Understanding The Stanzas of Dzyan

“It is a more valuable work than its predecessor [i.e. “Isis Unveiled”], an epitome of occult truths that will make it a source of information and instruction for the earnest student for long years to come.”

(Master K.H. writing to Col. Olcott
about “The Secret Doctrine”)

~ * ~

Many people find the Stanzas translated from the Secret Book of Dzyan (pronounced “Djan” or “Djee-an,” see Vol. 1, Introductory, p. xx) which are found at the start of both volumes of “The Secret Doctrine” by H. P. Blavatsky, to be virtually impossible to understand.

But if one reads and studies the volumes very carefully and closely, paying attention to every detail, the comprehension becomes much easier.

For example, in the Contents listing at the start of the volumes, HPB actually gives the explanatory titles for each of the Stanzas. If one then writes the relevant titles in at the start of each of the Stanzas, they become much more self-illuminating as the student is then aware of what they are actually referring to and describing. They are:

Volume 1 – COSMOGENESIS

(dealing with the origins, birth, and evolution, of the Universe, the Cosmos, our Solar System, and this Planetary Chain)

Stanza I – THE NIGHT OF THE UNIVERSE

Stanza II – THE IDEA OF DIFFERENTIATION

Stanza III – THE AWAKENING OF KOSMOS

Stanza IV – THE SEPTENARY HIERARCHIES

Stanza V – FOHAT: THE CHILD OF THE SEPTENARY HIERARCHIES

Stanza VI – OUR WORLD, ITS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Stanza VII – THE PARENTS OF MAN ON EARTH

 

Volume 2 – ANTHROPOGENESIS

(dealing with the origins, birth, and evolution, of humanity on our Earth)

Stanza I – BEGINNINGS OF SENTIENT LIFE

Stanza II – NATURE UNAIDED FAILS

Stanza III – ATTEMPTS TO CREATE MAN

Stanza IV – CREATION OF THE FIRST RACES

Stanza V – THE EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND RACE

Stanza VI – THE EVOLUTION OF THE “SWEAT-BORN”

Stanza VII – FROM THE SEMI-DIVINE DOWN TO THE FIRST HUMAN RACES

Stanza VIII – EVOLUTION OF THE ANIMAL MAMMALIANS – THE FIRST FALL

Stanza IX – THE FINAL EVOLUTION OF MAN

Stanza X – THE HISTORY OF THE FOURTH RACE

Stanza XI – THE CIVILISATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE FOURTH AND FIFTH RACES

Stanza XII – THE FIFTH RACE AND ITS DIVINE INSTRUCTORS

As one then proceeds to read further and to see HPB’s expositions and commentaries on each of these Stanzas, it is seen that she often adds explanatory and clarifying words and phrases in brackets, when repeating the text of the Stanzas. If these, along with the titles, are added in to the text of the Stanzas at the start of the book, one then has something that is ideal for meditative reflection and contemplation upon.

“Indeed,” says HPB, “it must be remembered that all these Stanzas appeal to the inner faculties rather than to the ordinary comprehension of the physical brain.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 21)

And in the second volume, when she elucidates on the Stanzas about human evolution, she actually provides an explanatory summary or mini-title for every single shloka (verse). One cannot ask for much more help than this! These are given as:

Stanza I – BEGINNINGS OF SENTIENT LIFE

(1) The LHA, or Spirit of the Earth (2) Invocation of the Earth to the Sun (3) What the Sun answers (4) Transformation of the Earth

Stanza II – NATURE UNAIDED FAILS

(5) After enormous periods the Earth creates monsters (6) The “Creators” are displeased (7) They dry the Earth (8) The forms are destroyed by them (9) The first great tides (10) The beginning of incrustation

Stanza III – ATTEMPTS TO CREATE MAN

(11) The Descent of the Demiurge (12) The lunar gods ordered to create (13) The higher gods refuse

Stanza IV – CREATION OF THE FIRST RACES

(14) Creation of men (15) They are empty shadows (16) The Creators are perplexed how to create a THINKING man (17) What is needed for the formation of a perfect man

Stanza V – THE EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND RACE

(18) The Sons of Yoga (19) The Sexless Second Race (20) The Sons of the Sons of Twilight (21) The “Shadow,” or the Astral Man, retires within and man develops a physical body

