The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 1
Vol. 1, Page 610 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
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GODS, MONADS, AND ATOMS.
Some years ago we remarked* that “the Esoteric Doctrine may well be called the ‘thread-doctrine,’ since, like Sutratman, in the Vedanta philosophy,† it passes through and strings together all the ancient philosophical religious systems, and reconciles and explains them all.” We say now it does more. It not only reconciles the various and apparently conflicting systems, but it checks the discoveries of modern exact science, and shows some of them to be necessarily correct, since they are found corroborated in the ancient records. All this will, no doubt, be regarded as terribly impertinent and disrespectful, a veritable crime of lese-Science; nevertheless, it is a fact.
Science is, undeniably, ultra-materialistic in our days; but it finds, in one sense, its justification. Nature behaving in actu ever esoterically, and being, as the Kabalists say, in abscondito, can only be judged by the profane through her appearance, and that appearance is always deceitful on the physical plane. On the other hand, the naturalists refuse to blend physics with metaphysics, the body with its informing soul and spirit, which they prefer ignoring. This is a matter of choice with some, while the minority strive very sensibly to enlarge the domain of physical science by trespassing on the forbidden grounds of metaphysics, so distasteful to some materialists. These scientists are wise in their generation. For all their wonderful discoveries would go for nothing, and remain for ever headless bodies, unless they lift the veil of matter and strain their eyes to see beyond. Now that they have studied nature in the length, breadth, and thickness of her physical frame, it is time to remove the skeleton to the second plane and search within the unknown depths for the living and real entity, for its sub-stance — the noumenon of evanescent matter.
* “The Septenary Principle,” art. in “Five Years of Theosophy,” p. 197.
† The Atman or Spirit (the Spiritual Self) passing like a thread through the five subtle bodies (or principles, Koshas) is called “thread-soul,” or Sutratman in Vedantic philosophy.
Vol. 1, Page 611 WHICH OF THE TWO IS BLIND?
It is only by acting on such lines that some of the truths, now called “exploded superstitions,” will be discovered to be facts and the relics of ancient knowledge and wisdom.
One of such “degrading” beliefs — in the opinion of the all-denying sceptic — is found in the idea that Kosmos, besides its objective planetary inhabitants, its humanities in other inhabited worlds, is full of invisible, intelligent Existences. The so-called Arch-Angels, Angels and Spirits, of the West, copies of their prototypes, the Dhyan-Chohans, the Devas and Pitris, of the East, are no real Beings but fictions. On this point Materialistic Science is inexorable. To support its position, it upsets its own axiomatic law of uniformity in the laws of nature, that of continuity, and all the logical sequence of analogies in the evolution of being. The masses of the profane are asked, and made, to believe that the accumulated testimony of History, which shows even the Atheists of old — such as Epicurus and Democritus — believing in gods, was false; and that philosophers like Socrates and Plato, asserting their existence, were mistaken enthusiasts and fools. If we hold our opinions merely on historical grounds, on the authority of legions of the most eminent Sages, Neo-Platonists, Mystics of all the ages, from Pythagoras down to the eminent Scientists and Professors of the present century, who, if they reject “gods,” believe in “spirits,” shall we consider such authorities as weak-minded and foolish as any Roman Catholic peasant, who believes in and prays to his once human Saint, or the Archangel, St. Michael? But is there no difference between the belief of the peasant and that of the Western heirs to the Rosicrucians and Alchemists of the Middle Ages? Is it the Van Helmonts, the Khunraths, the Paracelsuses and Agrippas, from Roger Bacon down to St. Germain, who were all blind enthusiasts, hysteriacs or cheats, or is it the handful of modern sceptics — the “leaders of thought” — who are struck with the cecity of negation? The latter, we opine. It would be a miracle indeed, quite an abnormal fact in the realm of probabilities and logic, were that handful of negators to be the sole custodians of truth, while the million-strong hosts of believers in gods, angels, and spirits — in Europe and America alone — namely, Greek and Latin Christians, Theosophists, Spiritualists, Mystics, etc., etc., should be no better than deluded fanatics and hallucinated mediums, and often no higher than the victims of deceivers and impostors! However varying in their external presentations and dogmas, beliefs in the Hosts of invisible Intelligences of various grades have all the same foundation. Truth and error are mixed in all. The exact extent, depth, breadth, and length of the mysteries of Nature are to be found only in Eastern esoteric sciences. So vast and so profound are these that hardly a few, a very few of the highest Initiates — those whose very existence is known but to a small number of
Vol. 1, Page 612 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Adepts — are capable of assimilating the knowledge. Yet it is all there, and one by one facts and processes in Nature’s workshops are permitted to find their way into the exact Sciences, while mysterious help is given to rare individuals in unravelling its arcana. It is at the close of great Cycles, in connection with racial development, that such events generally take place. We are at the very close of the cycle of 5,000 years of the present Aryan Kaliyuga; and between this time and 1897 there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature, and materialistic science will receive a death-blow.
Without throwing any discredit upon time-honoured beliefs, in whatever direction, we are forced to draw a marked line between blind faith, evolved by theologies, and knowledge due to the independent researches of long generations of adepts; between, in short, faith and philosophy. There have been — in all ages — undeniably learned and good men who, having been reared in sectarian beliefs, died in their crystallized convictions. For Protestants, the garden of Eden is the primeval point of departure in the drama of Humanity, and the solemn tragedy on the summit of Calvary, the prelude to the hoped-for Millennium. For Roman Catholics, Satan is at the foundation of Kosmos, Christ in its centre, and Antichrist at its apex. For both, the Hierarchy of Being begins and ends within the narrow frames of their respective theologies: one self-created personal God and an Empyrean ringing with the Hallelujas of created angels; the rest, false gods, Satan and fiends.
Theophilosophy proceeds on broader lines. From the very beginning of AEons — in time and space in our Round and Globe — the Mysteries of Nature (at any rate, those which it is lawful for our races to know) were recorded by the pupils of those same now invisible “heavenly men,” in geometrical figures and symbols. The keys thereto passed from one generation of “wise men” to the other. Some of the symbols, thus passed from the east to the west, were brought therefrom by Pythagoras, who was not the inventor of his famous “Triangle.” The latter figure, along with the plane cube and circle, are more eloquent and scientific descriptions of the order of the evolution of the Universe, spiritual and psychic, as well as physical, than volumes of descriptive Cosmogonies and revealed “Geneses.” The ten points inscribed within that “Pythagorean triangle” are worth all the theogonies and angelologies ever emanated from the theological brain. For he who interprets them — on their very face, and in the order given — will find in these seventeen points (the seven Mathematical Points hidden) the uninterrupted series of the genealogies from the first Heavenly to terrestrial man. And, as they give the order of Beings, so they reveal the order in which were evolved the Kosmos, our earth, and the primordial elements by
Vol. 1, Page 613 THE MATHEMATICAL POINT.
which the latter was generated. Begotten in the invisible Depths, and in the womb of the same “Mother” as its fellow-globes — he who will master the mysteries of our Earth, will have mastered those of all others.
Whatever ignorance, pride or fanaticism may suggest to the contrary, Esoteric Cosmology can be shown inseparably connected with both philosophy and modern science. The gods of the ancients, the monads — from Pythagoras down to Leibnitz — and the atoms of the present materialistic schools (as borrowed by them from the theories of the old Greek Atomists) are only a compound unit, or a graduated unity like the human frame, which begins with body and ends with spirit. In the occult sciences they can be studied separately, but never mastered unless viewed in their mutual correlations during their life-cycle, and as a Universal Unity during Pralayas.
