2nd and Revised Edition 2018 (online only). First Edition copyright © 1945 by Theosophical University Press; copyright renewed 1973 by Theosophical University Press. Electronic version ISBN 1-55700-092-1. All rights reserved. This edition may be downloaded for off-line viewing without charge. No part of this publication may be reproduced for commercial or other use in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of Theosophical University Press. For ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in this electronic version of the text.
Compilers' Preface to 1st Edition
Ethics as well as Intellect
Sub-Races of the Fifth Root-Race
Metaphysics of Consciousness and the Nature of Suffering
No Conflict in Duties
The Nature of Deity
Why Were The Mahatma Letters Printed?
Theosophy and Mahayana Buddhism
The Absolute, a Relative Term
Is the Spiritual Ego Immortal?
Masters do not Interfere
The Many and the One in Man
The Manasaputric Light
Since Dr. de Purucker's death two collections of writings left by him have been published. Messages to Conventions appeared in 1943. That was a manual of inspired advice to all Fellows of the Theosophical Society interested in the policies, work and purposes of the Theosophical Movement. Wind of the Spirit was published in 1944. This presented the devotional and practical aspect of Theosophy, illuminating the Way for each individual as he tries to live the life. STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY now presents the deep philosophical and mystical reaches of theosophical doctrine. Very fittingly then, these three volumes cover the organizational, the devotional, and the scientific-philosophical — the triangle of Wisdom which gives power, understanding and vision to the aspirant, lacking any one of which he is as a disciple incomplete.
In this present volume are found no new and fanciful bypaths beaten out and attractively advertised. Its metes and bounds are always the original doctrines presented by H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters. But within these bounds the drilling and the boring sinks deep, and therefore it would be a mistake to consider it a primer in occultism or a simple introduction to Theosophy. Its appeal is to the mind already bound to Theosophy, already dedicated to a constant and determined search for truth. It needs no apologia, no special championing from those already persuaded of its inherent value to the theosophical cause. But the gauge by which it should be measured is broader than this. Acceptance or rejection must in the last analysis come from all students of H. P. B.'s writings, to whatever branch of the great Movement they belong. They must be willing, however, to bring to its consideration minds frankly and openly impartial. This at least is to be expected of those who claim to have placed Truth above all lesser objectives, that Truth which H. P. B. described as "high-seated upon its rock of adamant, alone eternal and supreme."
Surely the time has passed in the slow onward moving of Theosophical activity when the craze for signs and wonders holds attraction. Such are for the fainthearted, as H. P. B. says. What we look for in all Theosophical writing is an explanation of life and its multitudinous mysteries, the presentation of a "philosophy of the rational explanation of things."
A few words may be necessary about the contents of the book itself. The "Transactions of the Headquarters Lodge," which include The Secret Doctrine and The Mahatma Letters series, were talks given at the regular lodge study-evenings at International Headquarters. At these meetings Theosophical books were studied, the topic being presented by some speaker and followed by general discussion. Then it was G. de P.'s custom to pick up the threads of the ideas brought up and to weave them into a coherent picture, correcting misconceptions of teaching, strengthening weak points of logic, explaining seeming contradiction or paradox. It was not his effort to give an exhaustive treatise on any subject, nor do the Compilers feel that this present collation presents the complete philosophy. Its value lies in the richness of hints thrown out, and as a record of what was actually for over a dozen years studied by the group at Headquarters. It likewise shows the wide range of theosophical doctrine with which G. de P. was conversant, his grasp of fundamentals and of details, as well as his manner of teaching, which was not labored or planned, but given extemporaneously and with no attempt to parade a finished style.
In the Question-and-Answer Section the questions for the most part have been left as originally formulated by the questioner. They include inquiries from students scattered all over the world, many of which appeared currently in The Theosophical Forum, and many others of which have been gathered since G. de P.'s death from letters he wrote to students. The Compilers are particularly indebted to scholars at Theosophical University for material thus made available — C. J. Ryan, Judith Tyberg, Emma D. Wilcox, A. J. Stover, L. G. Plummer, Grace F. Knoche.
The longer articles are from varied sources. 'The Doctrine of Tulku' was written for the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary, edited by G. de P., still in manuscript; 'Buddhas and Bodhisattvas' appeared in The English Theosophical Forum; 'Occultism and Psychic Phenomena' and 'Immortality and Continuity' are reprints from The Occult Review (London); 'Is it Right to Practise Hypnotism?' is condensed from The Occult Review; 'Survey of the Teachings on the Planetary Chains' is from a letter to a student.
With full appreciation of their responsibility in the preparation of this material, the Compilers, as in the two preceding books, have avoided anything but the most necessary editing and therefore have refrained from even such documentation as might by some be considered helpful in a work of this recondite nature.
For invaluable help in checking certain scientific data the Compilers have had the assistance of Dr. Charles J. Ryan and Dr. Henry T. Edge.
Finally, it should be on record that there are certain articles which G. de P. never saw in transcription. These are listed at the end of this volume.
W. EMMETT SMALL
Covina, California, July 11, 1945
Theosophical Society Homepage
TUP Online Menu
Theosophical University Press, publishing and distributing theosophical literature since 1886: PO Box C, Pasadena, CA 91109-7107 USA; email: email@example.com; voice: (626) 798-3378. Free printed catalog available on request; also online at TUP Catalog.