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Re: theos-talk Volume III (1897) of THE SECRET DOCTRINE

Apr 24, 2011 10:13 PM
by Daniel

Thanks to both Johns for your comments.

As to what John W writes, I include the following testimony by HPB and those close to her during the last years of her life:

January 7, 1891---Claude Falls Wright wrote (Path, February 1891, 354):

"H.P.B. has within the last week or so begun to get together the MSS. (long ago written) for the Third Volume of The Secret Doctrine; it will however, take a good twelve months to prepare for publication."

February 1891---Alice Leighton Cleather wrote (Theosophist, April 1891, 438):

"H.P.B. has already started on Vol. III."

February 18, 1891---Countess Wachtmeister wrote in a letter to W. Q. Judge (cited in Report of Proceedings, Secret Doctrine Centenary, October 29-30, 1988, 1989, 86):

"When Volume 3 [of The Secret Doctrine] comes out this summer I expect there will be a fresh demand for the earlier [two] volumes."

April 1891---HPB wrote in Lucifer (CW 13: 145-6):

"Two years ago, the writer promised in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 798, a third and even a fourth volume of that work. This third volume (NOW ALMOST READY) treats of the ancient Mysteries of Initiation, gives sketches--from the esoteric standpoint--of many of the most famous and historically known philosophers and hierophants (everyone of whom is set down by the Scientists as an impostor), from the archaic down to the Christian era, and traces the teachings of all these sages to one and the same source of all knowledge and science--the esoteric doctrine or WISDOM RELIGION...." Caps added to H.P.B.'s word:  "now almost ready".

May 4, 1891---Annie Besant gave testimony in HPB's case against Elliott Coues and the New York Sun (Michael Gomes, ed., Witness for the Prosecution: Annie Besant's Testimony on Behalf of H. P. Blavatsky in the N. Y. Sun/Coues Law Case, 1993, 23):

"There is one other work of hers [HPB's], which I have seen in manuscript, still unpublished; a third volume of "The Secret Doctrine" which is now being got ready for the press under my own eyes. Madame Blavatsky has also in preparation a glossary of Sanscrit and Eastern tongues; those are both in preparation; one of them is already in type and the other is nearly ready for type."

May 8, 1891---H. P. Blavatsky died in London.

>From the above 1890-1891 statements (either written by HPB herself or by her London students) a reasonable conclusion can be drawn that HPB had finally decided to publish the third volume of The Secret Doctrine and was, in fact, working on the third volume manuscript during the months preceding her death.

In light of this conclusion, it is difficult to understand what Boris de Zirkoff meant when he wrote (in SD Intro., 71) that "no outright positive or negative answer can be made to the oft-repeated question whether a completed Manuscript of Volumes III and IV ever existed."

Setting aside de Zirkoff's reference to Volume IV, there is no reason to doubt that a manuscript of Volume III existed during the last years of HPB's life. Furthermore, had she lived, HPB might have added and deleted material from the manuscript; she might also have rewritten and reedited the material even more. But at the time of her death, this manuscript was as "complete" as HPB could make it. What more could be expected?


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