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Theos-World Reed Carson's latest comments on the Theosophy Company's edition of the VOICE OF THE SILENCE

Apr 30, 2000 08:34 PM
by D.Caldwell/M.Graye

Dear Reed,

You have just written the following:

"In my mind the most important events this month were the
tumultuous and strongly felt discussions on BNstudy concerning
Judge and THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE. I might tell you that those
who had been criticizing Judge are now, as I understand it,
somewhat retracting their view as they now find confusion as to
what had in fact been done by Judge and Mead relative to changes
in that book. Those discussions were another factor in making me
accept Davis' offer on Annie Besant and start a history section.
The historical info will need to be available for those who want
it." quoted from latest BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE by Reed Carson

Reed, I see no reason to be confused concerning the Theosophy
Company's 1928 edition of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.

In a letter dated March 30, 1928 and signed by THE THEOSOPHY
COMPANY, the anonymous writer informed Dr. H.N. Stokes about
who had made the changes in this 1928 edition:

"The Theosophy Company is just bringing out an entirely new edition
of *The Voice of the Silence.* . . .. Sometime ago the Theosophy
Company came into possession of a copy of the original London
edition of *The Voice of the Silence* with the typographical changes
and corrections made by Mr. Judge in his own hand, and it is this
text which is followed in the edition just being issued by the Theosophy
Company. . . ."  [quoted in O.E. LIBRARY CRITIC, July 1928.]

In a follow-up letter dated May 1, 1928, THE THEOSOPHY COMPANY
again stated to Dr. Stokes the following:

"This new [TC 1928] edition  . . . is set up *verbatim et literatim* from a
of the original edition of *The Voice of the Silence* as corrected by Mr.
in his own handwriting.  This copy we have in our possession. . . ."
[quoted in O.E. LIBRARY CRITIC, July 1928.]

This should leave no one in confusion or doubt as to whom made the changes
in the edition of THE VOICE that the Theosophy Company has published and
sold for the last 72 years.

Now turning my attention to your remark about those who are
"criticizing Judge" for making changes in the VOICE.

One of my main points in what I wrote to BN Study was that in more than
a few cases, the changes made in this edition of the VOICE are more than
merely typographical.  I append at the end of this email a sample of these
changes.  You yourself had repeatedly stated that the changes were merely
typographical.  My appended email shows that this is simply not true.

Another of my points was that for some unknown reason the Theosophy
Company never indicated in the 1928 edition or in any subsequent
reprints that there were numerous changes and corrections made in this
edition that were not in Madame Blavatsky's original.  Hence, whole
generations of ULT students and other readers of this edition were
totally unaware that said edition was not verbatim with HPB's first
edition of 1889.

I believe it was the contention of Tony Maddock that the original 1889
of the VOICE has an occult code imbedded in the text.  To therefore make
changes would be to change (some might say "multilate") that occult code
placed there by HPB and her Teachers.  Reed, since even you believe that the
original edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE has an "occult code" imbedded
in it, and therefore, to change the text of that 1888 edition is to tamper
HPB's writings, I find it hard to understand why you have downplayed or
ignored Tony Maddock's study showing that if the SD has an occult code, then
surely the original VOICE also has one.

Another point that was brought up by both Tony Maddock and me was that
HPB took great pains to put certain words and phrases in italics or caps in
original edition of the VOICE.  In the 1928 edition of the VOICE, scores of
changes in italics and caps can be observed. Therefore, many serious
of HPB's writings have reasonably concluded that these changes marr what HPB
intentionally and consciously wanted to emphasize or convey to readers of
that work.

You have also repeatedly suggested in your emails to BN Study that HPB
off" the VOICE with the implication that she could have made careless
mistakes and therefore "corrections" and "changes" would be justified.
But I have shown several times that there is good evidence to show that
HPB's manuscript of the VOICE was carefully edited by her PRIOR to
the publication of the VOICE.

In at least two emails, Peter Merriott has questioned the need to make
a change concerning the phrase "thin oblong squares".  He wrote in part:

"HPB writes:

  "The original PRECEPTS are engraved on thin oblong squares"
  (Original edition, page vii, caps added where italics put in original)

"Unfortunately, in my view, the wording of this has been altered in the ULT
edition wherein the word "squares" has been removed thus rendering the

  "The original Precepts are engraved on thin oblongs.."  (ULT edition)

"In the Collected Writings of HPB we find an article by her wherein we
discover that she has used the term OBLONG SQUARES before.  So it is
somewhat puzzling why this phrase should have been altered (presumably
corrected?) in the ULT edition. . . . ."

"The words OBLONG SQUARE are italicised in the above article which suggests
HPB wished to draw our attention to its special significance. . . . ."

". . . . Clearly then, this is no mistake, no idle phrase or term that HPB
is using in the VOICE.  So again, one might ask why change it in the VOICE
OF THE SILENCE, why remove the word "squares" to leave the phrase "thin
oblongs"?  For to do so is to delete something very important in the text,
or so it seems to me. . . ."

