Copyright © 2011 by Theosophical University Press
The universe is a living organism, built of interworking forces playing in and through the various degrees of ethereal substances, which are but concreted or crystallized forces. Every one of these forces is itself a manifestation of an intelligence; considered collectively, they compose the energic aspect of that vast aggregate of intelligences which in their unity form the collective Third Logos of the cosmos. These cosmic logoi — each one the formative or "creative" logos of its own hierarchy — are actually innumerable in their activities in the fields of Infinitude.
The small, whatever its degree of infinitesimal or cosmic magnitude, mirrors the great — for throughout all Being there runs one identic consciousness, one universal common life; and in consequence, that fundamentally unitary system of cosmic law pervades all manifestation.
The Cosmic Logos is something more than a mere aggregation of entities which in their inseparable union thus form an entity comprising them all and greater than them all. The Logos itself is an Individual, a cosmic spirit, and for this reason is called a cosmic hierarch — the supreme spirit for its own hierarchy; for it is the source and origin thereof, as well as the all-inclusive Individual which comprehends within the compass of its own being the hosts of minor beings through which it lives and expresses itself.
Just here is one of the most difficult problems of the Esoteric Philosophy: how the One becomes the Many during the course of its manvantaric manifestations, remaining withal apart, and throughout manvantaric time superior to its various component portions. As Krishna phrases it in the Bhagavad-Gita:
I manifest this universe with portions of myself, and yet remain separate and superior thereto. — 10:42
Just so is man in his sevenfold or tenfold constitution a hierarchical aggregate of hosts of beings over which the spirit of his constitution presides as the hierarch or logos, remaining separate and distinct from its children which it emanates during each incarnation; and yet these hosts of beings form in their aggregate man's constitution or the vehicle of his spirit.
Consciousness is both essential and unitary and yet is during manifestation divisible into minor or children consciousness-points. Just as the cosmic consciousness almost automatically divides itself into droplets of minor component individuals of itself, so man, the mirror of the Universal Great, is a unitary consciousness which during its incarnations extrudes from its own being hosts of consciousness-atoms, droplets of itself, each one having its own innate individuality. As it is, six-sevenths of man's constitution is invisible, because functioning in planes of cosmic being more ethereal than the physical. Following the same line of thought, the invisible spheres of the universe are six-sevenths of the cosmic whole, and are intangible to the sense-organs of physical man.
Our own earth has seven globes which are inextricably connected with the so-called seven sacred planets of the solar system, and with the respective sevenfold worlds or globes belonging to each one of these seven sacred planets. These sacred seven planets together with the earth form a particular hierarchy within the general solar realm, because they are closely united in origin and destiny and in evolutionary development and form a closely interconnecting body, an especially aggregated part of the solar system.
Every one of the physical globes that we see scattered over the fields of space is accompanied by six invisible and superior globes, forming what is called a Chain. This is likewise the case with every sun or star, planet, and indeed with every moon of every planet. It is likewise the case with those wandering radicals both of the galaxy and of our own solar system, respectively called the nebulae and the comets. All have a sevenfold constitution even as man has. The Esoteric Tradition is, in fact, that there are twelve globes to any chain, though the number seven is commonly used for study.
Each such chain is a cosmic unit or individual, as for instance, the earth's planetary chain. The other six globes of our earth-chain are invisible and intangible to our physical sense-apparatus, and are existent two by two on three planes of the solar system higher and consequently more ethereal than the physical plane on which our earth-globe is. Thus our earth-globe is the lowest of all the seven globes of our earth-chain: three globes preceding it on the downward arc, and three globes following it in the ascending arc of evolution.
In the Vishnu-Purana, an ancient Hindu work, the invisible worlds are divided into fourteen lokas of which seven belong to the superior class or range, and seven to the inferior, called talas; and in this scheme of enumeration the earth is taken as the midway-point.
Loka, meaning "place" or "locality," is used to signify a world or plane; rupa means "form." Now "form" is here employed technically, and signifies an atomic or monadic aggregation about the central indwelling consciousness, thus forming a vehicle or transmitter. Arupa means "formless," but this does not indicate there is no "form" of any kind. It means only that the "forms" in the arupa worlds are of a spiritual type, more ethereal than are the "forms" of the rupalokas.
Rupalokas are worlds where the body-form or vehicle is more or less definitely composed of matter, ethereal or physical; whereas in the arupalokas, the spiritual worlds or planes, the vehicle or transmitter is as an enclosing sheath of energic substance, the entities at least in their higher portions, being clothed in bodies of light, although obviously not the light-stuff of our physical world. While the three highest rupalokas, and even more so the three arupa or spiritual spheres, are relatively immaterial to us in the lowest or bhurloka, nevertheless they are in all cases as substantial or seeming solid to their respective inhabitants as our physical sphere is to us.
The seven lokas of this diagram, the three arupa and the four rupa, include all the manifested universes, from the spiritual down to the spheres of most material density, and therefore including (though it is not sketched in this diagram) even what is alluded to as the mystery of the "Eighth Sphere." Concerning this last nothing further can be said, except that it is even more material than is our earth, and may be best described as the sphere of "absolute" matter — the lowest possible stage of our own home-hierarchy in which matter has reached its ultimate in density and physical concretion. Beneath this last stage begins a new hierarchy; just as above our present home-hierarchy, could we consciously ascend along the various rungs of this ladder of life, we should pierce through the laya-center there and enter into the lowest stage of the next hierarchy superior to our own.
