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The Book of Dzyan: The Secret Doctrine by Topics

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    The Book of Dzyan

    The Primeval Revelation

          Sacred Lore  SD i  xxii-xxiv

          Senzar    SD i  xlii-xlvi

    Proem   SD i 1-7

    Occult Catechism  SD i 11-13

    The Abstract Formula    SD i 20-24

    Cosmic Evolution  SD i 27-34

    Archaic Records  SD ii 1-8

    Anthropogenesis  SD ii  15-21

    The Ascending Cycle   SD ii 443-446

    Past and Future  SD ii  794-797

    Mahat, Nidana and Maya  Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge  27-34

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The Book of Dzyan: The Secret Doctrine by Topics

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    Sacred Lore SD i xxii-xxiv

    The world of to-day, in its mad career towards the unknown—which it is too ready to confound with the unknowable, whenever the problem eludes the grasp of the physicist—is rapidly progressing on the reverse, material plane of spirituality. It has now become a vast arena—a true valley of discord and of eternal strife—a necropolis, wherein lie buried the highest and the most holy aspirations of our Spirit-Soul. That soul becomes with every new generation more paralyzed and atrophied. The “amiable infidels and accomplished profligates” of Society, spoken of by Greeley, care little for the revival of the dead sciences of the past; but there is a fair minority of earnest students who are entitled to learn the few truths that may be given to them now; and now much more than ten years ago, when “Isis Unveiled,” or even the later attempts to explain the mysteries of esoteric science, were published.

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
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      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      Is the main problem of HPB’s time, and perhaps equally our own, not so much concerning humanity’s ignorance of the mysteries of life but moreover the unwillingness of the educated classes amoungst us to admit that they do not know? Does the pretension of knowing block real questioning the thinking?

      • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
        Alex Papandakis
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        Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

        It seems to me that real learning begins when the realization of “I don’t know” is authentic.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    January 1, 2017 at 12:07 am #4218
    Sacred Lore SD i xxii-xxiv Continuted:

    One of the greatest, and, withal, the most serious objection to the correctness and reliability of the whole work will be the preliminary STANZAS: “How can the statements contained in them be verified?” True, if a great portion of the Sanskrit, Chinese, and Mongolian works quoted in the present volumes are known to some Orientalists, the chief work—that one from which the Stanzas are given—is not in the possession of European Libraries. The Book of Dzyan (or “Dzan”) is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name. This is, of course, a great drawback to those who follow the methods of research prescribed by official Science; but to the students of Occultism, and to every genuine Occultist, this will be of little moment. The main body of the Doctrines given is found scattered throughout hundreds and thousands of Sanskrit MSS., some already translated—disfigured in their interpretations, as usual,—others still awaiting their turn. Every scholar, therefore, has an opportunity of verifying the statements herein made, and of checking most of the quotations. A few new facts (new to the profane Orientalist, only) and passages quoted from the Commentaries will be found difficult to trace. Several of the teachings, also, have hitherto been transmitted orally: yet even those are in every instance hinted at in the almost countless volumes of Brahminical, Chinese and Tibetan temple-literature.

    • Profile photo of David Reigle
      David Reigle
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      Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

      “The Book of Dzyan (or “Dzan”) is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name.”

      So under what name has it been heard of?

      • Profile photo of James
        James
        Participant
        Profile photo of JamesJames

        Hi David,
        Are you meaning what HPB refers to as the ‘Commentaries’ and ’The Old Book’, also known as ‘The Old Commentary’
        Written about in CW14-423 under THE SECRET BOOKS OF “LAM-RIM” AND DZYAN…… …..‘whereas, the earliest volumes of the Commentaries are of untold antiquity, some fragments of the original cylinders having been preserved’.