". . . .Do we perhaps get a sense that this term OBLONG SQUARE is an
important one,
and should have remained untouched as HPB wrote it in her original VOICE OF
THE SILENCE? . . . "

Reed, for whatever reasons, you apparently have taken "umbrage" at some or
all of these
points and have suggested that those who have written and defended the use
HPB's original VOICE instead of using the 1928 edition were engaging in some
sort of anti-Judge campaign.  I believe that Tony, Peter and myself had no
intention of
engaging in an anti-Judge "anything."  We simply prefer to use HPB's
original as she saw
fit to write and publish it.  I would consider this pro-Blavatsky.
Personally I would like
to read and study HPB's writings as she wrote them with no one intervening
her and me.  Changes may be made with the best of intentions, but can change
the meaning,
etc. that Madame Blavatsky was originally attempting to convey.

I hope this may clear up some of the continuing confusion on this important
And I would suggest that maybe some of this material as well as other
material should be put in the BN "history section" that you speak of in your
BN Update.




by Daniel H. Caldwell

In 1928, The Theosophy Company of LA
issued the following edition of the Voice:

Author:        Blavatsky, H. P. (Helena Petrovna),
Title:         The voice of the silence. . . /
translated and annotated by H.P.B.
Published:     Los Angeles : Theosophy Co.,
Description:   iv, 110 p. : port. ; 15 cm.

Unfortunately, there are numerous changes
between the original 1889 edition of HPB's THE
VOICE and the Theosophy Company's edition.

In 1928 in the O.E. LIBRARY CRITIC,
Dr. H.N. Stokes commented on these changes
in the Theosophy Company's edition of the VOICE.
He wrote:

"There are 665 points of differences, of one sort
or another, viz.

In the preface. . . . . . . . 34
In the text. . . . . . .  . .  274
In the notes. . . . . . . . .357

"These. . . consist of changes in punctuation, italics,
quotation marks, capitals, spelling of Sanskrit words,
omission of the important diacritical marks over the vowels,
and OTHERS.  This averages one change to every three or
four lines."  Caps added.

When compared to the original 1889 edition, one also finds
that many of HPB's words have been deleted or modified and
even new words have been added in this edition published by
the Theosophy Company.

Below are examples of some of these changes. Asterisks
indicate italics.

On page vii of the original Preface, HPB wrote:

"The original *Precepts* are engraved on thin
oblong squares; copies very often on discs."

The Theosophy Company's edition reads (p. ii):

"The original *Precepts* are engraved on thin
oblongs; copies very often on discs."

Notice the deletion of the word "squares." Also the
editorial change of "oblong" into "oblongs."

On p. 73 of the original VOICE, HPB wrote:

>  The "great Master" is the term used by *lanoos* or
>   chelas to indicate one's "Higher Self."

The Theosophy Company's edition reads (p. 3):

>  The "great Master" is the term used by
>  Lanoos or Chelas to indicate the HIGHER SELF.

As one can see, there are several changes in this one sentence
including deleting a word and adding another.

Again, HPB in the original wrote on pp. 74-75:

>  It stands generally for the 100 years or "age" of Brahma, the
>  duration of a Kalpa or a period of 4,320,000,000 years.

The Theosophy Company's edition reads (p. 5):

>  It stands generally for the 100 years or "age" of Brahma, the
>  duration of a Maha-Kalpa or a period of
>  311,040,000,000,000 years.

The Theosophy Company's edition has apparently "corrected"
and "improved" HPB's original.

Again, the 1889 edition, p. 78:

>  These mystic sounds or the melody heard by the ascetic . . . .

The TC edition changes this to (p. 19):

>  The mystic sounds, or the melody, heard by the ascetic . . . .

"These" has been changed to "The"

Is this an "improvement"?  Is this a "correction"?

Again, the original VOICE, p. 87:

>  *Upadya* is a spiritual perceptor, a Guru.

The TC editions reads (p. 49):

>  *Upadhyaya* is a spiritual preceptor, a Guru.

Is this another "correction" of HPB's Sanskrit scholarship?

Once, again, the original VOICE reads on p. 82:

>  Bodhidharma called them in China---from whence
>  the names reached Tibet---the *Tsung-men* (esoteric)
>  and  *Kiau-men* (exoteric school).

The TC edition changes this passage to read:  (p. 25)

>  The *Bodhidharma*, Wisdom Religion in China---
>  whence the names reached Tibet---called them the
>  *Tsung-men* (Esoteric) and *Kiau-men* (Exoteric
>  school).

On pp. x-xi of the original, one finds the following:

>  . . . (*Bhagavatgita II*. 70). . . .

>  . . . (*Bhagavatgita II*. 27). . . .

The TC edition (p. iv) changes the spelling of this Hindu text and
deletes the numbers "70" and "27".

Are these more editorial "corrections"?

The above examples document that some of HPB's own words
have been changed as well as deleted.  Are these "improvements"
and/or "corrections"?  These changes certainly indicate that the
TC version has been "edited."

Also the spelling of many Sanskrit words has been
changed in the TC edition when compared with
the original 1889 edition of the VOICE.

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