The triangle in radiation in the above diagram, called the pararupalokas, represents in symbolic form the aggregative summit of our own home-hierarchy, and is to us our divine world. This divine world is not only to be considered as the living seed whence flow forth in the cosmic periods of manifestation the seven grades below it, but it is also the spiritual goal toward which all shall again be ultimately resolved when such a hierarchy shall have concluded its course of evolution in self expression. Strictly speaking, any hierarchy is composite of ten states; or, if the highest is considered to be the same as the lowest of the next superior hierarchy, we have nine degrees or stages descending in successive worlds or planes. The difference between seven and ten, or again seven and nine, is merely a matter of viewpoint and enumeration and has no significance in itself.
It might be added in passing that certain Oriental yogis teach of the lokas and talas rather as centers in the human body than as planes or spheres in the universe, which centers, if stimulated under proper training, enable one to attain greater knowledge of all planes of existence. But this teaching is inadequate because imperfect, and is true only because these inner centers are organs or, as it were, the ends of living wires, of which the other ends are fastened in the cosmic fabric and are of its substance. It is the teaching of the great sages that the universal cosmos exists in an illusory or mayavi sense exterior to man, although the essence of man and the essence of the universe are one.
Theosophy uses the terms given in the preceding table in a larger sense than that employed in the Brahmanical system. It places not only our physical sphere in the lowest or the bhurloka, but includes therein also our solar system and, indeed, our entire physical home-universe. These various lokas and talas are not separate from the universe, nor do they merely exist in the universe as a complex structure different from it. Were it possible, which it is not, to annihilate the lokas and talas, this would annihilate the universe itself; for the lokas and talas are the universe. Nor are these lokas and talas watertight or rather spirit-tight compartments of nature; from the highest to the lowest they interpenetrate and interwork, and all of them together form the cosmic organism. Thus they are an organic unity.
Furthermore, every subordinate hierarchy repeats in itself with perfect fidelity whatever exists in the great; and as an integral part of the cosmic whole it contains in itself all the laws, substances, functions and attributes that the cosmic whole contains. Just as the galaxy is built of lokas and talas, all interconnected on a galactic scale, thus likewise every solar system, therein is likewise built of lokas and talas, working and structurally formed on the pattern set by the greater hierarchy, the galaxy. Again, following the same rule of analogy, every planet in our solar system repeats in the small the same structural system of lokas and talas, such planetary system living within and formed from the same substances and forces, and controlled by the same laws that work in the larger hierarchy, the solar system.
Every visible planet is merely a representative on this lowest or physical plane of the solar system of a planetary chain composed of seven manifest globes and five relatively unmanifest globes. The seven manifest globes belong to the rupalokas or material worlds, whereas the five relatively unmanifest globes belong to the arupalokas or spiritual spheres.
The following parallel columns of the rupalokas and the seven manifest globes of our planetary chain will be instructive:
In this comparison of lokas and globes, it is important to remember that no single solar plane is a single loka acting alone. For instance, where it is stated that globes A and G belong to the maharloka, it is not to be understood that the quality of mahar is the only quality active therein. The truth is that these lokas interpenetrate each other; so that on every cosmic plane every single one of the seven lokas and the seven talas is not only manifest, but strongly functional; but on each such solar plane, one of the lokas and one of the talas is predominant in its influence. Thus the bhurloka of our physical world (or of the physical solar system or galaxy), nevertheless contains, interconnected with it and contemporaneously and coordinately working through it, all the other lokas and talas, albeit the bhur quality is predominant here; and thus because of the predominance of the bhur characteristic, it is commonly called bhurloka with its correspondential tala called patala. The same rule applies on the other cosmic planes.
Again let us take globes A and G existing on and in the maharloka with its corresponding tala. These two globes, A and G, have the predominating maharloka characteristic; nevertheless they are shot through and through with the influences and functions and characteristics of all the other six lokas and talas, each loka having its corresponding nether pole or tala.
These lokas and talas grow progressively more material in substance, functions, and characteristics, as they run down the scale from the satyaloka to the bhurloka. Yet the satyaloka has its corresponding physical attributes because the bhurloka in its highest or most ethereal portions interpenetrates it; similarly the bhurloka has the functions, attributes and characteristics of the satyaloka, because the satyaloka in its lowest aspects interpenetrates the bhurloka. Every world, every plane, every sphere thus is compounded of all the seven lokas with their corresponding talas, but nevertheless is characterized by the predominance of the functions and substances and forces belonging to the particular loka and tala which are most strongly manifest therein.
Man himself is a luminous example in point. In his present manifested life he is a bhurloka-patala being, yet the ethereal portions of his constitution contain likewise the essences belonging to all the other lokas and talas with all the possibilities and attributes of the higher realms or spheres. The Macrocosm repeats itself in the microcosm — one of the grandest and most sublime teachings of the Esoteric Tradition.
It is the tendency of our greatest men of science to derive the universe and all in it from a pre-cosmic substance-energy, which men such as Jeans, Eddington, Einstein, Planck, and Younghusband have attempted to describe as a Cosmic Mathematician or Cosmic Artist — the universe in their vision thus proceeding from Mind or Consciousness possessing intelligence and artistry in operation of cosmic magnitude. A most significant deduction — strictly in line with, as far as it goes, the teaching of the Esoteric Philosophy that all manifested being and life evolved itself forth from Cosmic Thought. Even the atom itself, and all the minutiae of atomic structure from which our gross physical world is built, can with strict logic be spoken of as imbodied thought.
Following the key thought, we shall more readily understand how the entire structure of the universe is unfolded or evolved, stage by stage "downwards" from the cosmic originant. In the beginning of manifested life, whether it be galaxy, solar system or planet, from satyaloka with its accompanying tala evolved forth all succeeding lokas in the downward arc, each such loka in inseparable union with its twin-tala. Thus from satyaloka rolled forth the next succeeding loka, taparloka. From taparloka, containing likewise the reflected forces and essence of its parent the satyaloka, rolled forth the janarloka, which thus contains not only its own characteristics, but likewise includes in minor degree the characteristics or essences of its parent, the taparloka, and its grandparent, the satyaloka. Thus the unrolling or evolving forth of a universe, solar system, or planet, proceeds in identic fashion through the succeeding lokas and talas, finally reaching the lowest, the bhurloka, our physical world.
