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6147On Studying the SD

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  • dalval14@earthlink.net
    Mar 9, 2002
      Saturday, March 09, 2002

      Dear Friends:

      A contemporary and friend of H P B made notes on a conversation
      with her about the use and value of The SECRET DOCTRINE.

      Here is a summary of those:

      HPB on STUDYING the S.D. (BOWEN)

      Since most of the quotes that we will discuss come from SD, I
      hope the following extracts from Robert Bowen's notes of personal
      teachings given by H.P.B. to private pupils during the years 1888
      to 1891 on how to study SD may be of some help.

      "At last we have managed to get H.P.B. to put us right on the
      matter of the study of the S.D. Let me get it down while it is
      all fresh in mind. Reading the S.D. page by page as one reads
      any other book (she says) will only end us in confusion. The
      first thing to do, even if it takes years, is to get some grasp
      of the "Three Fundamental Principles" given in the Proem. Follow
      that up by study of the Recapitulation -- the numbered items in
      the Summing Up to Vol. I. (Part 1.). Then take the Preliminary
      Notes (Vol. II.) and the Conclusion (Vol. II.)......

      She talked a good deal about the "Fundamental Principle." She
      says: If one imagines that one is going to get a satisfactory
      picture of the constitution of the Universe from the S.D. one
      will get only confusion from its study. It is not meant to give
      any such final verdict on existence, but to LEAD TOWARDS THE
      TRUTH. She repeated this latter expression many times.

      It is worse than useless going to those whom we imagine to be
      advanced students (she said) and asking them to give us an
      "interpretation" of the S.D. They cannot do it. If they try, all
      they give are cut and dried exoteric renderings which do not
      remotely resemble the Truth. To accept such interpretation means
      anchoring ourselves to fixed ideas, whereas Truth lies beyond any
      ideas we can formulate or express.

      Exoteric interpretations are all very well, and she does not
      condemn them so long as they are taken as pointers for beginners,
      and are not accepted by them as anything more. Many persons who
      are in, or who will in the future be in the T.S. are of course
      potentially incapable of any advance beyond the range of a common
      exoteric conception. But there are, and will be others, and for
      them she sets out the following and true way of approach to the

      Come to the S.D. (she says) without any hope of getting the final
      Truth of existence from it, or with any idea other than seeing
      how far it may lead TOWARDS the Truth. See in study a means of
      exercising and developing the mind never touched by other
      studies. Observe the following rules:

      1. No matter what one may study in the S.D. let the mind hold
      fast, as the basis of its ideation to the following ideas

      (a) The FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF ALL EXISTENCE. This unity is a thing
      altogether different from the common notion of unity -- as when
      we say that a nation or an army is united; or that this planet is
      united to that by lines of magnetic force or the like. The
      teaching is not that. It is that existence is ONE THING, not any
      collection of things linked together.

      Fundamentally there is ONE BEING.

      This Being has two aspects, positive and negative. The positive
      is Spirit, or CONSCIOUSNESS. The negative is SUBSTANCE, the
      subject of consciousness.

      This Being is the Absolute in its primary manifestation. Being
      absolute there is nothing outside it. It is All-Being. It is
      indivisible, else it would not be absolute.

      If a portion could be separated, that remaining could not be
      absolute, because there would at once arise the question of
      COMPARISON between it and the separated part. Comparison is
      incompatible with any idea of absoluteness. Therefore it is clear
      that this fundamental One Existence, or Absolute Being must be
      the Reality in every form there is.

      I said that though this was clear to me I did not think that many
      in the Lodges would grasp it.

      "Theosophy," she said, "is for those who can think, or for those
      who can drive themselves to think, not mental sluggards." H.P.B.
      has grown very mild of late. "Dumskulls!" used to be her name for
      the average student.

      4 Fundamental Ideas Given by HPB

      (a)The Atom, the Man, the God (she says) are each separately, as
      well as all collectively, Absolute Being in their last analysis,
      that is their REAL INDIVIDUALITY. It is this idea which must be
      held always in the background of the mind to form the basis for
      every conception that arises from study of the S.D. The moment
      one lets it go (and it is most easy to do so when engaged in any
      of the many intricate aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy) the
      idea of SEPARATION supervenes, and the study loses its value.

      (b) The second idea to hold fast to is that THERE IS NO DEAD
      MATTER. Every last atom is alive. It cannot be otherwise since
      every atom is itself fundamentally Absolute Being. Therefore
      there is no such thing as "spaces" of Ether, or Akasha, or call
      it what you like, in which angels and elementals disport
      themselves like trout in water. That's the common idea. The true
      idea shows every atom of substance no matter of what plane to be
      in itself a LIFE.

      (c) The third basic idea to be held is that Man is the MICROCOSM.
      As he is so, then all the Hierarchies of the Heavens exist within
      him. But in truth there is neither Macrocosm nor Microcosm but
      ONE EXISTENCE. Great and small are such only as viewed by a
      limited consciousness.

      (d) Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in
      the Great Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesizes all
      the others.

      "As is the Inner, so is the Outer; as is the Great so is the
      Small; as it is above, so it is below; there is but One Life and
      Law; and he that worketh it is ONE. Nothing is Inner, nothing is
      Outer; nothing is
      Great, nothing is Small; nothing is High, nothing is Low, in the
      Divine Economy. "

      No matter what one takes as study in the S.D. one must correlate
      it with those basic ideas."


      Best wishes,