H. P. Blavatsky
Blavatsky's first major work on theosophy, examining religion and science in the light of Western and Oriental ancient wisdom and occult and spiritualistic phenomena.
Theosophical University Press Online Edition (print version also available). Electronic version ISBN 1-55700-135-9. This edition may be downloaded for off-line viewing without charge. For ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in the electronic version of the text.
The present edition is a faithful reprinting of Isis Unveiled as originally published in New York in 1877.
The Index has been considerably enlarged, and an Appendix added, containing a Bibliographical Index of works and authors quoted and two articles by HPB on the writing of Isis Unveiled: "Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits" (1886) and "My Books" (1891).
HTML Version Updated: 5-28-19
PREFACE (pages v - viii)
Dogmatic assumptions of modern science and theology - ix / The Platonic philosophy affords the only middle ground - xi / Review of the ancient philosophical systems - xv / A Syriac manuscript on Simon Magus - xxiii / Glossary of terms used in this book - xxiii
Volume First: THE "INFALLIBILITY" OF MODERN SCIENCE.
CHAPTER 1: OLD THINGS WITH NEW NAMES (pages 1 - 38)
The Oriental Kabala - 1 / Ancient traditions supported by modern research - 3 / The progress of mankind marked by cycles - 5 / Ancient cryptic science - 7 / Priceless value of the Vedas - 12 / Mutilations of the Jewish sacred books in translation - 13 / Magic always regarded as a divine science - 25 / Achievements of its adepts and hypotheses of their modern detractors - 25 / Man's yearning for immortality - 37
CHAPTER 2: PHENOMENA AND FORCES (pages 39 - 73)
The servility of society - 39 / Prejudice and bigotry of men of science - 40 / They are chased by psychical phenomena - 41 / Lost arts - 49 / The human will the master-force of forces - 57 / Superficial generalizations of the French savants - 60 / Mediumistic phenomena, to what attributable - 67 / Their relation to crime - 71
CHAPTER 3: BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND (pages 74 - 99)
Huxley's derivation from the Orohippus - 74 / Comte, his system and disciples - 75 / The London materialists - 85 / Borrowed robes - 89 / Emanation of the objective universe from the subjective - 92
CHAPTER 4: THEORIES RESPECTING PSYCHIC PHENOMENA (pages 100 - 125)
Theory of de Gasparin - 100 / of Thury - 100 / of des Mousseaux, de Mirville - 100 / of Babinet - 101 / of Houdin - 101 / of MM. Royer and Jobart de Lamballe - 102 / The twins — "unconscious cerebration" and "unconscious ventriloquism" - 105 / Theory of Crookes - 112 / of Faraday - 116 / of Chevreuil - 116 / The Mendeleyeff commission of 1876 - 117 / Soul blindness - 121
CHAPTER 5: THE ETHER, OR "ASTRAL LIGHT" (pages 126 - 162)
One primal force, but many correlations - 126 / Tyndall narrowly escapes a great discovery - 127 / The impossibility of miracle - 128 / Nature of the primordial substance - 133 / Interpretation of certain ancient myths - 133 / Experiments of the fakirs - 139 / Evolution in Hindu allegory - 153
CHAPTER 6: PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PHENOMENA (pages 163 - 205)
The debt we owe to Paracelsus - 163 / Mesmerism — its parentage, reception, potentiality - 165 / "Psychometry" - 183 / Time, space, eternity - 184 / Transfer of energy from the visible to the invisible universe - 186 / The Crookes experiments and Cox theory - 195
CHAPTER 7: THE ELEMENTS, ELEMENTALS, AND ELEMENTARIES (pages 206 - 252)
Attraction and repulsion universal in all the kingdoms of nature - 206 / Psychical phenomena depend on physical surroundings - 211 / Observations in Siam - 214 / Music in nervous disorders - 215 / The "world-soul" and its potentialities - 216 / Healing by touch, and healers - 217 / "Diakka" and Porphyry's bad demons - 219 / The quenchless lamp - 224 / Modern ignorance of vital force - 237 / Antiquity of the theory of force-correlation - 241 / Universality of belief in magic - 247
CHAPTER 8: SOME MYSTERIES OF NATURE (pages 253 - 292)
