The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 1
Vol. 1, Page 136 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
1. By the power of the Mother of Mercy and Knowledge (a), Kwan-Yin,* the “Triple” of Kwan-Shai-Yin, residing in Kwan-Yin-Tien (b), Fohat, the breath of their progeny, the Son of the Sons, having called forth from the lower abyss (chaos) the illusive form of Sien-Tchan (our Universe) and the seven elements: —
(a.) The Mother of Mercy and Knowledge is called “the triple” of Kwan-Shai-Yin because in her correlations, metaphysical and cosmical, she is the “Mother, the Wife and the Daughter” of the Logos, just as in the later theological translations she became “the Father, Son and (the female) Holy Ghost” — the Sakti or Energy — the Essence of the three. Thus in the Esotericism of the Vedantins, Daiviprakriti, the Light manifested through Eswara, the Logos,† is at one and the same time the Mother and also the Daughter of the Logos or Verbum of Parabrahmam; while in that of the trans-Himalayan teachings it is — in the hierarchy of allegorical and metaphysical theogony — “the Mother” or abstract, ideal matter, Mulaprakriti, the Root of Nature; — from the metaphysical standpoint, a correlation of Adi-Bhuta, manifested in the Logos, Avalokiteshwara; — and from the purely occult and
* This stanza is translated from the Chinese text, and the names, as the equivalents of the original terms, are preserved. The real esoteric nomenclature cannot be given, as it would only confuse the reader. The Brahmanical doctrine has no equivalent to these. Vach seems, in many an aspect, to approach the Chinese Kwan-yin, but there is no regular worship of Vach under this name in India, as there is of Kwan-Yin in China. No exoteric religious system has ever adopted a female Creator, and thus woman was regarded and treated, from the first dawn of popular religions, as inferior to man. It is only in China and Egypt that Kwan-Yin and Isis were placed on a par with the male gods. Esotericism ignores both sexes. Its highest Deity is sexless as it is formless, neither Father nor Mother; and its first manifested beings, celestial and terrestrial alike, become only gradually androgynous and finally separate into distinct sexes.
† The “Theosophist” of February, 1887, p. 305, first lecture on the Bhagavadgita.
Vol. 1, Page 137 THE MYSTERY OF THE FEMALE LOGOS.
Cosmical, Fohat,* the “Son of the Son,” the androgynous energy resulting from this “Light of the Logos,” and which manifests in the plane of the objective Universe as the hidden, as much as the revealed, Electricity — which is Life.
(b) Kwan-Yin-Tien means the “melodious heaven of Sound,” the abode of Kwan-Yin, or the “Divine Voice” literally. This “Voice” is a synonym of the Verbum or the Word: “Speech,” as the expression of thought. Thus may be traced the connection with, and even the origin of the Hebrew Bath-Kol, the “daughter of the Divine Voice,” or Verbum, or the male and female Logos, the “Heavenly Man” or Adam Kadmon, who is at the same time Sephira. The latter was surely anticipated by the Hindu Vach, the goddess of Speech, or of the Word. For Vach — the daughter and the female portion, as is stated, of Brahma, one “generated by the gods” — is, in company with Kwan-Yin, with Isis (also the daughter, wife and sister of Osiris) and other goddesses, the female Logos, so to speak, the goddess of the active forces in Nature, the Word, Voice or Sound, and Speech. If Kwan-Yin is the “melodious Voice,” so is Vach; “the melodious cow who milked forth sustenance and water” (the female principle) — “who yields us nourishment and sustenance,” as Mother-Nature. She is associated in the work of creation with the Prajapati. She is male and female ad libitum, as Eve is with Adam. And she is a form of Aditi — the principle higher than Ether — in Akasa, the synthesis of all the forces in Nature; thus Vach and Kwan-Yin are both the magic potency of Occult sound in Nature and Ether — which “Voice” calls forth Sien-Tchan, the illusive form of the Universe out of Chaos and the Seven Elements.
Thus in Manu Brahma (the Logos also) is shown dividing his body into two parts, male and female, and creating in the latter, who is Vach, Viraj, who is himself, or Brahma again — it is in this way a learned Vedantin Occultist speaks of that “goddess,” explaining the reason why Eswara (or Brahma) is called Verbum or Logos; why in fact it is called Sabda Brahmam: —
* Says the lecturer on p. 306: “Evolution is commenced by the intellectual energy of the Logos, not merely on account of the potentialities locked up in Mulaprakriti. This light of the Logos is the link . . . between objective matter and the subjective thought of Eswara (or Logos). It is called in several Buddhist books Fohat. It is the one instrument with which the Logos works.”
