[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

RE: Theos-World Pasadena Secret ES?

Mar 05, 1999 06:20 PM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck

Mar 5th

Dear Tony:

I am in full agreement with you on the subject of making
"changes."  Any change will alter something of the ORIGINAL.
Thereafter the "ripples" so caused will widen and deepen and may
"enlighten fools the way to dusty death."  I then wonder if
anyone would be so foolhardy as to risk the kind of Karma that
follows, as those so misled in future lives, will meet this
individual and sigh, and say "Why did you mislead me then ?"

Why should we assume that HPB or the proof-readers etc., made
gross errors either in spelling, punctuation or phoneticizing ?
We give room for contention and the picky critics who claim today
to have superior access to copies of treatises hitherto
unavailable or unknown - and therefore a superior knowledge.  And
why can they not find the Senzar or even the Sanskrit
translations ?  [ SD I 23 ]

I encounter now and then (and it drives me wild) statements like
HPB wrote in
"19th Century English", or "Victorian English."  It means
actually NOTHING.  Only that the self-appointed critics give
themselves an appearance of knowledge and wisdom they lack, and
one of the lacks is : humility.

While thy are busy rectifying what they conceive to be important
"Eye-doctrine" they are wasting time in not looking for the
"Heart-doctrine" that is hidden in there.  In other words HPB was
right when she wrote in SD I 521 (towards the bottom of the page)
"...he becomes more careful to avoid errors in spelling, than to
give attention to the secret meaning attached to the
personifications."  It is curious Karma to watch students who are
well qualified and anxious to learn theosophy getting
side-tracked in this cul-de-sac of literalism.  It is so easy to
adopt and fear the power of the peers in Academia.

Well let them play, and in the long run who will profit the most
?  The VOICE OF THE SILENCE (p. 28) also speaks of "the haughty
fool," perched in isolation on a tower on which he has climbed,
"unperceived by any but himself."  Actually he may make a lot of
advertising in the hope of being "recognized" and his
"scholarship" attract the respect he so much desires.

But does this help mankind on the whole or does it only please
himself ?  WE all share in some of these feelings and perhaps we
need to determine whether we are going to work for 'self' or for
'other selves."

Thanks and best wishes,



-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent:	Friday, March 05, 1999 4:06 PM
Subject:	RE: Theos-World Pasadena Secret ES?

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
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
when proof reading it against the original article in "The
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
where HPB says: "We are well aware that the name is generally
*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
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*
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
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
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
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
October 26, 1911 (also published by the Doves Press) entitled
Punctuation" writes of his observations when he undertook to
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
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

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
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
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

-- THEOSOPHY WORLD -- Theosophical Talk --

Letters to the Editor, and discussion of theosophical ideas and
teachings. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message consisting
"subscribe" or "unsubscribe" to

-- THEOSOPHY WORLD -- Theosophical Talk --

Letters to the Editor, and discussion of theosophical ideas and
teachings. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message consisting of
"subscribe" or "unsubscribe" to

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application