La Pluche shows sincerity, but gives a poor idea of his philosophical capacities when declaring his personal views on the Monad or the Mathematical Point. “A point,” he says, “is enough to put all the schools in the world in a combustion. But what need has man to know that point, since the creation of such a small being is beyond his power? A fortiori, philosophy acts against probability when, from that point which absorbs and disconcerts all her meditations, she presumes to pass on to the generation of the world. . . .”
Philosophy, however, could never have formed its conception of a logical, universal, and absolute Deity if it had no Mathematical Point within the Circle to base its speculations upon. It is only the manifested Point, lost to our senses after its pregenetic appearance in the infinitude and incognizability of the Circle, that made a reconciliation between philosophy and theology possible — on condition that the latter should abandon its crude materialistic dogmas. And it is because it has so unwisely rejected the Pythagorean Monad and geometrical figures, that Christian theology has evolved its self-created human and personal God, the monstrous Head from whence flow in two streams the dogmas of Salvation and Damnation. This is so true that even those clergymen who would be philosophers and who were masons, have, in their arbitrary interpretations, fathered upon the ancient sages the queer idea that “the Monad represented (with them) the throne of the Omnipotent Deity, placed in the centre of the Empyrean to indicate T.G.A.O.T.U.”* — read “the Great Architect of the Universe.” A curious explanation this, more Masonic than strictly Pythagorean.
Nor did the “hierogram within a Circle, or equilateral Triangle,”
* “Science of Numbers,” by the Rev. G. Oliver (p. 36).
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ever mean “the exemplification of the unity of the divine Essence”; for this was exemplified by the plane of the boundless Circle. What it really meant was the triune co-equal Nature of the first differentiated Substance, or the con-substantiality of the (manifested) Spirit, matter and the Universe — their “Son,” who proceeds from the Point (the real, esoteric Logos) or the Pythagorean Monad. For the Greek Monas signifies “Unity” in its primary sense. Those unable to seize the difference between the monad — the Universal Unit — and the Monads orthe manifested Unity, as also between the ever-hidden and the revealed Logos or the Word, ought never to meddle in philosophy, let alone the Esoteric Sciences. It is needless to remind the educated reader of Kant’s Thesis to demonstrate his second Antinomy.* Those who have read and understood it will see clearly the line we draw between the absolutely Ideal Universe and the invisible though manifested Kosmos. Our Gods and Monads are not the Elements of extension itself, but only those of the invisible reality which is the basis of the manifested Kosmos. Neither esoteric philosophy, nor Kant, nor Leibnitz would ever admit that extension can be composed of simple or unextended parts. But theologian-philosophers will not grasp this. The Circle and the Point, which latter retires into and merges with the former, after having emanated the first three points and connected them with lines, thus forming the first noumenal basis of the Second Triangle in the Manifested World, have ever been an insuperable obstacle to theological flights into dogmatic Empyreans. On the authority of this Archaic Symbol, a male, personal god, the Creator and Father of all, becomes a third-rate emanation, the Sephiroth standing fourth in descent, and on the left hand of En-Soph (see the Kabalistic Tree of Life). Hence, the Monad is degraded into a Vehicle — a “throne”!
The Monad — only the emanation and reflection of the Point (Logos) in the phenomenal World — becomes, as the apex of the manifested equilateral triangle, the “Father.” The left side or line is the Duad, the “Mother,” regarded as the evil, counteracting principle (Plutarch, De Placitis Placitorum); the right side represents the Son (“his Mother’s husband” in every Cosmogony, as one with the apex); at the basic line is the Universal plane of productive Nature, unifying on the phenomenal plane Father-Mother-Son, as these were unified in the apex, in the supersensuous World.† By mystic transmutation they became the Quaternary — the triangle became the Tetraktis.
* See Kant’s Critique de la Raison pure (Barni’s transl., Vol. II., p. 54).
† In the Greek and Latin churches — which regard marriage as one of the sacraments — the officiating priest during the marriage ceremony represents the apex of the triangle; the bride its left feminine side and the bridegroom the right one, while the horizontal line is symbolised by the row of witness, the bridesmaids and best-men. But behind [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 615 SPACE, FORCE AND MATTER.
This transcendental application of geometry to Cosmic and divine theogony — the Alpha and the Omega of mystical conception — became dwarfed after Pythagoras by Aristotle. By omitting the Point and the Circle, and taking no account of the apex, he reduced the metaphysical value of the idea, and thus limited the doctrine of magnitude to a simple triad — the line, the surface, and the body. His modern heirs, who play at Idealism, have interpreted these three geometrical figures as Space, Force, and Matter — “the potencies of an interacting Unity.”* Materialistic Science, perceiving but the basic line of the manifested “triangle” — the plane of matter — translates it practically as (Father)-Matter, (Mother)-Matter, and (Son)-Matter, and theoretically as Matter, Force, and Correlation.
But to the average physicist, as remarked by a Kabalist, “Space, Force, Matter, are, what signs in algebra are to the mathematician, merely conventional symbols;” or “Force as force, and Matter as matter, are as absolutely unknowable as is the assumed empty space in which they are held to interact.” As symbols representing abstractions, “the physicist bases reasoned hypotheses of the origin of things . . . . and sees three needs in what he terms creation: (a) a place wherein to create; (b) a medium by which to create; (c) a material from which to create. And in giving a logical expression to this hypothesis through the terms space, force, matter, he believes he has proved the existence of that which each of these represents as he conceives it to be.”†
The physicist who regards Space merely as a representation of our mind, or extension unrelated to things in it, which Locke defined as capable of neither resistance nor motion; the paradoxical materialist, who would have a void there, where he can see no matter, would reject with the utmost contempt the proposition that “Space is a substantial though (apparently) an absolutely unknowable living Entity.” (New Aspects, p. 9.) Such is, nevertheless, the Kabalistic teaching, and it is that of Archaic philosophy. Space is the real world, while our world is an artificial one. It is the One Unity throughout its infinitude: in its bottomless depths as on its illusive surface; a surface studded with countless phenomenal Universes, systems and mirage-like worlds. Nevertheless, to the Eastern Occultist, who is an objective Idealist at the bottom, in the real world, which is a Unity of Forces, there is “a connection of all matter in the plenum,” as Leibnitz would say. This is symbolized in the Pythagorean Triangle.
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] the priest there is the altar with its mysterious containments and symbolic meaning, inside of which no one but the consecrated priests ought to enter. In the early days of Christianity the marriage ceremony was a mystery and a true symbol. Now, however, even the churches have lost the true meaning of this symbolism.
* See Von Hartmann’s and Herbert Spencer’s works.
† “New Aspects of Life,” by Henry Pratt, M.D.