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“The explanation I am going to give you will appear thoroughly mystical; but if mystical, it has a tremendous significance when properly understood. Our old writers said that Vach is of four kinds (see Rig Veda and the Upanishads). Vaikhari-Vach is what we utter. Every kind of Vaikhari-Vach exists in its Madhyama, further in its Pasyanti, and ultimately in its Para form.* The reason why this Pranava is called Vach is this, that the four principles of the great Kosmos correspond to these four forms of Vach. Now the whole manifested solar System exists in its Sukshma form in the light or energy of the Logos, because its energy is caught up and transferred to Cosmic matter. . . . The whole Kosmos in its objective form is Vaikhari-Vach, the light of the Logos is the Madhyama form, and the Logos itself the Pasyanti form, and Parabrahm the Para form or aspect of that Vach. It is by the light of this explanation that we must try to understand certain statements made by various philosophers to the effect that the manifested Kosmos is the Verbum manifested as Kosmos” (see Lecture on the Bhagavadgita, referred to above).
STANZA VI. — (Continued.)
2. The Swift and the Radiant One produces the seven Layu† (a) centres, against which none will prevail to the great day “Be with us” — and seats the universe on these eternal foundations, surrounding Sien-Tchan with the Elementary Germs (b).
(a.) The seven Layu centres are the seven Zero points, using the term Zero in the same sense that Chemists do, to indicate a point at which, in Esotericism, the scale of reckoning of differentiation begins. From the Centres — beyond which Esoteric philosophy allows us to perceive the dim metaphysical outlines of the “Seven Sons” of Life and Light, the Seven Logoi of the Hermetic and all other philosophers — begins
* Madhya is said of something whose commencement and end are unknown, and Para means infinite. These expressions all relate to infinitude and to division of time.
† From the Sanskrit Laya, the point of matter where every differentiation has ceased.
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the differentiation of the elements which enter into the constitution of our Solar System. It has often been asked what was the exact definition of Fohat and his powers and functions, as he seems to exercise those of a Personal God as understood in the popular religions. The answer has just been given in the comment on Stanza V. As well said in the Bhagavadgita Lectures, “The whole Kosmos must necessarily exist in the One Source of energy from which this light (Fohat) emanates.” Whether we count the principles in Kosmos and man as seven or only as four, the forces of, and in, physical Nature are Seven; and it is stated by the same authority that “Pragna, or the capacity of perception, exists in seven different aspects corresponding to the seven conditions of matter” (Personal and impersonal God). For, “just as a human being is composed of seven principles, differentiated matter in the Solar System exists in seven different conditions” (ibid). So does Fohat.* He is One and Seven, and on the Cosmic plane is behind all such manifestations as light, heat, sound, adhesion, etc., etc., and is the “spirit” of Electricity, which is the Life of the Universe. As an abstraction, we call it the One Life; as an objective and evident Reality, we speak of a septenary scale of manifestation, which begins at the upper rung with the One Unknowable Causality, and ends as Omnipresent Mind and Life immanent in every atom of Matter. Thus, while science speaks of its evolution through brute matter, blind force, and senseless motion, the Occultists point to intelligent Law and sentient Life, and add that Fohat is the guiding Spirit of all this. Yet he is no personal god at all, but the emanation of those other Powers behind him whom the Christians call the “Messengers” of their God (who is in reality only the Elohim, or rather one of the Seven Creators called Elohim), and we, the “Messenger of the primordial Sons of Life and Light.”
(b.) The “Elementary Germs” with which he fills Sien-Tchan (the “Universe”) from Tien-Sin (the “Heaven of Mind,” literally, or that which is absolute) are the Atoms of Science and the Monads of Leibnitz.
* “Fohat” has several meanings. (See Stanza V., Commentary et infra). He is called the “Builder of the Builders,” the Force that he personifies having formed our Septenary chain.
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STANZA VI. — Continued.
3. Of the seven (elements) — first one manifested, six concealed; two manifested — five concealed; three manifested — four concealed; four produced — three hidden; four and one tsan (fraction) revealed — two and one half concealed; six to be manifested — one laid aside (a). lastly, seven small wheels revolving; one giving birth to the other (b).
