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  • IV. Theosophical Books (1892-1934)

IV. Theosophical Books (1892-1934)

Annie Besant as author, collaborator, and editor of the works of others.

[This list does not include collections of lectures. See Theosophical Society International Convention Lectures (1894-1931) and Other Theosophical Lecture Series (1895-1930) for further titles. Year of publication reflects first edition, except as noted. TPS indicates Theosophical Publishing Society: London; Benares (now Varanasi), India; and/or New York. TPH indicates Theosophical Publishing House (sometimes listed as Theosophist Office): Adyar, Madras (now Chennai), India. Other publishers as noted. Many of these books have gone through numerous editions. A few are still in print. Some are available online.]

A. As Author

1892 The Seven Principles of Man (Theosophical Manuals I). 1) Principle I: The Dense Physical Body; 2) Principle II: The Etheric Double; 3) Principle III: Prana, the Life; 4) Principle IV: The Desire-Body; 5) The Quaternary, or Four Lower Principles; 6) Principle V: Manas, the Thinker or Mind; 7) Subtle Forms of the Fourth and Fifth Principles; 8) Principles VI and VII: Atma-Buddhi. The "Spirit"; 9) The Monad in Evolution. TPS. [Serialized in Lucifer in five installments (August-December 1891).]

1893 Reincarnation (Theosophical Manuals II). 1) Introduction; 2) The Meaning of Reincarnation; 3) What It Is that Reincarnates; 4) What It Is that Does NOT Reincarnate; 5) The Method of Reincarnation; 6) The Object of Reincarnation; 7) The Cause of Reincarnation; 8) The Proofs of Reincarnation; 9) Objections to Reincarnation; 10) A Last Word. TPS. [Serialized in Lucifer in five installments (February-June 1892).]

1893 Death–and After? (Theosophical Manuals III). 1) Views of Death; 2) The Immortal and the Perishable; 3) The Fate of the Body; 4) The Fate of the Etheric Double; 5) Kamaloka, Desire-Land, and the Fate of Passions and Desire; 6) Kamaloka. The Shells; 7) Kamaloka. The Elementaries; 8) Devachan; 9) The Devachani; 10) The Return to Earth; 11) Nirvana; 12) Communications between Earth and Other Spheres; 12) Appendix–Suicides. TPS. [Serialized in Lucifer in six installments (September-November 1892; March-May 1893). Link is to 1906 ed.]

1895 Karma (Theosophical Manuals IV). 1) The Invariability of Law; 2) The Planes of Nature; 3) The Generation of Thought-Forms; 4) Activity of Thought-Forms; 5) The Making of Karma in Principle; 6) The Making of Karma in Detail; 7) The Working Out of Karma; 8) Facing Karmic Results; 9) Building the Future; 10) Moulding Karma; 11) The Ceasing of Karma; 12) Collective Karma; 13: Conclusion. TPS. [Serialized in Lucifer in four installments (July-August 1895).]

1896 Man and His Bodies (Theosophical Manuals VII). 1) Introduction; 2) The Physical Body; 3) The Etheric Double; 4) The Astral or Desire Body; 5) The Mind Bodies; 6) Other Vehicles; 7) The Human Aura; 8) Man. TPS. [Serialized in Lucifer in six installments (January-June 1896).]

1897 The Ancient Wisdom. Introduction; 1) The Physical Plane; 2) The Astral Plane; 3) Kamaloka; 4) The Mental Plane; 5) Devachan; 6) The Buddhic and Nirvanic Planes; 7) Reincarnation; 8) Reincarnation (continued); 9) Karma; 10) The Law of Sacrifice; 11) Man's Ascent; 12) Building a Kosmos. TPS. [Introduction serialized in Lucifer in two installments (July-August 1896) as The Unity Underlying All Religions; chapters 7-8 serialized in four installments in Lucifer (April-July 1897) as Reincarnation. Link is to 1906 ed.]

1899 Some Problems of Life . 1) Problems of Ethics; 2) Problems of Sociology; 3) Problems of Religion; 4) Some Difficulties of the Inner Life. TPS. [Serialized in Theosophical Review in eleven installments under the titles of each chapter (March-August 1898; October-December 1898; May-June 1899); see entries in Selected Articles from the Theosophical Review (1897-1907) for details. Chapter 4 also appeared as 1899 TPS pamphlet; in 1912 Essays and Addresses, vol. 2: The Spiritual Life; and in 1913 as Adyar Pamphlet Series, no. 25. Link is to 2nd ed. of 1904.]