        • Profile photo of David Reigle
          David Reigle
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          Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

          Yes, James, in the article you refer to (CW 14.422) Blavatsky describes the Book of Dzyan as “the first volume of the Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te,” and as you wrote, “the earliest volumes of the Commentaries are of untold antiquity.” So this is what I mean. However, the “old book” spoken of by Blavatsky at the beginning of Isis Unveiled and repeated in The Secret Doctrine (vol. 1, pp. xlii-xliii), presumably the “Archaic Manuscript” described on the first page of the Proem to The Secret Doctrine, is apparently the “seven secret folios of Kiu-te” rather than any of “the fourteen volumes of Commentaries” upon them. The Book of Dzyan, then, is a commentary, written in words, not a picture book of symbols as the “Archaic Manuscript” is described to be.
          As for “the Old Commentary” often referred to in the Alice Bailey books, I must assume that this could refer to any of the “fourteen volumes of Commentaries” taken collectively as an “Old Commentary.” This, then, would include the Book of Dzyan.

          • Profile photo of James
            James
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            Profile photo of JamesJames

            Thanks David, … This put everything in its right order and place.

          • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
            Jon Fergus
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            Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

            Has anyone been able to find any single verses of the Book of Dzyan anywhere? Perhaps referenced in another work or anything like that? Is there yet any solid evidence of its existence (i.e. evidence that would satisfy independent researchers)?

            • Profile photo of David Reigle
              David Reigle
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              Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

              In reply to: “Has anyone been able to find any single verses of the Book of Dzyan anywhere? Perhaps referenced in another work or anything like that?”
              No, not a single verse of the Book of Dzyan has yet been found. It would be wonderful to find even a single verse from it quoted in another work, but so far not one has been found.

              “Is there yet any solid evidence of its existence (i.e. evidence that would satisfy independent researchers)?”
              No, there is none. At present, the Book of Dzyan still remains a pure fantasy in the eyes of the world, a product of Blavatsky’s imagination.
              There is some circumstantial evidence for its existence, which may interest students of The Secret Doctrine. I have summarized some of this in a 2013 article, “The Book of Dzyan: The Current State of the Evidence.” However, there is no solid evidence of its existence, and independent researchers are fully justified in rejecting its authenticity.

      • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
        Pierre Wouters
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        Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

        David, at the risk of sounding stupid, I guess it depends on how you read and interpret the sentence you’ve quoted:

        “The Book of Dzyan (or “Dzan”) is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name.”

        Could the “present name” then, be the use of “The Book of Dzyan” itself? Because that is the present name HPB is using?

        You’re other comment/question asks: “So under what name has it been heard of?”

        “Says the Book of Dzyan (Knowledge through meditation)” SD I:434″

        Could this “(Knowledge through meditation)” be another name (or translation) of the name of the Book of Dzyan (or Dzan) – I’ve read this somewhere but I can’t recall where – or it could be a “chapter” in the book. Are there any other very old Chinese, Tibetan or Sanskrit works known under that name (Knowledge through meditation)?

        In the SD, volume II, we find another – rather superfluous perhaps – name for the book: the “Great Book” – with capital letters.

        “Tradition says, and the records of the Great Book (the Book of Dzyan) explain,…” SD II:220

        There’s also a few places in the SD where HPB refers to “Commentary, Book of Dzyan, III. 19.” So, Book of Dzyan, Commentary and III! Is this a Commentary TO the Book of Dzyan, or a Commentary IN the Book of Dzyan, and obviously either way it seems to have several chapters (for instance III) or several volumes?

        For instance: “THE FIRST RACE OF MEN WERE THE “Mind-born sons” OF THE FORMER. THEY (the pitris and devas) ARE OUR PROGENITORS. . . . (Book II. of Commentary on the Book of DZYAN.)”, (SD I:606) So here we see a ref to “Book II of Commentary” ON the Book of Dzyan.

        Any thoughts?

