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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- February, 1997

An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World

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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are 
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not 
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)


"Wisdom is to the Pure" by H.T. Edge
"Subjective Reality" by Thoa Tran
"Rising Above the Psychological" by Eldon Tucker
"Putting All Our Pet Theories on the Block" by Michael Rogge
"Subjectivity and Objectivity" by Jerry Schueler
"Technical Terms in Stanza II" by David Reigle
"Senzar: The Mystery of the Mystery Language," Part II
    by John Algeo
"Math that is Culturally Independent" by Don DeGracia, Ph.D.
"Historic Note" by Bee Brown
"Engage the Process" by Eldon Tucker


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore
all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

-- George Bernard Shaw [in THE REVOLUTIONIST'S HANDBOOK]


by H.T. Edge

[From THE NEW CENTURY, October 22, 1898, page 2]

> The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

The mind of man is, in the present age, chiefly under the
dominion of the senses; hence it cannot be accepted as a true
guide to right conduct. If the senses rule the mind, and the
mind rules the man, then the man is obviously a sensualist.

It is useless, therefore, for any man who is still a slave to his
senses, to attempt to attain wisdom or arrive at truth. His mind
is full of illusions, produced by those senses, and the truth
will be obscured. As well might an astronomer scan the heavens
with a bent reflector or a cracked lens.

So long as the mind of man is impure and the senses uncontrolled,
it is impossible for him to obtain true premises from which to
reason; hence his conclusions will be equally false. This is
sufficient to account for the impotence of so many of our
scientific theories and metaphysical systems when we seek a
beacon- light by which to guide our daily steps in life.

Many of the great intellectual fabrics of modern civilization
have been evolved by the unawakened minds of people under the
delusions of the senses. They have analyzed and classified the
impressions of the senses and the ideas derived from those sense-
impressions, but have dumped us down and deserted us at the
gateway of Truth, which they have named the "Great Unknown" and
the "Unknowable."

Wisdom can only come to the pure. As our great Eastern
forerunners in philosophy have warned us, "A troubled lake cannot
reflect the true image of the sun." These wise old masters set
themselves first to purify the mind, that it might become a
faithful reflector of the Truth. We, in our insane and conceited
folly, have turned our rusty and clouded glasses to the heavens,
hoping to see something else besides the cobwebs and spiders on
the lenses.

The few simple but eternal truths, which a child knows, are
sufficient to enable us to purify our minds. Brotherly love,
mutual forbearance, justice, calmness, and the like, are truths
which we recognize independently of the intellect. Children and
savages know them, and even the great masters of materialistic
scepticism act upon these principles, though they do not include
them in their philosophy.

But these laborious weavings of vast cobwebs of ideas are not
only useless, but positively harmful. They can, for instance,
vindicate such practices as the dissection of live animals, or
even men; practices which toll the death-knell of sympathy and
whose justification leads directly to the justification of worse
and worse horrors. Thank heaven! the mass of the people go on
living their simple lives, unaffected by the lucubrations of
materialists and metaphysicians, and the philosophers themselves
have not courage to live down to their own ideas.

The mind is only a secondary faculty. It cannot *perceive*
truths; it can only collect impressions and form them into ideas
and chains of ideas. These impressions may be derived from the
senses, or from the spiritual eye of man, which is above the mind
and prior to it. The mind can obtain knowledge from the
spiritual eye, if only the din of the senses and passions can be
stilled. Patanjali's Yoga Philosophy pursues this method, and so
do the Buddhist and many other teachings. Our own Chirst urges
us repeatedly to seek light from above and within, and to seek
first the "kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these
things shall be added unto you."

The road to knowledge lies through the purification of the mind
by controlling the passions and senses. The passions and senses
are producers of illusions which obscure the mind, as mist rising
from the damp earth obscures the sun. The greatest of all such
illusions is the sense of separateness, caused by shutting up the
mind in the prison of the senses. This illusion is like the old
geocentric system of astronomy; it upsets the whole plan of the
universe and involves complicated explanations to account for
what is really simple. It is undoubtedly this wrong point of
view that has led some eminent thinkers to see in Nature nothing
better than an eternal conflict: the universe is seen in detail
only, not as a harmonious whole; man is regarded as a number of
isolated units, warring against each other. The same error is
responsible for the competitive system in which "each man for
himself, and the devil take the hindermost" is the rule.

This is not a tirade against free inquiry or speculation in
general, but against useless learning and misguided speculation. 
The point insisted on is that right conduct and purity of life
are necessary preliminaries to true knowledge. So long as the
speculator leads a selfish or indifferent life, his mind will
only distort things for him; he will not see life in its true
colors. It is easily understood, for example, that an armchair
philosopher cannot frame a system which shall guide the toiling
man of affairs. Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Socrates, the Christ
of the Gospels-- these are the really wise, and their knowledge
was all sufficient. Such men can face every situation and adapt
themselves to every need.

Clear vision is better than all the groping in the world. A
merely learned man is like a blind man with a map; a wise man is
like a man who can see. 


by Thoa Tran

[based upon a January 7, 1997 posting to]

I have a friend who's sanity depends on pills. He sometimes
"forgets" to take them so that he could have a dialogue with God
and communicate with the mystical. His suffering comes when he
has to deal with the mundane, a job, a wife, his children, or the
consequences of his madness. 

When he is enthusiastic or happy, he's talking about the new
world that he had just drawn or written about, he's talking about
communicating with God via the TV, or he's talking about how his
minor hexes work. I don't know when he is truly happy or
suffering, but on the surface, that is what it appears to me. 
Communicating with God during his manic episodes give it a
purpose. It relieves some of his suffering.

Are the people who claim that they can actually talk to God
really talking to God? Are they special communication vessels for
God? Or are they just mad? Similarly, what about those who were
able to communicate with the Divine through rigorous exercises
and meditation? Were they special people who have been able to
finely tune their senses to pick up signals from the Divine? Are
most people just plain insensitive to the miracles around them,
having undeveloped senses? Or are they just very sane? I heard
that Joan of Arc was insane. Right now, the humming of my
printer sounds like the eternal Ohm.

I sometimes envy my friend's ability to let go of the constraints
of everyday life just by tossing away some pills. On the other
hand, I understand the fear of being uncertain of one's sanity
moment to moment. Everyday, I am uncertain of what my subjective
experience will be like. The sun could be shining both days, but
one day could be full of hope and the Divine is everywhere, and
the other day the Divine is non-existent. 

There are stressful days when I wonder how much it would take for
my nerves to break. However, I live my life and never came close
to losing my sanity. The shadow is always with me, though. The
shadow that is capable of heinous acts, immoral acts, a total
opposite of what I would do now in my present situation. But I
can feel it. I know it's there. I wonder what I would do if I
was placed in a situation that would test my convictions. 

How is it that a whole nation of basically decent people can
conspire together to commit awful acts? Look at the Holocaust,
look at the Chinese Revolution, look at Apartheid. The kind
person can easily turn into one who condemns a fellow human to

I think that is why artists are often fascinated by the dark
side. On the one hand, I wonder why we don't all just create
reminders of the light and the goodness. On the other hand, the
Divine is in everything. I often disagree to the hiding or
shaming of the dark side as if they don't exist. The shaming
exists in a listing of the hierarchy of spirituality in most
religions. Your physical is in the lower plane. Your emotion is
in the lower plane. Sex is in the lower plane. Instead of
accepting them as another part of the whole Divine, we condemn
them. They shouldn't exist.

Accepting the dark side, some of us can choose to be in the light
side of subjective reality. I am mad. I chose to not confront. 
I am lusty. I chose to not give in to desires. I am lazy. I
chose to work everyday. I am curious about some of the obvious
dark side. I chose to not imbibe in any of it. I am vengeful. 
I chose to not seek revenge. 

Some of us have the awareness that we create our own karma, and
can act accordingly. My friend has less control over his
faculties than a lot of people. However, his karma has placed
him smack in a situation where he has to work on it. Through his
shaky sanity, he has managed to hold a job for years, deal with a
critical wife, and raise two children at his young age. 

I wonder, though, what opportunity would he have to work on his
karma if he did not have those pills. What about those people
who are not able to have those pills? How is their karma dealt
with? Do they miss the train and have to wait for the next one?
Or is suffering during that lifetime is working on karma? What do
they learn from that? What do they learn from a constant state of


by Eldon Tucker

[based upon a December 10, 1993 posting to]

It is important to maintain balance and perspective in life. But
the rules change when we become aware of the higher life. When
we realize and start working with our higher natures, we come to
see our personalities as vehicles of something grander within,
and no longer as what we'd consider to be our conscious selves.

A psychological approach to live would tell us to stay
personality centered. It would have us keep our awareness in the
personality and experience everything in life in terms of how it
relates to that shadowy image of self which we have made.

We are told to not lose this orientation. We must keep the
personality as our seat of consciousness. If we were to identify
with something bigger than it, we would be told that we are
experiencing "inflation", with perhaps destructive psychological
consequences. But is this true?

The description of someone experiencing inflation is not
flattering. There is often a puny, undeveloped person, someone
whom has neglected life, someone clinging onto an external sense
of grandness to compensate for the lack of proper psychological
growth and maturity.

This use of the word *maturity* is funny, though, because the
psychologist is oblivious to what could be called *true
maturity,* the ripening, the flowering, the fullness of
development of the spiritual nature, which comes from countless
lifetimes of training, lifetimes of sacrifice, lifetimes of
devoted service to the spiritual.