Do the planets affect human destiny? - 253 / Very curious passage from Hermes - 254 / The restlessness of matter - 257 / Prophecy of Nostradamus fulfilled - 260 / Sympathies between planets and plants - 264 / Hindu knowledge of the properties of colors - 265 / "Coincidences" the panacea of modern science - 268 / The moon and the tides - 273 / Epidemic mental and moral disorders - 274 / The gods of the Pantheons only natural forces - 280 / Proofs of the magical powers of Pythagoras - 283 / The viewless races of ethereal space - 284 / The "four truths" of Buddhism - 291
CHAPTER 9: CYCLIC PHENOMENA (pages 293 - 337)
Meaning of the expression "coats of skin" - 293 / Natural selection and its results - 295 / The Egyptian "circle of necessity" - 296 / Pre-Adamite races - 299 / Descent of spirit into matter - 302 / The triune nature of man - 309 / The lowest creatures in the scale of being - 310 / Elementals specifically described - 311 / Proclus on the beings of the air - 312 / Various names for elementals - 313 / Swedenborgian views on soul-death - 317 / Earth-bound human souls - 319 / Impure mediums and their "guides" - 325 / Psychometry an aid to scientific research - 333
CHAPTER 10: THE INNER AND OUTER MAN (pages 338 - 378)
Pere Felix arraigns the scientists - 338 / The "Unknowable" - 340 / Danger of evocations by tyros - 342 / Lares and Lemures - 345 / Secrets of Hindu temples - 350 / Reincarnation - 351 / Witchcraft and witches - 353 / The sacred soma trance - 357 / Vulnerability of certain "shadows" - 363 / Experiment of Clearchus on a sleeping boy - 365 / The author witnesses a trial of magic in India - 369 / Case of the Cevennois - 371
CHAPTER 11: PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL MARVELS (pages 379 - 416)
Invulnerability attainable by man - 379 / Projecting the force of the will - 380 / Insensibility to snake-poison - 381 / Charming serpents by music - 383 / Teratological phenomena discussed - 385 / The psychological domain confessedly unexplored - 407 / Despairing regrets of Berzelius - 411 / Turning a river into blood a vegetable phenomenon - 413
CHAPTER 12: THE "IMPASSABLE CHASM" (pages 417 - 461)
Confessions of ignorance by men of science - 417 / The Pantheon of nihilism - 421 / Triple composition of fire - 423 / Instinct and reason defined - 425 / Philosophy of the Hindu Jains - 429 / Deliberate misrepresentations of Lempriere - 431 / Man's astral soul not immortal - 432 / The reincarnation of Buddha - 437 / Magical sun and moon pictures of Thibet - 441 / Vampirism — its phenomena explained - 449 / Bengalese jugglery - 457
CHAPTER 13: REALITIES AND ILLUSION (pages 462 - 514)
The rationale of talismans - 462 / Unexplained mysteries - 466 / Magical experiment in Bengal - 467 / Chibh Chondor's surprising feats - 471 / The Indian tape-climbing trick an illusion - 473 / Resuscitation of buried fakirs - 477 / Limits of suspended animation - 481 / Mediumship totally antagonistic to adeptship - 487 / What are "materialized spirits"? - 493 / The Shudala Madan - 495 / Philosophy of levitation - 497 / The elixir and alkahest - 505
CHAPTER 14: EGYPTIAN WISDOM (pages 515 - 574)
Origin of the Egyptians - 512 / Their mighty engineering works - 517 / The ancient land of the Pharaohs - 521 / Antiquity of the Nilotic monuments - 529 / Arts of war and peace - 531 / Mexican myths and ruins - 545 / Resemblances to the Egyptian - 551 / Moses a priest of Osiris - 555 / The lessons taught by the ruins of Siam - 563 / The Egyptian Tau at Palenque - 573
CHAPTER 15: INDIA THE CRADLE OF THE RACE (575 - 628)
Acquisition of the "secret doctrine" - 575 / Two relics owned by a Pali scholar - 577 / Jealous exclusiveness of the Hindus - 581 / Lydia Maria Child on Phallic symbolism - 583 / The age of the Vedas and Manu - 587 / Traditions of pre-diluvian races - 589 / Atlantis and its peoples - 593 / Peruvian relics - 597 / The Gobi desert and its secrets - 599 / Thibetan and Chinese legends - 600 / The magician aids, not impedes, nature - 617 / Philosophy, religion, arts and sciences bequeathed by Mother India to posterity - 618
Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson and Baroness Burdett-Coutts.
