Analysis of the ‘Würzburg Manuscript’ of The Secret Doctrine (1888)
Officially published in 1888, The Secret Doctrine was a project began by HPB. From as early as 1885-86, we find a partial or portion of the manuscript when she stayed in Germany and Belgium this time, called the “Würzburg Manuscript.”
In studying how The Secret Doctrine was written, we see the modern example of a work, with deliberate literary devices put in place, to train the mind itself. Interesting to those who like solving puzzles, legal cases, and crimes, attempting to unveil the “secret doctrine” would be a fitting exercise. Nevertheless, it is not only the learning of Blavatsky, but the learning supposedly of initiates, far knowledgeable than herself.
However, it is interesting to read this manuscript of the text, in its unfinished forms, to get a backdrop of how it was put together.
This Würzburg Manuscript was meant to reach India, to be reviewed and corrected by Indian theosophist, Tallapragada Subba Row. This partial manuscript is a copy of the original, and was published by Eastern Press in 2014. Originally, Blavatsky intended for introductory, quoting Constance Wachtmeister (Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine, 1893, pg. 91.), the first volume to be a history of some great Occultists; and Bertram and Archibald Kneightley, advised that she move that content into a third volume.
She was encouraged to arrange the two volumes in natural order of exposition, beginning with the evolution of the cosmos. So, the two volumes are arranged: (1) evolution of the cosmos; (2) evolution of man. The Secret Doctrine is a cosmogony and elaborate system of ethics and religious philosophy, which comprises the knowledge of a claimed archaic Science, occupied and figured by generations of initiated seers (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., 1888., pg. 272).
The remnants of a once universal Wisdom-Tradition, was claimed to be in the hands, collectively of Adepts. One of these being, the Trans-Himalayan brotherhood. The wisdom of Juli’s great metaphysics, is still in this case, a small portion of the whole Wisdom-Religion of antiquity. So, take note, the Dzyān works from the Eastern orientations and metaphysics, and attempts to lay before us, a mysteriously secret text, called the Book of Dzyan, but giving Seven Stanzas from it; and this text was said to be written in the secret sacerdotal language of the Initiates of this system, termed Senzar. Senzar, “a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, 1888., pg. xxxvii), is “the mystic name for the secret sacerdotal language or the “Mystery-speech” of the initiated Adepts, all over the world.” (Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary, pg. 295) So, the “Book of Dzyan” was recorded in this now lost sacred language, but is the whole of the mystery-language a phonetic language? It is not. One small archaic folio is mentioned, and called The Book of the Secret Wisdom of the World; and the Book of Dzyan is described as the first of fourteen volumes of commentaries on it. The language it is recorded in, is described as being words, i.e., in phoenetic form, and inflectional like Sanskrit. Yet, there is also said, to contain a language of symbolism, developed on the folios. Senzar is stated to be the first language of the “fifth-root period.”
Further, Senzar is referred to as “ancient Sanskrit,” “the root of the Sanskrit,” and “the direct progenitor of the Vedic Sanskrit.” David Reigle is a scholar, as well as John Algeo, whom have dealt closely with this case specifically. The term Dzyān refers to “mystic contemplation,” or the meditative state; and is noted to come from the Sanskrit jhāna or dhyāna (ध्यान ). Its pronunciation is said as 禪 (dʑjen) is pronounced in the Middle Chinese, like john /dʒɒn/ in the English with a z. A view of the published manuscripts and additional research, gives us clues into many things, about its production, for those like David and Nancy Reigle, and other researchers, tracing the origins and ideas of the Dzyān.