We *can* be infilled with the higher, and have it as our seat of
consciousness, and not be neglecting the personality. And it may
or may not appear as inflation. Any temporary inflation in the
personality would just be one of the temporary adjustments made
in life during the period of probation, something that if it came
at all would be gone long before the seven years were up.

Now it is possible for certain flaws in the personality to emerge
that might not have otherwise appeared. This is from the
quickening of karma, from the expansion of the experiences that
are coming to us in life. We are rewroking the personality to be
a better instrument, and yet have less time and energy to spend
on its self-cultivation. There may even appear *gaps* in the
personality, as well, and these are to let in something higher
into our lives.

We are devoting our attention, our awareness, our consciousness
to selfless service, to universal love, and to the grandest of
philosophy, and are just *somewhere else*.

There are people whom wish to escape the petty nature of life, to
free themselves from the aweful oppressive feeling of existence
in a heavy, burdensome, grossly-material personality, a
personality that is sickened by the weight of material existence
and selfishness. They pretend, they make believe, they imagine
and play at being something else, something bigger, but do not
fool themselves very well.

They carry with themselves a feeling of horror, of shame, of
unreality, of failure that brings a sense of pain to the daily
events of life. This feeling is the opposite of what we train
ourselves. We bring the opposite into play, filling the
background of our lives with hope, with accomplishment, with
reality, with success, with bliss, that brightens our lives and
the lives of those around us!

We too want to escape the sense of personal self, since it is the
cause of suffering, and seek the bliss of transcending it. We
also shift our attention away from the person that we are, from
our personality. But this does not mean that we do not wish to
care for it, to imporve it, to broaden and enlighten and infill
it with the light of the spirit. We care for the personality, it
is an important element of our nature and we give it its due

Transcending the personality does not happen by pretense, by make
believe. It is not done by calling oneself something. We do not
become greater by comparison to others, by putting down other
people nor by finding things to call ourselves that make us seem
greater. Nothing is gained by status, recognition, by symbols or
external trappings that merely provide ego gratification.

If we feel different, special, better than others, if we feel we
are somehow set apart, in a special group, if we feel that we
have some particular characteristic that makes us superior, then
*that feeling* is our biggest enemy. Anything that pulls us out
of our communion with our inner nature, and makes us self-aware
of being particular personalities, apart from others, is a
barrier to our progress.

We become the higher nature by doing it, by living it, by making
life an expression of it. And this comes by forgetting self, not
by magnifying the sense of self, not by felling bigger, better,
higher than others.

Inflation is the psychological term for an abnormal sense of
self, where one feels hs is bigger, better, vaster than he really
is. It is a dream, a delusion, a dysfunction of personality.

Were a little girl to put on her Mom's clothes, and say she was
grown up, and were she to truly believe it, she would be fooling
herself. An egotist needs to feel that he is better than others
in some way. A member of some new age group may need to be told,
and to believe, that he is very advanced spiritually, far above
the common man. A preacher may believe that his opinion is
really the word of God. There are countless ways that we can
fool ourselves, that we can associate with something bigger and
identify with it and use that indentification as an escape from
the duties and lessons of life.

Feeling special, unique, superior because of having some unique
possession, or having some rare attribute of personality, be it
physical beauty, wealth, a strong mind, abnormal psychical
development, is a failure, a failure of the spiritual nature to
make its presence felt. We are centered in the personality,
grasping for things to incorporate into it, strengthening the
sense of personal self, and attempting to take in and claim
personal ownership of things that are simply greater than
ourselves. And we become inflated, swept away in a delusion!

We can, though, be infilled with the higher, with the real, the
true, the ever-present spiritual reality about us. And this is
not delusional, it does not lead to inflation. We are not
focusing on the personal, centered in the personality, and it
therefore does not puff up like a balloon with a sense of

As we shift our focus away from the personal, as we establish our
seat of consciousness higher within, the spiritual passes through
us, permeating us, but we attempt in no way to personally contain

Looking at someone on the spiritual path, we may see more
personal problems than the average person. As he cultivates the
spiritual and works out karma, his life becomes fuller, and he
has much less time for personal cultivation. He is busy helping
others rather than perfecting himself.

Having personal problems is not a sign that we have taken the
wrong path. We may end up less beautiful, less healthy, less
normal psychologically, poorer, more misuderstood--many of the
outer aspects of our personal self may decline. There is no
guarantee which way they will change when we enter probation. 
And it really does not matter.

Something wonderful is at work, though, something wonderful
within our natures, for we are really much more than is readily
apparent. We are much more than the personality that we use, the
personality that currently houses us as human egos on our earth,
on Globe D.

There is a certain holiness, a spiritual peace, a strength of
heart, a inner wisdom that is special, unique, and transcends
anything that we could possibly have attained through personal
self-cultivation. The higher principles are beginning to be
active in our lives, and their affects are starting to show.

As we start along that path which will one day lead to our
becoming forces for good in the world, we may or may not fit in
well with our particular culture. We may sometimes be unknown,
othertimes be an outcast or misfit, and at others have fame and
honor bestowed upon us.

We have reached the stage, though, where it does not matter to
us; we are unaffected by worldly acclaim. For we serve the work,
the order, the plan, the Law of Compassion, and we function from
a higher seat of concsiousness within ourselves.

Psychology may still describe the workings of our personalities,
and from a merely psychological point of view we may be worse off
in how we function. But we are operating from a higher level of
consciousness and see life from a vista, a wide panorama of which
the personality-centered people are blind. Others may look at us
and see malfunctions of the personality, with poerhaps some nice
side effects, and miss entirely what is going on.

The personality was evolved forth as a carrier, a vehicle, as a
means to hold and express our true nature, our real self, and not
to function as a thing in its own right. It is this functioning,
apart from the spritual nature, that is the true malfunctioning
of the personality. It is the lack of the inner light, as a
guide, to the personal life, that allows the personality to not
function according to its intended purpose.

We must not get caught up in psychology, although a minimal
psychological health is necessary to be functional, it is not an
end in itself. Like maintaining minimal physical health, it is
useful, but life should be no more devoted to body building, and
centered around the gym, than to psyche-building, centered around
the therapist.

A doctor is seen if we are in poor physical health. And we may
see a psychologist if necessary to keep ourselves functional in
our materialistic western society. But let's find ourselves
those doctors and healers whom have open hearts, developed inner
natures that allow them to treat the whole man.

The importance of psychology is not denied, no more is the
importance of physiology. But let us not dwell on the physical
self, and picture ourselves a bodies of meat, nor dwell on the
psychological self, and picture ourselves as a bundle of needs, a
living kamarupa.

Let us, instead, dwell in the highest, in the holy, the
spiritual, the grand side of life. Let us keep the highest
present in our lives as we go about the day, from waking until we
drop off to sleep at night. Let us awaken to the rich sea of
beauty that all of live is bathed in, be infilled with it, and
become a thing of beauty ourselves, as we give expression to it
in our lives.


by Michael Rogge

[based upon an August 7, 1996 posting to]

I hold a healthy degree of disbelief in the philosophy of
theosophy. My disbelief is shared by quite a number of others.

(Incidentally, I am of the opinion that "belief" implies an
emotional attachment to a number of concepts. It holds the
believer spell-bound and prevents him from moving forward.)

In 1956 I posted a manifest to the Delegates of the National 
Sections of the Pasadena (James A. Long) Theosophical Society.
It is eight pages long and heralds present-day discussions on 
freedom of belief in theosophical groups. As though I were 
evicted, I never heard from the Society after that.

The manifest beseeches the leadership to return to the original
aims of the Theosophical Society and subject HPB's contributions
to a further scrutiny. It was never answered and all our
Theosophical "friends" gave us a cold shoulder. It made me see
what all these high sounding "truths" were worth really.

Many years later it made me conceive my homepage: "On the
psychology of spiritual movements":

although that is not aimed at the Theosophical Society.

In the forty years that have passed I have come into contact with
many knowledgeable and spiritual people from different cultures
during my stay in the Far East and Europe which has broadened my
outlook. Moreover I have kept abreast of developments in many
areas in those four decades. If all that is is considered a step
backwards, because I should have kept to former outworn ideals, I
bow my head.

If Theosophists wish to adhere to the original enquiring spirit
of before they should be prepared to question and even throw
overboard concepts that have become dogma's like Karma and

They should also direct far more their attention to Spiritualism,
because in my opinion, it is far more tied up with Theosophy and
its communicators "The Masters" than they are prepared to accept. 
They should not embrace it, though, but seek for clues for
instance in comparing teachings of the Mahatma's with similar
communications from other sources of channeling and ask
themselves what is the true nature of this phenomenon and how to
access it (see my page "The presence phenomenon":

An enquiring mind should be prepared to lay all is pet theories
on the block, including the concepts of soul, monad, atman,
budhi, manas etc. All of this is pure speculation, and leads one
away from the real contact with the spiritual. Philosophizing
with the intellect on matters spiritual may become an escape. I
am quite sure that if we see in the end backwards we shall
perceive that we missed the point completely.

