“The Divine Plan” by Geoffrey Barborka – A Review


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“The publication of many of the facts herein stated has been rendered necessary by the wild and fanciful speculations in which many Theosophists and students of mysticism have indulged, during the last few years, in their endeavour to, as they imagined, work out a complete system of thought from the few facts previously communicated to them . . . special attention being paid to some facts which have been seized upon by various writers, and distorted out of all resemblance to the truth.”

(H. P. Blavatsky, Preface to “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. viii)

“What endless realms for speculation open to us here!”

(G. de Purucker, “Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy” Chapter 14)

~ * ~

Geoffrey A. Barborka’s book “The Divine Plan,” first published in 1961, is generally held in high esteem amongst Theosophists and is widely considered to be a useful, accurate, and reliably informative explanation and overview of just about all the teachings and concepts contained in Helena Blavatsky’s masterwork “The Secret Doctrine.” Indeed, its title page announces that it is “Expressly for the purpose of those who wish to read and gain a deeper understanding of The Secret Doctrine.”

There are Theosophists of all branches of the Theosophical Movement who read and recommend “The Divine Plan,” although Barborka enthusiasts are generally much less in number amongst associates of the ULT, i.e. the United Lodge of Theosophists.

In fact, one Point Loma Theosophist had this to say in a November 2006 posting on the theos-talk.com forum site:

“I have discovered recently that ULT associates apparently will not read Barborka’s ‘Divine Plan’ which is pure HPB… this I still cannot figure out….and . . . as far as I know and anyone please correct me if I am mis-informed, NOTHING written or discussed in ULT regarding the teachings on the Outer Rounds! see ‘Divine Plan’ chapter on ‘Outer Rounds’ and also ML. . . . It is ironic that Adyar members studying HPB read a book that is passively avoided by ULT! Anyone who would label ‘The Divine Plan’ as ‘speculative’ which I hear is how it is dismissed, simply does not know how to think Theosophically in my opinion!”

Although it may be ten years too late, we may respond by stating that (1) Barborka’s “Divine Plan” is very far from being “pure HPB”; (2) It is true that “NOTHING [is] written or discussed in ULT regarding the teachings on the Outer Rounds” and this is simply because the “Outer Rounds” teaching as presented and described in “The Divine Plan” is derived solely from the writings of G. de Purucker and has nothing in common with the original Theosophical teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, to which the ULT is expressly devoted; (3) “The Divine Plan” is “speculative” but those “wild and fanciful speculations” (to use HPB’s phrase) are not Barborka’s own but, as said, originate with G. de Purucker.

Two related articles that may be found on this site are Examining The Point Loma & Pasadena “Successorship” Claim and Purucker Says The Absolute Was Once a Man.

Readers wanting more specific and detailed historical information will find it in those articles. For now, it may suffice to say that Gottfried de Purucker (1874-1942) was the international Leader from 1929-1942 of “The Theosophical Society – Point Loma.” He assumed this role upon the death of Katherine Tingley, his predecessor, and who claimed to be the chosen “Occult Successor” of William Judge and, in turn, H. P. Blavatsky. That this claim rests on no firm foundations and is nothing more than a sham can be seen from reading the first article linked to above. Nevertheless, Purucker naturally declared that he was the latest in this “direct and unbroken lineage” and frequently emphasised that he was “the Successor” and “the Leader” as well as “the Teacher”:

“. . . as I am the intermediary or mediator between the Great Lodge of the Masters of Compassion and Wisdom and the general membership of the T.S., and more particularly of the E.S.: being the channel through which the Lodge-forces pour: so also am I therefore the Teacher, and will hand on what I may and can to those who prove themselves fit and ready to receive.

“Consequently, it will be my duty as soon as time and strength permit me to do so, to issue new E.S. teachings of a far deeper and more esoteric kind than those which were issued even by H.P.B. or by W.Q.J., or by our beloved, Katherine Tingley. This I can do for the simple reason that these, my three great Predecessors, never had the opportunity to do what Karman now impels and compels me to do: to besiege the Portals of Destiny and to open a way into the Mysteries, because the members through the life-work of our beloved K.T., are now ready to hear and therefore to receive what I can give them – an opportunity of incalculably splendid promise which neither H.P.B. nor W.Q.J. nor even K.T. had.”

His grandiose claims were many, as were the alterations, distortions, and unwarranted additions which he inflicted upon HPB’s teachings. Amongst his devoted students and followers was Geoffrey Barborka. Although he apparently had no qualms about accepting Purucker as “the channel through which the Lodge-forces pour,” he could not accept the same claim made by the latter’s own successor, Colonel Arthur L. Conger, and thus parted company with the Point Loma Society and thereafter worked primarily with and in “The Theosophical Society – Adyar,” whose Theosophical Publishing House published his subsequent books, including the one now under discussion.

Boris de Zirkoff, famed compiler and editor of the “H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings” series, followed much the same course and shared the same admiration and devotion towards Purucker and his teachings.

In 1951 the original Point Loma Society split into two as a result of acrimonious disputes regarding who had been chosen as Col. Conger’s – and thus, in their view, HPB’s/WQJ’s/Tingley’s/Purucker’s – true Occult Successor. Those who followed James Long became “The Theosophical Society – Pasadena” which today looks upon Randell Grubb as the Leader and Successor and those who followed William Hartley exist today as “The Theosophical Society – Point Loma” which is today headquartered in the Netherlands and has Herman Vermeulen as its Successor-Leader. The teachings and focus of both these organisations is literally exactly the same but neither will co-operate with one another.

