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I Dedicate to all True Theosophists,
In Every Country,
And of Every Race,
For they called it forth, and for them it was recorded.
THE SECRET DOCTRINE is justly to be regarded as one of the crowning achievements of H. P. Blavatsky's life, and more and more of the best thinkers of today, scientists, deep students of life and nature, are coming to look upon it as the most marvelous work that has appeared in the English language; but while some openly speak of their indebtedness to it, many more study it in secret and draw upon its vast stores of knowledge for teachings which they give out as their own. Its ideas are permeating the thought-atmosphere of the world, and many of its teachings which at the time of the first edition called forth hostile criticism and denial, have already received ample corroboration by the scientific researches of the past twenty years.
In 1885, when beginning the writing of this great work, H. P. Blavatsky said that it would receive recognition in the XXth Century, “when men will begin to understand and discuss this book intelligently." No one who has watched the current of events and has kept touch with the religious and scientific thought of the past thirty years, can fail to note changes and developments, in many cases amounting to a complete revolution of ideas, that are without parallel in history. What has been the cause of this? What new and powerful influence has entered the arena of human life, producing results in a few years such as could not have occurred, under former conditions, in centuries? The experiences of ten years, as our forefathers knew time, are crowded into one. What is it that has caused this? What has been the influence at work? It is the closing of one cycle and the opening of another, and with it came Theosophy: the teaching which H. P. Blavatsky has given to the world partly in THE SECRET DOCTRINE; in part in Isis Unveiled; and in part in her other writings for the public and for her students.
Amid the flickering lights of the innumerable theories of self-styled teachers of "Occultism," pseudo-Oriental practices, and psychism; amid the jangling of creeds and the blind groping of scientific theories, Theosophy alone stands unmoved, the Wisdom-Religion of the ages; not as a theory, not as a supposition or a mere working hypothesis, but as a body of teaching that has been handed down throughout the whole life-history of man, and whose statements have been verified by the Sages of all times. Like a great beacon it sheds its light over heartsick humanity which cries out in the darkness of its despair, asking ever Why? Why? Why all this awful suffering, why the perplexities, the injustices of life? - asking questions regarding man, his origin, his destiny, and the purpose of life: the Riddle of the Universe.
Therefore it is that the issue of the first Point Loma edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is an event of significance and importance, and marks one of the chapters in the history of the Theosophical Movement. Originally dedicated to all true Theosophists in every country and of every race, for they called it
forth and for them it was recorded," it is in this new edition re-dedicated to all true students who by their efforts have helped to spread its teachings. Not only their faithfulness and devotion, but the heart-cry of thousands groping in the darkness, and of other thousands who have dared to break away from the bondage of creed and dogma, but yet know not where to turn for light: all these have called forth this new edition, and like the first original edition it goes out a winged messenger of hope, and as a lamp unto the feet of the searchers for truth. To them therefore is it committed; to the great Body of Theosophical workers, young and old, in all lands, and to the best, the most sincere, the most thoughtful, and reverent elements in the human race.
The present volumes are virtually a verbatim reprint of the original edition published in 1888 by H. P. Blavatsky. Great pains have been taken to make the paging agree with that original.
The only changes consist of: (a) A careful transliteration of Sanskrit words throughout according to an accepted standard, and an occasional correction of Greek or Latin; but this has not been done in a certain few cases where ambiguity in the original Sanskrit as H. P. Blavatsky had it, allowed of more than one meaning. In these cases such words have remained untouched, leaving the reader to judge of H. P. B.'s meaning according to his intuition. These cases are exceedingly few. (b) Square brackets have been used instead of parentheses to mark H. P. Blavatsky's many interjections and remarks, in quotations from other works and writers. The original edition in these cases almost invariably had parentheses, and thus the average reader found it not easy to distinguish between H. P. B.'s comments and the statements of the writers she quoted. Had the original edition been more carefully printed - which under all the circumstances was hardly possible - this could have been avoided. (c) References to other works have been verified, as far as possible. (d) Typographical errors have been corrected. No changes have been made in H. P. Blavatsky's language.