Stanza VI – THE EVOLUTION OF THE “SWEAT-BORN”

(22) The evolution of the three races continued (23) The second race create the third and perishes

Stanza VII – FROM THE SEMI-DIVINE DOWN TO THE FIRST HUMAN RACES

(24) The higher creators reject in their pride the forms evolved by the “Sons of Yoga” (25) They will not incarnate in the early “Egg born” (26) They select the later androgyne (27) The first man endowed with mind

Stanza VIII – EVOLUTION OF THE ANIMAL MAMMALIANS – THE FIRST FALL

(28) How the first mammals were produced (29) A quasi-Darwinian Evolution (30) The animals get solid bodies (31) Their separation into sexes (32) The first sin of the mindless men

Stanza IX – THE FINAL EVOLUTION OF MAN

(33) The creators repent (34) They atone for their neglect (35) Men become endowed with minds (36) The fourth race develops perfect speech (37) Every androgynous unit is separated and becomes bisexual

Stanza X – THE HISTORY OF THE FOURTH RACE

(38) The birth of the Fourth Atlantean Race (39) The sub-races of the Fourth Humanity begin to divide and interblend; they form the first mixed races of various colours (40) The superiority of the Atlantean over other races (41) They fall into sin and beget children and monsters (42) The first germs of Anthropomorphism and sexual religion. They lose their “third Eye.”

Stanza XI – THE CIVILISATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE FOURTH AND FIFTH RACES

(43) The Lemuro-Atlanteans build cities and spread civilization. The incipient stage of anthropomorphism (44) Their statues, witnesses to the size of the Lemuro-Atlanteans (45) Lemuria destroyed by fire, Atlantis by water. The Flood. (46) The destruction of the fourth race and of the last antediluvian monster-animals

Stanza XII – THE FIFTH RACE AND ITS DIVINE INSTRUCTORS

(47) The remnants of the first two races disappear forever. Groups of the various Atlantean races saved from the Deluge along with the Forefathers of the Fifth (48) The origins of our present Race, the Fifth (49) The earliest glimmerings in History, now pinned to the allegorical chronology of the Bible, and “universal” History slavishly following it. – The nature of the first instructors and civilizers of mankind.

~ * ~

“The Secret Doctrine” is not intended to be an easy book. It was deliberately put together in such a way as to bring about an opening and expansion of the mental and intuitional faculties of the one who carefully and deeply studies it.

Many people read it expecting it to be full of nice neat orderly numbered lists of information for them to memorise, like in some popular “esoteric” (so called) books, and then complain that it isn’t like that. But no true occult teaching is like that. The way one truly and really learns and assimilates something is by piecing it together for oneself, regardless of how much time, effort, and energy that may require.

“This work is written for the instruction of students of Occultism,” explains HPB on p. 23 of Vol. 1. It was not written to be either read or treated like an ordinary book.

One can take heart, however, in knowing that there is plenty of other material from HPB as well as from her closest colleague William Q. Judge for those Theosophical students who may still find “The Secret Doctrine” too daunting.

Sometimes people try to defend C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant of “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” by saying “they presented HPB’s teachings in a simple and clear way that anyone could understand.” But they didn’t; they presented their own teachings, primarily derived from Leadbeater’s self-proclaimed clairvoyant investigations, which on virtually every point contradicted the teachings of HPB. It was William Judge who presented HPB’s teachings in a simple and clear and practical way that anyone can understand and he did so whilst still endeavouring to get people to read and study HPB for themselves. But sadly he is still very much “the forgotten founder,” who many Theosophists even today have never even heard of.