1901 Esoteric Christianity; or The Lesser Mysteries. 1) The Hidden Side of Religions; 2) The Hidden Side of Christianity; 3) The Hidden Side of Christianity (continued); 4) The Historical Christ; 5) The Mythic Christ; 6) The Mystic Christ; 7) The Atonement; 8) Resurrection and Ascension; 9) The Trinity; 10) Prayer; 11) The Forgiveness of Sins; 12) Sacraments; 13) Sacraments (continued); 14) Revelation; Afterword. John Lane. [Chapters 4-6 serialized in Theosophical Review (July and August 1899). 2006 Quest Books edition includes notes by Richard Smoley. Link is to the 1913 TPH edition.]

1901 Thought Power: Its Control and Culture. Introduction; 1) The Nature of Thought; 2) The Creator of Illusion; 3) Thought-Transference; 4) The Beginnings of Thought; 5) Memory; 6) The Growth of Thought; 7) Concentration; 8) Obstacles to Concentration; 9) The Strengthening of Thought Power; 10) Helping Others by Thought; Afterword. TPS. [Serialized in Theosophical Review in nine installments (November 1900-July 1901).]

1904 A Study in Consciousness: A Contribution to the Study of Psychology. Part I–Consciousness: Introduction; 1) The Preparation of the Field; 2) Consciousness; 3) The Peopling of the Field; 4) The Permanent Atom; 5) Group-Souls; 6) Unity of Consciousness; 7) The Mechanism of Consciousness; 8) First Human Steps; 9) Consciousness and Self-Concsiousness; 10) Human States of Consciousness; 11) The Monad at Work; 12) The Nature of Memory. Part II–Will, Desire, and Emotion: 1) The Will to Live; 2) Desire; 3) Desire (continued); 4) Emotion; 5) Emotion (continued); 6) The Will. TPS. [Serialized in Theosophical Review as The Evolution of Consciousness (ten installments: July 1902-April 1903); Will, Desire, and Emotion (nine installments: July-December 1903, February 1904, June-July 1904); and The Permanent Atom (one installment: October 1904).]

1911 The Riddle of Life and How Theosophy Answers It. Riddle of Life Series, no. 1. 1) The Meaning of Theosophy; 2) The Solar System; 3) Man and His Worlds; 4) Man and His Mortal Bodies; 5) Man's Immortal Bodies; 6) The Law of Rebirth; 7) The Riddle of Love and Hate; 8) Karma–The Law of Action and Reaction; 9) The Three Threads of the Cord of Fate; 10) Thought-Power and Its Use; 11) Steps on the Path; 12) Our Elder Brothers. TPS. [Serialized in Theosophist in fifteen installments, under separate chapter titles and subheadings (January-March, May-August, October-November 1910; January-February, April-June 1911). See entries in Selected Articles from The Theosophist (1889-1947) for details.]

1912 An Introduction to The Science of Peace [by Bhagavan Das]. 1) Questions; 2) The Self or the "I"; 3) The Not-Self; 4) The Spirit; 5) The Bodies; 6) The Answer; 7) The Word. TPH. [Serialized in Theosophist in six installments (May-October 1909).]

1912 The Masters. 1) The Perfect Man [from Theosophical Review (April 1905); also appears as 1905 TPS pamphlet; collected in 1912 Essays and Addresses, vol. 2: The Spiritual Life]; 2) The Masters As Facts and Ideals [also appears as 1895 TPS pamphlet]; 3) The Adepts [from Bibby’s Annual 1910 (original title: “The Master’s”)]. TPH. [The link is to an abridged version of 1973.]

1912 A Study in Karma. 1) Fundamental Principles; 2) Law: Natural and Man-Made; 3) The Law of Laws; 4) The Eternal Now; 5) Succession of Phenomena; 6) Causation; 7) The Laws of Nature; 8) Karma Does Not Crush; 9) Apply This Law; 10) Man in the Three Worlds; 11) Understand the Truth; 12) The Three Modes of Consciousness; 13) Thought, the Builder; 14) Practical Meditation; 15) Will and Desire; 16) The Mastery of Desire; 17) The Third Thread of Karma; 18) Perfect Justice; 19) Our Environment; 20) Our Family; 21) Our Nation; 22) Creating Environment; 23) Knowledge of Law; 24) Nature or Nurture; 25) The More Modern View; 26) Self-Examination; 27) Karma from the Past; 28) Old Friendships; 29) We Grow by Giving; 30) Collective Karma; 31) Family Karma; 32) National Karma; 33) Natural Disasters; 34) How the Ego Selects; 35) Results of Collective Selfishness; 36) A Noble National Ideal. TPH. [Serialized in seven installments, Theosophist (August-December 1911, February-June 1912); the link is to the 2nd ed. of 1917.]

