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Re: Theos-World Some Examples of the Changes in The Voice of the Silence

Feb 12, 2006 04:58 PM
by leonmaurer

I'm glad I asked.   

Now, after going over this material for the umpteenth time, all I can see is 
nonsensical and personalized nit picking over minor changes made in one of 
HPB's books that makes mountains out of molehills about simple editorial touch 
ups by another Adept, equal to if not a more knowledgeable Sanskrit scholar than 
HPB, who could only bring her admittedly poor English into better grammatical 
clarity... While also correcting the spelling of foreign words, or fixing 
gross typographical and punctuation errors and other inadvertent mistakes made by 
Blavatsky in her translation (or possibly, faulty transcription of telepathic 
communication from her Masters) of the VOS excerpt from the Book of the 
Golden Precepts.

These changes in the VOS include the obvious correction in the length of 
Brahma's life, as well as the removal and correction of the oxymoron "oblong 
square," etc.    All this being done by WQJ without in any way changing the 
underlying meanings or subtle expression of heart doctrine teachings in the body text 
of the VOS itself.   Isn't this all that serious theosophical students -- who 
are not nit pickers or those with ulterior motives trying to discredit ULT -- 
should care about?  

In comparison, could we say that WQJ tampered with the original teachings of 
Patanjali when he transliterated it into understandable and theosophically 
consistent English?   Could we say the same thing about his translation of the 
Bhagavad Gita?   Would HPB have had any trouble accepting those translations (or 
transliterations as they should be called) as being a true and valid 
transmission of the original teachings?   Didn't HPB herself, edit the original 
teachings of theosophy transmitted to her by the Masters when she transcribed it in 
English, a second language that she wasn't entirely adept in writing?   Didn't 
she need to rely on further editorial proofreading and corrections by Olcott 
and Judge, among others, before submitting the manuscripts for typesetting? 

Additionally, with reference to the most obvious change in the VOS that seems 
to be the focus of these accusations of tampering, I was taught by several 
knowledgeable Free Mason teachers and Kabbalists (my father for one) later 
confirmed by a Tibetan initiated master occultist -- that the phrase "oblong 
square" is an esoteric architectural and Masonic figure of speech used to refer to a 
"town square" that had the particular oblong proportions based on the golden 
ratio, phi.   

In geometric terms, the rectangle which is based on this ratio and used in 
designing such a "square" is actually called the "golden rectangle." Since, it 
also relates to the Fibonacci series and numbers, and is the basis of the 
golden spiral that appears throughout nature, from the seed pods of the Sunflower 
to the shell of a chambered Nautilus -- this proportion and ratio admittedly 
has some occult connotations.  

However -- in the context of the use of such architectural terms in HPB's 
introduction of the VOS to describe the original tablets it was inscribed on -- 
such a phrase has NO SIGNIFICANCE with respect to the teachings in the body of 
the text itself (other than, perhaps, serving as an implied proof to initiates 
that HPB actually saw the originals). 

But what has that got to do with the teachings, themselves?   Doesn't this 
consideration of the unchanged nature of those teachings due to minor editorial 
corrections by an original teacher of theosophy completely trivialize this 
controversy about original and so called tampered or doctored writings of the 
original teachers?   

So, why make a big issue of these minor changes that have no effect on 
Blavatsky's original teachings -- which is all that ULT and its associates are 
concerned with?   

As an independent associate of ULT as far back as the mid 1960s, I have 
always been entirely satisfied that the books published by the Theosophy Company 
are the unadulterated original teachings as given out by the Masters and 
transmitted through both HPB and WQJ.    Therefore, I'm fully convinced that any 
changes in HPB's original translation made by "G.R.S. Mead and Annie Besant," et 
al, were satisfactorily and justifiably accepted if correct, or corrected if 
wrong by Mr. Judge when he proofread and edited the VOS galleys prior to 
publication by the TC.

Therefore, since Blavatsky (apparently unaware of how the uninitiated reader 
might see it as an oxymoron) used the Masonic term to describe the oblong 
tablets upon which the original manuscript of the VOS was inscribed (which may 
have been in the ratio of a golden rectangle) -- the editor's changing of the 
expression "oblong square" to a plain "oblong," so as to prevent the confusion or 
misunderstanding that such a self contradictory oxymoron would produce in the 
minds of uninitiated readers -- was entirely justified.   Especially, since 
such a correction exactly described what HPB saw, and made no difference in the 
heart doctrine teaching in the VOS... Just as none of the other "hundreds" of 
so called "tampering" (actually minor corrections for the sake of clarity, or 
actual errors related to theosophical facts by a knowledgeable editor) had 
any effect whatsoever on the teachings themselves.

