Just finished reading the abridged version of the Secret Doctrine - I never thought I was dumb but after reading it, I am now not so sure! :-) I did manage to understand a lot of it but still confused with some aspects. Anybody who has read the entire Secret Doctrine and has a total grasp on the subject has my deepest respect.

So we are (mostly) the fifth root race on the forth round? At the end of the seventh root race this round will end and the fifth will begin? Am I on the right track there or have I got it all mixed up? I've only read it once and I think I need to re-read it to get a grip.
Is there a cheat's (idiot's) version available? LOL
I guess that's why we're theosophists, we like to exercice our intellectual capabilities. :-)

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Getting some good ideas is about the best anyone can do I think. I think there will be a "pralaya", inactive, or rest period between this and the fifth round. The inactive periods are held to be as long as the active periods.
Yes I think you have it more or less right.We are part of the fifth root race in the fourth round.
I have seen soem very basic web pages on Cardiff TS website in Wales.
I am running a study group at the moment using Ianthe Hoskins book.In the appendix there is an interesting section written by P G Bowen.
Hi, excuse my english.
The Secret Doctrine is, perhaps, the most important Theosophy book.
I think that is not only for intellectual purposes but for spiritual training. Of course, Manas-based training.
Then, a version of SD for dummies could be counterproductive, the ideal is that such a book have at the same time (with introductory ideas) trainig for intuition and for theosophical patterns of thinking, most of the introductory books follows exoteric and cientific-like patterns of thinking, not esoteric ones. In this respect the best writings are those of W. Judge.
Bowen's notes and Hoskins' book seems to me good works, we must have in mind something, the way in which HPB wrote, is not her own, it is a old method, I. Shah write about it in reference to the sufi method of writing and Ibn Arabi about his core doctrine (wahdah ul wujud), he says (more or less): my most important doctrine is not in one place but along my whole work. Is called scattering writing, portions of one theme in many places build in the mind of the reader the meaning from different points of view.
Bert Keightley and Judge recommend the study of SD and Esoteric Instrucions by topics (see Echoes of the Orient vol. III, Suggestions and Aids), this is very important, but at the same time we must not lose the whole, we must build a net not only sucessive topics or glosses or summings. We need and integrated and expanded way of intellectual perception, I think that the SD is the best theosophical training for that.
We need to do seven root races (with sub-races) on each of globes E, F & G before the fourth round comes to a close.
I agree about the booklet written by Ianthe Hoskins.I have been told by a leading theosophist here that Ianthe was a Principal of a Teacher Training college and was therefore an accomplished teacher.
the appendix in the booklet was interesting- especially referring to what has been known as the "Bowen notes".
RE: [“Just finished reading the abridged version of the Secret Doctrine - I never thought I was dumb but after reading it, I am now not so sure! :-) I did manage to understand a lot of it but still confused with some aspects.”]

Hi, Janelle. Greetings and good wishes. An interesting post.

I, of course, am oriented toward “general Theosophy” (the T is capitalized because Theosophy may be epistemologically defined as “Intuitive knowledge or wisdom resulting from direct experience of one’s own Transcendent Nature.” This, of course, may be contrasted with what might be called nineteenth-century “HPB-specific Theosophy” (the T may be capitalized here if HPB’s writings are regarded as almost some sort of “quasi-religious denomination” or “brand name.”

General Theosophists, alas, sometimes go around wishing that they could be as cock-sure about anything as HPB-specific Theosophists seem to be about everything.

The “Rounds,” “Root-Races” etc. you mention are a good illustration of this. Does it seem reasonable that any human being has ever been able to know about such things with reliable detail? I personally do not think so. This seems all the more apparent as HPB matter-of-factly expounds on the earlier Root-Races of many, many millions of years ago—e.g., the headless Asiras “pudding-bags” and Hyperborean asexual “shadow-people.”

Is it any wonder, then, why some HPB-specific Theosophists have had to claim that HPB’s Masters could not have been as “ineluctably human” as K. Paul Johnson suggested they might have been in his ground-breaking THE MASTERS REVEALED? A little Angel DNA, at the minimum, seems to be required for this type of Supernatural dispensation.

Which, of course, may be a matter for faith. Which, of course, may the first building block for conventional religion. Which, of course, may be the unfortunate reason that the Theosophical Movement may be doomed in the Twenty-First Century unless it starts actually following HPB’s advice about not turning into a mere sect of fast-comfort-food-consuming “believers.”