1912 Theosophy. Introduction; 1) Theosophy as Science; 2) Theosophy as Morality and Art; 3) Theosophy as Philosophy; 4) Theosophy as Religion; 5) Theosophy Applied to Social Problems; 6) A Few Details about Systems and Worlds; 7) The Theosophical Society. London: T. C. and E. C. Jack.

1913 Legends and Tales: Lotus Leaves for the Young, no. 1. 1) Ganga, The River Maid; 2) The Stealing of Persephone; 3) The First Roses; 4) The Drowning of the World; 5) The Wandering Jew; 6) Perseus, the Saviour [original title: Drawn from the Waters]; 7) The Story of Hypatia. TPH. [First published 1885, with two additional tales. See Pre-Theosophical Publications (1877-92). Serialized in Theosophist in seven installments, under separate chapter titles (April 1910-January 1911). See entries in Selected Articles from The Theosophist (1889-1947) for details.]

1915 The Basis of Morality. 1) Revelation; 2) Intuition; 3) Utility; 4) Evolution; 5) Mysticism. TPH.

1919 Man’s Life in Three Worlds: A Booklet for Beginners. 1) The Man and His Clothing; 2) Embodied Consciousness; 3) The Putting on of the Clothing; 4) The Man Clothed; 5) Child Bodies; 6) Adult Bodies: Physical Body and Connected Phenomena; 7) Adult Bodies: Astral Body and Connected Phenomena; 8) Adult Bodies: Astral Body and Connected Phenomena (continued); 9) Adult Bodies: The Mental Body and Connected Phenomena; 10) The Waking Consciousness; 11) Evolution. TPH. [Serialized in Adyar Bulletin in six installments (November 1918-April 1919).]

1921 Talks with a Class. 1) Devachan: A World of Thought; 2) Factors in Spiritual Progress; 3) The Yucatan Brotherhood; 4) The Unconsciousness Preceding Devachan; 5) Answers to Some Questions; 6) After-Death Experiences of Suicides; 7) Byways of Evolution; 8) Some Phases of the Higher Consciousness; 9) Man, His Own Recording Angel; 10) Divine Versus Human Justice; 11) Non-Physical Beings: I; 12) Non-Physical Beings: II; 13) The Roots of Desire; 14) The Reality of Devachan. TPH. [Serialized in Theosophist in fifteen installments, under separate chapter titles (February, April-June, November-December, 1917; January-May, July, September-October 1918). See entries in Selected Articles from The Theosophist (1889-1947) for details.]

1931 History of the Great French Revolution. Fourteen lectures first published in 1876 (first course of six) and 1883 (second and third courses of four each): 1) How the Revolution Became at Once Possible and Inevitable; 2) From the Accession of Louis XVI to the Assembly of the States-General; 3) From May 4-July 17, 1789; 4) Constitution Building; 5) From July 14, 1790, to the Fall of the Monarchy; 6) To the Death of the King; 7) The Republic in Death-Grips; 8) Gironde and Montagne; 9) To the Death of Marat; 10) The Birth of the Terror; 11) The Horror of Great Darkness; 12) The Hebertistes; 13) The Fall of Danton; 14) Glory and Grief. TPH. [Reprint of 1883 Freethought Publishing Co. editions of all three sets of lectures. See First Publications (1870-77) and  Pre-Theosophical Publications (1877-92) for further details.]

B. As Collaborator

1905 Thought-Forms. With Charles W. Leadbeater. 1) Introduction; 2) The Difficulty of Representation; 3) The Two Effects of Thought; 4) How the Vibration Acts; 5) The Form and Its Effects; 6) The Meaning of the Colour; 7) Three Classes of Thought-Forms; 8) Illustrative Thought-Forms. TPS. [1905 is the correct date of the first edition of this book, despite many citations of 1901 in published bibliographies and Internet references–probably because of the similar title of Thought Power, first published in 1901.]