(a.) Although these Stanzas refer to the whole Universe after a Mahapralaya (universal destruction), yet this sentence, as any student of Occultism may see, refers also by analogy to the evolution and final formation of the primitive (though compound) Seven Elements on our Earth. Of these, four elements are now fully manifested, while the fifth — Ether — is only partially so, as we are hardly in the second half of the Fourth Round, and consequently the fifth Element will manifest fully only in the Fifth Round. The Worlds, including our own, were of course, as germs, primarily evolved from the one Element in its second stage (“Father-Mother,” the differentiated World’s Soul, not what is termed the “Over-Soul” by Emerson), whether we call it, with modern Science, Cosmic dust and Fire Mist, or with Occultism — Akasa, Jivatma, divine Astral Light, or the “Soul of the World.” But this first stage of Evolution was in due course of time followed by the next. No world, as no heavenly body, could be constructed on the objective plane, had not the Elements been sufficiently differentiated already from their primeval Ilus, resting in Laya. The latter term is a synonym of Nirvana. It is, in fact, the Nirvanic dissociation of all substances, merged after a life-cycle into the latency of their primary conditions. It is the luminous but bodiless shadow of the matter that was, the realm of negativeness — wherein lie latent during their period of rest the active Forces of the Universe. Now, speaking of Elements, it is made the standing reproach of the Ancients, that they “supposed their Elements simple and undecomposable.”* Once more this is an unwarrantable state-
* The shades of our pre-historical ancestors might return the compliment to modern physicists, now that new discoveries in chemistry have led Mr. Crookes, F.R.S., to admit that Science is yet a thousand leagues from the knowledge of the compound nature of the simplest molecule. From him we learn that such a thing as a really simple [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 141 WERE THE ANCIENTS IGNORANT OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES?
ment; as, at any rate, their initiated philosophers can hardly come under such an imputation, since it is they who have invented allegories and religious myths from the beginning. Had they been ignorant of the Heterogeneity of their Elements they would have had no personifications of Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and AEther; their Cosmic gods and goddesses would never have been blessed with such posterity, with so many sons and daughters, elements born from and within each respective Element. Alchemy and occult phenomena would have been a delusion and a snare, even in theory, had the Ancients been ignorant of the potentialities and correlative functions and attributes of every element that enters into the composition of Air, Water, Earth, and even Fire — the latter a terra incognita to this day to modern Science, which is obliged to call it Motion, evolution of light and heat, state of ignition, — defining it by its outward aspects in short, and remaining ignorant of its nature. But that which
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] molecule entirely homogeneous is terra incognita in chemistry. “Where are we to draw the line?” he asks; “is there no way out of this perplexity? Must we either make the elementary examinations so stiff that only 60 or 70 candidates can pass, or must we open the examination doors so wide that the number of admissions is limited only by the number of applicants?” And then the learned gentleman gives striking instances. He says: “Take the case of yttrium. It has its definite atomic weight, it behaved in every respect as a simple body, an element, to which we might indeed add, but from which we could not take away. Yet this yttrium, this supposed homogeneous whole, on being submitted to a certain method of fractionation, is resolved into portions not absolutely identical among themselves, and exhibiting a gradation of properties. Or take the case of didymium. Here was a body betraying all the recognised characters of an element. It had been separated with much difficulty from other bodies which approximated closely to it in their properties, and during this crucial process it had undergone very severe treatment and very close scrutiny. But then came another chemist, who, treating this assumed homogeneous body by a peculiar process of fractionation, resolved it into the two bodies praseodymium and neodymium, between which certain distinctions are perceptible. Further, we even now have no certainty that neodymium and praseodymium are simple bodies. On the contrary, they likewise exhibit symptoms of splitting up. Now, if one supposed element on proper treatment is thus found to comprise dissimilar molecules, we are surely warranted in asking whether similar results might not be obtained in other elements, perhaps in all elements, if treated in the right way. We may even ask where the process of sorting-out is to stop — a process which of course pre-supposes variations between the individual molecules of each species. And in these successive separations we naturally find bodies approaching more and more closely to each other.” (Presidential address before the Royal Society of Chemists, March, 1888.)
