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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truth for the few; an extravagence for the many., 23 Aug 2010
This is not a book that will appeal to the majority, or even to the minority of 'occultists' and 'mystics'. The latter being those who wish to have their own fancies and fantasies confirmed, rather than learn the truths Blavatsky reveals in this book. Unfortunately, the intellect alone cannot apprehend these truths without the aid of intuition; a fact insisted upon by every true Teacher from Buddha to Jesus, and before.

Now whether you choose to call intuition 'spiritual vision', 'inspiration' 'the eye of the soul', or anything else under the Sun, the fact remains that every great philosopher and spiritual teacher has said that unless we can learn to transcend our purely physical, earthly 'thinking', we shall never have any apprehension of the truth of anything, much less the nature of Man, or God, or the Universe. In the degree that we DO use these higher senses we will find the 'difficulties' of this book are largely of our own making and melt away like snow under the warming rays of the Sun of Wisdom.

Far be it from this writer to tell anyone what they should or should not read. But it will be clear to anyone with the slightest SINCERE interest in Truth and Wisdom that the Secret Doctrine was written for the few and not the many. If you are among the former you will not need me to tell you that this remarkable book bears the stamp of Holy Truth on every one of it's inspired pages. If you are NOT, you will dismiss it as bunkum and consign it to the rubbish heap of mystical literature which fills the bookshelves of stores around the world to overflowing.

As Blavatsky herself says in her preface: "The aim of this 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 civilisation."
As other reviewers, more capable and diligent than the writer, have covered the subjects Blavatsky discusses in some depth, I will not recapitulate their good efforts, except to say that after a lifetime of study and the acquisition of many hundreds of the best works on philosophy, science, mysticism and occultism, I know of no other book in existence that answers so clearly and completely the question of who Man is, whence he comes, whither he is going and what the purpose of Life is. Needless to add, the answer is not '42'; much as I both enjoy and admire the fiction of Douglas Adams!

For those who CAN see the Light that shines from the golden leaves of the Secret Doctrine this book will be a revelation that will open the door to a hitherto undreamed of world of truth, beauty and wonder; constituting an edifice of unbelievable grandeur and sublimity. Such will join the ranks of appreciative readers like Albert Einstein, who always kept a copy of the Secret Doctrine by his bedside.

In passing, I would just like to point out that there are several editions of the Secret Doctrine in print as well as abridgements of it. I'm sure I don't need to add that where different editions of an author's work exist it is generally best to obtain the one that THEY themselves wrote and approved. In this case that is the edition published by the Theosophical University Press of Pasadena, USA. This is a photographic facsimile of the first two-volume edition of 1888 bound into one volume and verbatim with it. A three-volume edition (considerably 'edited' by Annie Besant and other leading 'lights' of the Theosophical Society, was published after Blavatsky's death. This is to be avoided, as are the many abridgements and 'improvements' which have appeared in recent years.