In other articles on this site we have talked more about “The Secret Doctrine,” including the fact of it being the “triple production” (i.e. the product of three minds) of the Mahatma K.H. and the Mahatma M. with the one They called “Our Direct Agent” HPB, and have also shared some recommended guidelines for how to begin the study of the book. These could be summarised very briefly as:

(1) The only legitimate unaltered original versions are those published by Theosophy Company (United Lodge of Theosophists) and Theosophical University Press (Theosophical Society – Pasadena) (2) Having the separate Index volume makes topical study and cross-referencing infinitely easier and more rewarding; the 1997 Index volume from Theosophical University Press is more complete and extensive than the Theosophy Company Index volume (3) Do not expect to understand it without having already familiarised yourself with the metaphysical foundations of this Philosophy, such as by careful reading of HPB’s “The Key to Theosophy” and possibly also WQJ’s “The Ocean of Theosophy” (4) You are guaranteed to have great difficulty understanding it, and will also misunderstand parts of it, if reading it through the filter of the teachings and definitions of terms found in the Leadbeater, Besant, or Alice Bailey books; the decision has to be made whether one wants the original authentic Theosophy or a later, rewritten, christianised version (5) Make sure you clearly comprehend the Three Fundamental Propositions in the Proem of Vol. 1 first, before trying to read the rest of the book; HPB repeats emphatically that their understanding is essential for understanding the rest (6) Do not feel like you have to read the whole book in order from the first to the last page; it can help to start with particular sections to familiarise oneself, such as those recommended here (7) HPB’s teachings span more than 10,000 pages; “The Secret Doctrine” does not stand alone or isolated but is a central and integral part of the whole, which includes numerous books and hundreds of articles, all of which shed valuable and necessary light from all conceivable angles.

For further information, explanation, and recommendations, please consider reading A Beginner’s Guide To Studying “The Secret Doctrine”, Who Wrote “The Secret Doctrine”?, How well do you know “The Secret Doctrine”?, How to successfully study the Teachings of H. P. Blavatsky, The Welcome Influence of William Q. Judge, Understanding The Importance of Mr. Judge, Why Stick To The Original?, and Books on Theosophy.

We also strongly advise against Geoffrey Barborka’s book “The Divine Plan” as it expounds the G. de Purucker version of “Theosophy” whilst falsely claiming to be explaining “The Secret Doctrine.” This has been shown in the article “The Divine Plan” by Geoffrey Barborka – A Review. As for the big question of whether such an esoteric text as the Book of Dzyan really exists, important answers can be found in the articles The Secret Book of Dzyan, “The Voice of the Silence” – An Authentic Buddhist Text, and The REAL Esoteric Buddhism.

If you use Facebook you may wish to join the group “Original Theosophy” for the study and discussion of the original Theosophical teachings. It can be joined by clicking here and following the relevant steps.

~ * ~

“Speaking to those who know and believe that HPB was all the time in communication with the Masters in their retreats somewhere on the globe, I can say that a serious series of consultations was held among them as to what should go into The Secret Doctrine, and that it was plainly said that the book was to be done in such a manner as to compel the earnest student to dig out many profound truths which in a modern book would be announced specifically, and included in the regular course. It was also said, from the same source, that this age, being a transition one in all respects, that full revelations were not for this generation. But enough was to be given out in the manner described, and plainly, to make it substantially a revelation. All students, then, who are in earnest will do well not to pass carelessly over the pages of any part of the book.”

(William Q. Judge, “About The Secret Doctrine”)

“They who undervalue Her gift and Her creation, have not imbibed the Teaching and cannot assimilate its benefits.”

(Robert Crosbie, “The Friendly Philosopher” p. 56)

“Nothing is more plain than that H. P. Blavatsky said, on the direct authority of the Masters, that in the last twenty-five years of each century an effort is made by the Lodge and its agents with the West, and that it ceases in its direct and public form and influence with the twenty-fifth year. Those who believe her will believe this; those who think they know more about it than she did will invent other ideas suited to their fancies.

“She explained, as will all those who are taught (as are many) by the same Masters, that were the public effort to go on any longer than that, a reaction would set in very similar to indigestion. Time must be given for assimilation, or the “dark shadow which follows all innovations” would crush the soul of man. The great public, the mass, must have time and also material. Time is ever. The matter has been furnished by the Masters in the work done by H. P. Blavatsky in her books, and what has grown out of those. She has said, the Masters have said, and I again assert it for the benefit of those who have any faith in me, that the Masters have told me that they helped her write The Secret Doctrine so that the future seventy-five and more years should have some material to work on, and that in the coming years that book and its theories would be widely studied. The material given has then to be worked over, to be assimilated for the welfare of all.”

(William Q. Judge, “The Closing Cycle”)

~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~

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