When the bottom of the ladder of life is reached, when evolution in any particular hierarchy has concluded its unrolling matter-wards on the downward arc, then the converse procedure begins to take place: involution succeeds evolution, and all the vast and fascinating pageantry of the manifested hierarchy begins to inroll itself, to ascend the luminous arc. The lowest portions of the bhurloka begin to radiate away their energy into finer forms, such radiation gradually ascending through all the degrees of the bhurloka, until finally the bhurloka disappears in radiation and is indrawn into bhuvarloka. The bhuvarloka then in its turn begins the process of disintegration, of radiation, and so proceeds until it is withdrawn into the next higher or svarloka. Thus the process continues steadily until all the lower lokas and talas being indrawn the satyaloka is reached, and the same process begins there, until it too finally passes out of manifested existence into what in Sanskrit is called the Amulamula — the "Rootless Root," mulaprakriti or root-nature, the substantial-spiritual originant which in the beginning of manifestation was the source and origin of all.
The Stoics taught the identic process of the universe being unfolded into its intricate patterns until the end of possibilities for that cosmic period, when there immediately ensued the beginning of the return journey toward spirit, which took place by the exact reversal of what had produced the unfolding. The universe thus is inrolled, finally reaching the period where the universe and all its hosts of entities pass back into the essence of the cosmic spirit, there to rest in unimaginable felicity until the time comes for a new world period to begin a new evolution on a higher plane.
In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures may likewise be found definite allusions to this process, especially to that of involution which the Christians called the Last Day or Day of Judgment, when everything shall have vanished and the last accounts shall be settled.
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll . . . — Isaiah 34:4
And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. . . . — Revelation 6:14
This graphic example is used to picturate evolution as the unrolling of a scroll, consisting of one volume of the cosmic Book of Life; and the reverse process or involution is figurated as a rolling up of the Book of Life, whereby all things pass away, and what was is no longer to be seen.
Now as the seven sacred planets were called such by the ancients because they form with our earth a planetary family, they are much more closely connected among themselves than they are with the innumerable hosts of other worlds existing both in the solar system and in the general cosmos. For there are literally scores of planetary chains in the solar system, some much higher and some lower than the planetary chain of earth. There are entire planetary chains within our solar system of which we do not even see the lowest globe, for the reason that in these cases these lowest globes are above our fourth cosmic plane, just as there are planetary chains so far beneath our fourth cosmic plane that even the highest globes of these last are below it. Yet all these planetary chains are as much component parts of the universal solar system as our earth is, or as are Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. Each such planetary chain, however invisible it may be to us, is an integral part of an organic union of chains playing their respective roles on the multimyriad stages of the cosmic life, and all of them are habitats of beings — some of them far higher than we, some far inferior to us in evolutionary development.
All physical bodies that we see in the sky are fourth-plane globes, globes existing on the fourth cosmic plane, and this without exception so far as our solar system is concerned. Even Father Sun, which is not really a physical body, i.e. the sun that our physical eyes can see, is a fourth-plane globe. But it is nevertheless a material body of highly ethereal character, in the sixth and seventh or highest states of matter, manifesting as light, hence as radiation.
Now the seven sacred planets are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun as a substitute for a secret planet, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon also reckoned as a substitute for a secret planet. They are all most intimately connected not only with human destiny, but with the destiny of every entity of whatever kind or grade that the earth contains. Including earth, these eight planetary chains are the sacred Ogdoad of the ancients, so often referred to in the classical literature of Greece and Rome. As a matter of fact there are not only seven sacred planets, there are twelve of them, although because of the extremely difficult teachings connected with the five highest of this twelvefold system, only seven were commonly mentioned in Greek and Latin literature.
Thus then there are twelve globes of our own planetary chain of earth, and every one of these globes is built by one in especial, but by all in general, of the twelve sacred planets or planetary chains. Our physical globe, which is the fourth globe of our planetary chain, has been especially built, and is watched over and in a sense guided by the planet Saturn, and assisted in such function and operation by our own physical moon. Similarly, although each one of the twelve globes of the planetary chain of earth is the particular ward of one of the twelve sacred planets, every one of the other eleven sacred planets has cooperated in the past in forming such particular globe of our chain, the predominant influence, however, in such work and guidance flowing forth from that one of the twelve sacred planets which is the main guardian of the globe it guides.
When we speak of the seven sacred planets we must think rather of the ensouling divinities of them than merely of the physical bodies which are seen as spots of light. The planetary spirit of our earth is not the physical rocky earth, although this last has life, the vital force which ensouls it and keeps it together. This life is the vital manifestation of the planetary spirit of earth, which likewise infills our globe through this permeant life with seeds of mind. Our earth is a globe, the sun is a globe, the stars are globes, because each one of these is the visible or physical body expressing and manifesting the operative vital and mental energy within and behind it. The interior elements or principles of every globe are themselves globular, and the outer or physical shell faithfully mirrors the inner or causal compound structure. Forces are poured into our globe constantly from within, and our globe in its turn is constantly pouring forces out of itself. These circulations of energic substances or matter may be called the different forms of radiation, involving radioactivity in all its various phases.
Scientists are talking of the possibility of matter vanishing or dissolving in a burst of energy — or force. In order to realize how subversive this is of the old science, it is sufficient to recall to mind one of its main pillars: the so-called law of the conservation of energy, which states in substance that the universe contains a fixed amount of energy, to which nothing can be added and of which not an iota can be subtracted, the energy within such a universe merely changing its forms.
