Here are some passages drawn out from these last few pages for your consideration:

...the SECRET DOCTRINE is not a treatise, or a series of vague theories, but contains all that can be given out to the world in this century.

How is this to be done? What is the best way for achieving such an object? was the ever-recurring question. To make our plan clearer, an illustration may be attempted. When a tourist coming from a well-explored country, suddenly reaches the borderland of a terra incognita, hedged in, and shut out from view by a formidable barrier of impassable rocks, he may still refuse to acknowledge himself baffled in his exploratory plans. Ingress beyond is forbidden. But, if he cannot visit the mysterious region personally, he may still find a means of examining it from as short a distance as can be arrived at. Helped by his knowledge of landscapes left behind him, he can get a general and pretty correct idea of the transmural view, if he will only climb to the loftiest summit of the altitudes in front of him. Once there, he can gaze at it, at his leisure, comparing that which he dimly perceives with that which he has just left below, now that he is, thanks to his efforts, beyond the line of the mists and the cloud-capped cliffs.

Wise is he who holds to the golden mid-point, who believes in the eternal justice of things.

In other words—“THERE IS NO RELIGION (OR LAW) HIGHER THAN TRUTH”—“SATYÂT NÂSTI PARO DHARMAH”—the motto of the Maharajah of Benares, adopted by the Theosophical Society.

The public must be made acquainted with the efforts of many World-adepts, of initiated poets, writers, and classics of every age, to preserve in the records of Humanity the Knowledge of the existence, at least, of such a philosophy, if not actually of its tenets.

But to the public in general and the readers of the “Secret Doctrine” I may repeat what I have stated all along, and which I now clothe in the words of Montaigne: Gentlemen, “I HAVE HERE MADE ONLY A NOSEGAY OF CULLED FLOWERS, AND HAVE BROUGHT NOTHING OF MY OWN BUT THE STRING THAT TIES THEM.”

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.

Your thoughts, comments and questions please:

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Outside of the above (or perhaps not), I for one found that the SD was a delight to the psyche (as it were) by virtue of its very existence.


Please explain further.


What I am trying to do is throw another angle in here relating to the above in that I found personally that the 'nosegay of culled flowers' is so much more than is intimated at by that statement so much so that, if I can put it this way, the aroma of those flowers was for me indicative of genuine knowledge that can expand the consciousness in and of itself, something that further (to me) indicates the validity both of HPB and Theosophy itself.


Well said. I agree entirely.


A nosegay of flowers sounds pretty modest, I think - just the stanzas themselves are a something of a revelation - I don't think that the SD is a clever assemblage of world mythology or traditional cosmogonic and anthropogonic narratives like the Vishnu Purana, Plato's Timaeus, the Zohar, the works of Robert Fludd, the Pistis Sophia, the Book of Enoch, etc... One could theoretically arrive at a scheme like the  stanzas of Dzyan by doing a massive comparing study of the various available texts and works, but one would have to be a near genius to  arrive at the precision and detail of the SD and to be able to present them in a modern prose language. The interpretative difficulties would be enormous...

Moreover, if one considers that the stanzas and the thousands of references are flowers, and that the remaining parts would be the nosegay, it seems to me that those commentary aspects that can't be linked to other sources are some of the most incisive aspects of the work that help clarify not only the ancients text referred to, but potentially many others as well...


Yep. From my perspective, it's not so much about the references she uses, but what she does with them. And what she's done is absolutely amazing (to me).

Building on the nosegay analogy: anyone can walk into a forest and pick plants and wrap them together. But not everyone knows which plants to pick, how to find just the right flowers to compliment one another, and how to arrange them into a beautiful bouquet. There's a reason why florists are a distinct trade and that one must train in order to be a good florist. It takes skill and knowledge.

I'm always astounded with the SD for this reason: it's an absolute masterpiece in my opinion. Not sure I can even imagine or fathom the kind of genius it takes to do what they/she did.


HPB is indeed a wise soul.


HPB shows the age old graces of pointing to those who have come before to deflect worship or over admiration of herself.  In so doing she reveals herself having the soul etiquette of an Initiate herself.


Some sage words from our friend B.P. Wadia:

The active centre of consciousness in this age is Kama-Manasic. It is built up of experiences which fluctuate between the pairs of opposites — cold and heat, pleasure and pain, fame and ignominy. The knowledge which such experience yields is relative, therefore unstable. It is very necessary that each student meditate for a while on his own “knowledge, experience, and consciousness,” for thus will he protect himself by noting in advance his proclivities and tendencies. The Secret Doctrine is altogether sui generis. It is necessary therefore for the student to refrain from arguing that the statements made by H.P.B. are not in accordance with what other people have said or written, or with his own ideas upon the subject, or that, again, they are apparently contrary to any accepted system of thought or philosophy. The student must endeavour as much as possible to free his mind while studying from all ideas which he may have derived by heredity, from education, from surroundings, or from other “authorities.” His mind should be made perfectly free from all other thoughts so that the true interpretation of the statements of The Secret Doctrine is arrived at. Otherwise there is a constant risk of his ideas becoming as coloured with preconceived notions as those of so many early students of H.P.B. who have made the occult tenets subservient to modern science or have degraded them by pulling them down to the level of religious creeds.