In all fairness to Barborka, we must say that some of “The Divine Plan” is very good indeed and cannot be faulted. But it is really ruined and rendered of little worth or value to the sincere student of Theosophy by the fact that it mixes in numerous concepts and ideas from G. de Purucker; things which were not only never taught by HPB but for which there is no basis in “The Secret Doctrine” or any of her other writings.

Unsurprisingly, Barborka doesn’t provide any HPB quotes or references for the Puruckerian assertions (i.e. because there is no basis in her work for them) but the most dishonest and disappointing part is that he nevertheless presents those assertions as if they are what “The Secret Doctrine” teaches and never once mentions or refers to G. de Purucker in the whole book, despite the fact that he was obviously his main inspiration for it.

This shows again the importance of each one of us going directly to the source and studying “The Secret Doctrine” for ourselves instead of trusting other people to accurately “interpret” or summarise it for us. Those who don’t do that are unfortunately bound to be misled by Geoffrey Barborka and may repeat the teachings in “The Divine Plan” to others, thus spreading the confusion and erroneous concepts even further. His intentions were undoubtedly good but the result and potential consequences are not.

Now at this point one may reasonably ask, “But how do you know that G. de Purucker was wrong in what he taught?”

We are not in a position to be able to claim to know for a definite and absolute fact that he was wrong. It is, however, an undeniable fact which has been repeated by numerous Theosophists for many decades that (a) his teachings seriously contradict those of HPB, WQJ, and the Masters, on a number of major and important points; (b) his claim to be authorised and specially directed to give out new and deeper teachings from the Masters, as Their chosen and qualified Messenger in the world, is rendered null and void by the repeated statements of HPB, WQJ, and the Masters Themselves, that under the very real restrictions of Cyclic Law no further teachings from the Gupta Vidya (Esoteric or Secret Doctrine) can be given out except in the closing twenty-five years of every century; for example 1875-1900, for details of which see the articles titled The Closing Cycle and Why Stick To the Original?

Before discussing the five main points of confusion in the book, there are a few other details which seem relevant to mention . . .

“The Divine Plan” quotes at length from “The Mahatma Letters” whereas the Mahatmas Themselves were strongly opposed to Their Letters ever being published in book form, in the way that they finally were after A. P. Sinnett’s death. When Sinnett was himself considering undertaking such a project, in the summer of 1884, he received a letter with these clear words from the Master K.H.:

“When our first correspondence began, there was no idea then of any publications being issued on the basis of the replies you might receive. You went on putting questions at random, and the answers being given at different times to disjointed queries, and so to say, under a semi-protest, were necessarily imperfect, often from different standpoints. When the publication of some of these were permitted for the Occult World, it was hoped that among your readers some may be able, like yourself, to put all the different pieces together and evolve out of them the skeleton, or a shadow of our system, which, although not exactly the original – this would be an impossibility – would be as near an approach to it as could be made by a non-initiate. But the results have proved quasi-disastrous! We had tried an experiment and sadly failed! Now we see that none but those who have passed at least their third initiation are able to write upon those subjects comprehensively. . . . The Secret Doctrine will explain many things, set to right more than one perplexed student.

“Therefore, to put before the world all the crude and complicated materials in your possession in the shape of old letters, in which, I confess, much was purposely made obscure, would only be making confusion worst confounded. Instead of doing any good thereby to yourself and others it would only place you in a still more difficult position, bring criticism upon the heads of the “Masters” and thus have a retarding influence on human progress and the T.S. Hence I protest most strongly against your new idea. Leave to the Secret Doctrine the task of avenging you. My letters must not be published, in the manner you suggest, . . . The letters, in short, were not written for publication or public comment upon them, but for private use, and neither M. nor I will ever give our consent to see them thus handled.” [Bold and underlining added for emphasis]

This is from “The Mahatma Letters” #LXIII, p. 357. It is ironic – almost tragically so – that we have to turn to the book “The Mahatma Letters” in order to learn that the Masters never wished such a book as “The Mahatma Letters” to be published. Their original compiler and publisher, A. Trevor Barker, obviously chose to disregard the words of warning such as the above, which he found in those letters, as have many others ever since, Geoffrey Barborka included.

As we commented in the article On The Publication and Use of “The Mahatma Letters”:

“. . . those letters were private letters written at a certain period of time to a certain person or persons (i.e. Sinnett and Hume) who had certain limitations and they thus deliberately withhold a broader and clearer picture of things. That broader and clearer picture was furnished by those same Masters later on in the work they wrote with H. P. Blavatsky to be made available to the whole world, namely “The Secret Doctrine.”

“It is “The Secret Doctrine” that should be our primary source for the Masters’ Teachings, as the Master K.H. said in his letter to Olcott: “a source of information and instruction for the earnest student for long years to come.”

“99.9% of the teachings of “The Mahatma Letters” will be found expanded and clarified there in “The Secret Doctrine,” along with a huge mass of further information and content. A handful of obscure sentences in “The Mahatma Letters” were not touched upon in “The Secret Doctrine,” such as the one which briefly mentions and simply states the fact that there are “inner rounds” and “outer rounds.” The Masters’ reticence and disinclination to elaborate any further on such matters should be indication that nothing is permitted to be given out regarding such subjects at this period in time.

