in mind certain important factors.

The book is not written; it is recorded, as the dedication points out. In the Proem the recorder takes note that her volumes may be regarded (1) as a fairy tale; or (2) “at best as one of the yet unproven speculations of dreamers”; or (3) “at the worst, as an additional hypothesis to the many scientific hypotheses past, present and future, some exploded, others still lingering.” But, it is added, “It is not in any sense worse than are many of the so-called Scientific theories; and it is in every case more philosophical and probable.” (I:23-24.)

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on September 7, 2014 at 9:44pm
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"Mystical Christianity teaches self-redemption through one's own seventh principle, the liberated Paramatma, called by the one Christ, by others Buddha; this is equivalent to regeneration, or rebirth in spirit, and it therefore expounds just the same truth as the Nirvana of Buddhism."

-The Maha Chohan

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 3, 2014 at 11:40pm
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Once unfettered, delivered from their dead weight of dogmatic interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic conceptions and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of all religions will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning. Osiris, Chrishna, Buddha, Christ, will be shown as different means for one and the same royal highway to final bliss - Nirvana. Mystical Christianity, that is to say that Christianity which teaches self-redemption through one's own seventh principle — the liberated Parmatma  called by the one Christ, by others Buddha, and equivalent to regeneration or rebirth in spirit — will be found just the same truth as the Nirvana of mystical Buddhism. All of us have to get rid of our own Ego, the illusory apparent self, to recognize our true Self in a transcendental divine life.

The Maha Chohan

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 15, 2014 at 10:45am
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21. Deity in Nature      From B.P. Wadia's Studies in the Secret Doctrine Series

The Secret Doctrine rejects the notion that in any part of Nature God exists. Deity and Nature are not separate but the One Reality. God is neither male nor female; it is not a person, nor even a personality. Deity is the One universal principle — LIFE, immutable and “unconscious” in its eternity. It is the essence of every atom of matter, nay more, it is substantial, is substance itself. Says Mahatma K.H.:

The God of the theologians is simply an imaginary power…. Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery,

and we might add is so today.

In its ignorance mankind falls a prey to the machinations of an exploiting priesthood; because, though ignorant, it is craving for a “beyond” and cannot live without an ideal of some kind, as a beacon and a consolation. It is sometimes said that the belief in the existence of a personal God is so universal that there must be some basis of truth underlying that conception. That is so. It lies in this noble aspiration, this unintelligent but instinctive craving on the part of man for the perception of order in chaos, and for the knowledge that “the Heart of being is Celestial Rest.” Because man is god, and because he has forgotten, and is made to forget, that stupendous and sublime fact, there have come into existence the false substitutes of a personal god and an extra-cosmic deity. “To deliver humanity of this nightmare” it is necessary to restore to the individual an unshakable faith in his own powers, and the God within himself — nay, bring him to the conviction that he is deity, now in latency and can realize himself as such in the progress of time.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on November 8, 2014 at 12:36pm
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From Growth from Self-Effort from B.P. Wadia's Studies in the Secret Doctrine:

The first and the most important idea to understand in reference to evolution in this our kingdom is the following:

The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations. (S.D. I, 17.)

In the philosophy of Theosophy this fundamental plays the leading role. Every enquirer is told of it at the very start. Every tyro in Theosophy speaks about it. It is not a difficult proposition to understand, and yet, without doubt, it is the most difficult one to practise, and because of that, very often it is the least understood of the teachings. This is not paradoxical but the fact is that this teaching cannot be grasped by mind alone — however mighty the mind. No amount of theoretical knowledge of it will produce necessary effects. To know it thoroughly the teaching has to be applied, has to be practised, many a time, in many a situation, till dimly its activity stands revealed to our perception. It is not a mental process, hence mind alone cannot fathom its mystery; it is a manasic process, in which our mind is only a learner. Ordinarily our minds are the enlightening influence in our lives; but what has given it its enlightening power? Manas, the Thinker, is the teacher of mind; he lights the mind; from him our minds gain their power to illumine, their capacity to shine. Only when Manasic action of the Thinker, the Manushya, the Real Man, begins to operate does this teaching, through application, become clear.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on November 14, 2014 at 11:28pm
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From B.P. Wadia Studies in the Secret Doctrine  Chapter 17 The Yoga of the Secret Doctrine