While the verification of detail has its value, it may be said at once that the comprehension of this work by its students will be found to require something more than that laborious brain-mind analysis which has in our day come to be considered the only stepping-stone to knowledge in the domains of science and theology. There is, throughout, the constant appeal to that in man which knows, to the intuition.
Space will not permit of more than the barest outline of H. P. Blavatsky's life, but so many garbled misrepresentations of her and her work have appeared in books and encyclopaedias from time to time, penned too frequently by people who were unable to bear the strong light of Theosophy; or who, brought face to face with their weaknesses, had not the courage to eradicate them; or by people who presumed to think they knew as much as she, that I deem it a privilege to pay tribute to her heroic sacrifice for humanity.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born at Ekaterinoslaw, Southern Russia, on July 31 (Russian style), 1831. Her father Colonel Peter Hahn was the son of
General Alexis Hahn von Rottenstern Hahn, representative of a noble family of Mecklenburg, Germany, settled in Russia. Her mother, Helena Fadeef, was the daughter of Privy-Councillor Andrew Fadeef and of the Princess Helena Dolgorouky. She had a wonderful childhood, she loved the solitude of the deepest woods, and made companions of the wild birds and animals, while from her tenderest years she had a heart of compassion which sought to relieve suffering and distress wherever she found them. In 1848, when still but a young girl of seventeen, she was married to Councillor of State Nicephore Blavatsky, Vice-Governor of the Province of Erivan, a man old enough to be her father. Shortly after, however, this unhappy girl started on her travels, visiting Egypt, Greece and other parts of Eastern Europe, and then London, which she reached at the time of the great exhibition of 1851. It was here that she encountered for the first time in physical form the one whom she had learned in her childhood to regard as her Teacher.
Many years she spent in traveling, visiting Canada, the United States, Peru, India, Tibet — going to Lhassa, and to the sacred lake Mânasarovâra. She returned to Russia in 1860, remaining there until 1867, except for a short visit to Italy in 1863. She again visited the East, Greece, and Palestine. She is said to have been wounded at the battle of Mentana. She reached Russia again in 1872. In the following year she went to Paris, then to New York, arriving July 7, 1873. In 1874 she met William Q. Judge, who became her pupil, and at her death in 1891 succeeded her as Leader of the Theosophical Movement.
On September 7, 1875, at her rooms in New York, William Q. Judge being also present, she openly authorized the formation of a Society. On the next day the Theosophical Society was accordingly formed, and from the seed thus planted has grown the UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD AND THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, the International Headquarters of which are now at Point Loma, California.
At this time she was engaged in writing Isis Unveiled amid almost insuperable difficulties, which are referred to in the Point Loma edition (Preface). This, her first great work, was published in 1877. In the following year, she was naturalized as an American citizen, and at the close of 1878 she departed for India with three others, leaving General Abner Doubleday as President pro tem., with William Q. Judge as Recording Secretary. The Parent Body in America subsequently became incorporated in the Aryan Theosophical Society, of which William Q. Judge was President until his death in 1896. The "three objects" of the Theosophical Society were first defined in 1878 in a circular issued from New York.
Visiting London on her way, she reached Bombay in February, 1879, and there founded and edited the Theosophist Magazine. In 1880 she visited Ceylon, and in 1881 she was at Simla. Here she delivered the remarkable message to the Brahmans of Allahâbâd, known as the "Prayâga Theosophical Society Letter," severely criticising certain Brâhmanical practices, particularly child-marriage. From 1882 to 1884, H. P. Blavatsky resided at Adyar, Madras, the Indian Headquarters of the Society, continuing the publication of the Theosophist (monthly), and conducting an international correspondence. She left for Europe in 1884. It was during her absence that an outrageous plot was worked up against her by two Europeans whom she had both sheltered and fed when they were destitute. About this time, the Psychical Research Society, recently