“Unfortunately, individuals such as G. de Purucker, prominent leader of the Point Loma Theosophical Society, seized on such vague references, seeing as no-one else had done, and formulated their own theories as to what they mean, theories which were not compatible in any discernible way with the rest of the teachings. HPB encouraged all students to use their own intuition and try to work things out for themselves but never did she encourage them to present their own speculations and theories to the world as actually being Theosophy itself. This is, alas, what de Purucker and others have done, much to the confusion and lasting misunderstanding of many.

“Another unfortunate consequence of the publication of “The Mahatma Letters” is that some of the references in them to individuals and events can very easily be misunderstood and misinterpreted by readers who lack a solid and accurate knowledge of the history of the Theosophical Movement. We have known of one instance when someone reading the book thus mistook the Master’s criticisms of both Laura Holloway and Anna Kingsford for criticisms of HPB and used – or rather ignorantly misused – them to defend and support his own criticisms and dislike of HPB.”

We will see shortly how some of Purucker’s theories and speculations based on brief or vague statements in “The Mahatma Letters” found their way into Barborka’s “The Divine Plan.”

Barborka also quotes at some length from some of HPB’s articles which she herself never approved for publication and many of which seem to have been discarded by her in draft form but which were published in 1897, six years after her death, by Annie Besant in the so-called “Third Volume” of “The Secret Doctrine.” These can be found more accessibly in Volume 14 of the “Collected Writings” series. In The “Third Volume” of “The Secret Doctrine” it was said:

“Despite the fact that they are permeated with the air of incompleteness – which is not surprising considering what they actually are – there is much in them that is interesting, informative, and inspiring. One must always bear in mind, however, that there is no way of knowing to what extent and in what way those sections have been altered, edited, and tampered with prior to publication. It is a well known fact that Mrs Besant had expressed disrespect and distrust of HPB on numerous occasions after her death, both privately and publicly, and so – considering her record as a literary vandal [Note: this is a reference to her 1893 “Third and Revised Edition” of “The Secret Doctrine” described by Dr H. N. Stokes as being “in all probability . . . the most colossal case of corruption of an original text to be found in history.” Please see the article for details.] – it will not have been surprising if she removed or altered certain parts of those discarded manuscripts which she happened to dislike or disagree with, prior to publishing them under false pretences.”

It may also be noticed that Barborka has no hesitation about quoting liberally from HPB’s private Esoteric Instructions, teachings which were only ever intended for seriously pledged members of the Esoteric Section – who had bound themselves by oath to abide by all the necessary rules and regulations – and not for anyone else.

While it is true that these have been in public print since Besant’s infamous “Third Volume” and that they have been used in the teachings and writings of numerous individuals ever since, Purucker included, it is nevertheless equally true that no decent, legitimate, or authentic authorisation to make them public and available has ever yet been given. They have only been made public and available through the breaking of occult laws, principles, and bonds of trust. This matter may perhaps be described as one of “occult ethics” and we refer readers to the article Respect for The Laws of Esotericism for a more precise overview.

Our author also specifically maintains that the “Secret Doctrine” quotations used in “The Divine Plan” are from the original edition, verbatim and unaltered. Alas, this is simply not true, as soon after this admirable assertion we find him changing “absorption in Brahm” (from “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 134) into “absorption in Brahman.” A minor alteration and one which is not inaccurate if the correct meaning is preserved but, as we shall now see, the correct meaning of Brahman is not preserved by Barborka. The most important point here, however, is the incongruity between claim and practice, in regard to using the verbatim and unaltered text.

The five main points of confusion which we find in “The Divine Plan” are as follows, in no particular order.


Regarding the abovementioned Brahman, we are informed in “The Divine Plan” that Brahman is “the First Logos or Supreme Hierarch of a system” (p. xi). And again that “As Brahman is defined as the Supreme Hierarch of a system (be that system a cosmos or a universe), the philosophical import of the term Parabrahman implies that which is beyond the Supreme Hierarch (para signifying “beyond”)” (p. 13) . . . “Brahman signifies the First Logos and may be equated to the First Cause” (p. 486) . . . “For the First Cause or First Logos is equatable to Brahman (in the Hindu scheme).”

The unsuspecting student who may never do his or her own research and study in HPB’s teachings will most probably accept this as being an accurate account of what she taught whereas it is most inaccurate and misleading.

Barborka tells us that “Brahman is defined as the Supreme Hierarch of a system (be that system a cosmos or a universe)” but neglects to tell us by whom Brahman has been thus defined. It most certainly wasn’t HPB, as such a description is glaringly absent from all of her works.

Similarly, HPB never spoke of Brahman as being the First Logos, nor of there being a distinction between Brahman and Parabrahm or Parabrahman, as in both Theosophy and Hinduism these two terms are synonyms for one and the same “Thing,” the ONE Absolute Infinite Eternal Divine Principle, as we have amply demonstrated in Parabrahm, Brahman, and Brahma – Why The Confusion? where it is also shown that according to HPB and William Judge, as according to the Vedantins, “Para-Brahm” does not mean “Beyond Brahman,” as there can be nothing beyond Brahman, for Brahman is the Divine Allness Itself. It is not the First Logos or any Logos; it is THAT from which the First Logos radiates.

