THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- THE SYNTHESIS OF SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND PHILOSOPHY
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY -- 1831-1891
The Author — the writer, rather — feels it necessary to apologise for the long delay which has occurred in the appearance of this work. It has been occasioned by ill-health and the magnitude of the undertaking. Even the two volumes now issued do not complete the scheme, and these do not treat exhaustively of the subjects dealt with in them. A large quantity of material has already been prepared, dealing with the history of occultism as contained in the lives of the great Adepts of the Aryan Race, and showing the bearing of occult philosophy upon the conduct of life, as it is and as it ought to be. Should the present volumes meet with a favourable reception, no effort will be spared to carry out the scheme of the work in its entirety. The third volume is entirely ready; the fourth almost so.
This scheme, it must be added, was not in contemplation when the preparation of the work was first announced. As originally announced, it was intended that the “Secret Doctrine” should be an amended and enlarged version of “Isis Unveiled.” It was, however, soon found that the explanations which could be added to those already put before the world in the last-named and other works dealing with esoteric science, were such as to require a different method of treatment: and consequently the present volumes do not contain, in all, twenty pages extracted from “Isis Unveiled.”
The author does not feel it necessary to ask the indulgence of her readers and critics for the many defects of literary style, and the imperfect English which may be found in these pages. She is a foreigner, and her knowledge of the language was acquired late in life. The English tongue is employed because it offers the most widely-diffused medium for conveying the truths which it had become her duty to place before the world.
These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world’s history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil. What is now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole. The sole advantage which the writer has over her predecessors, is that she need not resort to personal speculations and theories. For this work is a partial statement of what she herself has been taught by more advanced students, supplemented, in a few details only, by the results of her own study and observation. The publication of many of the facts herein stated has been rendered necessary by the wild and fanciful speculations in which many Theosophists and students of mysticism have indulged, during the last few years, in their endeavour to, as they imagined, work out a complete system of thought from the few facts previously communicated to them.
It is needless to explain that this book is not the Secret Doctrine in its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets, special attention being paid to some facts which have been seized upon by various writers, and distorted out of all resemblance to the truth.
But it is perhaps desirable to state unequivocally that the teachings, however fragmentary and incomplete, contained in these volumes, belong neither to the Hindu, the Zoroastrian, the Chaldean, nor the Egyptian religion, neither to Buddhism, Islam, Judaism nor Christianity exclusively. The Secret Doctrine is the essence of all these. Sprung from it in their origins, the various religious schemes are now made to merge back into their original element, out of which every mystery and dogma has grown, developed, and become materialised.
It is more than probable that the book will be regarded by a large section of the public as a romance of the wildest kind; for who has ever even heard of the book of Dzyan?
The writer, therefore, is fully prepared to take all the responsibility for what is contained in this work, and even to face the charge of having invented the whole of it. That it has many shortcomings she is fully aware; all that she claims for it is that, romantic as it may seem to many, its logical coherence and consistency entitle this new Genesis to rank, at any rate, on a level with the “working hypotheses” so freely accepted by modern science. Further, it claims consideration, not by reason of any appeal to dogmatic authority, but because it closely adheres to Nature, and follows the laws of uniformity and analogy.
The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not “a fortuitous concurrence of atoms,” and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe; to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring; finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization.
If this is in any degree accomplished, the writer is content. It is written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judged. Its author recognises no inferior court of appeal. Abuse she is accustomed to; calumny she is daily acquainted with; at slander she smiles in silent contempt.
De minimis non curat lex.
London, October, 1888.
Since the appearance of Theosophical literature in England, it has become customary to call its teachings “Esoteric Buddhism.” And, having become a habit — as an old proverb based on daily experience has it — “Error runs down an inclined plane, while Truth has to laboriously climb its way up hill.”
Old truisms are often the wisest. The human mind can hardly remain entirely free from bias, and decisive opinions are often formed before a thorough examination of a subject from all its aspects has been made. This is said with reference to the prevailing double mistake (a) of limiting Theosophy to Buddhism: and (b) of confounding the tenets of the religious philosophy preached by Gautama, the Buddha, with the doctrines broadly outlined in “Esoteric Buddhism.” Any thing more erroneous than this could be hardly imagined. It has enabled our enemies to find an effective weapon against theosophy; because, as an eminent Pali scholar very pointedly expressed it, there was in the volume named “neither esotericism nor Buddhism.” The esoteric truths, presented in Mr. Sinnett’s work, had ceased to be esoteric from the moment they were made public; nor did it contain the religion of Buddha, but simply a few tenets from a hitherto hidden teaching which are now supplemented by many more, enlarged and explained in the present volumes. But even the latter, though giving out many fundamental tenets from the Secret Doctrine of the East, raise but a small corner of the dark veil. For no one, not even the greatest living adept, would be permitted to, or could — even if he would — give out promiscuously, to a mocking, unbelieving world, that which has been so effectually concealed from it for long aeons and ages.
“Esoteric Buddhism” was an excellent work with a very unfortunate title, though it meant no more than does the title of this work, the “Secret Doctrine.” It proved unfortunate, because people are always in the habit of judging things by their appearance, rather than their meaning; and because the error has now become so universal, that even most of the Fellows of the Theosophical Society have fallen victims to the same misconception. From the first, however, protests were raised by Brahmins and others against the title; and, in justice to myself, I must add that “Esoteric Buddhism” was presented to me as a completed volume, and that I was entirely unaware of the manner in which the author intended to spell the word “Budh-ism.”
This has to be laid directly at the door of those who, having been the first to bring the subject under public notice, neglected to point out the difference between “Buddhism” — the religious system of ethics preached by the Lord Gautama, and named after his title of Buddha, “the Enlightened” — and Budha, “Wisdom,” or knowledge (Vidya), the faculty of cognizing, from the Sanskrit root “Budh,” to know. We theosophists of India are ourselves the real culprits, although, at the time, we did our best to correct the mistake. (See Theosophist, June, 1883.) To avoid this deplorable misnomer was easy; the spelling of the word had only to be altered, and by common consent both pronounced and written “Budhism,” instead of “Buddhism.” Nor is the latter term correctly spelt and pronounced, as it ought to be called, in English, Buddhaism, and its votaries “Buddhaists.”
This explanation is absolutely necessary at the beginning of a work like this one. The “Wisdom Religion” is the inheritance of all the nations, the world over, though the statement was made in “Esoteric Buddhism” (Preface to the original Edition) that “two years ago (i.e. 1883), neither I nor any other European living, knew the alphabet of the Science, here for the first time put into a scientific shape,” etc. This error must have crept in through inadvertence. For the present writer knew all that which is “divulged” in “Esoteric Buddhism” — and much more — many years before it became her duty (in 1880) to impart a small portion of the Secret Doctrine to two European gentlemen, one of whom was the author of “Esoteric Buddhism”; and surely the present writer has the undoubted, though to her, rather equivocal, privilege of being a European, by birth and education. Moreover, a considerable part of the philosophy expounded by Mr. Sinnett was taught in America, even before Isis Unveiled was published, to two Europeans and to my colleague, Colonel H. S. Olcott. Of the three teachers the latter gentleman has had, the first was a Hungarian Initiate, the second an Egyptian, the third a Hindu. As permitted, Colonel Olcott has given out some of this teaching in various ways; if the other two have not, it has been simply because they were not allowed: their time for public work having not yet come. But for others it has, and the appearance of Mr. Sinnett’s several interesting books is a visible proof of the fact. It is above everything important to keep in mind that no theosophical book acquires the least additional value from pretended authority.
In etymology Adi, and Adhi Budha, the one (or the First) and “Supreme Wisdom” is a term used by Aryasanga in his Secret treatises, and now by all the mystic Northern Buddhists. It is a Sanskrit term, and an appellation given by the earliest Aryans to the Unknown deity; the word “Brahma” not being found in the Vedas and the early works. It means the absolute Wisdom, and “Adi-bhuta” is translated “the primeval uncreated cause of all” by Fitzedward Hall. AEons of untold duration must have elapsed, before the epithet of Buddha was so humanized, so to speak, as to allow of the term being applied to mortals and finally appropriated to one whose unparalleled virtues and knowledge caused him to receive the title of the “Buddha of Wisdom unmoved.” Bodha means the innate possession of divine intellect or “understanding”; “Buddha,” the acquirement of it by personal efforts and merit; while Buddhi is the faculty of cognizing the channel through which divine knowledge reaches the “Ego,” the discernment of good and evil, “divine conscience” also; and “Spiritual Soul,” which is the vehicle of Atma. “When Buddhi absorbs our Ego-tism (destroys it) with all its Vikaras, Avalokiteshvara becomes manifested to us, and Nirvana, or Mukti, is reached,” “Mukti” being the same as Nirvana, i.e., freedom from the trammels of “Maya” or illusion. “Bodhi” is likewise the name of a particular state of trance condition, called Samadhi, during which the subject reaches the culmination of spiritual knowledge.
Unwise are those who, in their blind and, in our age, untimely hatred of Buddhism, and, by re-action, of “Budhism,” deny its esoteric teachings (which are those also of the Brahmins), simply because the name suggests what to them, as Monotheists, are noxious doctrines. Unwise is the correct term to use in their case. For the Esoteric philosophy is alone calculated to withstand, in this age of crass and illogical materialism, the repeated attacks on all and everything man holds most dear and sacred, in his inner spiritual life. The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs and special religions. Moreover, Esoteric philosophy reconciles all religions, strips every one of its outward, human garments, and shows the root of each to be identical with that of every other great religion. It proves the necessity of an absolute Divine Principle in nature. It denies Deity no more than it does the Sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature, nor Deity as the absolute and abstract Ens. It only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so-called monotheistic religions, gods created by man in his own image and likeness, a blasphemous and sorry caricature of the Ever Unknowable. Furthermore, the records we mean to place before the reader embrace the esoteric tenets of the whole world since the beginning of our humanity, and Buddhistic occultism occupies therein only its legitimate place, and no more. Indeed, the secret portions of the “Dan”or “Jan-na”  (“Dhyan”) of Gautama’s metaphysics — grand as they appear to one unacquainted with the tenets of the Wisdom Religion of antiquity — are but a very small portion of the whole. The Hindu Reformer limited his public teachings to the purely moral and physiological aspect of the Wisdom-Religion, to Ethics and man alone. Things “unseen and incorporeal,” the mystery of Being outside our terrestrial sphere, the great Teacher left entirely untouched in his public lectures, reserving the hidden Truths for a select circle of his Arhats. The latter received their Initiation at the famous Saptaparna cave (the Sattapanni of Mahavansa) near Mount Baibhar (the Webhara of the Pali MSS.). This cave was in Rajagriha, the ancient capital of Mogadha, and was the Cheta cave of Fa-hian, as rightly suspected by some archaeologists. 
Time and human imagination made short work of the purity and philosophy of these teachings, once that they were transplanted from the secret and sacred circle of the Arhats, during the course of their work of proselytism, into a soil less prepared for metaphysical conceptions than India; i.e., once they were transferred into China, Japan, Siam, and Burmah. How the pristine purity of these grand revelations was dealt with may be seen in studying some of the so-called “esoteric” Buddhist schools of antiquity in their modern garb, not only in China and other Buddhist countries in general, but even in not a few schools in Thibet, left to the care of uninitiated Lamas and Mongolian innovators.
