Man The Measure Of All Things

This deep, engaging and insightful interpretation of Blavatsky’s ‘The Secret Doctrine’ by Sri Madhava Ashish and Sri Krishna Prem is one of those books I’ve heard about for years, but never had the opportunity to read. Having read Blavatsky’s magnum opus myself, I was not inclined to read this commentary. However, the second hand bookshop of the Dutch TS brought it into my hands recently and I was pleasantly surprised.

Few people combine insight and wisdom with an ability to write as Sri Madhava Ashish does. He has taken the notes made by Sri Krishna Prem on the subject and turned it into a spiritual master piece.

I can’t find words to describe just how good I think this book is. It’s not the easiest book you’ll ever read, but compared to the Stanzas of Dzyan and Blavatsky’s own commentary on them, it’s an easy read.

Here are some quotes from this book:

This, however, is the real purpose of the ancient cosmogonies: to invite us to turn our gaze inwards to the source and origin both of the ‘outer’ universe of phenomena and of the ‘inner’ universe of consciousness, to find there the ever-present and eternal simultaneity of what is here seen as a flow of separate events in time; and above all, to fathom the ultimate mystery of selfhood.

But what has the Self, the mysterious root of human consciousness, got to do with a cosmogony, an account of the origination of the material universe? Such a question can only arise when, as most of us do, we explicitly or implicitly draw distinctions between ourselves and the things (phenomena or sense experience) around us: things we desire or fear to possess; events we desire or fear will happen; qualities of mind or feeling that add to or subtract from our self-opinion; things we value as adding to our pleasure, power or importance (etc.) (pp. 17, 18)

The ancient Cosmogonies and Creation Myths were, in effect, affirmations of the divine nature of all things, giving significance to human life and validity to the moral and social codes formulated on the patterns of what they represented man to be, or rather, what he should become. The Stanzas of Dzyan represent such an affirmation.

(p. 8)

If we make an effort to isolate our selfhood from the phenomena of sense, one of the things we see is that, apart from the conventions of ownership, we do not really possess anything, not even our bodies. We are usually in the position of observers, often against our will, of a flow of ‘external’ or ‘internal’ events, and we are led to question whether those events have independent reality apart from an observer.

This is where the problem of self meets the problem of matter. We have to find an integral understanding of all experience which will resolve the dilemma in the interdependence of conscious observer and content of experience. (p. 18)

  • Title: Man, the Measure of All Things
  • Authors: Sri Madhava Ashish and Sri Krishna Prem
  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Quest Books (January 1, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835600068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835600064
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.6 x 8.4 inches