As the reader may already be starting to suspect, Barborka’s definitions are straight out of the writings of G. de Purucker. For example:

“Remember that the First Logos is the cosmic consciousness, the summit or Brahman of any hierarchy, and these Brahmans are numberless in boundless Space. Every solar system is one such Brahman on the solar system scale; every galaxy represents or is one on the galactic scale; this is also the case with every planetary chain. Every human being has his own individual Brahman, the highest point of his being, his First Logos.” (G. de Purucker, “Fountain-Source of Occultism” Section 5)

As Purucker demonstrated elsewhere in his writings, he was unable to either grasp or accept the concept of the Absoluteness of the Absolute and Its Oneness and utter indivisibility. He was much criticised in the Theosophical world for his notion of there being “many Infinites,” especially as HPB could not have expressed the opposite more clearly: “There can be neither two INFINITES nor two ABSOLUTES in a Universe supposed to be Boundless.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 7)

It was also Purucker, not HPB, who used the term “Hierarch” at great length when speaking of the First Logos and other Logoi. “Hierarch” suggests and implies a Being or an Entity and indeed Barborka explains on p. 2 that the Logos is “a Great Being.”

Sadly, he does not take the trouble to tell us how HPB herself explains the Logos in “The Secret Doctrine,” probably because this would show the clear contradictions between her teachings and those of his obviously preferred teacher G. de Purucker.

For she tells us that the Logos is “no personality but the universal principle” (Vol. 2, p. 318) and that in Esoteric Philosophy the Logos “is simply an abstract term, an idea,” (Vol. 1, p. 380). The Three Logoi (i.e. the Unmanifested, the Semi-Manifested, and the Manifested) are described on p. 38 of “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” as “the personified symbols of the three spiritual stages of Evolution.”

This may be too abstract, symbolic, and metaphysical, for those who prefer Beings, Entities, and Hierarchs, but nevertheless this is the Theosophical teaching on the subject and it is a shame that Barborka keeps it well hidden from his trusting readers.

The terms “Solar Logos” and “Planetary Logos” are used at great length in the teachings of C. W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, and Alice Bailey. It was Leadbeater who first popularised these terms. Neither the term “Planetary Logos” nor anything matching the Leadbeater/Besant/Bailey definition of it (or “Him” as they would have it) is to be found anywhere at all in the original Theosophical teachings. “Solar Logos” was used just once in all of HPB’s many thousands of pages of writing:

“Ildabaoth does likewise: “I am Father and God, and there is no one above me,” he exclaims. For which his mother coolly puts him down by saying, “Do not lie, Ildabaoth, for the father of all, the first man (Anthropos) is above thee, and so is Anthropos, the Son of Anthropos” (Irenaeus, b. 1, ch. xxx., 6). This is a good proof that there were three Logoi (besides the Seven born of the First), one of these being the Solar Logos.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 449)

Although he generally expressed disdain for the corruptions, distortions, and additions wrought upon HPB’s teachings by his contemporaries Leadbeater, Besant, Bailey, and “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” in general, G. de Purucker introduced his own and was not above borrowing Leadbeater terms when it suited him. We find him saying, for example, in Chapter 18 of “Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy”:

“The dhyan-chohan, of which we have spoken this evening, is our spiritual logos, the planetary logos, so far as this fourth round is concerned. The spiritual entity behind the sun is the solar logos of our solar system. Small or great as every solar system may be, each has its own logos, the source or fountainhead of almost innumerable logoi of less degree in that system. Every man has his own spiritual logos; every atom has its own logos; every atom has its own Paramatman and Mulaprakriti, for every entity everywhere has its own highest.”

And we find mention of the Planetary Logos and Solar Logos – as Beings, not as Principles, nor even as Hierarchies of Beings – pervading Barborka’s work. He describes them, a la Purucker, as being “Watchers.” The Planetary Logos watches over the planet, the Solar Logos watches over the Sun, and even the Central Spiritual Sun – a Kabbalistic term used by HPB for the highest Logos Itself – has a great “Someone” watching it!

“From the Planetary Logoi one’s consciousness may ascend to the Watcher of the Solar System and to the Seven Solar Logoi. And yet higher, to the Dhyani of the Raja-Sun. Then, beyond these Great Systems to the Watcher of the Central Sun – and still on and on without end.” (“The Divine Plan” p. 65)

What is this “Raja-Sun”? Barborka shares a quote from “The Mahatma Letters” which speaks of “the Raja-Suns . . . There is such a king-star right behind Jupiter, that no mortal physical eye has ever seen during this, our Round. . . . that Raja-Star . . .”

Our author’s tendency for anthropomorphism then reaches its zenith as he writes, “A Being such as the great Universal Solar Lha has been given the name of a “Solar Emperor” – a Raja Sun or Raja-Star – in this majestic passage, indicating that our solar system, as well as others, are indeed within the orbit of a Greater Being.”

Quite how the Master’s words about a “king-star right behind Jupiter” translate into a “Solar Emperor” and indicate “that our solar system, as well as others, are indeed within the orbit of a Greater Being” is something of a mystery. This one reference in “The Mahatma Letters” to the Raja-Sun or Raja-Star is the only mention of it in the original Theosophical literature. It is not spoken of in “The Secret Doctrine” nor in any of HPB’s other writings, although it was referred to, described, and speculated upon numerous times by G. de Purucker and, as in many other instances, Geoffrey Barborka followed suit.