        • Profile photo of David Reigle
          David Reigle
          Participant
          Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

          Yes, Pierre, I think that its “present name” is the “Book of Dzyan,” and it is under this name that it was never heard of by our philologists. So I have wondered what book had been heard of by 1888 that might fit HPB’s other descriptions of the Book of Dzyan. HPB describes it as “the first volume of the Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te.” The books of Kiu-te are the Tibetan Buddhist tantras, and the first of these in the Kangyur is the Kalacakra-tantra. The Kalacakra-tantra had been heard of by 1888, being written about by Csoma de Koros as early as 1836, and then by Emil Schlagintweit in his 1863 book, Buddhism in Tibet. The Kalacakra-tantra we have is avowedly an abridged version of a much larger text of the same title that is now lost. So I had taken as a working hypothesis that the Book of Dzyan is the lost full Kalacakra-tantra.

          Regarding the Book of Dzyan as the Book of “Knowledge through meditation,” the word dzyan can be traced to the Tibetan word dznyana, which is a transcription of the Sanskrit word jnana. This does mean “knowledge,” and in Tibet it was usually understood as higher knowledge, the kind that is achieved through meditation. The fifth and last and most esoteric chapter of the Kalacakra-tantra is titled, “jnana.” So we may have here what you suggest, Dzyan meaning knowledge through meditation that is the name of a chapter of a book, the Kalacakra-tantra. This does seem promising. The present Dalai Lama has just finished giving the Kalacakra Initiation for the 34th time in his life. Thus Kalacakra is being widely promoted in the world at this time, by one who many regard as the foremost spiritual leader living today.

          All this caused me to take up the study of the Kalacakra-tantra around 1980, then by way of a microfilm of a Sanskrit manuscript of its great commentary, the Vimalaprabha. I have not found much in the Kalacakra-tantra and its commentary that would be related to the stanzas we have from the Book of Dzyan. Further, the quotations found in the Vimalaprabha from the lost full Kalacakra-tantra are so close in content to the extant abridged Kalacakra-tantra, that they provide little evidence for a much expanded version that might include the kinds of things we find in the stanzas we have from the Book of Dzyan. Of course, the lost full Kalacakra-tantra may be yet another remove from the Book of Dzyan; perhaps a commentary ON a commentary like you gave references to.

          There is one thing that is found in the extant Kalacakra-tantra and its great Vimalaprabha commentary that relates closely to a distinctive idea of the Book of Dzyan, and that has not been found in any other text: the “great breath,” maha-prana. Although the reference to the “great breath” in the Kalacakra texts is brief, it is there, and it is an ultimate cosmic principle like it is in The Secret Doctrine. So we have this much from the known and extant Kalacakra texts.

          • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
            Ramprakash ML
            Participant
            Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

            We are unlikely to find the Senzar anywhere as it is a secret sacerdotal language. In Isis, I, p. 440, the narration of Abbe Huc, who visited Tibet and closely examined the strange characters and images on the leaves and the under the bark of the sacred tree of Kounboum in Tibet, is given. HPB adds in the last para of the page referred to that the characters which the Abbe say was “Sansar” or “Language of the Sun” characters, and that it is ancient Sanscrit.

            “The sacred tree, in its various parts, contain in extenso the whole history of the creation, and in substance the sacred books of Buddhism” (ibiden)

            Speaking of the mystery language, in a historical perspective, in Isis II, p. 46, HPB says that the Akkadians instructed the Babylonians in the Mysteries, and taught them the Mystery language, and that these Akkadians were the tribe of Hindu-Brahmans, whose vernacular language was the Sanscrit of the Vedas. She says that the initiated Brahmans and Fakirs use this Mystery language in their magical evocations, and that it is still employed by the Initiates of all countries from time immemorial and that it is precisely characters of this language which appeared in the leaves and bark of the sacred Kounboum.

            She quotes Jacolliot, the French Orientalists, who penetrated the mysteries of Brahminical initiations, that it was forbidden, under the penalty of death to translate them into vulgar tongues. And he gives rare expressions which he caught, thus :

            L’rhom, h’hom, sh’hrum, sho’rhim

            This is how, probably, it will sound when spoken ! What can we make out of them ?

            He wrote that the formulas in that tongue were not written but transmitted from mouth to ear.

