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RE: Theos-World Pasadena Secret ES?

Mar 05, 1999 04:06 PM
by alpha

Dear Dallas

You write:
>I tend to be very cautious about those who
>refrain from giving SOURCES.  They may be right or wrong, but I
>have to see corroboration.
>As to the preservation of the "Original Writings."  There is no
>question but the issuing of COLLECTED WORKS, BLAVATSKY  is most
>valuable.  Boris de Zircov and those who assisted him did a
>magnificent job.  TPH ought to be commended for that. The only
>problem with that work is its high price.  The average student
>cannot afford the set.

The high cash price isn't the only problem for the student.
(BTW, as you know, it is "The Collected Writings" edited by Boris de
Zirkoff, and 
the more accurate to the originals "Complete Works" (4 vol.only) edited by
Trevor Barker.) 

To take one example (all sources given): 
"Reincarnations in Tibet"(Theosophist, vol. III, 1882, pp. 146-148), in "The
Collected Writings" version (vol. IV, pp. 8-19) has over 100 alterations
when proof reading it against the original article in "The Theosophist."
On a quick comparison of the original with "The Theosophy Company" edition
(in "Tibetan Teachings"), these alterations have not taken place.
This can be a problem for some students.

Most of the alterations are to the proper names, just in the very article
where HPB says: "We are well aware that the name is generally written
*Pugdal,* but it is erroneous to do so.  "Pugdal" means nothing, and the
Tibetans do not give meaningless names to their sacred buildings ... but, as
in the case of *Pho-ta-la* of Lha-ssa loosely spelt "Potala" --the lamasery
of Phag-dal derives its name from Phag pa (phag - eminent in holiness,
Buddha-like, spiritual; and *pha-man,* father), the title of
"Awalokiteswara," the Boddhisattwa who incarnates himself in the Dalai Lama
of Lha-ssa.  The valley of the Ganges where Buddha preached and lived, is
also called "Phag-yul," the holy, spiritual land; the word *phag* coming
from the one root - Pha or Pho being the corruption of Fo--(or Buddha) as
the Tibetan alphabet contains no letter F." (This is from the original
article, and does not contain the alterations which are made in the "The
Collected Writings" version - the accents are not included.)

It is appreciated some prefer the alterations for reasons of scholarship,
wanting to be seen as being respectable, etc.  From the point of view of
"eminent in holiness, Buddha-like, spiritual ...the holy, spiritual land,"
the 100 odd alterations made in this particular article are very *physical.*
Some of us prefer to read the article as HPB (with her *spiritual* insight)
wrote it.

T.J. Cobden-Sanderson in a letter addressed to the Editor of "The Times"
October 26, 1911 (also published by the Doves Press) entitled "Shakespearian
Punctuation" writes of his observations when he undertook to reprint
Shakespeare's Sonnets (1609 edition), and had decided to revise what had
superficially seemed to him to be its arbitary and haphazard punctuation in
the original: "but as I proceeded I found two other & more important things,
first, that slowly, like the coming on of night, I was changing the whole
aspect of the Sonnets, and, secondly, that the original punctuation had a
method in its seeming madness, though its method was not the method of
to-day; that, in fact, it was based, not on logical or grammatical
structure, but on emphasis and literary gesture."   
The letter ends with two quotations from "Shakespearian Punctuation" by
Percy Simpson: 
"Modern punctuation is, or at any rate attempts to be logical; the earlier
system was mainly rhythmical."
"Modern punctuation is uniform; the old punctuation was quite the reverse."

It is not difficult to see how (by analogy) the above can be applied to the
writings of H.P. Blavatsky.
The spellings in "Reincarnations in Tibet" could be said to be "mainly
rhythmical" (by analogy), in at least one case they are not uniform, and in
HPBs writings generally, it can be said that the spellings are not uniform.

In the altered version they are made uniform, and attempts are made to make
it logical, by the soulless dead-letter approach, which doesn't take into
account the subtler (more spiritual) elements. That denies the modern reader
words like Lha-ssa, because it can now only be seen as the capital of Tibet
(Lhasa) a geographical location. (By analogy, like Pugdal and Phag-dal
referred to above.)  Are we to change her writings to keep scholars and
"serious" "Buddhists," etc. happy, so that her writings become acceptable in
certain so called erudite circles?  So that she might be taken seriously and
accepted and not seen as a charlatan by the blind?
If she had cared about this kind of trivia, she would hardly have called her
magazine "Lucifer" at the end of the last century.
As you wrote in another mail, or words to this effect, the least we can do
is to pass HPBs original writings on for future generations.

We really should not, as Theosophists, compromise H.P.B.

The above is written in case you are not fully aware of this kind of thing
in "The Collected Writings?"

Best wishes

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