Introductory Notes on the The Secret Doctrine

Notes on the "Preface" to The Secret Doctrine

—  vii  —

Occultism, Occult Philosophy
The word occult is from the Latin occultus, “hidden.” Occultism refers to the study of the unseen forces in nature. HPB distinguishes between occultism (the path of wisdom) and occult arts (sorcery, spells, etc.). Occult Philosophers were pre-Renaissance scientists who sought the unseen forces regulating the phenomena of nature. The study of occultism penetrates deep into the causal mysteries of universal being. HPB defines true occultism as altruism — the divine wisdom or hidden theosophy within all religions. Occultism is founded on the principle that Divinity is concealed — transcendent yet immanent — within every living being.
Adept (from Latin adeptus, “attained”)
One who is skilled in the Esoteric Wisdom and practical theosophy.
Aryan Race
In theosophy, Aryan Race is a generic term for the human race at present on earth: the fifth of seven evolutionary “root-race” cycles. The fifth root-race is spoken of as the Aryan race because the Aryans of India are an existing example of its earliest branches. The word Aryan is a Hindu term from the Sanskrit Ārya, “noble.” The anglicized term Aryan denotes the ancient Indo-Europeans who migrated into India, Iran, and Europe.
third and fourth volumes
HPB never published these volumes, and finished manuscripts of them were not found after her death. She left behind miscellaneous writings, some of which may have been intended for volumes 3 and 4, and this material is published in volumes XII and XIV of HPB’s Collected Writings. After her death, several of her students published a collection of some of these papers under the title: The Secret Doctrine, Volume III.
Isis Unveiled
HPB’s first book, subtitled A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, published in 1877.
esoteric science
The study of the inner nature of things.

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Book of Dzyan
The first volume of Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te — an archaic manuscript on human and cosmic evolution. There is also an important series of Tibetan scriptures called the Kiu-te. These are comparatively modern, having been edited within the last millennium, whereas the earliest volumes of the Commentaries spoken of by HPB are said to be of untold antiquity. The word dzyan is linguistically related to dhyāna (Sanskrit, “mystic meditation”), ch'an (Chinese), and zen (Japanese). Other related terms are given in the footnote on page xx of the SD.
law of uniformity
A fundamental postulate of science, stating that similar phenomena follow from similar conditions throughout the universe.
De minimis non curat lex (Latin)
“The law does not concern itself with trifles.”

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