The Theosophical Forum – April 1942

ISIS UNVEILS SLOWLY — Gertrude W. van Pelt

This is inevitable. The human mind unfolds slowly. Even teaching on mundane affairs is graded, which is only simple common sense. But when it is a matter of esoteric instruction to be given, the pushing of teachings beyond the power of the human mind to assimilate and digest is not only unwise, it is disastrous. Witness the effect of misunderstood truths in the dogmas of the Christian Church.

Thus, in accordance with the time-honored rule, H. P. Blavatsky states in The Secret Doctrine, I, xxxviii (1) that only "One turn of the key, and no more, was given in Isis," and she follows this with the assertions, (1), that much more is explained in the present volumes, (2), that "Once the door permitted to be kept a little ajar, it will be opened wider with every new century" (footnote), and (3), that in the XXth Century, a disciple, more informed than she was, may be sent to prove that there is a science of Gupta-Vidya.

On page xlii, I, she states again that The Secret Doctrine explains much that could not be given in Isis Unveiled, and in Vol. I, 299, she repeats

. . . a corner of the Veil of Isis had to be lifted; and now another and a larger rent is made.

However, quietly, unobtrusively, even in Isis she gives hints of deeper teachings, forecasting much that would be elaborated in The Secret Doctrine. For instance, in I, 231-2 (footnote), she says the seven principles of man and of our chain were hinted in Isis, and in II, 496, she answers again the criticism that so few of the doctrines taught in The Secret Doctrine were given in Isis. There is another hint of the caution used, expressing truths for the intuitive student, while concealing them for those not ready.

 Notwithstanding all this, I remember hearing in the early days shallow criticisms intended to discredit H. P. B. by asserting, for instance, that she contradicted herself in the two works, teaching in the earlier, a three principled man, and in the later, a seven principled, etc. In Isis the threefold constitution of man was emphasised, very naturally, as this was easier for a Christian nation to understand. Body, Soul, and Spirit, was familiar, and perfectly true; which does not preclude a more complete analysis. There are seven rays of the spectrum visible to man (and others invisible), but there are three primary colors.

And now the same method is used in The Secret Doctrine. H. P. B. stresses the seven principles, but she also hints of ten, referring to the 10 Sephiroth (I, 352). In I, 152, there is reference to seven planes: three the Archetypal, our manifest globes being on the four lower planes. And again, I, 199-200:

These seven planes correspond to the seven states of consciousness in man. It remains with him to attune the three higher states in himself to the three higher planes in Kosmos. But before he can attempt to attune, he must awaken the three "seats" to life and activity.

Unless, however, man had principles in his constitution corresponding to these higher planes, it would be impossible for him to reach that consciousness.

Again, although emphasis is placed on seven as being the number of globes in a planet, there is a very broad hint of 12 globes in Vol. I, 240, where our Earth or Malkuth is spoken of as both the Seventh and Fourth world, the former when counting from the first globe above, the latter if reckoned by the planes.

"The One is not concerned with Man-bearing globes, but with the inner invisible Spheres," I, 216, seems to suggest that there are other Globes than the seven, concerned with the evolution of the human stage.

There are hints given, almost casually, of the after-death states, yet quite plain to one who knows the teaching. For instance:

It is on the Seven zones of post mortem ascent, in the Hermetic writings, that the "mortal" leaves, on each, one of his "Souls" (or Principles); until arrived on the plane above all zones he remains as the great Formless Serpent of absolute wisdom — or the Deity itself. (I, 411)

And on I, 577, we read:

The Planetary origin of the Monad (Soul) and of its faculties was taught by the Gnostics. On its way to the Earth, as on its way back from the Earth, each soul born in, and from, the "Boundless Light," had to pass through the seven planetary regions both ways.

Again, H. P. B. refers to

the Platonic theory of the Soul's obtaining its respective faculties from the Planets in its downward progress through their Spheres. (II, 604)

The teaching regarding the Avatar is hinted in Vol. II, 483-4, and is quite clear to one who knows it.

There are also covered statements about 12 planets, though the emphasis in The Secret Doctrine is only on seven, which are called sacred to us. In I, 71 (footnote), it is stated that there are twelve Adityas. On page 99, Vol. I, the Adityas are called the planets. And on page 100, these Adityas are called the twelve great gods.

"The Seven allow the mortals to see their dwellings, but show themselves only to the Arhats," says an old proverb, "their dwellings" standing here for planets.

Again on I, 573 (footnote), we read:

There are only seven planets (specially connected with earth), and twelve houses, but the possible combinations of their aspects are countless. As each planet can stand to each of the others in twelve different aspects, their combinations must, therefore, be almost infinite; as infinite, in fact, as the spiritual, psychic, mental, and physical capacities in the numberless varieties of the genus homo, each of which varieties is born under one of the seven planets and one of the said countless planetary combinations.

And further:

Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus, the four exoteric planets, and the three others, which must remain unnamed, . . . (I, 575)

Then there is that famous answer of the Master to A. P. Sinnett's question about the Planets, viz.:

Neither A, B, nor YZ are known nor can they be seen through physical means however perfected. (I, 163)

There are many references in The Secret Doctrine to the effect that the ancients knew of very many planets unknown to the astronomers of today, but that is another story.

And here seems to be a hint of the "Universal Solar System":

In order to avoid creating new misconceptions, let it be stated that among the three secret orbs (or star-angels) neither Uranus nor Neptune entered; not only because they were unknown under these names to the ancient Sages, but because they, as all other planets, however many there may be, are the gods and guardians of other septenary chains of globes within our systems. (I, 575)

Finally, although the importance of the number 7, which belongs to the purely human stage of development, is constantly taught in The Secret Doctrine, it is plainly hinted that our Universe is built on the number 12; that Pythagoras was right in declaring that "The dodecahedron is a perfect number." (I, 649) Plato also taught that the Universe is built in the geometrical form of the Dodecahedron, (I, 340, 344). Again, H. P. B. quotes the Kabalists as saying, "The Dodecahedron lies concealed in the perfect Cube" (I, 450). This in connection with the diagram of the unfolded cube (II, 600, footnote) is suggestive.

Casually (I, 436), she refers to the seven, ten, and twelve orders of the Egyptians; and on II, 36, one finds very interesting symbology concerning the wonderful numbers, 7, 10, and 12.

Most striking evidence of the construction of the Universe is given in the following:

The hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve great Orders, recorded in the twelve signs of the Zodiac; . . . (See I, 213-22)

These are a few references illustrating the time-honored method of teaching, a method which we may expect to be followed when "the door. . . will be opened wider with every new century." No doubt earnest students will find many more in The Secret Doctrine and some of H. P. B.'s other works.


1. As all the references in this article are from The Secret Doctrine, only volume and page are given, to avoid repetition, on which pages also are found the pertinent Isis Unveiled references. (return to text)

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