OF Isis Unveiled H.P.B. wrote in later years that it contained only half buried the key to a hundred mysteries, and that both Isis and The Secret Doctrine were direct statements from the School of Masters. Although Occult Science is never revealed, its custodians do not intend to conceal from the sincere and devoted either its existence or its lessons. Nature's process is followed exactly. The husk is visible to all. The kernel, the meat, and the seed are masked and hidden by the husk, but only from those who ignore, or fail to see that the husk contains something of value. In Occultism, as in Nature, effort is required to obtain results.
It is not difficult to perceive that the subjects treated in both Isis and The Secret Doctrine are the same, or that their methods differ. Isis proceeds from particulars to universals, as human reasoning and the inductive sciences do. H.P.B. had to take the mind of the race as she found it, a mind so constituted in the ordinary individual that he will only consider universals as abstractions, not seeing the relation between the whole and the parts, and unable to make applications to himself. He can only be led by concrete illustrations in the direction of the abstract as far as he will go, and that is seldom far enough to enable him to leap the gap from where his information leaves off to where real knowledge begins.
Isis contains the particulars of human experience, human history, religion and tradition in overwhelming abundance, and then, step by step, as the evidence accumulates, points out the "law" in the case, and finally, in the last chapter of the second volume gives reasonable, just, and logical conclusions. These conclusions are statements of the fundamental laws of nature and of being -- the Universal Truths which underlie all science and all experience.
The process in Isis, then, is to proceed from particulars to universals, from evidence as it is available to the human mind, to inferences from the human reason, and then to the universal bases of all. We look from where we are toward the source -- from below upwards, from without, within.
The Secret Doctrine reverses the method, starting with direct perception, or from the universals to the particulars. The Proem to The Secret Doctrine, therefore, contains the Three Fundamental Propositions, "upon whose clear apprehension," says H.P.B. "depends all that follows..." These "axioms to be applied" correspond to the numbered statements at the commencement of the final chapter in Isis. Thus the summation of Isis is a conclusion derived from the examination of evidence afforded by past history, religion, science, and tradition; while the Propositions of The Secret Doctrine are inclusive not only of the past and present, but of the future.
It might be said that Isis is the embodied Manas(1) of perception and experience, while The Secret Doctrine is the Buddhi-Manas(2) of the same perception in the individual and the race(3). Until the field of experience is grasped and understood, i.e., until the human being recognizes his present status and function in the economy of nature, he will be unable to go behind results, ever remaining the victim of causes which he does not recognize or admit because he does not perceive them. He will experience without any awareness that all experiences, however minute or apparently unrelated, are not merely present or personal, but integral parts of a universal order, or Karma.
Isis treats of effects in order to lead to the recognition of the causes which explain them. Until the world as it is, is seen as the world of causation, no consideration of Buddhi-Manas becomes fruitful.
When the student has awakened to the significance of nature, of himself, and of the Wisdom-Religion, he is, one could say, at the turning of the evolution of the individual soul. It is for him that The Secret Doctrine was written. He finds himself swimming in a shoreless ocean of light and life and law.
Isis may be thought of, therefore, as a personal book; The Secret Doctrine as the book of life eternal. Now he will read The Secret Doctrine as it was written to be read: The record of his own path and purpose, through all times and circumstances, and as he studies the external record, the inner memory will waken in him -- and he will know.