If yet further proof is needed of the great wisdom of the Mahatmas in specifying and emphasising that Their Letters should never be published, it will be forthcoming shortly.

It is also puzzling to find Barborka saying that the “Spirit of the Earth and his six assistants” are “the seven Dhyani-Bodhisattvas”! (p. 224) The Dhyani Bodhisattvas are high, pure, spiritual beings, according to HPB, whereas the Planetary Spirit of the Earth is far from being such. “The terrestrial spirit of the earth is not of a very high grade,” says HPB on p. 48 of “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge,” adding on p. 255 of “The Theosophical Glossary” that “Our earth, being as yet only in its fourth round, is far too young to have produced high planetary spirits.”

On that same page of the “Transactions” it is explained that the Planetary Spirits “have nothing to do with the spiritual man, but with things of matter and cosmic beings. . . . they form into shape and fashion cosmic matter, for which they were called Cosmocratores. They never had any concern with spirit; the Dhyani-Buddhas, belonging to quite a different hierarchy, are especially concerned with the latter.”

The Dhyani Bodhisattvas relate to the Dhyani Buddhas and most definitely not to the Earth Spirits. At the risk of sounding repetitive, it has to be stated yet again that this is another G. de Purucker idea, inserted by Barborka into his book in such a way as to give the impression that this is HPB’s teaching.

He also seems to insist that Brahmā is always a term used for the Third Logos. If one has this idea in mind when reading “The Secret Doctrine” or any other Theosophical book one is likely to end up confused, as the term is in fact not utilised with such strict definiteness. In some places HPB speaks of the First Logos as Brahmā; in other places the Second and elsewhere the Third. “Brahmā” is simply a name. It cannot be said in strict accuracy that Brahmā is really anything. We would all do well to follow HPB’s example in not attaching too much importance to “which Logos has which name” but focusing instead on the idea and concept which lies behind those names and terms.

Before we move on to the next topic, it is only just to say that although Barborka’s definitions of the Logos are not to be found in “The Secret Doctrine” and that no “Planetary Logos” or “Solar Logos” is spoken of  – save the one passage quoted above – there are a few statements which do seem to partly support the basis of some of these notions, despite not supporting all the details and definitions.

“”Every Universe (world or planet) has its own Logos,” says the doctrine.” (Vol. 2, p. 25)

“We must bravely face Science and declare, in the teeth of materialistic learning, of Idealism, Hylo-Idealism, Positivism and all-denying modern Psychology, that the true Occultist believes in “Lords of Light;” that he believes in a Sun, which, . . . is, like milliards of other Suns, the dwelling or the vehicle of a god, and a host of gods. . . . The Sun is matter, and the Sun is Spirit. Our ancestors – the “heathen,” – along with their modern successors, the Parsis – were, and are, wise enough in their generation to see in it the symbol of Divinity, and at the same time to sense within, concealed by the physical Symbol, the bright God of Spiritual and terrestrial Light.” (Vol. 1, p. 479)

“If all those Manus and Rishis are called by one generic name [i.e. Vaivasvata], this is due to the fact that they are one and all the manifested Energies of one and the same LOGOS, the celestial, as well as the terrestrial messengers and permutations of that Principle which is ever in a state of activity; conscious during the period of Cosmic evolution, unconscious (from our point of view) during Cosmic rest, as the Logos sleepeth in the bosom of THAT which “sleepeth not,” nor is it ever awake – for it is SAT or Be-ness, not a Being. It is from IT that issues the great unseen Logos, who evolves all the other logoi, the primeval MANU who gives being to the other Manus, who emanate the universe and all in it collectively, and who represent in their aggregate the manifested Logos. . . .

“Manu declares himself created by Viraj, or Vaiswanara, (the Spirit of Humanity), which means that his Monad emanates from the never resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity: that Logos or UNIVERSAL MONAD (collective Elohim) that radiates from within himself all those Cosmic Monads that become the centres of activity – progenitors of the numberless Solar systems as well as of the yet undifferentiated human monads of planetary chains as well as of every being thereon. Each Cosmic Monad is “Swayambhuva,” the SELF-BORN, which becomes the Centre of Force, from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which chains there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manus Swayambhuva (a generic name, mysterious and meaning far more than appears), each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity.” (Vol. 2, p. 310-311)


“In their conceit and arrogance, as in their habit of materializing every metaphysical conception and term without allowing any margin for Eastern metaphor and allegory, the Orientalists have made a jumble of the Hindu exoteric philosophy, and the Theosophists were now doing the same with regard to esoteric teachings. To this day it is evident that the latter have utterly failed to understand the meaning of the term “Fifth and Sixth Rounders.” But it is simply this: every “Round” brings about a new development and even an entire change in the mental, psychic, spiritual and physical constitution of man, all these principles evolving on an ever ascending scale. Thence it follows that those persons who, like Confucius and Plato, belonged psychically, mentally and spiritually to the higher planes of evolution, were in our Fourth Round as the average man will be in the Fifth Round, whose mankind is destined to find itself, on this scale of Evolution, immensely higher than is our present humanity. Similarly Gautama Buddha – Wisdom incarnate – was still higher and greater than all the men we have mentioned, who are called Fifth Rounders, while Buddha and Sankaracharya are termed Sixth Rounders, allegorically. Thence again the concealed wisdom of the remark, pronounced at the time “evasive” – that “a few drops of rain do not make the Monsoon, though they presage it.”