Thus the reader is asked to bear in mind the very important difference between orthodox Buddhism — i.e., the public teachings of Gautama the Buddha, and his esoteric Budhism. His Secret Doctrine, however, differed in no wise from that of the initiated Brahmins of his day. The Buddha was a child of the Aryan soil; a born Hindu, a Kshatrya and a disciple of the “twice born” (the initiated Brahmins) or Dwijas. His teachings, therefore, could not be different from their doctrines, for the whole Buddhist reform merely consisted in giving out a portion of that which had been kept secret from every man outside of the “enchanted” circle of Temple-Initiates and ascetics. Unable to teach all that had been imparted to him — owing to his pledges — though he taught a philosophy built upon the ground-work of the true esoteric knowledge, the Buddha gave to the world only its outward material body and kept its soul for his Elect. (See also Volume II.) Many Chinese scholars among Orientalists have heard of the “Soul Doctrine.” None seem to have understood its real meaning and importance.
That doctrine was preserved secretly — too secretly, perhaps — within the sanctuary. The mystery that shrouded its chief dogma and aspirations — Nirvana — has so tried and irritated the curiosity of those scholars who have studied it, that, unable to solve it logically and satisfactorily by untying the Gordian knot, they cut it through, by declaring that Nirvana meant absolute annihilation.
Toward the end of the first quarter of this century, a distinct class of literature appeared in the world, which became with every year more defined in its tendency. Being based, soi-disant, on the scholarly researches of Sanskritists and Orientalists in general, it was held scientific. Hindu, Egyptian, and other ancient religions, myths, and emblems were made to yield anything the symbologist wanted them to yield, thus often giving out the rude outward form in place of the inner meaning. Works, most remarkable for their ingenious deductions and speculations, in circulo vicioso, foregone conclusions generally changing places with premisses as in the syllogisms of more than one Sanskrit and Pali scholar, appeared rapidly in succession, over-flooding the libraries with dissertations rather on phallic and sexual worship than on real symbology, and each contradicting the other.
This is the true reason, perhaps, why the outline of a few fundamental truths from the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic ages is now permitted to see the light, after long millenniums of the most profound silence and secrecy. I say “a few truths,” advisedly, because that which must remain unsaid could not be contained in a hundred such volumes, nor could it be imparted to the present generation of Sadducees. But, even the little that is now given is better than complete silence upon those vital truths. The world of to-day, in its mad career towards the unknown — which it is too ready to confound with the unknowable, whenever the problem eludes the grasp of the physicist — is rapidly progressing on the reverse, material plane of spirituality. It has now become a vast arena — a true valley of discord and of eternal strife — a necropolis, wherein lie buried the highest and the most holy aspirations of our Spirit-Soul. That soul becomes with every new generation more paralyzed and atrophied. The “amiable infidels and accomplished profligates” of Society, spoken of by Greeley, care little for the revival of the dead sciences of the past; but there is a fair minority of earnest students who are entitled to learn the few truths that may be given to them now; and now much more than ten years ago, when “Isis Unveiled,” or even the later attempts to explain the mysteries of esoteric science, were published.
One of the greatest, and, withal, the most serious objection to the correctness and reliability of the whole work will be the preliminary Stanzas: “How can the statements contained in them be verified?” True, if a great portion of the Sanskrit, Chinese, and Mongolian works quoted in the present volumes are known to some Orientalists, the chief work — that one from which the Stanzas are given — is not in the possession of European Libraries. The Book of Dzyan (or “Dzan”) is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name. This is, of course, a great drawback to those who follow the methods of research prescribed by official Science; but to the students of Occultism, and to every genuine Occultist, this will be of little moment. The main body of the Doctrines given is found scattered throughout hundreds and thousands of Sanskrit MSS., some already translated — disfigured in their interpretations, as usual, — others still awaiting their turn. Every scholar, therefore, has an opportunity of verifying the statements herein made, and of checking most of the quotations. A few new facts (new to the profane Orientalist, only) and passages quoted from the Commentaries will be found difficult to trace. Several of the teachings, also, have hitherto been transmitted orally: yet even those are in every instance hinted at in the almost countless volumes of Brahminical, Chinese and Tibetan temple-literature.
However it may be, and whatsoever is in store for the writer through malevolent criticism, one fact is quite certain. The members of several esoteric schools — the seat of which is beyond the Himalayas, and whose ramifications may be found in China, Japan, India, Tibet, and even in Syria, besides South America — claim to have in their possession the sum total of sacred and philosophical works in MSS. and type: all the works, in fact, that have ever been written, in whatever language or characters, since the art of writing began; from the ideographic hieroglyphs down to the alphabet of Cadmus and the Devanagari.
It has been claimed in all ages that ever since the destruction of the Alexandrian Library (see Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., p. 27), every work of a character that might have led the profane to the ultimate discovery and comprehension of some of the mysteries of the Secret Science, was, owing to the combined efforts of the members of the Brotherhoods, diligently searched for. It is added, moreover, by those who know, that once found, save three copies left and stored safely away, such works were all destroyed. In India, the last of the precious manuscripts were secured and hidden during the reign of the Emperor Akbar. 
It is maintained, furthermore, that every sacred book of that kind, whose text was not sufficiently veiled in symbolism, or which had any direct references to the ancient mysteries, after having been carefully copied in cryptographic characters, such as to defy the art of the best and cleverest palaeographer, was also destroyed to the last copy. During Akbar’s reign, some fanatical courtiers, displeased at the Emperor’s sinful prying into the religions of the infidels, themselves helped the Brahmans to conceal their MSS. Such was Badaoni, who had an undisguised horror for Akbar’s mania for idolatrous religions. 
Moreover in all the large and wealthy lamasaries, there are subterranean crypts and cave-libraries, cut in the rock, whenever the gonpa and the lhakhang are situated in the mountains. Beyond the Western Tsay-dam, in the solitary passes of Kuen-lun  there are several such hiding places. Along the ridge of Altyn-Toga, whose soil no European foot has ever trodden so far, there exists a certain hamlet, lost in a deep gorge. It is a small cluster of houses, a hamlet rather than a monastery, with a poor-looking temple in it, with one old lama, a hermit, living near by to watch it. Pilgrims say that the subterranean galleries and halls under it contain a collection of books, the number of which, according to the accounts given, is too large to find room even in the British Museum. 
All this is very likely to provoke a smile of doubt. But then, before the reader rejects the truthfulness of the reports, let him pause and reflect over the following well known facts. The collective researches of the Orientalists, and especially the labours of late years of the students of comparative Philology and the Science of Religions have led them to ascertain as follows: An immense, incalculable number of MSS., and even printed works known to have existed, are now to be found no more. They have disappeared without leaving the slightest trace behind them. Were they works of no importance they might, in the natural course of time, have been left to perish, and their very names would have been obliterated from human memory. But it is not so; for, as now ascertained, most of them contained the true keys to works still extant, and entirely incomprehensible, for the greater portion of their readers, without those additional volumes of Commentaries and explanations. Such are, for instance, the works of Lao-tse, the predecessor of Confucius. 
He is said to have written 930 books on Ethics and religions, and seventy on magic, one thousand in all. His great work, however, the heart of his doctrine, the “Tao-te-King,” or the sacred scriptures of the Taosse, has in it, as Stanislas Julien shows, only “about 5,000 words” (Tao-te-King, p. xxvii.), hardly a dozen of pages, yet Professor Max Muller finds that “the text is unintelligible without commentaries, so that Mr. Julien had to consult more than sixty commentators for the purpose of his translation,” the earliest going back as far as the year 163 B.C., not earlier, as we see. During the four centuries and a half that preceded this earliest of the commentators there was ample time to veil the true Lao-tse doctrine from all but his initiated priests. The Japanese, among whom are now to be found the most learned of the priests and followers of Lao-tse, simply laugh at the blunders and hypotheses of the European Chinese scholars; and tradition affirms that the commentaries to which our Western Sinologues have access are not the real occult records, but intentional veils, and that the true commentaries, as well as almost all the texts, have long since disappeared from the eyes of the profane.
If one turns to the ancient literature of the Semitic religions, to the Chaldean Scriptures, the elder sister and instructress, if not the fountain-head of the Mosaic Bible, the basis and starting-point of Christianity, what do the scholars find? To perpetuate the memory of the ancient religions of Babylon; to record the vast cycle of astronomical observations of the Chaldean Magi; to justify the tradition of their splendid and eminently occult literature, what now remains? — only a few fragments, said to be by Berosus.
These, however, are almost valueless, even as a clue to the character of what has disappeared. For they passed through the hands of his Reverence the Bishop of Caesarea — that self-constituted censor and editor of the sacred records of other men’s religions — and they doubtless bear to this day the mark of his eminently veracious and trustworthy hand. For what is the history of this treatise on the once grand religion of Babylon?
Written in Greek by Berosus, a priest of the temple of Belus, for Alexander the Great, from the astronomical and chronological records preserved by the priests of that temple, and covering a period of 200,000 years, it is now lost. In the first century B.C. Alexander Polyhistor made a series of extracts from it — also lost. Eusebius used these extracts in writing his Chronicon (270-340 A.D.). The points of resemblance — almost of identity — between the Jewish and the Chaldean Scriptures,  made the latter most dangerous to Eusebius, in his role of defender and champion of the new faith which had adopted the Jewish Scriptures, and with them an absurd chronology. It is pretty certain that Eusebius did not spare the Egyptian Synchronistic tables of Manetho — so much so that Bunsen  charges him with mutilating history most unscrupulously. And Socrates, a historian of the fifth century, and Syncellus, vice-patriarch of Constantinople (eighth century), both denounce him as the most daring and desperate forger.
Is it likely, then, that he dealt more tenderly with the Chaldean records, which were already menacing the new religion, so rashly accepted?
So that, with the exception of these more than doubtful fragments, the entire Chaldean sacred literature has disappeared from the eyes of the profane as completely as the lost Atlantis. A few facts that were contained in the Berosian History are given in Part II. of Vol. II., and may throw a great light on the true origin of the Fallen Angels, personified by Bel and the Dragon.
Turning now to the oldest Aryan literature, the Rig-Veda, the student will find, following strictly in this the data furnished by the said Orientalists themselves, that, although the Rig-Veda contains only “about 10,580 verses, or 1,028 hymns,” in spite of the Brahmanas and the mass of glosses and commentaries, it is not understood correctly to this day. Why is this so? Evidently because the Brahmanas, “the scholastic and oldest treatises on the primitive hymns,” themselves require a key, which the Orientalists have failed to secure.
What do the scholars say of Buddhist literature? Have they got it in its completeness? Assuredly not. Notwithstanding the 325 volumes of the Kanjur and the Tanjur of the Northern Buddhists, each volume we are told, “weighing from four to five pounds,” nothing, in truth, is known of Lamaism. Yet, the sacred canon of the Southern Church is said to contain 29,368,000 letters in the Saddharma alankara,  or, exclusive of treatises and commentaries, “five or six times the amount of the matter contained in the Bible,” the latter, in the words of Professor Max Muller, rejoicing only in 3,567,180 letters. Notwithstanding, then, these “325 volumes” (in reality there are 333, Kanjur comprising 108, and Tanjur 225 volumes), “the translators, instead of supplying us with correct versions, have interwoven them with their own commentaries, for the purpose of justifying the dogmas of their several schools.”  Moreover, “according to a tradition preserved by the Buddhist schools, both of the South and of the North, the sacred Buddhist Canon comprised originally 80,000 or 84,000 tracts, but most of them were lost, so that there remained but 6,000,” the professor tells his audiences. “Lost” as usual for Europeans. But who can be quite sure that they are likewise lost for Buddhists and Brahmins?
