Authorship of Secret Doctrine
The Path, April, 1893
A good deal has been said about the writing of Isis Unveiled, and later of the Secret Doctrine, both by H.P. Blavatsky. A writer in the spiritualistic journals took great pains to show how many books the first work seems to quote from, and the conclusion to be arrived at after reading his diatribes is that H.P.B. had an enormous library at her disposal, and of course in her house, for she never went out, or that she had agents at great expense copying books, or, lastly, that by some process or power not known to the world was able to read books at a distance, as, for instance, in the Vatican at Rome and the British Museum. The last is the fact. She lived in a small flat when writing the first book and had very few works on hand, all she had being of the ordinary common sort. She herself very often told how she gained her information as to modern books. No secret was made of it, for those who were with her saw day after day that she could gaze with ease into the astral light and glean whatever she wanted. But in the early days she did not say precisely to the public that she was in fact helped in that work by the Masters, who gave from time to time certain facts she could not get otherwise. The Secret Doctrine, however, makes no disguise of the real help, and she asserts, as also many of us believe, that the Masters had a hand in that great production. The letters sent to Mr. Sinnett formed the ground for Esoteric Buddhism, as was intended, but as time went on it was seen that some more of the veil had to be lifted and certain misconceptions cleared up; hence the Secret Doctrine was written, and mostly by the Masters themselves, except that she did the arranging of it.
For some time it was too much the custom of those who had received at the hands of H.P.B. words and letters from her Masters to please themselves with the imagination that she was no more in touch with the original fount, and that, forsooth, these people could decide for themselves what was from her brain and what from the Masters. But it is now time to give out a certificate given when the Secret Doctrine was being written, a certificate signed by the Masters who have given out all that is new in our theosophical books. It was sent to one who had then a few doubts, and at the same time copies were given from the same source to others for use in the future, which is now. The first certificate runs thus:
I wonder if this note of mine is worthy of occupying a select spot with the documents reproduced, and which of the peculiarities of the “Blavatskian” style of writing it will be found to most resemble? The present is simply to satisfy the Doctor that “the more proof given the less believed.” Let him take my advice and not make these two documents public. It is for his own satisfaction the undersigned is happy to assure him that the Secret Doctrine, when ready, will be the triple production of [here are the names of one of the Masters and of H.P.B.] and —— most humble servant, [signed by the other.]
On the back of this was the following, signed by the Master who is mentioned in the above:
If this can be of any use or help to ——, though I doubt it, I, the humble undersigned Faquir, certify that the Secret Doctrine is dictated to [name of H.P.B.], partly by myself and partly by my brother ——.
A year after this, certain doubts having arisen in the minds of individuals, another letter from one of the signers of the foregoing was sent and reads as follows. As the prophecy in it has come true, it is now the time to publish it for the benefit of those who know something of how to take and understand such letters. For the outside it will all be so much nonsense.
The certificate given last year saying the Secret Doctrine would be when finished the triple production of [H.P.B.’s name], ——, and myself was and is correct, although some have doubted not only the facts given in it but also the authenticity of the message in which it was contained. Copy this and also keep the copy of the aforesaid certificate. You will find them both of use on the day when you shall, as will happen without your asking, receive from the hands of the very person to whom the certificate was given, the original for the purpose of allowing you to copy it; and then you can verify the correctness of this presently forwarded copy. And it may then be well to indicate to those wishing to know what portions in the Secret Doctrine have been copied by the pen of [H.P.B.’s name] into its pages, though without quotation marks, from my own manuscript and perhaps from ——, though the last is more difficult from the rarity of his known writing and greater ignorance of his style. All this and more will be found necessary as time goes on, but for which you are well qualified to wait.