This is a scientific doctrine which the Esoteric Philosophy has never been able to accept in the purely mechanistic or materialistic form in which it was enunciated; it is gratifying therefore to observe the newer light thrown upon this matter by recent discoveries. While it may be relatively true, in a universal cosmic sense, that every cosmic body is a closed system sufficient unto itself as regards the forces and substances working within it, yet it has always been the teaching that each such cosmic unit or organism, however vast or small, is but a part of a still vaster cosmic life in which such part or minor closed system exists, and from which vaster cosmic life the minor unit is constantly receiving streams of forces and substances in continuous and unending flow and which it in equal degree surrenders or returns to the surrounding or inclosing cosmic reservoir.
Consider the constitution of man. Here we have a compounded being consisting of diverse substances and forces, ranging from the divine through many intermediate states to man's physical body. He is thus in one sense a closed system, yet he is constantly receiving from the circumambient universe an unceasing inflow of both forces and substances which feeds him and builds him, and which throughout the range of his constitution he uses; at the same time, he constantly and in the same manner returns the forces and substances which he has received and used.
Following the rule of analogy operative everywhere, any planetary chain, although each one as a unit is a closed system, nevertheless receives from the solar system, i.e. from the sun and the different planetary chains other than itself, unceasing inflows of both force and substance, which are used for purposes of building and experience and are finally ejected or returned to pursue their interplanetary and intersolar circulations.
The rejection by theosophists of the scientific doctrine of the conservation of energy is based upon the fact that this doctrine is entirely mechanistic, is the child of the materialism of the now outlived scientific age, and deals with the universe as a closed system of energies and matter which in their aggregate are unensouled, forming an insensate, unintelligent mechanism. Such a universe is but the physical universe and recognizes no spiritual source or background of mind and consciousness. There is, however, one manner of viewing the mere scientific doctrine which would consider utter infinitude as the "universe," as the home and limitless field of boundless consciousness, dividing itself into literally an infinite number of hierarchies of minor consciousnesses; and that from this limitless infinitude spring forth into manifestation the multimyriad forms of living existence. The "closed system" called the universe thus would be simply boundless infinitude, inclusive of all possible energies as well as substances that infinitude can contain. With such a conception no forces can be added to Infinitude from outside, because there is no outside; nor can it lose any of its store of forces because there is no "outside" to which such outgoing forces could flow. Obviously, to speak of a "closed system" in connection with infinitude is in every way a misnomer as well as a logical absurdity.
In similar manner, we can recognize the other scientific law of the correlation of forces and energies only with immense reserves; and the same remark applies to the scientific speculation called entropy, or the theory that the available stock of energy in the universe is steadily flowing to lower levels, so that ultimately the available forms of energy will have vanished and there will be no further possibility of inherent movement in the system, for all will have become a dead energic level. These different scientific teachings are workable enough in "closed systems" such as are found everywhere, because such "closed systems" are limited both in extent and time. However, even the idea of a closed system, which is the foundation of the scientific laws above mentioned, is fallacious and not true to nature. Such a system would be like a clock which once run down or "entropized" cannot wind itself up again — a picture adequate for the four walls of a study or a laboratory, but totally unlike what is found in nature herself. At best, a natural organic system or so-called closed system is an energy- or substance-system of the second order, because whatever its own inherent or creative flow of energies may be, it is surrounded by an inclosing system of the first order, with whose energies and substances it is permeated throughout. Of course such an inclosing system of the first order becomes itself a system of the second order on account of a still larger system by which it is surrounded and fed. This is nature: system within system, each necessary to all and each interacting with all.
The doctrine of entropy is derivative from the so-called scientific laws hereinbefore enumerated. But if it is true in the universe, why is it that entropy has not yet brought about the cosmic death or "heat-death" talked of, since it has had eternity to do it in? The question is unanswerable from the standpoint of materialistic science. At best, therefore, the scientific theories respectively called the conservation of energy, the conservation of matter, the correlation of energies, and their dependent hypothesis or theory expressed in the term entropy, are all secondary or contingent "laws."
To put the matter briefly, the Esoteric Philosophy teaches that every such closed system, whether it be universe or galaxy, solar system, sun or planet, is an individual, possessing its own unitary mind, character, life, and type. Being rooted with divine-spiritual roots in the boundless universe, it receives in its highest parts a constant inflow of divine-spiritual forces and substances, which permeate throughout its structure or fabric, building and stimulating and inspiring, and which finally in various forms are radiated away from the system in streams of influence or energy.
The guiding souls of the seven sacred planets are the kosmokratores or "world builders" mentioned by the old Greek philosophers. It was these kosmokratores who built our world and our entire planetary chain. In just the same way our own planetary chain is a kosmokrator or world-builder aiding in the building and guidance of some other septenary planetary chain — action and interaction everywhere throughout the universe, everything interlocked and interworking. All the planetary chains, from the beginning to the end of the solar manvantara, cooperate in the solidary work of building each others' respective structures, and infilling each other with the respective characteristic energies and radiations particular to each such formative unit or kosmokrator.
The solar system is a living organic entity, its heart and brain combined in the sun; and this system is composed of organs just as, in the small, man's body is an organism, composed of organs and incidentals such as flesh and bones and sinews and nerves, etc. Likewise each planet of the solar system is a living entity. Our moon, however, is an apparent exception, because it is a corpse, albeit its particles are as much alive and active as are the particles of the human corpse. Although a dead and dissolving entity, it is a chain of seven moons which were once a living organism; seven dead bodies, which now represent what was the once-living moon planetary chain. The former planetary chain, of which the moon in its first appearance was the reimbodiment aeons and aeons ago, had itself disintegrated into its component life-atoms which ages later re-collected by psychomagnetic attraction to re-form the then new moon chain in its entirety. Long before we of earth shall have attained our seventh round, our moon and all its globes will have dissolved utterly away. This simply means that their component life-atoms will have then disintegrated and fallen apart, as do the atoms of every decaying physical corpse, and all those then disintegrated moon atoms will be drawn into the earth, because attracted hither by the same psychomagnetic forces which once built the moon chain and later the earth-chain.
