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The Secret Doctrine, Volume III

H. P. Blavatsky

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This is the somewhat controversial, third volume of The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky which was published by Annie Besant after Blavatsky's death. Chapters include: Modern Criticism and the Ancients; The Origin of Magic; The Secresy of Initiates; Some Reasons for Secresy; The Dangers of Practical Magicl Old Wine in New Bottles; The Book of Enoch the Origin and the Foundation of Christianity; Hermetic and Kabalistic Doctrines; Various Occult Systems of Interpretations of Alphabets and Numerals; The Hexagon with the Central Point, or the Seventh Key; The Duty of the True Occultist toward Religions; Post-Christian Adepts and their Doctrines; Simon and his Biographer Hippolytus; St. Paul the real Founder of present Christianity; Peter a Jewish Kabalist, not an Initiate; Apollonius of Tyana; Facts underlying Adept Biographies; St. Cyprian of Antioch; The Eastern Gupta Vidya & the Kabalah; Hebrew Allegories; The Zohar on Creation and the Elohim; What the Occultists and Kabalists have to say; Modern Kabalists in Science and Occult Astronomy; Eastern and Western Occultism; The Idols and the Teraphim; Egyptian Magic; The Origin of the Mysteries; The Trial of the Sun Initiate; The Mystery Sun of Initiation; The Objects of the Mysteries; Traces of the Mysteries; The Last of the Mysteries in Europe; The Post-Christian Successors to the Mysteries; Symbolism of Sun and Stars; Pagan Sidereal Worship, or Astrology; The Souls of the Stars—Universal Heliolatry; Astrology and Astrolatry; Cycles and Avataras; Secret Cycles; The Doctrine of Avataras; The Seven Principles' The Mystery of Buddha' Reincarnations of Buddha; An Unpublished Discourse of Buddha; Nirvana-Moksha; The Secret Books of Lam-Rin and Dzyan; Amita Buddha Kwan-Shai-yin, and Kwan-yin.—What the Book of Dzyan and the Lamaseries of Tsong-Kha-pa say; Tsong-Kha-pa.—Lohans in China; A few more Misconceptions Corrected; The Doctrine of the Eye & the Doctrine of the Heart, or the Heart's Seal; and, Some Papers On The Bearing Of Occult Philosophy On Life.

This book has 449 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1897.

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Excerpt from 'The Secret Doctrine, Volume III'

“Power belongs to him who knows;” this is a very old axiom. Knowledge—the first step to which is the power of comprehending the truth, of discerning the real from the false—is for those only who, having freed themselves from every prejudice and conquered their human conceit and selfishness, are ready to accept every and any truth, once it is demonstrated to them. Of such there are very few. The majority judge of a work according to the respective prejudices of its critics, who are guided in their turn by the popularity or unpopularity of the author, rather than by its own faults or merits. Outside the Theosophical circle, therefore, the present volume is certain to receive at the hands of the general public a still colder welcome than its two predecessors have met with. In our day no statement can hope for a fair trial, or even hearing, unless its arguments run on the line of legitimate and accepted enquiry, remaining strictly within the boundaries of official Science or orthodox Theology.

Our age is a paradoxical anomaly. It is preëminently materialistic and as preëminently pietistic. Our literature, our modern thought and progress, so called, both run on these two parallel lines, so incongruously dissimilar and yet both so popular and so very orthodox, each in its own way. He who presumes to draw a third line, as a hyphen of reconciliation between the two, has to be fully prepared for the worst. He will have his work mangled by reviewers, mocked by the sycophants of Science and Church, misquoted by his opponents, and rejected even by the pious lending libraries. The absurd misconceptions, in so-called cultured circles of society, of the ancient Wisdom-Religion (Bodhism) after the admirably clear and scientifically-presented explanations in Esoteric Buddhism, are a good proof in point. They might have served as a caution even to those Theosophists who, hardened in an almost life-long struggle in the service of their Cause, are neither timid with their pen, nor in the least appalled by dogmatic assumption and scientific authority. Yet, do what Theosophical writers may, neither Materialism nor doctrinal pietism will ever give their Philosophy a fair hearing. Their doctrines will be systematically rejected, and their theories denied a place even in the ranks of those scientific ephemera, the ever-shifting “working hypotheses” of our day. To the advocate of the “animalistic” theory, our cosmogenetical and anthropogenetical teachings are “fairy-tales” at best. For to those who would shirk any moral responsibility, it seems certainly more convenient to accept descent from a common simian ancestor and see a brother in a dumb, tailless baboon, than to acknowledge the fatherhood of Pitris, the “Sons of God,” and to have to recognise as a brother a starveling from the slums.