Another thought occurs..

It's been said that the SD is designed to stimulate and release (so to speak) the intuitive capabilities of the reader.  If so, then the idea presented here that "(one's) mind should be made perfectly free.." takes on a more particular meaning - that is - to free it from ordinary ways of thinking (ie. reliance on memory, thought, or other more linear ways of mind).  With such freedom, the higher faculties of mind, including intuition, might thus have a chance to develop. 

Thanks for posting this.

The idea that: "(one's) mind should be made perfectly free from all other thoughts so that the true interpretation of the statements of The Secret Doctrine is arrived at." .. is one which I think is so important to consider deeply, perhaps even the most important one, if we truly want to understand the SD or any theosophical idea (and does it stop there?).

The SD challenges our pre-conceptions of the world and of ourselves. By parking our pre-conceptions at the curb, I suppose we might get a better view of what is being presented here.

"The public must be made acquainted with the efforts of many World-adepts, of initiated poets, writers, and classics of every age, to preserve in the records of Humanity the Knowledge of the existence, at least, of such a philosophy, if not actually of its tenets."

This was HPB's original plan when writing The Secret Doctrine, to acquaint readers with these before going on the stanzas themselves. Upon the advice of the Keightleys, she moved this material from the first volume to the third, and this was not published until after her death. So, for some people at least, it is helpful to read this material first.

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Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on September 22, 2013 at 12:33pm

Moderator's Note: David's post above yielded an interesting and ongoing discussion, which is more suitable in the Secret Doctrine Notes discussion. The responses have thus been moved there and discussion continues. Here's the link for any interested:

Permalink Reply by Casady on October 6, 2013 at 8:39am

The intro being so full of mysterious hints, allusions, and revelations, I thought it would be good to compile an informal listing:

1- The Wisdom-Religion is the inheritance of all nations. (18)

2- A Hungarian, Egyptian, and a Hindu initiate taught Olcott and two Europeans in America. (19)

3-The Saptaparna Cave  was a Buddhist place of initiation.(20)

4- Sakyamuni's esoteric teachings were the same as esoteric Hindu teachings. (21)

5- The SD is a reaction to a wave of sexual symbolic religious studies. (22)

6- The Book of Dzyan is unknown to Europeans. (22)

7- "The members of several esoteric schools — the seat of which is beyond the Himalayas, and whose ramifications may be found in China, Japan, India, Tibet, and even in Syria, besides South America — claim to have in their possession the sum total of sacred and philosophical works in MSS. and type: all the works, in fact, that have ever been written, in whatever language or characters, since the art of writing began; from the ideographic hieroglyphs down to the alphabet of Cadmus and the Devanagari." (23)

8- With the destruction of the Alexandrian library, adepts have gathered, preserved and hidden away esoteric works, this occurring in India during the time of Akbar. (24)

9- There exist several underground hidden libraries in Tibet.

10- There are lost ruins of ancient cities in Central Asia (Tarim Basin). (24, 32)

11- There are many references to lost texts in Asian literature that may not be really lost, such as the 930 works of Lao-Tsu, commentaries on the Brahmanas, and 76 000 Buddhist tracts (25-28)

12- All the world's religions stem from a primeval revelation.(30)

13- Dayanand Sarasvati knows of a secret gupta cave that contains esoteric texts (Okhee Math) . (30)

14- The remains of a hundred extinct nations can be found near the oasis of Cherchen.(33)

15- The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. (34)

16- J.W. Keely has discovered a powerful force akin to Bulwer-Lytton's Vril. (35)

17- The septenary esoteric division of principles contains potential for discovering powerful natural forces, especially with the higher planes. (35)

18- The St-Petersburg imperial library contains documents retrieved by Russian Masonic mystics  from Tibet.  (36)

19- These primordial tenets are given out for the first time, although initiates such as Ragon have given out partial fragments. (36)

20- " For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that theSecret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined; and finally, that its teachings antedate the Vedas". (37)

21- "But it will take centuries before much more is given from it." (38)

22- " In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found." (38)

23- There exist an old book written in Senzar, an universal language, dictated by divine beings at the beginning of the 5th race. (43)

24- There is a book, about 5000 years old, which consist of prophecies during the age of Kali Yuga. Volume two is nearly ready, being in preparation since the time of Sankara. (44)

25- "This period, beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at the one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the aeons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism." (45)




Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on October 6, 2013 at 5:53pm

This is wonderful Casady! Thank you.