Considering the sacredness for the Buddhists of every line written upon Buddha or his “Good Law,” the loss of nearly 76,000 tracts does seem miraculous. Had it been vice versa, every one acquainted with the natural course of events would subscribe to the statement that, of these 76,000, five or six thousand treatises might have been destroyed during the persecutions in, and emigrations from, India. But as it is well ascertained that Buddhist Arhats began their religious exodus, for the purpose of propagating the new faith beyond Kashmir and the Himalayas, as early as the year 300 before our era,  and reached China in the year 61 A.D.  when Kashyapa, at the invitation of the Emperor Ming-ti, went there to acquaint the “Son of Heaven” with the tenets of Buddhism, it does seem strange to hear the Orientalists speaking of such a loss as though it were really possible. They do not seem to allow for one moment the possibility that the texts may be lost only for West and for themselves; or, that the Asiatic people should have the unparalleled boldness to keep their most sacred records out of the reach of foreigners, thus refusing to deliver them to the profanation and misuse of races even so “vastly superior” to themselves.
Owing to the expressed regrets and numerous confessions of almost every one of the Orientalists (See Max Muller’s Lectures for example) the public may feel sufficiently sure (a) that the students of ancient religions have indeed very few data upon which to build such final conclusions as they generally do about the old religions, and (b) that such lack of data does not prevent them in the least from dogmatising. One would imagine that, thanks to the numerous records of the Egyptian theogony and mysteries preserved in the classics, and in a number of ancient writers, the rites and dogmas of Pharaonic Egypt ought to be well understood at least; better, at any rate, than the too abstruse philosophies and Pantheism of India, of whose religion and language Europe had hardly any idea before the beginning of the present century. Along the Nile and on the face of the whole country, there stand to this hour, exhumed yearly and daily, fresh relics which eloquently tell their own history. Still it is not so. The learned Oxford philologist himself confesses the truth by saying that “Though . . . we see still standing the Pyramids, and the ruins of temples and labyrinths, their walls covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions, and with the strange pictures of gods and goddesses. . . . . On rolls of papyrus, which seem to defy the ravages of time, we have even fragments of what may be called the sacred books of the Egyptians; yet, though much has been deciphered in the ancient records of that mysterious race, the mainspring of the religion of Egypt and the original intention of its ceremonial worship are far from being fully disclosed to us.”  Here again the mysterious hieroglyphic documents remain, but the keys by which alone they become intelligible have disappeared.
Nevertheless, having found that “there is a natural connection between language and religion”; and, secondly, that there was a common Aryan religion before the separation of the Aryan race; a common Semitic religion before the separation of the Semitic race; and a common Turanian religion before the separation of the Chinese and the other tribes belonging to the Turanian class; having, in fact, only discovered “three ancient centres of religion” and “three centres of language,” and though as entirely ignorant of those primitive religions and languages, as of their origin, the professor does not hesitate to declare “that a truly historical basis for a scientific treatment of those principal religions of the world has been gained!”
A “scientific treatment” of a subject is no guarantee for its “historical basis”; and with such scarcity of data on hand, no philologist, even among the most eminent, is justified in giving out his own conclusions for historical facts. No doubt, the eminent Orientalist has proved thoroughly to the world’s satisfaction, that according to Grimm’s law of phonetic rules, Odin and Buddha are two different personages, quite distinct from each other, and he has shown it scientifically. When, however, he takes the opportunity of saying in the same breath that Odin “was worshipped as the supreme deity during a period long anterior to the age of the Veda and of Homer” (Compar. Theol., p. 318), he has not the slightest “historical basis” for it. He makes history and fact subservient to his own conclusions, which may be very “scientific,” in the sight of Oriental scholars, but yet very wide of the mark of actual truth. The conflicting views on the subject of chronology, in the case of the Vedas, of the various eminent philologists and Orientalists, from Martin Haug down to Mr. Max Muller himself, are an evident proof that the statement has no historical basis to stand upon, “internal evidence” being very often a Jack-o’-lantern, instead of a safe beacon to follow. Nor has the Science of modern Comparative Mythology any better proof to show, that those learned writers, who have insisted for the last century or so that there must have been “fragments of a primeval revelation, granted to the ancestors of the whole race of mankind . . . . preserved in the temples of Greece and Italy,” were entirely wrong. For this is what all the Eastern Initiates and Pundits have been proclaiming to the world from time to time. While a prominent Cinghalese priest assured the writer that it was well known that the most important Buddhist tracts belonging to the sacred canon were stored away in countries and places inaccessible to the European pundits, the late Swami Dayanand Sarasvati, the greatest Sanskritist of his day in India, assured some members of the Theosophical Society of the same fact with regard to ancient Brahmanical works. When told that Professor Max Muller had declared to the audiences of his “Lectures” that the theory . . . . “that there was a primeval preternatural revelation granted to the fathers of the human race, finds but few supporters at present,” — the holy and learned man laughed. His answer was suggestive. “If Mr. Moksh Mooller, as he pronounced the name, were a Brahmin, and came with me, I might take him to a gupta cave (a secret crypt) near Okhee Math, in the Himalayas, where he would soon find out that what crossed the Kalapani (the black waters of the ocean) from India to Europe were only the bits of rejected copies of some passages from our sacred books. There was a “primeval revelation,” and it still exists; nor will it ever be lost to the world, but will reappear; though the Mlechchhas will of course have to wait.”
Questioned further on this point, he would say no more. This was at Meerut, in 1880.
No doubt the mystification played, in the last century at Calcutta, by the Brahmins upon Colonel Wilford and Sir William Jones was a cruel one. But it had been well deserved, and no one was more to be blamed in that affair than the Missionaries and Colonel Wilford themselves. The former, on the testimony of Sir William Jones himself (see Asiat. Res., Vol. I., p. 272), were silly enough to maintain that “the Hindus were even now almost Christians, because their Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesa were no other than the Christian trinity.”  It was a good lesson. It made the Oriental scholars doubly cautious; but perchance it has also made some of them too shy, and caused, in its reaction, the pendulum of foregone conclusions to swing too much the other way. For “that first supply on the Brahmanical market,” made for Colonel Wilford, has now created an evident necessity and desire in the Orientalists to declare nearly every archaic Sanskrit manuscript so modern as to give to the missionaries full justification for availing themselves of the opportunity. That they do so and to the full extent of their mental powers, is shown by the absurd attempts of late to prove that the whole Puranic story about Chrishna was plagiarized by the Brahmins from the Bible! But the facts cited by the Oxford Professor in his Lectures on the “Science of Religion,” concerning the now famous interpolations, for the benefit, and later on to the sorrow, of Col. Wilford, do not at all interfere with the conclusions to which one who studies the Secret Doctrine must unavoidably come. For, if the results show that neither the New nor even the Old Testament borrowed anything from the more ancient religion of the Brahmans and Buddhists, it does not follow that the Jews have not borrowed all they knew from the Chaldean records, the latter being mutilated later on by Eusebius. As to the Chaldeans, they assuredly got their primitive learning from the Brahmans, for Rawlinson shows an undeniably Vedic influence in the early mythology of Babylon; and Col. Vans Kennedy has long since justly declared that Babylonia was, from her origin, the seat of Sanskrit and Brahman learning. But all such proofs must lose their value, in the presence of the latest theory worked out by Prof. Max Muller. What it is everyone knows. The code of phonetic laws has now become a universal solvent for every identification and “connection” between the gods of many nations. Thus, though the Mother of Mercury (Budha, Thot-Hermes, etc.), was Maia, the mother of Buddha (Gautama), also Maya, and the mother of Jesus, likewise Maya (illusion, for Mary is Mare, the Sea, the great illusion symbolically) — yet these three characters have no connection, nor can they have any, since Bopp, has “laid down his code of phonetic laws.”
In their efforts to collect together the many skeins of unwritten history, it is a bold step for our Orientalists to take, to deny, a priori, everything that does not dovetail with their special conclusions. Thus, while new discoveries are daily made of great arts and sciences having existed far back in the night of time, even the knowledge of writing is refused to some of the most ancient nations, and they are credited with barbarism instead of culture. Yet the traces of an immense civilization, even in Central Asia, are still to be found. This civilization is undeniably prehistoric. And how can there be civilization without a literature, in some form, without annals or chronicles? Common sense alone ought to supplement the broken links in the history of departed nations. The gigantic, unbroken wall of the mountains that hem in the whole table-land of Tibet, from the upper course of the river Khuan-Khe down to the Kara-Korum hills, witnessed a civilization during millenniums of years, and would have strange secrets to tell mankind. The Eastern and Central portions of those regions — the Nan-Schayn and the Altyne-taga — were once upon a time covered with cities that could well vie with Babylon. A whole geological period has swept over the land, since those cities breathed their last, as the mounds of shifting sand, and the sterile and now dead soil of the immense central plains of the basin of Tarim testify. The borderlands alone are superficially known to the traveller. Within those table-lands of sand there is water, and fresh oases are found blooming there, wherein no European foot has ever yet ventured, or trodden the now treacherous soil. Among these verdant oases there are some which are entirely inaccessible even to the native profane traveller. Hurricanes may “tear up the sands and sweep whole plains away,” they are powerless to destroy that which is beyond their reach. Built deep in the bowels of the earth, the subterranean stores are secure; and as their entrances are concealed in such oases, there is little fear that anyone should discover them, even should several armies invade the sandy wastes where —
But there is no need to send the reader across the desert, when the same proofs of ancient civilization are found even in comparatively populated regions of the same country. The oasis of Tchertchen, for instance, situated about 4,000 feet above the level of the river Tchertchen-D’arya, is surrounded with the ruins of archaic towns and cities in every direction. There, some 3,000 human beings represent the relics of about a hundred extinct nations and races — the very names of which are now unknown to our ethnologists. An anthropologist would feel more than embarrassed to class, divide and subdivide them; the more so, as the respective descendants of all these antediluvian races and tribes know as little of their own forefathers themselves, as if they had fallen from the moon. When questioned about their origin, they reply that they know not whence their fathers had come, but had heard that their first (or earliest) men were ruled by the great genii of these deserts. This may be put down to ignorance and superstition, yet in view of the teachings of the Secret Doctrine, the answer may be based upon primeval tradition. Alone, the tribe of Khoorassan claims to have come from what is now known as Afghanistan, long before the days of Alexander, and brings legendary lore to that effect as corroboration. The Russian traveller, Colonel (now General) Prjevalsky, found quite close to the oasis of Tchertchen, the ruins of two enormous cities, the oldest of which was, according to local tradition, ruined 3,000 years ago by a hero and giant; and the other by the Mongolians in the tenth century of our era. “The emplacement of the two cities is now covered, owing to shifting sands and the desert wind, with strange and heterogeneous relics; with broken china and kitchen utensils and human bones. The natives often find copper and gold coins, melted silver, ingots, diamonds, and turquoises, and what is the most remarkable — broken glass. . . . .” “Coffins of some undecaying wood, or material, also, within which beautifully preserved embalmed bodies are found. . . . . The male mummies are all extremely tall powerfully built men with long waving hair. . . . . A vault was found with twelve dead men sitting in it. Another time, in a separate coffin, a young girl was discovered by us. Her eyes were closed with golden discs, and the jaws held firm by a golden circlet running from under the chin across the top of the head. Clad in a narrow woollen garment, her bosom was covered with golden stars, the feet being left naked.” (From a lecture by N. M. Prjevalsky.) To this, the famous traveller adds that all along their way on the river Tchertchen they heard legends about twenty-three towns buried ages ago by the shifting sands of the deserts. The same tradition exists on the Lob-nor and in the oasis of Kerya.
The traces of such civilization, and these and like traditions, give us the right to credit other legendary lore warranted by well educated and learned natives of India and Mongolia, when they speak of immense libraries reclaimed from the sand, together with various reliques of ancient magic lore, which have all been safely stowed away.
To recapitulate. The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. Proofs of its diffusion, authentic records of its history, a complete chain of documents, showing its character and presence in every land, together with the teaching of all its great adepts, exist to this day in the secret crypts of libraries belonging to the Occult Fraternity.
This statement is rendered more credible by a consideration of the following facts: the tradition of the thousands of ancient parchments saved when the Alexandrian library was destroyed; the thousands of Sanskrit works which disappeared in India in the reign of Akbar; the universal tradition in China and Japan that the true old texts with the commentaries, which alone make them comprehensible — amounting to many thousands of volumes — have long passed out of the reach of profane hands; the disappearance of the vast sacred and occult literature of Babylon; the loss of those keys which alone could solve the thousand riddles of the Egyptian hieroglyphic records; the tradition in India that the real secret commentaries which alone make the Veda intelligible, though no longer visible to profane eyes, still remain for the initiate, hidden in secret caves and crypts; and an identical belief among the Buddhists, with regard to their secret books.
The Occultists assert that all these exist, safe from Western spoliating hands, to re-appear in some more enlightened age, for which in the words of the late Swami Dayanand Sarasvati, “the Mlechchhas (outcasts, savages, those beyond the pale of Aryan civilization) will have to wait.”
For it is not the fault of the initiates that these documents are now “lost” to the profane; nor was their policy dictated by selfishness, or any desire to monopolise the life-giving sacred lore. There were portions of the Secret Science that for incalculable ages had to remain concealed from the profane gaze. But this was because to impart to the unprepared multitude secrets of such tremendous importance, was equivalent to giving a child a lighted candle in a powder magazine.
The answer to a question which has frequently arisen in the minds of students, when meeting with statements such as this, may be outlined here.
“We can understand,” they say, “the necessity for concealing from the herd such secrets as the Vril, or the rock-destroying force, discovered by J. W. Keely, of Philadelphia, but we cannot understand how any danger could arise from the revelation of such a purely philosophic doctrine, as, e.g., the evolution of the planetary chains.”
The danger was this: Doctrines such as the planetary chain, or the seven races, at once give a clue to the seven-fold nature of man, for each principle is correlated to a plane, a planet, and a race; and the human principles are, on every plane, correlated to seven-fold occult forces — those of the higher planes being of tremendous power. So that any septenary division at once gives a clue to tremendous occult powers, the abuse of which would cause incalculable evil to humanity. A clue, which is, perhaps, no clue to the present generation — especially the Westerns — protected as they are by their very blindness and ignorant materialistic disbelief in the occult; but a clue which would, nevertheless, have been very real in the early centuries of the Christian era, to people fully convinced of the reality of occultism, and entering a cycle of degradation, which made them rife for abuse of occult powers and sorcery of the worst description.
The documents were concealed, it is true, but the knowledge itself and its actual existence had never been made a secret of by the Hierophants of the Temple, wherein Mysteries have ever been made a discipline and stimulus to virtue. This is very old news, and was repeatedly made known by the great adepts, from Pythagoras and Plato down to the Neoplatonists. It was the new religion of the Nazarenes that wrought a change for the worse — in the policy of centuries.
Moreover, there is a well-known fact, a very curious one, corroborated to the writer by a reverend gentleman attached for years to a Russian Embassy — namely, that there are several documents in the St. Petersburg Imperial Libraries to show that, even so late as during the days when Freemasonry, and Secret Societies of Mystics flourished unimpeded in Russia, i.e., at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century, more than one Russian Mystic travelled to Tibet via the Ural mountains in search of knowledge and initiation in the unknown crypts of Central Asia. And more than one returned years later, with a rich store of such information as could never have been given him anywhere in Europe. Several cases could be cited, and well-known names brought forward, but for the fact that such publicity might annoy the surviving relatives of the said late Initiates. Let any one look over the Annals and History of Freemasonry in the archives of the Russian metropolis, and he will assure himself of the fact stated.
This is a corroboration of that which has been stated many times before, and, unfortunately, too indiscreetly. Instead of benefiting humanity, the virulent charges of deliberate invention and imposture with a purpose thrown at those who asserted but a truthful, if even a little known fact, have only generated bad Karma for the slanderers. But now the mischief is done, and truth should no longer be denied, whatever the consequences. Is it a new religion, we are asked? By no means; it is not a religion, nor is its philosophy new; for, as already stated, it is as old as thinking man. Its tenets are not now published for the first time, but have been cautiously given out to, and taught by, more than one European Initiate — especially by the late Ragon.
More than one great scholar has stated that there never was a religious founder, whether Aryan, Semitic or Turanian, who had invented a new religion, or revealed a new truth. These founders were all transmitters, not original teachers. They were the authors of new forms and interpretations, while the truths upon which the latter were based were as old as mankind. Selecting one or more of those grand verities — actualities visible only to the eye of the real Sage and Seer — out of the many orally revealed to man in the beginning, preserved and perpetuated in the adyta of the temples through initiation, during the Mysteries and by personal transmission — they revealed these truths to the masses. Thus every nation received in its turn some of the said truths, under the veil of its own local and special symbolism; which, as time went on, developed into a more or less philosophical cultus, a Pantheon in mythical disguise. Therefore is Confucius, a very ancient legislator in historical chronology, though a very modern Sage in the World’s History, shown by Dr. Legge  — who calls him “emphatically a transmitter, not a maker” — as saying: “I only hand on: I cannot create new things. I believe in the ancients and therefore I love them.”  (Quoted in “Science of Religions” by Max Muller.)
The writer loves them too, and therefore believes in the ancients, and the modern heirs to their Wisdom. And believing in both, she now transmits that which she has received and learnt herself to all those who will accept it. As to those who may reject her testimony, — i.e., the great majority — she will bear them no malice, for they will be as right in their way in denying, as she is right in hers in affirming, since they look at truth from two entirely different stand-points. Agreeably with the rules of critical scholarship, the Orientalist has to reject a priori whatever evidence he cannot fully verify for himself. And how can a Western scholar accept on hearsay that which he knows nothing about? Indeed, that which is given in these volumes is selected from oral, as much as from written teachings. This first instalment of the esoteric doctrines is based upon Stanzas, which are the records of a people unknown to ethnology; it is claimed that they are written in a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted; they are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science; and, finally, they are offered through an agency, incessantly discredited before the world by all those who hate unwelcome truths, or have some special hobby of their own to defend. Therefore, the rejection of these teachings may be expected, and must be accepted beforehand. No one styling himself a “scholar,” in whatever department of exact science, will be permitted to regard these teachings seriously. They will be derided and rejected a priori in this century; but only in this one. For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined; and finally, that its teachings antedate the Vedas.  Have not the latter been derided, rejected, and called “a modern forgery” even so recently as fifty years ago? Was not Sanskrit proclaimed at one time the progeny of, and a dialect derived from, the Greek, according to Lempriere and other scholars? About 1820, Prof. Max Muller tells us, the sacred books of the Brahmans, of the Magians, and of the Buddhists, “were all but unknown, their very existence was doubted, and there was not a single scholar who could have translated a line of the Veda . . . of the Zend Avesta, or . . . of the Buddhist Tripitaka, and now the Vedas are proved to be the work of the highest antiquity whose ‘preservation amounts almost to a marvel’ (Lecture on the Vedas).
The same will be said of the Secret Archaic Doctrine, when proofs are given of its undeniable existence and records. But it will take centuries before much more is given from it. Speaking of the keys to the Zodiacal mysteries as being almost lost to the world, it was remarked by the writer in “Isis Unveiled” some ten years ago that: “The said key must be turned seven times before the whole system is divulged. We will give it but one turn, and thereby allow the profane one glimpse into the mystery. Happy he, who understands the whole!”
The same may be said of the whole Esoteric system. One turn of the key, and no more, was given in “Isis.” Much more is explained in these volumes. In those days the writer hardly knew the language in which the work was written, and the disclosure of many things, freely spoken about now, was forbidden. In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found.
Such a work as this has to be introduced with no simple Preface, but with a volume rather; one that would give facts, not mere disquisitions, since the Secret Doctrine is not a treatise, or a series of vague theories, but contains all that can be given out to the world in this century.
It would be worse than useless to publish in these pages even those portions of the esoteric teachings that have now escaped from confinement, unless the genuineness and authenticity — at any rate, the probability — of the existence of such teachings was first established. Such statements as will now be made, have to be shown warranted by various authorities: those of ancient philosophers, classics and even certain learned Church Fathers, some of whom knew these doctrines because they had studied them, had seen and read works written upon them; and some of whom had even been personally initiated into the ancient Mysteries, during the performance of which the arcane doctrines were allegorically enacted. The writer will have to give historical and trustworthy names, and to cite well-known authors, ancient and modern, of recognized ability, good judgment, and truthfulness, as also to name some of the famous proficients in the secret arts and science, along with the mysteries of the latter, as they are divulged, or, rather, partially presented before the public in their strange archaic form.
How is this to be done? What is the best way for achieving such an object? was the ever-recurring question. To make our plan clearer, an illustration may be attempted. When a tourist coming from a well-explored country, suddenly reaches the borderland of a terra incognita, hedged in, and shut out from view by a formidable barrier of impassable rocks, he may still refuse to acknowledge himself baffled in his exploratory plans. Ingress beyond is forbidden. But, if he cannot visit the mysterious region personally, he may still find a means of examining it from as short a distance as can be arrived at. Helped by his knowledge of landscapes left behind him, he can get a general and pretty correct idea of the transmural view, if he will only climb to the loftiest summit of the altitudes in front of him. Once there, he can gaze at it, at his leisure, comparing that which he dimly perceives with that which he has just left below, now that he is, thanks to his efforts, beyond the line of the mists and the cloud-capped cliffs.
Such a point of preliminary observation, for those who would like to get a more correct understanding of the mysteries of the pre-archaic periods given in the texts, cannot be offered to them in these two volumes. But if the reader has patience, and would glance at the present state of beliefs and creeds in Europe, compare and check it with what is known to history of the ages directly preceding and following the Christian era, then he will find all this in Volume III. of this work.
In that volume a brief recapitulation will be made of all the principal adepts known to history, and the downfall of the mysteries will be described; after which began the disappearance and final and systematic elimination from the memory of men of the real nature of initiation and the Sacred Science. From that time its teachings became Occult, and Magic sailed but too often under the venerable but frequently misleading name of Hermetic philosophy. As real Occultism had been prevalent among the Mystics during the centuries that preceded our era, so Magic, or rather Sorcery, with its Occult Arts, followed the beginning of Christianity.
However great and zealous the fanatical efforts, during those early centuries, to obliterate every trace of the mental and intellectual labour of the Pagans, it was a failure; but the same spirit of the dark demon of bigotry and intolerance has perverted systematically and ever since, every bright page written in the pre-Christian periods. Even in her uncertain records, history has preserved enough of that which has survived to throw an impartial light upon the whole. Let, then, the reader tarry a little while with the writer, on the spot of observation selected. He is asked to give all his attention to that millennium which divided the pre-Christian and the post-Christian periods, by the year One of the Nativity. This event — whether historically correct or not — has nevertheless been made to serve as a first signal for the erection of manifold bulwarks against any possible return of, or even a glimpse into, the hated religions of the Past; hated and dreaded — because throwing such a vivid light on the new and intentionally veiled interpretation of what is now known as the “New Dispensation.”
However superhuman the efforts of the early Christian fathers to obliterate the Secret Doctrine from the very memory of man, they all failed. Truth can never be killed; hence the failure to sweep away entirely from the face of the earth every vestige of that ancient Wisdom, and to shackle and gag every witness who testified to it. Let one only think of the thousands, and perhaps millions, of MSS. burnt; of monuments, with their too indiscreet inscriptions and pictorial symbols, pulverised to dust; of the bands of early hermits and ascetics roaming about among the ruined cities of Upper and Lower Egypt, in desert and mountain, valleys and highlands, seeking for and eager to destroy every obelisk and pillar, scroll or parchment they could lay their hands on, if it only bore the symbol of the tau, or any other sign borrowed and appropriated by the new faith; and he will then see plainly how it is that so little has remained of the records of the Past. Verily, the fiendish spirits of fanaticism, of early and mediaeval Christianity and of Islam, have from the first loved to dwell in darkness and ignorance; and both have made
Both creeds have won their proselytes at the point of the sword; both have built their churches on heaven-kissing hecatombs of human victims. Over the gateway of Century I. of our era, the ominous words “the Karma of Israel,” fatally glowed. Over the portals of our own, the future seer may discern other words, that will point to the Karma for cunningly made-up History, for events purposely perverted, and for great characters slandered by posterity, mangled out of recognition, between the two cars of Jagannatha — Bigotry and Materialism; one accepting too much, the other denying all. Wise is he who holds to the golden mid-point, who believes in the eternal justice of things. Says Faigi Diwan, the “witness to the wonderful speeches of a free-thinker who belongs to a thousand sects”: “In the assembly of the day of resurrection, when past things shall be forgiven, the sins of the Ka’bah will be forgiven for the sake of the dust of Christian churches.” to this, Professor Max Muller replies: “The sins of Islam are as worthless as the dust of Christianity. On the day of resurrection both Muhammadans and Christians will see the vanity of their religious doctrines. Men fight about religion on earth — in heaven they shall find out that there is only one true religion — the worship of God’s Spirit.” 
In other words — “There is no religion (or law) higher than truth” — “SATYAT NASTI PARO DHARMAH” — the motto of the Maharajah of Benares, adopted by the Theosophical Society.
As already said in the Preface, the Secret Doctrine is not a version of “Isis Unveiled” — as originally intended. It is a volume explanatory of it rather, and, though entirely independent of the earlier work, an indispensable corollary to it. Much of what was in Isis could hardly be understood by theosophists in those days. The Secret Doctrine will now throw light on many a problem left unsolved in the first work, especially on the opening pages, which have never been understood.
Concerned simply with the philosophies within our historical times and the respective symbolism of the fallen nations, only a hurried glance could be thrown at the panorama of Occultism in the two volumes of Isis. In the present work, detailed Cosmogony and the evolution of the four races that preceded our Fifth race Humanity are given, and now two large volumes explain that which was stated on the first page of Isis Unveiled alone, and in a few allusions scattered hither and thither throughout that work. Nor could the vast catalogue of the Archaic Sciences be attempted in the present volumes, before we have disposed of such tremendous problems as Cosmic and Planetary Evolution, and the gradual development of the mysterious Humanities and races that preceded our “Adamic” Humanity. Therefore, the present attempt to elucidate some mysteries of the Esoteric philosophy has, in truth, nothing to do with the earlier work. As an instance, the writer must be allowed to illustrate what is said.
Volume I. of “Isis” begins with a reference to “an old book” —
The “very old Book” is the original work from which the many volumes of Kiu-ti were compiled. Not only this latter and the Siphrah Dzeniouta but even the Sepher Jezirah,  the work attributed by the Hebrew Kabalists to their Patriarch Abraham (!), the book of Shu-king, China’s primitive Bible, the sacred volumes of the Egyptian Thoth-Hermes, the Puranas in India, and the Chaldean Book of Numbers and the Pentateuch itself, are all derived from that one small parent volume. Tradition says, that it was taken down in Senzar, the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of the Divine Beings, who dictated it to the sons of Light, in Central Asia, at the very beginning of the 5th (our) race; for there was a time when its language (the Sen-zar) was known to the Initiates of every nation, when the forefathers of the Toltec understood it as easily as the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, who inherited it, in their turn, from the sages of the 3rd Race, the Manushis, who learnt it direct from the Devas of the 2nd and 1st Races. The “illustration” spoken of in “Isis” relates to the evolution of these Races and of our 4th and 5th Race Humanity in the Vaivasvata Manvantara or “Round”; each Round being composed of the Yugas of the seven periods of Humanity; four of which are now passed in our life cycle, the middle point of the 5th being nearly reached. The illustration is symbolical, as every one can well understand, and covers the ground from the beginning. The old book, having described Cosmic Evolution and explained the origin of everything on earth, including physical man, after giving the true history of the races from the First down to the Fifth (our) race, goes no further. It stops short at the beginning of the Kali Yuga just 4989 years ago at the death of Krishna, the bright “Sun-god,” the once living hero and reformer.
But there exists another book. None of its possessors regard it as very ancient, as it was born with, and is only as old as the Black Age, namely, about 5,000 years. In about nine years hence, the first cycle of the first five millenniums, that began with the great cycle of the Kali-Yuga, will end. And then the last prophecy contained in that book (the first volume of the prophetic record for the Black Age) will be accomplished. We have not long to wait, and many of us will witness the Dawn of the New Cycle, at the end of which not a few accounts will be settled and squared between the races. Volume II. of the Prophecies is nearly ready, having been in preparation since the time of Buddha’s grand successor, Sankaracharya.
One more important point must be noticed, one that stands foremost in the series of proofs given of the existence of one primeval, universal Wisdom — at any rate for the Christian Kabalists and students. The teachings were, at least, partially known to several of the Fathers of the Church. It is maintained, on purely historical grounds, that Origen, Synesius, and even Clemens Alexandrinus, had been themselves initiated into the mysteries before adding to the Neo-Platonism of the Alexandrian school, that of the Gnostics, under the Christian veil. More than this, some of the doctrines of the Secret schools — though by no means all — were preserved in the Vatican, and have since become part and parcel of the mysteries, in the shape of disfigured additions made to the original Christian programme by the Latin Church. Such is the now materialised dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This accounts for the great persecutions set on foot by the Roman Catholic Church against Occultism, Masonry, and heterodox mysticism generally.
The days of Constantine were the last turning-point in history, the period of the Supreme struggle that ended in the Western world throttling the old religions in favour of the new one, built on their bodies. From thence the vista into the far distant Past, beyond the “Deluge” and the Garden of Eden, began to be forcibly and relentlessly closed by every fair and unfair means against the indiscreet gaze of posterity. Every issue was blocked up, every record that hands could be laid upon, destroyed. Yet there remains enough, even among such mutilated records, to warrant us in saying that there is in them every possible evidence of the actual existence of a Parent Doctrine. Fragments have survived geological and political cataclysms to tell the story; and every survival shows evidence that the now Secret Wisdom was once the one fountain head, the ever-flowing perennial source, at which were fed all its streamlets — the later religions of all nations — from the first down to the last. This period, beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at the one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the aeons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism.
This accounts for the necessity under which the writer has laboured to be ever explaining the facts given from the hoariest Past by evidence gathered from the historical period. No other means was at hand, at the risk even of being once more charged with a lack of method and system. The public must be made acquainted with the efforts of many World-adepts, of initiated poets, writers, and classics of every age, to preserve in the records of Humanity the Knowledge of the existence, at least, of such a philosophy, if not actually of its tenets. The Initiates of 1888 would indeed remain incomprehensible and ever a seemingly impossible myth, were not like Initiates shown to have lived in every other age of history. This could be done only by naming Chapter and Verse where may be found mention of these great characters, who were preceded and followed by a long and interminable line of other famous Antediluvian and Post-diluvian Masters in the arts. Thus only could be shown, on semi-traditional and semi-historical authority, that knowledge of the Occult and the powers it confers on man, are not altogether fictions, but that they are as old as the world itself.
To my judges, past and future, therefore — whether they are serious literary critics, or those howling dervishes in literature who judge a book according to the popularity or unpopularity of the author’s name, who, hardly glancing at its contents, fasten like lethal bacilli on the weakest points of the body — I have nothing to say. Nor shall I condescend to notice those crack-brained slanderers — fortunately very few in number — who, hoping to attract public attention by throwing discredit on every writer whose name is better known than their own, foam and bark at their very shadows. These, having first maintained for years that the doctrines taught in the Theosophist, and which culminated in “Esoteric Buddhism,” had been all invented by the present writer, have finally turned round, and denounced “Isis Unveiled” and the rest as a plagiarism from Eliphas Levi (!), Paracelsus (!!), and, mirabile dictu, Buddhism and Brahmanism (!!!) As well charge Renan with having stolen his Vie de Jesus from the Gospels, and Max Muller his “Sacred Books of the East” or his “Chips” from the philosophies of the Brahmins and Gautama, the Buddha. But to the public in general and the readers of the “Secret Doctrine” I may repeat what I have stated all along, and which I now clothe in the words of Montaigne: Gentlemen, “I have here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them.”
Pull the “string” to pieces and cut it up in shreds, if you will. As for the nosegay of facts — you will never be able to make away with these. You can only ignore them, and no more.
We may close with a parting word concerning this Volume I. In an Introduction prefacing a Part dealing chiefly with Cosmogony, certain subjects brought forward might be deemed out of place, but one more consideration added to those already given have led me to touch upon them. Every reader will inevitably judge the statements made from the stand-point of his own knowledge, experience, and consciousness, based on what he has already learnt. This fact the writer is constantly obliged to bear in mind: hence, also the frequent references in this first Book to matters which, properly speaking, belong to a later part of the work, but which could not be passed by in silence, lest the reader should look down on this work as a fairy tale indeed — a fiction of some modern brain.
Thus, the Past shall help to realise the Present, and the latter to better appreciate the Past. The errors of the day must be explained and swept away, yet it is more than probable — and in the present case it amounts to certitude — that once more the testimony of long ages and of history will fail to impress anyone but the very intuitional — which is equal to saying the very few. But in this as in all like cases, the true and the faithful may console themselves by presenting the sceptical modern Sadducee with the mathematical proof and memorial of his obdurate obstinacy and bigotry. There still exists somewhere in the archives of the French Academy, the famous law of probabilities worked out by an algebraical process for the benefit of sceptics by certain mathematicians. It runs thus: If two persons give their evidence to a fact, and thus impart to it each of them 5/6 of certitude; that fact will have then 35/36 of certitude; i.e., its probability will bear to its improbability the ratio of 35 to 1. If three such evidences are joined together the certitude will become 215/216. The agreement of ten persons giving each 1/2 of certitude will produce 1023/1024 , etc., etc. The Occultist may remain satisfied, and care for no more.