When our earth shall have reached its seventh round and become ready to project its life-essences, which means its hosts of life-atoms, into "neutral" or laya-centers in space in order to form the (future) child of the earth-chain, this earth will then be or become the moon of its (future) child, the chain-to-be, the offspring of the earth-chain. But our earth-globe then will be dead, as the moon now is; and as the ages pass, our earth-chain will in its turn thus slowly disintegrate, losing atoms by uncounted millions of millions until finally the dead bodies of all the globes comprising our present earth-chain will have in their turn disappeared into blue ether, and all the life-atoms composing them will have flown to rejoin this new reimbodiment, the chain-to-be. Planetary chains thus succeed one another in a regular series, exactly as the reincarnations of a man succeed one another.
Nature in her operations repeats herself everywhere, although no two processes are identical in all details. Every atom that is in a man's physical body — excepting those that are in transit or just passing through — was the same atom that at one time helped to form his physical body in his last imbodiment of earth. Every atom that helps to make this physical body, after the man dies and again returns to earth, will go to form that new human body. The rule is fundamentally the same with the planetary chains and likewise the solar chain — the septenary or more accurately the twelvefold globe-chain of the sun.
Father Sun, said the ancient Greek and Roman poets, was encircled with seven radiating forces or rays: twelve rays indeed, being the twelve great powers or radiant forces flowing forth from its heart and brain; and each one of these rays, although aided by each one of the other eleven, is the spiritually active agent in building a globe in the planetary chain. Hence there is the closest line of connections among the twelve houses of the zodiac, the twelve sacred planets of our solar system, the twelve globes in any planetary chain in the solar system, and indeed the universal solar system itself. Cosmic nature being an organic entity, it is obvious that nothing within it can be excluded from whatever is or takes place within its encompassing range. Therefore each one of the globes of our own planetary chain is under the especial guidance of its own particular or most closely linked portion of the zodiac, just as is each one of the twelve sacred planets.
Among the twelve sacred planets neither Neptune nor Uranus are counted, although these two planets of course belong to the universal solar system. Nor should it be supposed that Neptune and Uranus are among the five superior planetary chains which are connected with the five superior globes of our earth's planetary chain. Moreover, we should remember to make a clear distinction between the universal solar system, meaning every thing or being within the sun's realm, and that particular group of planets in the solar system most closely connected with the destiny of earth and its inhabitants.
Just as six of the houses of the zodiac are psychomagnetic and even spiritual opposites of the other six houses, being in a sense reflections of them, so are the lower five globes of the earth's planetary chain reflections of the superior five globes of the twelve which make the earth's planetary chain, working around the two middle globes which thus form as it were the hubs around the central axle.
Furthermore, where an allusion is made to opposite signs of the zodiac and the opposite globes of a planetary chain, planets are at times in esoteric astrology used as convenient substitutes for others because the spiritual and psychical resemblances are very great as between the components of any two such powers. There is indeed a genuine astrology, a great and noble science based on nature's recondite and sublime operations, which in ancient times was the genuine "science of the stars," but it then included vastly more than what now passes as astrology. Occidental astrology is but a relic, a few tattered remnants of the ancient astrological wisdom combined with quite recent astrological hypotheses born of the imagination or intuition.
The ancient wisdom-astrology dealt not only with the influences of the planets, the sun, moon and the stars, on earth and therefore on human life, but it dealt with those celestial bodies primarily as animate entities. It showed in a conclusive manner our common origin with them and with all other beings in the universe — not only how they affect us, but also the karmic relations we have with them, both in the past and in the future. But modern astrologers are usually reduced mostly to guesswork, despite all their earnest sincerity and good will. All have a certain mathematical machinery by which they strive to deduce the true answer to their questioning. Yet they believe, as does every student of the Esoteric Tradition, that we are intimately linked with the stars and the sun and planets. Not only do all celestial bodies, including nebulae and comets, act upon us, but we act and react upon them; and likewise we come from them and go to them in our peregrinations along the circulations of the universe.
As the poet Francis Thompson says:
All things by immortal power
Near or far
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.
— "The Mistress of Vision"
In truth even the thought of a human being can touch with delicate tendril of force the corresponding body of every celestial globe; for in the grand organism which universal nature is, each feeblest vibration or flow of energy produces its corresponding effect, and the originating agent experiences a reaction in magnitude precisely equal to the causative act or impulse — the essence of the teaching of karma.
With reference to the statement that neither Neptune nor Uranus belongs to the twelve sacred planets, Uranus is a member of the universal solar system — actually an integral part thereof; but Neptune is not such by right of origin in this solar manvantara. The planet Neptune is what we may call a "capture." Scientific research points to the fact that certain chemical atoms, composed as they are of points or "wavicles" of electrical energy, at times become electrically hungry, probably due to the loss of an electron; and when any passing electron is captured by such an atom it then becomes stable, electrically satisfied. Atoms sometimes lose electrons, which for some strange reason seem to be torn out of the atom and become vagrant in the atomic spaces, and for vast distances outside of the atom. Then the atom becomes "hungry" again. Now it is curious that according to this theory, when an atom captures a wandering or vagrant electron and thus becomes electrically satisfied, its electrical polarity changes. Neptune we may call a capture in somewhat the same manner. It is no proper planet of our solar system. It would be correct, doubtless, to look upon Neptune as a captured comet of a certain age; for "comets" can be of more than one kind. As a matter of fact, comets are merely the first stage in the evolutionary development of all planets, and of all suns too, because there are planetary comets and solar or cosmic comets — that is, comets which become planets around a sun, and comets which become suns.