So said HPB in “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 161-162. Those who have been described as “Fifth Rounders” and “Sixth Rounders” are spoken of as such “allegorically,” she says.

The Fifth Round of the evolutionary life-wave through our planetary chain will not begin until this present Fourth Round has come to a close, just as the Sixth Round will not start until the Fifth Round has finished. But those individuals who, in the Fourth Round, are “as the average man will be in the Fifth Round” or as the average man will be in the Sixth Round, are termed Fifth and Sixth Rounders, in a purely allegorical and figurative sense.

This seems clear enough to most students of Theosophy but Barborka states on p. 344 of his “Divine Plan” that “As there are some pioneers in the forefront of human evolution who are undergoing their Fifth Planetary Cycle, the Fifth Round is indicated [i.e. on one of his diagrams in the book] by means of an elliptical orbit, yet it takes place within the field of activity of the Fourth Round. In other words, the Fifth Round is also being accomplished in and on and through the series of all the globes of the chain.”

This is certainly not the teaching of “The Secret Doctrine”! But it is G. de Purucker’s teaching:

“The forerunners, called fifth and sixth rounders, are those advanced egos who, because of past relatively perfected experiences on the moon chain, are more evolved than the bulk of the life-wave. It is a simple thing: we have all grades of men, from the most unevolved on up to mahatmas and buddhas. The forerunners who are now in our fourth round are those individuals who, when they get the chance, leave the earth and run ahead; they forerun us, which merely means that while we are laboring along back of them on globe D they already have rushed ahead of us up the globes and down again in their fifth round. The sixth rounders are those rare flowers of the human race who are still more evolved than the fifth rounders; they have gone around twice ahead of us.” (G. de Purucker, “Fountain-Source of Occultism” Section 7)

It does not require great powers of spiritual perception to see how this is the very opposite of HPB’s remarks in “The Secret Doctrine” and a blatant contradiction of her words and explanations.


We include below the diagram from p. 200 of the first volume of “The Secret Doctrine” in which are shown the Seven Planes and the relation to these of the Seven Globes of our Earth Chain. The left hand side of the diagram gives the details as per the “Eastern Gupta Vidya,” i.e. the Secret Doctrine or Esoteric Science of the East, which is the Theosophy of HPB, WQJ, and the Masters. The right hand side shows the details as given in the Chaldean Kabbalah, with which we are not directly concerned at present.

Chains and Globes - Secret Doctrine

If we pay attention to the Theosophical system, we can see that the Seven Globes belong to four different planes – the four lower planes of the Cosmos – and follow the pattern of a descending arc and an ascending arc, otherwise known as involution and evolution.

The “three higher Planes of the Septenary Kosmos” are described in that diagram as “The Divine and Formless World of Spirit.” These three higher planes are termed Arupa (literally “Formless” or “No Form”) planes whereas the four lower are called Rupa (“Form”) planes. It is interesting to note the following from HPB on p. 107 and p. 111 of “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge”:

“In using the term “planes of non-being” it is necessary to remember that these planes are only to us spheres of non-being, but those of being and matter to higher intelligences than ourselves. . . . That which in the Secret Doctrine is referred to as the unmanifested planes, are unmanifested or planes of non-being only from the point of view of the finite intellect; to higher intelligences they would be manifested planes and so on to infinity, analogy always holding good.”

However, not the slightest indication or suggestion is ever made by HPB that there are an additional five globes; one on the very highest plane and two each on the second and third highest planes. This “12 Globes” idea was first introduced by G. de Purucker and is one of the teachings for which he has been most heavily criticised. And this is promulgated by Geoffrey Barborka in “The Divine Plan” without the slightest reference to Purucker and in such a way as to make the uninformed student believe that it is the teaching of H. P. Blavatsky and “The Secret Doctrine.” Read his words from p. 343:

“There are three planes superior to the planes of manifestation, which may be termed the planes of the “Unmanifested” (for convenience and clarity), on which are stationed the Arupa-lokas (literally “No-form Worlds”). It may be pointed out that in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, it is stated that the conclusion of a Round occurs on Globe Z. By placing Globe Z on the First Cosmic Plane (the plane of the Unmanifested), this provides the clue for the commencement and conclusion of the Rounds. Each Round is thus accomplished, from the First Round to the Seventh Round in sequential order, by commencing and concluding on this Arupa-loka, (a globe without a manifested rupa). In order to call attention to its arupa character, Globe Z on the diagram [i.e. the diagram in “The Divine Plan”] is delineated by means of a dotted sphere, as are also the other four globes on Cosmic Plane II and Plane III. The diagram therefore illustrates the Rounds as commencing from a central point in Globe Z and also being completed on Globe Z.”

This may be described as mere speculation born from a strange misunderstanding; “strange” because to most students of the original Theosophical teachings it is sufficiently plain and clear that when the term “Globe Z” is used it is just another name for that which is sometimes also called “Globe G,” i.e. the Seventh Globe in the Chain, called either “G” because that is the seventh letter of the alphabet or “Z” as a means of indicating that it is the last globe.