PAGES FROM A PRE-HISTORIC PERIOD.
An Archaic Manuscript — a collection of palm leaves made impermeable to water, fire, and air, by some specific unknown process — is before the writer’s eye. On the first page is an immaculate white disk within a dull black ground. On the following page, the same disk, but with a central point. The first, the student knows to represent Kosmos in Eternity, before the re-awakening of still slumbering Energy, the emanation of the Word in later systems. The point in the hitherto immaculate Disk, Space and Eternity in Pralaya, denotes the dawn of differentiation. It is the Point in the Mundane Egg (see Part II., “The Mundane Egg”), the germ within the latter which will become the Universe, the all, the boundless, periodical Kosmos, this germ being latent and active, periodically and by turns. The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns. Its circumference — a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind — indicates the abstract, ever incognisable presence, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one. Only the face of the Disk being white and the ground all around black, shows clearly that its plane is the only knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man. It is on this plane that the Manvantaric manifestations begin; for it is in this soul that slumbers, during the Pralaya, the Divine Thought,  wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony.
It is the one life, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations, between which periods reigns the dark mystery of non-Being; unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness; unrealisable, yet the one self-existing reality; truly, “a chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason.” Its one absolute attribute, which is itself, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called in esoteric parlance the “Great Breath,”  which is the perpetual motion of the universe, in the sense of limitless, ever-present space. That which is motionless cannot be Divine. But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul.
Almost five centuries B.C. Leucippus, the instructor of Democritus, maintained that Space was filled eternally with atoms actuated by a ceaseless motion, the latter generating in due course of time, when those atoms aggregated, rotatory motion, through mutual collisions producing lateral movements. Epicurus and Lucretius taught the same, only adding to the lateral motion of the atoms the idea of affinity — an occult teaching.
From the beginning of man’s inheritance, from the first appearance of the architects of the globe he lives in, the unrevealed Deity was recognised and considered under its only philosophical aspect — universal motion, the thrill of the creative Breath in Nature. Occultism sums up the “One Existence” thus: “Deity is an arcane, living (or moving) fire, and the eternal witnesses to this unseen Presence are Light, Heat, Moisture,” — this trinity including, and being the cause of, every phenomenon in Nature.  Intra-Cosmic motion is eternal and ceaseless; cosmic motion (the visible, or that which is subject to perception) is finite and periodical. As an eternal abstraction it is the ever-present; as a manifestation, it is finite both in the coming direction and the opposite, the two being the alpha and omega of successive reconstructions. Kosmos — the noumenon — has nought to do with the causal relations of the phenomenal World. It is only with reference to the intra-cosmic soul, the ideal Kosmos in the immutable Divine Thought, that we may say: “It never had a beginning nor will it have an end.” With regard to its body or Cosmic organization, though it cannot be said that it had a first, or will ever have a last construction, yet at each new Manvantara, its organization may be regarded as the first and the last of its kind, as it evolutes every time on a higher plane . . . .
A few years ago only, it was stated that: —
“The esoteric doctrine teaches, like Buddhism and Brahminism, and even the Kabala, that the one infinite and unknown Essence exists from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu these conditions are called the “Days” and the “Nights” of Brahma. The latter is either “awake” or “asleep.” The Svabhavikas, or philosophers of the oldest school of Buddhism (which still exists in Nepaul), speculate only upon the active condition of this “Essence,” which they call Svabhavat, and deem it foolish to theorise upon the abstract and “unknowable” power in its passive condition. Hence they are called atheists by both Christian theologians and modern scientists, for neither of the two are able to understand the profound logic of their philosophy. The former will allow of no other God than the personified secondary powers which have worked out the visible universe, and which became with them the anthropomorphic God of the Christians — the male Jehovah, roaring amid thunder and lightning. In its turn, rationalistic science greets the Buddhists and the Svabhavikas as the “positivists” of the archaic ages. If we take a one-sided view of the philosophy of the latter, our materialists may be right in their own way. The Buddhists maintained that there is no Creator, but an infinitude of creative powers, which collectively form the one eternal substance, the essence of which is inscrutable — hence not a subject for speculation for any true philosopher. Socrates invariably refused to argue upon the mystery of universal being, yet no one would ever have thought of charging him with atheism, except those who were bent upon his destruction. Upon inaugurating an active period, says the Secret Doctrine, an expansion of this Divine essence from without inwardly and from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and ‘darkness’ solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the ‘deep.’ To use a Metaphor from the Secret Books, which will convey the idea still more clearly, an out-breathing of the ‘unknown essence’ produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has been going on from all eternity, and our present universe is but one of an infinite series, which had no beginning and will have no end.” — (See “Isis Unveiled”; also “The Days and Nights of Brahma” in Part II.)
This passage will be explained, as far as it is possible, in the present work. Though, as it now stands, it contains nothing new to the Orientalist, its esoteric interpretation may contain a good deal which has hitherto remained entirely unknown to the Western student.
The first illustration being a plain disc , the second one in the Archaic symbol shows , a disc with a point in it — the first differentiation in the periodical manifestations of the ever-eternal nature, sexless and infinite “Aditi in that” (Rig Veda), the point in the disc, or potential Space within abstract Space. In its third stage the point is transformed into a diameter, thus . It now symbolises a divine immaculate Mother-Nature within the all-embracing absolute Infinitude.
When the diameter line is crossed by a vertical one , it becomes the mundane cross. Humanity has reached its third root-race; it is the sign for the origin of human life to begin. When the circumference disappears and leaves only the it is a sign that the fall of man into matter is accomplished, and the fourth race begins. The Cross within a circle symbolises pure Pantheism; when the Cross was left uninscribed, it became phallic. It had the same and yet other meanings as a tau inscribed within a circle or as a “Thor’s hammer,” the Jaina cross, so-called, or simply Svastica within a circle .
By the third symbol — the circle divided in two by the horizontal line of the diameter — the first manifestation of creative (still passive, because feminine) Nature was meant. The first shadowy perception of man connected with procreation is feminine, because man knows his mother more than his father. Hence female deities were more sacred than the male. Nature is therefore feminine, and, to a degree, objective and tangible, and the spirit Principle which fructifies it is concealed. By adding to the circle with the horizontal line in it, a perpendicular line, the tau was formed — — the oldest form of the letter. It was the glyph of the third root-race to the day of its symbolical Fall — i.e., when the separation of sexes by natural evolution took place — when the figure became , the circle, or sexless life modified or separated — a double glyph or symbol. With the races of our Fifth Race it became in symbology the sacr’, and in Hebrew n’cabvah, of the first-formed races;  then it changed into the Egyptian (emblem of life), and still later into the sign of Venus, Then comes the Svastica (Thor’s hammer, or the “Hermetic Cross” now), entirely separated from its Circle, thus becoming purely phallic. The esoteric symbol of Kali Yuga is the five-pointed star reversed, thus — the sign of human sorcery, with its two points (horns) turned heavenward, a position every Occultist will recognise as one of the “left-hand,” and used in ceremonial magic. 
It is hoped that during the perusal of this work the erroneous ideas of the public in general with regard to Pantheism will be modified. It is wrong and unjust to regard the Buddhists and Advaitee Occultists as atheists. If not all of them philosophers, they are, at any rate, all logicians, their objections and arguments being based on strict reasoning. Indeed, if the Parabrahmam of the Hindus may be taken as a representative of the hidden and nameless deities of other nations, this absolute Principle will be found to be the prototype from which all the others were copied. Parabrahm is not “God,” because It is not a God. “It is that which is supreme, and not supreme (paravara),” explains Mandukya Upanishad (2.28). It is “Supreme” as cause, not supreme as effect. Parabrahm is simply, as a “Secondless Reality,” the all-inclusive Kosmos — or, rather, the infinite Cosmic Space — in the highest spiritual sense, of course. Brahma (neuter) being the unchanging, pure, free, undecaying supreme Root, “the one true Existence, Paramarthika,” and the absolute Chit and Chaitanya (intelligence, consciousness) cannot be a cogniser, “for that can have no subject of cognition.” Can the flame be called the essence of Fire? This Essence is “the life and light of the Universe, the visible fire and flame are destruction, death, and evil.” “Fire and Flame destroy the body of an Arhat, their essence makes him immortal.” (Bodhi-mur, Book II.) “The knowledge of the absolute Spirit, like the effulgence of the sun, or like heat in fire, is naught else than the absolute Essence itself,” says Sankaracharya. IT — is “the Spirit of the Fire,” not fire itself; therefore, “the attributes of the latter, heat or flame, are not the attributes of the Spirit, but of that of which that Spirit is the unconscious cause.” Is not the above sentence the true key-note of later Rosicrucian philosophy? Parabrahm is, in short, the collective aggregate of Kosmos in its infinity and eternity, the “that” and “this” to which distributive aggregates can not be applied.  “In the beginning this was the Self, one only” (Aitareya Upanishad); the great Sankaracharya, explains that “this” referred to the Universe (Jagat); the sense of the words, “In the beginning,” meaning before the reproduction of the phenomenal Universe.
Therefore, when the Pantheists echo the Upanishads, which state, as in the Secret Doctrine, that “this” cannot create, they do not deny a Creator, or rather a collective aggregate of creators, but only refuse, very logically, to attribute “creation” and especially formation, something finite, to an Infinite Principle. With them, Parabrahmam is a passive because an Absolute Cause, the unconditioned Mukta. It is only limited Omniscience and Omnipotence that are refused to the latter, because these are still attributes (as reflected in man’s perceptions); and because Parabrahm, being the “Supreme all,” the ever invisible spirit and Soul of Nature, changeless and eternal, can have no attributes; absoluteness very naturally precluding any idea of the finite or conditioned from being connected with it. And if the Vedantin postulates attributes as belonging simply to its emanation, calling it “Iswara plus Maya,” and Avidya (Agnosticism and Nescience rather than ignorance), it is difficult to find any Atheism in this conception.  Since there can be neither two infinites nor two absolutes in a Universe supposed to be Boundless, this Self-Existence can hardly be conceived of as creating personally. In the sense and perceptions of finite “Beings,” that is Non-“being,” in the sense that it is the one BE-NESS; for, in this all lies concealed its coeternal and coeval emanation or inherent radiation, which, upon becoming periodically Brahma (the male-female Potency) becomes or expands itself into the manifested Universe. Narayana moving on the (abstract) waters of Space, is transformed into the Waters of concrete substance moved by him, who now becomes the manifested word or Logos.
The orthodox Brahmins, those who rise the most against the Pantheists and Adwaitees, calling them Atheists, are forced, if Manu has any authority in this matter, to accept the death of Brahma, the creator, at the expiration of every “Age” of this (creative) deity (100 Divine years — a period which in our years requires fifteen figures to express it). Yet, no philosopher among them will view this “death” in any other sense than as a temporary disappearance from the manifested plane of existence, or as a periodical rest.
