"Samizdat: Publishing the Forbidden."

Tag: Lost Books

The Lost Volumes of The Secret Doctrine

There was a third and a fourth volume of Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, which never made it into print. The third volume was typed by third parties, so it is independently confirmed that it existed. Where is it now? The third volume dealt with the “lives of the great occultists down the ages.” The fourth volume was allegedly “almost entirely written, but likewise went to oblivion instead of to the printer.” Where are its drafts?

Kuhn writes:

“The whole book professes to be a commentary on the Stanzas of Dzyan, which HPB (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky) alleged to be a fragment of Tibetan sacred writings of two types, one cosmological, the other ethical and devotional. The Secret Doctrine elucidates the former section of the Stanzas, and her later work, the Voice of the Silence, the latter. The Stanzas of Dzyan are of great antiquity, she claimed, drawn from the Mani Koumboum, or sacred script of the Dzungarians, in the north of Tibet. She is not sure of their origin, but says she was permitted to memorize them during her residence in the Forbidden Land. They show a close parallel with the Prajna Paramita Sutras of Hindu sacred lore.

There are of course charges that she invented the Stanzas herself or plagiarized them from some source. Max Müller is reported to have said that in this matter she was either a remarkable forger or that she has made the most valuable gift to archeological research in the Orient. She says herself in the Preface:

“These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world’s history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil. What is  now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole. The sole advantage which the writer has over her predecessors, is that she need not resort to personal speculation and theories. For this work is a partial statement of she herself has been taught by more advanced students, supplemented in a few details only, by the results of her own study and observation.”

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 110.

On the Satanic Indestructibility of Manuscripts.

“In Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita, “the protagonist, a writer, burns a manuscript in a moment of despair only to find out later from the Devil that “manuscripts don’t burn.” […] Nikolai Gogol apparently burned the second volume of Dead Souls, and it has been lost forever.”

–Edward Frenkel, “Is the Universe a Simulation?” The New York Times, February 14, 2014, Sunday Review. (A version appeared on February 16, 2014, on page SR12 of the National edition.)

The Lost Books of Dionysius The Aeropagite.

“The Corpus is today composed of Divine Names (Περὶ θείων ὀνομάτων), Mystical Theology (Περὶ μυστικῆς θεολογίας), Celestial Hierarchy (Περὶ τῆς οὐρανίου ἱεραρχίας), Ecclesiastical Hierarchy (Περὶ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἱεραρχίας), and ten epistles.

Seven other works, namely Theological Outlines (Θεολογικαὶ ὑποτυπώσεις), Symbolic Theology (Συμβολικὴ θεολογία), On Angelic Properties and Orders (Περὶ ἀγγελικῶν ἰδιοτήτων καὶ τάξεων), On the Just and Divine Judgement (Περὶ δικαίου καὶ θείου δικαστηρίου), On the Soul (Περὶ ψυχῆς), On Intelligible and Sensible Beings, and On the Divine Hymns, are mentioned repeatedly by pseudo-Dionysius in his surviving works, and are presumed either to be lost or to be fictional works mentioned by the Areopagite as a literary device to give the impression to his sixth century readers of engaging with the surviving fragments of a much larger first century corpus of writings.”

(NB: From the entry on Dionysius the Aeropagite, or rather, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Aeropagus was an open air theater in Athens where lawyers or speakers declaimed in public. It was, in fact, basically a court, where eminent personalities could be addressed and pleas for clemency evaluated. There was actually an area where murderers could seek sanctuary from punishment.)

“Perhaps the most important Neoplatonic philosopher who influenced early esotericism during the Middle Ages was Denys the Aeropagite with his theory of a hierarchy of angels and of the universe. The Aeropagite’s worldview continued to be important during the Renaissance, especially for the angelic (or demonic) magic of Pico and Agrippa.”

—-Henrik Bogdan, Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, 2007, pg. 53.

%d bloggers like this: