The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 1
Vol. 1, Page 238 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
STANZA VII. — Continued.
(5) The spark hangs from the flame by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven Worlds of Maya (a). It stops in the first (Kingdom), and is a metal and a stone; it passes into the second (Kingdom), and behold — a plant; the plant whirls through seven forms and becomes a sacred animal; (the first shadow of the physical man) (b).
From the combined attributes of these, manu (man), the thinker, is formed.
Who forms him? The seven lives; and the one life (c). Who completes him? The fivefold Lha. And who perfects the last body? Fish, sin, and soma (the moon) (d).
(a) The phrase “through the seven Worlds of Maya” refers here to the seven globes of the planetary chain and the seven rounds, or the 49 stations of active existence that are before the “Spark” or Monad, at the beginning of every “Great Life-Cycle” or Manvantara. The “thread of Fohat” is the thread of life before referred to.
This relates to the greatest problem of philosophy — the physical and substantial nature of life, the independent nature of which is denied by modern science because that science is unable to comprehend it. The reincarnationists and believers in Karma alone dimly perceive that the whole secret of Life is in the unbroken series of its manifestations: whether in, or apart from, the physical body. Because if —
“Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity” —
yet it is itself part and parcel of that Eternity; for life alone can understand life.
What is that “Spark” which “hangs from the flame?” It is Jiva, the monad in conjunction with manas, or rather its aroma — that which remains from each personality, when worthy, and hangs from Atma-Buddhi, the Flame, by the thread of life. In whatever way interpreted, and into whatever number of principles the human being is divided, it may easily be shown that this doctrine is supported by all the ancient
Vol. 1, Page 239 CHALDEAN METAPHYSICS.
religions, from the Vedic to the Egyptian, from the Zoroastrian to the Jewish. In the case of the last-mentioned, the Kabalistic works offer abundant proof of this statement. The entire system of the Kabalistic numerals is based on the divine septenary hanging from the Triad (thus forming the Decade) and its permutations 7, 5, 4, and 3, which, finally, all merge into the one itself: an endless and boundless Circle.
“The Deity (the ever Invisible Presence),” says the Zohar, “manifests itself through the ten Sephiroth which are its radiating witnesses. The Deity is like the Sea from which outflows a stream called wisdom, the waters of which fall into a lake named Intelligence. From the basin, like seven channels, issue the Seven Sephiroth. . . . . For ten equal seven: the Decade contains four Unities and three Binaries.” The ten Sephiroth correspond to the limbs of man. “When I framed Adam Kadmon,” the Elohim are made to say, “the Spirit of the Eternal shot out of his Body like a sheet of lightning that radiated at once on the billows of the Seven millions of skies, and my ten splendours were his limbs.” But neither the Head nor the shoulders of Adam-Kadmon can be seen; therefore we read in the Sephra Dzenioutha (the “Book of the Concealed Mystery”): —
“In the beginning of Time, after the Elohim (the “Sons of Light and Life,” or the “Builders”) had shaped out of the eternal Essence the Heavens and the Earth, they formed the worlds six by six, the seventh being Malkuth, which is our Earth (see Mantuan Codex) on its plane, and the lowest on all the other planes of conscious existence. The Chaldean Book of Numbers contains a detailed explanation of all this. “The first triad of the body of Adam Kadmon (the three upper planes of the seven*) cannot be seen before the soul stands in the presence of the Ancient of Days.” The Sephiroth of this upper triad are: — “1, Kether (the Crown) represented by the brow of Macroprosopos; 2, Chochmah (Wisdom, a male Principle) by his right shoulder; and 3, Binah (Intelligence, a female Principle) by the left shoulder.” Then come the seven limbs (or Sephiroth) on the planes of manifestation, the totality of these four planes being represented by Microprosopus (the
* The formation of the “living Soul” or man, would render the idea more clearly. “A Living Soul” is a synonym of man in the Bible. These are our seven “Principles.”
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lesser Face) or Tetragrammaton, the “four-lettered” Mystery. “The seven manifested and the three concealed limbs are the Body of the Deity.”
Thus our Earth, Malkuth, is both the Seventh and the Fourth world, the former when counting from the first globe above, the latter if reckoned by the planes. It is generated by the sixth globe or Sephiroth called Yezod, “foundation,” or as said in the Book of Numbers “by Yezod, He (Adam Kadmon) fecundates the primitive Heva” (Eve or our Earth). Rendered in mystic language this is the explanation why Malkuth, called “the inferior Mother,” Matrona, Queen, and the Kingdom of the Foundation, is shown as the Bride of Tetragrammaton or Microprosopus (the 2nd Logos) the Heavenly Man. When free from all impurity she will become united with the Spiritual Logos, i.e., in the 7th Race of the 7th Round — after the regeneration, on the day of “Sabbath.” For the “seventh day” has again an occult significance undreamt of by our theologians.
“When Matronitha, the Mother, is separated and brought face to face with the King, in the excellence of the Sabbath, all things become one body,” says verse 746, in chapter xxii. of “Ha Idra Zuta Kadisha.” “Becomes one body” means that all is reabsorbed once more into the one element, the spirits of men becoming Nirvanees and the elements of everything else becoming again what they were before — protyle or undifferentiated substance. “Sabbath” means rest or Nirvana. It is not the seventh day after six days but a period the duration of which equals that of the seven “days” or any period made up of seven parts. Thus a pralaya is equal in duration to the manwantara, or a night of Brahma is equal to this “day.” If the Christians will follow Jewish customs they ought to adopt the spirit and not the dead letter thereof: i.e., to work one week of seven days and rest seven days. That the word “Sabbath” had a mystic significance is shown in the contempt shown by Jesus for the Sabbath day, and by what is said in Luke xviii. 12. Sabbath is there taken for the whole week. (See Greek text where the week is called Sabbath. “I fast twice in the Sabbath.”) Paul, an Initiate, knew it well when referring to the eternal rest and felicity in heaven, as Sabbath; “and their happiness will be eternal, for they will ever be (one) with the Lord and will enjoy an eternal Sabbath.” (Hebrew iv. 2.)
Vol. 1, Page 241 THE TRUE AND THE FALSE KABALA.
The difference between the two systems, taking the Kabala as contained in the Chaldean Book of Numbers, not as misrepresented by its now disfigured copy, the Kabala of the Christian mystics —the Kabala and the archaic esoteric Vidya, is very small indeed, being confined to unimportant divergences of form and expression. Thus Eastern occultism refers to our earth as the fourth world, the lowest of the chain, above which run upward on both its sides the six globes, three on each side. The Zohar, on the other hand, calls the earth the lower, or the Seventh, adding that upon the six depend all things which are in it, “Microprosopus.” The “smaller face,” smaller because manifested and finite, “is formed of six Sephiroth,” says the same work. “Seven kings come and die in the thrice-destroyed world” — (Malkuth our earth, destroyed after each of the three rounds which it has gone through). “And their reign (of the seven kings) will be broken up.” (Book of Numbers, 1. viii., 3.) This relates to the Seven Races, five of which have already appeared, and two more have still to appear in this Round.
The Shinto allegorical accounts of Cosmogony and the origin of man in Japan hint at the same belief.
Captain C. Pfoundes studied for nearly nine years in the monasteries of Japan the religion underlying the various sects of the land. . . . . . “The Shinto idea of creation,” he says, “is as follows: Out of chaos (Konton) the earth (in) was the sediment precipitated, and the Heavens (yo) the ethereal essences which ascended: Maa (jin) appeared between the two. The first man was called Kuni-to ko tatchi-no-mikoto, and five other names were given to him, and then the human race appeared, male and female. Isanagi and Isanami begat Tenshoko doijin, the first of the five gods of the Earth.” These “gods” are simply our five races, Isanagi and Isanami being the two kinds of the “ancestors,” the two preceding races which give birth to animal and to rational man.