1908 Occult Chemistry: A Series of Clairvoyant Observations on the Chemical Elements. With Charles W. Leadbeater. Occult Chemistry: A Series of Clairvoyant Observations on the Chemical Elements. With Charles W. Leadbeater. 1) Introductory; 2) Groupings; 3) The Dumbbell Group; 4) Dissociations; 5) The Tetrahedral Group; 6) Dissociations; 7) The Cube Group; 8) Dissociations; 9) The Octohedral and Spike Groups; 10) Dissociations; 11) The Star Group; 12) Radium; 13) Appendix: The Aether of Space [from Theosophist (June 1908)], Lucifer Article of 1895 [November 1895; reprinted in 1905 TPS pamphlet], The Platonic Solids; 14) Notes. [Serialized in Theosophist in twelve installments (January-December 1908)]. TPS. [The 2nd edition of 1919, edited by A. P. Sinnett, adds a new first chapter: A Preliminary Survey. The above link is to this edition. The 3rd edition of 1951, edited by C. Jinarajadasa, Occult Chemistry: Investigations by Clairvoyant Magnification into the Structure of the Atoms of the Periodic Table and of Some Compounds, contains much previously unpublished material.]

1913 Man: Whence, How, and Whither: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation. With Charles W. Leadbeater. Introduction; Man: Whence and How: 1) Preliminaries; 2) The First and Second Chains; 3) Early Times on the Moon Chain; 4) The Sixth Round on the Moon Chain; 5) The Seventh Round on the Moon Chain; 6) Early Times on the Earth Chain; 7) Early Stages of the Fourth Round; 8) The Fourth Root-Race; 9) Black Magic in Atlantis; 10) The Civilisation of Atlantis; 11) Two Atlantean Civilisations–Peru; 12) Two Atlantean Civilisations–Peru (continued); 13) Two Atlantean Civilisations–Chaldaea; 14) Beginnings of the Fifth Root-Race; 15) The Building of the Great City; 16) Early Aryan Civilisation and Empire; 17) The Second Sub-Race, the Arabian; 18) The Third Sub-Race, the Iranian; 19) The Fourth Sub-Race, the Keltic; 20) The Fifth Sub-Race, the Teutonic; 21) The Root-Stock and Its Descent into India. Man: Whither: Foreword; 22) The Vision of King Ashoka; 23) The Beginnings of the Sixth Root-Race; 24) Religion and the Temples; 25) Education and the Family; 26) Buildings and Customs; 27) Conclusion. Epilogue. Appendix. TPH. [Besant was entirely responsible for the Introduction, chapter 1, the Foreword to Man: Whither, and the Epilogue. She was partially responsible for material in chapters 1-8, and 14-21, based on 1903 The Pedigree of Man; and for details in chapter 9. The remaining chapters and appendices are by Leadbeater. Chapters 22-27 were also published separately in 1931 as The Beginnings of the Sixth Root Race. TPH. A study guide was published by A. Schwarz in 1914: Vade-Mecum to Man: Whence, How, and Whither. TPH.]

1924 The Lives of Alcyone: A Clairvoyant Investigation into the Lives throughout the Ages of a Large Band of Servers, 2 vols. With Charles W. Leadbeater. Vol. 1: Note; Foreword–The Servers; Introduction; Lives 1-25. Vol. 2: Note; Lives 26-48; Appendix. TPH. [Serialized in Theosophist in eleven installments as Rents in the Veil of Time (April-December 1910; January-February, 1911; some sections repeated April-December 1924).]

1926 Talks on the Path of Occultism, vol. 1: At the Feet of the Master. With Charles W. Leadbeater. Foreword. Part I: Introductory; 1) The Occult Path and the Interests of the World; 2) Initiation and the Approach Thereto; 3) How the Book Came to Be Written; 4) The Preliminary Prayer; 5) The Spirit of the Pupil; 6) The Four Introductory Paths; 7) The Four Qualifications. Part II: Discrimination: 1) True and False Aims; 2) The Life of the Bodies; 3)  Right and Wrong; 4) Be True All Through; 5) Unselfishness and the Divine Life. Part III: Desirelessness: 1) The Removal of Desire; 2) The One Good Desire; 3) Psychic Powers; 4) Small Desire; 5) Mind Your Own Business. Part IV: Good Conduct: 1) Control of Mind; 2) Self-Control in Action; 3) Tolerance. 4) Cheerfulness; 5) One-Pointedness; 6) Confidence. Part V: Love: 1) Liberation, Nirvana and Moksha; 2) Love in Daily Life; 3) Gossip; 4) Cruelty; 5) Superstition; 6) Service. TPH. [Because of the size of this document, the online version is in three parts. The first section can be accessed by clinking on the title. The second section begins at Part III: Desirelessness and the third section at 4) Cheerfulness.]

