Source: "Blavatsky & the Secret Doctrine" by Max Heindel
A curious fact in connection with images of books as seen in the astral
light is that the text sometimes appears reversed as if held before a mirror.
With a little practice it becomes easy to read words, as the context and
general sense prevent mistakes, but reading figures correctly is more
difficult. Sometimes Madame Blavatsky forgot to reverse them, causing much
trouble and annoyance to herself and others. For example, if she wrote to a
friend asking him to verify a passage on page 341 of a certain book, the
answer might come back that the passage could not be found there, or that
there were not that many pages in the book. Looking the matter up it was
invariably found in such cases that H.P.B. had forgotten to reverse the
number. So (to take the same instance) it should have been 143 instead of 341.
After a time, her correspondents discovered this, and then easily corrected
such mistakes themselves.
Another noteworthy circumstance in connection with the writing of "The
Secret Doctrine" was that if Madame Blavatsky ever wanted definite information
on any subject, it was sure to reach her in some way, either in a letter from
a friend, in a newspaper or a magazine, or in the course of casual reading of
books. This happened with such frequency and appositeness that it could not
be explained on the basis of coincidence. Whenever possible, she used normal
means, so as not to exhaust her powers. In the early days of the Society, she
had not been prudent in this, and afterward she felt the effects.
One day there came a temptation in the offer of a large yearly salary if
she would write for the Russian newspapers. She might write on any subject she
chose, occultism included. Here was a primise of comfort and ease for the
remainder of her days. Two hours a day would be ample to satisfy all demands
on her time. But she said, "To write such a work as`The Secret Doctrine', I
must have all my thoughts in that direction, to keep in touch with the
current. It is difficult enought as it is, hampered as I am with this sick and
worn out old body, and it would be impossible to change the current back and
forth from "The Secret Doctrine" to newspaper writing. I have no longer the
energy left in me. Too much of it was exhausted in performing phenomena."
When asked why she did these things when she must have known that she was
wasting her strength and it would have been much better if no phenomena had
been connected with her work, she answered, "Because people were continually
bothering me. It was always,`Oh, do materialize this,' or ' Do `let me hear
those astral bells' and so on, and then I did not like to disappoint people,
so I acceded to their requests. Now I have to suffer for it, and moreover, at
the time the Society was started it was necessary to draw people's attention,
and phenomena did this more effectually than anything else could have done."
Granted, then, that phenomena were necessary at that time, the mischief lay
in the fact that, once introduced, they were difficult to get rid of when they
had served their purpose. All came eager to have their curiosity gratified,
and if disappointed, went away in great wrath and indignation, ready to
denounce the thing as a fraud. So in her anxiety for the welfare of the
Society, poor H.P.B. continued the work, knowing that she was squandering her
vitality. Thus she almost literally gave her life blood for the good of the
After the Society was fairly well established came the opportunity to have
ease and comfort for the rest of her days. Can we realize what that meant?
Picture Madame Blavatsky in her dingy little apartment with but one bedroom,
which she shared with the Countess Wachmeister. In that obscure old German
town she was virtually an exile among a foreign and unfamiliar people. Here
she toiled at her desk twelve to fourteen hours a day, and was often in the
most straitened circumstances. Then came the offer from the newspaper. She
could write about anything she pleased, and receive a salary that would place
her far beyond the pale of want--all for about two hours a day of her time.
Seemingly it would involve only a small sacrifice of time; but H.P.B. knew
better. She knew that she could not write for newspapers and write "The
Secret Doctrine" also. Unflinchingly she wrote the letter declining the
offer, and thus added another to the long list sacrifices she had already
laid on the altar of the Society and of humanity.
From Wurzburg, Madame Blavatsky went to Elberfield, where she stayed with
Madame Gebhard. Here it seems that little if any work was done on "The
Secret Doctrine", owing to the fact that she fell and sprained her ankle.
Her kind friends nursed her tenderly, but recovery seemed to be slow. Her
sister and niece were sent for, and with them she went to Ostend, from which
place she wrote to the Countess Wachmeister:
"Yes, I will try to settle once more at my `Secret Doctrine' but it is
hard. I am very weak. I feel I am ungrateful. But then gratitude has ever
been shown in ancient symbology to reside in people's heels, and having lost
my legs how can I be expected to have any?" Later she wrote: "My poor legs
have parted company with my body. I am now as legless as any elemental can
be, and I do not know a soul in Ostend; not a solitary Russian here but
myself, who would rather be a Turk and go back to India, but I can't, for I
have neither legs nor reputation, according to the infamous charges of the
Soon afterwards, the Countess Wachmeister again joined H.P.B. They had a
number of visitors from England, Germany, and France, Ostend being easy of
access from these countries. Madame Blavatsky wrote steadily, though her
health was very poor and she frequently fretted, as evidenced by the following
extract from one of her letters in which she says, "Because lies, hypocrisy
and jesuitism reign supreme in this world, and I am not and cannot be either,
therefore I seem doomed. Because I am tired of life and the struggle with that
Stone of Sisyphus and the eternal work of the Danaides, and I am not permitted
to get out of this misery and rest because I am one too many on this earth, I
This state of mind was probably occasioned chiefly by the extremely poor
health which soon after came to a crisis, when she was stricken with kidney
trouble. The Belgian physician said that she could not live long, and in her
*--The Society for Psychical Research
despair the Countess telegraphed to Dr. Ashton Ellis, one of the London
members of the Theosophical Society, who immediately came to Ostend. He held
out no more hope than the Belgian doctor. Both were agreed that they had never
known a person with kidneys so severely affected to live so long.