Volume Second: THE "INFALLIBILITY" OF MODERN RELIGION.
CHAPTER 1: THE CHURCH: WHERE IS IT? (1-54)
Church statistics - 1 / Catholic "miracles" and spiritualistic "phenomena" - 4 / Christian and Pagan beliefs compared - 10 / Magic and sorcery practised by Christian clergy - 20 / Comparative theology a new science - 25 / Eastern traditions as to Alexandrian Library - 27 / Roman pontiffs imitators of the Hindu Brahm-atma - 30 / Christian dogmas derived from heathen philosophy - 33 / Doctrine of the Trinity of Pagan origin - 45 / Disputes between Gnostics and Church Fathers - 51 / Bloody records of Christianity - 53
CHAPTER 2: CHRISTIAN CRIMES AND HEATHEN VIRTUES. (55-122)
Sorceries of Catherine of Medicis - 55 / Occult arts practised by the clergy - 59 / Witch-burnings and auto-da-fe of little children - 62 / Lying Catholic saints - 74 / Pretensions of missionaries in India and China - 79 / Sacrilegious tricks of Catholic clergy - 82 / Paul a kabalist - 91 / Peter not the founder of Roman church - 91 / Strict lives of Pagan hierophants - 98 / High character of ancient "mysteries" - 101 / Jacolliot's account of Hindu fakirs - 103 / Christian symbolism derived from Phallic worship 109- / Hindu doctrine of the Pitris - 114 / Brahminic spirit-communion - 115 / Dangers of untrained mediumship - 117
CHAPTER 3: DIVISIONS AMONGST THE EARLY CHRISTIANS. (123-166)
Resemblance between early Christianity and Buddhism - 123 / Peter never in Rome - 124 / Meanings of "Nazar" and "Nazarene" - 129 / Baptism a derived right - 134 / Is Zoroaster a generic name? - 141 / Pythagorean teachings of Jesus - 147 / The Apocalypse kabalistic - 147 / Jesus considered an adept by some Pagan philosophers and early Christians - 150 / Doctrine of permutation - 152 / The meaning of God-Incarnate - 153 / Dogmas of the Gnostics - 155 / Ideas of Marcion, the "heresiarch" - 159 / Precepts of Manu - 163 / Jehovah identical with Bacchus - 165
CHAPTER 4: ORIENTAL COSMOGONIES AND BIBLE RECORDS. (167-211)
Discrepancies in the Pentateuch - 167 / Indian, Chaldean and Ophite systems compared - 170 / Who were the first Christians? - 178 / Christos and Sophia-Achamoth - 183 / Secret doctrine taught by Jesus - 191 / Jesus never claimed to be God - 193 / New Testament narratives and Hindu legends - 199 / Antiquity of the "Logos" and "Christ" - 205 / Comparative Virgin-worship - 209
CHAPTER 5: MYSTERIES OF THE KABALA. (212-250)
En-Soph and the Sephiroth - 212 / The primitive wisdom-religion - 216 / The book of Genesis a compilation of Old World legends - 217 / The Trinity of the Kabala - 222 / Gnostic and Nazarene systems contrasted with Hindu myths - 225 / Kabalism in the book of Ezekiel - 232 / Story of the resurrection of Jairus's daughter found in the history of Christna - 241 / Untrustworthy teachings of the early Fathers - 248 / Their persecuting spirit - 249
CHAPTER 6: ESOTERIC DOCTRINES OF BUDDHISM PARODIED IN CHRISTIANITY. (251-290)
Decisions of Nicean Council, how arrived at - 251 / Murder of Hypatia - 252 / Origin of the fish-symbol of Vishnu - 256 / Kabalistic doctrine of the Cosmogony - 264 / Diagrams of Hindu and Chaldeo-Jewish systems - 265 / Ten mythical Avatars of Vishnu - 274 / Trinity of man taught by Paul - 281 / Socrates and Plato on soul and spirit - 283 / True Buddhism, what it is - 288
CHAPTER 7: EARLY CHRISTIAN HERESIES AND SECRET SOCIETIES. (291-347)