Finally, I owe a lot to the teachings I question now and I have a
high regard of Theosophists.


by Jerry Schueler 

[based upon a January 27, 1997 posting to] 

There is no such thing as "pure subjectivism." Subject and object 
are two sides of a duality, and one can't exist without the 
other. Every subjective I has its own objective world or reality 
around it. We (the monads in this life wave) do create our own 
reality, and make up the rules of life, and agree to abide by 
them. Who else? 

Objectivity is as real as subjectivity. The only thing to 
remember is that each subjective I has its own objective Not-I. 
The fact that a lot of people see the same object is the result 
of the overlapping of Not-I's. 

The pink elephants seen by a drunk are as real as the computer
that I am typing this on. They are not physical, like my
computer, but real nonetheless. What is reality, but that which
we can experience? Dreams, for example, are very real. The
angels that are evoked in magic are very real.

Hallucinations are actually objective reality seen by one person 
and not by others -- a part of their Not-I that does not overlap. 
We all tend to think reality is what is overlapped (i.e., shared 

My thesis is that anything the I experiences is real -- it has a 
mayavic (maya in the Buddhist sense) reality. In the sense of 
maya, everything that we experience is real. In a more absolute 
sense, nothing that we experience is real. 

Your perception is your reality. As your perception changes, so 
your reality changes. What is real for you may not be real for 
me because we have difference perceptions. This is the key to 
overcoming or extinguishing our past karma. 

The past is only as real as we recall it, and our karma affects 
us only as long as we allow it to do so. Karma is extinquished 
to the degree that we recognise the unreality of our past. Thats 
why all Adepts tell us to focus only on the present. 

There is always subject and object in dualism. This business 
only disappears in nonduality, which few theosophists understand 
and none have ever written about. 

However, it is true that our experiences always tend to 
substantiate our belief system. Whenever we experience something 
that doesn't fit into our belief system, we must either change 
our belief system (very difficult) or die (the usual case). 

The occult connection between our subjective self (I) and our 
objective world (Not-I) is called Fohat, and this mysterious 
force is the culprit rersponsible for our manifestation in 
space-time. It connects the polar sides of duality and makes 
non-duality possible. 


by David Reigle

[January 1997 Book of Dzyan Research Report from Eastern School
Press, reprinted with permission.]



1. ... Where were the builders, the lumnious sons of
Manvantaric dawn? ... In the unknown darkness in their Ah-hi
Parnishpanna. The producers of form from no-form -- the root of
the world -- the Devamatri and Svッhプat, rested in the bliss of

2. ... Where was silence? Where the ears to sense it? No, there
was neither silence nor sound; naught save ceaseless eternal
breath, which knows itself not.

3. The hour had not yet struck; the ray had not yet flashed into
the Germ; the Matripadma had not yet swollen.

4. Her heart had not yet opened for the one ray to enter, thence
to fall, as three into four, into the lap of Maya.

5. The seven sons were not yet born from the web of light. 
Darkness along was father-mother, Svッhプat; and Svッhプat was in

6. These two are the Germ, and the Germ is one. The Universe
was still concealed in the Divine thought and the Divine bosom. 

There are seven technical terms in stanza II of the "Book of
Dzyan" as translated in H. P. Blavatsky's THE SECRET DOCTRINE:
"ah-hi" (ahi) and "parnishpanna", which are also found in stanza
I, so were discussed in a previous report; manvantara and mペ,
which are commonly found in Hindu Sanskrit texts in the same
meaning, so require no comment; "devamatri" (deva-mフri) and
"matripadma" (mフri-padma), which though rare in Sanskrit texts,
still pose no particular problem; and "svッhプat," a fundamental
concept in THE SECRET DOCTRINE which poses fundamental problems. 
Among the doctrinal issues raised by the teachings of THE SECRET
DOCTRINE, none poses greater problems for its philosophy than
svッhプat. While Theosophists who in the innocence of reading
only their own books remain blissfully unaware that there are any
problems here, for outside investigators, once they have gotten
past the fraud charges and begun to investigate the actual
doctrines, and leaving aside historical questions, it is the
doctrine of svッhプat which raises the most serious questions in
the philosophy of THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

In the "Summing Up" section immediately following the seven
stanzas from the "Book of Dzyan" given in volume I of THE SECRET
DOCTRINE, Blavatsky recapitulates the system of the Secret
Doctrine. There she says (p. 273):

> The fundamental Law in that system, the central point from which 
> all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon 
> which is hung the philosophy of the rest, is the One homogeneous 
> divine SUBSTANCE-PRINCIPLE, the one radical cause.
> It is called "Substance-Principle," for it becomes "substance" on 
> the plane of the manifested Universe, an illusion, while it 
> remains a "principle" in the beginningless and endless abstract, 
> visible and invisible SPACE. It is the omnipresent Reality: 
> impersonal, because it contains all and everything. ITS 
> latent in every atom in the Universe, and is the Universe itself.

Near the beginning of the "Proem," which precedes the Seven
stanzas given in volume I of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Blavatsky
quotes (p. 3) what she had written earlier in ISIS UNVEILED, to
show what "will be explained, as far as it is possible, in the
present work":

> The esoteric doctrine teaches, like Buddhism and Brahminism, and 
> even the Kabala, that the one infinite and unknown Essence exists 
> from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is 
> either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu 
> these conditions are called the "Days" and the "Nights" of 
> Brahm. The latter is either "awake" or "asleep." The 
> Svabhプikas, or philosophers of the oldest school of Buddhism 
> (which still exists in Nepaul), speculate only upon the active 
> condition of this "Essence," which they call Svッhプat, and deem 
> it foolish to theorize upon the abstract and "unknowable" power in 
> its passive condition.

Earlier, the Mahatma K.H. in the first of a series of letters of
instruction to A. O. Hume wrote (Chron. ed. p. 165):

> To comprehend my answers you will have first of all to view the 
> eternal ESSENCE, the Swabhプat not a compound element you call 
> spirit-matter, but as the one element for which the English has no 
> name. It is both passive and active, pure SPIRIT ESSENCE in its 
> absoluteness and repose, pure matter in its finite and conditioned 
> state -- even as an imponderable gas or that great unknown which 
> science has pleased to call FORCE.

A few months later, after some rather exasperating exchanges
which led the Mahatma K.H. to comment that "All this reminds one
of wrangling for seniorship," he again advised A. O. Hume to
study this fundamental concept (Chron. ed. p. 281):

> Study the laws and doctrines of the Nepaulese Swabhavikas, the 
> principal Buddhist philosophical school in India, and you will 
> find them the most learned as the most scientifically logical 
> wranglers in the world. Their plastic, invisible, eternal, 
> omnipresent and unconscious Swabhavat is Force or MOTION ever 
> generating its electricity which is life.

What sources could Hume have studied the laws and doctrines of
the Nepalese Svッhプikas from? The only sources on this,
available either then or now, are the essays of Brian H. Hodgson
published in ASIASTIC RESEARCHES, etc., starting in 1828, and
later collected into a book entitled ESSAYS ON THE LANGUAGES,
Hodgson had been British Resident in Kathmandu, living there from
1821 through 1843. Since Nepal was otherwise closed to
foreigners, Hodgson's writings were for nearly a century the only
source of information on Nepalese Buddhism. Al the early
Buddhist scholars, including Eugene Burnouf, Samuel Beal, Joseph
Edkins, Hendrik Kern, etc., most of whom were quoted by Blavatsky
and K.H., relied on these writings.

Upon studying Hodgson's essays, however, we find in his
description of the Nepalese Svッhプika school of Buddhism only
the term svabhプa, not svッhプat or svabhプat and svabhavat (the
spellings sva- or swa- are merely alternate transliterations). 
And yes, svabhプa is there described in the same terms used by
Blavatsky and K.H. to describe svッhプat. So why the final "t"?
Svabhプa is a noun (which can also be used adjectivally);
svッhプat or svabhプat are grammatically unintelligible; while
svabhavat, as stated by G. de Purucker (OCCULT GLOSSARY, p. 
167), would be a neuter present participle. As such, it would
function as a verb meaning "self-being," or "self-becoming." We
would then expect to find this in the actual Sanskrit Buddhist
texts; but we don't. We find only svabhプa, as reported by
Hodgson, and occasionally svabhプat or svabhプatva. The "-t"
and "-tva" suffixes form abstract nouns, and can often be
translated by the English suffix "-ness." Thus from sh墨ya,
"empty," we get sh墨yata, "emptiness." Svabhプat, then, could
mean something like "self-be-ness." in the case of words like
svabhプa, however, which are frequently used adjectivally, these
suffixes often serve only to fix their usage as a noun rather
than an adjective, whihout any real change in meaning. 
Certainly, the exegetical tradition of Tibet treats them
synoymously. It is possible, in terms of meaning, that
svabhプat is what Blavatsky meant. A final long "", however,
cannot be dropped like a final short "a" frequently is in north
Indian pronunciation (e.g. rニ yog for rニa yoga); and it is the
spellings ending in "t" that are found throughout the early
Theosophical writings. Blavatsky says in THE SECRET DOCTRINE
(vol. I, p. 98) about svッhプat: "The name is of Buddhist use
..." and in a footnote, "As for Svッhプat, the Orientalists
explain the term as meaning the Universal plastic matter diffused
through Space, ..." I have checked the books on Buddhism referred
to in Blavatsky's writings and available in her day, but found no
svッhプat, etc., only svabhプa. Although the theoretical form
svabhavat as a present participle is grammatically possible, we
do not find it in either Hodgson's essays, the only actual source
on Nepalese Buddhism available last century in any European
language, nor in the Sanskrit Buddist texts where according to
Blavatsky and K.H. it should be found. But with all this, our
problems have only just begun.

