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Theos-World RE: [bn-study] how the SD was written == H.P.B.'s CITATIONS

Nov 20, 1999 11:25 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck

Nov 19th 1999

Dear Reed:

In October 1940, when I was living in Bombay, I met Dr. Thaddeus
P. Hyatt of Stamford, Connecticut.  He was an old-time student of
Theosophy and a friend of Mr. Judge.

Together with his associate Dr. Franklin N. Davenport these two
gentlemen set themselves to trace and verify the many citations
that HPB gives in the 2 volumes of THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

He had just published when he passed through Bombay, India, the
first of a 2 volume set titled:

TO IN THE TWO VOLUMES OF "The Secret Doctrine."

The 2nd volume was to complete this list and also include some of
those citations that related to the two volumes of ISIS UNVEILED,
also by Mme. Blavatsky.

Dr. Hyatt used 93 subject classifications and a separate
alphabetical listing of authors and book titles made it easy to
locate any reference.  The relevant pages(s) of the original 1888
edition of the SD were also given there.

In his Introduction to the 1st volume he has published, Dr. Hyatt

"It is difficult to appreciate the wealth of material quoted and
the diversity of subjects included, when they are scattered
throughout the thousands of pages in the two volumes.  It is
hoped that this check list ...will make manifest one of the most
remarkable features of the "The Secret Doctrine."

He adds:

"[so that]... many may gain a better understanding or the
inclusiveness of all the different aspects of each subject
presented, and that the "Secret Doctrine" is not the dogmatic
presentation of any one religion or any one philosophy, or of any
one science.

I might be well to recall that which Mr. Judge, who was present
and a frequent visitor to HPB when ISIS UNVEILED was being
written wrote :[in THE ESOTERIC SHE, New York SUN Sept. 26th 1892
ULT Judge Articles, vol. 2, p. 32...]

"I and many others can testify as eye-witnesses to the production
of the book, that the writer had no library in which to make
researches and possessed no notes of investigation or reading
previously done.  All was written straight out of hand.   And yet
it is full of references to books in the British Museum and other
great libraries, and every reference is correct.  Either then, we
have, as to that book, a woman who was capable of storing in her
memory a mass of facts, dates, numbers, titles and subjects such
as no other human being every was capable of, or her claim to
help from unseen sources is just."

Writing to Mr. Sinnett from Wurzburg in 1886, HPB said:

As for philosophy and doctrine invented the S.D. shall show.  Now
I am here alone with the Countess [Wachmeister] for witness.  I
have no books no one to help me.  And I tell you that the SECRET
DOCTRINE will be 20 times as learned, philosophical and better
than ISIS."

Dr Hyatt's book is available at Theosophical and other large
reference libraries and will help to prove  to the skeptical
HPB's bona fides.  His book is a valuable service to the cause of

[ Extracted from an article in the monthly magazine  THE
THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Bombay for December 1940, p 23. ]

Dallas TenBroeck.


-----Original Message-----
From: Reed Carson []
Sent: Friday, November 19, 1999 7:30 AM
Subject: [bn-study] how the SD was written

The issue of how the Secret Doctrine was written has come up.

Steve has put forward some comments that I think are quite wrong,
contrary to the facts, and misleading to newcommers. I don't feel
repeating the slanders. His basis is the writings of William
Coleman of the
last century.  You should know that Coleman was a "leading
spiritualist" of
that time.  HPB did indeed rankle and offend not only the Church,
established science, but also "leading spiritualists" of that
time.  They
were at times motivated to discredit her and in some cases their
survive and are repeated today.  A succinct rebuttal of Coleman
is contained
in Sylvia Cranstons biography of HPB on pages 379-384.  On the BN
site there
is a click on the bottom of the homepage for "refutation".  I
don't like to take the defensive posture so by far most of the
site is
positive not defensive.  Nevertheless, a number of slurs by
authors of newer
books are dealt with.  Though Coleman has been now resurrected,
and on this
site, possibly I should place those pages of Cranston on the
site.  I will
have to address that question later along with the copyright
Meanwhile I suggest anyone interested read those pages in that
book. It is
the definitive biography of HPB with a heavy emphasis on

Of the material I have read on this subject I highly recommend
"How the
Secret Doctrine was Written" by Boris De Zirkoff.  Unfortunately
I could not
find this online. If anyone knows where please let us know.  As a
result of
this discussion, BN is getting it into the bookstore so more can
read it.
Again I highly recommend it.  A serious student of Theosophy at
some point
in their study should read it.