            So we are unlikely to find the Book of Dzan in senzar anywhere in the world.

            • Profile photo of David Reigle
              David Reigle
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              Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

              Thanks, Ramprakash, for the interesting things you posted about Senzar. We do have a sample of it given by Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, vol. 1, p. 23:

              Thus, were one to translate into English, using only the substantives and technical terms as employed in one of the Tibetan and Senzar versions, Verse I would read as follows: — “Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not; Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna), &c., &c.,” . . .

              The sample given by Jacolliot is quite unlikely to have been Senzar. What was secret in India in his time, Hindu tantra, started to become publicly known in the 1900s with the works of Arthur Avalon. Jacolliot’s sample, L’rhom, h’hom, sh’hrum, sho’rhim, sounds just like the short groups of seed-syllables (bija-akshara) that can now be seen in published Hindu tantric texts.

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      David what is and who are the Philogists she is referencing?

      • Profile photo of David Reigle
        David Reigle
        Participant
        Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

        The philologists of Blavatsky’s time were the pioneering Western scholars who first studied the Sanskrit language and the texts written in Sanskrit. They had to first study the language, hence were called philologists, before they could study the texts. There were not many of these scholars in her time, unlike today. Nonetheless, she implies that the Book of Dzyan under its actual name had been heard of by them. For “Book of Dzyan” is only a generic name, meaning “Book of Knowledge,” or “Book of Wisdom.”

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    SD i xxii- xxiii

    One of the greatest, and, withal, the most serious objection to the correctness and reliability of the whole work will be the preliminary STANZAS: “How can the statements contained in them be verified?” True, if a great portion of the Sanskrit, Chinese, and Mongolian works quoted in the present volumes are known to some Orientalists, the chief work—that one from which the Stanzas are given—is not in the possession of European Libraries. The Book of Dzyan (or “Dzan”) is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name. This is, of course, a great drawback to those who follow the methods of research prescribed by official Science; but to the students of Occultism, and to every genuine Occultist, this will be of little moment. The main body of the Doctrines given is found scattered throughout hundreds and thousands of Sanskrit MSS., some already translated—disfigured in their interpretations, as usual,—others still awaiting their turn. Every scholar, therefore, has an opportunity of verifying the statements herein made, and of checking most of the quotations. A few new facts (new to the profane Orientalist, only) and passages quoted from the Commentaries will be found difficult to trace. Several of the teachings, also, have hitherto been transmitted orally: yet even those are in every instance hinted at in the almost countless volumes of Brahminical, Chinese and Tibetan temple-literature.

  • Profile photo of Grace Cunningham
    Grace Cunningham
    Participant
    Profile photo of Grace CunninghamGrace Cunningham

    What is the relationship between the Book of Dzyan an the Voice of the Silence?

    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      HPB says both SD and the Voice are from the same source. Am not able to remember the text and the page reference where it occurs

      • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
        Pierre Wouters
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

        “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.” Voice of the Silence, Preface, p. i

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    SD i xxiii

    It has been claimed in all ages that ever since the destruction of the Alexandrian Library (see Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., p. 27), every work of a character that might have led the profane to the ultimate discovery and comprehension of some of the mysteries of the Secret Science, was, owing to the combined efforts of the members of the Brotherhoods, diligently searched for. It is added, moreover, by those who know, that once found, save three copies left and stored safely away, such works were all destroyed. In India, the last of the precious manuscripts were secured and hidden during the reign of the Emperor Akbar.*

    * Prof. Max Müller shows that no bribes or threats of Akbar could extort from the Brahmans the original text of the Veda; and boasts that European Orientalists have it (Lecture on the “Science of Religion,” p. 23), Whether Europe has the complete text is very doubtful, and the future may have very disagreeable surprises in store for the Orientalists.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    SD i xxiii