It seemed as if "The Secret Doctrine" would not be finished--at least not
by H.P.B. Anxious and sorrowful were the hearts of those who surrounded her.
The grief of the Countess Wachmeister became so great that she went into a
swoon. She recovered, and continued to be almost constantly at the bedside
of the sick woman. Awakening one morning after a short sleep, she was
surprised to see Madame Blavatsky sitting up in bed, looking calmly at her.
"Countess, come here!"
The Countess obeyed, asking: "What is the matter, H.P.B.? You look so
She replied, "Yes. Master has been here. He gave me my choice--that I
might die and be free if I would, or live and finish "The Secret Doctrine".
He told me how great would be my sufferings, and what a terrible time I
would have before me in England (for I am to go there) but when I thought of
those to whom I shall be permitted to teach a few things and of the T.S., to
which I have given my heart's blood already, I accepted the sacrifice."
She then called for some breakfast and to the surprise and joy of her
friends, got up and went into the dining-room, where later she received a
lawyer and the American Consul, who had come to superintend the making of her
will. One may imagine the change of expression which came over their faces
when, instead of coming into the presence of a dying woman, they found Madame
Blavatsky sitting in her armchair seemingly in the best of health. Thus once
more the specter of death was thrust away and H.P.B. had taken another lease
The next visitors were Dr. Keightley and Mr. Bertram Keightley of London,
who bore urgent invitations to Madame Blavatsky to come to London. To this she
finally consented. The Countess left Ostend for Sweden, and shortly H.P.B.
journeyed to London, where with the Keightleys she occupied a small cottage
called Maycot. Here the manuscript of "The Secret Doctrine" was finished. It
made a pile three feet high when it was given to the Keightleys for
correction of syntax, punctuation, and spelling. The Keightleys found that
it was not written in a consecutive manner, and outlined a plan of
rearrangement which was approved by Madame Blavatsky. The entire manuscript
was then typewritten.
Just before this work was finished, H.P.B. and her friends moved to 17
Lansdowne Road, Notting Hill, London, where they were joined by the Countess
Wachmeister and others, and there was established the first Headquarters.
It was first arranged to have "The Secret Doctrine" published by Mr.
George Redway, who was publishing "Lucifer", the magazine which had been
founded a short time before by H.P.B., and which has since been called the
"Theosophical Review", but as his proposal was not financially satisfactory,
and a friend of Madame Blavatsky's offered to furnish the money, an office
was taken in Duke Street, London, the primary object being to enable the
Theosophical Society to derive the utmost benefit from her writings.
Of the further history of the writing of "The Secret Doctrine" there is
little to be said, though several months more of hard work were necessary
before it was finally ready for the press. H.P.B. read and corrected two
sets of galley proof, then a set of page proof and finally a revise in
sheet correcting, altering and adding until the last, with the result that
the printers' bill for corrections alone amounted to $1,500.
Such is the story of "The Secret Doctrine"--a story which, like the book
itself, is derided by the majority of people, notwithstanding its
authentication by many persons of sound reason and blameless life. As in the
case of Copernicus and others, some day the world will wake up and find that
this much abused woman was right. Will a monument be raised to her? Who
knows? Whether it will be or not, the fact remains that in "The Secret
Doctrine" itself and in the affection with which its author is regarded by
every student who has been helped by her is a monument more lasting than
marble or bronze. For, though the Masters were the actual authors of the
work, let us not forget that it was the zeal and devotion of H.P.B. which so
excellently qualified her as an instrument for their use; and but for that
zeal and devotion we might not today possess the greatest of modern works on
occultism--"The Secret Doctrine".
We have traced the history of "The Secret Doctrine", from the time when
H.P.B.'s Master gave her the plan, until it was printed and given to the
world. Now study the plan upon which it was constructed, and try to catch a
glimpse of the teachings contained within its several volumes.
When we contemplate the range of subjects dealt with in this work--a range
bounded only by the universe--it is at once apparent how fragmentary must be
any outline. The content of "The Secret Doctrine" cannot be taught in one
lecture not in a hundred lectures, even though such a lecture course were
given by the most learned exponent. The work is a mine rich in priceless
gems of occult knowledge. Perseverance and intuition are the pick and shovel
by the diligent use of which we may become possessed of these jewels of
great price. A truth discovered by ourselves stays with us after we have
lost a dozen other truths explained to us by others. If therefore we can be
induced to dig within "The Secret Doctrine" for ourselves, we shall profit
more than if someone were to explain to us every teaching contained within
A cursory reading will prove a potent emans of bewildering the mind, as
before us whirl demons and devas, Dhyan Chohans and Kumaras, yugas and cycles,
satyrs and fakirs, adepts and alchemists, Manus and monads, in a continuous
phantasmagoria. To be of value "The Secret Doctrine" must be studied. Just
as Theseus, who entered the labyrinth of Crete to do battle with the
Minotaur, was gudied out of the maze by the thread of Ariadne, so the
student should fix his mind on one subject, and plunge boldly into the maze
to do battle with the Minotaur of ignorance. If he persists, and holds tight
the golden thread of intuition, he will be sure to bring out the priceless
gem of knowledge of the subject; and by his toil he will have made it part
of himself--a possession never to be lost. In this way he may spend days in
search of a small point, but when he understands that point, he will know
thsat the time was well spent. When at last he has extracted as far as he is
able the information contained in "The Secret Doctrine", there dawns upon
his mind a conception of the truth. I cannot describe the exultation I felt
at that first view of that truth, and how I meditated on it and admired it
as I saw it dovetail into all the general philosophies.