1926 Talks on the Path of Occultism, vol. 3: Light on the Path. With Charles W. Leadbeater. Part I: 10 Introduction; 2) The Four Preliminary Statements; 3) The First Rule; 4) Rules 2 to 4; 5) Rules 5-8; 6) Rules 9 to 12; 7) Rules 12 to 16; 8) Rules 17 to 19; 9) Rule 20; 10) The Note on Rule 20; 11) Rule 21. Part II: 1) The Preliminary Comment; 2) Rules 1 to 4; 3) Rules 5 to 8; 4) Rules 9 to 12; 5) Rule 13; 6) Rules 14 to 21. TPH.

C. As Editor

1892 H. P. Blavatsky. Nightmare Tales. TPS.

1893-97 H. P. Blavatsky. The Secret Doctrine: Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy. 3rd rev. ed., 3 vols. With G. R. S. Mead. TPS. [Volume 3 (1897) is the first publication of a collection of posthumous papers of Blavatsky edited by Besant.]

1895 H. P. Blavatsky and Mabel Collins. First Steps in Occultism. Lotus Leaves, no. 3. TPS.

1899 The Doctrine of the Heart: Extracts from Hindu Letters. Lotus Leaves No. 4. TPS. [Letters from G. N. Chakravarti, at one time AB’s guru. Serialized in six installments in Lucifer (May-October 1895).]

1910 The Universal Text Book of Religion and Morals, Part I. 1) The Unity of God; 2) The Manifestation of God in a Universe; 3) The Great Orders of Living Beings; 4) The Incarnation of Spirit; 5) The Two Basic Laws; 6) The Three Worlds of Human Evolution; 7) The Brotherhood of Man. TPH. [With illustrative quotations from scriptures of the world's religions.]

1911 The Universal Text Book of Religion and Morals, Part II: Ethics. 1) The Object and Basis of Morality; 2) The Relation between Morality, Emotion, Virtues, and Vices; 3) Classification of Virtues and Vices; 4) Virtues and Vices in Relation to Superiors; 5) Virtues and Vices in Relation to Equals; 6) Virtues and Vices in Relation to Inferiors; 7) Interaction between Virtues and Vices. TPH. [With illustrative quotations from scriptures of the world's religions.]

1915 The Universal Text Book of Religion and Morals, Part III, vol. 1: Hinduism. 1) The Samskaras [Rituals]; 2) Shradda [Faith]; 3) Schaucham [Cleanliness]; 4) The Five Daily Sacrifices; 5) Worship; 6) The Four Ashramas; 7) The Four Castes. TPH. [Reprint of Part II of 1904 Sanatana Dharma: An Advanced Textbook of Hindu Religion and Ethics. See India Books (1895-1932). No further installments issued.]

1924 In the World's Service. By Some Aspirants. 1) The Hierarchy, or the Rishis, Sages and Saints [by a Server]; 2) The Masters, or the World's Rulers, Teachers and Guides [by a Disciple]; 3) The Noble Army of Martyrs [by a Voice from the Past]; 4) The Lord Buddha [by One of His Bikshus in the Long-Ago]; 5) The Lord Vaivasvata Manu [by One of His Servants]; 6) The Rishi Agastya; 7) The Great Sage of Hinduism (by Vyasa]; 8) Tehuti; 9) Zarathustra [by a Parsi]; 10) The Bodhisattva or the Christ [by a Server]; 11) Orpheus, the Supreme Singer [by a Servant]; 12) Shri Krishna [by Nara]; 13) The Lord Muhammad; 14) Shri Shankarakarya; 15) Pythagoras, A Future World-Teacher [by CWL]; 16) Guru Nanak, A.D. 1469-1538; 17) Confucius; 18) The Lord Chaitanya [by Rai Purnendu Narain Sinha Bahadur]; 19) Ashoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India. [Limited edition. Collection of pseudonymous and anonymous articles from The Young Citizen (January 1913 to December 1914 and April 1923 to March 1925 (the latter date, as well as the publication date, comes from the preface to the next entry).]

1934 Our Elder Brethren: The Great Ones in the World's Service. 1) The Hierarchy, or the Rishis, Sages and Saints; 2) The Masters, or the World's Rulers, Teachers and Guides; 3) Shri Shankarakarya; 4) The Lord Buddha; 5) The Great Sage of Hinduism; 6) Tehuti; 7) Zarathustra; 8) Orpheus, the Supreme Singer; 9) Shri Krishna; 10) The Bodhisattva, or the Christ; 11) The Lord Vaivasvatu Manu; 12) Pythagoras, a Future World-Teacher; 13) Confucius; 14) The Lord Muhammad; 15) The Lord Chaitanya; 16) The Noble Army of Martyrs; 17) Giordano Bruno; 18) Guru Nanak; 19) Ashoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India. [Reorganized and retitled edition of 1924 In the World's Service.]