Vol. 1, Page 616 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
It consists of ten points inscribed pyramid-like (from one to the last four) within its three lines, and it symbolizes the Universe in the famous Pythagorean Decad. The upper single dot is a Monad, and represents a Unit-Point, which is the Unity from whence all proceeds, and all is of the same essence with it. While the ten dots within the triangle represent the phenomenal world, the three sides of the equilateral triangle which enclose the pyramid of dots are the barriers of noumenal Matter, or Substance, that separate it from the world of Thought. “Pythagoras considered a point to correspond in proportion to unity; a line to 2; a superficies to 3; a solid to 4; and he defined a point as a Monad having position, and the beginning of all things; a line was thought to correspond with duality, because it was produced by the first motion from indivisible nature, and formed the junction of two points. A superficies was compared to the number three because it is the first of all causes that are found in figures; for a circle, which is the principal of all round figures, comprises a triad, in centre — space — circumference. But a triangle, which is the first of all rectilineal figures, is included in a ternary, and receives its form according to that number; and was considered by the Pythagoreans to be the creator of all sublunary things. The four points at the base of the Pythagorean triangle correspond with a solid or cube, which combines the principles of length, breadth, and thickness, for no solid can have less than four extreme boundary points.” (Pythag. Triangle, p. 19.)
It is argued that “the human mind cannot conceive an indivisible unit short of the annihilation of the idea with its subject.” This is an error, as the Pythagoreans have proved, and a number of Seers before them, although there is a special training for it, and although the profane mind can hardly grasp it. But there are such things as metamathematics and metageometry. Even mathematics pure and simple proceed from the Universal to the particular, from the mathematical, hence indivisible Point, to solid figures. The teaching originated in India, and was taught in Europe by Pythagoras, who, throwing a veil over the Circle and the Point — which no living man can define except as incomprehensible abstractions — laid the origin of the differentiated Cosmic matter in the basic or horizontal line of the Triangle. Thus the latter became the earliest of geometrical figures. The author of “New Aspects of Life” and of the Kabalistic Mysteries — objects to the objectivization, so to speak, of the Pythagorean conception and use of the equilateral triangle, and calls it a misnomer. His argument that a solid equilateral body — “one whose base, and each of its sides, form equal triangles — must have four co-equal sides or surfaces, while a triangular plane will as necessarily possess five,” demonstrates on the contrary the grandeur of the conception in all its esoteric application to the idea of
Vol. 1, Page 617 PHANTOMS OF THE MIND.
the pregenesis, and the genesis of Kosmos. Granted, that an ideal triangle, depicted by mathematical, imaginary lines “can have no sides at all, being simply a phantom of the mind (if sides be imputed to which, they must be the sides of the object it constructively represents).” But in such case most of the scientific hypotheses are no better than “phantoms of the mind”; they are unverifiable, except on inference, and have been adopted merely to answer scientific necessities. Furthermore, the ideal triangle — “as the abstract idea of a triangular body, and, therefore, as the type of an abstract idea” — accomplished and carried out to perfection the double symbolism intended. As an emblem applicable to the objective idea, the simple triangle became a solid. When repeated in stone on the four cardinal points, it assumed the shape of the Pyramid — the symbol of the phenomenal merging into the noumenal Universe of thought — at the apex of the four triangles; and, as an “imaginary figure constructed of three mathematical lines,” it symbolized the subjective spheres — those lines “enclosing a mathematical space — which is equal to nothing enclosing nothing.” Because, to the senses and the untrained consciousness of profane and scientist, everything beyond the line of differentiated matter — i.e., outside of, and beyond the realm of even the most spiritual substance — has to remain for ever equal to nothing. It is the Ain-Soph — the No-thing.
Yet these “phantoms of the mind” are in truth no greater abstractions than the abstract ideas in general upon evolution and physical development — e.g., Gravity, Matter, Force, etc. — on which the exact sciences are based. Our most eminent chemists and physicists are earnestly pursuing the not hopeless attempt of finally tracing to its hiding-place the protyle, or the basic line of the Pythagorean triangle. The latter is, as said, the grandest conception imaginable, as it symbolizes both the ideal and the visible universes.* For if “the possible unit is only a possibility as an actuality of nature, as an individual of any kind,” and as every individual natural object is capable of division, and by division loses its unity, or ceases to be a unit,† it is so only in the realm of exact sciences in a world as deceptive as it is illusive. In the realm of the Esoteric sciences the unit divided ad infinitum, instead of losing its unity, approaches with every division the planes of the only eternal Reality. The eye of the Seer can follow and behold it in all its pregenetic glory. This same idea of the reality of the subjective, and the unreality of the objective universes, is found at the bottom of the Pythagorean and Platonic teachings — limited to the Elect alone; for
* In the world of Form, having found its expression in the Pyramids, Symbolism has in them both a triangle and a square, with their four co-equal triangles or surfaces, the four basic points, and the fifth — the apex.
† “New Aspects of Life.”
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Porphyry, speaking of the Monad and the Duad, says that the former only was considered substantial and real, “that most simple Being, the cause of all unity and the measure of all things.”
But the Duad, although the origin of Evil, or Matter — thence unreal in philosophy — is still Substance during Manvantara, and is often called the third monad, in Occultism, and the connecting line as between two Points, . . . or Numbers which proceeded from that, “which was before all Numbers,” as expressed by Rabbi Barahiel. And from this Duad proceeded all the Scintillas of the three upper and the four lower worlds or planes — which are in constant interaction and correspondence. This is a teaching which the Kabala has in common with Eastern Occultism. For in the occult philosophy there are the “One Cause” and the “Primal Cause,” which latter thus becomes, paradoxically, the second, as clearly expressed by the author of the “Qabbalah, from the philosophical writings of Ibn Gabirol,” — “in the treatment of the Primal cause, two things must be considered, the Primal Cause per se, and the relation and connection of the Primal Cause with the visible and unseen universe.” Thus he shows the early Hebrews following in the steps of the Oriental philosophy — Chaldean, Persian, Hindu, Arabic, etc. Their Primal Cause was designated at first “by the triadic Shaddai, the (triune) Almighty, subsequently by the Tetragrammaton, YHVH, symbol of the Past, Present, and Future,” and, let us add, of the eternal Is, or the I Am. Moreover, in the Kabala the name YHVH (or Jehovah) expresses a He and a She, male and female, two in one, or Hokhmah and Binah, and his, or rather their Shekinah or synthesizing spirit (grace), which makes again of the Duad a Triad. This is demonstrated in the Jewish Liturgy for Pentecost, and the prayer, “In the name of Unity, of the Holy and Blessed Hu (He), and His Shekinah, the Hidden and Concealed Hu, blessed be YHVH (the Quaternary) for ever.” “Hu is said to be masculine and YAH feminine, together they make the , one YHVH. One, but of a male-female nature. The Shekinah is always considered in the Qabbalah as feminine” (p. 175). And so it is considered in the exoteric Puranas, for Shekinah is no more than Sakti — the female double or lining of any god, in such case. And so it was with the early Christians whose Holy Spirit was feminine, as Sophia was with the Gnostics. But in the transcendental Chaldean Kabala or “Book of Numbers,” “Shekinah” is sexless, and the purest abstraction, a State, like Nirvana, not subject or object or anything except an absolute Presence.
Thus it is only in the anthropomorphised systems (such as the Kabala has now greatly become) that Shekinah-Sakti is feminine. As such she becomes the Duad of Pythagoras, the two straight lines of the symbol that can never meet, which therefore form no geometrical figure and are
Vol. 1, Page 619 THE MONAD OF LEIBNITZ.
the symbol of matter. Out of this Duad, when united in one basic line of the triangle on the lower plane (the upper Triangle of the Sephirothal Tree), emerge the Elohim, or Deity in Cosmic Nature, with the true Kabalists the lowest designation, translated in the Bible “God” (see the same work and page).* Out of these issue the Scintillas.
