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The Campbell Library Newsletter

The Campbell Theosophical Research Library

Theosophy . The Theosophical Movement . Theosophical History

Number 8 — May 2003

The Campbell Library is a part of The Theosophical Society in Australia, a non-sectarian organisation that stands for freedom of search and belief. Its Objects are:

  1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour;
  2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science;
  3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in the human being.

This Newsletter provides information about The Campbell Library collection and the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals.

Exploring a major work —The Secret Doctrine of H. P. Blavatsky

Probably the best known, most significant and most influential publication that has emerged from the modern theosophical movement is The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, by H. P. Blavatsky. Published in two large volumes by The Theosophical Publishing Company, London and New York, in 1888, volume I deals with the evolution of the cosmos and volume II with the evolution of humanity. It is a complex and challenging work and requires careful study and persistence from any serious student of that body of knowledge variously called, among other things, theosophy, the ancient wisdom, the perennial philosophy, the wisdom religion, esoteric philosophy or the esoteric tradition.

The Secret Doctrine has been reprinted in a number of editions since 1888, including in facsimile form. Abridgements are also available, for example, in 1967 Quest Books USA published An Abridgement of The Secret Doctrine, edited by Elizabeth Preston and Christmas Humphreys. Many publications and articles have also been produced which attempt to explore and elucidate the ideas contained in it. The Campbell Library’s collection contains many of those works and below are just some of them.

H. P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine — commentaries on her contributions to world thought edited by Virginia Hanson. A Quest Book, T. P. H. Wheaton, 2nd edition, 1988, 240 pages:

This book commemorates the centenary of the publication of The Secret Doctrine. It contains a range of articles under the following section headings:

  1. H. P. Blavatsky and the Inner Side of The Secret Doctrine;
  2. Some Secret Doctrine Concepts;
  3. The Theosophical View of Consciousness;
  4. Science and The Secret Doctrine;
  5. H. P. Blavatsky’s Influence on Science and the Arts.

Some of the contributors are: John Algeo, Adam Warcup, Michael Gomes. F. L. Kunz, Boris de Zirkoff, Christmas Humphreys and Hugh Murdoch.

Fountain-Source of Occultism, A modern presentation of the ancient universal wisdom based on The Secret Doctrine of H. P. Blavatsky by G. de Purucker, edited by Grace F. Knoche. Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1st edition, 1974, 744 pages:

An interpretation of the ancient wisdom as set out in The Secret Doctrine. De Purucker covers a vast range of subjects: galaxies and solar systems, invisible worlds, meditation, yoga, psychic powers, Buddhas, sleep and death, space and time, karma, ethics — to name a few. The contents originated in twelve booklets of instruction privately printed in 1936 and to which de Purucker added much fresh material on various subjects.

Madame Blavatsky on How to Study Theosophy — The Secret Doctrine and Its Study, by Robert Bowen. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, India, 1st edition, 1960, booklet, 17 pages:

Extracts from notes made by Bowen when he was a pupil in Blavatsky’s study circle between 1888 to 1891. Originally printed in Theosophy in Ireland in 1932, they contain principles that can be applied not only to the study of The Secret Doctrine, but to all theosophical studies.

An Invitation to The Secret Doctrine — including “The Secret Doctrine and Its Study” by Robert Bowen and “The Writing of The Secret Doctrine” by Kirby Van Mater. Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1st edition, 1988:

The essence of The Secret Doctrine is here conveyed in Blavatsky’s own words through its Three Fundamental Propositions and her Summing Up from vol. I and Preliminary Notes and Conclusion from vol. II. Included also are the Preface, and the Stanzas of Dzyan which are the basis of The Secret Doctrine. The sections by Bowen and Van Mater are also essential and useful readings for any student of the work.

Getting Acquainted with The Secret Doctrine, A Study Course, by John Algeo. Olcott Institute, Theosophical Society in America, 2nd edition, 1996, 64 pages:

A very useful guide for any student of The Secret Doctrine, this course provides a comprehensive approach to its study. As the author says: “It is merely one approach ... based on the Bowen Notes, which record Blavatsky’s own advice. It borrows freely, however, from the wisdom and practice of many others ... it does not aim to tell you what is in The Secret Doctrine, but rather to suggest ways of finding that out for yourself”. Also included is a comprehensive list for reading and study of The Secret Doctrine.