The Occultists are, therefore, at one with the Adwaita Vedantin philosophers as to the above tenet. They show the impossibility of accepting on philosophical grounds the idea of the absolute all creating or even evolving the “Golden Egg,” into which it is said to enter in order to transform itself into Brahma — the Creator, who expands himself later into gods and all the visible Universe. They say that Absolute Unity cannot pass to infinity; for infinity presupposes the limitless extension of something, and the duration of that “something;” and the One All is like Space — which is its only mental and physical representation on this Earth, or our plane of existence — neither an object of, nor a subject to, perception. If one could suppose the Eternal Infinite All, the Omnipresent Unity, instead of being in Eternity, becoming through periodical manifestation a manifold Universe or a multiple personality, that Unity would cease to be one. Locke’s idea that “pure Space is capable of neither resistance nor Motion” — is incorrect. Space is neither a “limitless void,” nor a “conditioned fulness,” but both: being, on the plane of absolute abstraction, the ever-incognisable Deity, which is void only to finite minds,  and on that of mayavic perception, the Plenum, the absolute Container of all that is, whether manifested or unmanifested: it is, therefore, that absolute all. There is no difference between the Christian Apostle’s “In Him we live and move and have our being,” and the Hindu Rishi’s “The Universe lives in, proceeds from, and will return to, Brahma (Brahma):” for Brahma (neuter), the unmanifested, is that Universe in abscondito, and Brahma, the manifested, is the Logos, made male-female  in the symbolical orthodox dogmas. The God of the Apostle-Initiate and of the Rishi being both the Unseen and the Visible space. Space is called in the esoteric symbolism “the Seven-Skinned Eternal Mother-Father.” It is composed from its undifferentiated to its differentiated surface of seven layers.
“What is that which was, is, and will be, whether there is a Universe or not; whether there be gods or none?” asks the esoteric Senzar Catechism. And the answer made is — space.
It is not the One Unknown ever-present God in Nature, or Nature in abscondito, that is rejected, but the God of human dogma and his humanized “Word.” In his infinite conceit and inherent pride and vanity, man shaped it himself with his sacrilegious hand out of the material he found in his own small brain-fabric, and forced it upon mankind as a direct revelation from the one unrevealed space.  The Occultist accepts revelation as coming from divine yet still finite Beings, the manifested lives, never from the Unmanifestable one life; from those entities, called Primordial Man, Dhyani-Buddhas, or Dhyan-Chohans, the “Rishi-Prajapati” of the Hindus, the Elohim or “Sons of God,” the Planetary Spirits of all nations, who have become Gods for men. He also regards the Adi-Sakti — the direct emanation of Mulaprakriti, the eternal Root of that, and the female aspect of the Creative Cause Brahma, in her A’kasic form of the Universal Soul — as philosophically a Maya, and cause of human Maya. But this view does not prevent him from believing in its existence so long as it lasts, to wit, for one Mahamanvantara; nor from applying Akasa, the radiation of Mulaprakriti,  to practical purposes, connected as the World-Soul is with all natural phenomena, known or unknown to science.
The oldest religions of the world — exoterically, for the esoteric root or foundation is one — are the Indian, the Mazdean, and the Egyptian. Then comes the Chaldean, the outcome of these — entirely lost to the world now, except in its disfigured Sabeanism as at present rendered by the archaeologists; then, passing over a number of religions that will be mentioned later, comes the Jewish, esoterically, as in the Kabala, following in the line of Babylonian Magism; exoterically, as in Genesis and the Pentateuch, a collection of allegorical legends. Read by the light of the Zohar, the initial four chapters of Genesis are the fragment of a highly philosophical page in the World’s Cosmogony. (See Book III., Gupta Vidya and the Zohar.) Left in their symbolical disguise, they are a nursery tale, an ugly thorn in the side of science and logic, an evident effect of Karma. To have let them serve as a prologue to Christianity was a cruel revenge on the part of the Rabbis, who knew better what their Pentateuch meant. It was a silent protest against their spoliation, and the Jews have certainly now the better of their traditional persecutors. The above-named exoteric creeds will be explained in the light of the Universal doctrine as we proceed with it.
The Occult Catechism contains the following questions and answers:
“What is it that ever is?” “Space, the eternal Anupadaka.”  “What is it that ever was?” “The Germ in the Root.” “What is it that is ever coming and going?” “The Great Breath.” “Then, there are three Eternals?” “No, the three are one. That which ever is is one, that which ever was is one, that which is ever being and becoming is also one: and this is Space.”
“Explain, oh Lanoo (disciple).” — “The One is an unbroken Circle (ring) with no circumference, for it is nowhere and everywhere; the One is the boundless plane of the Circle, manifesting a diameter only during the manvantaric periods; the One is the indivisible point found nowhere, perceived everywhere during those periods; it is the Vertical and the Horizontal, the Father and the Mother, the summit and base of the Father, the two extremities of the Mother, reaching in reality nowhere, for the One is the Ring as also the rings that are within that Ring. Light in darkness and darkness in light: the ‘Breath which is eternal.’ It proceeds from without inwardly, when it is everywhere, and from within outwardly, when it is nowhere — (i.e., maya,  one of the centres ). It expands and contracts (exhalation and inhalation). When it expands the mother diffuses and scatters; when it contracts, the mother draws back and ingathers. This produces the periods of Evolution and Dissolution, Manwantara and Pralaya. The Germ is invisible and fiery; the Root (the plane of the circle) is cool; but during Evolution and Manwantara her garment is cold and radiant. Hot Breath is the Father who devours the progeny of the many-faced Element (heterogeneous); and leaves the single-faced ones (homogeneous). Cool Breath is the Mother, who conceives, forms, brings forth, and receives them back into her bosom, to reform them at the Dawn (of the Day of Brahma, or Manvantara). . . . .”
For clearer understanding on the part of the general reader, it must be stated that Occult Science recognises Seven Cosmical Elements — four entirely physical, and the fifth (Ether) semi-material, as it will become visible in the air towards the end of our Fourth Round, to reign supreme over the others during the whole of the Fifth. The remaining two are as yet absolutely beyond the range of human perception. These latter will, however, appear as presentments during the 6th and 7th Races of this Round, and will become known in the 6th and 7th Rounds respectively.  These seven elements with their numberless Sub-Elements far more numerous than those known to Science) are simply conditional modifications and aspects of the one and only Element. This latter is not Ether,  not even A’kasa but the Source of these. The Fifth Element, now advocated quite freely by Science, is not the Ether hypothesised by Sir Isaac Newton — although he calls it by that name, having associated it in his mind probably with the AEther, “Father-Mother” of Antiquity. As Newton intuitionally says, “Nature is a perpetual circulatory worker, generating fluids out of solids, fixed things out of volatile, and volatile out of fixed, subtile out of gross, and gross out of subtile. . . . . Thus, perhaps, may all things be originated from Ether,” (Hypoth, 1675).
The reader has to bear in mind that the Stanzas given treat only of the Cosmogony of our own planetary System and what is visible around it, after a Solar Pralaya. The secret teachings with regard to the Evolution of the Universal Kosmos cannot be given, since they could not be understood by the highest minds in this age, and there seem to be very few Initiates, even among the greatest, who are allowed to speculate upon this subject. Moreover the Teachers say openly that not even the highest Dhyani-Chohans have ever penetrated the mysteries beyond those boundaries that separate the milliards of Solar systems from the “Central Sun,” as it is called. Therefore, that which is given, relates only to our visible Kosmos, after a “Night of Brahma.”
Before the reader proceeds to the consideration of the Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan which form the basis of the present work, it is absolutely necessary that he should be made acquainted with the few fundamental conceptions which underlie and pervade the entire system of thought to which his attention is invited. These basic ideas are few in number, and on their clear apprehension depends the understanding of all that follows; therefore no apology is required for asking the reader to make himself familiar with them first, before entering on the perusal of the work itself.
The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions: —
(a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable Principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought — in the words of Mandukya, “unthinkable and unspeakable.”
To render these ideas clearer to the general reader, let him set out with the postulate that there is one absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being. This Infinite and Eternal Cause — dimly formulated in the “Unconscious” and “Unknowable” of current European philosophy — is the rootless root of “all that was, is, or ever shall be.” It is of course devoid of all attributes and is essentially without any relation to manifested, finite Being. It is “Be-ness” rather than Being (in Sanskrit, Sat), and is beyond all thought or speculation.
This “Be-ness” is symbolised in the Secret Doctrine under two aspects. On the one hand, absolute abstract Space, representing bare subjectivity, the one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception, or conceive of by itself. On the other, absolute Abstract Motion representing Unconditioned Consciousness. Even our Western thinkers have shown that Consciousness is inconceivable to us apart from change, and motion best symbolises change, its essential characteristic. This latter aspect of the one Reality, is also symbolised by the term “The Great Breath,” a symbol sufficiently graphic to need no further elucidation. Thus, then, the first fundamental axiom of the Secret Doctrine is this metaphysical One Absolute — Be-ness — symbolised by finite intelligence as the theological Trinity.
It may, however, assist the student if a few further explanations are given here.
Herbert Spencer has of late so far modified his Agnosticism, as to assert that the nature of the “First Cause,”  which the Occultist more logically derives from the “Causeless Cause,” the “Eternal,” and the “Unknowable,” may be essentially the same as that of the Consciousness which wells up within us: in short, that the impersonal reality pervading the Kosmos is the pure noumenon of thought. This advance on his part brings him very near to the esoteric and Vedantin tenet. 
Parabrahm (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol. But once that we pass in thought from this (to us) Absolute Negation, duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object.
Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.
Considering this metaphysical triad as the Root from which proceeds all manifestation, the great Breath assumes the character of precosmic Ideation. It is the fons et origo of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution. On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature.
Just as pre-Cosmic Ideation is the root of all individual consciousness, so pre-Cosmic Substance is the substratum of matter in the various grades of its differentiation.
Hence it will be apparent that the contrast of these two aspects of the Absolute is essential to the existence of the “Manifested Universe.” Apart from Cosmic Substance, Cosmic Ideation could not manifest as individual consciousness, since it is only through a vehicle  of matter that consciousness wells up as “I am I,” a physical basis being necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity. Again, apart from Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance would remain an empty abstraction, and no emergence of consciousness could ensue.
The “Manifested Universe,” therefore, is pervaded by duality, which is, as it were, the very essence of its ex-istence as “manifestation.”
But just as the opposite poles of subject and object, spirit and matter, are but aspects of the One Unity in which they are synthesized, so, in the manifested Universe, there is “that” which links spirit to matter, subject to object.
This something, at present unknown to Western speculation, is called by the occultists Fohat. It is the “bridge” by which the “Ideas” existing in the “Divine Thought” are impressed on Cosmic substance as the “laws of Nature.” Fohat is thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation; or, regarded from the other side, it is the intelligent medium, the guiding power of all manifestation, the “Thought Divine” transmitted and made manifest through the Dhyan Chohans,  the Architects of the visible World. Thus from Spirit, or Cosmic Ideation, comes our consciousness; from Cosmic Substance the several vehicles in which that consciousness is individualised and attains to self — or reflective — consciousness; while Fohat, in its various manifestations, is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life.
The following summary will afford a clearer idea to the reader.
(1.) The Absolute; the Parabrahm of the Vedantins or the one Reality, Sat, which is, as Hegel says, both Absolute Being and Non-Being.
(2.) The first manifestation, the impersonal, and, in philosophy, unmanifested Logos, the precursor of the “manifested.” This is the “First Cause,” the “Unconscious” of European Pantheists.
(3.) Spirit-matter, Life; the “Spirit of the Universe,” the Purusha and Prakriti, or the second Logos.
(4.) Cosmic Ideation, Mahat or Intelligence, the Universal World-Soul; the Cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of Nature, also called Maha-Buddhi.
The One Reality; its dual aspects in the conditioned Universe.
