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HPB and the Secret Doctrine

Oct 19, 2000 08:00 AM
by Peter Merriott

I think we need to be very careful when putting forward the notion that the
teachings given out by the Masters were coloured by HPB's own views and
biases. This is a recipe for saying that when HPB challenges our own pet
theories that this must have been an occasion when she did not clearly write
down the thoughts of her Master. But of course, we will say she got the
Masters' words right when she agrees with what we want to believe.

Also the notion that the SD and it statements about the Absolute, the Logos
(Logoi) & so on reflect HPB's views and cultural background does not really
hold up when we consider how the Secret Doctrine was written and who were
the true authors. The following statements were made by the Mahatmas M and

In a letter to Dr. Hubbe-Schleiden, the Master M wrote:

"I the humble undersigned fakir, certify that the "Secret Doctrine" is
dictated to Upasika [HPB] partly by myself & partly by my Brother K.H."
(Letters of the Masters of Wisdom. Second Series: No 70)

In another letter the Master KH writes:

"...The Secret Doctrine, when ready, will be the triple production of M,
Upasika and the Doctor's most humble servant."
(Letters of the Masters of Wisdom. Second Series: No 69)

In a letter to Colonel Olcott, the Master KH writes:

"...Be assured that what she [HPB] has not annotated from scientific and
other works, we have given or SUGGESTED to her. EVERY MISTAKE OR ERRONEOUS
(Letters of the Masters of Wisdom, First Series: No 19. CAPS ADDED)

The last sentence in the above quote is worthy of reflection. The Countess
Wachmeister wrote that the Master KH appeared to correct HPB manuscipts in
many places. In the memoirs of her stay with HPB while she was writing the
Secret Doctrine, the Countess Wachmeister wrote:

"When I visited her in October, 1885, she had just begun to write it, and in
January, 1886, she had finished about a dozen chapters... I also saw her
write down sentences as if she were copying them form something before her,
where, however, I saw nothing... I know that I saw a good deal of the
well-known blue K.H. handwriting as corrections and annotations on her
manuscripts as well as in books that lay occasionally on her desk. And I
noticed this principally in the morning before she had commenced her work.
I slept on the couch in her study after she had withdrawn for the night, and
the couch stood only a few feet from her desk. I remember well my
astonishment one morning when I got up to find a great many pages of
foolscap covered with that blue pencil handwriting lying on her own
manuscript, at her place on the desk. How these pages got there I do not
know, but I did not see them before I went to sleep and no person had been
bodily in the room during the night, for I am a light sleeper."

HPB herself complained on occasion that just when she had laboured hours and
hours in getting down a passage for the SD one of the Masters would tell her
it was not quite correct, or she would find the following morning passages
had been struck through overnight with ink with the instruction to re-write

>From the above we can assume that what we find written in The Secret
Doctrine with regards the fundamental tenets of Theosophy and the Ancient
Wisdom religion provides an accurate reflection of what the Mahatmas wanted
HPB to write. Given the direct involvement of the two Masters in this
"triple production" of the SD it should give us cause to question why latter
statements attributed to the Masters by other people after HPB died are
often at complete odds with what they originally and so painstakingly wrote.

What it was the Masters wanted to convey in the Secret Doctrine can be
found, at least in part, in the following statement:

"...the records we mean to place before the reader embrace the esoteric
tenets of the whole world since the beginning of our humanity.."(SD I xx)

Thus what we find in the SD are not some little bits of knowledge relevant
to one hundred years ago but no longer relevant now, as some would like us
to believe. Nor is it simply an academic exercise of bringing various
fragments of information together. In fact in the introduction to the SD we
find it stated:

"This work is written for the instruction of students of Occultism..."(SD I


" must be remembered that all these Stanzas appeal to the inner
faculties rather than to the ordinary comprehension of the physical brain."
(SD I 21)


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