RE: Theos-World: SD original versus Boris de Zirkoff edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE
May 21, 2001 06:59 AM
by Eldon B Tucker
Yes, it looks like a correction to the text, rather than
a spelling correction or a correction of inaccurate quotes.
We see "subhava" defined as being composed of two words,
"su" and "bhava". The extra third word, "sva," is not part
of that definition.
In this passage, there is no second guessing of some
deeply esoteric truth, with the potential loss of actual
meaning if the guess is incorrect. The meaning is fairly
plain and obvious. The change seems of benefit to the
reader, since it represents one less bit of extraneous
noise to deal with.
The purpose of the book is to facilitate the transfer
of knowledge, and on a deeper level to put the student
in touch with teachings that are not subject to being
captured in specific, concrete words.
It's important to keep the best interests of the
theosophical student in mind when presenting these
In balance, I still the many improvements -- including
spelling corrections, corrections to quotations,
typographical changes making quotes stand apart from
the body text, etc. -- make the book much more suitable
for study by all but the most exacting scholar, more
interested in the history of the book than what is
being said in it.
If a careful review of changes reveals an error, it
would be the same as if other errors are found in the
text. They can be corrected in a future edition of
the book, which makes it still better than earlier
The real issue, as I see it, with the Boris edition
of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, concerns its copyright.
The original edition of the book is in the public
domain, and can be freely distributed in print
and electronic form. The de Zirkoff edition is
copyrighted by the Theosophical Publishing House,
and permission needs to be obtained, and possible
royalties paid, for reprinting passages from it.
Although it may be the best edition for theosophical
students, because it cannot be freely distributed,
it's still preferable to cite the original edition.
This will remain so until or unless the Theosophical
Publishing House might chose to put the book in
the public domain.
At 12:21 PM 5/21/01 +0100, you wrote:
A friend was having a look at the de Zirkoff edition, and the book fell open
at page 61 (vol. I):
"Subhava, from which Svabhavat, is composed of two words: Su "fair,"
"handsome," good;" Sva, "self;" and bhava, "being" or "states of being."
Boris de Zirkoff's edition:
Subhava, from which Svabhavat, is composed of two words: Su "fair,"
"handsome," "good;" and bhava, "being" or "states of being."
It is not a spelling or quote change: '"Sva, "self;"' is simply eliminated
in the de Zirkoff edition.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 20 May 2001 9:41 am
Subject: RE: Theos-World: SD original versus Boris de Zirkoff edition of
THE SECRET DOCTRINE
Sunday, May 20, 2001
I did not realize there were all those changes. Thanks for
letting us know.
If you find more will you share ?
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