It should be remembered that the work which we are considering is not by
any means the whole of the esoteric philosophy possessed by the Masters of
Wisdom, but only a small fragment of its fundamental tenets. The teachings
of "The Secret Doctrine", however fragmentary and incomplete, do not belong
to the Hindu, Zoroastrian, Chaldean, or Egyptian religions; nor to Buddhism,
Islamism, Judaism or Christianity exclusively. The book contains the essence
of them all. Originating from the same source, all are in these volumes
resolved into their original elements, out of which every mystery and dogma
has developed and become materialized. The aim of the work is to show that
Nature is not a fortuitous concurrence of atoms, 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, to uncover to some
extent the fundamental unity from which they all sprang, and finally to show
that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the science of
When an architect starts to build a modern skyscraper he first prepares a
solid foundation; upon this he rears the massive steel beams to form the
skeleton of the building. This skeleton is then clothed in walls and floors of
concrete, terra cotta, and other materials. A system of steam-pipes like
arteries carries heat to every room. Its nervous system is an intricate
network of electric light and telephone wires, while in the basement throbs a
steam engine, driving an electric generator. The result is an organic whole
pulsing with life.
Somewhat similar was the procedure of the Masters of Wisdom who built the
monumetal structure of occult knowledge which we are considering. A Mohammedan
writer says, "In the assembly of the day of resurrection the sins of Kabak
will be forgiven for the sake of the Lust of the Christian Churches."
Professor Max Muller replied, "The sins of Islam are as worthless as the dust
of Christianity. In the day of the resurrection both Christians and
Mohammedans will see the vanity of their religious doctrines. Men fight about
religion on earth. In heaven they shall find out that there only one true
religion." In other words, "There is no religion higher than truth." Upon this
foundation of truth was raised by the Masters of the Wisdom of the Ages the
skeleton structure of the "Book of Dzyan", a Senzar manuscript of vast
antiquity, about which have been gathered all that was good and true in all
the world religions, cemented by occult knowledge, and ornamented with old
symbols and myths. These were the more beautiful for being deprived of the
scale of materialism which for ages had covered them. The result is the
congeries of transcendent philosophy contained in "The Secret Doctrine". It
may be asked: where are the arteries of steam pipes, the nervous system of
electric wires, the steam engine, and the electric generator to vitalize the
building? These the student must himself supply by making it part of
himself, by taking it into his own life. In proportion as he does this will
be the life it has for him, its measure and its limit being his devotion to
"The Secret Doctrine" establishes three fundamental postulates. The first
is the existence of an omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable
Principle on which all specualtion is impossible, since it transcends the
power of human conception and can only be dwarfed by any human expression or
similitude. It is beyond the range of thought, unspeakable and unthinkable.
This Be-ness is symbolized in "The Secret Doctrine" under two aspects: on
the one hand is Absolute Abstract Space, representing base subjectivity--the
one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception or
conceive of by itself. On the other hand is Absolute Abstract Motive,
representing unconditional consciousness. This latter aspect is also spoken
of as the Great Breath, the One Reality. The Absolute is the field of
absolute consciousness, or that essence which is out of all relation to
conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned
symbol; but once we pass in thought from this absolute negation (to us),
duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter.
Spirit and Matter are to be regarded not as independent realities, but as
symbols or aspects of the Absolute, 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 fount 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 is the
aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of nature.
The manifested universe is pervaded by duality, which is the very essence
of its existence 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 Eastern occultists "fohat". It is the
"bridge" by which ideas existing in the divine thought are impressed on
Thus from spirit or cosmic ideation comes our consciousness; from cosmic
substance come the several vehicles in which that consciousness is
individualized; while this substance in its various manifestations is the
mysterious link between mind and matter, the principle vivifying every atom.
The second fundamental postulate of "The Secret Doctrine" is the
existence of eternity in toto as a boundless plane--periodically the
playground of numberless universes which are incessantly manifesting and
disappearing. This postulate 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, waking and sleeping, life and death, is in fact so
common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to see
in it one of the fundamental laws of the universe.
The third and last of the basic postulates of "The Secret Doctrine" is
the fundamental identity of all souls with the universal Oversoul, the
latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory
pilgrimage of every soul through a cycle of incarnation. These souls or
sparks are the Sons abiding from everlasting, from the beginning of the
creative age in the bosom of the Father. They are to be made perfect through
sufferings. Each soul is truly equal to the Father as concerns its Godhead,
but inferior to the Father as concerns its manhood, and each is to go forth
into matter in order to render all things subject to itself. The soul is to
be sown in weakness that it may be raised in power, thus escaping from the
limitations of a static Logos, enfolding all divine powers, ominiscient and
ominpresent on its own plane, but unconscious on all other planes. Its glory
is to be veiled in soul-blinding matter in order that through experience,
the soul may become omnisicent and omnipresent ON ALL PLANES, repsonsive to
all divine vibrations instead of to those on the highest planes only. The
pivotal doctrine of the hidden wisdom admits of no privileges or special
gifts in man save those won by his own soul through a long series of
metempsychoses and reincarnations.
Such are the basic conceptions on which "The Secret Doctrine" rests. It
would not be fitting here to enter upon any defense or proof of their
inherent reasonableness, nor can I pause to show how they are contained--
though too often under a misleading guise--in all systems of thought or
philosophy worthy of the name. Once the student has gained a clear
comprehension of them and realized the light they throw on every problem of
life, he finds that they need no further justification.