It will be shown (Vol. II. Pt. II.) that the number seven, as well as the doctrine of the septenary constitution of man, was pre-eminent in all the secret systems. It plays as important a part in Western Kabala as in Eastern Occultism. Eliphas Levi calls the number seven “the key to the Mosaic creation and the symbols of every religion.” He shows the Kabala following faithfully even the septenary division of man, as the diagram he gives in his “Clef des Grands Mysteres” is septenary. This
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may be seen at a glance on page 389, “Une prophetie et diverses pensees de Paracelse,” however cleverly the correct thought is veiled. One needs also only to look at the diagram (Plate VII. in Mr. Mathers’ Kabala) “the formation of the Soul”* from the same “Key of the Great Mysteries” by Levi to find the same, though with a different interpretation.
Thus it stands with both the Kabalistic and the Occult names attached: —
Footnote(s) to diagram ———————————————
* Nephesch is the “breath of (animal) life” breathed into Adam, the man of dust; it is consequently the Vital Spark, the informing element. Without Manas, or what is miscalled in Levi’s diagram Nephesch instead of Manas, “the reasoning Soul,” or mind, Atma-Buddhi are irrational on this plane and cannot act. It is Buddhi which is the plastic mediator, not Manas, “the intelligent medium between the upper Triad and the lower Quaternary.” But there are many such strange and curious transformations to be found in the Kabalistic works — a convincing proof that its literature has become a sad jumble. We do not accept the classification except in this one particular, in order to show the points of agreement.
Vol. 1, Page 243 OCCULT AND KABALISTIC DOCTRINES.
We will now give in tabular form what the very cautious Eliphas Levi says in explanation of his diagram, and what the Esoteric Doctrine teaches — and compare the two. Levi, too, makes a distinction between Kabalistic and Occult Pneumatics. (See “Histoire de la Magic,” pp. 388, 389.)
Says Eliphas Levi, the Kabalist: —
1. The Soul (or ego) is a clothed light; and this light is triple.
2. Neschamah — “pure Spirit.”
3. Ruach — the Soul or Spirit.
4. Nephesch — plastic mediator.†
5. The garment of the Soul is the rind (body) of the image (astral Soul).
6. The image is double, because it reflects the good as the bad.
7. Imago, body.
As given by Eliphas Levi.
1. Nephesh is immortal because it renews its life by the destruction of forms.
[But Nephesh, the “breath of
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Say the Theosophists: —
1. Ditto, for it is Atma-Buddhi-Manas.
3. Spiritual Soul.
4. Mediator between Spirit and its Man, the Seat of Reason, the Mind, in man.
6. Too uselessly apocalyptic. Why not say that the astral reflects the good as well as the bad man; man, who is ever tending to the upper triangle, or else disappears with the Quaternary.
7. Ditto, the earthly image.
As given by the Occultists.
1. Manas is immortal, because after every new incarnation it adds to Atma-Buddhi something of itself, and
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* Eliphas Levi has, whether purposely or otherwise, confused the numbers: with us his No. 2 is No. 1. (Spirit); and by making of Nephesch both the plastic mediator and Life, he thus makes in reality only six principles, because he repeats the first two.
† Esotericism teaches the same. But Manas is not Nephesch; nor is the latter the astral, but the 4th principle, if also the 2nd prana, for Nephesch is the “breath of life” in man, as in beast or insect, of physical, material life, which has no spirituality in it.
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life,” is a misnomer and a useless puzzle to the student.]
2. Ruach progresses by the evolution of ideas (! ?).
3. Neschamah is progressive without oblivion and destruction.
4. The soul has three dwellings.
5. These dwellings are: the plane of the mortals: the Superior Eden; and the Inferior Eden.
6. The image (man) is a sphinx that offers the riddle of birth.
7. The fatal image (the astral) endows Nephesch with its aptitudes; but Ruach is able to substitute for this (vitiated) Nephesch the image
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thus, assimilating itself to the Monad, shares its immortality.
2. Buddhi becomes conscious by the accretions it gets from Manas after every new incarnation and the death of man.
3. Atma neither progresses, forgets, nor remembers. It does not belong to this plane: it is but the ray of light eternal which shines upon and through the darkness of matter — when the latter is willing.
4. The Soul (collectively, as the upper Triad) lives on three planes, besides its fourth, the terrestrial sphere; and it exists eternally on the highest of the three.
5. These dwellings are: Earth for the physical man, or the animal Soul; Kama-loka (Hades, the Limbo) for the disembodied man, or his Shell; Devachan for the higher Triad.
7. The astral through Kama (desire) is ever drawing Manas down into the sphere of material passions and desires. But if the better man
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Vol. 1, Page 245 OCCULTISTS AND KABALISTS DIFFER.
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conquered in accordance with the inspirations of Neschamah.
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or Manas tries to escape the fatal attraction and turns its aspirations to Atma — Spirit — then Buddhi (Ruach) conquers, and carries Manas with it to the realm of eternal Spirit.
It is very evident that the French Kabalist either did not know sufficiently the real tenet, or distorted it to suit himself and his object. Thus he says again, treating upon the same subject, and we, Occultists, answer the late Kabalist and his admirers: —
1. The body is the mould of Nephesch; Nephesch the mould of Ruach; Ruach the mould of the garments of Neschamah.
2. Light (the Soul) personifies in clothing itself (with a body); and personality endures only when the garment is perfect.
3. The angels aspire to become men; a perfect man, a man-god is above all the angels.
4. Every 14,000 years the soul rejuvenates and rests in the jubilean sleep of oblivion.
1. The body follows the whims, good or bad, of Manas; Manas tries to follow the light of Buddhi, but often fails. Buddhi is the mould of the “garments” of Atma, because Atma is no body, or shape, or anything, and because Buddhi is its vehicle only figuratively.
2. The Monad becomes a personal ego when it incarnates; and something remains of that personality through Manas, when the latter is perfect enough to assimilate Buddhi.
4. Within a period, “a great age” or a day of Brahma, 14 Manus reign; after which comes Pralaya when all the Souls rest in Nirvana. (Souls = Egos).
Vol. 1, Page 246 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Such are the distorted copies of the esoteric doctrine in the Kabala. But see also “The Primeval Manus of Humanity” in Book II.
To return to Stanza VII.
(b) The well-known Kabalistic aphorism runs: — “A stone becomes a plant; a plant, a beast; the beast, a man; a man a spirit; and the spirit a god.” The “spark” animates all the kingdoms in turn before it enters into and informs divine man, between whom and his predecessor, animal man, there is all the difference in the world. Genesis begins its anthropology at the wrong end (evidently for a blind) and lands nowhere.* Had it begun as it ought, one would have found in it, first, the celestial Logos, the “Heavenly Man,” which evolves as a Compound Unit of Logoi, out of whom after their pralayic sleep — a sleep that gathers the cyphers scattered on the Mayavic plane into One, as the separate globules of quicksilver on a plate blend into one mass — the Logoi appear in their totality as the first “male and female” or Adam Kadmon, the “Fiat Lux” of the Bible, as we have already seen. But this transformation did not take place on our Earth, nor on any material plane, but in the Spacial Depths of the first differentiation of the eternal Root-matter. On our nascent globe things proceed differently. The Monad or Jiva, as said in “Isis Unveiled,” vol. i., p. 302, is, first of all, shot down by the law of Evolution into the lowest form of matter — the mineral. After a sevenfold gyration encased in the stone (or that which will become mineral and stone in the Fourth Round), it creeps out of it, say, as a lichen. Passing thence, through all the forms of vegetable matter, into what is termed animal matter, it has now reached the point in which it has become the germ, so to speak, of the
* The introductory chapters of Genesis were never meant to represent even a remote allegory of the creation of our Earth. They embrace a metaphysical conception of some indefinite period in the eternity, when successive attempts were being made by the law of evolution at the formation of universes. The idea is plainly stated in the Zohar: “There were old worlds, which perished as soon as they came into existence, were formless, and were called Sparks. Thus, the smith, when hammering the iron, lets the sparks fly in all directions. The sparks are the primordial worlds, which could not continue because the Sacred Aged (Sephira) had not as yet assumed its form (of androgyne, or opposite sexes) of King and Queen (Sephira and Kadmon), and the Master was not yet at his work.” See Zohar, “Idra Suta,” Book iii., p. 292, b. The Supreme consulting with the Architect of the world — his Logos — about creation. (“Isis Unveiled,” vol. ii., p. 421.)
Vol. 1, Page 247 SPIRIT ALONE IS HELPLESS ON EARTH.
animal, that will become the physical man. All this, up to the Third Round, is formless, as matter, and senseless, as consciousness. For the Monad or Jiva per se cannot be even called spirit: it is a ray, a breath of the Absolute, or the Absoluteness rather, and the Absolute Homogeneity, having no relations with the conditioned and relative finiteness, is unconscious on our plane. Therefore, besides the material which will be needed for its future human form, the monad requires (a) a spiritual model, or prototype, for that material to shape itself into; and (b) an intelligent consciousness to guide its evolution and progress, neither of which is possessed by the homogeneous monad, or by senseless though living matter. The Adam of dust requires the Soul of Life to be breathed into him: the two middle principles, which are the sentient life of the irrational animal and the Human Soul, for the former is irrational without the latter. It is only when, from a potential androgyne, man has become separated into male and female, that he will be endowed with this conscious, rational, individual Soul, (Manas) “the principle, or the intelligence, of the Elohim,” to receive which, he has to eat of the fruit of Knowledge from the Tree of Good and Evil. How is he to obtain all this? The Occult doctrine teaches that while the monad is cycling on downward into matter, these very Elohim — or Pitris, the lower Dhyan-Chohans — are evolving pari passu with it on a higher and more spiritual plane, descending also relatively into matter on their own plane of consciousness, when, after having reached a certain point, they will meet the incarnating senseless monad, encased in the lowest matter, and blending the two potencies, Spirit and Matter, the union will produce that terrestrial symbol of the “Heavenly Man” in space — perfect man. In the Sankhya philosophy, Purusha (spirit) is spoken of as something impotent unless he mounts on the shoulders of Prakriti (matter), which, left alone, is — senseless. But in the secret philosophy they are viewed as graduated. Though one and the same thing in their origin, Spirit and Matter, when once they are on the plane of differentiation, begin each of them their evolutionary progress in contrary directions — Spirit falling gradually into matter, and the latter ascending to its original condition, that of a pure spiritual substance. Both are inseparable, yet ever separated. In polarity, on the physical plane, two like poles will always repel each other, while the negative and the positive are mutually attracted, so do Spirit and Matter stand to each other — the two poles of the same homogeneous substance, the root-principle of the universe.
Vol. 1, Page 248 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Therefore, when the hour strikes for Purusha to mount on Prakriti’s shoulders for the formation of the Perfect Man — rudimentary man of the first 2 1/2 Races being only the first, gradually evolving into the most perfect of mammals —the Celestial “Ancestors” (Entities from preceding worlds, called in India the Sishta) step in on this our plane, as the Pitris had stepped in before them for the formation of the physical or animal-man, and incarnate in the latter. Thus the two processes — for the two creations: the animal and the divine man — differ greatly. The Pitris shoot out from their ethereal bodies, still more ethereal and shadowy similitudes of themselves, or what we should now call “doubles,” or “astral forms,” in their own likeness.* This furnishes the Monad with its first dwelling, and blind matter with a model around and upon which to build henceforth. But Man is still incomplete. From Swayambhuva Manu (in Manu, Book I.), from whom descended the seven primitive Manus or Prajapati, each of whom gave birth to a primitive race of men, down to the Codex Nazareus, in which Karabtanos or Fetahil (blind concupiscent matter) begets on his Mother, “Spiritus,” seven figures, each of which stands as the progenitor of one of the primaeval seven races — this doctrine has left its impress on every Archaic Scripture.
“Who forms Manu (the Man) and who forms his body? The Life and the Lives. Sin† and the Moon.” Here Manu stands for the spiritual, heavenly man, the real and non-dying Ego in us, which is the direct emanation of the “One Life” or the Absolute Deity. As to our outward physical bodies, the house of the tabernacle of the Soul, the Doctrine teaches a strange lesson; so strange that unless thoroughly explained and as rightly comprehended, it is only the exact Science of the future that is destined to vindicate the theory fully.
It has been stated before now that Occultism does not accept anything inorganic in the Kosmos. The expression employed by Science, “inorganic substance,” means simply that the latent life slumbering in the molecules of so-called “inert matter” is incognizable. All is Life, and every atom of even mineral dust is a Life, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the
* Read in Isis, vol. ii., pp. 297-303, the doctrine of the Codex Nazaraeus — every tenet of our teaching is found there under a different form and allegory.
† The word “Sin” is curious, but has a particular Occult relation to the Moon, besides being its Chaldean equivalent.
Vol. 1, Page 249 MATTER, LIFE AND SUBSTANCE.
laws known to those who reject Occultism. “The very Atoms,” says Tyndall, “seem instinct with a desire for life.” Whence, then, we would ask, comes the tendency “to run into organic form”? Is it in any way explicable except according to the teachings of Occult Science?
“The worlds, to the profane,” says a Commentary, “are built up of the known Elements. To the conception of an Arhat, these Elements are themselves collectively a divine Life; distributively, on the plane of manifestations, the numberless and countless crores of lives.* Fire alone is ONE, on the plane of the One
* Is Pasteur unconsciously taking the first step toward Occult Science in declaring that, if he dared express his full idea upon this subject, he would say that the Organic cells are endowed with a vital potency that does not cease its activity with the cessation of a current of Oxygen towards them, and does not, on that account, break off its relations with life itself, which is supported by the influence of that gas? “I would add,” goes on Pasteur, “that the evolution of the germ is accomplished by means of complicated phenomena, among which we must class processes of fermentation”; and life, according to Claude Bernard and Pasteur, is nothing else than a process of fermentation. That there exist in Nature Beings or Lives that can live and thrive without air, even on our globe, was demonstrated by the same men of science. Pasteur found that many of the lower lives, such as Vibriones, and some microbes and bacteria, could exist without air, which, on the contrary, killed them. They derived the oxygen necessary for their multiplication from the various substances that surround them. He calls them AErobes, living on the tissues of our matter when the latter has ceased to form a part of an integral and living whole (then called very unscientifically by science “dead matter”), and Anaerobes. The one kind binds oxygen, and contributes vastly to the destruction of animal life and vegetable tissues, furnishing to the atmosphere materials which enter later on into the constitution of other organisms; the other destroys, or rather annihilates finally, the so-called organic substance; ultimate decay being impossible without their participation. Certain germ-cells, such as those of yeast, develop and multiply in air, but when deprived of it, they will adapt themselves to life without air and become ferments, absorbing oxygen from substances coming in contact with them, and thereby ruining the latter. The cells in fruit, when lacking free oxygen, act as ferments and stimulate fermentation. “Therefore the vegetable cell manifests in this case its life as an anaerobic being. Why, then, should an organic cell form in this case an exception”? asks Professor Bogolubof. Pasteur shows that in the substance of our tissues and organs, the cell, not finding sufficient oxygen for itself, stimulates fermentation in the same way as the fruit-cell, and Claude Bernard thought that Pasteur’s idea of the formation of ferments found its application and corroboration in the fact that Urea increases in the blood during strangulation: Life therefore is everywhere in the Universe, and, Occultism teaches us, it is also in the atom. Also see infra, at the close of this Section.
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Reality: on that of manifested, hence illusive, being, its particles are fiery lives which live and have their being at the expense of every other life that they consume. Therefore they are named the “DEVOURERS.”. . . “Every visible thing in this Universe was built by such LIVES, from conscious and divine primordial man down to the unconscious agents that construct matter.” . . . “From the ONE LIFE formless and Uncreate, proceeds the Universe of lives. First was manifested from the Deep (Chaos) cold luminous fire (gaseous light?) which formed the curds in Space.” (Irresolvable nebulae, perhaps?). . . . . . . “. . . These fought, and a great heat was developed by the encountering and collision, which produced rotation. Then came the first manifested MATERIAL, Fire, the hot flames, the wanderers in heaven (comets); heat generates moist vapour; that forms solid water (?); then dry mist, then liquid mist, watery, that puts out the luminous brightness of the pilgrims (comets?) and forms solid watery wheels (MATTER globes). Bhumi (the Earth) appears with six sisters.* These produce by their continuous motion the inferior fire, heat, and an aqueous mist, which yields the third World-Element — WATER; and from the breath of all (atmospheric) AIR is born. These four are the four lives of the first four periods (Rounds) of Manvantara. The three last will follow.”
This means that every new Round develops one of the Compound Elements, as now known to Science, — which rejects the primitive nomenclature, preferring to subdivide them into constituents. If Nature is the “Ever-becoming” on the manifested plane, then those Elements are to be regarded in the same light: they have to evolve, progress, and increase to the Manvantaric end. Thus the First Round, we are taught, developed but one Element, and a nature and humanity in what may be called one aspect of Nature — called by some, very unscientifically, though it may be so de facto, “One-dimensional Space.”
* It is a Vedic teaching that “there are three Earths corresponding to three Heavens, and our Earth (the fourth) is called Bhumi.” This is the explanation given by our exoteric Western Orientalists. But the esoteric meaning and allusion to it in the Vedas is that it refers to our planetary chain, three “Earths” on the descending arc, and three “heavens” which are the three Earths or globes also, only far more ethereal, on the ascending or spiritual arc: by the first three we descend into matter, by the other three we ascend into Spirit; the lower one, Bhumi, our Earth, forming the turning point, so to say, and containing potentially as much of Spirit as it does of Matter. We shall treat of this hereafter.
Vol. 1, Page 251 THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF SPACE.
The Second Round brought forth and developed two Elements — Fire and Earth — and its humanity, adapted to this condition of Nature, if we can give the name Humanity to beings living under conditions unknown to men, was — to use again a familiar phrase in a strictly figurative sense (the only way in which it can be used correctly) — “a two-dimensional species.” The processes of natural development which we are now considering will at once elucidate and discredit the fashion of speculating on the attributes of the two, three, and four or more “dimensional Space;” but in passing, it is worth while to point out the real significance of the sound but incomplete intuition that has prompted — among Spiritualists and Theosophists, and several great men of Science, for the matter of that* — the use of the modern expression, “the fourth dimension of Space.” To begin with, of course, the superficial absurdity of assuming that Space itself is measurable in any direction is of little consequence. The familiar phrase can only be an abbreviation of the fuller form — the “Fourth dimension of matter in Space.”† But it is an unhappy phrase even thus expanded, because while it is perfectly true that the progress of evolution may be destined to introduce us to new characteristics of matter, those with which we are already familiar are really more numerous than the three dimensions. The faculties, or what is perhaps the best available term, the characteristics of matter, must clearly bear a direct relation always to the senses of man. Matter has extension, colour, motion (molecular motion), taste, and smell, corresponding to the existing senses of man, and by the time that it fully develops the next characteristic — let us call it for the moment Permeability — this will correspond to the next sense of man — let us call it “Normal Clairvoyance;” thus, when some bold thinkers have been thirsting for a fourth dimension to explain the passage of matter through matter, and the production of knots upon an endless cord, what they were really in want of, was a sixth characteristic of matter. The three dimensions belong really but to one attribute or characteristic of matter — extension; and
* Professor Zollner’s theory has been more than welcomed by several Scientists — who are Spiritualists — Professors Butlerof and Wagner, of St. Petersburg, for instance.
† “The giving reality to abstractions is the error of Realism. Space and Time are frequently viewed as separated from all the concrete experiences of the mind, instead of being generalizations of these in certain aspects.” (Bain, Logic, Part II., p. 389.)
Vol. 1, Page 252 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
popular common sense justly rebels against the idea that under any condition of things there can be more than three of such dimensions as length, breadth, and thickness. These terms, and the term “dimension” itself, all belong to one plane of thought, to one stage of evolution, to one characteristic of matter. So long as there are foot-rules within the resources of Kosmos, to apply to matter, so long will they be able to measure it three ways and no more; and from the time the idea of measurement first occupied a place in the human understanding, it has been possible to apply measurement in three directions and no more. But these considerations do not militate in any way against the certainty that in the progress of time — as the faculties of humanity are multiplied — so will the characteristics of matter be multiplied also. Meanwhile, the expression is far more incorrect than even the familiar one of the “Sun rising or setting.”
We now return to the consideration of material evolution through the Rounds. Matter in the second Round, it has been stated, may be figuratively referred to as two-dimensional. But here another caveat must be entered. That loose and figurative expression may be regarded — in one plane of thought, as we have just seen — as equivalent to the second characteristic of matter corresponding to the second perceptive faculty or sense of man. But these two linked scales of evolution are concerned with the processes going on within the limits of a single Round. The succession of primary aspects of Nature with which the succession of Rounds is concerned, has to do, as already indicated, with the development of the “Elements” (in the Occult sense) — Fire, Air, Water,* Earth. We are only in the fourth Round, and our catalogue so far stops short. The centres of consciousness (destined to develop into humanity as we know it) of the third Round arrived at a perception of the third Element Water.† Those of the fourth Round have added
* The order in which these Elements are placed above is the correct one for esoteric purposes and in the Secret Teachings. Milton was right when he spoke of the “Powers of Fire, Air, Water, Earth”; the Earth, such as we know it now, had no existence before the 4th Round, hundreds of million years ago, the commencement of our geological Earth. The globe was “fiery, cool and radiant as its ethereal men and animals during the first Round,” says the Commentary, uttering a contradiction or paradox in the opinion of our present Science; “luminous and more dense and heavy — during the second Round; watery during the Third!” Thus are the elements reversed.
† If we had to frame our conclusions according to the data furnished to us by the [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 253 THE GREAT ARCHAEUS.
earth as a state of matter to their stock as well as the three other elements in their present transformation. In short, none of the so-called elements were, in the three preceding Rounds, as they are now. For all we know, fire may have been pure akasa, the first Matter of the Magnum Opus of the Creators and “Builders,” that Astral Light which the paradoxical Eliphas Levi calls in one breath “the body of the Holy Ghost,” and in the next “Baphomet,” the “Androgyne Goat of Mendes”*; air, simply
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] geologists, then we would say that there was no real water — even during the Carboniferous period. We are told that gigantic masses of carbon, which existed formerly spread in the atmosphere as Carbonic Acid, were absorbed by plants, while a large proportion of that gas was mixed in the water. Now, if this be so, and we have to believe that all the Carbonic Acid which went to compose those plants that formed bituminous coal, lignite, etc., and went towards the formation of limestone, and so on, that all this was at that period in the atmosphere in gaseous form, then, there must have been seas and oceans of liquid carbonic acid? But how then could the carboniferous period be preceded by the Devonian and Silurian ages — those of Fishes and Molluscs — on that assumption? Barometric pressure, moreover, must have exceeded several hundred times the pressure of our present atmosphere. How could organisms, even so simple as those of certain fishes and molluscs, stand that? There is a curious work by Blanchard, on the Origin of Life, wherein he shows some strange contradictions and confusions in the theories of his colleagues, and which we recommend to the reader’s attention.
* Eliphas Levi shows it very truly “a force in Nature,” by means of which “a single man who can master it . . . might throw the world into confusion and transform its face”; for it is the “great Arcanum of transcendent Magic.” Quoting the words of the great Western Kabalist in their translated form (see The Mysteries of Magic, by A. E. Waite), we may explain them perhaps the better by the occasional addition of a word or two to show the difference between Western and Eastern explanations of the same subject. The Author says of the great Magic Agent — “This ambient and all-penetrating fluid, this ray detached from the (Central or ‘Spiritual’) Sun’s splendour . . . fixed by the weight of the atmosphere (?!) and the power of central attraction . . . the Astral Light, this electromagnetic ether, this vital and luminous caloric, is represented on ancient monuments by the girdle of Isis which twines round two poles . . . and in ancient theogonies by the serpent devouring its own tail, emblem of prudence and of Saturn” — emblem of infinity, immortality, and Kronos — “Time” — not the god Saturn or the planet. “It is the winged dragon of Medea, the double serpent of the caduceus, and the tempter of Genesis; but it is also the brazen snake of Moses encircling the Tau . . . lastly, it is the devil of exoteric dogmatism, and is really the blind force (it is not blind, and Levi knew it), which souls must conquer in order to detach themselves from the chains of Earth; ‘for if they should not,’ they will be absorbed by the same power which first produced them and will return to the central and eternal fire.” This great archaeus is now discovered by, and only for one man — Mr. J. W. Keeley, of [[Footnote continued on next page]]
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Nitrogen, “the breath of the Supporters of the Heavenly Dome,” as the Mahometan mystics call it; water, that primordial fluid which was required, according to Moses, to make a living soul with. And this may account for the flagrant discrepancies and unscientific statements found in Genesis. Separate the first from the second chapter; read the former as a scripture of the Elohists, and the latter as that of the far younger Jehovists; still one finds, if one reads between the lines, the same order in which things created appear — namely, Fire (light), Air, Water, and man (or the Earth). For the sentence: “In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth” is a mistranslation; it is not “Heaven and Earth,” but the duplex or dual Heaven, the upper and the lower Heavens, or the separation of primordial substance that was light in its upper and dark in its lower portions — or the manifested Universe — in its duality of the invisible (to the senses) and the visible to our perceptions. God divided the light from the Darkness (v. 4); and then made the firmament, air (5), “a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters,” (6), i.e., “the waters which were under the firmament (our manifested visible Universe) from the waters above the firmament,” or the (to us) invisible planes of being. In the second chapter (the Jehovistic), plants and herbs are created before water, just as in the first, light is produced before the Sun. “God made the Earth and the Heavens and every plant of the field before it was in the Earth and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Elohim (‘gods’) had not caused it to rain upon the earth, etc.” (v. 5) — an absurdity unless the esoteric explanation is accepted. The plants were created before they were in the earth — for there was no earth then such as it is now; and the herb of the field was in existence before it grew as it does now in the fourth Round.
Discussing and explaining the nature of the invisible Elements and the “primordial fire” mentioned above, Eliphas Levi calls it invariably the “Astral Light.” It is the “grand Agent Magique” with him; undeniably it is so, but — only so far as Black Magic is concerned, and
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] Philadelphia. For others, however, it is discovered, yet must remain almost useless. “So far shalt thou go. . . .”
All the above is as practical as it is correct, save one error, which we will explain in the text further on. Eliphas Levi commits a great blunder in always identifying the Astral Light with what we call Akasa. What it really is will be given in Part II. of Vol. II.
Vol. 1, Page 255 BUT WHY SLANDER THE INDIAN HIEROPHANTS?
on the lowest planes of what we call Ether, the noumenon of which is Akasa; and even this would be held incorrect by orthodox Occultists. The “Astral Light” is simply the older “sidereal Light” of Paracelsus; and to say that “everything which exists has been evolved from it, and it preserves and reproduces all forms,” as he writes, is to enunciate truth only in the second proposition. The first is erroneous; for if all that exists was evolved through (or via) it, it is not the astral light. The latter is not the container of all things but only the reflector, at best, of this all. Eliphas Levi writes: —
“The great Magic agent is the fourth emanation of the life principle (we say — it is the first in the inner, and the second in the outer (our) Universe), of which the Sun is the third form . . . for the day-star (the sun) is only the reflection and material shadow of the Central Sun of truth, which illuminates the intellectual (invisible) world of Spirit and which itself is but a gleam borrowed from the Absolute.”
So far he is right enough. But when the great authority of the Western Kabalists adds that nevertheless, “it is not the immortal Spirit as the Indian Hierophants have imagined” — we answer that he slanders the said Hierophants, as they have said nothing of the kind; while even the Puranic exoteric writings flatly contradict the assertion. No Hindu has ever mistaken Prakriti — the Astral Light being only above the lowest plane of Prakriti, the material Kosmos — for the “immortal Spirit.” Prakriti is ever called Maya, illusion, and is doomed to disappear with the rest, the gods included, at the hour of the Pralaya; for it is shown that Akasa is not even the Ether, least of all then, we imagine, can it be the Astral Light. Those unable to penetrate beyond the dead letter of the Puranas, have occasionally confused Akasa with Prakriti, with Ether, and even with the visible Sky! It is true also that those who have invariably translated the term Akasa by “Ether” (Wilson, for instance), finding it called “the material cause of sound” possessing, moreover, this one single property (Vishnu Purana), have ignorantly imagined it to be “material,” in the physical sense. True, again, that if the characteristics are accepted literally, then, since nothing material or physical, and therefore conditioned and temporary can be immortal — according to metaphysics and philosophy — it would follow that Akasa is neither infinite nor immortal. But all this is erroneous, since both the words Pradhana
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(primeval matter) and sound, as a property, have been misunderstood; the former term (Pradhana) being certainly synonymous with Mulaprakriti and Akasa, and the latter (sound) with the Verbum, the Word or the Logos. This is easy to demonstrate; for it is shown in the following sentences in Vishnu Purana: “In the beginning there was neither day nor night, nor sky, nor earth, nor darkness, nor light. . . . . Save only One, unapprehensible by intellect, or that which is Brahma and Pums (Spirit) and Pradhana (primordial matter).” . . . . (Book I., ch. ii.).
Now, what is Pradhana, if it is not Mulaprakriti, the root of all, in another aspect? For Pradhana, though said further on to merge into the Deity as everything else does, in order to leave the one absolute during the Pralaya, yet is held as infinite and immortal. The Commentator describes the Deity as: “One Pradhanika Brahma Spirit: that, was,” and interprets the compound term as a substantive, not as a derivative word used attributively, i.e., like something conjoined with Pradhana.* Hence Pradhana even in the Puranas is an aspect of Parabrahmam, not an evolution, and must be the same as the Vedantic Mulaprakriti. “Prakriti in its primary state is Akasa,” says a Vedantin scholar (see “Five Years of Theosophy,” p. 169). It is almost abstract Nature.
Akasa, then, is Pradhana in another form, and as such cannot be Ether, the ever-invisible agent, courted even by physical Science. Nor is it Astral Light. It is, as said, the noumenon of the seven-fold differentiated Prakriti† — the ever immaculate “Mother” of the fatherless Son, who becomes “Father” on the lower manifested plane. For Mahat is the first product of Pradhana, or Akasa, and Mahat — Universal intelligence “whose characteristic property is Buddhi” — is no other than the Logos, for he is called “Eswara” Brahma, Bhava, etc. (See Linga Purana, sec. lxx. 12 et seq.; and Vayu Purana, but especially the former Purana — prior, section viii., 67-74). He is, in short, the “Creator” or the divine mind in creative operation, “the cause of all things.” He is
* The student has to note, moreover, that the Purana is a dualistic system, not evolutionary, and that, in this respect, far more will be found, from an esoteric standpoint, in Sankhya, and even in the Manava-dharma-Sastra, however much the latter differs from the former.
† In the Sankhya philosophy, the seven Prakritis or “productive productions” are Mahat, Ahamkara, and the five tanmatras. See “Sankhya-karika,” III., and the Commentary thereon.
Vol. 1, Page 257 AKASA IS NOT ETHER.
the “first-born” of whom the Puranas tell us that “Mahat and matter are the inner and outer boundaries of the Universe,” or, in our language, the negative and the positive poles of dual nature (abstract and concrete), for the Purana adds: “In this manner — as were the seven forms (principles) of Prakriti reckoned from Mahat to Earth — so at the time of pralaya (pratyahara) these seven successively re-enter into each other. The egg of Brahma (Sarva-mandala) is dissolved with its seven zones (dwipa), seven oceans, seven regions, etc.” (Vishnu Purana, Book vi., ch. iv.)*
These are the reasons why the Occultists refuse to give the name of Astral Light to Akasa, or to call it Ether. “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” may be contrasted with the occult saying, “In our Mother’s house there are seven mansions,” or planes, the lowest of which is above and around us — the Astral Light.