As examples, Encke's comet if it still exists, de Vico's and Biela's are three comets that belong as natives to our solar system. They have through the ages, in elliptic orbits, followed regular paths around the sun; and as time goes on these ellipses should tend to become more circular, and then these comets, if they are not destroyed before reaching this period in their development, will finally settle in life as respectable infant planets. They are what one might call planets in a condition preceding their first planetary round — reimbodiments of former planetary chains which are now returning to a new manvantaric course in the solar system.
Since Neptune is a capture, it is not connected with the twelve houses of our zodiac as are the true planets; furthermore, while it has no genetic connection with our solar system, it does change its polarity, and by that fact influences strongly everything within the solar system, and will continue to do so as long as it remains one of the bodies thereof. Neptune is a living entity through whose veins courses the same cosmic life-blood that courses through ours. With it we have karmic relations, otherwise it could never have been captured by our sun and its attendant family of planetary chains. Neptune likewise is a planetary chain but we see only that globe of the Neptunian chain which is on the same plane as we are.
Every globe, visible or invisible, of the seven (or twelve) globes forming a planetary chain has its own inhabitants. These seven differing classes, which we may call life-waves, are all linked together in karmic union and destiny, thus forming a distinct group of closely allied entities, each such group being most closely connected in evolutionary development with its own planetary chain. Furthermore, the various substances and energies which compose each globe are the actual product of the hosts of evolving populations which work in and use these globes, just as the substances and energies of a man's body are the products of his own inner and invisible substances and energies which in their aggregate compose his sevenfold constitution — plus such peregrinating life-atoms or monadic entities which at any time may be passing through and thus helping to build his various vehicles.
During the course of their common evolutionary journey through time, these seven families or life-waves pass in succession from globe to globe of the chain, thus gaining experience of the forces and matters and consciousnesses on all the various planes that each such chain lives in and itself comprises. Our own earth-chain will illustrate this: all the monads which came over from the moon chain were (and are) divisible into seven great classes, which compose the grand life-stream divided into seven smaller rivulets, each such rivulet being a monadic family, yet all connected together. The human life-wave, which is one of these seven monadic families or classes, passes scores of millions of years on each one of the seven globes of our earth-chain. Then the life-wave leaves such a globe in order to pass to the next succeeding globe, and continues to do so through all the globes in regular serial order. On each succeeding globe, after a relatively short interglobal period of rest, the life-wave passes another long term of scores of millions of years; and thus the majestic course of evolutionary development proceeds step by step all around the planetary chain, and through each of the seven (or twelve) globes which compose it.
On each one of these globes the human life-wave functions in a manner appropriate to the conditions and circumstances prevailing thereon, precisely as we now function on the earth, a material world where the circumstances and conditions correspondingly are material. On the higher globes of our chain, circumstances and conditions are much more ethereal, and on the highest are actually quasi-spiritual. Furthermore, the time-periods passed by any life-wave on the more ethereal globes, whether on the descending or ascending arc, are much longer than the time-periods passed by such a life-wave on the more material globes, such as our earth.
The other six rivulets or monadic families belonging to the grand life-stream which came over from the moon are also evolving on all the seven (or twelve) globes of the earth-chain; but they do not all evolve on any one globe during the same period of time. In other words, their appearances on any one globe are not contemporaneous. There are life-waves which have preceded us, and there are others which are following us, on other globes of our chain. But every one of the seven classes or families composing the grand life-wave must pass around all the seven globes of the earth-chain, and each such passage constitutes for such life-wave a planetary or chain-round.
These seven life-waves or populations of our earth-chain pass around the earth-chain seven times during the course of their immensely long evolutionary journey; and to complete this planetary evolution requires several billions of years. Because the populations of the seven globes of our earth-chain are so closely connected in origin and in destiny, they form a distinct group. Man, the individual, is evolving with his own particular life-wave; which in its course of evolution on a globe is broken up into smaller bodies which we may call nations. The nation is connected with other nations, forming one human family; the families of the earth all evolving together form the earth-population. The seven populations of our earth-chain all evolving together form one planetary hierarchy and with the seven hierarchies of the seven sacred planets, likewise all connected together, forming one solar hierarchy — a cosmic unit on a still larger scale. This is one part of what the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel meant when he recounted his vision of "wheels within wheels" — all revolving as individuals, yet forming a unity of beings in movement on a larger scale.
When an evolving entity has finished one cosmic world or plane, it then enters as a beginner, as a spiritual child, a new and higher world in the cosmic hierarchy. Thus the human host, when it shall have attained the highest stage of this present world system or hierarchy, will blossom forth as full-blown gods, dhyani-chohans. After a long period of release from even the shadow of the suffering and pain that belong to the material spheres, they will make ready to enter into a higher system of worlds. This is the destiny of all evolving lives, man included: endless growth, endless duration in which to learn to know all parts of all the world systems — learning through individual experience, and leaving nothing behind to which they must return.
It is all a matter of expansion of consciousness. Our human consciousness limited to this earth, yet possessing vague concepts of a solar life, enables us to look outwards through our telescopes into the galaxy and toward the "Island-Universes" or galaxies beyond ours. We have thoughts about them, but they are thoughts; they are not the actual becoming in our consciousness of those galactic worlds. But our consciousness expands continuously through evolution: it expands self-consciously, first to comprehend all in the solar system, and then still later in aeonic time to embrace the galaxy, and finally to embark upon still vaster fields within the limitless ranges of cosmic Space.