The Scintillas are the “Souls,” and these Souls appear in the three-fold form of Monads (units), atoms and gods — according to our teaching. “Every atom becomes a visible complex unit (a molecule), and once attracted into the sphere of terrestrial activity, the Monadic Essence, passing through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, becomes man.” (Esot. Catechism.) Again, “God, Monad, and Atom are the correspondences of Spirit, Mind, and Body (Atma, Manas and Sthula Sarira) in man.” In their septenary aggregation they are the “Heavenly Man” (see Kabala for the latter term); thus, terrestrial man is the provisional reflection of the Heavenly. . . . . “The Monads (Jivas) are the Souls of the Atoms, both are the fabric in which the Chohans (Dhyanis, gods) cloth themselves when a form is needed.” (Esot. Cat.)
This relates to Cosmic and sub-planetary Monads, not to the Super-Cosmic Monas (the Pythagorean Monad) as called, in its synthetic character, by the Pantheistical Peripatetics. The Monads of the present dissertation are treated from the standpoint of their individuality, as atomic Souls, before these atoms descend into pure terrestrial form. For this descent into concrete matter marks the medial point of their own individual pilgrimage. Here, losing in the mineral kingdom their individuality, they begin to ascend through the seven states of terrestrial evolution to that point where a correspondence is firmly established between the human and Deva (divine) consciousness. At present, however, we are not concerned with their terrestrial metamorphoses and tribulations, but with their life and behaviour in Space, on planes wherein the eye of the most intuitional chemist and physicist cannot reach them — unless, indeed, he develops in himself highly clairvoyant faculties.
It is well known that Leibnitz came several times very near the truth, but defined monadic evolution incorrectly, which is not to be wondered at, since he was not an Initiate, nor even a Mystic, only a
* Such recent works as the Qabbalah of Mr. Isaac Myer and of Mr. S. L. MacGregor Mathers, fully justify our attitude towards the Jehovistic Deity. It is not the transcendental, philosophical, and highly metaphysical abstraction of the original Kabalistic thought — Ain-Soph-Shekinah-Adam-Kadmon, and all that follows — that we oppose, but the crystallization of all these into the highly unphilosophical, repulsive, and anthropomorphic Jehovah, the androgynous and finite deity for which eternity, omnipotence, and omniscience are claimed. We do not war against the ideal Reality, but the hideous theological Shadow.
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very intuitional philosopher. Yet no psycho-physicist ever came nearer than he has to the esoteric general outline of evolution. This evolution — viewed from its several standpoints — i.e., as the universal and the individualized Monad; and the chief aspects of the Evolving Energy, after differentiation — the purely Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Psychic and the Physical — may be thus formulated as an invariable law; a descent of Spirit into Matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the depths of materiality towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete form and substance up to the Laya state, or what Science calls “the zero-point,” and beyond.
These states — once the spirit of Esoteric philosophy is grasped — become absolutely necessary from simple logical and analogical considerations. Physical Science having now ascertained, through its department of Chemistry, the invariable law of this evolution of atoms — from their “protylean” state down to that of a physical and then a chemical particle (or molecule) — cannot well reject the same as a general law. And once it is forced by its enemies — Metaphysics and Psychology* — out of its alleged impregnable strongholds, it will find it more difficult than it now appears to refuse room in the Spaces of Space to Planetary Spirits (gods), Elementals, and even the Elementary Spooks or Ghosts, and others. Already Figuier and Paul D’Assier, two Positivists and Materialists, have succumbed before this logical necessity. Other and still greater Scientists will follow in that “intellectual Fall.” They will be driven out of their position not by spiritual, theosophical, or any other physical or even mental phenomena, but simply by the enormous gaps and chasms that open daily and will still be opening before them, as one discovery follows the other, until they are finally knocked off their feet by the ninth wave of simple common sense.
Here is an example: Prof. W. Crookes’ latest discovery of what he has named protyle. In the “Notes on the Bhagavat Gita,” by one of the best metaphysicians and Vedantic scholars in India,† the lecturer, referring cautiously to “things occult” in that great Indian esoteric work, makes a remark as suggestive as it is strictly correct. “. . . Into the details of the evolution of the solar system itself,” he says, “it is not necessary for me to enter. You may gather some idea as to the way in which the various elements start into existence from these three principles into which Mulaprakriti is differentiated (the Pythagorean triangle), by
* Let not the word “psychology” cause the reader to carry his thought by an association of ideas to modern “Psychologists,” so-called, whose idealism is another name for uncompromising materialism, and whose pretended Monism is no better than a mask to conceal the void of final annihilation — even of consciousness. Here Spiritual psychology is meant.
† T. Subba Row, see Theosophist for Feb., 1887.
Vol. 1, Page 621 THE CHEMISTRY OF THE FUTURE.
examining the lecture delivered by Professor Crookes a short time ago upon the so-called elements of modern chemistry. This lecture will give you some idea of the way in which these Elements spring from Vishwanara,* the most objective of these three principles, which seems to stand in the place of the protyle mentioned in that lecture. Except in a few particulars, this lecture seems to give the outlines of the theory of physical evolution on the plane of Vishwanara, and is, so far as I know, the nearest approach made by modern investigators to the real occult theory on the subject.”
These words will be re-echoed and approved by every Eastern Occultist. Much from the lectures by Prof. Crookes has already been quoted in § XII. of these Addenda. Since then, there has been another lecture delivered, as remarkable as the first one, on the “Genesis of the Elements,”† and also a third one. Here we have almost a corroboration of the teachings of Esoteric philosophy concerning the mode of primeval evolution. It is, indeed, as near an approach, made by a great scholar and specialist in chemistry,‡ to the Secret Doctrine, as could be made apart from the application of the monads and atoms to the dogmas of pure transcendental metaphysics, and their connection and correlation with “Gods and intelligent Conscious Monads.” But Chemistry is now on its ascending plane, thanks to one of its highest European representatives. It is impossible for it to go back to that day when materialism regarded its sub-elements as absolutely simple and homogeneous bodies, which it had raised, in its blindness, to the rank of elements. The mask has been snatched off by too clever a hand for there to be any fear of a new disguise. And after years of pseudology, of bastard molecules parading under the name of elements, behind and beyond which there could be nought but void, a great professor of chemistry asks once more: “What are these elements, whence do they come, what is their signification? . . . . These elements perplex us in our researches, baffle us in our speculations, and haunt us in our very dreams. They stretch like an unknown sea before us — mocking, mystifying, and murmuring strange revelations and possibilities.” (Gen. of Elem., p. 1.)
* “Vishwanara is not merely the manifested objective world, but the one physical basis (the horizontal line of the triangle) from which the whole objective world starts into existence.” And this is the Cosmic Duad, the androgynous Substance. Beyond only, is the true Protyle.
† By W. Crookes, F.R.S., V.P.C.S., delivered at the Royal Institution, London, on Friday, February 18th, 1887.
‡ How true it is will be fully demonstrated only on that day when his discovery of radiant matter will have resulted in a further elucidation with regard to the true source of light, and revolutionized all the present speculations. Further familiarity with the northern streamers of the aurora borealis may help the recognition of this truth.
Vol. 1, Page 622 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Those who are heirs to primeval revelations have taught these “possibilities” in every century, but have never found a fair hearing. The truths inspired to Kepler, Leibnitz, Gassendi, Swedenborg, etc., were ever alloyed with their own speculations in one or another predetermined direction —hence distorted. But now one of the great truths has dawned upon an eminent professor of modern exact science, and he fearlessly proclaims as a fundamental axiom that Science has not made itself acquainted, so far, with real simple elements. For Prof. Crookes tells his audience:
“If I venture to say that our commonly received elements are not simple and primordial, that they have not arisen by chance or have not been created in a desultory and mechanical manner, but have been evolved from simpler matters — or perhaps, indeed, from one sole kind of matter — I do but give formal utterance to an idea which has been, so to speak, for some time ‘in the air’ of science. Chemists, physicists, philosophers of the highest merit, declare explicitly their belief that the seventy (or thereabouts) elements of our text-books are not the pillars of Hercules which we must never hope to pass.” . . . “Philosophers in the present as in the past — men who certainly have not worked in the laboratory — have reached the same view from another side.” Thus Mr. Herbert Spencer records his conviction that ‘the chemical atoms are produced from the true or physical atoms by processes of evolution under conditions which chemistry has not yet been able to produce.’ . . . “And the poet has forestalled the philosopher. Milton (‘Paradise Lost,’ Book V.) makes the Archangel Raphael say to Adam, instinct with the evolutionary idea, that the Almighty had created
. . . ‘One first matter, all
Indued with various forms, various degrees
Of substance.’ “
Nevertheless, the idea would have remained crystallized “in the air of Science,” and never have descended into the thick atmosphere of materialism and profane mortals for years to come, perhaps, had not Professor Crookes bravely and fearlessly reduced it to its simple elements, and thus publicly forced it on Scientific notice. “An idea,” says Plutarch, “is a being incorporeal, which has no subsistence by itself, but gives figure and form unto shapeless matter, and becomes the cause of the manifestation.” (De Placit. Philos.) The revolution produced in old chemistry by Avogadro was the first page in the Volume of New Chemistry. Mr. Crookes has now turned the second page, and is boldly pointing to what may be the last. For once protyle accepted and recognized — as invisible Ether was, both being logical and scientific necessities — Chemistry will have virtually ceased to live: it will reappear in its reincarnation as New Alchemy, or Metachemistry. The discoverer of
Vol. 1, Page 623 THE GENESIS OF ATOMS.
radiant matter will have vindicated in time the Archaic Aryan works on Occultism and even the Vedas and Puranas. For what are the manifested “Mother,” the “Father-Son-Husband” (Aditi and Daksha, a form of Brahma, as Creators) and the “Son,” — the three “First-born” — but simply Hydrogen, Oxygen, and that which in its terrestrial manifestation is called nitrogen. Even the exoteric descriptions of the “First Born” triad give all the characteristics of these three gases. Priestley, the “discoverer” of Oxygen, or that which was known in the highest antiquity!
Yet all the ancient, mediaeval, and modern poets and philosophers have been anticipated even in the exoteric Hindu books. Descartes’ plenum of matter differentiated into particles; Leibnitz’s Ethereal Fluid and Kant’s “primitive fluid” dissolved into its elements; Kepler’s Solar Vortex and Systemic Vortices; in short, from the Elemental Vortices inaugurated by the universal mind — through Anaxagoras, down to Galileo, Torricelli, and Swedenborg, and after them to the latest speculations by European mystics — all this is found in the Hindu hymns and Mantras to the “Gods, Monads, and Atoms,” in their fulness, for they are inseparable. In esoteric teachings, the most transcendental conceptions of the universe and its mysteries, as the most (seemingly) materialistic speculations are found reconciled, because those sciences embrace the whole scope of evolution from Spirit to matter. As declared by an American Theosophist, “The Monads (of Leibnitz) may from one point of view be called force, from another matter. To occult Science, force and matter are only two sides of the same substance.” (“Path,” No. 10, p. 297.)
Let the reader remember these “Monads” of Leibnitz, every one of which is a living mirror of the universe, every monad reflecting every other, and compare this view and definition with certain Sanskrit stanzas (Slokas) translated by Sir William Jones, in which it is said that the creative source of the Divine Mind, . . . “Hidden in a veil of thick darkness, formed mirrors of the atoms of the world, and cast reflection from its own face on every atom. . . . .”
When, therefore, Professor Crookes declares that “If we can show how the so-called chemical elements might have been generated we shall be able to fill up a formidable gap in our knowledge of the universe, . . .” the answer is ready. The theoretical knowledge is contained in the esoteric meaning of every Hindu cosmogony in the Puranas; the practical demonstration thereof — is in the hands of those who will not be recognised in this century, save by the very few. The scientific possibilities of various discoveries, that must inexorably lead exact Science into the acceptation of Eastern Occult views, which contain all the requisite material for the filling of those “gaps,” are, so far, at the mercy of modern materialism. It is only by working in the direction
Vol. 1, Page 624 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
taken by Professor Crookes that there is any hope for the recognition of a few, hitherto Occult, truths.
Meanwhile, one thirsting to have a glimpse at a practical diagram of the evolution of primordial matter, which, separating and differentiating under the impulse of cyclic law, divides itself into a septenary gradation of Substance (from a general view), can do no better than examine the plates attached to Mr. Crookes’ lecture: “Genesis of the Elements,” and ponder well over some passages of the text. In one place (p. 11) he says: —
“. . . . Our notions of a chemical element have expanded. Hitherto the molecule has been regarded as an aggregate of two or more atoms, and no account has been taken of the architectural design on which these atoms have been joined. We may consider that the structure of a chemical element is more complicated than has hitherto been supposed. Between the molecules we are accustomed to deal with in chemical reactions and ultimate atoms as first created, come smaller molecules or aggregates of physical atoms; then sub-molecules differ one from the other, according to the position they occupied in the yttrium edifice.”
“Perhaps this hypothesis can be simplified if we imagine yttrium to be represented by a five-shilling piece. By chemical fractionation I have divided it into five separate shillings, and find that these shillings are not counterparts, but like the carbon atoms in the benzol ring, have the impress of their position, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, stamped on them. . . . If I throw my shillings into the melting-pot or dissolve them chemically, the mint stamp disappears and they all turn out to be silver.” . . .
This will be the case with all the atoms and molecules when they have separated from their compound forms and bodies — when pralaya sets in. Reverse the case, and imagine the dawn of a new manvantara. The pure “silver” of the absorbed material will once more separate into substance, which will generate “Divine Essences” whose “principles”* are the primary elements, the sub-elements, the physical energies and subjective and objective matter; or, as these are epitomised — gods, monads, and atoms. If leaving for one moment the metaphysical or transcendental side of the question, — dropping out of the present consideration the supersensuous and intelligent beings and entities believed in by the Kabalists and Christians — we turn to the atomical theory of evolution, the occult teachings are still found corroborated by exact Science and its confessions, as far, at least, as regards the supposed “simple” elements, now suddenly
* Corresponding on the cosmic scale with the Spirit, Soul-mind, Life, and the three Vehicles — the astral, the Mayavic and the physical bodies (of mankind) whatever division is made.
Vol. 1, Page 625 HERMES OR HUXLEY?
degraded into poor and distant relatives — not even second cousins to the latter. For we are told by Prof. Crookes that:
“Hitherto, it has been considered that if the atomic weight of a metal, determined by different observers, setting out from different compounds, was always found to be constant . . . then such metal must rightly take rank among the simple or elementary bodies. We learn . . . that this is no longer the case. Again, we have here wheels within wheels. Gadolinium is not an element but a compound. . . We have shown that yttrium is a complex of five or more new constituents. And who shall venture to gainsay that each of these constituents, if attacked in some different manner, and if the result were submitted to a test more delicate and searching than the radiant-matter test, might not be still further divisible? Where, then, is the actual ultimate element? As we advance it recedes like the tantalizing mirage lakes and groves seen by the tired and thirsty traveller in the desert. Are we in our quest for truth to be thus deluded and baulked? The very idea of an element, as something absolutely primary and ultimate, seems to be growing less and less distinct. . .” (p. 16).