The history of cosmic evolution as traced in the Stanzas of Dzyan may be
regarded as the abstract algebraic formula of that evolution. Hence the
student must not expect to find there an account of all the stages ands
transformations which have occurred between the 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 grasp the nature
of even the plane of existence next to their own. The Stanzas, therefore, give
an abstract formula which can be applied to all evolution--to that of our tiny
earth, to the chain of planets of which our earth forms one, to the solar
universe to which that chain belongs, and so on, in an ascending scale until
the mind reels an is exhausted in the effort to understand.
The seven Stanzas of the first volume represent the seven terms of the
abstract formula to which they refer, and describe the seven great stages of
the evolutionary process mentioned in the Hindu philosophy as the seven
creations, and in the Bible as the days of creation.
Stanza No. 1: describes the condition of the Absolute One during the
interlude between cosmic manifestations and before the first flutter of
reawakening activity. A moment's consideration will show how difficult it is
to describe such a state. Since it is a state of Absoluteness per se, it can
possess none of the specific attributes which serve to describe objects in
positive terms. Hence the state can be suggested only by negatives involving
all the most abstract attributes which men feel rather than conceive as the
remotest limits attainable by their powers of conception. We are informed by
the Stanza that:
Stanza No. 1: "The eternal parent wrapped in her ever invisible robes had
slumbered once again for seven eternities. Time was not, for it lay asleep in
the infinite bosom of duration. Universal mind was not, for there were no
Ah-Hi to contain it. The seven ways to bliss were not. The great causes of
misery were not, for there was no one to produce and get ensnared by them.
Darkness alone filled the boundless all, for father, mother and son were once
more one, and the son had not awakened yet for the new wheel, and his
pilgrimage thereon. The seven sublime lords and the seven truths had ceased to
be, and the Universe, the son of Necessity, was immersed in Paranishpanna [the
Absolute], to be outbreathed by that which is and yet is not. Naught was. The
causes of existence had been done away with; the visible that was, and the
invisible that is, rested in eternal non-being--the one being. Alone the one
form of existence stretched boundless, infinite, causeless, in dreamless
sleep; and life pulsated unconscious in universal space, throughout that All-
presence which is sensed by the opened eye of the Dangma [the inner spiritual
eye of the seer, or the Third Eye]."
Stanza No. 2: describes a stage which to the Western Mind is so nearly
identical with the first that to explain the difference would require a
treatise in itself. A grasp of what it contains can be obtained only through
the intuition and higher faculties of the student. Indeed, it must be
remembered that all the Stanzas appeal more to the inner faculties than to the
"Where were the Builders, the luminous Sons of Manvantaric Dawn? * * * The
producers of form from no-form--the root of the world--? * * Where was
silence? Where the ears to sense it? No, there was neither silence nor sound;
naught save ceaseless eternal breath, which knows itself not. The hour had not
yet struck; the ray had not yet flashed into the Germ; the Matripadma [Mother-
Lotus] had not yet swollen. * * * The universe was still concelaed in the
Divine thought and the Divine bosom."
Stanza No. 3: describes the reawakening of the universe to activity after
rest. It depicts the emergence of the monads from their state of absorption
within the One. Thus begins the earliest and highest stage in the formation
of worlds. The term "monad" may apply to the vastest solar system and the
tiniest atom. Says the Stanza:
"The last vibration of the seventh eternity thrills through inifinitude.
The mother swells, expanding from within without, like thge bud of the lotus.
The vibration sweeps along, touching with its swift wing the whole universe
and the germ that dwelleth in darkness. The darkness that breathes over the
slumbering waters of life. Darkness radiates light, and light drops one
solitary ray into the mother-deep. The ray shoots through the virgin egg, the
ray causes the virgin egg to thrill, and drop the non-eternal germ, which
condenses into the world-egg. * * * Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end
is fastened to spirit--the light of the one darkness--and the lower one to its
shadowy end, matter; and this web is the universe spun out of the two
wubstances made in one. * * * It expands when the breath of fire is upon it;
it contracts when the breath of the mother touches it. Then the sons
dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother's bosom at the end of the
great day, and re-become one with her: * * *"
Stanza No. 4: shows the differentiation of the germ of the universe into
the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Power which is the active
manifestation 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
intelligent beings who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves
those manifestations of the one Law which we know as the Law of Nature. This
stage of evolution is called in mythology the Creation of the Gods, but it is
not a creation of gods in the sense in which creation is generally understood
in the West, but as a reawakening into activity of Beings who have acquired
their transcendental intelligences in former universes.
Stanza No. 5: "The Primordial Seven, the First Seven Breaths of the Dragon
of Wisdom, produce in their turn from their Holy Circumgyrating Breaths the
The stanza describes the process of world formation; first, diffused cosmic
matter, then the fiery whirlwind--the first stage in the formation of a
nebula. This nebula condenses, and after passing through various
transformations froms a solar universe, a planetary chain, or a single planet,
as the case may be.
Stanza No. 6: indicates the subsequent stages in the formation of such a
world, and brings its evolution down to the fourth period--corresponding to
the period in which we are now living.
"* * * He builds them in the likeness of older wheels, placing them on the
Imperishable Centres. How does Fohat build them? He collects the fiery dust.