Cosmic Space is in a sense limited, however vast, because the Boundless consists of limitless aggregations of such cosmic spaces or universes. But consciousness per se is free of limitations in its essence, and thus it can be expanded to cosmic dimensions, or conversely, can be shrunken to electronic magnitude. A man can constrict his consciousness to the point of being suited for inhabiting an electron, and yet in still deeper profundities of his being be as free as the wild winds, because consciousness cannot ever be bounded by material extension.
On certain electrons composing even our physical matter, there are entities as conscious as we are, possibly thinking divine thoughts. The cause of this is that all forms of manifested substance are offsprings of the cosmic intelligence; and hence every mathematical point of the universe is as infilled with cosmic consciousness, because rooted in it, as is the universe itself. Thus it is that consciousness is as functional and as active in the electron and its inhabitants, if any, as it is in any other portion or spacial extension, be it even of galactic magnitude or of reaches still more vast.
We humans are still very imperfect in our evolutionary growth. There are beings on other planets of our solar system — one would not call them "humans," yet they are actually more evolutionally advanced than we human beings are — who think diviner thoughts than we do. There are also beings or entities inhabiting the sun and its system of globes in its own chain; and consequently the sun and its globes have inhabitants thinking godlike thoughts, because having a godlike or solar consciousness.
Consider briefly the scale of entitative beings: first there is the universe, which we may call a cosmic cell; then aggregates of such universes consisting of star-clusters and nebulae, which one may term cosmic molecules. Then in the other direction in our own galaxy we have groups of solar systems, each one composed of a sun or suns and companion-planets, which we may represent to ourselves as cosmic atoms — the sun or suns being the cosmic protons, and the planets the cosmic electrons. Our earth, which is such a cosmic electron, is built up of hosts of entities formed of the chemical atoms which in their turn are formed of atomic protons and electrons, thus exemplifying the cosmic pattern of repetitive manifestation. The little mirrors the great everywhere; the atom mirrors and duplicates the universe. The universal life or cosmic consciousness-force-substance, which is the inner and all-sufficient cause of our own home-universe in and through which this cosmic life works, is the vital activity of some incomprehensibly great cosmic entity, even as the vital activity which runs through man's physical body is the lowest form of the vital-conscious cement linking all of man's constitution and powers and faculties together into an individualized unit.
Now such a vast cosmic entity of super-galactic magnitude, might consider us and wonder: "Can such infinitesimals have thoughts? Is their consciousness free like mine?" Yes, because consciousness or cosmic mind is the very heart, the essence of beings and things; and when a man allies himself with pure consciousness, he then enters into the heart of the universe, which is nowhere in particular because it is everywhere. The Hindu Upanishads nobly express this thought: aniyamsam aniyasam, "smaller than the smallest atom," which is equivalent to saying, vaster than the universe, for this is consciousness-mind-life-substance.
How is it that the heart of the universe is everywhere? It is because our home-universe is a cosmic hierarchy, a self-contained entity reaching from its highest, its divine root, through many intermediate grades of consciousnesses and substances and forces extending to its lowest, which is likewise matter for that cosmic hierarchy. The divine root is its divine hierarch, and the worlds visible and invisible combine to form the body of this indwelling divinity, whose heart-beats make the diastole and systole of the universe.
Moreover, each entity within that cosmic hierarchy is itself a subordinate hierarchy, because of being a self-contained entity or "closed system" having its own highest and lowest and all intermediate grades of matters and forces, thus faithfully copying its pattern, the cosmic hierarchy, in which it moves and lives and has its being. The solar system is one such inferior hierarchy, built withal as a repetitive copy of its grander and larger cosmic parent. Furthermore, in any solar system, every individual planet as well as the central luminary, the sun itself, is an exemplification of a hierarchy still smaller, but patterned as is its containing hierarchical parent. And on any such planet, our earth for instance, every self-contained being is a hierarchy still smaller, precisely because it is a self-contained entity.
A man is such, for he is a being having his highest and his lowest as well as all intermediate grades of consciousness and substance, which together comprise his spiritual and psychical and vital activities. But throughout all, there works and lives the dominant Self, the Overlord of all, man's own spiritual Wondrous Being. This Wondrous Being is the supreme chief, the fountain and origin of the fundamental consciousness of his hierarchy.
As the hierarchies in the universe are virtually infinite in number, so are the Wondrous Beings. There is the Wondrous Being, the Silent Watcher, for the Brotherhood of Compassion; there is a Wondrous Being for our globe, the supreme spiritual chief, who is identic in this case with the hierarch or Wondrous Being of the Brotherhood of Compassion. There is a Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher for our planetary chain. There is a Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher for our solar system, whose habitat is the sun. There is a Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher for the Milky Way, our own home-universe, and so forth forever.
In the other direction of thought there is a Silent Watcher or Wondrous Being for every atom; and there is a Silent Watcher for every human entity — man's own inner god, the buddha within, the christ immanent. This core of his being is a god-spark of the divine solar Entity which vitalizes the entire solar system, and in whom "we live, and move, and have our being."
Children of the solar consciousness-life are we, even as the innumerable lives composing the atoms of man's physical body live and move and have their being in man, their overlord; so we are linked through this solar entity of cosmic magnitude with spaces still more grand, with forces and substances, far-flung over and in and through cosmic Space.
Each link in a hierarchy is essential to that hierarchy. Consider Father Sun: all within his kingdom are subject to his jurisdiction, yet all are individually relatively responsible. From his heart are sent forth all the currents of mind and life into the outermost fields of the solar system, and every atom responds spontaneously and inevitably to the voiceless mandates flowing forth from the solar heart. Yet are not the planets individuals withal, and therefore responsible, each within its own sphere? Are we men not bound to mother planet as mother planet is bound to the solar system? And is not Father Sun but a link in the ascending chain of beings comprised within the directing and administrative sway of some cosmic intelligence still more grandiose than the sun?