The study of The Secret Doctrine proves unprofitable unless the student sees at his own stage of evolution, in his own life, in the activity of his own complex nature, the unity which is basic from which differentiation springs and on which diversity manifests. Meta-physics is not a subject for consideration by the mind only. Therefore there is no possibility of anyone fully grasping the meaning of the Three Fundamentals by the power of intellect alone. True science is not solely of the senses, however prominent the part sense-perceptions play in its vocation. Thus, unless a serious attempt is made by the student to see the activity of the Three Fundamentals in the function and the process of his own individual life, they must remain mysterious and confusing and fail to inspire him to better life or nobler labours.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on November 19, 2014 at 10:29pm
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Please help me understand what Mr. Wadia is trying to say with this statement from the above passage?

 "Meta-physics is not a subject for consideration by the mind only. Therefore there is no possibility of anyone fully grasping the meaning of the Three Fundamentals by the power of intellect alone."

Permalink Reply by Peter on November 20, 2014 at 11:08am
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What do you think yourself, Tamiko? Do you think it possible to fully grasp the meaning of the Three Fundamental Propositions by the power of intellect alone?

 I imagine it will partly depend on what we mean by the term "intellect'.  For the Platonists, the Intellect represented the rational part of the Soul and the only part of our nature capable of directly apprehending the noumenon, while discursive thinking was of a lower (though very useful) order capable of true opinion but not direct knowledge of spiritual truths.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by barbaram on November 22, 2014 at 11:00am
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Metaphysics cannot be understood by the intellectual mind alone, it requires the faculty of buddhi.  The intellect or the rational mind can only comprehend the surface.  In order to grasp the depth of any metaphysical subjects, it requires the illumination of buddhi.  We can see this in our everyday lives, how some people can penetrate to the core of the issues while others keep going in circle and touching only the superficial.  Buddhi is the power of perception behind our mind; it penetrates to the depth of the subject matter.  It is similar to turning on the light switch in the dark.         

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on November 25, 2014 at 1:56pm
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I like the way you put this Barb.  Somehow to grasp something fully requires the whole of our being and not merely a part perhaps.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on December 12, 2014 at 11:14pm
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From B.P. Wadia's Studies in the Secret Doctrine:  The World of Archetypes

We have made more than one reference to absoluteness of knowledge as distinctive from its relativity. The Absolute as a basic fundamental, as a positive principle, still remains an unsolved conundrum in western metaphysics and philosophy. As a prefix “absolute” is used to denote that aspect which is other than all covered by the term relativity; but even in this the nature of the differences which exist is more than verbal. Ours is not a philosophical age, and ordinary folk are apt to use terms and expressions very loosely, thus the confusion of debate growing worse confounded.

As an expression, “Absolute Knowledge” is bound to confuse students. In The Secret Doctrine, the term Absolute is used as a Fundamental Principle, which is beyond all pairs of opposites and is not one of any pair. It is neither rest nor motion, neither light nor darkness, neither spirit nor matter, neither being nor non-being. It is therefore neither knowledge nor nescience. As the Commentary quoted clearly shows: “The Absolute is not to be defined, and no mortal or immortal has ever seen or comprehended it during the periods of Existence. The mutable cannot know the Immutable, nor can that which lives perceive Absolute Life.” (Vol. II, p. 34.) Therefore, when we speak of Absolute Knowledge, we do not mean knowledge of or about the Absolute; nor do we imply the knowledge hidden in the Absolute; nor Knowledge which is Absolute Beness. Of that Absolute-Beness-Knowledge-Nescience it is futile to talk; from that “all speech with the mind turns away, unable to reach it,” as the Taittiriya Upanishad has it; all that we can say of That is, “Naiti, naiti,” “not this, not this”–

“Who asks doth err,
Who answers, errs. Say naught!”

The Secret Doctrine accepts the relativity of the universe of phenomena.

Everything is relative in this Universe, everything is an illusion. But the experience of any plane is an actuality for the percipient being, whose consciousness is on that plane; though the said experience, regarded from the purely metaphysical standpoint, may be conceived to have no objective reality. But it is not against metaphysicians, but against physicists and materialists that Esoteric teachings have to fight,… (Vol. I, pp. 295-296.)