The Secret Doctrine: the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy
The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, a book originally published as two volumes in 1888, is Helena Petrova Blavatsky's magnum opus. The first volume is named Cosmogenesis, the second Anthropogenesis. It was an influential example of the revival of interest in esoteric and occult ideas in the modern age, in particular because of its claim to reconcile ancient eastern wisdom with modern science.
Madame Blavatsky claimed that its contents had been revealed to her by Mahatmas who had retained knowledge of mankind's spiritual history, knowledge that it was now possible, in part, to reveal.
The purpose of this book can be formulated as this: That nature is not a coincidental gathering of atoms and to give humanity its rightful place in the plan of the universe; to protect the archaic truths, that form the basis of all religions, from degeneration and to reveal the fundamental unity from which they all evolved; finally, to show the occult side of nature has never been approached by the scientific community of modern civilisation.
* Read the Secret Doctrine here *
The first volume of the book explains the origins of the universe, while deconstructing the symbolism behind many religions and myths. It does this in terms derived from the Hindu concept of Yugas, or long passages of time through which the world is supposed to have evolved. Blavatsky attempts to demonstrate that the discoveries of "materialist" science had been anticipated in the writings of ancient sages, and that materialism would soon be proven wrong.
The second - and to me less interesting - volume of the book describes the origins of humanity through an account of "Root Races" dating back millions of years. The first root race was according to her "ethereal", the second root race lived in Hyperborea. The third root race lived according to her in Lemuria and the fourth root race in Atlantis. The present fifth root race, the so-called Aryans, is approximately one million years old. It overlapped the fourth root race and the very first beginnings of the fifth root race were approximately in the middle of the fourth root race.
"The Secret Doctrine is one of the most remarkable books in the world... Behind her (Helena Petrova Blavatsky) stood the real teachers,
the guardians of the Secret Wisdom of the ages, who taught her all the occult lore which she transmitted in her writings."
"It is, then, by those shadows of the hoary Past and their fantastic silhouettes on the external screen of every religion and philosophy, that we can, by checking them as we go along, and comparing them, trace out finally the body that produced them."
Helena Petrova Blavatsky