The elements, whether simple or compound, could not have remained the same since the commencement of the evolution of our chain. Everything in the Universe progresses steadily in the Great Cycle, while incessantly going up and down in the smaller cycles. Nature is never stationary during manvantara, as it is ever becoming,† not simply being; and mineral, vegetable, and human life are always adapting their organisms to the then reigning Elements, and therefore those Elements were then fitted for them, as they are now for the life of present humanity. It will only be in the next, or fifth, Round that the fifth Element, Ether — the gross body of Akasa, if it can be called even that —
* No use to say so to the Hindus, who know their Puranas by heart, but very useful to remind our Orientalists and those Westerns who regard Wilson’s translations as authoritative, that in his English translation of the Vishnu Purana he is guilty of the most ludicrous contradictions and errors. So on this identical subject of the seven Prakritis or the seven zones of Brahma’s egg, the two accounts differ totally. In Vol. 1, page 40, the egg is said to be externally invested by seven envelopes — Wilson comments: “by Water, Air, Fire, Ether, and Ahamkara” (which last word does not exist in the Sanskrit texts); and in vol. v., p. 198, of the same Vishnu Purana it is written, “in this manner were the seven forms of nature (Prakriti) reckoned from Mahat to Earth” (?). Between Mahat or Maha-Buddhi and “Water, etc.,” the difference is very considerable.
† According to the great metaphysician Hegel also. For him Nature was a perpetual becoming. A purely esoteric conception. Creation or Origin, in the Christian sense of the term, is absolutely unthinkable. As the above-quoted thinker said: “God (the Universal Spirit) objectivises himself as Nature, and again rises out of it.”
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will, by becoming a familiar fact of Nature to all men, as air is familiar to us now, cease to be as at present hypothetical, and also an “agent” for so many things. And only during that Round will those higher senses, the growth and development of which Akasa subserves, be susceptible of a complete expansion. As already indicated, a partial familiarity with the characteristic of matter — permeability — which should be developed concurrently with the sixth sense, may be expected to develop at the proper period in this Round. But with the next element added to our resources in the next Round, permeability will become so manifest a characteristic of matter, that the densest forms of this will seem to man’s perceptions as obstructive to him as a thick fog, and no more.
Let us return to the life-cycle now. Without entering at length upon the description given of the higher lives, we must direct our attention at present simply to the earthly beings and the earth itself. The latter, we are told, is built up for the first Round by the “Devourers” which disintegrate and differentiate the germs of other lives in the Elements; pretty much, it must be supposed, as in the present stage of the world, the aerobes do, when, undermining and loosening the chemical structure in an organism, they transform animal matter and generate substances that vary in their constitutions. Thus Occultism disposes of the so-called Azoic age of Science, for it shows that there never was a time when the Earth was without life upon it. Wherever there is an atom of matter, a particle or a molecule, even in its most gaseous condition, there is life in it, however latent and unconscious. “Whatsoever quits the Laya State, becomes active life; it is drawn into the vortex of MOTION the alchemical solvent of Life); Spirit and Matter are the two States of the ONE, which is neither Spirit nor Matter, both being the absolute life, latent.” (Book of Dzyan, Comm. III., par. 18). . . . “Spirit is the first differentiation of (and in) SPACE; and Matter the first differentiation of Spirit. That, which is neither Spirit nor matter — that is IT — the Causeless CAUSE of Spirit and Matter, which are the Cause of Kosmos. And THAT we call the ONE LIFE or the Intra-Cosmic Breath.”
Once more we will say — like must produce like. Absolute Life cannot produce an inorganic atom whether single or complex, and there is life
Vol. 1, Page 259 ATOMS ARE INVISIBLE LIVES.
even in laya just as a man in a profound cataleptic state — to all appearance a corpse — is still a living being.
When the “Devourers” (in whom the men of science are invited to see, with some show of reason, atoms of the Fire-Mist, if they will, as the Occultist will offer no objection to this); when the “Devourers,” we say, have differentiated “the fire-atoms” by a peculiar process of segmentation, the latter become life-germs, which aggregate according to the laws of cohesion and affinity. Then the life-germs produce lives of another kind, which work on the structure of our globes. * * * *
Thus, in the first Round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire-lives, i.e., formed into a sphere — had no solidity, nor qualifications, save a cold brightness, nor form nor colour; it is only towards the end of the First Round that it developed one Element which from its inorganic, so to say, or simple Essence became now in our Round the fire we know throughout the system. The Earth was in her first rupa, the essence of which is the Akasic principle named * * * “that which is now known as, and very erroneously termed, Astral Light, which Eliphas Levi calls “the imagination of Nature,”* probably to avoid giving it its correct name, as others do.
“It is through and from the radiations of the seven bodies of the seven orders of Dhyanis, that the seven discrete quantities (Elements), whose motion and harmonious Union produce the manifested Universe of Matter, are born.” (Commentary.)
* Speaking of it in his Preface to the “History of Magic” Eliphas Levi says: “It is through this Force that all the nervous centres secretly communicate with each other; from it — that sympathy and antipathy are born; from it — that we have our dreams; and that the phenomena of second sight and extra-natural visions take place. . . . . Astral Light, acting under the impulsion of powerful wills, destroys, coagulates, separates, breaks, gathers in all things. . . . God created it on that day when he said: Fiat Lux, and it is directed by the Egregores, i.e., the chiefs of the souls who are the spirits of energy and action.” Eliphas Levi ought to have added that the astral light, or primordial substance, if matter at all, is that which, called Light, Lux, esoterically explained, is the body of those Spirits themselves, and their very essence. Our physical light is the manifestation on our plane and the reflected radiance of the Divine Light emanating from the collective body of those who are called the “Lights” and the “Flames.” But no other Kabalist has ever had the talent of heaping up one contradiction on the other, of making one paradox chase another in the same sentence and in such flowing language, as Eliphas Levi. He leads his reader through the most lovely, gorgeously blooming valleys, to strand him after all on a desert and barren rocky island.
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The Second Round brings into manifestation the second element air, that element, the purity of which would ensure continuous life to him who would use it. There have been two occultists only in Europe who have discovered and even partially applied it in practice, though its composition has always been known among the highest Eastern Initiates. The ozone of the modern chemists is poison compared with the real universal solvent which could never be thought of unless it existed in nature. “From the second Round, Earth — hitherto a foetus in the matrix of Space — began its real existence: it had developed individual sentient life, its second principle. The second corresponds to the sixth (principle); the second is life continuous, the other, temporary.”
The Third Round developed the third Principle — Water; while the Fourth transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are living on. “Bhumi” has reached her fourth principle. To this it may be objected that the law of analogy, so much insisted upon, is broken. Not at all. Earth will reach her true ultimate form — (inversely in this to man) — her body shell — only toward the end of the manvantara after the Seventh Round. Eugenius Philalethes was right when he assured his readers on his word of honour that no one had yet seen the Earth (i.e., Matter in its essential form). Our globe is, so far, in its Kamarupic state — the astral body of desires of Ahamkara, dark Egotism, the progeny of Mahat, on the lower plane. . . .
It is not molecularly constituted matter — least of all the human body (sthulasarira) — that is the grossest of all our “principles,” but verily the middle principle, the real animal centre; whereas our body is but its shell, the irresponsible factor and medium through which the beast in us acts all its life. Every intellectual theosophist will understand my real meaning. Thus the idea that the human tabernacle is built by countless lives, just in the same way as the rocky crust of our Earth was, has nothing repulsive in it for the true mystic. Nor can Science oppose the occult teaching, for it is not because the microscope will ever fail to detect the ultimate living atom or life, that it can reject the doctrine.
(c) Science teaches us that the living as well as the dead organism of both man and animal are swarming with bacteria of a hundred various
Vol. 1, Page 261 THE OCCULT CHEMISTRY.
kinds; that from without we are threatened with the invasion of microbes with every breath we draw, and from within by leucomaines, aerobes, anaerobes, and what not. But Science never yet went so far as to assert with the occult doctrine that our bodies, as well as those of animals, plants, and stones, are themselves altogether built up of such beings; which, except larger species, no microscope can detect. So far, as regards the purely animal and material portion of man, Science is on its way to discoveries that will go far towards corroborating this theory. Chemistry and physiology are the two great magicians of the future, who are destined to open the eyes of mankind to the great physical truths. With every day, the identity between the animal and physical man, between the plant and man, and even between the reptile and its nest, the rock, and man — is more and more clearly shown. The physical and chemical constituents of all being found to be identical, chemical science may well say that there is no difference between the matter which composes the ox and that which forms man. But the Occult doctrine is far more explicit. It says: — Not only the chemical compounds are the same, but the same infinitesimal invisible lives compose the atoms of the bodies of the mountain and the daisy, of man and the ant, of the elephant, and of the tree which shelters him from the sun. Each particle — whether you call it organic or inorganic — is a life. Every atom and molecule in the Universe is both life-giving and death-giving to that form, inasmuch as it builds by aggregation universes and the ephemeral vehicles ready to receive the transmigrating soul, and as eternally destroys and changes the forms and expels those souls from their temporary abodes. It creates and kills; it is self-generating and self-destroying; it brings into being, and annihilates, that mystery of mysteries — the living body of man, animal, or plant, every second in time and space; and it generates equally life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and bad, and even the agreeable and disagreeable, the beneficent and maleficent sensations. It is that mysterious Life, represented collectively by countless myriads of lives, that follows in its own sporadic way, the hitherto incomprehensible law of Atavism; that copies family resemblances as well as those it finds impressed in the aura of the generators of every future human being, a mystery, in short, that will receive fuller attention elsewhere. For the present, one instance may be cited in illustration. Modern science begins to find out that ptomaine (the alkaloid poison generated by decaying matter and corpses — a life also) extracted
Vol. 1, Page 262 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
with the help of volatile ether, yields a smell as strong and equal to that of the freshest orange-blossoms; but that free from oxygen, these alkaloids yield either a most sickening, disgusting smell, or the most agreeable aroma which recalls that of the most delicately scented flowers. And it is suspected that such blossoms owe their agreeable smell to the poisonous ptomaine; the venomous essence of certain mushrooms (fungi) being nearly identical with the venom of the cobra of India, the most deadly of serpents.* Thus, having discovered the effects, Science has to find their primary causes; and this it can never do without the help of the old sciences, of alchemy, occult botany and physics. We are taught that every physiological change, in addition to pathological phenomena; diseases — nay, life itself — or rather the objective phenomena of life, produced by certain conditions and changes in the tissues of the body which allow and force life to act in that body; that all this is due to those unseen creators and destroyers that are called in such a loose and general way, microbes.† Such
* The French savants Arnaud, Gautier, and Villiers, have found in the saliva of living men the same venomous alkaloid as in that of the toad, the salamander, the cobra, and the trigonocephalus of Portugal. It is proven that venom of the deadliest kind, whether called ptomaine, or leucomaine, or alkaloid, is generated by living men, animals, and plants. The same savant, Gautier, discovered an alkaloid in the fresh meat of an ox and in its brains, and a venom which he calls Xanthocreatinine similar to the substance extracted from the poisonous saliva of reptiles. It is the muscular tissues, as being the most active organ in the animal economy, that are suspected of being the generators or factors of venoms, having the same importance as carbonic acid and urea in the functions of life, which venoms are the ultimate products of inner combustion. And though it is not yet fully determined whether poisons can be generated by the animal system of living beings without the participation and interference of microbes, it is ascertained that the animal does produce venomous substances in its physiological or living state.
† It might be supposed that these “fiery lives” and the microbes of science are identical. This is not true. The “fiery lives” are the seventh and highest subdivision of the plane of matter, and correspond in the individual with the One Life of the Universe, though only on that plane. The microbes of science are the first and lowest sub-division on the second plane — that of material prana (or life). The physical body of man undergoes a complete change of structure every seven years, and its destruction and preservation are due to the alternate function of the fiery lives as “destroyers” and “builders.” They are “builders” by sacrificing themselves in the form of vitality to restrain the destructive influence of the microbes, and, by supplying the microbes with what is necessary, they compel them under that restraint to build up the material body and its cells. They are “destroyers” also when that restraint is [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 263 PARACELSUS DIED TOO EARLY.
experimenters as Pasteur are the best friends and helpers of the Destroyers and the worst enemies of the Creators — if the latter were not at the same time destroyers too. However it may be, one thing is sure in this: The knowledge of these primary causes and of the ultimate essence of every element, of its lives, their functions, properties, and conditions of change — constitutes the basis of magic. Paracelsus was, perhaps, the only Occultist in Europe, during the last centuries since the Christian era, who was versed in this mystery. Had not a criminal hand put an end to his life, years before the time allotted him by Nature, physiological Magic would have fewer secrets for the civilized world than it now has.
(d) But what has the Moon to do in all this? we may be asked. What have “Fish, Sin and Moon” in the apocalyptic saying of the Stanza to do in company with the “Life-microbes”? With the latter nothing, except availing themselves of the tabernacle of clay prepared by them; with divine perfect man everything, since “Fish, Sin and Moon” make conjointly the three symbols of the immortal Being.
This is all that can be given. Nor does the writer pretend to know more of this strange symbol than may be inferred about it from exoteric religions; from the mystery perhaps, which underlies the Matsya (fish)
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] removed and the microbes, unsupplied with vital constructive energy, are left to run riot as destructive agents. Thus, during the first half of a man’s life (the first five periods of seven years each) the “fiery lives” are indirectly engaged in the process of building up man’s material body; life is on the ascending scale, and the force is used in construction and increase. After this period is passed the age of retrogression commences, and, the work of the “fiery lives” exhausting their strength, the work of destruction and decrease also commences.
An analogy between cosmic events in the descent of spirit into matter for the first half of a manvantara (planetary as human) and its ascent at the expense of matter in the second half, may here be traced. These considerations have to do solely with the plane of matter, but the restraining influence of the “fiery lives” on the lowest sub-division of the second plane — the microbes — is confirmed by the fact mentioned in the foot-note on Pasteur (vide supra) that the cells of the organs, when they do not find sufficient oxygen for themselves, adapt themselves to that condition and form ferments, which, by absorbing oxygen from substances coming in contact with them, ruin the latter. Thus the process is commenced by one cell robbing its neighbour of the source of its vitality when the supply is insufficient; and the ruin so commenced steadily progresses.
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Avatar of Vishnu, the Chaldean Oannes — the Man-Fish, recorded in the imperishable sign of the Zodiac, Pisces, and running throughout the two Testaments in the personages of Joshua “Son of the Fish (Nun)” and Jesus; the allegorical “Sin” or Fall of Spirit into matter, and the Moon — in so far as it relates to the “Lunar” ancestors, the Pitris.
For the present it may be as well to remind the reader that while the Moon-goddesses were connected in every mythology, especially the Grecian, with child-birth, because of the lunar influence on women and conception, the occult and actual connection of our satellite with fecundation is to this day unknown to physiology, which regards every popular practice in this reference as gross superstition. As it is useless to discuss them in detail, we may only stop at present to discuss the lunar symbology casually, to show that the said superstition belongs to the most ancient beliefs, and even to Judaism — the basis of Christianity. With the Israelites, the chief function of Jehovah was child-giving, and the esotericism of the Bible, interpreted Kabalistically, shows undeniably the Holy of Holies in the temple to be only the symbol of the womb. This is now proven beyond doubt and cavil, by the numerical reading of the Bible in general, and of Genesis especially. This idea must certainly have been borrowed by the Jews from the Egyptians and Indians, whose Holy of Holies was, and with the latter is to this day, symbolised by the King’s chamber in the Great Pyramid (see “Source of Measures”) and the Yoni symbols of exoteric Hinduism. To make the whole clearer and to show at the same time the enormous difference in the spirit of interpretation and the original meaning of the same symbols between the ancient Eastern Occultists and the Jewish Kabalists we refer the reader to Book II., “The Holy of Holies.”*
STANZA VII. — Continued.