On page 429 of Isis Unveiled, Vol. I., we said that “the mystery of first creation, which was ever the despair of Science, is unfathomable unless they (the Scientists) accept the doctrine of Hermes. They will have to follow in the footsteps of the Hermetists.” Our prophecy begins to assert itself.
But between Hermes and Huxley there is a middle course and point. Let the men of Science only throw a bridge half-way, and think seriously over the theories of Leibnitz. We have shown our theories with regard to atomic evolution — their last formation into compound chemical molecules being produced within our terrestrial workshops in the earth’s atmosphere and not elsewhere — as strangely agreeing with the evolution of atoms shown on Mr. Crookes’ plates. Several times already it was stated in this volume that Marttanda (the Sun) had evolved and aggregated, together with his smaller seven Brothers, from his Mother’s (Aditi’s) bosom, that bosom being prima mater-ia — the lecturer’s primordial protyle. Esoteric doctrines teach the existence of “an antecedent form of energy having periodic cycles of ebb and swell, rest and activity” (p. 21) — and behold a great scholar in Science now asking the world to accept this as one of the postulates. We have shown the “Mother,” fiery and hot, becoming gradually cool and radiant, and that same Scientist claims as his second postulate, a scientific necessity, it would seem — “an internal action akin to cooling, operating slowly in the protyle.” Occult Science teaches that “Mother” lies stretched in infinity (during Pralaya) as the great Deep, the “dry Waters of Space,” according to the quaint expression in the Catechism, and becomes wet
Vol. 1, Page 626 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
only after the separation and the moving over its face of Narayana, the “Spirit which is invisible Flame, which never burns, but sets on fire all that it touches, and gives it life and generation.”* And now Science tells us that “the first-born element . . . most nearly allied to protyle” . . . would be “hydrogen . . . which for some time would be the only existing form of matter” in the Universe. What says Old Science? It answers: Just so; but we would call hydrogen and oxygen (which instils the fire of life into the “Mother” by incubation) in the pregenetic and even pre-geological ages — the Spirit, the noumenon of that which becomes in its grossest form oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen on Earth — nitrogen being of no divine origin, but merely an earth-born cement to unite other gases and fluids, and serve as a sponge to carry in itself the breath of life — pure air.† Before these gases and fluids become what they are in our atmosphere, they are interstellar Ether; still earlier and on a deeper plane — something else, and so on in infinitum. The eminent and learned gentleman must pardon an Occultist for quoting him at such length; but such is the penalty of a Fellow of the Royal Society who approaches so near the precincts of the Sacred Adytum of Occult mysteries as virtually to overstep the forbidden boundaries.
But it is time to leave modern physical science and turn to the psychological and metaphysical side of the question. We would only remark that to the “two very reasonable postulates” required by the eminent lecturer, “to get a glimpse of some few of the secrets so darkly hidden” behind “the door of the Unknown” — a third should be added‡ — lest no battering at it should avail; the postulate that Leibnitz, in his speculations, stood on a firm groundwork of fact and truth. The admirable and thoughtful synopsis of these speculations — as given by John Theodore Merz in his “Leibnitz” — shows how nearly he has brushed the hidden secrets of esoteric Theogony in his Monadologie. And yet that philosopher has hardly risen in his speculations above the first planes, the lower principles of the Cosmic Great Body. His theory soars to no loftier heights than those of the manifested life, self-consciousness and intelligence, leaving the regions of the earlier post-genetic mysteries untouched, as his ethereal fluid is post-planetary.
But this third postulate will hardly be accepted by the modern men
* “The Lord is a consuming fire.” . . . “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
† Which if separated alchemically would yield the Spirit of Life, and its Elixir.
‡ Foremost of all, the postulate that there is no such thing in Nature as inorganic substances or bodies. Stones, minerals, rocks, and even chemical “atoms” are simply organic units in profound lethargy. Their coma has an end and their inertia becomes activity.
Vol. 1, Page 627 LEIBNITZ AND OCCULTISM.
of Science; and, like Descartes, they will prefer keeping to the properties of external things, which, like extension, are incapable of explaining the phenomenon of motion, rather than accept the latter as an independent Force. They will never become anti-Cartesian in this generation; nor will they admit that “this property of inertia is not a purely geometrical property, that it points to the existence of something in external bodies which is not extension merely.” This is Leibnitz’s idea as analyzed by Mertz, who adds that he called this something Force, and maintained that external things were endowed with Force, and that in order to be the bearers of this force they must have a substance, for they are not lifeless and inert masses, but the centres and bearers of form, a purely esoteric claim, since force was with Leibnitz an active principle, the division between mind and matter disappearing by this conclusion. But —
“The mathematical and dynamical inquiries of Leibnitz would not have led to the same result in the mind of a purely scientific inquirer. But Leibnitz was not a scientific man in the modern sense of the word. Had he been so, he might have worked out the conception of energy, defined mathematically the ideas of force and mechanical work, and arrived at the conclusion that even for purely scientific purposes it is desirable to look upon force, not as a primary quantity, but as a quantity derived from some other value.”
But, luckily for truth —
“Leibnitz was a philosopher; and as such he had certain primary principles, which biassed him in favour of certain conclusions, and his discovery that external things were substances endowed with force was at once used for the purpose of applying these principles. One of these principles was the law of continuity, the conviction that all the world was connected, that there were no gaps and chasms which could not be bridged over. The contrast of extended thinking substances was unbearable to him. The definition of the extended substances had already become untenable: it was natural that a similar inquiry was made into the definition of mind, the thinking substance. . .”
The divisions made by Leibnitz, however incomplete and faulty from the standpoint of Occultism, show a spirit of metaphysical intuition to which no man of science, not Descartes — not even Kant — has ever reached. With him there existed ever an infinite gradation of thought. Only a small portion of the contents of our thoughts, he said, rises into the clearness of apperception, “into the light of perfect consciousness.” Many remain in a confused or obscure state, in the state of “perceptions;” but they are there; . . . Descartes denied soul to the animal, Leibnitz endowed, as the Occultists do, “the whole creation with mental life, this being, according to him, capable of infinite gradations.” And
Vol. 1, Page 628 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
this, as Mertz justly observes, “at once widened the realm of mental life, destroying the contrast of animate and inanimate matter; it did yet more — it reacted on the conception of matter, of the extended substance. For it became evident that external or material things presented the property of extension to our senses only, not to our thinking faculties. The mathematician, in order to calculate geometrical figures, had been obliged to divide them into an infinite number of infinitely small parts, and the physicist saw no limit to the divisibility of matter into atoms. The bulk through which external things seemed to fill space was a property which they acquired only through the coarseness of our senses. . . . Leibnitz followed these arguments to some extent, but he could not rest content in assuming that matter was composed of a finite number of very small parts. His mathematical mind forced him to carry out the argument in infinitum. And what became of the atoms then? They lost their extension and they retained only their property of resistance; they were the centres of force. They were reduced to mathematical points . . . but if their extension in space was nothing, so much fuller was their inner life. Assuming that inner existence, such as that of the human mind, is a new dimension, not a geometrical but a metaphysical dimension . . . having reduced the geometrical extension of the atoms to nothing, Leibnitz endowed them with an infinite extension in the direction of their metaphysical dimension. After having lost sight of them in the world of space, the mind has, as it were, to dive into a metaphysical world to find and grasp the real essence of what appears in space merely as a mathematical point. . . . As a cone stands on its point, or a perpendicular straight line cuts a horizontal plane only in one mathematical point, but may extend infinitely in height and depth, so the essences of things real have only a punctual existence in this physical world of space; but have an infinite depth of inner life in the metaphysical world of thought . . . ” (p. 144).
