“In the figure of Manly Hall, we find remarkable powers of discernment mixed with the profound flaws of the most ordinary person. But still the question remains: How did a modest, solidly built young man craft what can be considered a one-of-a-kind codex to the ancient occult and esoteric traditions of the world (The Secret Teachings of All Ages) – all before his 28th birthday? To read Hall’s work is to experience a readerly joy rarely associated with ordinary compendiums of wisdom – its depth, breadth, and detail are, simply put, not ordinary, and not easily understood.
In an obscure astrology magazine of the 1940s, a biographer of Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote a profile of Hall, which holds an interesting passage:
The question is constantly asked on all sides as to how Mr. Hall can know and remember so much on so many different and difficult subjects … Perhaps a direct answer to this constant question may be discovered in the following episode in the life of Mr. Hall himself: The first question Mr. Claude Bragdon, American mystic, asked Mr. Hall after their first meeting in New York in 1937 was:
“Mr. Hall, how do you know so much more about the mathematics of Pythagoras than even the authorities on the subject?”
Standing beside both these dear American friends of mine, I was wondering with trepidation in my heart what reply Mr. Hall would make.
“Mr Bragdon,” answered Mr. Hall quickly, unhesitatingly, and with a simultaneous flash of smile in his eyes and on his lips, “you are an occult philosopher. You know that it is easier to know things than to know how one knows those things.”