He makes balls of fire, runs through them, and round them, infusing life
thereinto, then sets them into motion; some one way, some the other way. They
are cold, he makes them hot. They are dry, he makes them moist. They shine, he
fans and cools them. Thus acts Fohat from one twilight to the other, during
Seven Eternities. * * * Make thy calculations, Lanoo, if thou wouldest learn
the correct age of the small wheel. Its fourth spoke is our mother. Reach the
fourth "fruit" of the fourth path of knowlkedge that leads to Nirvana, and
thou shalt comprehend, for thou shalt see."
Stanza No. 7: "Behold the beginning of sentient formless life. * * * The
one ray multiplies the smaller rays. Life precedes form, and life survives the
last atom of form. Through the countless rays proceeds the life-ray, the One,
like a thread through many jewels. * * * The spark hangs from the flame by the
finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven World of Maya. It stops
in the first, and is a metal and a stone; it passes into the second and
behold--a plant; the plant whirls through seven changes and becomes a sacred
animal. From the combines atteibutes of these, Manu, the thinker is formed.
The 7th Stanza continues the history, tracing the descent of life down to
the appearance of man, thus ending the description of comsic evoltuion as
found in the first volume.
For a graphic summary of the teaching of "The Secret Doctrine" on the
cosmogony of the system of worlds to which we belong, it would be difficult
to improve upon that given in an old commentary on the Book of Dzyan. "Eight
houses were built by Mother [Space]. Eight houses for her Eight Divine sons
[planets]; four large and four small ones. Eight brilliant suns, according
to their age and merits. Bal-i-lu (Marrtanda) [the eighth sun, the sun of
our solar system] was not satisfied, though his house was the largest. He
began (to work) as the huge elephants do. He breathed (drew in) into his
timach the vital airs of his brothers. He sought to devour them. The larger
four were far away; far, on the margin of their kingdom (planetary system).
They were not robbed (affected) and laughed. Do your worst, Sir, you cannot
reach us, they said. But the smaller wept. They complained to the Mother.
She exiled Bal-i-lu to the center of her Kingdom, from whence he could not
move. (Since then) he (only) watches and threatens. He pursues them, turning
slowly around himself, they turning swiftly from him, and he following from
afar the direction in which his brothers move on the path that encircles
their houses. (`The sun rotates on his axis always in the same direction in
which the planets revolve in their respective orbits.' astronomy teaches
If there is anywhere a plainer and more graphic exposition I should like to
know it. Modern astronomy also explains this phenomenon, though in some points
it differs. The occult doctrine rejects the hypothesis (born of the nebular
theory) that the seven great planets have evolved from the central mass of the
sun--at least, of our visible sun. The first condensation of cosmic matter
took place around a central nucleus, its parent sun, but according to the
occult teaching, the sun merely detached itself earlier than the others, as
the rotating mass contracted, and is their elder brother and not their father.
Each of these seven planets in its turn is again associated with six other
planets. Such a group is called a planetary chain. Each of these chains froms
a field of evolution for a certain number of monads or souls. There are
further subdivisions, but we need not be concerned with them here.
Evolution of these monads progresses through a series of manifestations on
one or more of these chains, and, just as this earth is the fourth and most
material planet of the seven globes which are the field of its special system
of evolution, do does this whole chain of worlds occupy the same place in the
larger scheme to which it belongs; that is to say, the life impulse which is
now cycling through this present period of evolution had its beginning long
anterior to it. There have been three such periods of evolution before this
one, and there will be three after this one has passed, before objective
manifestation once more returns to the bosom of the Infinite for a period of
Our own little earth and its human inhabitants are given due
consideration in the second volume of "The Secret Doctrine". To understand
it is by no means the simple task which one might suppose when viewing the
pictures representing the creation story in some of the old cathedrals of
Europe, where God appears much as a Nuremburg toymaker, hanging the planets
in the firmament, or sitting cross-legged on a table with a large pair of
scissors beside him, sewing coats of skin for Adam and Eve.
We understand also that the geological constitution of the earth cannot be
accounted for by the six-day or any other creation theory, for if God created
the world as thus set forth, we must also suppose that he twisted the strata,
stored the fossils between, scooped out the valleys supposed to have been made
by glaciers, and caused the marks of erosion by water all for His own glory
and for the mystification of man.
"The Secret Doctrine" teaches that the fire-mist which eventually
condensed into what is now our earth originally covered an area so large
that it enveloped the moon. The latter was heated to such an extent that it
was softened to the consistency of mud; its water and air were converted
into steam, and when the fire-mist contracted, the atmosphere and water
followed the new center. When the earth had cooled sufficiently, the
enveloping fire-mist condensed into our present water and air, until at the
time when the life-wave reached the earth from Mars in the course of the
present round, the earth had cooled so much that the water had become tepid.
About this time, the first of the four great continents--which existed
before the earth assumed its present topography--appeared in the region now
known as the Arctic.
Before going any further, it is necessary to understand the central
position of our earth in the whole plan of evolution. During the preceding
three and one-half rounds, the monads have been veiling themselves more and
more in matter. On the earth in our present round, the nadir of materiality
was reached by all kingdoms in the middle of the fourth race. We, being in the
fifth sub-race of the firth root-race, are just beginning to slowly raise
ourselves out of matter. We are the prodigal sons who went into a far country
to gather experience, and having gone as afr as we could, are now returning
home to our Father--who be the pouring out of Intelligence has met us a long
way off, and is now conducting us to our own spiritual home.