Living in Wisdom — Lectures on The Secret Doctrine by Joy Mills. Uitgeverij Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, Amsterdam, 1994, 57 pages:

Lectures given at the International Theosophical Centre in Naarden, Holland in 1988 celebrating the centenary of the publication of The Secret Doctrine. ‘The entire purpose of this remarkable work was to awaken a new mode of thought’, writes Mills. Among other things, she discusses what she perceives as mythological aspects of its contents, particularly in reference to the origin and development of human beings. Also emphasised are the ethical conclusions to be drawn from such study.

The Divine Plan Written in the form of a Commentary on H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, by Geoffrey A. Barborka, 2nd edition, 1964, 564 pages:

This is a guide-book for students of The Secret Doctrine. Barborka reorganises Blavatsky’s material and adds his own comments and interpretation. He analyses and explains unfamiliar terms used.

See also Barborka’s Peopling of the Earth: A Commentary on Archaic records in The Secret Doctrine, Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, 1975, 233 pages, and The Story of Human Evolution: Written in the form of a Commentary on The Stanzas of Dzyan, Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, 1980, 147 pages. Both of these publications explore volume II of The Secret Doctrine: ‘Anthropogenesis‘.

Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge of The Theosophical Society. Discussions on the Stanzas of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine. Theosophical University Press, Pasadena.

First published in two parts, in 1890 and 1891, they were condensed from the original discussions. With minor modifications this edition was published in 1946, 118 pages:

In 1889, the Blavatsky Lodge of The Theosophical Society in London provided the opportunity for members to discuss with H. P. Blavatsky matters relating to certain Stanzas of The Secret Doctrine. These Transactions are the outcome of shorthand notes of comments on the esoteric philosophy made by Blavatsky and others at those weekly meetings.

Symposium on H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine: Proceedings. Held at San Deigo, California 1984. Seventeen papers from four countries. Wizards Bookshelf, 1984, 111 pages:

The published papers range widely — from A Secret Doctrine Bibliography by John P. Van Mater, through Science and The Secret Doctrine: Some Interesting Parallels ... and Some Important Differences by W. D. McDavid, to H. P. Blavatsky and Sir William Crookes: Influence of The Masters by Dr Ralph Hannon.

The Books of Kiu-te or The Tibetan Buddhist Tantras A Preliminary Analysis by David Reigle. Secret Doctrine Reference Series, Wizard Bookshelf, San Diego, 1st edition, 1983, 70 pages:

The Books of Kiu-te are said to be a series of occult works which include The Book of Dzyan, from which, it is claimed, a number of stanzas were translated and which form the basis of The Secret Doctrine. The existence of The Books of Kiu-te has been a mystery, however in this volume David Reigle claims that “by simply tracing the reference H. P. Blavatsky gave when referring to these books, they have now been positively identified“. In this book he sets out to support his claim.

For more material on this subject see also Blavatsky’s Secret Books, by David Reigle and Nancy Reigle, same publisher, 1999, 181 pages.

A valuable research tool:

the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals

Have you ever spent hours trying to locate a particular article by a particular author in a particular theosophical periodical? Now it is possible to find the information you want in seconds by using the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals which is available on the Internet — see the Campbell web address below.

The Campbell Library provides and maintains this very useful Union Index which currently contains about 114,000 entries in over 100 theosophical and related periodicals, and is updated regularly. You can browse through any part of the Union Index — e.g. to examine details relating to the titles and authors of articles in a particular issue of a periodical. You can also locate specific information with an easy-to-use Search and List Kit which may be downloaded from the Union Index web page. For instructions about downloading the ‘Kit’ see the Table of Contents on the web page. To be fully up to date you need to download a new Kit each time the Index is updated.

Using the Search and List Kit you can find and list all entries containing a given phrase or name in the title or author fields of the Union Index. The list appears on your screen ready to use or to print out in a few seconds. Each entry shows details of the item: name of the periodical (abbreviated), year, volume, month, page, title and author. For example, you may wish to know what articles were written by Joy Mills, their titles, and in which theosophical periodicals — or you may wish to examine all of the entries containing the term ‘Secret Doctrine’. The information is provided in seconds.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Thanks to the valuable assistance of John Algeo, an index of The Quest, the magazine of The Theosophical Society in America, is currently being prepared. Most of this index will be included in the Union Index when it is next updated in June, 2003, and the balance will be added in the following update.

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The Library is a specialist research and reference facility focussed on theosophy, the theosophical movement and its history. It has a comprehensive range of books, periodicals and other material covering these areas. It also has material that, while not directly related to the theosophical movement, gives a wider historical and cultural context for authors and their works.

Anyone interested in its collection is welcome to use the Library which is available most weekdays by appointment. Please note that although material may not be borrowed from the Library a photocopying service is available.

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