Has nothing been published on the laws and doctrines of the
Nepalese Svッhプikas since Hodgson's early nineteenth century
essays? Although Nepal was closed to foreigners until 1951, a few
Buddhist scholars managed to get in earlier, most notably Sylvain
Levi and Giuseppe Tucci. Sylvain Levi went in 1898, writing
after his return to France, LE NEPAL, 2 vols., Paris, 1905. He
found that there was no such school of Buddhism as the
Svッhプikas in Nepal, nor could the other three schools of
Buddhism described by Hodgson (Aiswarika, Yフnika, Kビmika) and
soberly discussed by generations of Buddhist scholars be found. 
Not only were there no Svッhプikas in Nepal, but the supposed
Buddhist doctrine of svabhプa was also called into question,
since Buddhists existing elsewhere did not hold such a doctrine. 
Recently, more detailed research has been carried on among the
Buddhists of Nepal, the Newaris. An article by David N. Gellner
STUDIES, vol. 12, 1989, entitled, "Hodgson's Blind Alley? On the
So-Called Schools of Nepalese Buddhism," shows that the names
Svッhプika, etc., were merely used by Hodgson's Newari pundit
informant as designations of what he felt were the diagnostic
tenets of the main systems of ideas found in the Buddhist texts. 
These alleged schools of Nepalese Buddhism were questioned at the
time Hodgson's account of them was first published, so that he
felt compelled to later (1836) publish extracts from the Buddhist
texts in support of them. Among the extracts he then published
in support of the Svッhプika school are two quotations from the
BUDDHA-CARITA, a biography of the Buddha written by Ashvaghosa. 
Gellner points out in the above-mentioned article that the
quotations in question give not the doctrines of the Buddhas, but
rather non-Buddhist doctrines spoken to the young Buddha-to-be by
the councillor of the king, his father, in an effort to get him
to give up his asceticism and return to the palace. These
doctrines, of course, he rejected. Other quotations in support
of the Svッhプika school come from the praj、a-pビamit, or
Perfection of Wisdom texts. It is well known that Nトビjuna is
said to have received these texts from the Nトピ, and that he
based his Madhyamaka system on them. It is equally well known
that the basic tenet of his Madhyamaka system is emptiness, or
the lack of svabhプa (nihsvabhプa) in all things (dharma-s). The
Madhyamaka school has a long history in India in the first
millenium of the Common Era, from whence it was transferred first
to China and then to Tibet. In Tibet it flourished; virtually
all Tibetan Buddists from then until now consider themselves to
be Mヅhyamikas, and thus as their basic tenet reject svabhプa
(see, for example, Nトビjuna's m僕a-madhyamaka-kビik, chapt. 
15, "Examination of Svabhプa").

The Theosophical doctrine is quite unequivocal about this
teaching. If no Svッhプika school of Buddhism can be found, and
if no doctrine of svabhプa is taught by any existing Buddhist
school, could we perhaps find this teaching under a different
name in Buddhism? When Blavatsky quotes H. S. Olcott's THE
inserts svッhプat as a paratial synonym of ヌピha: "Everything
has come out of Akピa (or Svッhプat on our earth) in obedience to
a law of motion inherent in it, ..." ヌピha is there said to be
one of the two eternal things, along with nirvハa, taught in
Buddhism. This is a teaching of the Theravヅa school of
Buddhism, but shared also by other Buddhist schools. The old
Indian Sarvピtivヅa school of Buddhism teaches two kinds of
nirvハa, so along with ヌピha holds three things to be eternal. 
It could possibly be considered "the principle Buddhist
philosophical school in India" mentioned by the Mahatma K.H. in
connnection with the Nepalese Svッhプikas; at least it may have
been at one time. But of course there have been no Buddhist
philosophical schools in India for nearly a thousand years, ever
since the Muslim invasion destroyed Buddhism in India. The
doctines of the Sarvピtivヅa school, "they who say (vヅa) that
all (sarva) exists (asti), are studied in Tibet in the
abhidharma-kosha, a text which is memorized in most Tibetan
monasteries. This text gives the Sarvピtivヅa doctinres as
taught by the Vaibhピhikas of Kashmir. It is accompanied by
Vasubandhu's auto-commentary which also gives counter-arguments
by the Sautrハtika Buddhists. However, both the Vaibhピhika
Sarvピtivヅins and their Sautrハtika opponents are considered as
H系ayハa or "lessor vehicle" schools. Their doctrines are
systematically refuted in the Tibetan yig-chas, or monastic study
manuals, by the Madhyamaka school. Thus Tibetan Buddists do not
hold these doctrines as ultimately true, since the eternal ヌピha
is refuted along with everything else (see, for example,
Nトビjuna's m僕a-madhyamaka-kビik, chapt. 5, "Examination of
the Elements").

Is there anywhere else we can turn to for support of the svabhプa
doctrine? Perhaps to Hinduism: to the venerable old Sankhya
system, considered to be the oldest school of Indian philosophy. 
In a quotation from the an鉾荊 found in THE SECRET DOCTRINE
(vol. I, p. 571), Blavatsky equates svabhプa with prakriti, the
substance-principle of the Sハkhya system: "Gods, Men,
Gandharvas, Pisツhas, Asuras, Rヌshasas, all have been created by
Svabhプa (Prakriti, or plastic nature) ..." The term prakriti is
glossed as pradhハa in Gaudapヅa's commentary on sハkhya-kビik
verse 8. Earlier, in his commentary on verse 3, m僕a-prakriti
was also glossed as pradhハa. Thus the three terms: parkriti,
pradhハa, and m僕a-prakriti are in some sense synonymous, and all
are described as unmanifest (avyakta). But in the list of
synonyms given in Gaudapヅa's commentary on sハkhya-kビik verse
22, of these only prakriti and pradhハa are found, along with
brahma, avyakta, bahudhフmaka and mペ, suggesting that the term
m僕a-prakriti was reserved to indicate the more abstract aspect. 
Blavatsky says in THE SECRET DOCTRINE (vol. I, p. 61):

> Svッhプat, the 'Plastic Essence' that fills the Universe, is the 
> root of all things. Svッhプat is, so to say, the Buddhist concrete 
> aspect of the abstraction called in Hindu philosophy 

All this fits together, then, in supporting the idea that the
Sハkhya prakriti matches the svabhプa doctrine taught in THE
SECRET DOCTRINE. But any gain from this match in supporting the
teachings of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is soon lost. The Sハkhya
school has been practically non-existent in India for centuries. 
Why is this? Because the Advaita Vedハta school, called in THE
SECRET DOCTRINE the nearest exponent of the Esoteric philosophy
(vol. I, p. 55), and its foremost teacher, Shankarツビya,
called in THE SECRET DOCTRINE "the greatest Initiate living in
the historical ages" (vol. I, p. 271), refuted its
substance-principle thoroughly and repeatedly (see, for example,
Shankarツビya's commentary on brahma-s釦ra 1.1.5 ff., his
summation at 1.4.28, then 2.1.1 ff., etc.). Thus the Sハkhya
doctrines were studied in India only to be refuted by the
dominant Vedハta school, much as the Sarvピtivヅa doctrines were
studied in Tibet only to be refuted by the dominant Madhyamaka

The term svッhプat occurs in the Stanzas seven times. It is
supposed to be a Buddhist term, occurring in Buddhist texts, and
known to orientalists. Yet this term is not to be found in
either Buddhist texts nor in the writings of orientalists, but
only the term svabhプa. It is supposed to be the doctrine of the
Nepalese Svッhプikas. Yet no such school was found to exist. It
is supposed to be taught by Buddhism and Brahmanism. Yet there
is no known school of Buddhism now in existence which teaches it;
but on the contrary, for the Buddhists of Tibet where the Book of
Dzyan is said to have been preserved, it is the very doctrine
they most pointedly reject. As for Brahmanism, while this
doctrine may well have been found in the old Sハkhya school,
Shankarツビya's Advaita Vedハtins have refuted it and the Sハkhya
school practically out of existence in India. Clearly,
Theosophists have in front of them some homework to do.

If Theosophists have for more than a century been taking in
support of their doctrines terms and schools which actually do
not support them, it is time to correct this. The doctrine of
the one substance-principle is consistent throughout the early
Theosophical writings, being particularly clearly laid out in the
article, "What is Matter and What is Force?" (BLAVATSKY COLLECTED
WRITINGS, vol. 4). It is no longer appropriate to say that it
is the m僕a-prakriti of the Vedantin and the svッhプat of the
Buddhist (e.g., S.D. I, 46; B.C.W. X, 304; B.C.W. XIV, 234;
etc.), since m僕a-prakriti is a Sハkhya concept which is refuted
by the Vedハtins, and the term svッhプat does not exist, while
svabhプa is refuted by Buddhists existing today. If a term such
as svabhプa is indeed found in the Stanzas, support for this
doctrine should in fact be found in the Sanskrit Buddhist texts;
and this requires research.