The general plan of human evolution on the globe is briefly this: seven
distinct root-races were destined to evolve a certain principle or sense. In
this way, the four races which preceded us developed hearing, touch, sight,
and taste. We have developed smell. The sixth and seventh root-races are to
develop astral and mental clairvoyance respectively. They will also develop
spirituality. We are developing intellectuality; our predecessors developed
desire. Each of the seven root-races divides into seven sub-races, these again
being subdivided. The evolution of each root-race takes place under the
guidance of a special teacher, a great spiritual entity who incarnates in that
race as ruler and lawgiver.
Each root-race evolves on its own continent, which is destroyed when that
evolution is finished, water and fire being used alternately as agents. The
archaic names of these continents are many, but to avoid confusion "The
Secret Doctrine" uses the names most familiar to Western readers. The first
continent it calls the Imperishable Sacred Land. The reason for this name is
that this continent is the only one whose destiny it is to last throughout
the whole of our stay on this chain of globes. It was the cradle of the
first man, and will be the dwelling of the last divine mortal Chaya as a
repository for the future seeds of humanity.
This sacred land has in its center Mount Meru, whose roots are in the
Himalayan chain; from the peak of this sacred mountain--which forms the axis
of the earth--there is a continuous flow of magnetic current, whcih spreads
over the whole globe, re-entering it at the south pole. Thence it goes to the
Holy City of Shamballah (the heart of the earth) in the Gobi Desert, where it
is purified by the Masters of the Great White Lodge, and sent back to Mount
Meru at the north pole. Around the sacred mountain, like leaves of the lotus,
are seven promontories. On these were born the seven sub-classes of the
first race, says the "Book of Dzyan": "The great Chohans [Lords] called the
Lords of the Moon, of the Airy Bodies. `Bring forth men, men of your nature.
Give them their forms within. She will build coverings without. Males-
females will they be.' * * * They [the Moon-gods] went each on his allotted
land: seven of them each on his lot."
Concerning anthropogenesis, "The Secret Doctrine" teaches: (1) the
simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of
our globe; (2) the birth of the astral bdoy before the physical, the latter
body being molded in the astral form; (3) the priority of man in this round
to the animals, the monkeys included. This last teaching is in accord with
the second creation story in the Bible; also with other books.
On the Sacred Imperishable Land were created by the Lords of the Moon chain
the first race--large, shadowy, ethereal beings floating hither and thither.
It may be asked, why call them human? For the same reason that a human fetus
is called human, when for the first eight weeks it si indistinguishable from
the embryonic dog. The method by which these beings reproduced was to throw
off their astral counterpart, which in time could throw off another, each
inferior to his father. This provides the explanation of the varying stages of
humanity, for such inferior beings were ensouled by enferior entities. This
race did not die, but was clother with the second race. The latter, after
the type had been definitely established, was led to what "The Secret
Doctrine" calls the Hyperborean continent, the promontories of which
stretched from the North Pole to the south and west. In the days of Homer
the Greeks spoke of it as a blessed land beyond the reach of Boreas, the god
of winter, and of the hurricane--an ideal country, where nights were short
and days were long.
On this continent lived the second-race men, ensouled by the second great
host of monads which had come over from the Moon chain. Although having the
general form of men, the individuals of this race were gigantic jellylike
creatures who floated over the surface of the earth, as directed by passing
desires. The features were undefined, there being no eyes, ears, or mouth.
They received impressions through and were guided by two centers of force, the
so-called thrid eye (which has become the pineal gland) and an organ which has
developed into the spleen. They were potentially bisexual, and reproduced
their species in the same manner as the first race. The second-race men were
boneless--which accounts for the fact that geologists have found no fossils in
the three lower strata.
During the later secondary period the waters receded, and land appeared in
the areas now covered by India, China, Australia, Africa, the Pacific Ocean
and Northern Europe. This was the vast Lemurian continent, to which the great
Lemurian race was led by its Teacher. This was the first race to receive the
outpouring of intelligence.
The mode of reproduction was changed three times during this period. Says
the "Book of Dzyan": "Then the second [race] evolved the Egg-born, the
third. * * * The egg of the future race, the Man-swan of the later third.
First male-female, then man and woman." Today embryology teaches that man is
born from the ovum; that in the third month the fetus is bisexual; then one
sexual organ becomes dominant, the other remaining rudimentary but never
disappearing. The body of the third root race man became firmer, and its
shape changed until it was man as we know he was--a giant twelve to fifteen
feet tall, with a dark yellow-brown skin, long lower jaw, flat face, eyes
far apart, the head sloping upward and backward. He had no forehead; the
hair was short, the back of the head bare, probably for the greater
convenience of the third eye. Arms and legs were much longer in proportion
than ours. His heels projected back, so that he could walk backward.
Certainly he was not too engaging a person. We can sympathize with the souls
who were guided to such bodies for incarnation, and excuse them for
During this age the animals appeared, and separated into sexes before
man. Up to this stage, man had remained (as the "Book of Dzyan" puts it) "an
empty, senseless shadow." Then came the time when he was to receive the
priceless gift of mind. To accomplish this three classes of souls came down
The first were the Lords of Venus, who, though not belonging to our
planetary chain, sent to this earth--their adopted child--great teachers who
taught and guided infant humanity. To them we can give thanks for the fact
that we are now about one round in advance of what we otherwise would have
achieved. These Lords established the Great White Lodge, which has existed
ever since, and from which have been sent all the great Teachers of humanity.
Originally the Lodge was not for the benefit of evolving humanity--which for
ages was not to be qualified to tread the path of initiation--but for those of
the Lords of Venus who had not reached the highest stage of initiation.
