Re:G.R.S. Mead & the editing of the 1893 edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE
Apr 10, 1998 06:15 PM
by Dr A M Bain
>Being secretary to HPB does not give him any
>particular credibility. After all HPB took in the Coulombs when they needed
>shelter. Why not similarly with Mead? He wanted to be her secretary and
>could she deny him that within occult law? Basically, he just wasn't up to
>it. The great difference between HPB and Mead is, that he was a scholar, but
>HPB was an Initiate. A chasm lies between the two.
>Mead it would seem was good at using his brain, played around with the dead
>letter, and never got air born. All he could think in terms of was altering
>the text and correcting, and in the process never saw the secret doctrine,
>or really had an understanding of what the MAHATMAS are. Otherwise how
>could he have made all those alterations?
I would argue that it gave him considerable credibility. I have a copy of
Mead's "Stray Thoughts on Theosophy" in which his admiration and
respect for HPB - many years after her death - remained undimished.
He defended her against the Hodgson Report, and the attacks of Max
She entrusted him with the task of opening and reading her mail (unseen
by her) . I quote a small extract from this writing by Mead (Concerning
H.P.B.) which I hope will dispel any question of Mead's not being in
sympathy with HPB and her work:
" ... she remains our sphinx, our mystery, our dearly loved Old Lady.
She was not a teacher in any ordinary sense, for she had no idea of
teaching in any orderly or systematic fashion; indeed she detested the
very idea of being considered a spiritual or ethical teacher, cried out
loudly against it, protested she was the least fitted of all to be called to
such an office. No, she was better than that, better than any formal
instructor, for she was as it were a natural fire at which to light up
enthusiam for the greater life of the world, a marvellous incentive to
make one grip on to the problems of self-knowing, a woderful inspirer
of longings for return, a true singer of the songs of home ...."
"But why do I, who am no hero worshipper, allow myself thus
enthusiastically to write of my "occult mother-in-law" as she
humorously called herself? I know not except that . . . my thoughts not
infrequently stray to her who set my feet upon the way, and that in
writing abut her I have revived some deeper feelings than I had intended
to arouse ..."
This is surely not the writing of a man who would wish to edit HPB's
work to her discredit? It was first published in The Theosophical
Review, vol XXXIV. April 15th, 1904 - some time after the revisions
which appeared in the third edition of the SD.
The entire article, with a modern introduction by R.A.Gilbert, has been
repoduced (1995) as a 24-page booklet, availble printed to order only,
alas, and so rather expensive. I will, if possible, attempt to extract the
basic text as a ASCII file and upload it to theos-talk, but it may take me
a while to do this.
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