While studying Sanskrit during the summer of 1995 with Gautam
Vajracharya, a Newari Buddhist from Nepal, I asked him about the
supposed Svッhプika school. I had written ahead with the
question, and then in person asked him about it on two different
occasions so as to minimize the possibility of my
misunderstanding him. He was of the definite opinion that such a
school of interpretation actually did exist in Hodgson's time,
but he was equally sure that it does not exist at present in
Nepal. The situation in Nepal then and now is that very few
Buddhist pundits exist. There are somewhat scattered, and may
preserve traditions within their Vajracharya family not preserved
in other Vajracharya families. So Gautam felt that Hodgson's
pundit probably had preserved an authentic Svッhプika tradition,
but that it has now died out. Gautam, himself a Vajracharya, was
familiar with the other Vajracharyas living today, so was sure
that such a tradition no longer exists. Hodgson, however, had
provided four pages of quotations translated into English from
Sanskrit Buddhist texts in support of this doctrine. The texts
quoted from, including the lengthy praj、a-pビamit texts,
together total thousands of pages. Due to this bulk, few of
these quotations have yet been traced, other than from the
buddha-carita. Perhaps a valid Svッhプika doctrine can yet be
found in the Sanskrit Buddhist texts. But Theosophists will have
to find it, because no one else is likely to be interested.


by John Algeo

[Part Two of Two Parts, reprinted with author's permission.]


What then is this "mystery language" of HPB's? What kind of
"language" is Senzar? Blavatsky says that the Hermetic
Philosophers (that is, alchemists) of the Middle Ages

> renovated the ancient symbolical language of the high-priests of
> antiquity, who had used it as a sacred barrier between their holy
> rites and the ignorance of the profane, and created a veritable
> Cabalistic slang. This latter, which continually blinded the
> false neophyte, attracted towards the science only by his
> greediness for wealth and power which he would have surely
> misused were he to succeed, is a living, eloquent, clear
> language; but it is and can become such, only to the true
> disciple of Hermes. (CW I, 131)

In this passage, Blavatsky is clearly talking about alchemical
"jargon" and saying that properly understood it is full of high
meaning, and also that it is a renovated form of the "ancient
symbolical language," apparently a reference to Senzar. 
Similarly, Blavatsky says that the Jewish holy writings from the
Pentateuch to the Talmud were written

> in a kind of Mystery-language, were, in fact, a series of
> symbolical records which the Jews had copied from the Egyptian
> and the Chaldaean Sanctuaries, only adapting them to their own
> national history. (CW XIV, 170)

Again, what is meant by "mystery language" here is an allegorical
or symbolic use of narrative language, such as the biblical
narratives of the creation, the fall, the crossing of the red
sea, and so on (as interpreted in considerable detail by Alvin
Boyd Kuhn, Geoffrey Hodson, and others). Blavatsky makes various
references to such symbolism:

> ... the art of speaking and writing in a language which
> bears a double interpretation, is of very great antiquity; ...
> it was in practice among the priests of Egypt, brought from
> thence by the Manichees, whence it passed to the Templars and
> Albigenses, spread over Europe, and brought about the
> Reformation. (quoted from Charles Sotheran, CW I, 126)

> The Hierophants and Initiates of the Mysteries in the Secret
> Schools ... had one universal, Esoteric tongue -- the language
> of symbolism and allegory. This language has suffered neither
> modification nor amplification from those remote times down to
> this day. It still exists and is still taught. There are those
> who have preserved the knowledge of it, and also of the arcane
> meaning of the Mysteries; and it is from these Masters that the
> writer of the present protest had the good fortune of learning,
> howbeit imperfectly, the said language. Hence her claim to a
> more correct comprehension of the arcane portion of the ancient
> texts written by avowed Initiates -- such as were Plato and
> Iamblichus, Pythagoras, and even Plutarch ... (CW XIII, 153-54)

> As the Egyptian hierophants had their private code of hieratic
> symbols, and even the founder of Christianity spoke to the vulgar
> in parables whose mystical meaning was known only to the chosen
> few, so the Brahmans had from the first (and still have) a
> mystical terminology couched behind ordinary expressions,
> arranged in certain sequences and mutual relations, which none
> but the initiate would observe. (CW V, 296)

It is hard to imagine plainer statements that those just cited. 
Clearly, the "one universal, Esoteric tongue" is "the language of
symbolism and allegory." Blavatsky also speaks of the mystery
language as involving ideographs, hieroglyphs, and pictorial
representations. She claims that of all the sacred and
philosophical works ever written, those whose texts were not
already veiled in symbolism have been "copied in cryptographic
characters" (I, xxiii-xxiv). Further she says:

> THE SECRET DOCTRINE teaches us that the arts, sciences, theology,
> and especially the philosophy of every nation which preceded the
> last UNIVERSALLY KNOWN, but not universal Deluge, had been
> recorded ideographically from the primitive oral records of the
> Fourth Race, and that these were the inheritance of the latter
> from the early Third Root-Race before the allegorical Fall. 
> (II, 530)

> ... placed side by side with the hieroglyphic or pictorial
> initial version of "creation" in the BOOK OF DZYAN, the origin of
> the Phoenician and Jewish letters would soon be found out. (CW
> XIV, 206)

> We have now to speak of the Mystery language, that of the
> prehistoric races. It is not a phonetic, but a purely pictorial
> and symbolical tongue. (II, 574)

The last cited statement shows that the Mystery language Senzar
is not a spoken language, nor a system of writing that represents
such a language, but is "purely pictorial and symbolical." In
several places, Blavatsky is quite clear about the sort of thing
the mystery language is. It uses written symbols that represent
ideas, not the sounds of a language:

> Moreover, there exists a universal language among the Initiates,
> which an Adept, and even a disciple, of any nation may understand
> by reading it in his own language. We Europeans, on the
> contrary, possess only one graphic sign common to all, & (and);
> there is a language richer in metaphysical terms than any on
> earth, whose every word is expressed by like common signs. (CW
> XIV, 101)

HPB's example is the Greek letter "Y", which she says is
understood as representing the two paths of virtue and vice,
white and black magic, and various other things. Such meanings
correlate with the shape of the letter, which suggests the
dividing of a way and a forced choice between alternatives. She
elaborates the same idea elsewhere:

> ... all the ancient records were written in a language which
> was universal and known to all nations alike in days of old, but
> which is now intelligible only to the few. Like the Arabic
> figures which are plain to a man of whatever nation, or like the
> English word AND, which becomes ET for the Frenchman, UND for the
> German, and so on, yet which may be expressed for all civilized
> nations in the simple sign "&" -- so all the words of that mystery-
> language signified the same thing to each man of whatever
> nationality. There have been several men of note who have tried
> to re-establish such a universal and PHILOSOPHICAL tongue:
> Delgarme, Wilkins, Leibnitz ... (I, 310)

"Delgarme" is perhaps an error for George Dalgarno. He, Wilkins,
and Leibnitz were three important figures in seventeenth-century
efforts to design a "universal and philosophical" language. 
Dalgarno is little known today, but the other two were active in
many endeavors.

John Wilkins (1614-72) was bishop of Chester but is best known as
the chief founder and first secretary of the British Royal
Society. Among his works is an ESSAY TOWARDS A REAL CHARACTER
AND A PHILOSOPHICAL LANGUAGE, in which he invented a language and
writing system that attempted to classify all reality and
represent it unambiguously and rationally; Roget's Thesaurus was
later based on Wilkins's classification of ideas.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646-1716), the philosopher and
mathematician, was secretary to a Rosicrucian Lodge in Nuremberg
(according to the ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, 11th ed., XVI, 385). 
He wanted to devise a way of symbolizing thought that could be
used by people of all languages and that would be free of all the
vagueness and ambiguities that ordinary languages abound in, to
use for peacefully settling disagreements. The invention of
universal, philosophical languages was a pastime, if not an
obsession, of the seventeenth century.

It is clear from the foregoing passages that the mystery language
is no ordinary spoken language, but is instead a symbolic
representation that can be "read," that is, interpreted, in any
language whatever. These passages seem to say that it was a kind
of ideographic writing, but other of Blavatsky's comments make it
appear more general than that. In speaking of Confucius and his
interpretation of the hexagrams of the I CHING, Blavatsky says,

> ... the STANZAS given in our text ... represent PRECISELY THE 
> SAME IDEA. The old archaic map of Cosmogony is full of LINES in
> the Confucian style, of concentric circles and dots. (I, 441)

The Stanzas are like the symbols of the I CHING, lines and
figures, circles and dots. Blavatsky frequently emphasizes the
"geometrical" nature of the mystery language:

> ... it becomes easy to understand how nature herself could
> have taught primeval mankind, even without the help of its divine
> instructors, the first principles of a numerical and geometrical
> symbol language. Hence one finds numbers and figures used as an
> expression and a record of thought in every archaic symbolical
> Scripture. (I, 320-21)

> From the very beginning of Aeons -- in time and space in our Round
> and Globe -- the Mysteries of Nature (at any rate, those which it
> is lawful for our races to know) were recorded by the pupils of
> those same, now invisible, "heavenly men," in geometrical figures
> and symbols ... The TEN POINTS inscribed within that
> "Pythagorean TRIANGLE" are worth all the theogonies and
> angelologies ever emanated from the theological brain. For he
> who interprets them -- on their very face, and in the order
> given -- will find in these seventeen points (the seven
> Mathematical Points hidden) the uninterrupted series of the
> genealogies from the first HEAVENLY to TERRESTRIAL man." (I, 612)

