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Theos-World Response to Leon followed by Peter's original posting on "Thin Oblong Squares".

May 02, 2000 04:50 PM
by Peter Merriott

Dear Leon,

With regards H.P.B's use of the term "oblong squares" in the original
edition of "The Voice of the Silence" and its deletion in the Theosophy
Company/ ULT edition, you wrote:

> The word "oblong square" is a meaningless term, perhaps
> even an oxymoronic one, that Judge, as both an occultist
> who was greatly trusted by HPB, as well as an accomplished
> writer, editor and scholar, recognized as a mathematically
> (as well as a scientifically) incredible term.
> there can be no such thing as an "oblong square."
> So, Judge was perfectly justified in editing out the offending
> words and substituting what was really meant.

First of all, Leon, putting aside who may have the edited out this term, I
disagree with you that the term "Thin Oblong Squares" is a meaningless term,
and I believe HPB also disagrees with you, as I will show in my original
posting on this subject that follows.  It may APPEAR a meaningless oxymoron
to someone looking at it from a purely linear and physical plane point of
view.  But, HPB uses the term purposefully as one containing OCCULT
significance.  It has to do with matters of 'the HEART', and not of the

It is all very well for you to say the Judge was an Occultist greatly
trusted by HPB and so on, I agree with you.  Can you also accept that HPB
was an Occultist, "an accomplished writer, editor and scholar", as well as
being Judge's senior and Teacher in Occult matters and greatly trusted by
the Masters.  Where does this kind of reasoning lead us?

Importantly, if being an Occultist is the bases for knowing whether what is
written is valid from an Occult point of view,  can you also accept that as
an Occultist HPB might just have known what it was she intended when writing
about the Golden Precepts, that:

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

It was at her Master's request that HPB wrote the Voice of the Silence.
Writing to the members of the Esoteric Section, she stated:

"Read 'the VOICE', I say.  It was written for, and dedicated to you, by

(Collected Writings Vol XII, p505, caps added at end of sentence)

I think that last phrase is worth reflecting upon by those who would like to
justify the altering of HPB's words by making out that HPB quickly "dashed
off" THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE and thereby  made careless mistakes. Can
anyone who has studied HPB's life and work seriously suggest she would "dash
off" such a work and leave careless mistakes when she was given the task by

As a 'by the way', it is not clear to me that Judge did carry out all the
alterations to THE VOICE.  For prior to Judge's 1893 edition, there was a
London edition published in 1892, after HPB had died, and probably done by
G.R. Mead.   This earlier edition contains all the alterations that Daniel
mentioned in his recent post.  Perhaps Judge did not realise that changes
had been made to it when it passed through his hands - who knows.  But I
wonder, will you and ceertain others still be happy with the alterations
made to THE VOICE if it turns out to be altered by Mead and possibly Besant
rather than by Judge?

For me the simpler and truer course is to stick with the original edition
and study it as HPB wrote it.  While the Theosophy Company has yet to
republish HPB's original edition of THE VOICE, it is with the afore
mentioned thought in mind that I feel grateful to the Theosophy Company for
its sterling work over many many years in publishing and spreading the
original teachings of HPB around the world.

My primary interest is NOT in *who* altered The Voice of the Silence after
HPB died.  For me this is a complete distraction from the real issue.   My
sole aim is to study and validate those teachings given out by the Masters
and the Occult Brotherhodd through HPB, the latter being Their "direct
agent", as claimed by Them.  I can only do that when I study what she
ACTUALLY wrote and not by reading what other people BELIEVE SHE SHOULD HAVE
SAID and thereby changed her words, after she died.

Leon, you also stated:

> I also cannot see how any such materially descriptive word,
> correct or incorrect, has any reference to theosophy, its
> truths, or its recommended yoga practices, esoteric or not.
> I hope we can all get back to discussing... "theosophy"

The post in question, where I share my own view on this term "thing oblong
squares", along with other matters, will follow in my next mail.  It was,
and is, offered as a sincere attempt to show that HPB had very good
THEOSOPHICAL and OCCULT reasons for using that term.  Whether or not you and
others agree with what I present therein it is nontheless offered as an
attempt to study Theosophy, which seems to be our joint desire.

I request it be treated as such, no more and no less.


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