[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Introduction to "The Myth of the 'Missing' Third Volume of The Secret Doctrine"

Apr 27, 2006 10:53 PM
by danielhcaldwell

Unfortunately, Carlos Aveline has MISrepresented the thesis I 
presented in my article titled "The Myth of the 'Missing' Third 
Volume of The Secret Doctrine".

Apparently Mr. Aveline then used his "misrepresentation" to state 
that I had accused HPB of a falsehood. 

Below is the introduction to my article which tells what my thesis



In 1897, Annie Besant published what she called the third volume of 
The Secret Doctrine, which had been announced by H. P. Blavatsky but 
left unpublished during the author's life. 

Received opinion at the present time is that what Besant published 
was not Blavatsky's third volume, but instead something assembled 
out of various documents left by HPB. 

Some examples of the received opinion are as follows: 

A spurious 'Third Volume'. . .[was] issued in 1897, six years after 
the death of H. P. Blavatsky. Compiled from miscellaneous papers 
found among her effects, this volume forms no part of the original 
SECRET DOCTRINE written by H.P.B. [Publishers' preface (1947) to the 
facsimile reprint of the 1888 edition of The Secret Doctrine by The 
Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, California.]
Volume III of The Secret Doctrine. . .was published in London in 
1897 with a preface written by Annie Besant. It should be 
understood, however, that this volume is not the third volume 
contemplated by H.P.B. [Geoffrey A. Barborka, H. P. Blavatsky, Tibet 
and Tulku, 159]
The real Volume III...vanished without a trace. [Boris de Zirkoff in 
H.P.B.'s Collected Writings, 7: 226 fn] 

The prospective Volume III...never saw the light. [de Zirkoff in SD 
1: 679 (Collected Writings edition) 

It is possible that H.P.B. had in mind an additional [third] volume 
of The Secret Doctrine which was never actually found among her 
papers. [de Zirkoff in CW 14: 1] 

In volume 1, Blavatsky had promised a third volume and projected a 
fourth. That promise was repeated at the end of volume 2.... There 
was some material left over from volume I as she had originally 
conceived it. . .but relatively little seems to have been actually 
written down....When Annie Besant tried to find the unpublished 
material, she was able to locate very little that seemed to belong 
to what HPB had intended for the continuation of the book. The 
little which Besant found, she combined with some instructions 
Blavatsky had written for members of the Esoteric Section...and that 
material, admittedly a hodgepodge, was the "third 
volume" of HPB's work. The 'third volume' undoubtedly contains some 
material--that on the lives of famous occultists--which had been 
rejected from the first volume of the original work. But it also 
contained a good deal of material which certainly was never intended 
to be a part of The Secret Doctrine." [John Algeo, Getting 
Acquainted with The Secret Doctrine: A Study Course, l990 ed., 23-4]

H. N. Stokes, editor of The 0. E. Library Critic (Washington, D.C.), 
held the view that the real Volume III manuscripts vanished and were 
never published. He wrote about seventeen articles analyzing the 
evidence concerning the Volume III manuscripts. 

To the list of those holding similar views, we can add many other 
distinguished names: Alice Cleather, Basil Crump, Charles J. Ryan, 
Victor Endersby, Walter A. Carrithers, Jr., Kirby Van Mater, Ted G. 
Davy, Richard Robb, Dara Eklund, and several more. 

This received view was also my initial opinion. But after a great 
deal of study of the Wurzburg MSS of The Secret Doctrine and all the 
other relevant primary source documents (1886-1897) on the subject, 
I am no longer certain that the Theosophical writers mentioned above 
are correct in their views concerning Volume III. 

In fact, I am inclined to believe that pages 1-430 of Volume III of 
The Secret Doctrine published in 1897 was the real third volume 
intended by HPB. 

Pages 433-594 of that published volume consist of H. P. Blavatsky's 
esoteric teachings given to members of her Esoteric Section or 
School during the years 1889-1891 and are not at issue.

The evidence and reasoning to support this position follow.


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application