This is the spirit, the very root of occult doctrine and thought. The “Spirit-Matter” and “Matter-Spirit” extend infinitely in depth, and like “the essence of things” of Leibnitz, our essence of things real is at the seventh depth; while the unreal and gross matter of Science and the external world, is at the lowest end of our perceptive senses. The Occultist knows the worth or worthlessness of the latter.
The student must now be shown the fundamental distinction between the system of Leibnitz* and that of occult philosophy, on the question of the Monads, and this may be done with his Monadology before us. It may be correctly stated that were Leibnitz’ and Spinoza’s systems
* The real spelling of the name — as spelt by himself — is Leibniz. He was of Slavonian descent though a German by birth.
Vol. 1, Page 629 SPINOZA AND LEIBNITZ.
reconciled, the essence and Spirit of esoteric philosophy would be made to appear. From the shock of the two — as opposed to the Cartesian system — emerge the truths of the Archaic doctrine. Both opposed the metaphysics of Descartes. His idea of the contrast of two substances — Extension and Thought — radically differing from each other and mutually irreducible, was too arbitrary and too unphilosophical for them. Thus Leibnitz made of the two Cartesian substances two attributes of one universal unity, in which he saw God. Spinoza recognised but one universal indivisible substance and absolute all, like Parabrahmam. Leibnitz, on the contrary perceived the existence of a plurality of substances. There was but one for Spinoza; for Leibnitz an infinitude of Beings, from, and in, the One. Hence, though both admitted but one real Entity, while Spinoza made it impersonal and indivisible, Leibnitz divided his personal Deity into a number of divine and semi-divine Beings. Spinoza was a subjective, Leibnitz an objective Pantheist, yet both were great philosophers in their intuitive perceptions.
Now, if these two teachings were blended together and each corrected by the other, — and foremost of all the One Reality weeded of its personality — there would remain as sum total a true spirit of esoteric philosophy in them; the impersonal, attributeless, absolute divine essence which is no “Being,” but the root of all being. Draw a deep line in your thought between that ever-incognizable essence, and the, as invisible, yet comprehensible Presence (Mulaprakriti), or Schekinah, from beyond and through which vibrates the Sound of the Verbum, and from which evolve the numberless hierarchies of intelligent Egos, of conscious as of semi-conscious, perceptive and apperceptive Beings, whose essence is spiritual Force, whose Substance is the Elements and whose Bodies (when needed) are the atoms — and our doctrine is there. For, says Leibnitz, “the primitive Element of every material body being Force, which has none of the characteristics of (objective) matter — it can be conceived but can never be the object of any imaginative representation.” That which was for him the primordial and ultimate element in every body and object was thus not the material atoms, or molecules, necessarily more or less extended, as those of Epicurus and Gassendi, but, as Mertz shows, immaterial and metaphysical atoms, ‘mathematical points’; or real souls, — as explained by Henri Lachelier (Professeur agrege de Philosophie), his French biographer. “That which exists outside of us in an absolute manner, are Souls whose essence is force,” (Monadologie, Introd.).
Thus, reality in the manifested world is composed of a unity of units, so to say, immaterial (from our stand-point) and infinite. This Leibnitz calls “Monads,” Eastern philosophy “Jivas” —and Occultism gives it, with the Kabalists and all the Christians, a variety of names.
Vol. 1, Page 630 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
They are with us, as with Leibnitz — “the expression of the universe,”* and every physical point is but the phenomenal expression of the noumenal, metaphysical point. His distinction between perception and apperception, is the philosophical though dim expression of the Esoteric teachings. His “reduced universes,” of which “there are as many as there are Monads” — is the chaotic representation of our Septenary System with its divisions and sub-divisions.
As to the relation his Monads bear to our Dhyan-Chohans, Cosmic Spirits, Devas and Elementals, we may reproduce briefly the opinion of a learned and thoughtful theosophist, Mr. H. A. Bjerregaard, on the subject. In an excellent paper “On the Elementals, the Elementary Spirits, and the relationship between them and Human Beings,” read by him before the “Aryan Theosophical Society of New York” (see Path, Nos. 10 and 11, of Jan. and Feb. 1887), Mr. Bjerregaard formulates distinctly his opinion. . . . . “To Spinoza, substance is dead and inactive, but to Leibnitz’s penetrating mind everything is living activity and active energy. In holding this view, he comes infinitely nearer the Orient than any other thinker of his day, or after him. His discovery that an active energy forms the essence of Substance is a principle that places him in direct relationship to the Seers of the East.”
And the lecturer proceeds to show that to Leibnitz atoms and elements are centres of force, or rather “spiritual beings whose very nature is to act,” for the elementary particles are not acting mechanically, but from an internal principle. They are incorporeal spiritual units (“substantial,” however, but not immaterial in our sense) inaccessible to all changes from without, and indestructible by any external force. Leibnitz’s monads, adds the lecturer, “differ from atoms in the following particulars, which are very important for us to remember, otherwise we shall not be able to see the difference between elementals and mere matter.” . . . . “Atoms are not distinguished from each other, they are qualitatively alike; but one monad differs from every other monad qualitatively; and every one is a peculiar world to itself. Not so with atoms; they are absolutely alike quantitatively and qualitatively, and possess no individuality of their own.† Again, the atoms (molecules,
* “Leibnitz’s Dynamism,” says Professor Lachelier, “would offer but little difficulty if, with him, the Monad had remained a simple atom of blind force. But . . . .” One perfectly understands the perplexity of modern materialism!
† Leibnitz was an absolute Idealist in maintaining that “material atoms are contrary to reason” (Systeme nouveau, Erdmann, p. 126. col. 2). For him matter was a simple representation of the monad, whether human or atomic. Monads, he thought (as we do), are everywhere. Thus the human soul is a monad, and every cell in the human body has its monad, as every cell in animal, vegetable, and even in the (so-called) inorganic bodies. His atoms are the molecules of modern Science, and his monads those simple [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 631 MAYA AND MAHAMAYA.
rather) of materialistic philosophy can be considered as extended and divisible, while the monads are mere mathematical points and indivisible. Finally, and this is a point where these monads of Leibnitz closely resemble the elementals of mystic philosophy — these monads are representative Beings. Every monad reflects every other. Every monad is a living mirror of the Universe within its own sphere. And mark this, for upon it depends the power possessed by these monads, and upon this depends the work they can do for us; in mirroring the world, the monads are not mere passive reflective agents, but spontaneously self-active; they produce the images spontaneously, as the soul does a dream. In every monad, therefore, the adept may read everything, even the future. Every monad or Elemental is a looking-glass that can speak. . .”