If definitive proof is needed of this, we may mention that on p. 85 of those very same “Mahatma Letters” is the Masters’ own diagram titled “MAN ON A PLANET” and which shows perfectly clearly that what They sometimes call “Globe Z” is the Seventh Globe of our chain, the one which They also call “Globe G”. This also can be seen on the above diagram from “The Secret Doctrine” itself in which the Seventh Globe is labelled “G or Z.”

Far from being a “Theosophical Genius” as some describe him, Purucker apparently could either not understand or not agree with the clear teachings of Theosophy and felt it necessary to invent a system all of his own.

Earlier we said: “If yet further proof is needed of the great wisdom of the Mahatmas in specifying and emphasising that Their Letters should never be published, it will be forthcoming shortly.” This is part of it and there is still more to come.

In the section “Rounds: Inner and Outer” of “The Dialogues of G. de Purucker” the student of “The Secret Doctrine” will be alarmed to find the following:

“Please remember with regard to this matter of rounds the following facts: first, the seven globes of the twelve are for convenience called the manifest globes or the globes of the rupa worlds, and the five upper globes are called arupa, not because they have no form, but to us in our present cognitional development they seem formless much in the same way as a thought is formless to us, and yet we know that thoughts are beings of form and that each thought imbodies an elemental.

“Now then, no round of the seven begins with globe A of the seven and ends with globe G of the seven, according to the exoteric teaching. That is correct as far as it goes. Every round whatsoever begins with the first or topmost globe, runs through all the globes of the descending arc to our earth or globe D, then ascends through all the globes of the ascending arc until the first is reached again, which we can call the first or the twelfth.

“The next thought to remember is that before the first of what are called by HPB the seven rounds, there are three elementary rounds. I myself wonder if that is a good word to give to these rounds; but I do not know a better. They are the rounds in which the elemental activities needed for the beginnings of the formation of the globes take place. This makes ten rounds. Then counting after this way, there are two rounds after the ten, making the twelve or closing out rounds before the chain dies; as the moon had died. Thus there are actually twelve rounds. The main or the most important to us at present are the seven manifest rounds, as we may call them; therefore particularly selected by HPB in her Secret Doctrine, as being exoteric teaching: but exoteric only because it was openly printed and published. Before she gave it out it had been for centuries esoteric.

“The third thing to remember about rounds is that there are inner and outer rounds, and these inner and outer rounds respectively have two meanings: the pathways or round-circulations followed by monads not only at death, but in sleep and during initiation, both inner and outer, of which you have already studied and know at least something. The other significance of the terms inner rounds and outer rounds is this: that when the seven (or twelve) rounds of the life-waves of a chain have been run and are ended, there is always a certain number amongst the twelve classes of monads who then will graduate from the earth-chain, and in due course of time will take their next step to some other chain and begin in this sense an outer round for these graduated classes.

“Remember, the inner rounds we call the rounds of life-waves from globe A to globe G if you follow the septenary system, or globe one back to globe one or globe twelve if you follow the duodenary system. Thus the inner rounds are the rounds taking place along the globes of the chain, our own as an instance. The outer rounds are the peregrinations or pilgrimages of the same monads, when the time comes, to the other sacred chains of the solar system.”

This leads us on to the next serious issue in Barborka’s work.


As it is very relevant to the subject under discussion, we will quote from Letter #LXXXII (p. 392-393) of “The Mahatma Letters” in which the Master K.H. writes the following:

“With all that, you may feel sure that neither M. nor I have contradicted each other in our respective statements. He was speaking of the inner – I, of the outer Round. There are many things that you have not learned but may some day; nor will you be able to ever comprehend the process of the obscurations until you have mastered the mathematical progress of the inner and the outer Rounds and learned more about the specific difference between the seven.”

Earlier in this article it was said that “99.9% of the teachings of “The Mahatma Letters” will be found expanded and clarified there in “The Secret Doctrine,” along with a huge mass of further information and content. A handful of obscure sentences in “The Mahatma Letters” were not touched upon in “The Secret Doctrine,” such as the one which briefly mentions and simply states the fact that there are “inner rounds” and “outer rounds.” The Masters’ reticence and disinclination to elaborate any further on such matters should be indication that nothing is permitted to be given out regarding such subjects at this period in time.”

As “The Secret Doctrine” does not talk about the Inner and Outer Rounds, one might ask why Geoffrey Barborka devotes so much space to discussing them in “The Divine Plan” which purports to be “a Commentary on H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine.” The answer is found in the fact that G. de Purucker taught at length on the Inner and Outer Rounds – or rather on his own theories and ideas about them – and, as we have now distinctly seen, Barborka’s aim is to promote “Theosophy” according to Purucker, not Theosophy according to HPB.

Barborka’s (and Purucker’s) definition of the Inner Rounds is the normal understanding of what HPB simply calls “Rounds.”

“A definition has been given for the Inner Rounds, namely, the passage of the Monadic Hosts from globe to globe within the circuit of the seven globes of a planetary chain. . . . The Outer Rounds may be defined as the passage of Monads from one planetary chain to another planetary chain and beyond. . . . thus indicating that the circling is outside the “Home” planetary chain . . . This cyclic journey continues during the life of the Solar Logos, or during the period of a Solar Manvantara.” (“The Divine Plan” p. 379-382)

“The Outer Rounds may be defined as the passage of Monads from one planetary chain to another planetary chain and beyond.” By whom may they be thus defined? By now we know who and we know it isn’t H. P. Blavatsky.