    It is maintained, furthermore, that every sacred book of that kind, whose text was not sufficiently veiled in symbolism, or which had any direct references to the ancient mysteries, after having been carefully copied in cryptographic characters, such as to defy the art of the best and cleverest palaeographer, was also destroyed to the last copy. During Akbar’s reign, some fanatical courtiers, displeased at the Emperor’s sinful prying into the religions of the infidels, themselves helped the Brahmans to conceal their MSS. Such was Badaoni, who had an undisguised horror for Akbar’s mania for idolatrous religions.*

    Moreover in all the large and wealthy lamasaries, there are subterranean crypts and cave-libraries, cut in the rock, whenever the gonpa and the lhakhang are situated in the mountains. Beyond the Western Tsay-dam, in the solitary passes of Kuen-lun** there are several such hiding places. Along the ridge of Altyn-Toga, whose soil no European foot has ever trodden so far, there exists a certain hamlet, lost in a deep gorge. It is a small cluster of houses, a hamlet rather than a monastery, with a poor-looking temple in it, with one old lama, a hermit, living near by to watch it. Pilgrims say that the subterranean galleries and halls under it contain a collection of books, the number of which, according to the accounts given, is too large to find room even in the British Museum.***

    * Badaoni wrote in his Muntakhab at Tawarikh: “His Majesty relished inquiries into the sects of these infidels (who cannot be counted, so numerous they are, and who have no end of revealed books) . . . As they (the Sramana and Brahmins) surpass other learned men in their treatises on morals, on physical and religious sciences, and reach a high degree in their knowledge of the future, in spiritual power, and human perfection, they brought proofs based on reason and testimony, and inculcated their doctrines so firmly that no man could now raise a doubt in his Majesty even if mountains were to crumble to dust, or the heavens were to tear asunder.” This work “was kept secret, and was not published till the reign of Jahangir.” (Ain i Akbari, translated by Dr. Blochmann, p. 104, note.)

    ** Karakorum mountains, Western Tibet.

    *** According to the same tradition the now desolate regions of the waterless land of Tarim — a true wilderness in the heart of Turkestan — were in the days of old covered with flourishing and wealthy cities. At present, hardly a few verdant oases relieve its dead solitude. One such, sprung on the sepulchre of a vast city swallowed by and buried under the sandy soil of the desert, belongs to no one, but is often visited by Mongolians and Buddhists. The same tradition speaks of immense subterranean abodes, of large corridors filled with tiles and cylinders. It may be an idle rumour, and it may be an actual fact.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    SD Book i page xliii

    The “very old Book” is the original work from which the many volumes of Kiu-ti were compiled. Not only this latter and the Siphrah Dzeniouta but even the Sepher Jezirah,* the work attributed by the Hebrew Kabalists to their Patriarch Abraham (!), the book of Shu-king, China’s primitive Bible, the sacred volumes of the Egyptian Thoth-Hermes, the Purânas in India, and the Chaldean Book of Numbers and the Pentateuch itself, are all derived from that one small parent volume. Tradition says, that it was taken down in Senzar, the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of the Divine Beings, who dictated it to the sons of Light, in Central Asia, at the very beginning of the 5th (our) race; for there was a time when its language (the Sen-zar) was known to the Initiates of every nation, when the forefathers of the Toltec understood it as easily as the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, who inherited it, in their turn, from the sages of the 3rd Race, the Manushis, who learnt it direct from the Devas of the 2nd and 1st Races. The “illustration” spoken of in “Isis” relates to the evolution of these Races and of our 4th and 5th Race Humanity in the Vaivasvata Manvantara or “Round;” each Round being composed of the Yugas of the seven periods of Humanity; four of which are now passed in our life cycle, the middle point of the 5th being nearly reached. The illustration is symbolical, as every one can well understand, and covers the ground from the beginning. The old book, having described Cosmic Evolution and explained the origin of everything on earth, including physical man, after giving the true history of the races from the First down to the Fifth (our) race, goes no further. It stops short at the beginning of the Kali Yuga just 4989 years ago at the death of Krishna, the bright “Sun-god,” the once living hero and reformer.

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