One of the things it points out is that HPB had about 30 books in
her room
while writing the Secret Doctrine.  She references or quotes from
some 700
books in the SD.  Phenomenal.  How did she do it?  Was it through
the normal
academic means of producing a book?

You might want to check the article on this site at:

by William Q. Judge entitled: AUTHORSHIP OF SECRET DOCTRINE

In part it references the Coleman issue:

A good deal has been said about the writing of Isis Unveiled, and
later of
the Secret Doctrine, both by H. P. Blavatsky. A writer in the
journals took great pains to show how many books the first work
seems to
quote from, and the conclusion to be arrived at after reading his
is that H.P.B. had an enormous library at her disposal, and of
course in her
house, for she never went out, or that she had agents at great
copying books, or, lastly, that by some process or power not
known to the
world was able to read books at a distance, as, for instance, in
the Vatican
at Rome and the British Museum. The last is the fact. She lived
in a small
flat when writing the first book and had very few works on hand,
all she had
being of the ordinary common sort. She herself very often told
how she
gained her information as to modern books. No secret was made of
it, for
those who were with her saw day after day that she could gaze
with ease into
the astral light and glean whatever she wanted. But in the early
days she
did not say precisely to the public that she was in fact helped
in that work
by the Masters, who gave from time to time certain facts she
could not get
otherwise. The Secret Doctrine, however, makes no disguise of the
real help,
and she asserts, as also many of us believe, that the Masters had
a hand in
that great production. The letters sent to Mr. Sinnett formed the
ground for
Esoteric Buddhism, as was intended, but as time went on it was
seen that
some more of the veil had to be lifted and certain misconceptions
up; hence the Secret Doctrine was written, and mostly by the
themselves, except that she did the arranging of it.
You may also want to check:
entitled: A Word on the secret Doctrine.

This is an article that shows the text of KH,  one of the masters
of HPB,
and signed by him in the original.  He explains that the Secret
Doctrine is
the result of the combined work of HPB plus her two teachers.  (I
think I am
missing here one other letter from the masters saying effectly
the same.)


How "Isis Unveiled" Was Written.
By Alexander Wilder, M. D. and at:

Wilder was an academic individual. He was asked by the publisher
of Isis
Unveiled to edit it.  He took his task in earnest.  The article
is quite
interesting and he says in part:

I would hesitate, likewise, to be considered in any noteworthy
sense as an
editor of the work. It is true that after Mr. Bouton had agreed
to become
the publisher, I was asked to read the proof sheets and make sure
that the
Hebrew words and terms belonging to other languages were
correctly given by
the printer, but I added nothing, and do not remember that I
ventured to
control anything that was contributed to the work. Without her
knowledge and
approval, such action would have been reprehensible.


Also online is The writing of the Secret Doctrine by Kirby Van
Mater at:

Here is an interesting quote from it:

Even on the open sea, she received "pages of manuscript referring
to The
Secret Doctrine." (5) She stayed about three months in Italy, at
Torre del
Greco and Rome, and later in Switzerland, finally settling at
Germany in early August. On October 28, 1885, HPB wrote Olcott
that she had
"not much time now . . . but shall in a month or two send you the
first six
sections." (ODL, III:3I7).

Also a letter from the masters:

"But we employ agents - the best available. Of these, for the
last thirty
years, the chief has been the personality known as H.P.B. to the
world (but
otherwise to us). Imperfect and very "troublesome" no doubt she
proves to
some; nevertheless there is no likelihood of our finding a better
one for
years to come, and your Theosophists should be made to understand
it. . . . "


Compiler:  Just wanted to say I am in sympathy with you.  Of
course showing
that HPB was right is a major task. However it was one of the
major motives
in the formation of this site.  It was the motive for many of the
writings here.  As it happened, and understandably, there was a
need to make
the site more available and useful to many more people.  So I
have stopped
writing articles on photons, quantum physics and the like.
(These are under
the click "Evidence confirming Theosophy".) Hopefully over time
we will
write many more such articles and offer other forms of
vindication.  The
section "confirmations of theosophy" has other ways of looking at
this.  One
interesting click is on "In the light of Theosophy" - a section
current developments in science and the world from the monthly
magazine The
Theosophical Movement - published in Bombay.

Ram:  Thanks for your letter.  I appreciate where you are coming
from.  I
thought you might be interested in the above.  Also note that HPB
specifically against mediumship even though she often used
occultism in the
production of her books.  (Mediumship is too passive and she was
alert and
in control at all times.)  To be clear, in some cases the pages
of text for
the book appeared by occultism the next morning upon her work
desk.  The
words of the masters directly.  Hope to hear from you (and
others) again.


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