> One of the keys to this Universal Knowledge is a pure geometrical
> and numerical system, the alphabet of every great nation having a
> numerical value for every letter, and, moreover, a system of
> permutation of syllables and synonyms which is carried to
> perfection in the Indian Occult methods... (CW XIV, 181)

In keeping with such comments on mathematical symbolism, Blavatsky 
refers to the Stanza's account of cosmic evolution as an "abstract 
algebraical formula" applicable to all evolutionary processes (I, 

GOLDEN PRECEPTS, on which the VOICE is based:

> The original PRECEPTS are engraved on thin oblongs ... They are 
> written variously, sometimes in Tibetan but mostly in ideographs. 
> The sacerdotal language (Senzar), besides an alphabet of its own,
> may be rendered in several modes of writing in cypher characters,
> which partake more of the nature of ideographs than of syllables. 
> ... A sign placed at the beginning of the text determines 
> whether the reader has to spell it according to the Indian mode,
> when every word is simply a Sanskrit adaptation, or according to
> the Chinese principle of reading the ideographs. The easiest
> way, however, is that which allows the reader to use no special,
> or ANY language he likes, as the signs and symbols were, like the
> Arabian numerals or figures, common and international property
> among initiated mystics and their followers. (VOICE 6-7)

Presumably Blavatsky does not mean that the same script can be 
read either phonetically or ideographically, making sense both 
ways. Such a script would be difficult to imagine. Rather she 
seems to mean that some parts of the PRECEPTS are written in 
Tibetan or another ordinary lagnuage, whereas other parts are 
written in ideographs or symbolic signs, with an indication to 
readers of what sort of communication they are about to encounter. 
That is very much the kind of mixed text she has described the 
STANZAS OF DZYAN as also containing.

The cipher-like appearance of Senzar is amusingly involved in an
affair that gave HPB some pain. In a letter to A.P. 
Sinnett, Blavatsky answered a charge made against her of being a
Russian spy:

> Coulomb stole a "queer looking paper" and gave it to the
> missionaries with the assurance this was a cipher used by the
> Russian spies(!!) They took it to the Police Commissioner, had
> the best experts examine it, sent it to Calcutta[,] for five
> months moved heaven and earth to find out what the cipher meant
> and -- now gave it up in despair. "It is one of your flapdoodles"
> says Hume. "It is one of my SENZAR MSS," I answer. I am
> perfectly confident of it, for one of the sheets of my book with
> numbered pages is missing. I defy any one but a Tibetan
> occultist to make it out, if it is this. (LETTERS OF HPB, 76)

Senzar must, then, be capable of looking like a cipher, though it
is not what we usually mean by that term.

However, Blavatsky also associates Senzar with the pictographs of 
the American Indians:

> The Red Indian tribes of America, only a few years ago,
> comparatively speaking, petitioned the President of the United
> States to grant them possession of four small lakes, the petition
> being written on the tiny surface of a piece of a fabric, which
> is covered with barely a dozen representations of animals and
> birds ... The American savages have a number of such
> different kinds of writing, but not one of our Scientists is yet
> familiar [with], or even knows of the early hieroglyphic cipher,
> still preserved in some Fraternities, and named in Occultism the
> SENZAR. (II, 439)

The Indian petition referred to here is similar to the pictograph
in Figure 2. The fact that Blavatsky refers to Senzar as a
"hieroglyphic cipher" should not be given undue weight. HPB 
did not use terms for languages and writing systems with the
precision of a linguist today. The context in which she uses the
expression in discussing the Indian pictograph makes it clear
that for her terms like HIEROGLYPH and CIPHER simply denote a
picture-like form of written communication. All we are safe in
concluding from her remark is that Senzar involved a pictorial
representation of occult ideas.

In describing the "old book" referred to in ISIS UNVEILED and
said in THE SECRET DOCTRINE to have been written in Senzar,
Blavatsky says:

> One of its illustrations represents the Divine Essence emanating
> from ADAM like a luminous arc proceeding to form a circle; and
> then, having attained the highest point of its circumference, the
> ineffable glory bends back again, and returns to earth, bringing
> a higher type of humanity in its vortex. As it approaches nearer
> and nearer to our planet, the Emanation becomes more and more
> shadowy, until upon touching the ground it is as black as night. 
> (ISIS I, 1, cited in SD I, xlii)

Is it possible that the "illustration" described here is an
example of Senzar, comparable to the Amerindian pictographs?

A script that can be read either phonetically or ideographically,
and makes sense both ways, is difficult to imagine. Perhaps this
description is deliberately mystifying (one of HPB's famous
"blinds") and means no more than that a language written in a
phonetic script can be used to express archetypal symbolic ideas. 
In interpreting passages like this, one is never sure whether
HPB is using a term in its technical sense or whether she is
using it impressionistically for effect.


Is Senzar quite unrecoverable, or is it possible that we have it
all about us? In particular, can we have had a Senzar text lying
under our noses ever since the publication of THE SECRET
DOCTRINE? The proem to that work begins with these words:

> An Archaic Manuscript -- a collection of palm leaves made
> impermeable to water, fire, and air, by some specific unknown
> process -- is before the writer's eye. On the first page is an
> immaculate white disk within a dull black ground. On the
> following page, the same disk, but with a central point. (I, 1)

Later more symbols from the manuscript are described and

> The first illustration being a plain disk , the second
> one in the Archaic symbol shows , a disk
> with a point in it -- the first differentiation in the periodical
> manifestations of the ever-eternal nature, sexless and infinite
> ... In its third stage the point is transformed into a diameter,
> thus . It now symbolizes a
> divine immaculate Mother-Nature within the all-embracing absolute
> Infinitude. When the diameter line is crossed by a vertical one
> , it becomes the mundane cross. Humanity has
> reached its third Root-Race; it is the sign for the origin of
> human life to begin. When the circumference disappears and
> leaves only the  it is a sign that the fall of man into
> matter is accomplished, and the FOURTH race begins. (I, 4-5)

One document that we are told is written in Senzar is the
palm-leaf manuscript of the Stanzas of Dzyan. The content of the
manuscript is described as these and other visual symbols. Of
course, it is possible that the symbols are simply illustrations
for a text of a more conventional sort, written in an alphabet or
ideographic script also of a more conventional sort. But it is
equally possible that these symbols -- these circles and lines -- are
the "hieroglyphic cipher," the "geometrical figures and symbols"
of Senzar. And indeed, the latter seems more likely, as the cut
of Ockham's razor. Moreover, the version of cosmogenesis in the
Book of Dzyan is said to be "hieroglyphic or pictorial" (CW
XIV, 206), an apt description of these symbols.

In her discussion of myths about the origins of the gods, 
Blavatsky quotes a sentence from the Book of Dzyan (I, 434):

> The great mother lay with , and the 
> , and the , the second  and 
> the  in her bosum, ready to bring them 
> forth, the valiants sons of the   triangle>  (or 4,320,000, the Cycle) whose two 
> elders are the  and the .

Most of the geometrical symbols in that sentence stand primarily 
for numbers in an obvious way. The first five represent 31415, the 
number of pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its 
diameter: 3.1415). The next four stand for 4311 or 432, 
representing the number of years in a cycle totalling 4,320,000. 
The last two are more general symbols, zero representing the world 
boundary or ring pass not, and the point representing the 
nondimensional, unmanifested first logos. This sentence shows the 
use Blavatsky has described of geometrical symbols -- that is, 
Senzar -- in the Book of Dzyan.

Most significantly, Blavatsky speaks of "the 'Mystery-language'
of the prehistoric ages, the language now called SYMBOLISM" (I,
309). If the "Mystery-language" is Senzar, then Senzar is
symbolism -- a system of symbols that are traditional, secret in
their interpretation, but also known all over the world. The
symbols HPB describes from the palm-leaf manuscript are precisely
the symbols we find from Polynesia to the caves of the Pyrenees,
from the oldest rock carvings of Africa to present-day dream
symbolism. They are truly a universal language.
Senzar -- in the Book of Dzyan.


We can summarize what Blavatsky says or implies about Senzar as

1. The Stanzas of Dzyan in THE SECRET DOCTRINE are based on an
   original Senzar version, and the original text of the Stanzas
   is described as pictographs and geometrical figures. The text
   of the Stanzas in THE SECRET DOCTRINE is not the original, but
   is a paraphrase based on Blavatsky's understanding of the
   original and adapted to our ability to grasp the ideas

2. Senzar is the "Mystery language" used by initiates all over the
   world and from the earliest days of humanity. It is not a
   language known to philologists.

3. The Mystery language was originally the common property of
   all human beings and was, indeed, the one language of our
   race, but by the time of our present humanity it has become an
   esoteric, that is, an inner or private system.

4. Despite the fact that HPB sometimes calls it "speech,"
   the Mystery language is not normal spoken language, but is
   "pictorial and symbolical."

5. On the one hand, the esoteric language is allegory like that
   found in the writings of the alchemists and Jewish scriptures.

6. On the other hand, the esoteric language is a form of written
   symbols that can be interpreted in various ways and by various
   spoken languages, especially geometrical figures with a
   hieroglyphic, cipher-like appearance.

7. The Mystery language is what we now call symbolism: it speaks
   to our unconscious minds and can be only imperfectly
   translated into ordinary, logical language.