6. From the first-born (primitive, or the first man) the thread between the silent watcher and his shadow becomes more
* Phallic worship has developed only with the loss of the keys to the true meaning of the symbols. It was the last and most fatal turning point from the highway of truth and divine knowledge into the side path of fiction, raised into dogma through human falsification and hierarchic ambition.
Vol. 1, Page 265 MAN, THE SHADOW OF HIS PROTOTYPE.
strong and radiant with every change (re-incarnation) (a). The morning sun-light has changed into noon-day glory . . . .
(a) This sentence: “The thread between the silent watcher and his shadow (man) becomes stronger” — with every re-incarnation — is another psychological mystery, that will find its explanation in Book II. For the present it will suffice to say that the “Watcher” and his “Shadows” — the latter numbering as many as there are re-incarnations for the monad — are one. The Watcher, or the divine prototype, is at the upper rung of the ladder of being; the shadow, at the lower. Withal, the Monad of every living being, unless his moral turpitude breaks the connection and runs loose and “astray into the lunar path” — to use the Occult expression — is an individual Dhyan Chohan, distinct from others, a kind of spiritual individuality of its own, during one special Manvantara. Its Primary, the Spirit (Atman) is one, of course, with Paramatma (the one Universal Spirit), but the vehicle (Vahan) it is enshrined in, the Buddhi, is part and parcel of that Dhyan-Chohanic Essence; and it is in this that lies the mystery of that ubiquity, which was discussed a few pages back. “My Father, that is in Heaven, and I — are one,” — says the Christian Scripture; in this, at any rate, it is the faithful echo of the esoteric tenet.
STANZA VII. — Continued.
7. This is thy present wheel — said the Flame to the Spark. Thou art myself, my image and my shadow. I have clothed myself in thee, and thou art my vahan (vehicle) to the day, “Be with us,” when thou shalt re-become myself and others, thyself and me (a), then the builders, having donned their first clothing, descend on radiant earth, and reign over men — who are themselves (b).
(a) The day when “the spark will re-become the Flame (man will merge into his Dhyan Chohan) myself and others, thyself and me,” as the Stanza has it — means this: In Paranirvana — when Pralaya will have reduced not only material and psychical bodies, but even the spiritual Ego(s) to their original principle — the Past, Present, and even Future
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Humanities, like all things, will be one and the same. Everything will have re-entered the Great Breath. In other words, everything will be “merged in Brahma” or the divine unity.
Is this annihilation, as some think? Or Atheism, as other critics — the worshippers of a personal deity and believers in an unphilosophical paradise — are inclined to suppose? Neither. It is worse than useless to return to the question of implied atheism in that which is spirituality of a most refined character. To see in Nirvana annihilation amounts to saying of a man plunged in a sound dreamless sleep — one that leaves no impression on the physical memory and brain, because the sleeper’s Higher Self is in its original state of absolute consciousness during those hours — that he, too, is annihilated. The latter simile answers only to one side of the question — the most material; since re-absorption is by no means such a “dreamless sleep,” but, on the contrary, absolute existence, an unconditioned unity, or a state, to describe which human language is absolutely and hopelessly inadequate. The only approach to anything like a comprehensive conception of it can be attempted solely in the panoramic visions of the soul, through spiritual ideations of the divine monad. Nor is the individuality — nor even the essence of the personality, if any be left behind — lost, because re-absorbed. For, however limitless — from a human standpoint — the paranirvanic state, it has yet a limit in Eternity. Once reached, the same monad will re-emerge therefrom, as a still higher being, on a far higher plane, to recommence its cycle of perfected activity. The human mind cannot in its present stage of development transcend, scarcely reach this plane of thought. It totters here, on the brink of incomprehensible Absoluteness and Eternity.
(b) The “Watchers” reign over man during the whole period of Satya Yuga and the smaller subsequent yugas, down to the beginning of the Third Root Race; after which it is the Patriarchs, Heroes, and the Manes (see Egyptian Dynasties enumerated by the priests to Solon), the incarnated Dhyanis of a lower order, up to King Menes and the human kings of other nations; all were recorded carefully. In the views of symbologists this Mythopoeic Age is of course only regarded as a fairy tale. But since traditions and even Chronicles of such dynasties of divine Kings — of gods reigning over men followed by dynasties of Heroes or Giants — exist in the annals of every nation, it is difficult to understand how all the peoples under the sun, some of whom are separated by vast
Vol. 1, Page 267 EARTH, PEOPLED FROM HEAVEN.
oceans and belong to different hemispheres, such as the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans, as well as the Chaldeans, could have worked out the same “fairy tales” in the same order of events.* However, as the Secret Doctrine teaches history —which, for being esoteric and traditional, is none the less more reliable than profane history — we are as entitled to our beliefs as anyone else, whether religionist or sceptic. And that Doctrine says that the Dhyani-Buddhas of the two higher groups, namely, the “Watchers” or the “Architects,” furnished the many and various races with divine kings and leaders. It is the latter who taught humanity their arts and sciences, and the former who revealed to the incarnated Monads that had just shaken off their vehicles of the lower Kingdoms — and who had, therefore, lost every recollection of their divine origin — the great spiritual truths of the transcendental worlds. (See Book II., “Divine Dynasties.”)
Thus, as expressed in the Stanza, the Watchers descended on Earth and reigned over men — “who are themselves.” The reigning kings had finished their cycle on Earth and other worlds, in the preceding Rounds. In the future manvantaras they will have risen to higher systems than our planetary world; and it is the Elect of our Humanity, the Pioneers on the hard and difficult path of Progress, who will take the places of their predecessors. The next great Manvantara will witness the men of our own life-cycle becoming the instructors and guides of a mankind whose Monads may now yet be imprisoned — semi-conscious — in the most intellectual of the animal kingdom, while their lower principles will be animating, perhaps, the highest specimens of the Vegetable world.
Thus proceed the cycles of the septenary evolution, in Septennial nature; the Spiritual or divine; the psychic or semi-divine; the intellectual, the passional, the instinctual, or cognitional; the semi-corporeal and the purely material or physical natures. All these evolve and progress cyclically, passing from one into another, in a double, centrifugal and centripetal way, one in their ultimate essence, seven in their aspects. The lowest, of course, is the one depending upon and subservient to
* See the “Sacred Mysteries among the Mayas and the Quiches, 11,500 years ago,” by Auguste le Plongeon, who shows the identity between the Egyptian rites and beliefs and those of the people he describes. The ancient hieratic alphabets of the Maya and the Egyptians are almost identical.
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our five physical senses.* Thus far, for individual, human, sentient, animal and vegetable life, each the microcosm of its higher macrocosm. The same for the Universe, which manifests periodically, for purposes of the collective progress of the countless lives, the outbreathings of the One Life; in order that through the Ever-Becoming, every cosmic atom in this infinite Universe, passing from the formless and the intangible, through the mixed natures of the semi-terrestrial, down to matter in full generation, and then back again, reascending at each new period higher and nearer the final goal; that each atom, we say, may reach through individual merits and efforts that plane where it re-becomes the one unconditioned All. But between the Alpha and the Omega there is the weary “Road” hedged in by thorns, that “goes down first, then —
Winds up hill all the way
Yes, to the very end. . . . .”
Starting upon the long journey immaculate; descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifested Space — the Pilgrim, having struggled through and suffered in every form of life and being, is only at the bottom of the valley of matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective Humanity. This, he has made in his own image. In order to progress upwards and homewards, the “God” has now to ascend the weary uphill path of the Golgotha of Life. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. Like Visvakarman he has to sacrifice himself to himself in order to redeem all creatures, to resurrect from the many into the One Life. Then he ascends into heaven indeed; where, plunged into the incomprehensible absolute Being and Bliss of Paranirvana, he reigns unconditionally, and whence he will re-descend again at the next “coming,” which one portion of humanity expects in its dead-letter sense as the second advent, and the other as the last “Kalki Avatar.”
* Which are in truth seven as shown later, on the authority of the oldest Upanishads.