Further, the Secret Doctrine affirms: —
(b.) The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically “the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing,” called “the manifesting stars,” and the “sparks of Eternity.” “The Eternity of the Pilgrim”  is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence (Book of Dzyan.) “The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb of flux and reflux.” (See Part II., “Days and Nights of Brahma.”)
This second assertion of the Secret Doctrine is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe.
Moreover, the Secret Doctrine teaches: —
(c) The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or “Necessity”) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle, — or the over-soul, — has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations. This is why the Hindus say that the Universe is Brahma and Brahma, for Brahma is in every atom of the universe, the six principles in Nature being all the outcome — the variously differentiated aspects — of the seventh and one, the only reality in the Universe whether Cosmical or micro-cosmical; and also why the permutations (psychic, spiritual and physical), on the plane of manifestation and form, of the sixth (Brahma the vehicle of Brahma) are viewed by metaphysical antiphrasis as illusive and Mayavic. For although the root of every atom individually and of every form collectively, is that seventh principle or the one Reality, still, in its manifested phenomenal and temporary appearance, it is no better than an evanescent illusion of our senses. (See, for clearer definition, Addendum “Gods, Monads and Atoms,” and also “Theophania,” “Bodhisatvas and Reincarnation,” etc., etc.)
In its absoluteness, the One Principle under its two aspects (of Parabrahmam and Mulaprakriti) is sexless, unconditioned and eternal. Its periodical (manvantaric) emanation — or primal radiation — is also One, androgynous and phenomenally finite. When the radiation radiates in its turn, all its radiations are also androgynous, to become male and female principles in their lower aspects. After Pralaya, whether the great or the minor Pralaya (the latter leaving the worlds in statu quo ), the first that re-awakes to active life is the plastic A’kasa, Father-Mother, the Spirit and Soul of Ether, or the plane on the surface of the Circle. Space is called the “Mother” before its Cosmic activity, and Father-Mother at the first stage of re-awakening. (See Comments, Stanza II.) In the Kabala it is also Father-Mother-Son. But whereas in the Eastern doctrine, these are the Seventh Principle of the manifested Universe, or its “Atma-Buddhi-Manas” (Spirit, Soul, Intelligence), the triad branching off and dividing into the seven cosmical and seven human principles, in the Western Kabala of the Christian mystics it is the Triad or Trinity, and with their occultists, the male-female Jehovah, Jah-Havah. In this lies the whole difference between the esoteric and the Christian trinities. The Mystics and the Philosophers, the Eastern and Western Pantheists, synthesize their pregenetic triad in the pure divine abstraction. The orthodox, anthropomorphize it. Hiranyagarbha, Hari, and Sankara — the three hypostases of the manifesting “Spirit of the Supreme Spirit” (by which title Prithivi — the Earth — greets Vishnu in his first Avatar) — are the purely metaphysical abstract qualities of formation, preservation, and destruction, and are the three divine Avasthas (lit. hypostases) of that which “does not perish with created things” (or Achyuta, a name of Vishnu); whereas the orthodox Christian separates his personal creative Deity into the three personages of the Trinity, and admits of no higher Deity. The latter, in Occultism, is the abstract Triangle; with the orthodox, the perfect Cube. The creative god or the aggregate gods are regarded by the Eastern philosopher as Bhrantidarsanatah — “false apprehension,” something “conceived of, by reason of erroneous appearances, as a material form,” and explained as arising from the illusive conception of the Egotistic personal and human Soul (lower fifth principle). It is beautifully expressed in a new translation of Vishnu Purana. “That Brahma in its totality has essentially the aspect of Prakriti, both evolved and unevolved (Mulaprakriti), and also the aspect of Spirit and the aspect of Time. Spirit, O twice born, is the leading aspect of the Supreme Brahma.  The next is a twofold aspect, — Prakriti, both evolved and unevolved, and is the time last.” Kronos is shown in the Orphic theogony as being also a generated god or agent.
At this stage of the re-awakening of the Universe, the sacred symbolism represents it as a perfect Circle with the (root) point in the Centre. This sign was universal, therefore we find it in the Kabala also. The Western Kabala, however, now in the hands of Christian mystics, ignores it altogether, though it is plainly shown in the Zohar. These sectarians begin at the end, and show as the symbol of pregenetic Kosmos this sign , calling it “the Union of the Rose and Cross,” the great mystery of occult generation, from whence the name — Rosicrucians (Rose Cross)!
As may be judged, however, from the most important, as the best known of the Rosicrucians’ symbols, there is one which has never been hitherto understood even by modern mystics. It is that of the “Pelican” tearing open its breast to feed its seven little ones — the real creed of the Brothers of the Rosie-Cross and a direct outcome from the Eastern Secret Doctrine. Brahma (neuter) is called Kalahansa, meaning, as explained by Western Orientalists, the Eternal Swan or goose (see Stanza III., Comment. 8), and so is Brahma, the Creator. A great mistake is thus brought under notice; it is Brahma (neuter) who ought to be referred to as Hansa-vahana (He who uses the swan as his Vehicle) and not Brahma the Creator, who is the real Kalahansa, while Brahma (neuter) is hamsa, and “A-hamsa,” as will be explained in the Commentary. Let it be understood that the terms Brahma and Parabrahmam are not used here because they belong to our Esoteric nomenclature, but simply because they are more familiar to the students in the West. Both are the perfect equivalents of our one, three, and seven vowelled terms, which stand for the One All, and the One “All in all.”
Such are the basic conceptions on which the Secret Doctrine rests.
It would not be in place here to enter upon any defence or proof of their inherent reasonableness; nor can I pause to show how they are, in fact, contained — though too often under a misleading guise — in every system of thought or philosophy worthy of the name.
Once that the reader has gained a clear comprehension of them and realised the light which they throw on every problem of life, they will need no further justification in his eyes, because their truth will be to him as evident as the sun in heaven. I pass on, therefore, to the subject matter of the Stanzas as given in this volume, adding a skeleton outline of them, in the hope of thereby rendering the task of the student more easy, by placing before him in a few words the general conception therein explained.
Stanza I. The history of cosmic evolution, as traced in the Stanzas, is, so to say, the abstract algebraical formula of that Evolution. Hence the student must not expect to find there an account of all the stages and transformations which intervene between the first beginnings of “Universal” evolution and our present state. To give such an account would be as impossible as it would be incomprehensible to men who cannot even grasp the nature of the plane of existence next to that to which, for the moment, their consciousness is limited.
The Stanzas, therefore, give an abstract formula which can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to all evolution: to that of our tiny earth, to that of the chain of planets of which that earth forms one, to the solar Universe to which that chain belongs, and so on, in an ascending scale, till the mind reels and is exhausted in the effort.
The seven Stanzas given in this volume represent the seven terms of this abstract formula. They refer to, and describe the seven great stages of the evolutionary process, which are spoken of in the Puranas as the “Seven Creations,” and in the Bible as the “Days” of Creation.
The First Stanza describes the state of the one all during Pralaya, before the first flutter of re-awakening manifestation.
A moment’s thought shows that such a state can only be symbolised; to describe it is impossible. Nor can it be symbolised except in negatives; for, since it is the state of Absoluteness per se, it can possess none of those specific attributes which serve us to describe objects in positive terms. Hence that state can only be suggested by the negatives of all those most abstract attributes which men feel rather than conceive, as the remotest limits attainable by their power of conception.
The stage described in Stanza II. is, to a western mind, so nearly identical with that mentioned in the first Stanza, that to express the idea of its difference would require a treatise in itself. Hence it must be left to the intuition and the higher faculties of the reader to grasp, as far as he can, the meaning of the allegorical phrases used. Indeed it must be remembered that all these Stanzas appeal to the inner faculties rather than to the ordinary comprehension of the physical brain.
Stanza III. describes the Re-awakening of the Universe to life after Pralaya. It depicts the emergence of the “Monads” from their state of absorption within the one; the earliest and highest stage in the formation of “Worlds,” the term Monad being one which may apply equally to the vastest Solar System or the tiniest atom.
Stanza IV. shows the differentiation of the “Germ” of the Universe into the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Powers, who are the active manifestations of the One Supreme Energy. They are the framers, shapers, and ultimately the creators of all the manifested Universe, in the only sense in which the name “Creator” is intelligible; they inform and guide it; they are the intelligent Beings who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the one law, which we know as “The Laws of Nature.”
Generically, they are known as the Dhyan Chohans, though each of the various groups has its own designation in the Secret Doctrine.
This stage of evolution is spoken of in Hindu mythology as the “Creation” of the Gods.
In Stanza V. the process of world-formation is described: — First, diffused Cosmic Matter, then the fiery “whirlwind,” the first stage in the formation of a nebula. That nebula condenses, and after passing through various transformations, forms a Solar Universe, a planetary chain, or a single planet, as the case may be.
The subsequent stages in the formation of a “World” are indicated in Stanza VI., which brings the evolution of such a world down to its fourth great period, corresponding to the period in which we are now living.
Stanza VII. continues the history, tracing the descent of life down to the appearance of Man; and thus closes the first Book of the Secret Doctrine.
The development of “Man” from his first appearance on this earth in this Round to the state in which we now find him will form the subject of Book II.
The Stanzas which form the thesis of every section are given throughout in their modern translated version, as it would be worse than useless to make the subject still more difficult by introducing the archaic phraseology of the original, with its puzzling style and words. Extracts are given from the Chinese Thibetan and Sanskrit translations of the original Senzar Commentaries and Glosses on the Book of Dzyan — these being now rendered for the first time into a European language. It is almost unnecessary to state that only portions of the seven Stanzas are here given. Were they published complete they would remain incomprehensible to all save the few higher occultists. Nor is there any need to assure the reader that, no more than most of the profane, does the writer, or rather the humble recorder, understand those forbidden passages. To facilitate the reading, and to avoid the too frequent reference to foot-notes, it was thought best to blend together texts and glosses, using the Sanskrit and Tibetan proper names whenever those cannot be avoided, in preference to giving the originals. The more so as the said terms are all accepted synonyms, the former only being used between a Master and his chelas (or disciples).
Thus, were one to translate into English, using only the substantives and technical terms as employed in one of the Tibetan and Senzar versions, Verse I would read as follows: — “Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not; Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna), &c., &c.,” which would sound like pure Abracadabra.
As this work is written for the instruction of students of Occultism, and not for the benefit of philologists, we may well avoid such foreign terms wherever it is possible to do so. The untranslateable terms alone, incomprehensible unless explained in their meanings, are left, but all such terms are rendered in their Sanskrit form. Needless to remind the reader that these are, in almost every case, the late developments of the later language, and pertain to the Fifth Root-Race. Sanskrit, as now known, was not spoken by the Atlanteans, and most of the philosophical terms used in the systems of the India of the post-Mahabharatan period are not found in the Vedas, nor are they to be met with in the original Stanzas, but only their equivalents. The reader who is not a Theosophist, is once more invited to regard all that which follows as a fairy tale, if he likes; at best as one of the yet unproven speculations of dreamers; and, at the worst, as an additional hypothesis to the many Scientific hypotheses past, present and future, some exploded, others still lingering. It is not in any sense worse than are many of the so called Scientific theories; and it is in every case more philosophical and probable.
In view of the abundant comments and explanations required, the references to the footnotes are given in the usual way, while the sentences to be commented upon are marked with figures. Additional matter will be found in the Chapters on Symbolism forming Part II., as well as in Part III., these being often more full of information than the text.