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modern Science seems to fail to perceive is that, differentiated as may have been those simple chemical atoms — which archaic philosophy called “the creators of their respective Parents,” fathers, brothers, husbands of their mothers, and those mothers the daughters of their own sons, like Aditi and Daksha, for example — differentiated as these elements were in the beginning, still, they were not the compound bodies known to science, as they are now. Neither Water, Air, Earth (synonym for solids generally) existed in their present form, representing the three states of matter alone recognised by Science; for all these are the productions already recombined by the atmospheres of globes completely formed — even to fire — so that in the first periods of the earth’s formation they were something quite sui generis. Now that the conditions and laws ruling our solar system are fully developed; and that the atmosphere of our earth, as of every other globe, has become, so to say, a crucible of its own, Occult Science teaches that there is a perpetual exchange taking place in space of molecules, or of atoms rather, correlating, and thus changing their combining equivalents on every planet. Some men of Science, and those among the greatest physicists and chemists, begin to suspect this fact, which has been known for ages to the Occultists. The spectroscope only shows the probable similarity (on external evidence) of terrestrial and sidereal substance; it is unable to go any farther, or to show whether atoms gravitate towards one another in the same way and under the same conditions as they are supposed to do on our planet, physically and chemically. The scale of temperature, from the highest degree to the lowest that can be conceived of, may be imagined to be one and the same in and for the whole Universe; nevertheless, its properties, other than those of dissociation and re-association, differ on every planet; and thus atoms enter into new forms of existence, undreamt of, and incognizable to, physical Science. As already expressed in “Five Years of Theosophy,” the essence of Cometary matter, for instance, “is totally different from any of the chemical or physical characteristics with which the greatest chemists and physicists of the earth are acquainted” (p. 242). And even that matter, during rapid passage through our atmosphere, undergoes a certain change in its nature. Thus not alone the elements of our planets, but even those of all its sisters in the Solar System, differ as widely from each other in their combinations, as from the Cosmic elements beyond our
Vol. 1, Page 143 THE SLEEP OF THE ETERNAL MOTHER.
Solar limits.* Therefore, they cannot be taken as a standard for comparison with the same in other worlds.† Enshrined in their virgin, pristine state within the bosom of the Eternal Mother, every atom born beyond the threshold of her realm is doomed to incessant differentiation. “The Mother sleeps, yet is ever breathing.” And every breath sends out into the plane of manifestation her Protean products, which, carried on by the wave of the efflux, are scattered by Fohat, and driven toward and beyond this or another planetary atmosphere. Once caught by the latter, the atom is lost; its pristine purity is gone for ever, unless Fate dissociates it by leading it to “a current of efflux” (an occult term meaning quite a different process from that which the ordinary term implies); when it may be carried once more to the borderland where it had perished, and taking its flight, not into Space above but into Space within, it will be brought under a state of differential equilibrium and happily re-absorbed. Were a truly learned Occultist-alchemist to write the “Life and Adventures of an Atom” he would secure thereby the eternal scorn of the modern chemist, perchance also his subsequent
* This is again corroborated by the same man of science in the same lecture, who quotes Clerk Maxwell, saying “that the elements are not absolutely homogeneous.” He writes: “It is difficult to conceive of selection and elimination of intermediate varieties, for where can these eliminated molecules have gone to, if, as we have reason to believe, the hydrogen, &c. of the fixed stars is composed of molecules identical in all respects with our own.” And he adds: “In the first place we may call in question this absolute molecular identity, since we have hitherto had no means for coming to a conclusion save the means furnished by the spectroscope, while it is admitted that, for accurately comparing and discriminating the spectra of two bodies, they should be examined under identical states of temperature, pressure, and all other physical conditions. We have certainly seen, in the spectrum of the sun, rays which we have not been able to identify.”
† “Each world has its Fohat, who is omnipresent in his own sphere of action. But there are as many Fohats as there are worlds, each varying in power and degree of manifestations. The individual Fohats make one Universal, Collective Fohat — the aspect-Entity of the one absolute Non-Entity, which is absolute Be-Ness, ‘SAT.’ “Millions and billions of worlds are produced at every Manvantara” — it is said. Therefore there must be many Fohats, whom we consider as conscious and intelligent Forces. This, no doubt, to the disgust of scientific minds. Nevertheless the Occultists, who have good reasons for it, consider all the forces of Nature as veritable, though supersensuous, states of Matter; and as possible objects of perception to Beings endowed with the requisite senses.
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gratitude.* However it may be, “The Breath of the Father-Mother issues cold and radiant and gets hot and corrupt, to cool once more, and be purified in the eternal bosom of inner Space,” says the Commentary. Man absorbs cold pure air on the mountain-top, and throws it out impure, hot and transformed. Thus — the higher atmosphere being the mouth, and the lower one the lungs of every globe — the man of our planet breathes only the refuse of “Mother;” therefore, “he is doomed to die on it.”†
(b) The process referred to as “the small wheels giving birth, one to the other,” takes place in the sixth region from above, and on the plane of the most material world of all in the manifested Kosmos — our terrestrial plane. These “Seven Wheels” are our planetary chain (see Commentary Nos. 5 and 6). By “Wheels” the various spheres and centres of forces are generally meant; but in this case they refer to our septenary ring.
STANZA VI. — Continued.
4. He builds them in the likeness of older Wheels (worlds), placing them on the imperishable centres (a).
How does Fohat build them? He collects the fiery dust. He makes balls of fire, runs through them and round them, infusing life thereinto; then sets them into motion, some one, some the other way. They are cold — he makes them hot. They are dry — he makes them moist. They shine — he fans and cools them (b).
Thus acts Fohat from one Twilight to the other during Seven Eternities.‡
(a) The Worlds are built “in the likeness of older Wheels” — i.e., those that existed in preceding Manvantaras and went into Pralaya,
* Indeed, if such an imaginary Chemist happened to be intuitional, and would for a moment step out of the habitual groove of strictly “Exact Science,” as the Alchemists of old did, he might be repaid for his audacity.
† He who would allotropise sluggish oxygen into Ozone to a measure of alchemical activity, reducing it to its pure essence (for which there are means), would discover thereby a substitute for an “Elixir of Life” and prepare it for practical use.
‡ A period of 311,040,000,000,000 years, according to Brahminical calculations.
Vol. 1, Page 145 THE COSMIC PLANE, AN ILLUSION.
because the Law for the birth, growth, and decay of everything in Kosmos, from the Sun to the glow-worm in the grass, is One. It is an everlasting work of perfection with every new appearance, but the Substance-Matter and Forces are all one and the same. But this Law acts on every planet through minor and varying laws. The “imperishable Laya Centres” have a great importance, and their meaning must be fully understood if we would have a clear conception of the Archaic Cosmogony, whose theories have now passed into Occultism. At present, one thing may be stated. The worlds are built neither upon, nor over, nor in the Laya centres, the zero-point being a condition, not any mathematical point.
(b) Bear in mind that Fohat, the constructive Force of Cosmic Electricity, is said, metaphorically, to have sprung like Rudra from Brahma “from the brain of the Father and the bosom of the Mother,” and then to have metamorphosed himself into a male and a female, i.e., polarity, into positive and negative electricity. He has seven sons who are his brothers; and Fohat is forced to be born time after time whenever any two of his son-brothers indulge in too close contact — whether an embrace or a fight. To avoid this, he binds together and unites those of unlike nature and separates those of similar temperaments. This, of course, relates, as any one can see, to electricity generated by friction and to the law involving attraction between two objects of unlike, and repulsion between those of like polarity. The Seven “Sons-brothers,” however, represent and personify the seven forms of Cosmic magnetism called in practical Occultism the “Seven Radicals,” whose co-operative and active progeny are, among other energies, Electricity, Magnetism, Sound, Light, Heat, Cohesion, etc. Occult Science defines all these as Super-sensuous effects in their hidden behaviour, and as objective phenomena in the world of senses; the former requiring abnormal faculties to perceive them — the latter, our ordinary physical senses. They all pertain to, and are the emanations of, still more supersensuous spiritual qualities, not personated by, but belonging to, real and conscious causes. To attempt a description of such entities would be worse than useless. The reader must bear in mind that, according to our teaching which regards this phenomenal Universe as a great Illusion, the nearer a body is to the Unknown Substance, the more it approaches reality, as being removed the farther
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from this world of Maya. Therefore, though the molecular constitution of their bodies is not deducible from their manifestations on this plane of consciousness, they nevertheless (from the standpoint of the adept Occultist) possess a distinctive objective if not material structure, in the relatively noumenal — as opposed to the phenomenal — Universe. Men of science may term them Force or Forces generated by matter, or “modes of its motion,” if they will; Occultism sees in the effects “Elemental” (forces), and, in the direct causes producing them, intelligent Divine Workmen. The intimate connection of those Elementals (guided by the unerring hand of the Rulers) — their correlation we might call it — with the elements of pure Matter, results in our terrestrial phenomena, such as light, heat, magnetism, etc., etc. Of course we shall never agree with the American Substantialists* who call every Force and Energy — whether Light, Heat, Electricity or Cohesion — an “Entity;” for this would be equivalent to calling the noise produced by the rolling of the wheels of a vehicle an Entity — thus confusing and identifying that “noise” with the driver outside, and the guiding Master Intelligence within the vehicle. But we certainly give that name to the “drivers” and to these guiding Intelligences — the ruling Dhyan Chohans, as shown. The “Elementals,” the Nature-Forces, are the acting, though invisible, or rather imperceptible, secondary Causes and in themselves the effects of primary Causes behind the Veil of all terrestrial phenomena. Electricity, light, heat, etc., have been aptly termed the “Ghost or Shadow of Matter in Motion,” i.e., supersensuous states of matter whose effects only we are able to cognize. To expand, then, the simile given above. The sensation of light is like the sound of the rolling wheels — a purely phenomenal effect, having no existence outside the observer; the proximate exciting cause of the sensation is comparable to the driver — a supersensuous state of matter in motion, a Nature-Force or Elemental. But, behind even this, stand — just as the owner of the carriage directs the driver from within — the higher and noumenal causes, the Intelligences from whose essence radiate these States of “Mother,” generating the countless milliards of Elementals or psychic Nature-Spirits, just as every drop of water generates its physical
* See “Scientific Arena,” a monthly Journal devoted to current philosophical teaching and its bearing upon the religious thought of the Age. New York: A. Wilford Hall, Ph.D., LL.D., Editor. (1886, July, August, and September.)
Vol. 1, Page 147 PRIMORDIAL SUBSTANCE, A REALITY.
infinitesimal Infusoria. (See “Gods, Monads, and Atoms,” in Part III.) It is Fohat who guides the transfer of the principles from one planet to the other, from one star to another — child-star. When a planet dies, its informing principles are transferred to a laya or sleeping centre, with potential but latent energy in it, which is thus awakened into life and begins to form itself into a new sidereal body. (Vide infra, “A Few Theosophical Misconceptions, etc.”)
It is most remarkable that, while honestly confessing their entire ignorance of the true Nature of even terrestrial matter — primordial substance being regarded more as a dream than as a sober reality — the physicists should set themselves up as judges, nevertheless, of that matter, and claim to know what it is able and is not able to do, in various combinations. Scientists know it (matter) hardly skin-deep, and yet they will dogmatise. It is “a mode of motion” and nothing else. But the force that is inherent in a living person’s breath, when blowing a speck of dust from the table, is also, and undeniably, “a mode of motion”; and it is as undeniably not a quality of the matter, or the particles of that speck, and it emanates from the living and thinking Entity that breathed, whether the impulse originated consciously or unconsciously. Indeed, to endow matter — something of which nothing is known so far — with an inherent quality called Force, of the nature of which still less is known, is to create a far more serious difficulty than that which lies in the acceptation of the intervention of our “Nature-Spirits” in every natural phenomenon.
The Occultists, who do not say — if they would express themselves correctly — that matter, but only the substance or essence of matter, is indestructible and eternal, (i.e., the Root of all, Mulaprakriti): assert that all the so-called Forces of Nature, Electricity, Magnetism, Light, Heat, etc., etc., far from being modes of motion of material particles, are in esse, i.e., in their ultimate constitution, the differentiated aspects of that Universal Motion which is discussed and explained in the first pages of this volume (See Proem). When Fohat is said to produce “Seven Laya Centres,” it means that for formative or creative purposes, the Great Law (Theists may call it God) stops, or rather modifies its perpetual motion on seven invisible points within the area of the manifested Universe. “The great Breath digs through Space seven holes into Laya to cause them to circumgyrate during Manvantara” (Occult Catechism). We
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have said that Laya is what Science may call the Zero-point or line; the realm of absolute negativeness, or the one real absolute Force, the noumenon of the Seventh State of that which we ignorantly call and recognise as “Force”; or again the Noumenon of Undifferentiated Cosmic Substance which is itself an unreachable and unknowable object to finite perception; the root and basis of all states of objectivity and subjectivity too; the neutral axis, not one of the many aspects, but its centre. It may serve to elucidate the meaning if we attempt to imagine a neutral centre — the dream of those who would discover perpetual motion. A “neutral centre” is, in one aspect, the limiting point of any given set of senses. Thus, imagine two consecutive planes of matter as already formed; each of these corresponding to an appropriate set of perceptive organs. We are forced to admit that between these two planes of matter an incessant circulation takes place; and if we follow the atoms and molecules of (say) the lower in their transformation upwards, these will come to a point where they pass altogether beyond the range of the faculties we are using on the lower plane. In fact, to us the matter of the lower plane there vanishes from our perception into nothing — or rather it passes on to the higher plane, and the state of matter corresponding to such a point of transition must certainly possess special and not readily discoverable properties. Such “Seven Neutral Centres,”* then, are produced by Fohat, who, when, as Milton has it —
“Fair foundations (are) laid whereon to build . . .”
quickens matter into activity and evolution.
The Primordial Atom (anu) cannot be multiplied either in its pregenetic state, or its primogeneity; therefore it is called “sum total,” figuratively, of course, as that “sum total” is boundless. (See Addendum to this Book.) That which is the abyss of nothingness to the physicist, who knows only the world of visible causes and effects, is the boundless Space of the Divine Plenum to the Occultist. Among many other objections to the doctrine of an endless evolution and re-involution (or re-absorption) of the Kosmos, a process which, according to the Brahminical and Esoteric Doctrine, is without a beginning or an end, the Occultist is told that it cannot be, since “by all the admissions of
* Such, we believe, is the name applied by Mr. Keely, of Philadelphia, the inventor of the famous “Motor” — destined, as his admirers have hoped, to revolutionise the motor power of the world — to what he again calls the “Etheric Centres.”
Vol. 1, Page 149 THE MOON IS NOT DEAD, BUT ONLY SLEEPETH.
modern scientific philosophy it is a necessity of Nature to run down.” If the tendency of Nature “to run down” is to be considered so forcible an objection to Occult Cosmogony, “How,” we may ask, “do your Positivists and Free-thinkers and Scientists account for the phalanx around us of active stellar systems?” They had eternity to “run down” in; why, then, is not the Kosmos a huge inert mass? Even the moon is only hypothetically believed to be a dead planet, “run down,” and astronomy does not seem to be acquainted with many such dead planets.* The query is unanswerable. But apart from this it must be noted that the idea of the amount of “transformable energy” in our little system coming to an end is based purely on the fallacious conception of a “white-hot, incandescent Sun” perpetually radiating away his heat without compensation into Space. To this we reply that nature runs down and disappears from the objective plane, only to re-emerge after a time of rest out of the subjective and to reascend once more. Our Kosmos and Nature will run down only to reappear on a more perfect plane after every Pralaya. The matter of the Eastern philosophers is not the “matter” and Nature of the Western metaphysicians. For what is Matter? And above all, what is our scientific philosophy but that which was so justly and so politely defined by Kant as “the Science of the limits to our Knowledge”? Where have the many attempts made by Science to bind, to connect, and define all the phenomena of organic life by mere physical and chemical manifestations, brought it to? To speculation generally — mere soap-bubbles, that burst one after the other before the men of Science were permitted to discover real facts. All this would have been avoided, and the progress of knowledge would have proceeded with gigantic strides, had only Science and its philosophy abstained from accepting hypotheses on the mere one-sided Knowledge of their Matter.†
* The moon is dead only so far as regards her inner “principles” — i.e., psychically and spiritually, however absurd the statement may seem. Physically, she is only as a semi-paralysed body may be. She is aptly referred to in Occultism as the “insane mother,” the great sidereal lunatic.
† The instance of Uranus and Neptune, whose satellites, four and one respectively, revolved, it was thought, in their orbits from East to West, whereas all the other satellites rotate from West to East, is a very good one, as showing how unreliable are all a priori speculations even when based on the strictest mathematical analysis. The famous hypothesis of the formation of our Solar System out of the nebulous rings, put [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 150 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
If no physical intellect is capable of counting the grains of sand covering a few miles of sea-shore; or to fathom the ultimate nature and essence of those grains, palpable and visible on the palm of the naturalist, how can any materialist limit the laws changing the conditions and being of the atoms in primordial chaos, or know anything certain about the capabilities and potency of their atoms and molecules before and after their formation into worlds? These changeless and eternal molecules — far thicker in space than the grains on the ocean shore — may differ in their constitution along the line of their planes of existence, as the soul-substance differs from its vehicle, the body. Each atom has seven planes of being or existence, we are taught; and each plane is governed by its specific laws of evolution and absorption. Ignorant of any, even approximate, chronological data from which to start in attempting to decide the age of our planet or the origin of the solar system, astronomers, geologists, and physicists are drifting with each new hypothesis farther and farther away from the shores of fact into the fathomless depths of speculative ontology.* The Law of Analogy in the plan of structure between the trans-Solar systems and the intra-Solar planets, does not necessarily bear upon the finite conditions to which every visible body is subject, in this our plane of being. In Occult Science this law is the first and most important key to Cosmic physics; but it has to be studied in its minutest details and, “to be
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] forward by Kant and Laplace, was chiefly based on the above fact that all the planets revolved in the same direction. It is on this fact, mathematically demonstrated during the time of Laplace, that this great astronomer, calculating on the theory of probabilities, offered to bet three milliards to one that the next planet discovered would have in its system the same peculiarity of motion Eastward. The immutable laws of scientific mathematics got “worsted by further experiments and observations,” it was said. This idea of Laplace’s mistake prevails generally to this day; but some astronomers have finally succeeded in demonstrating (?) that the mistake had been in accepting Laplace’s assertion for a mistake; and steps to correct it without attracting general attention to the bevue are now being taken. Many such unpleasant surprises are in store for hypotheses of even a purely physical character. What further disillusions, then, may there not be in questions of a transcendental, Occult Nature? At any rate, Occultism teaches that the so-called “reverse rotation” is a fact.
* The Occultists, having most perfect faith in their own exact records, astronomical and mathematical, calculate the age of Humanity, and assert that the latter (as separate sexes) has existed in this Round just 18,618,727 years, as the Brahmanical teachings and even some Hindu calendars declare.
Vol. 1, Page 151 NATURE CAN NEVER CEASE.
turned seven times,” before one comes to understand it. Occult philosophy is the only science that can teach it. How, then, can anyone hang the truth or the untruth of the Occultist’s proposition that “the Kosmos is eternal in its unconditioned collectivity, and finite but in its conditioned manifestations” on this one-sided physical enunciation that “it is a necessity of Nature to run down?”
With these verses — the 4th Sloka of Stanza VI. — ends that portion of the Stanzas which relates to the Universal Cosmogony after the last Mahapralaya or Universal destruction, which, when it comes, sweeps out of Space every differentiated thing, Gods as atoms, like so many dry leaves. From this verse onwards, the Stanzas are concerned only with our Solar System in general, with the planetary chains therein, inferentially, and with the history of our globe (the 4th and its chain) especially. All the Stanzas and verses which follow in this Book I. refer only to the evolution of, and on, our Earth. With regard to the latter, a strange tenet — strange from the modern scientific stand-point only, of course — is held, which ought to be made known.
But before entirely new and rather startling theories are presented to the reader, they must be prefaced by a few words of explanation. This is absolutely necessary, as these theories clash not only with modern science, but contradict, on certain points, earlier statements made by other Theosophists, who claim to base their explanations and renderings of these teachings on the same authority as we do.*
This may give rise to the idea that there is a decided contradiction between the expounders of the same doctrine; whereas the difference, in reality, arises from the incompleteness of the information given to earlier writers, who thus drew some erroneous conclusions and indulged in premature speculations, in their endeavour to present a complete system to the public. Thus the reader, who is already a student of Theosophy, must not be surprised to find in these pages the rectification of certain statements made in various Theosophical works, and also the explanation of certain points which have remained obscure, because they were necessarily left incomplete. Many are the questions upon which even the author of “Esoteric Buddhism” (the best and
* “Esoteric Buddhism” and “Man.”
Vol. 1, Page 152 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
most accurate of all such works) has not touched. On the other hand, even he has introduced several mistaken notions which must now be presented in their true mystic light, as far as the present writer is capable of doing so.
Let us then make a short break between the Slokas just explained and those which follow, for the Cosmic periods which separate them are of immense duration. This will afford us ample time to take a bird’s-eye view of some points pertaining to the Secret Doctrine, which have been presented to the public under a more or less uncertain and sometimes mistaken light.
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