The great American philosopher, Emerson, voices this ancient thought of the archaic East in his essay on "The Over-Soul":
that Over-soul, within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other; . . . We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One.
. . . the heart in thee is the heart of all; not a valve, not a wall, not an intersection is there anywhere in nature, but one blood rolls uninterruptedly an endless circulation through all men, as the water of the globe is all one sea, and, truly seen, its tide is one.
Let man, then, learn the revelation of all nature and all thought to his heart; this, namely; that the Highest dwells with him; that the sources of nature are in his own mind. . . .
And Plotinus, the Neoplatonic philosopher, in "The Three Primordial Essences" makes the thought still clearer:
It is by the Cosmic Spirit that the system of the world, so myriad-formed and various, is one vast whole. Through this spirit the Universe itself is a divinity; and we ourselves and all other things are whatever we are in our noblest by virtue of this all-permeant Cosmic Spirit. Our individual spirit is identic with this Cosmic Spirit through which also the gods themselves are divine beings. . . . Thus the essence of the spirit is incomparably higher than anything which has form. Honoring the Cosmic Spirit everywhere, it leads us to honor our own individual spirit . . . but over this Spirit Divine there is something loftier and still more divine, the origin and source of the former. . . . In this diviner still all that is eternally alive is contained. Naught is there in it but the Divinest Intelligence; all is Divinity; and here indeed is the home of every individual spirit in peace eternal. — V, i, 2-4
Finally, Vergil, the initiate poet, says in his Aeneid:
Know first, the heaven, the earth, the main,
The moon's pale orb, the starry train,
Are nourished by a soul,
A bright intelligence, whose flame
Glows in each member of the frame,
And stirs the mighty whole.
— Bk. VI, vv. 724-7
There is the spirit of archaic pantheism, which in its original sense is the teaching that behind and within all beings and things there is a divine essence which lives and moves and operates in innumerable multitudes of life-consciousness rays: the eternal consciousness-life-substance, super-spiritual, from which the entire universe flows forth, and back into which it will in due course of the revolving ages return.
The Esoteric Tradition of necessity is substantially pantheistic from one point of view, but never in the manner in which pantheism is misunderstood in Western lands. Indeed, every philosophy or religion which contains in its theological structure the fundamental conception of all-permeant divinity, which is at once everywhere and is outside of time and spacial relations in its essence, is de facto basically pantheistic. Even Christianity is pantheistic, although this fundamental has been so disguised and emasculated that it is reduced to little but the vague statement that "God is Infinity." Obviously, if divinity is infinity it cannot be a person, because personality implies limitation: and although the Christian god is stated to be "without body, parts or passions," being nevertheless considered to be Infinity, it must be as all-permeant, ex hypothesi, as could be desired by the most rigid of abstract pantheists.
The human mind is incapable of conceiving divinity as existing otherwise than as being all-permeant, in the spiritual worlds as well as in the physical, and thus as being throughout essentially pantheistic in character.
The Christian god is a creator, a demiurge, and this is, after all, a big-small god in the boundless spaces of Infinitude, since creation or demiurgic activity instantly implies limitation because restricted activity within something greater; whereas the that or Tat of the Vedic sages is no more a creator than a non-creator. The usage of the word that simply implies abstraction without qualities or attributes — an attempt to suggest the utmost abysms of infinitude and of frontierless duration — boundless Space and boundless time. If we limit that by attributes or qualifications, we thereby introduce an illogical conception into our first postulate, for that is unthinkable and ineffable, and in consequence cannot be described. This does not mean that all the vast ranges of space and duration between the Unthinkable and us is cosmic emptiness, devoid of mind and consciousness and life and substance. The truth is emphatically the contrary: these endless realms of space are infilled with innumerable hierarchies of divine atoms, ranging all the way from the gods through the various hierarchies of minor entities to men, and extending beneath men to other smaller hierarchies of beings. All throughout is instinct with life and thought and intelligence. Every tiniest atom that sings its own keynote (for every atom is in eternal vibration, and every vibration produces a sound), every entity everywhere in all the abysmal deeps of boundless Space, and all the orbs of heaven as they run along their paths, are but children of the Cosmic Life, offsprings of the Boundless.
A great loss of esoteric and mystical truth in the Occident has been the supposed separate existence of the individual from the divinity which infills the universe. The universe is our home. We are brothers, we are akin to the gods, for their life is our life, their consciousness our consciousness, their origin and destiny is ours; and what they are, we in essence are.
What men call Spirit is the summit or again the seed or noumenon of any particular hierarchy. Equivalently, what men call matter or substance is in one sense the most evolved form of expression of the same spirit in its radiation downwards, in any one such hierarchy. Spirit is the primal source of departure of the evolutionary activity which brought forth through its own inherent and spontaneously arising energies the manifestation in the cosmic spaces of such a hierarchy. Between first, the originant or spirit, and second, the resultant or matter, there is all the intermediate range of hierarchical stages. These hierarchies do not exist merely in the cosmos, nor in any sense do they exist apart from or simply as expressions of the cosmos. They are in very fact the cosmos itself, because not only do they infill and inform it, but what the cosmos or universe is, it is because it is they.
Just so in the case of man: his spirit is the primal originant from which his constitution flows forth in descending degrees of substantial concretion until the physical body is reached. Yet the spirit in man is not his body; as Krishna says, the spirit establishes the whole man with portions of itself, and yet remains, apart and distinct, on its own plane.
Thus does the One become the Many — whether the hierarchical unit be an atom, a man, a globe or the farthest galaxy in space.