Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Secret Doctrine Commentaries Reviewed

Mme. Blavatsky’s old magazine, The Theosophist, for February 2011 carries a four-page review of the recently published The Secret Doctrine Commentaries: The Unpublished 1889 Instructions by H. P. Blavatsky, The Hague, 2010. After giving some background on how the material came about (stenographic notes of the discussions with her at the weekly meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge, London), the reviewer, Dr. John Algeo, comments:

Until now, the full transcriptions of those early meetings and no records of later ones have been generally available. Now, Michael Gomes, one of our premier Theosophical historians, has produced a full and accurate edition of the 1889 discussions. It takes the place of the old Transactions [of the Blavatsky Lodge], which are neither complete nor adequate because they formalize the discussion, thereby disguising the spontaneity of exchanges. This new edition deserves a place next to The Secret Doctrine itself on the bookshelf of every serious student. It also merits the attention of even casual readers who want to know what The Secret Doctrine is about. 

Dr. Algeo gives examples of how the book can be culled for additional information on subjects written about by Blavatsky, and says: “This new edition also makes for charming reading: the banter and interchanges among the participants are often humorous and indicate the easy relationship they shared.

This edition is what is now called a ‘keeper’ (i.e., one suitable for or worth keeping). Indeed, it is an invaluable addition to our stock of Theosophical books.” What he does not mention is the price, 59 euros, which may keep it out of wider circulation. It is rumored that the Theosophy Company of Los Angeles, California, may finally come out with their edition this year and at half the price.

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