The other two classes are described as the Sons of Wisdom and the Sons of
Night. Of these the Sons of Night refused to create. Those who entered became
sages; on those who did not procreate, the curse was pronounced. They will be
born in the fourth suffering, and causing suffering.
Thus was a part of humanity left narrow-headed and mindless. Of them the
"Book of Dzyan" says: "And those which had no spark took huge she-animals
unto them. They begat upon them dumb races. Dumb they were themselves. But
their tongues untied. The tongues of their progeny remained still. Monsters
they bred. A race of crooked red-hair-covered monsters going on all fours. A
dumb race to keep the shame untold. Seeing which, the Lhas [the spirits, the
Sons of Wisdom] who had not built men, wept, saying: `The Amanasa [the
mindless] have defiled our future abodes. This is Karma [retribution]. Let
us dwell in the other. Let us teach them better, lest worse should happen. *
* * Then all men become endowed with Manas [mind]."
Some of the fourth race men who had mind, however, did the same--and here
is the explanation of "The Secret Doctrine" regarding the anthropoids. They
are not our ancestors--as is assumed by the evolutionists--but an offshoot
of the human race. They are the only animals now on the globe which will
develop human astral forms in the seventh root-race, and will be definitely
human in the fifth round.
There is still another class, of which one division incarnated during thr
later third and the other during the early fourth round. They had advanced too
far on the Lunar chain to be reborn on the earthly chain during the preceding
stages, and came into incarnation for the first time on this chain. These are
the last of the monads who inhabited the Moon chain.
From the seventh sub-race of the third race the Teacher who was to develop
the coming fourth race singled out those who were to form the nucleus, and led
them to that great see-ground for humanity--the Imperishable Sacred Land--
where he segregated them, says the "Book of Dzyan", two by two, on the seven
zones, and imbedded in their forms potentially the qualities to be developed
in the coming races. Meanwhile great cataclysms rent the continent, and
Lemuria as such disappeared, ages before the tertiary period. In its place
rose Atlantis, the fourth continent, destined to become the seat of a
civilization which in many ways excelled our own. Its rulers were divine
Priest-Kings. It was indeed the Golden Age; alchemistry was used to produce
gold for use in the arts and to ornament their houses and buildings.
Superphysical powers were a common possession.
When the divine pilots tried the experiment of relinquishing the helm to see
if man himself would be able to guide the ship of humanity, this was all
changed. "Then the Fourth [race] became tall with pride. We are the kings, it
was said; we are the gods. They took wives fair to look upon. Wives from the
mindless, the narrow-headed. They bred monsters. Wicked demons, male and
female. * * They built temples for the human body. Male and female they
worshipped. Then the Third Eye acted no longer. They built huge cities. * * *
They built great images nine yatis high, the size of their bodies. Inner fires
had destroyed the land of their fathers. The water threatened the fourth. The
first great waters came. They swallowed the seven great islands." Such is the
Story of the degradation into which fell the class which the BOOK calls the
Lords of Night, or the Dark Faces, in contradistinction to the Sons of
Wisdom, or Lords of the Dazzling Face. "The Secret Doctrine" tells the story
"And the `great King of the Dazzling Face', the chief of all the Yellow-
faced, seeing the sins of the Black-faced, was sad. He sent his air-vehicles
to all his brothers-chiefs (chiefs of other nations and tribes) with pious
men within saying `Prepare, arise ye men of the good law, and cross the land
while (yet) dry. The Lords of the storm are approaching. Their chariots are
nearing the land. One night and two days only shall the Lords of the Dark
Face (the Sorcerers) live on this patient land. She is doomed, and they have
to descend with her. The nether Lords of the Fires (the Gnomes and fire
Elemntals) are preparing their magic Agneyastra (fire-weapons worked by
magic). * * * They are versed in Ashtar (Vidya, the highest magical
knowledge). Come and use yours (your magic powers, in order to counteract
those of the Sorcerers). Let every lord of the Dazzling Face (and adept of
the White Magic) cause the Viwan of every lord of the Dark Face to come into
his hands (or possession), lest any (of the Sorcerers) should by its means
escape from the waters, avoid the rod of the Four, (Karmic deities) and save
his wicked (followers or people). May every yellow face send sleep from
himself (mesmerize?) to every black face. May even they (the Sorcerers)
avoid pain and suffering. May every man true to the Solar Gods bind
(paralyze) every man under the lunar gods, lest he should suffer or escape
his destiny. * * * The hour has struck, the black night is ready, etc.,
etc.'" The waters arose and covered the valleys from one end of the earth to
the other. So perished Atlantis and came into being the story of the deluge.
From the fifth sub-race of the fourth root-race, the original Semitic, had
been chosen by the Holy Vaivaswata, the Teacher of our fifth root-race, the
families who were to be the ancestors of the coming race. The Teacher led
them northward to the Sacred Imperishable Land, where with loving care he
instilled into them the potential characteristics of our present humanity.
When ages had passed, he led them again southward to Central Asia--the land
which has risen in place of the doomed Atlantis. Already the continents had
taken essentially the forms in which they now exist. From Central Asia
proceeded the different migrations. The first sub-race, the Aryan, went
southward to India. The second, the Aryan Semitic, peopled Arabia and Syria.
The third, the Iranian, led by Zarathustra, journeyed to Persia. The fourth,
the Keltic, led by Orpheus, settled in Greece, Italy, France, Ireland,
Scotland, and England. The fifth, the Teutonic, occupied Central Europe.