In my view, to use this change, as well as all the other minor editorial 
polishing by an experienced writer/editor and theosophist as knowledgeable as HPB, 
as well as her trusted collaborator and interpreter of her original works 
(e.g., the Ocean of Theosophy as an "approved" and clarifying condensation of the 
Secret Doctrine) so as to imply or suggest that the VOS teachings were 
deleteriously altered -- is utter nonsense -- and certainly not worth taking up the 
time of members of this forum to continue harping on. 

Best wishes,


In a message dated 2/10/06 2:14:45 AM, writes:

> I wrote:
> "Why are there hundreds of changes in this Theosophy Company's
> Leon replied:
> "Could you list exactly what these 'hundreds of changes' are?"
> SOME of these changes can be found listed in the following
> postings:
> For the probable source for these changes, see:
> I am currently working on an uptodate article that will
> give all the significant details similar to the article I
> wrote on "Reprint of A Modern Panarion by the Theosophy Company"
> which can be read at:
> If one looks at the publisher's preface to the Thesophy
> Company's facsimile reprint of the SD, one can find certain
> VALID criticisms of various questioned editions of the SD.
> See:
> These criticisms are right on the mark ....
> and can ALSO be applied to the Theosophy Co.'s edition of the
> I rephrase the criticisms to apply to the TC edition of the VOICE:
> The TC edition "is marred" by many hundreds of "alterations", "some
> of them trivial, some actual mutilations of the original text."
> The TC edition has "gratuitous 'corrections' of the author's
> [Blavatsky's]Sanskrit scholarship."
> The "exact authenticity" of the TC edition "cannot be determined
> without laborious comparison with the original" 1889 edition.
> The publisher's preface to the Theosophy Company's edition of the SD
> has this notable statement:
> "With the present printing of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, The Theosophy
> Company continues its function of providing students and inquirers
> with unaltered editions of the original literature of the
> Theosophical Movement. . . . this edition is a perfect facsimile of
> the original edition and can be relied upon as such."
> In contrast, ....
> with the printing of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, The Theosophy Company
> did NOT continue its function of providing students and inquirers
> with UNALTERED editions of the ORIGINAL literature.  The TC edition
> of the VOICE is NOT a perfect fasimile of the original 1889 edition
> and CANNOT be relied upon as such.
> Furthermore, this TC edition has been in print and sold for more
> than 7 decades and during this time there has been no publisher's
> note in said edition indicating that the text is edited, changed and
> corrected.  Therefore many students have assumed that the reprint is
> an unaltered reproduction of HPB's original text. 
> When I first published the above findings years ago on Theos-Talk, I
> had many ULT students writing to me and basically saying that I was
> mistaken or even lying when I said there were any changes.  They
> insisted that the Theosophy Company would never publish an edited
> and altered version of HPB's classic.  I remember sending to a few
> of them photocopies of HPB's original VOICE.  One associate upon
> receiving the photocopies wrote me that he was disillusioned with
> the ULT for this and said he planned to drop his associateship in
> the ULT.  Another one wrote me when he received the photocopies and
> told me he was cutting off all future communications with me. 
> Unfortunately, these unacknowledged changes in the VOICE cast
> serious doubt on what Dallas wrote some years ago on Theos-Talk:
> "In U.L.T. I don't have t[o] worry -- the originals are
> available on a reliable basis. . . . "
> Dallas also stated at the same time:
> "Personally I would rather deal with H.P.Blavatsky's 'mistakes' than
> with those created by others who have had the temerity to believe
> they knew better than she did, and had the audacity to introduce
> changes which she did not authorize. Strong language, but true if it
> is applicable."
> But for reasons I still cannot fathom Dallas still seems to prefer
> the altered edition of the VOICE by the Theosophy Company and
> continues to recommend this edition instead of, for example, the
> facsimile of the 1889 edition published by Kessinger.
> See the Kessinger edition at
> Finally, from the two statements to be found AT THE BOTTOM of the
> posting at:
> it would appear that not only Judge made some of these changes, but
> also G.R.S. Mead and Annie Besant!
> As far as I know the only ULT associate that has dealt with this
> issue in a straightforward and frank manner has been Wes Amerman:
> Hope this helps.
> Daniel

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