Thus we can think of Senzar as being the whole complex of sacred
symbols with expressions of various kinds, but of two chief

1. the archetypal symbols in myths and fairy tales, allegories
   and parables, alchemical recipes and biblical history
   -- stories that have a hidden meaning underneath the obvious
   narrative, stories that bear "a double interpretation"; and

2. a visual representation of those archetypal symbols in
   pictographs or hieroglyphic and cipher-like characters whose
   meaning the initiated can interpret independently of any

If Senzar is the system of such symbols, many of the puzzles
about it are automatically cleared up. Blavatsky's comparisons
of Senzar with ordinary human languages are no problem. She used
loosely. She was no philologist and had no interest in the
detailed distinctions that academic scholars make when they talk
about such matters. For her it was enough to convey a general
meaning and let her readers work out the details for themselves. 
So the symbolic system of Senzar is a "language" in the broad
sense of the term, but radically different from ordinary
languages like Sanskrit, Latin, and English.

If Senzar is a system of verbal and iconic symbols, then we can
understand why the Stanzas of Dzyan in THE SECRET DOCTRINE are
necessarily imperfect paraphrases of their original. They are
efforts to put into ordinary language ideas that can be expressed
fully, albeit obscurely from the standpoint of language, only by
symbolic signs and diagrams. That is exactly what Blavatsky
seems to be saying in the recapitulation to volume I of THE

> But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the
> facts which have actually occupied countless generations of
> initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain,
> in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all
> recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. (I, 272)

Those "few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs," the original
of the Stanzas of Dzyan, have been paraphrased and explicated in
many of the world's scriptures. They have certainly occupied,
and bewildered, several generations of Theosophists since 1888, 
when H.P. Blavatsky published her articulation of them in THE 

We can also understand the association of Senzar with devanagari
and Egyptian hieroglyphs. By its etymology, devanagari is a form
of "divine" or "sacred" writing; so is Senzar. Hieroglyphs are
based upon symbolic pictures and thus fall into the same broad
class as the symbols of Senzar. It is not that spoken Sanskrit
or Egyptian and Senzar are related to Senzar, but rather that
Senzar consists of sacred symbols, as devanagari also does, and
that Senzar and hieroglyphs reflect the same archetypal images. 
Devanagari and hieroglyphs both express, in varying ways, the
primordial symbolism that Blavatsky calls Senzar.

Blavatsky's odd remark that "'Amida' is the Senzar form of 'ADI'"
(CW XIV, 425) is also explicable. Since Amida (or Amitabha) is one
of the representations of the power of the primordial Adi Buddha,
it is a symbol of that power. Adi Buddha is the absolute, which
cannot be described or conceived, but can be symbolized, for
example, by the figures of the Dhyani Buddhas, of whom Amida is
one. If Senzar is a system of symbols for expressing the
otherwise inexpressible, it makes perfect sense to say that
"'Amida [the personification of boundless light] is the Senzar
form [symbolic expression] of 'ADI' [the Absolute]." Far from
being a mistake, HPB's comment is a simple truth, but symbolically 

Blavatsky tells us that the marvelous Kumbum tree is a fact. 
Whether, however, it is a botanical as well as a symbolic fact is
unclear. It is certainly the latter. The tree in whose branches
the universe grows, the tree that produces the letters of the
alphabet as its fruit, is a widespread symbol. It is a species
that includes the Yggdrasil of the Northmen and the Kabbalistic
Tree of Life, upon whose branches appear the letters of the
Hebrew alphabet and which therefore includes in embryo the whole
of the Torah.

That the Kumbum tree should grow in Tibet and bear the sacred
symbols of Senzar on its leaves and bark is quite consonant with
a view of Senzar not as an ordinary language, but as the
primordial symbolism of the human species. The tree of humanity
-- which Stanza 7 refers to as "the man-plant, called Saptaparna"
(I, 231) -- spontaneously produces those symbols that HPB names
Senzar. They are written upon our souls as Senzar is said to be
upon the leaves and inner bark of the wonderful Kumbum tree.

The Kumbum tree is the Cosmos and the microcosm of humanity. 
However deep one goes into the Kumbum tree, peeling away its bark, 
one discovers the sacred letters of the Senzar alphabet empressed 
there. However deep one goes into the fabric of the universe or 
into the levels of the human soul, one discovers the primal 
symbols of the Ancient Wisdom, the Secret Doctrine, in living 
shapes. We and the universe in our unity are the source of that 
Doctrine. We are the Kumbum tree that bears that Wisdom.

To literalize HPB's statements about the Kumbum tree -- to
suppose that it is a tree like an oak or a pine, only queerer -- is
to miss the significance and the magnificence of the symbol. 
The marvel of the Kumbum tree is not that it is a sight for
tourists. The real marvel is that we are that tree. And so it
is with other theosophical marvels. So it is with Senzar.

Senzar is the one language of the youth of humanity because it is
the collection of symbols found worldwide and throughout the
ages. It goes back to the earliest, prephysical and
preintellectual, human races. Symbols are universal, for they
arise spontaneously in the dreams and visions of all humans
everywhere and have been recorded with remarkable consistency
throughout human history, as C.G. Jung and his followers have

Ordinary language is a product of the mind and could not exist
before the mind was activated, as HPB makes clear in her history
of human speech. However, symbols are prelinguistic and
prelogical. Their proper place is not the conscious mind, but
the unconscious. They belong to our most remote past and speak
to us irrationally and therefore most powerfully.

Senzar is "the Mystery-language of the prehistoric ages, the 
language now called Symbolism." It is our first, our common 
language, the language of the unconscious, the universal language 
of symbolism -- the one language that expresses the one knowledge. 
And that is marvel and mystery indeed.


Blavatsky, Helena P. COLLECTED WRITINGS. 14 vols. Ed. Boris
de Zirkoff. Wheaton, Ill.; Madras: TPH, 1966-85.

--. ISIS UNVEILED. Ed. Boris de Zirkoff. 2 vols. Wheaton,
Ill.: TPH, 1972.

MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS. Ed. A. T. Barker. Pasadena,
Cal.: Theosophical University Press, 1973.

--. THE SECRET DOCTRINE. 2 vols. Centennial Edition (1888 
facsimile reprint), Pasadena, California: Theosophical University 
Press, 1973.

--. THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Ed. Boris de Zirkoff. 2 vols. Madras: 
Theosophical Publishing House, 1978.

--. THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY. Los Angeles: Theosophy
Co., 1973.

THE BOOK OF THE GOLDEN PRECEPTS. London: Theosophical Publishing
Society, 1892.

K.H. Ed. A.T. Barker. 3rd ed. Ed. Christmas Humphreys
and Elsie Benjamin. Madras: TPH, 1962, 1972.


by Don DeGracia, Ph.D.

There is an aspect of math that IS culturally independent. We
cannot imagine existence without some concept of number. For
after all, concepts of numbers and their interrelationships are
actually an expression of the reality of differentiation, or
variety, or separateness, that is inherent in physical existence. 
From this angle, all languages and cultural symbol systems will
find some means of expressing this fundamental fact of physical

Now, when you start from this point of departure, you have a
basis to compare how different cultures symbolize the fact of
"different-ness". Raising the point of the old Hebrew thought
where numbers and letters were associated, as in the Cabbalah is
a good point for illustrating just how variegated can be
different cultures approach to the fact of different-ness.

This ancient Hebrew thinking is very far divorced from how we
perceive math today. Likewise with astrology. In the Middle
ages, the term "mathematician" meant an astrologer. Again, we
don't think like this today, at least academic mathematicians
don't. We Theosophists do, though! 

So, I think its good to realize that what we call mathematics is
actually our particular society's way of dealing with the fact of
separateness in our physical experience. What you can then
observe is how the particular symbol system we have evolved has
gone off on its own line of evolution. We have moved from
numbers as simple devices for counting -- used mainly in an
economic context to more abstract generalizations.

Building on the ancient Greek mentality, we have taken the idea
of abstract math way beyond what the Greeks could have
envisioned. Asking the question of why this is the case is
illuminating and also is an example of something sociologists
(European sociologists, not American sociologists who are quite
dim in comparison) have discovered that the reason the Greeks
only went so far with their ideas is basically, because of their
religious beliefs.

Or to say it as I already have, because of their metaphysical
beliefs. The European culture that created modern abstract math
had a much different metaphysics -- a mechanistic metaphysical
outlook -- that the Greeks did not have. The ancient Greeks had
a much more "mystical" metaphysical underpinning than Renaissance
European mathematicians.

What is ironic though is that the "mystical" beliefs of the
ancient Greeks served to stifle the evolution of abstract
thought. This is what sociologist have discovered. That, when
you compare mystical other-worldly views to pragmatic, sensory
oriented views, that the sensory oriented views tend to develop,
in the long run, much more abstract lines of thought. You see
the same pattern in the evolution of science amongst various
cultures. Why, for example, did not ancient Hindus, who were
very abstract thinkers -- develop abstract theories of the
physical world like we have in modern times? Again, its the same
answer. The ideas of the Hindus, which were very "other-worldly"

prevented them from developing or spending a lot of time
concentration on the world of the senses.

This all raises interesting questions about the relationship
between "mystical" and "sensory oriented" metaphysics: Is there a
happy medium? Can you have the best of both world-views? In other
words, what is the metaphysics that can allow one to do astrology
and topology at the same time, do astral project and do physics
at the same time?