It is at this point that Leibnitz’s philosophy breaks down. There is no provision made, nor any distinction established, between the “Elemental” monad and that of a high Planetary Spirit, or even the human monad or Soul. He even goes so far as to sometimes doubt whether “God has ever made anything but Monads or substances without extension.” (Examen des Principes du P. Malebranche.) He draws a distinction between Monads and Atoms,* because, as he repeatedly states, “bodies with all their qualities are only phenomenal, like the rainbow. . . . Corpora omnia cum omnibus qualitatibus suis non sunt aliud quam phenomena bene fundata, ut Iris” (Letter to Father Desbosses, Correspondence, letter xviii.) — but soon after he finds a provision for this in a substantial correspondence, a certain metaphysical bond between the monads — vinculum substantiale. Esoteric philosophy, teaching an objective Idealism — though it regards the objective Universe and all in it as Maya, temporary illusion — draws a practical distinction between collective illusion, Mahamaya, from the purely metaphysical stand-point, and the objective relations in it between various conscious Egos so long as this illusion lasts. The adept, therefore, may read the future in an Elemental Monad, but he has to draw for this object a great number of them, as each monad represents only a portion of the Kingdom it belongs to. “It is not in the object, but in the modification of the cognition of the object that the Monads are limited. They all go confusedly to the infinite, to the all, but they are all limited and distinguished by the
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] atoms that materialistic Science takes on faith, though it will never succeed in interviewing them — except in imagination. But Leibnitz is rather contradictory in his views about Monads. He speaks of his Metaphysical Points and Formal Atoms, at one time as realities, occupying space; at another as pure Spiritual ideas; then again endows them with objectivity and aggregates and positions in their co-relations.
* The atoms of Leibnitz have, in truth, nothing but the name in common with the atoms of the Greek Materialists, or even the molecules of modern Science. He calls them formal atoms, and compares them to the substantial forms of Aristotle. (See Systeme Nouveau, § 3.)
Vol. 1, Page 632 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
degrees of distinct perceptions.” (§ 60, Monadologie.)* And as Leibnitz explains, “All the portions of the Universe are distinctly represented in the Monads, but some are reflected in one monad, some in another;” but a number of monads could represent simultaneously the thoughts of the two millions of inhabitants of Paris.
But what say the Occult Sciences to this, and what do they add?
They say that what is called collectively Monads by Leibnitz — roughly viewed, and leaving every subdivision out of calculation, for the present† — may be separated into three distinct Hosts, which, counted from the highest planes, are, firstly, “gods,” or conscious, spiritual Egos; the intelligent architects, who work after the plan in the Divine Mind. Then come the Elementals, or Monads, who form collectively and unconsciously the grand Universal Mirrors of everything connected with their respective realms. Lastly, the atoms, or material molecules, which are informed in their turn by their apperceptive monads, just as every cell in a human body is so informed. (See the closing pages of Book I.) There are shoals of such informed atoms which, in their turn, inform the molecules; an infinitude of monads, or Elementals proper, and countless spiritual Forces — Monadless, for they are pure incorporealities,‡ except under certain laws, when they assume a form — not necessarily human. Whence the substance that clothes them — the apparent organism they evolve around their centres? The Formless (“Arupa”) Radiations, existing in the harmony of Universal Will, and being what we term the collective or the aggregate of Cosmic Will on the plane of the subjective Universe, unite together an infinitude of monads — each the mirror of its own Universe — and thus individualize
* Leibnitz, like Aristotle, calls the created or emanated monads (the Elementals issued from Cosmic Spirits or Gods) — Entelechies, [[Entelecheia]] — and “incorporeal automata.” (§ 18, Monadologie.)
† These three “rough divisions” correspond to spirit, mind (or soul), and body, in the human constitution.
‡ Brother C. H. A. Bjerregaard, in his lecture (already mentioned), warns his audience not to regard the Sephiroth too much as individualities, but to avoid at the same time seeing in them abstractions. “We shall never arrive at the truth,” he says, “much less the power of associating with those celestials, until we return to the simplicity and fearlessness of the primitive ages, when men mixed freely with the gods, and the gods descended among men and guided them in truth and holiness” (No. 10, Path). . . . “There are several designations for ‘angels’ in the Bible which clearly show that beings like the Elementals of the Kabala and the monads of Leibnitz, must be understood by that term rather than that which is commonly understood. They are called ‘morning stars,’ ‘flaming fires,’ ‘the mighty ones,’ and St. Paul sees them in his cosmogonic vision as ‘Principalities and Powers.’ Such names as these preclude the idea of personality, and we find ourselves compelled to think of them as impersonal Existences . . . as an influence, a spiritual substance, or conscious Force.” (Path, No. 11, p. 322.)
Vol. 1, Page 633 THE WHEELS OF LIFE.
for the time being an independent mind, omniscient and universal; and by the same process of magnetic aggregation they create for themselves objective, visible bodies, out of the interstellar atoms. For atoms and Monads, associated or dissociated, simple or complex, are, from the moment of the first differentiation, but the principles, corporeal, psychic and Spiritual, of the “Gods,” — themselves the Radiations of primordial nature. Thus, to the eye of the Seer, the higher Planetary Powers appear under two aspects: the subjective — as influences, and the objective — as mystic forms, which, under Karmic law, become a Presence, Spirit and Matter being One, as repeatedly stated. Spirit is matter on the seventh plane; matter is Spirit — on the lowest point of its cyclic activity; and both — are Maya.
Atoms are called “Vibrations” in Occultism; also “Sound” — collectively. This does not interfere with Mr. Tyndall’s scientific discovery. He traced, on the lower rung of the ladder of monadic being, the whole course of the atmospheric vibrations —and this constitutes the objective part of the process in nature. He has traced and recorded the rapidity of their motion and transmission; the force of their impact; their setting up vibrations in the tympanum and their transmission of these to the stolithes, etc., etc., till the vibration of the auditory nerve commences — and a new phenomenon now takes place: the subjective side of the process or the sensation of Sound. Does he perceive or see it? No; for his speciality is to discover the behaviour of matter. But why should not a psychic see it, a spiritual seer, whose inner Eye is opened, and who can see through the veil of matter? The waves and undulations of Science are all produced by atoms propelling their molecules into activity from within. Atoms fill the immensity of Space, and by their continuous vibration are that motion which keeps the wheels of Life perpetually going. It is that inner work that produces the natural phenomena called the correlation of Forces. Only, at the origin of every such “force,” there stands the conscious guiding noumenon thereof — Angel or God, Spirit or Demon — ruling powers, yet the same.
As described by Seers — those who can see the motion of the interstellar shoals, and follow them in their evolution clairvoyantly — they are dazzling, like specks of virgin snow in radiant sunlight. Their velocity is swifter than thought, quicker than any mortal physical eye could follow, and, as well as can be judged from the tremendous rapidity of their course, the motion is circular. . . . . Standing on an open plain, on a mountain summit especially, and gazing into the vast vault above and the spacial infinitudes around, the whole atmosphere seems ablaze with them, the air soaked through with these dazzling coruscations. At times, the intensity of their motion produces flashes
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like the Northern lights during the Aurora Borealis. The sight is so marvellous, that, as the Seer gazes into this inner world, and feels the scintillating points shoot past him, he is filled with awe at the thought of other, still greater mysteries, that lie beyond, and within, this radiant ocean. . . . .
However imperfect and incomplete this explanation on “Gods, Monads and Atoms,” it is hoped that some students and theosophists, at least, will feel that there may be indeed a close relation between materialistic Science, and Occultism, which is the complement and missing soul of the former.