The Perfect Way (book)

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The Perfect Way is a book written by Anna Bonus Kingsford and Edward Maitland, offering an esoteric interpretation of the Christian teachings. It is one of the most influential books written by early Theosophists. Originally the material was presented as a series of nine lectures in London, during the months of May, June, and July, in 1881.

Concepts presented

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Editions and publication

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This book was published in London in 1888, and in New York in 1882.

The New York edition is available from the Internet Archive.

The revised American edition is available from the Canadian Theosophical Association website.

The third edition, edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart, was published in 1913 and is available at Internet Archive - the link refers to E. Maitland's biography of A. Kingsford.

Reviews

Edward Maitland wrote that "among the earliest resuilts of the introduction of that book to an American public was the following paragraph ina Boston paper:"

The Perfect Way is the title of a book which has excited great attention in London, and in Boston circles of modern scientific and theosophic discussion, and the name of the author has been sought in vain. Mrs. Waters (Clara Erskine Clement), who has just returned from Europe, solves the mystery. The author of these remarkable lectures is Dr. Anna Kingsford of London, a woman described as having the face and figure of a Greek goddess, so perfect is her beauty. She is of the golden-blonde type, and her manner is one of exceptional dignity and grace. The Metaphysical Club of Boston were deeply interested in The Perfect Way last year. A remarkable book it is, whether one accepts its ideas or not. Dr. Kingsford's theory of life, in brief outline , is that it is a series of reincarnations, by means of which the soul acquires its experiences; that the deeds and aspirations of one life predetermine entirely the quality of the next incarnation.[1]

The Master's comments

Master K.H. commented positively on the book writing to A. P. Sinnett:

Well may you admire and more should you wonder at the marvellous lucidity of that remarkable seeress, who ignorant of Sanskrit or Pali, and thus shut out from their metaphysical treasures, has yet seen a great light shining from behind the dark bills of exoteric religions. How, think you, did the "Writers of the Perfect Way" come to know that Adonai was the Son and not the Father; or that the third Person of the Christian Trinity is — female? Verily, they lay in that work several times their hands upon the keystone of Occultism. Only does the lady — who persists using without an explanation the misleading term "God" in her writings — know how nearly she comes up to our doctrine when saying: — "Having for Father, Spirit which is Life (the endless Circle or Parabrahm) and for Mother the Great Deep, which is Substance (Prakriti in its undifferentiated condition) — Adonai possesses the potency of both and wields the dual powers of all things." We would say triple, but in the sense as given this will do.[2]

Notes

  1. Edward Maitland, Anna Kingsford: Her Letters, Diary, and Work Volume II, Third Edition, edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart. (London: John M. Watkins, 1913), 229. Available at Internet Archive].
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 379.