And, as is probably apparent, I'm funneling this discussion in
the direction where I like to hang out: the relation between
science, occultism and mysticism. And the idea that the
metaphysical status of mathematics actually plays a fundamental
role in the synthesis of these 3 world-views.

Personally, I think that math does exist independent of the human
mind. In effect, the world of mathematics are regions of the
mental plane. It is a human potential to access this region as
the human mind can access any region of the mental plane.

Plato's "world of pure ideation" is much more literal a reality,
when seen from the occult viewpoint of the planes, than most
academic types would admit to today. So in this sense, math is a
very real and object thing: it is a region on the mental plane.

However, as such, it is still just another element in the Maya so
to expect nirvana from math is something akin to jnana yoga. It
probably can be done, that is, find God through math. Yet, in
our particular society we associate extremely secular and

aspiritual overtones with math, so you'd better be the kind of nut
who would find this list interesting, to go seeking God in math!

Regarding the relationship between math and physical nature. 
This relationship gets illuminated when seen in terms of the
planes, and in particular in terms of the Hermitic axiom. The
latter states "As above, so below", and the relationship between
math and physical nature is probably just another example of the
hermitic axiom in action.

"As above so below" can mean that higher planes are SELF-SIMILAR
to lower planes. Thus, as one finds the Mandelbrot set (this is
a famous mathematical object called a "fractal") within itself,
one finds the patterns of the higher planes inside the lower
planes. Therefore, patterns we discover in the mental plane
(math) map (or correspond) to patterns we discover in the
physical plane (e.g. modern science).

And of course, the human brain/mind combination, being a part of
this system, maps equally well to both the physical and mental
worlds Thus, when seen from an occult viewpoint, the fact that
there is correspondence between our abstract thought (math) and
physical nature is no surprise whatsoever.

Then we get the issue of the "messy" and imperfect physical
world, and the perfect world of math ideas. Here I think we are
dealing more with cultural attitudes than anything else. For
what we have done in presenting this attitude is, in our
ignorance of all possible mathematics, we have taken the little
bit we do know and said "well, nature does not fit this bit of
math that we know, so nature must be imperfect because math is
holy and therefore perfect" (or something like this).

But this attitude is the folly of the half-knowledge of a
pretentious intellect, and a secular, aspiritual one at that! For
example, look at how fractals and chaos math have changed
everything. Or just as good an example, look at the development
and subsequent application of non-Euclidean geometry (which is the
math Einstein used in his Relativity Theory).. Both of these
examples illustrate that math can very effectively represent
nature. However, prior to the development of these branches of
math, we thought that nature was imperfect because it wasn't made
of Euclidean circles and spheres. Now we know that nature has
perfect mathematical regularity as fractals and chaotic dynamic

So, my feeling is that saying that nature is imperfect and math
is perfect is putting the cart before the horse. For in all
likelihood, if there is some part of nature that doesn't gel well
with whatever math we presently know, its not that nature is
imperfect, its that our knowledge of math is imperfect. Both
nature and math are perfect. What needs work is human
understanding of both.


by Bee Brown

As you are all aware I have developed an interest in the writings
of a guy called Vitvan that Martin Euser found in his crawl
around the web.

I have read a lot of the stuff by now and I have just come across
this bit that I thought most interesting. His name is or was
Ralph de Bit and Vitvan was the name his Indian teacher gave him.

> Back in 1919 I was assigned by the President of the Theosophical
> Society to revive the outlying lodges. I accepted the job, the
> commission. On one evening that my lecture was scheduled, there
> were other features going on that many wanted to attend so
> objectively we had a meager crowd. It so happened, at that time,
> that I consciously functioned in that inner world far more than I
> functioned in the objective world and I didn't notice the meager
> crowd. Afterward, the President of the local society apologized
> to me for the meager turnout. I said, "What? Not a crowd? Why,
> every chair was full and they were standing up around the aisle
> and in the back," I said just as innocently and honestly. He
> said, "No, Mr. de Bit, I'm sorry to tell you but they weren't."
> Then I said, "Wait!" I had lost the differentiation between the
> two levels. I honestly saw every chair full and they were
> standing up around and I lectured to an overflow crowd. Now,
> take it or leave it. I can't prove it to you but I'm telling you
> what I know.

This is an extract from his book SEVEN INITIATIONS and seems to
indicate he was tied up with the Society back then. Actually I
am not surprised because so far his stuff compliments what I have
learned through Theosophy. He must have met Krishnamurti as they
were contempories but he doesn't mention any of this as he
changed his whole style and orientation in the 1940's when he
studied with Korzibsky.


by Eldon Tucker

[based upon a November 16, 1993 posting to]

When we approach a study of Theosophy, how seriously do we take
it? Is it something interesting to think about, but is soon
forgotten as we set down our books and resume life in the
so-called real world?

There is a lot more to the theosophical literature than a clever,
entertaining mental puzzle! Theosophy is literally real! That
means that it can be relied on as readily as the science and
technology that we learn in our modern classrooms. It is not
empty words, it is something that can be tried out in life and
known to be true by our personal experience.

We won't really experience it in life--not fully, truly, as a
living Truth--until we put in it as much confidence as we do in
the simple things of life. We know that we will fall down if we
lean over too far; we know that to touch something burning hot
will hurt us; we know that the sun will rise in the morning. 
These are all simply facts of life. And Theosophy, too, needs to
become a simple fact of our lives.

The numerous Teachings like the globe chains, karma, and the
seven principles all have to become as real as money, housing,
and food, as waking and sleeping, as physical exercise and
meditation are in life.

This does not mean that we take ourselves too seriously. A sense
of humor is important. There are many times in life when we need
to be light, cheerful, and humorous; we are not expected to go
about life with long faces, always somber and heavy, always
gravely saying "do this" and "don't do that!"

Theosophy deals with real things. They may sometimes involve
knowledge of life far removed from the experience of the moment,
like the nature of our after-death experiences--and I'd certainly
hope that I'm far removed from after-death experiences! And they
may involve things that happen about us at every moment, things
that we simply haven't been paying attention to, things that are
a part of our life that we have simply been ignoring.

We should be willing to look for Theosophy in unexpected places. 
And it can be found in the ordinary as well--there but simply
unseen until we know to look. There is a lot to life that stares
us in the face, but our eyes, unfocusing and glazed over, do not
take it in. A wonderful spiritual insight may await us by just
stopping for a moment, and looking around in the room in which we
not sit. The man that walks by in the hallway could very well be
a Mahatma, but we just did not notice it. Making that phone call
to a friend, needing encouragement and support, could be the
spiritual experience that we most need to undertake; and it just
awaits our recognition and action.

When we speak of being a true Theosophist, or a chela, we should
not put up such a lofty, high, unapproachable ideal that we can
never hope to experience it, to make the experience a part of our
lives. The Masters have said that even if we approach their
precincts in thought, that we are drawn into the vortex of
probabation, that we have engaged the process.

The Path is a process, a natural process in life. It can be
engaged, started, entered upon. It is as natural as eating or
sleeping. There is a way that it works, a real way; it is a real
process. It is not something imaginary, a delusion, a
make-believe fantasy, like that of a three-year-old child wanting
a magic carpet to fly through the sky on, because of seeing it in
a movie.

The Path is *real*, it is a thing that can be done. And it is
not an arrogant claim to superiority, a sign of pride and
egotism, to start living it. A chela may not be able to say that
he has undertaken certain training by a specific Teacher,
becuause of being pledged to secrecy, but participating in the
general process of hastened development, the Path, is not a
secret thing. It is pointed out, in many different ways, as the
noble life, the saintly life, the spiritual life; the many
religions of the world all mention aspects of it. It is not a
secret thing, it is talked about widely, under a multitude of

And the Masters are not unapproachable deities. They are men in
bodies of flesh, such as us, and only are fully Mahatmas when
they have engaged their higher natures, and stepped aside from
physical life. We should neither deify them nor the Path. They
are not so unapproachable, so rare, so removed from life that we
can only humbly bow our heads and pay homage to them, if not give
them our prayers and worship. That is nonsense! They are *real*
and their participation in life is as actual men. They are
*somewhere* and are doing *something*. They do not merely exist
as the painted faces on pictures in someone's shrine room!

The difficult part, though, is knowing where and how to look. 
While giving the written word the high respect it is due, and
deeply studying the Teachings, we do not allow ourselves to
worship the dead letter, finding and giving proper citation to a
nice quote is far removed from an actual experience of a deep
insight. And when we look about us at the ordinary events of
life, we do not allow us to take for granted our ordinary
interpretation of what happens. There is a deeper mystery behind
what happens to us, and we only need look at things with the
right eyes, with the right awareness, with the right experiencing
of the world.

Stop and listen correctly. Look again at what is before you. 
Consider again what the other person said. Look at your friend's
face more closely. Be aware of the room you are talking in. 
Lose yourself in the activity of the moment. See it in the big
picture of the life, a little but highly-important drama in a
meeting room, in a city, in a globe racing through space, in
vast, dark space lit up by starry orbs. Recognize that the whole
universe is present in the moment, in your discussion with your
friend. See greater mysteries behind ordinary life. And *engage
the process*, begin that long road that leads to spiritual
perfection, start to awaken the inner nature to the realities
that reach beyond our outer world, that go deep within, that lead
us to our inner divinities!

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application