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The Secret Doctrine Paperback – July 23, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"""The Secret Doctrine""assumes the dignity of a scripture, for in its pages eternal mysteries are clothed in ancient and modern terms, and to those who have eyes to see, the ageless wisdom is revealed...The Secret Doctrine contains practically all that is known on the subject of occultism that is permissible to print, and every page is a veritable treasure-house of esoteric lore."
--Manly P. Hall, author of" The Secret Teachings of All Ages"--x

About the Author

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) was the cofounder of the Theosophical Society. A world-famous figure of mystery and controversy and a leading intellect behind the occult revival in the West, Blavatsky published The Secret Doctrine in 1888 as her magnum opus.

Michael Gomes is a historian, author, and the librarian at the New York Lodge of the Theosophical Society. He is one of today's most respected writers on esoteric movements, as well known to readers of occult and esoteric literature as to students and scholars of modern religion.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; First Edition edition (July 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158542708X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585427086
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me begin by making it clear that this is a review of the abridged and annotated version of the Secret Doctrine produced by Michael Gomes and NOT the Secret Doctrine as written by H. P. Blavatsky and published in 2 volumes in 1888. The publisher's advertorial for this abridged and annotated version is filled with inaccuracies and misstatements that simply cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed and unremarked.

The claim that the book has previously only been available "in expensive, two-volume editions of some 1,400 pages" is factually untrue. A verbatim facsimile of the original edition of 1888 has been continuously in print for more than 30 years, as my own, personal, tattered copy from 1978 testifies. This is the edition produced by the Theosophical University Press of Pasadena, California (ISBN 978-1557000026) and currently costs just $27 from Amazon.com. Moreover, the same publisher also provide an online electronic edition (ISBN 1-55700-124-3) and PDF download, both of which are free of charge. So far from placing Blavatsky's master-work "within reach of all who are curious" -- to use the publisher's own phrase -- they are charging the sum of £11.99 when the "curious" can read the original edition for nothing!

The publisher's claim that: "(the book) has long eluded the grasp of modern readers until now" is disingenuous sophistry of the worst possible kind. The only readers whose grasp it has eluded are those who are unwilling or incapable of opening their minds to the possibility that modern science and our modern 'experts' do not have all the answers.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully thought-provoking book, but it is VERY DIFFICULT TO READ. Having a master's degree in theological studies, it still took me 6 months to get through each book and I was really pushing. I do not wish to discourage potential readers, but only want to be realistic. If anyone is looking to understand the basic ideas in The Secret Doctrine I would strongly suggest Goodricke-Clark's work entitled Madame Blavatsky. A little easier to read it groups particular sections of Blavatky's writings by topic (that is one of the downfall's of The Secret Doctrine-the arrangement of random material throughout).
I would certainly agree that this work is Blavatsky's crowning achievement, but not because it is "original." Rather, it is the way Blavatsky takes various western esoteric concepts and syncretises them into one work that is most ingenious. She takes the prevalent ideas in western esotericism (root races, planetary evolution, and phalic/solar origin of religion- for anyone looking for a historical background on these subjects I would suggest The Theosophical Enlightenment by Joscelyn Godwin) and merges them with Asian religious practices and terminiology in an attempt to defend religion against the growing threat of materialism. What comes out is a lengthy, unorganzied treatise on western esoteric concepts that is brilliant as a redactionary work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As other reviewer wrote, this is an abridged version. It leaves out important sections of Blavatsky commentaries.

If you are looking for the complete version of The Secret Doctrine, THIS IS NOT THE BOOK YOU NEED.

I have found that these versions are complete, prepared specifically for the eReader, with an index of the original page order for those that want to use a reference for the printed version:

The Secret Doctrine - Volume I, Cosmogenesis
The Secret Doctrine - Volume II, Anthropogenesis
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Format: Paperback
I have studied this book and author as well as theosphy and comparative religions, philosophy, science of mind for over 20 years and the truth contained in H.P.Blavatsky's writings as well as intuitive knowledge have caused me great joy and massive yearning for additional lifetimes of study...I highly reccomend this book for serious students of lifes mysteries and higher learning.
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Format: Paperback
First, this is not an easy book to read, but it's importance in the study of metaphysics makes it well worth the effort. I am a practicing metaphysican and have been a student of metaphysics, theosphy and comparative religions for over 20 years and am just beginning to realize the truth contained in this and others of H.P.Blavatsky's books.

This book is on my recommended list the serious student of metaphysics and esoteric knowledge. It has been an integral part of the foundation of the Western new age/new thought movements.
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It is much better to buy the 2 full volumes. I feel hustled that I bought this. It gives madme Blavatsky's great work little justice. The two orginal volumes are much better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Be aware that this version of the text is not only abridged, but has commentary after nearly every single line. And while well done, it makes the whole thing feel a bit like a textbook. Good for some, but I didn't realize that it would be as heavily annotated as it is. In all honesty it should be marketed as a reader's companion, and the title should be different to make that clearer.
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