Senzar The Mystery of the Mystery Language, Part 1

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Senzar The Mystery of the Mystery Language, Part 1

By John Algeo

Among the curious lore of H. P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine are her references to a language called Senzar. Senzar is a mystery. According to Blavatsky, it is the original language of the stanzas of Dzyan, which are the core of her great book, and of certain commentaries and glosses upon the Book of Dzyan, others being in Chinese, Tibetan, and Sanskrit. The version of the stanzas that she presents in The Secret Doctrine is an abridgment of the originals and blends together the text of the stanzas with various glosses (I, 23).

[References to volume and page number only are to The Secret Doctrine (the original pagination); other references are identified by abbreviations.]

Some texts of the stanzas themselves are in other languages; for example, stanza 6 is said to be translated from a Chinese text (I, 36n).

The impression we get, then, is that the wording of the stanzas in the SD is not simply a translation of some set text in a language called Senzar, but is rather a restatement for modern students of such parts of the stanzas as Blavatsky herself understood, drawing upon such sources as she had available to make the ideas more comprehensible. That is, the stanzas of Dzyan, as we have them, are not a fixed sacred text, but an approximation. The version we have is less a translation than a paraphrase. That difference is important for our understanding of what kind of language Senzar is.

Blavatsky calls Senzar "a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted" (I, xxxvii), and so it is. The name of Senzar appears in none of the lists of the world's languages that linguists have compiled, nor is it ever likely to. We know about Senzar only what H.P.B. has told us, although in fact she has told us a good deal.

Senzar and Other Languages
Some Puzzles About Senzar
The Ancient Mystery Language
Language, Languages, and Writing
An American Indian Pictograph
What is Senzar
An Example Of Senzar


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