“You see, I have explained that there are two kinds of rounds: the outer rounds and the inner rounds. The outer rounds are they which the life-hosts follow in passing from one solar planet – from one planet of the solar family to another planet of the solar family, such as from Venus to Earth, from Earth to Mercury, or from Jupiter to Venus, or again from Mercury to Mars. These are the outer rounds. There are wonderful mysteries connected with this.

“The inner rounds are the rounds pursued by the life-hosts in passing from globe to globe of any one planetary chain, such as the Earth’s planetary chain with its seven globes, such as the Venus planetary chain with its seven globes, or the Mars planetary chain with its seven globes, and so forth.” (G. de Purucker, “The Dialogues of G. de Purucker,” 11th December 1929)

Barborka goes on to say, “A passage will now be given indicating the cyclic journeys of the Outer Rounds” and proceeds to quote from “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 577:

“The Planetary origin of the Monad (Soul) and of its faculties was taught by the Gnostics. On its way to the Earth, as on its way back from the Earth, each soul born in, and from, the “Boundless Light,” had to pass through the seven planetary regions both ways.”

Two things become apparent: (1) This is describing a teaching from the Gnostic system and is thus not necessarily the teaching of the Masters although it may well be; (2) It does not say that “on its way to the Earth, as on its way back from the Earth” is referring to the ongoing cycle of death and rebirth. It may equally, if not more likely, be describing the initial descent of the Monad into incarnation at the start of a manvantara and its eventual ascent at the close or upon having attained final liberation.

Yet Barborka declares that the passage “[signifies] the cyclic journey of the Monad through the seven planets on its departure from the earth – when the Monad is liberated from its bonds by means of that which is called “death” on earth. Then when the return cyclic journey from the Boundless Light is made, the Monad again passes through the Seven Sacred Planets on its way to take on another vesture on Earth – to be born again, in order to take up the interrupted Circle of Necessity occasioned by its departure on the Outer Rounds. . . . When another phase of existence is entered into – known as “death” . . . the Monad is enabled to continue its cyclic journeys to other spheres – first of all to the other globes of this planetary chain, then on to the other spheres with which it is linked. So that other Rounds are continued during the after-death state. . . . When a human being will have learned how to function consciously on the superior globes during the present Fourth Round, while the Human Host of Monads is carrying on its evolution on Globe D (in other words, functioning consciously while cycling on the Ascending Arc during the after-death states), such a one will have achieved the status of a Fifth-Rounder. Then, carrying the theme to its logical conclusion, when a Fifth-Rounder will learn how to perform the Outer Rounds consciously, he will be well on his way towards acting in the capacity of a Sixth-Rounder.” (p. 381, 369, 382)

This is not the authentic Theosophical teaching about either the Rounds or the after-death states and processes.


Finally, “The Divine Plan” says that there are “ten Classes of Monads or Kingdoms comprising the ladder of life” and adds on p. 58-59 that “the hierarchical scheme of our world as presented in The Secret Doctrine is composed of ten Classes or Kingdoms.” Now Barborka must have known full well that this is not true and that “The Secret Doctrine” does not present any such thing. Why are no “Secret Doctrine” or other HPB references given for this? Because, as before, it is not HPB’s teaching!

Instead, we are given a list which is preceded with the words “The ten Classes or Kingdoms are as follows (commencing the enumeration with the most lofty, and continuing in descending grade):”

  1. Class I of the Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdom
  2. Class II of the Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdom
  3. Class III of the Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdom
  4. The Human Kingdom
  5. The Animal Kingdom
  6. The Plant Kingdom
  7. The Mineral Kingdom
  8. Class I of the Elemental Kingdom
  9. Class II of the Elemental Kingdom
  10. Class III of the Elemental Kingdom

This listing and enumeration is straight out of G. de Purucker’s book “Studies in Occult Philosophy.”

“The Secret Doctrine,” on the other hand, speaks of seven kingdoms of Monadic Evolution, with the three elemental kingdoms on the descending arc, the mineral kingdom as the bottom-most and most densely material stage of evolution, and the vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms on the luminous arc of ascent. The Dhyan Chohans – which exist in far more than just three classes – may be considered as the higher side of the seventh or human kingdom.

All manifestation is of a septenary nature. If any point is repeatedly and emphatically stated in “The Secret Doctrine” it is this.

~ * ~

This concludes our review of “The Divine Plan” and it is sincerely hoped that it has not come across as being overly harsh. It has been necessary to state the facts as they are. People are being seriously misled by this book and they surely have the right to know of it. We would assume that even supporters of G. de Purucker will agree that Geoffrey Barborka really ought to have made it clear in his book which of the teachings are those of HPB and which are those of Purucker.

For those wanting to study “The Secret Doctrine” for themselves but not knowing where or how to start, we would suggest reading A Beginner’s Guide To Studying “The Secret Doctrine”. Any questions or comments are welcome in the Facebook group “Original Theosophy.” You may wish to visit the Articles page to see the complete listing of over 300 articles relating to all aspects of Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement.

There are further articles on our site relating to G. de Purucker and his teachings, including Purucker Says The Absolute Was Once a Man and Examining The Point Loma & Pasadena “Successorship” Claim.

The United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT was mentioned at the start of the article and more can be read and learnt about the ULT by clicking here.

~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~