What does "The Secret Doctrine" say about the future? The land-body now
known as North America will be consumed by fire. In its place will arise a
new continent which will be the home of a spiritual people. This will be the
sixth root-race, the nucleus of which is being evolved right here, under the
Stars and Stripes. In that race, function will be restored to the pituitary
body and the pineal gland, which have been inactive since the degradation of
the fourth race. These two glands are not merely--as science says--two horny
warts covered by sand, but two very important organs temporarily out of use.
They are the keys to the spiritual worlds, which will in that race be opened
to all mankind. The granules with which these bodies are covered are absent
in children under seven and in congenital idiots. Weak-minded people have
but few. This race will be male-female and the sympathetic nerve will
develop into a second spinal cord. They will be a beautiful, spiritual and
mighty people. Yet this race with its continent will also pass away, to give
place to the seventh and last of our root-races.
The people of this last race will dwell on a land to the south of us, there
evolving to a state transcending our present understanding. Mental clairvoyance
will be possessed by all; the two spinal cords will merge into one, and man
will be sexless. Then will come the time when the life-wave will once more
leave our earth to conquer other worlds.
Such is the sublime plan to which we belong, as outlined in the first and
second volumes of "The Secret Doctrine". The third volume consists of a
miscellaneous collection of paprers published after the death of the author.
As the years pass, the truth of the statements in "The Secret Doctrine" are
being gradually vindicated. As the knowledge of students grow, their
admiration and reverence for their great teacher becomes more profound. With
but few and unimportant exceptions, everything which is to be found in the
voluminous literature of modern occultism has been available in "The Secret
Doctrine" ever since its publication. In the work is food for the heart and
for the intellect--a system of thought and knowledge which, if we will but
study it and put it into our lives, can make us wise unto salvation.
APHORISMS FROM MAX HEINDEL'S WRITINGS:
As our body is the visible garment of the invisible ego, so does the
visible fire clothe the true inivisible fire. Fire and the ego are both
spirits and both manifest under analogous laws.
A good memory is one that forgets the faults of others, but remembers the
A small man is always anxious for a big position because he feels that the
position will confer dignity and prestige upon him, but there are ninety-nine
chances that he will disgrace the position. A big man dignifies any position,
big or little, by the efficient way he handles it.
No matter how high that ideal seems or how far below it we feel, Saints
have realized it. They were men, and what man has done man can do again.
THE LOST WORD--You cannot say it unless you have first learned to live it.
PRAYER is magic incantation, but unless your life is a prayer, you will
never get the answer.
When you have set your goal, never harbor a thought of fear or failure, but
cultivate an attitude of invincible determination to accomplish your object
despite all obstacles, holding the thought of success constantly.
The Black Grail feeds on evil, while the Holy Grail feeds on Love. If evil
did not exist the powers of darkness would starve.
Prayer is like the turning on of the electric switch, that does not create
the current but simply provides a channel through which the electric current
may flow. In like manner prayer creates a channel through which the divine
life and light pour itself into us for our spiritual illumination.
There is but one safe way to develop our latent faculties. No matter what
anyone may say to the contrary, experience will prove that attainment to
spiritual powers depends upon purification and unselfish aspiration; and that
is what the mysteries taught in olden times.
Nature is the symbolic expression of God. She does nothing gratuitously,
but there is a purpose behind everything and every act.
It is one thing to go out in the mountains where there is no one to
contradict or to jar upon our sensibilities and keep our poise; but it is
another thing entirely to maintain our spiritual aspirations and keep our
balance in the world where everything jars upon us; but when we stay on this
path we gain a self-control which is unattainable in any other manner.
When we work and pray, and make our lives a living prayer for opportunities
to serve others, then all earthly things will come of their own accord as we
need them, and they will continue to come according to the degree that they
are used in the service of God.
A great and wonderful allegory is written in cosmic characters in the sky.
It is also written in our own lives, and warns us to forsake the fleeting life
of the material and to seek the eternal life of God.
There can be no contradiction in nature, therefore the heart and mind must
be capable of uniting. To indicate this common ground is precisely the purpose
of this book; to show where and how the mind, helped by the intuition of the
heart, can probe more deeply into the mysteries of being then either could
alone, where the heart by union with the mind, can be kept from going astray,
where each can have full scope for action, neither doing violence to the
other, where both mind and heart can be satisfied.
The Founder of the Christian Religion stated an occult maxim when He said,
"Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall
not enter therein." (Mark 10). All occultists recognize the far-reaching
importance of this teaching of Christ, and endeavor to live it day by day.
If, having knowledge and choice, man ranges himself on the side of good and
right, he cultivates virtue and wisdom. If he succumbs to temptation and does
wrong knowingly, he fosters vice.
In service is the only true greatness. Yet no matter how efficiently we may
serve, if we glory in our services, that self-glory is our only reward.
It should be our aim to think little of that which we do, to esteem
ourselves as nothing, for no matter how well we work, none of us are able to
serve God worthily even for one single day. So HUMILITY in service should be
our chief end and aim. The more thoroughly we can attain to that ideal, the
smaller we are in our own eyes, the greater shall we be in the sight of God.
It is always easy to get people to do big things, where they are bolstered
up by the dignity of the position. Lots of little men can always be found to
fill the conspicuous places, for this man enjoys to have everybody bowing
before him, but it takes a BIG MAN to do the little things, the things which
are called menial, which are not menial for the personality dignifies the
No matter what people say to us or about us their words have no intrinsic
power to hurt. It is our own mental attitude towards their utterances which
determines the effect of their words upon us for good or ill. Paul, when
facing persecution and slander, testified that, "None of these things moved
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