1889 The Voice of the Silence (new edition, 8th May 2017)
Press Release, Pictures and Publisher’s notes
The first page is signed with a dedication to a prominent Theosophist:
“To Claude Falls Wright FTS with the translator’s fraternal affection.
London Sept. 1889″
Open cover with green endpage
Publisher’s notes on some reproduced ‘misprints’
1. THE QUESTION OF WHICH ‘I’
There is an obvious typographical error on p 31 that has been corrected in many later editions, but which this facsimile leaves as it is.
Putting to one side temporarily the beautiful expression to “sow kindly acts,” the space between the first three letters of FRUITION and the last four is distinctively large and that similar mistakes are not repeated elsewhere except in one other place, noted below.
If a letter had fallen out of the typesetting block it would have left a smaller space, making the oversized space for the missing ‘i’ seem poignant:
In many places this ancient mystic text suggests there is a dual ‘I’ in man: the first an individualised consciousness, the other an universal and compassionate Unity, representing the Oneness of all life.
On page 40 the suggestion is made that Nirvana is attained (or better, is renounced according to the ennobling ethics of Mahayana Buddhism) through losing one’s attachment to personal benefit, the fruition of one’s acts:
“But if thou would’st Nirvana reach, or cast the prize away, let not the fruit of action and inaction be thy motive.”
The path that is taught is of giving up attachment to the Self, so thus to do and think as many of the great scriptures of the world have taught: self-forgetfulness and dispassion for our own pains and sorrows, and in their place being put service to ‘the sacred cause of humanity.’ It starts with families and colleagues and expands from that basis universally in this, “the age of the common people.” (Master M. to W.Q.Judge in “An Old Message from the Master”, WQJ Articles ii 309)
If this lower ‘i’ misprint in fruition does not speak to thoughtful readers then the next – of the capital “I” – may be yet more appealing.
2. RAISING THE ‘I’ IN SHÎLA
The second of the Golden Paramitas given in the Voice is ‘Shîla’, the key of harmonious thought and act, the mental approach and discipline that counterbalances or dissolves past karma.
On page 47 Shîla has been laid out with a raised ‘Î’:
It may seem natural to correct this apparent misprint as most later versions have, however something seems to be lost in the process: something of the work and nature of those involved in the production of the book as it came to be printed.
This has been disputed by past editors of the Voice who have written in commentaries on their heavily edited versions that little attention should be paid to these original ‘quirks.’ Now while the aim of this edition is neither to affirm or deny that any special hints exist, the need is strongly felt to simply offer students and scholars the opportunity to study the book as it was first issued.
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Besides waiting patiently for any newly emerging historical records – such as instructions that HPB may have given to the printers or the discovery of her marked-up galley proofs which may perhaps still exist in a Society archive – the point will not be settled.
But it may be that H.P. Blavatsky, well known for her sense of humour and wit, was not above encoding the text? It is not a new idea; the Preface explains that the original Precepts were written “mostly in ideographs” which “may be rendered in several modes of writing in cypher characters.” (the Preface, vii)
May they not be visual clues of the philosophy of unseparateness, gentle but insistent reminders of the beautiful expression to “sow kindly acts” and of the power of the Shîla virtue? And perhaps other clues undiscovered which the Secret Path’s “fresh waters” are
used to sweeter make the Ocean’s bitter waves – that mighty sea of sorrow formed of the tears of men. (page 67)
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We commend this volume of the ancient Golden Precepts to students of the philosophy, for whom it may form the beginning, the middle and the end of the Way, or in Plato’s expression “the ardent turning of the Soul towards the Divine.”
It was given 128 years ago in a spirit of devotion to ‘the sevenfold world of life and being’ in which all have their existence and it is offered again in the spirit of peaceful enquiry into “the mathematics of the Soul.”
London & New York, 1st May 2017