Preface to the first edition
The deeper individualised consciousness pervades matter, the stronger the yearning for an “unshakeable deliverance of the heart” in the words of Lord Buddha. Distressed and lost in the valley of matter, pilgrim souls are longing for asylum in that “mental devotion, which is knowledge.” 1 Distinguished by romanticism, the spirit of unrest and drive for spiritual progress that appear at the close of every epoch,2 are set apart from the mainstream by an ardour of ideals and values that, to many, seem unattainable. It is for the return journey of such idealistic and incurably romantic souls who are “unexpecting, pure, just, impartial, devoid of fear, and who [have] forsaken [personal] interest in the results of action” 3 that this anthology from the Heart Doctrine was assembled, and for those who will be bolstered when they realise the magnitude and extent of the Divine Law of Love. While not aimed at Buddhists, Hindus, and secular students of Oriental philosophy, they, too, will derive benefit and inspiration. But devotees of the Cause of Theosophy and of the Founders of the modern Theosophical Movement are likely to appreciate this effort most.
The Secret Doctrine sheds light on the mysteries of the Universe, Nature, and Man, mysteries that were previously hinted at, but not disclosed to, the public at large. Two generations after HP Blavatsky integrated science, religion, and philosophy into a consistent and meaningful whole, eclectic thinkers are still in the process of assimilating her awesome output.
This book is a study of the IMMUTABLE LAW OF UNIVERSAL SYMPATHY AND LOVE, and Its mutable facets on this, our plane of illusion and ignorance. It does not purport to present new material, not even fresh perspectives on old thoughts. It merely attempts to integrate the Golden Precepts of Archaic Wisdom Religion with their metaphysical roots in H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, the Mahatma Letters to AP Sinnett, and selected commentaries by ancient, classic, and modern philosophers. Its keynote echoes Blavatsky’s aspirations as set out in the “Original Programme” Manuscript:
It is esoteric philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature that, by revealing fundamental truths, can bring that much desired mediate state between the two extremes of human Egoism and divine Altruism and finally lead to the alleviation of human suffering.
Four broad areas of enquiry have prompted a closer look at the Philosophy of Compassion:
1 The first object of the Theosophical Society is pre-eminently ethical. Advice, however, about its practical application so that one can “live the life prescribed by Theosophy,”
2 is not obvious in The Secret Doctrine. 2 Compassion, “the LAW of Laws,” 3 is conspicuous by its absence from the three fundamental propositions of The Secret Doctrine.
3 The unravelling of two enigmatic sutras in the Bhagavad-Gita and Bhagavata-Purana (ch. 4) will demonstrate that hidden between the cosmogenesis of the first and the anthropogenesis of the third, Divine Compassion governs All — from the highest archangel to the lowest form of life: and that Yugas-Cycles, the object of the second proposition, is only one of three facets of Deity or Law; the other two are Karman-action and Yajna-Compassion-Sacrifice.
4 As the Upanishads, Gautama Buddha, and Shankaracharya are said to be the Lights of Eastern Wisdom, so The Voice of the Silence, Bhagavad-Gita and Light on the Path are its Jewels. Having perceived that a common thread runs through the second triplet, intuitive scholars have often wondered how exactly these mystical texts relate to each other and to the Theosophical Teachings. Are they variations of one ethic, or extensions of the same philosophy? Is there an underlying connection with The Secret Doctrine?
The philosophical basis for the devotional ardour of Narada Bhakti Sutra, Bhagavad-Gita and Voice of the Silence is touched upon in several places by their authors but not adequately explained.
It is only when Krishna’s precepts to Arjuna are matched with the fundamental propositions of The Secret Doctrine (ch. 2) that they both come to life. When Narada’s aphorisms on devotional love are compared with those of Krishna (ch. 5), a remarkable concordance emerges between these Great Teachers. And when The Voice of the Silence and Light on the Path are put side by side (ch. 7), these precious little books, too, speak with one Voice, the VOICE OF THE GREAT SACRIFICE.
By bringing together ethics and metaphysics from diverse streams of higher knowledge, this study aims to establish that the assertion in its title is not a figure of speech: Compassion is the Spirit of Truth in the heart of our universe and of every being. Its objectives are two-fold:
To increase awareness of the Great Law of Universal Sympathy and Sacrifice, so that its primacy is understood in theoretical and practical, everyday terms, and acted upon;
• To demonstrate that, like the sutratman of the Vedanta philosophy, Brotherhood is the connecting thread between Occultism, Mysticism, and the Heart of Being.
This work began in 1996 as study notes of the Heart Doctrine. It subsequently branched out in a series of integrative theosophical studies. In 2001, the original line of enquiry was offered to fellow Theosophists and others as a course of inner development. It has since been reworked in its present format for those who have to study single-handedly.
“A better help than love towards philosophy it is not easy to find.” 1 Acknowledgements I find myself hopelessly indebted to Mrs. Dara A Eklund for editing the book with such great care and insight, as well as for her infinite patience and kindness.
A further debt of gratitude is owed to Mrs. Carol Shelbourne and Mr. John Barrow for their long-standing support and encouragement.
Thanks are most gratefully tendered to Dr. Christopher J Tuplin for reading the first draft, to Messrs. Richard I Robb, Nicholas C Weeks, J Ramón Sordo, and Paul B Taylor for commenting upon subsequent drafts, and to Mr. Adam Khan for reading the final draft.
I would be delighted to share with fellow travellers along the same journey further perspectives of the boundless “Spirit of Love, Truth, and Wisdom in the Universe . . . in which we live and move and have our Being.”
C A BARTZOKAS
17th May 2005
Preface to the second edition
This edition features moderate revisions of the preparatory compilations, a new recension of Narada Bhakti Sutra, further selections from the GraecoRoman literature, reduced verbiage, and enhanced page layout.
Observant readers will have spotted the change in the subtitle from “The truth at the heart of our universe” of the first edition to “The Spirit of Truth” — the latter being a more pithy definition of Divine Compassion.
Following the success of the first electronic edition we have now abandoned conventional print altogether. One advantage of online texts is that they can be maintained and updated responsively, and we affirm our commitment to this task; another, is that document search facilities obviate the need for an Index. Better still, we expanded the Table of Contents for improved orientation and navigation.
A significant literary debt is owed to Mr. George E Papanikolaou who has been the creative force behind many of the subtle refinements of the book, and to Mr. John A Blease who read the final manuscript with such great care and thoroughness.
The warm reception of the previous editions by fellow disciples around the world and their devotion to the behests of Truth is further evidence that the sufferings of HP Blavatsky have not been in vain. The cold wind of materialism can no longer bend the torch of Truth.
Spiritual Brotherhood of Man is the manifesto of Divine Philosophy and the dream of Her devotees. Away then with pomp and pique. Let us all show grateful reverence for our Teachers and the promptings of the Great Heart by being true to one another.
C A B
17th November 2009
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