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What Does Bertram Keightley Say about SD Volume III ?.

Jan 04, 2007 12:41 PM
by danielhcaldwell

What Does Bertram Keightley
Say about Volume III of SD???

Is Volume III of the SD [1897] the same
as Volume I of the SD of 1886?

The VITAL KEY to dispelling much of the confusion
about Vol. III of the SD is to be found in the following
two primary source statements of Bertram Keightley.


In a report of Bertram Keightley's December 1890 lecture "Theosophy
in the West" to the annual T.S. convention at Adyar, Madras, India,
one reads:

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, and the
third still unpublished.... 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: Theosophist, July 1891, 586-7. caps added.


In 1893, Bertram Keightley wrote the following:

A day or two after our arrival at Maycot [in May, 1887], H.P.B.
placed the whole of the so far completed MSS. 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...and then, after prolonged consultation, 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.

The next step was to read the MSS. through again and make a general
REARRANGMENT of the matter pertaining to the subjects coming under
the heads of Cosmogony and Anthropology, which were to form the first
two volumes of the work. When this had been completed, and H.P.B.
duly consulted, and her approval of what had been done obtained, the
whole of the MSS. so arranged was typewritten out by professional
Quoted in "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 of the volumes of The
Secret Doctrine was rearranged. Volume I became Volume III in 1887.

And most of the material found in the Volume I of the Wurzburg
Manuscript of the SD of 1886 is ALSO found in the SD Volume III of
1897. For more details on this, see:

Blavatsky Study Center


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