Let me end this rather inadequate review with a quotation from the book itself:
"I have here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them" (Secret Doctrine, I, xivi). In thus quoting the French essayist, Michel de Montaigne, Blavatsky not only displays the humility which is ever the hallmark of the true Sage (in stark contrast to her many detractors and calumniators, both past and present!), but also demonstrates that the 'flowers' in question are not new. On the contrary, they are the scattered efflorescence of the ANCIENT Wisdom which she gathered together for the very first time in ages for the benefit of the few who are able to appreciate it. May YOU who reads this be such an one and discover the treasures hidden within the pages of this most remarkable of books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the one i was looking for all my life, 16 Dec 2012
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if you want to have better understanding of the world we are living in, all the lies, the real and the unreal, this book is for you, u need to read 10 times before the knowledge starts to flow inside your heart
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A massive study tome, be prepared!, 21 Jan 2005
D. Lane (Paignton, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Secret Doctrine (Hardcover)
I must confess now that I have only managed to read into the first chapter of this book, but felt it necessary to put comment down as regards Blavatsky in general (or any polymath for that matter). An analogy of this work is that it is like the trunk of the tree of knowledge whereby an acute understanding of the roots is required. Blavatsky had an astounding array of source materials at her fingertips, and drew these together in this opus. It is perhaps obvious, but I feel quite often overlooked that one should seek an understanding of a work by preparing yourself in the manner that the author prepared themselves when writing their work. Wizards bookshelf have produced a list of books that are a reference series covering most of the volumes in the Blavatsky library and I would strongly recommend that people put off diving headlong into this dense volume before acquainting themselves with some of the ideas presented in these other texts (a list of these can be found on the theosophical societies' website). This is very much akin to a textbook, thus just as in advanced physics you do not asume to read quantum mechanics first thing without a modicum of preparedness the same is echoed here. It is true that the greatest of things in this life have the greatest risk, just as in the farther they reach the further one can fall also. In this vein one reads in the hope to pierce through the myriad of our attempts at understanding to capture the kernel of knowledge at the heart of writings such as these, our only enemy being the restraint on our curiosity coming from the statement "I know" and our clinging to this comfort. Be prepared, gather experience, and alter your preconceptions regarding what we perceive, free your conditioned self.
I know some may see this as a bit conceited, but ofference in goodwill and the hope that there is some benefit is all I place on these words. Furthermore, I suppose the fact that I haven't read the book will put a few off, I have managed to read Isis Unveiled and formed opinion from that.
I see this book as the crowning achievement to read coming off a much longer and inclined journey, that requires an expanded imagination of just what we are capable of.
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47 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historic Note on 'The Secret Doctrine', 3 May 1998
By A Customer
Aside from being Sirhan Sirhan's inspiration for killing the younger Kennedy, this is a rather remarcable book. It was the first book that Mr. Sirhan requested when he was usured off to jail. This was because of Mrs. Blavatsky's teaching in the book that he was 'Becoming a God' and nothing could prevent him from achiving 'His Will'. Of course, this is not a new teaching. It is just tragic that he took her at her literal word.
The New Age movment is a direct deseandant of Mrs. Blavatsky's writings. First with her 'Isis Unveiled' (pub. 1877), a "1,300-page compilation of mysticism, tall stories and archaeology, which hints at a lost knowledge that had been familiar to the initiates of antiquity"..."The result was both vitriolic and garbled, but 'Isis Unveiled' was to provide endless scope for interpretation." (Encyclopedia of the Unexplained - Ed. Richard Cavendish, Consultant: Professor J.B. Rhine [of Parapsychology fame], writen by historian James Webb - pg 250).
The book was 'shown' to her in the air before her eyes as the Akashic Records. The Akashic Records are 'distinct vibrations' for every creature in the Chosmos that can be read by anyone whos eyes are 'atuned' to the mystical. A kind of 'cosmic record-keeper' to be used in determaning whether or not you come back as a bug or what-not in your next life. They were made famous by Levi Dowling (1844-1911), an old Cival War army chaplain, who wrote 'The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ'. It was published after his death by Eva S. Dowling, Ph.D. - the Scribe to the Messenger - in 1911. The 'Christ' (lit. anointed) was mearly a title, like President or Prime Minister, and is used by many peaple (Buddha, Krishna, Mohamed the Prophet, and so-on) - not just one single person.
In writing 'The Secret Doctrine' Mrs. Blavatsky used the same method to interpet the ancient 'Stanzas of Dzyan' [not the so-called Chinese text interpreted in H.P. Lovecraft's works]. Published in 1888 it was mearly an extention of 'Isis Unveiled' an! d a serious attempt at reconciling the differences between East and West occultic thought. 'Man is God in the making' was her basic premiss. It is slightly easyer to make sence of than 'Isis Unveiled' and is the literal bible for the Theosophical Society. After Mrs. Blavatsky's death in 1891 the Theosophical Society (started by Blavatsky in 1875) splintered into four seperate groups - helped by Annie Besant's telling the world that the New Messiah was comming in 1906. Jiddu Krishnamurti was hailed as this New Messiah, a hindu boy manipulated by Besant. On 28 Dec 1925 he was hailed as the New Messiah come to heal the world. But in 1929 Krishnamurti renounced all claims to being a Messiah, and subsiquently suffered amnesia to any events that happened before then. Because of this farce Dr. Steiner (1861-1925) had broken away and started the Anthroposophical Society - Alice Bailey did the same and started the Acaine School - and Guy and Edna Ballard broke away to start the now infamous 'I Am' school in the 1930's. It was Mrs. Ballard that had made the prophecy in the late 1980's that the soviet's were about to launch a nuclear attack and all her disciples hade to barracade themselves in a fallout shelter in the Teton Mt's. Needless to say, she is hard to get in touch with now.
Athough 'The Secret Doctrine' is a product of Mrs. Blavatsky's mysticism, it is still a book that has a far reach even today. This alone makes it an invalueable addition to any library. The Age of Aquarius (beleived by Mrs. Blavatsky to be upon us) is now here. What we make of it is another story entirly.
Sincerly, Shawn W. Ooten
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15 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saint-Germain did not write the Secret Doctrine, 1 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Speaking as one who is interested in reading comments about the Secret Doctrine, it seems that reviews should be of the book and not the life story of an unrelated person who has nothing to do with the book ( I know that Theosophy says in part that we must become our own authority and not depend on "chosen ones" channeling/speaking-for "Ascended Masters". Why is this review here ???
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The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy: Index to Vols. I and II
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