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What was in the 3rd Volume that HPB was working on just before her death?

May 01, 2006 12:10 PM
by danielhcaldwell

What material/articles were in the 3rd Volume that HPB was working 
on just before she died?

It should be carefully noted that the original Volume I SD of 1886-
1887 became later by mid-1887 volume three. 

Bertram Keightley tells us about this development.

A report of Bertram Keightley's lecture "Theosophy in the West" to 
the annual December 1890 T.S. convention at Adyar, Madras, India, 
contained the following:

H.P.B. handed over to him [B. Keightley] the manuscript of 
the "Secret Doctrine," with a request that he should read it 
through. He read through the substance of the two volumes published 
[in 1888], and the third still unpublished [as of Dec. 1890].... 

What would now be the 3rd volume of the history of Occultism was to 
have been the first volume, while the treatises on Cosmogony and the 
Genesis of Man were to form a later series.... 

He then drafted a scheme with the natural and obvious order, namely. 
the Evolution of the Universe and the Evolution of man, &c. &c. 

The next thing...was to REARRANGE...the manuscript according to the 
[new] scheme. . . .  [Quoted from "The Theosophist," July 1891, 586-
7.] Caps added.

Later in 1893, Bertram Keightley gave another account about this 
rearrangement.  Keightley tells us that upon her arrival in London 
in May, 1887:

...[Madame Blavatsky] placed the whole of the so far completed MSS. 
[of The Secret Doctrine] in the hands of Dr. [Archibald] Keightley 
and myself....

We both read the whole mass of MSS.-- a pile over three feet high --
most carefully through....

It should be noted that Bertram's above reference to "the whole of 
the so-far completed MSS." is, of course, to the original Secret 
Doctrine manuscript, written over a period of time up through April, 
1887. Of course this manuscript was in HPB's own handwriting.

Bertram goes on to say that this original manuscript was divided 
into three parts or volumes:

Volume I: History of some great Occultists

Volume II: Evolution of Cosmos

Volume III: Evolution of Man

Bertram Keightley's account continues telling us that after they 
read the manuscript, the two Keightleys had a prolonged consultation
and then they faced HPB:

...with the solemn opinion that the whole of the matter must be 
REARRANGED on some definite plan....

Finally we laid before her a plan, suggested by the character of the 
matter itself, viz., to make the work consist of four volumes....

Further, instead of making the first volume to consist, as she had 
intended, of the history of some great Occultists, we advised her to 
follow the natural order of exposition, and begin with the Evolution 
of Cosmos, to pass from that to the Evolution of Man, then to deal 
with the historical part in a third volume treating of the lives of 
some great Occultists; and finally, to speak of Practical Occultism 
in a fourth volume should she ever be able to write it. 

This plan was laid before H.P.B., and it was duly sanctioned by 
her. . . . 

[Quoted from "Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and The Secret 
Doctrine," by Countess Constance Wachtmeister et al., Quest edition, 
1976, pp. 78-9; also quoted in de Zirkoff, SD Intro., 41] caps added

So as Bertram Keightley tells us, the order or the sequence of the 
volumes of The Secret Doctrine was changed and rearranged. 

The Volume I manuscript BECAME the Volume III manuscript.

So the new arrangement of the manuscript volumes was as follows:

Volume I: Evolution of Cosmos [Cosmogenesis]

Volume II: Evolution of Man [Anthropogenesis]

Volume III: History of some great Occultists

So what was THE CONTENTS of this third volume?

Well, since the third volume in the new 1887 arrangement had been 
originally volume one, we can go back to the primary source material 
of 1886 and early 1887 (which INCLUDES the Wurzburg manuscript of 
the SD as well as the 1886-1887 letters of HPB) and determine much 
of the CONTENT of this volume one (which by the middle of 1887 had 
then become volume three).

For more on this, see:

Blavatsky Study Center

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