This is not to say that there is no value in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Far from it. For one thing, it is quite likely from an intuitive point of view that the “Devils” in this great work are perhaps only the mountain of obviously overly speculative details. For many, the underlying general, basic things— like karma, reincarnation, translifetime progress toward more perfect Self-awareness, etc.—remain powerfully presented beneath the surface of words. This is one compelling reason that even so many general Theosophists may keep returning to THE SECRET DOCTRINE again and again.

For another thing, much of HPB’s writing is also extremely interesting in terms of “as Above, so below” analogies which can provide valuable insights into one’s own, highly “esoteric” psychological processes.

Somewhat related to this, how a person first approaches information like Rounds, Root-Races, etc. may actually even give a clue as to the person’s (possibly translifetime) progress in terms of their Degree of Self-Awareness.

Degree of Self-Awareness may refer to the ability to hold a “Once-Removed-Vantage” vis-à-vis the various Levels of “modified consciousness” (Animating, Physical, Desire-Feeling, Desire-Mental, Mental, Spirit-Mental) which not only can be utilized but which may often produce “egoic delusion.” Older writings often referred to this subject in the language of “older” versus “younger” “souls.”

In short, to succeed in maintaining “Mindfulness,” it is necessary to be at a Degree of Self-Awareness which is at least slightly in advance of the Level of “tainted” consciousness which One (disguised as a person) is “in.”

Thus, for example, when encountering THE SECRET DOCTRINE for the first time, an individual may have to be at least at the Fifth Degree of Self-Awareness in order not to Mindlessly indulge “believing in it” in a Fourth-Level, Desire-Mental way. . . .

If this brief excursion into “Theosophical Psychology” itself seems a little too rich in exact detail to be relied upon . . . that is a very good point well taken. . . .
Janelle - did you get any useful information back from your January posting on reading an abridged version of the Secret Doctrine (there are several) and there are many study guides and additional reference books one might look at when studying the Secret Doctrine. I came to Theosophy by reading an abridged version of the Secret Doctrine over 40 years ago. Fortunately, I did not stop my study of the Secret Doctrine there and I hope you do not either. -FD
Yes Fred, I got some useful info back. Sorry to say that I haven't picked up the SD since I put down the abridged version back in January. Everyone's comments have inspired me to look at it again, and it sounds more like a life study. One of those rare pieces that just unveils more and more to the reader as the relationship between reader and book develops.

Very interesting reading everyone's comments especially Richards as it was exactly what we were discussing in our group the other night! (What sort of Theosophists are we?)

I am pondering Richards quote :- In short, to succeed in maintaining “Mindfulness,” it is necessary to be at a Degree of Self-Awareness which is at least slightly in advance of the Level of “tainted” consciousness which One (disguised as a person) is “in.”

Joe gave some good advise re using the secret doctrine as a reference book - I read the abridged version so I could get a feel for the SD which opened me up to many questions and thoughts. These ponderings are the beginnings of the thread I will follow in my study. And his reference to "using approaches that engage the intuition, vs. a literalist approach, hence the use of limericks, poems, art and other non-intellectual means of attempting to interpret the writings" are quite relevant to me. I seem to have been stuck in a lot of "head stuff" for a very long time. Reading, alone, just doesn't seem to cut it for me at the moment.

On the rounds and races...... thanks for the confirmations and clarifications.

I read the whole 2 volume version earlier this year. It was pretty intensive. As far as "Theosophy for Dummies" goes, I'd say read The Ancient Wisdom by Annie Besant. It's a fantastic read, reasonably easy to understand, and is fantastic to give to people who are curious, whether they're scientific materialists or self-professed Christians, Muslims, Jews, or other.
nice post... thanks

Despite reading the entire SD a number of times (I`m on my 5th go - takes ages as I read related material inbetween :-) I only re/discover how much there is yet to learn, reading it at last once in its entirety will work "wonders" as it addresses that within one which is beyond "intellect", the discovery of the one underlying thread within the book/s is more than worth the effort not to mention how "transparent" other works become be they legends or fairy stories, "hardcore" ""occult works"" and other works from antiquity....

the introduction to the SD is also worth going through if one has not done so already...
I had an abridged version (of the SD) from a friend but found the material in that particular version somehow too arbitrary and certain parts would have been better with everything from the original...

p.s. yes we are (mostly) the fifth root race on the forth round. At the end of the seventh root race this round will end and the fifth will begin...


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