Secret Doctrine References

By David Reigle on January 24, 2016 at 5:30 pm

As many students of The Secret Doctrine know, H. P. Blavatsky often did not give references to material that she used in writing this book. An extensive listing of Secret Doctrine references for volume 1 is given on the website of the Theosophical Society, Pasadena, or Theosophical University Press: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sdrefs/sdrefs-hp.htm. An extensive supplement to this listing was prepared by William (Bill) Savage a couple years ago, and will eventually be incorporated into it. In the meantime, it has not been available. Bill has kindly given permission to make it available here: Secret Doctrine References, vol. 1, William Savage.

Not only are these references very helpful for getting more information about things that Blavatsky wrote about in The Secret Doctrine, they also fill another need. Most books written before 1888 have long since been superseded by more accurate books as the world’s knowledge increases. By ascertaining the sources of her various statements, we can distinguish her own material from that of others that she copied to annotate her own material. What she copied from other writers of her time is often erroneous. Her own material, frequently coming from her esoteric sources, pertains to timeless knowledge.

Thus the stanzas from the “Book of Dzyan,” coming from her esoteric sources, pertain to timeless knowledge; while some of her annotations on them that she copied from writers of her time, now superseded by more accurate knowledge, are erroneous. Since these annotations are often unreferenced, the reader does not know what is her own material and what is copied from others. The extensive references provided by the Theosophical University Press and by William Savage, tracing a large number of otherwise unreferenced passages to their sources, are of very great value to students of The Secret Doctrine.

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  • Robert Hütwohl says:

    David, thank you for this. Both of Bill’s “Secret Doctrine References, References — SD Volume 1” and the “Bibliography to the References” will be immensely useful. Although I have used Richard Robb’s “Secret Doctrine References Reprinted: A 1977 List,” Bill Savage’s compilation and careful documentation will probably be the definitive one for many years to come. His incorporation of language diacritics should be noted.


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