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Re: SD 3rd Edition

May 21, 1998 06:48 PM
by Dallas TenBroeck

May 21st '98

Dear Alan:

<any thanks for transmitting Gilbert, etc... opinion on the
"Third and Revised Edition" S D and the various comments, excuses
etc... offered.

I do not believe that Mead had a license from HPB to do as he
pleased with the SD'  I cal to view his action in the Judge case
as an example of being misled and taking a wrong turn.  -- but
that is of course my opinion.

Be it what it may, the 3rd & revised Edn. was not REVISED OR
AUTHORIZED BY HPB.  So she cannot be charged with either errors,
or difficulties of English.  I've studied it enough to know that
there are things said in the ORIGINAL which have been altered and
changed in the "3rd & revised"
and the meaning has been altered.  I am not happy with those

That was my whole thesis.            Dal.

> From: "Dr A M Bain" <>
> Date: Thursday, May 21, 1998 5:42 PM
> Subject: SD 3rd Edition

>W. Dallas TenBroeck <> writes
>>Historically this happened soon after HPB's death in 1891, when
>>in 1893 the "Third and Revised Edition of the S D" was issued
>>London. On proofing it with the original (1888) edition, over
>>40,000 unmarked alterations are to be detected.  No statement
>>made then that those changes had been made -- nor were they
>>marked.  And in some cases the whole meaning is changed from
>Not altogether true:
>>From the Preface to the first edition:
>"The writer ... is fully prepared to take all the responsibility
>what is contained in this work, and even to face the charge of
>invented the whole of it. That it has many shortcomings she is
>aware ..."
>London, October 1888.
>....*and* ....
>IN preparing this edition for the press, we have striven to
correct minor
>points of detail in literary form, without touching at all more
>matters.  Had H. P. Blavatsky lived to issue the new edition,
she would
>doubtless have corrected and enlarged it to a very considerable
>That this is not done is one of the many minor losses caused by
the one
>great loss.
>   Awkward phrases, due to imperfect knowledge of English, have
>corrected; most of the quotations have been verified, and exact
>references given - a work involving great labour, as the
references in the
>previous editions were often very loose; a uniform system of
>transliteration for Sanskrit words has been adopted.  Rejecting
the form
>most favoured by Western Orientalists as being misleading to the
>general reader - we have given to the consonants not present in
>English alphabet combinations that approximately express their
>values, and we have carefully inserted quantities, wherever they
>on the vowels.  In a few instances we have incorporated notes in
>text, but this has been very sparingly done, and only when they
>obviously formed part of it.
>   We have added a copious Index for the assistance of students,
>have bound it separately, so that reference to it may be
facilitated.  For
>the great labour in this we, and all students, are the debtors
of Mr. A. J.
G. R. S. MEAD.
>LONDON, 1893.
>G.R.S. Mead was, for a time, HPB's *personal private sectretary*
>the generosity of the inclusion of Annie Besant's name at the
foot of the
>above is a tribute to his nature, for Mead was the scholar, not
>only Mead had the ability to follow, let alone facilitate the
use of
>Sanskrit terms, and he had the greatest respect for the "Old
>R.A.Gilbert, respected TS historian tells us,
>"Mead also acted as H.P.B.'s private secretary and, although he
>young and unknown, she trusted him absolutely." [from a recent
>posted to theos-l]
>... and Mead himself stated:
>"She handed over to me the charge of all her keys, of her mss.,
>writing desk and the nests of drawers in which she kept her most
>private papers.  She further, "absolutely refused to be bothered
>with her letters, and made me take over her voluminous
>correspondence and that too without opening it first herself.
>She not only metaphorically, but sometimes actually, flung the
>offending missives at my head ! I accordingly had not only to
>read them but to answer them as best I could; for ... she would
>wax most wrathful and drive me out, whenever I pestered her to
>answer the most pressing correspondence or even to give me some
>idea of what to reply in her name." ["The Theosophical Review,
>XXXIV, April 15th, 1904].
>R.A.Gilbert again:
>"He [Mead] was now one of the Society's foremost members. He had
>officiated at H.P.B.'s funeral in May 1891 (she had died on May
7th, in
>the arms of Laura Cooper who would later become Mead's wife),
>impressing Theosophists and non-theosophists alike. W.S.  Ross
>(Saladin, of The Agnostic Journal) reported that Mead - "a young
>gentleman of refined features and much spirituelle of
expression" -
>"read an impressive address impressively" in a "silvery voice
[that] rose
>and fell in melancholy cadence."
>"The Theosophists, however, paid too little attention to Mead's
>"Much as we love and reverence our leader, our devotion to the
>must not rest on the transient basis of affection for a
personality, but on
>the solid foundation of a conviction that in Theosophy itself,
and in it
>alone, are to be found those eternal spiritual principles of
right thought,
>right speech and right action which are essential to the
progress and
>harmony of mankind."
>"It was to be the cult of personality that led to the most
damaging feuds
>within the society and that ultimately drove Mead from it."
>>Unfortunately it is this "3rd and Revised Edition" that the
>>T S continues to print, and from it most of the translations
>>foreign languages have been made.
>>So you can understand the value of the ULT work, when in 1925
>>Original 1888 Edition of the S D was photographically issued by
>>the ULT, and students could contrast it with the altered
>>of 1893.  Over the years, since then, the various "Theosophical
>>Publishing Houses" have been forced to reprint the Original
>>edition.  Accuracy has been restored and made available again
>>From R.A. Gilbert again:
>"...the long awaited third volume of The Secret Doctrine,
>largest and most ambitious work, appeared - to the delight of
>theosophists and the disapproval of Blavatsky fundamentalists.
>and Annie Besant had issued the revised Third Edition of The
>Doctrine in 1893, but Mead "refused to have anything to do
>whatever" with the third volume. He thought that the fragments
>of which it was composed were much inferior to the first two
>volumes, but did improve it by persuading Mrs. Besant to
>incorporate the Instructions of the Esoteric Section of the T.S.
>Revision of volumes I and II had been another matter; the text
>already existed and all that was needed was : "to correct minor
>points of detail in literary form, without touching at all more
>important matters," while "Awkward phrases, due to imperfect
>knowledge of English, have been corrected; most of the
>quotations have been verified, and exact references given ..."
>So ... what has been restored is the accuracy of the first
>(useful indeed for comparison) but not neccessarily the accuracy
of all
>of its contents.  There has surely been too much "polarization"
>opinion in these matters, and it was the *scholar* and private
>G.R.S.Mead. who performed to most valuable service for the third
>edition of the SD, whilst also expressing his unhappiness at the
>and content of the "third" volume so desired by Annie Besant,
>regarding which he attempted at least a damage limitation
>To his dying day, Mead defended HPB's detractors, and upheld her
>integrity.  Such a man, in his capacity as a scholar and editor,
>never have wilfully distorted HPB's work, which, by her own
>"... has many shortcomings." - shortcomings that the abilities
>in Mead by HPB herself enabled him to revise her main work to
>good effect.
>Alan Bain, 22nd May, 1998

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