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original versus Boris de Zirkoff editions of THE SECRET DOCTRINE

May 17, 2001 07:06 AM
by Eldon B Tucker


At 12:11 PM 5/17/01 +0100, you wrote:
Hi Frank,

You make some good points in your post to Tony.

If I understand Tony correctly, I think he is suggesting that the
photographs of the planets are simply about the exterior aspect of life, the
exoteric, which can have a way of taking our attention away from the
'inner', the esoteric.
The inner side would consist, I'd think, of mind inspired by spirit,
by buddhi-manas. That is thought with "something more". Anything that
inspires, uplifts, or evokes deeper reflection would qualify in that
sense. Anything that leads to intellectualism without the fire of
spirit is exoteric.

I'm not sure that someone attracted to THE SECRET DOCTRINE, feeling
an innate hunger for higher truths, would be misled by supplemental
pictures or footnotes. They'd feel themselves pulled to the materials
most suitable for their needs.

Any supplemental materials would be prone to getting out of
date and tend to seem odd by today's standards. This includes
the lengthy quotes and commentaries by Blavatsky on the misguided
science of her era. That material may be of interest from an
historical sense, but has nothing to do with timeless truths.

In reading THE SECRET DOCTRINE, we quickly become skilled at
skimming over the deadwood so that we can pick out the references
to timeless truths.

Tony seemed to be suggesting this is symbolic of the
alterations that get made to HPB's texts by scholars who change the
spelling, standardise the use of words, capitalisations, italics, even
change words, phrases & so on.
I'm not sure that you'll find an esoteric truth in an misspelled
Sanskrit word, something that may have resulted from an error
in handwriting, proofreading, or typesetting.

In the many passages quoted in the book, there were a large number
of errors. This was revealed by going back to the source materials
that were quoted. I don't see anything esoteric in misquoting and
prefer myself reading an edition of the book where the quotes were

That's all well and good from a purely
exoteric point of view but do people take into account what may have been in
HPB's mind from an esoteric and Occult point of view when she wrote what she
wrote? I think this is the general point Tony is making.
The errors corrected were of a purely superficial nature, errors
that detract from the accuracy and readability of the book. They
were not intentionally made by Blavatsky after careful deliberation.

The heart of the book can be reached by reading between the lines,
not by looking at how the lines are typeset. It can be found by
tying together various threads of thought from different parts of
the book -- like Dallas is good at -- rather than trying to find
significance in particular spelling errors.

The timeless truths in the book remain the same, regardless of
the edition that one prefers to read. I prefer an easier to read
and more accurate edition of the book, feeling comfortable that
the only changes were readily identifiable errors. Someone else,
perhaps fearing that the editing went beyond that and obscured
important ideas in the book, may prefer the original edition.

I can say that from my experience, in a study class that has gone
through the entire first volume, where most in the class are using
the original edition and I'm using Boris's edition, that I'm just
as comfortable with the newer edition as I was when the class started.
I've heard people reading from the original edition and followed
in my copy of the book, and haven't seen the materials and ideas
diverge, except when others were reading Blavatsky's quotes of
the books of others.

-- Eldon

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