“Hold back!” shout in their turn the pietists. “You will never make of respectable church-going Christians Esoteric Buddhists!”

Nor are we, in truth, in any way anxious to attempt the metamorphosis. But this cannot, nor shall it, prevent Theosophists from saying what they have to say, especially to those who, in opposing to our doctrine Modern Science, do so not for her own fair sake, but only to ensure the success of their private hobbies and personal glorification. If we cannot prove many of our points, no more can they; yet we may show how, instead of giving historical and scientific facts—for the edification of those who, knowing less than they, look to Scientists to do their thinking and form their opinions—the efforts of most of our scholars seem solely directed to killing ancient facts, or distorting them into props to support their own special views. This will be done in no spirit of malice or even criticism, as the writer readily admits that most of those she finds fault with stand immeasurably higher in learning than herself. But great scholarship does not preclude bias and prejudice, nor is it a safeguard against self-conceit, but rather the reverse. Moreover, it is but in the legitimate defence of our own statements, i.e., the vindication of Ancient Wisdom and its great truths, that we mean to take our “great authorities” to task.

Indeed, unless the precaution of answering beforehand certain objections to the fundamental propositions in the present work be adopted—objections which are certain to be made on the authority of this, that, or another scholar concerning the Esoteric character of all the archaic and ancient works on Philosophy—our statements will be once more contradicted and even discredited. One of the main points in this Volume is to indicate in the works of the old Âryan, Greek, and other Philosophers of note, as well as in all the world-scriptures, the presence of a strong Esoteric allegory and symbolism. Another of the objects is to prove that the key of interpretation, as furnished by the Eastern Hindu-Buddhistic canon of Occultism—fitting as well the Christian Gospels as it does archaic Egyptian, Greek, Chaldæan, Persian, and even Hebrew-Mosaic Books—must have been one common to all the nations, however divergent may have been their respective methods and exoteric “blinds.” These claims are vehemently denied by some of the foremost scholars of our day. In his Edinburgh Lectures, Prof. Max Müller discarded this fundamental statement of the Theosophists by pointing to the Hindu Shâstras and Pandits, who know nothing of such Esotericism. The learned Sanskrit scholar stated in so many words that there was no hidden meaning, no Esoteric element or “blinds,” either in the Purânas or the Upanishads. Considering that the word “Upanishad” means, when translated, the “Secret Doctrine,” the assertion is, to say the least, extraordinary. Sir M. Monier Williams again holds the same view with regard to Buddhism. To hear him is to regard Gautama, the Buddha, as an enemy of every pretence to Esoteric teachings. He himself never taught them! All such “pretences” to Occult learning and “magic powers” are due to the later Arhats, the subsequent followers of the “Light of Asia”! Prof. B. Jowett, again, as contemptuously passes the sponge over the “absurd” interpretations of Plato's Timæus and the Mosaic Books by the Neoplatonists. There is not a breath of the Oriental (Gnostic) spirit of Mysticism in Plato's Dialogues, the Regius Professor of Greek tells us, nor any approach to Science, either. Finally, to cap the climax, Prof. Sayce, the Assyriologist, although he does not deny the actual presence, in the Assyrian tablets and cuneiform literature, of a hidden meaning—

Many of the sacred texts ... so written as to be intelligible only to the initiated—

Production notes: This edition of The Secret Doctrine, Volume III was published by Global Grey ebooks on the 16th March 2019, and updated on the 17th April 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Huttens Grab' by Caspar David Friedrich.

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