Nazareans, Ophites, and modern Druzes - 291 / Etymology of IAO - 298 / "Hermetic Brothers" of Egypt - 307 / True meaning of Nirvana - 319 / The Jayna sect - 321 / Christians and Chrestians - 323 / The Gnostics and their detractors - 325 / Buddha, Jesus, and Apollonius of Tyana - 341
CHAPTER 8: JESUITRY AND MASONRY. (348-404)
The Sohar and Rabbi Simeon - 348 / The Order of Jesuits and its relation to some of the Masonic orders - 352 / Crimes permitted to its members - 355 / Principles of Jesuitry compared with those of Pagan moralists - 364 / Trinity of man in Egyptian Book of the Dead - 367 / Freemasonry no longer esoteric - 372 / Persecution of Templars by the Church - 381 / Secret Masonic ciphers - 395 / Jehovah not the "Ineffable Name" - 398
CHAPTER 9: THE VEDAS AND THE BIBLE. (405-476)
Nearly every myth based on some great truth - 405 / Whence the Christian Sabbath - 406 / Antiquity of the Vedas - 410 / Pythagorean doctrine of the potentialities of numbers - 417 / "Days" of Genesis and "Days" of Brahma - 422 / Fall of man and the Deluge in the Hindu books - 425 / Antiquity of the Mahabharata - 429 / Were the ancient Egyptians of the Aryan race? - 434 / Samuel, David, and Solomon mythical personages - 439 / Symbolism of Noah's Ark - 447 / The Patriarchs identical with zodiacal signs - 459 / All Bible legends belong to universal history - 369
CHAPTER 10: THE DEVIL-MYTH. (477-529)
The devil officially recognized by the Church - 477 / Satan the mainstay of sacerdotalism - 480 / Identity of Satan with the Egyptian Typhon - 483 / His relation to serpent-worship - 489 / The Book of Job and the Book of the Dead - 493 / The Hindu devil a metaphysical abstraction - 501 / Satan and the Prince of Hell in the Gospel of Nicodemus - 515
CHAPTER 11: COMPARATIVE RESULTS OF BUDDHISM AND CHRISTIANITY. (530-586)
The age of philosophy produced no atheists - 530 / The legends of three Saviours - 537 / Christian doctrine of the Atonement illogical - 542 / Cause of the failure of missionaries to convert Buddhists and Brahmanists - 553 / Neither Buddha nor Jesus left written records - 559 / The grandest mysteries of religion in the Bagaved-gita - 562 / The meaning of regeneration explained in the Satapa-Brahmana - 565 / The sacrifice of blood interpreted - 566 / Demoralization of British India by Christian missionaries - 573 / The Bible less authenticated than any other sacred book - 577 / Knowledge of chemistry and physics displayed by Indian jugglers - 583
CHAPTER 12: CONCLUSIONS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. (587-640)
Recapitulation of fundamental propositions - 587 / Seership of the soul and of the spirit - 590 / The phenomenon of the so-called spirit-hand - 594 / Difference between mediums and adepts - <595 / Interview of an English ambassador with a reincarnated Buddha - 598 / Flight of a lama's astral body related by Abbe Huc - 604 / Schools of magic in Buddhist lamaseries - 609 / The unknown race of Hindu Todas - 613 / Will-power of fakirs and yogis - 617 / Taming of wild beasts by fakirs - 622 / Evocation of a living spirit by a Shaman, witnessed by the writer - 626 / Sorcery by the breath of a Jesuit Father - 633 / Why the study of magic is almost impracticable in Europe - 635 / Conclusion - 635
"Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits," by H. P. Blavatsky
"My Books," by H. P. Blavatsky
"How Isis Unveiled Was Written" by Alexander Wilder, M. D.
"Letters from H. P. Blavatsky to Alexander Wilder, M. D."
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