Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy by G. de Purucker

Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.


Chapter Eighteen

The Spiritual-Psychological Hierarchy of Adepts. The Wondrous Being, the Buddhas, Nirmanakayas, Dhyan-Chohans.

Then the Blessed One spake, and said:

'Know, Vasettha, that (from time to time) a Tathagata is born into the world, a fully Enlightened One, blessed and worthy, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the world, unsurpassed as a guide to erring mortals, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face to face this universe — the world below with all its spirits, and the worlds above, of Mara and of Brahma — and all creatures, Samanas and Brahmans, gods and men, and he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth doth he proclaim both in its letter and in its spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all its perfectness.' — Tevijja Sutta, pp. 186-7 (The Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi)

OUR STUDY this evening begins with reading once more a part of the matter from the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, which was read at our last meeting, namely, on page 207:

The Arhats of the "fire-mist" of the 7th rung are but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy — the highest on Earth, and our Terrestrial chain. This "Root-Base" has a name which can only be translated by several compound words into English — "the ever-living-human-Banyan." This "Wondrous Being" descended from a "high region," they say, in the early part of the Third Age, before the separation of the sexes of the Third Race.

This evening we are going to make a step forward, in some respects, far and away beyond any distance that we have traveled on a similar occasion. Our preceding two studies have been for the purpose, mainly, of illustrating some of the preliminary ideas connected with this wonderful doctrine of the Wondrous Being.

First, then, let us note that the key word of this teaching is the word banyan. Doubtless you all know what a banyan tree is, a well-known tree in India, and called the Ficus bengalensis, the "Bengal Fig," because it is a relative of the fig tree. It grows rapidly, and soon attains to very respectable dimensions. From its branches there hang down tendrils which, when they reach the soil, strike into the ground and become roots there. And the tendril which grew down and rooted itself in the ground becomes another tree trunk, in its turn sending forth branches, these branches anew sending forth other tendrils, becoming in their turn new roots, which again become new trunks, sending forth other branches, developing in their turn new tendrils, and so on. It is a wonderful figure of speech to have been chosen for this subject.

Now this Wondrous Being is a spiritual banyan. To say that it is our higher self would be using a misleading phrase; it would be doing violence to the facts. Notwithstanding this, however, in one sense it is our higher self, our Paramatman. From it we spiritually spring; and when, in the course of the cycles, the life-wave shall have run its rounds on this planetary chain, into the hierarchical banyan again we shall be withdrawn. It is in very truth, so far as this planet is concerned, and so far as its thinking entities more particularly are concerned, our Father in Heaven. The Wondrous Being referred to here must not be confused with its lower copy, the supreme Initiator, the Great Sacrifice, the Head of the spiritual-psychological hierarchy of Adepts, the more immediate subject of our present study.

You will remember that in our former studies we pointed out that the course of the evolution of man, more particularly of his psychological nature, was a copy in miniature of the development not merely of worlds of the macrocosmic scale, but also of various high spiritual beings who form the directing intelligences of the kosmos, and of their vehicles in the universe. First, when the time comes for manifestation, for the sending forth of a life-wave, it begins, rounds out, and then completes its evolutionary course on the first "plane" of its downward and forward journey. Then, passing from that plane, to use the ordinary term, and going to a lower one, it leaves on the plane or sphere to and into which it had first penetrated, vehicles of various sorts, remaining more or less active, though the main vigor of the life-wave has passed on. And so through and in all of the seven planes or spheres of manifestation — first in the spiritual world; then in the psychical; then in the astral; and lastly in the physical; thus reaching the limit which the active impulse or force of the evolutionary wave attains in that particular manvantara, which is what we call absolute matter for that particular life-wave: four planes from its beginning, counting downwards. Three more planes upwards round out the manvantaric cycle.

Remember here that our teaching allows of no such things as "absolutes" in the ordinary sense, for actually all absolutes are relative. The absolute self, our Father in Heaven, is but the Absolute of our hierarchy, its crown, its summit, its glory; or, considering it as the beginning of manifested beings, the root or the seed thereof. And, as all nature works in bipolar phases, "absolute matter," therefore, is the ultimate depth to which a spiritual impulse can reach in that particular manvantaric cycle. Below it are other complete hierarchies; while above our hierarchical (not individual) Father in Heaven is the lowest plane of another but superior hierarchy, one of innumerable multitudes of hierarchies, which in their aggregate comprise the universal kosmos.

In our last study we spoke of the care that we should have when we speak of the One; the reason is that there are infinite multitudes of such Ones, a necessary implication of what we have said this evening and elsewhere.

Now, as the monad descends into matter, or rather as its ray — one of other innumerable rays proceeding from it — is propelled into matter, it secretes from itself and then excretes on each one of the seven planes through which it passes its various vehicles, all overshadowed by the self, the same self in you and in me, in plants and in animals, in fact in all that is and belongs to that hierarchy. It is the one self, the supreme self or Paramatman of the hierarchy. It illumines and follows each individual monad and all the latter's hosts of rays. Each such monad is a spiritual seed from the previous manvantara, which manifests as a monad in this manvantara; and this monad through its rays throws out from itself by secretion and then excretion all its vehicles; and these vehicles are, first, the spiritual ego, the reflection or copy in miniature of the monad itself, but individualized through the manvantaric evolution, bearing or carrying as a vehicle the monadic ray. The latter cannot directly contact the lower planes, because it is the monadic essence itself, the latter a still higher ray of the infinite Boundless composed of infinite multiplicity in unity.

The next vehicle is the spiritual soul, the bearer of the spiritual ego. On its own higher plane, this vehicle is, as it were, a sheaf or pillar of light. Similarly with the various egos and their related vehicle-souls on the inferior planes, all growing constantly more dense, as the planes of matter, into which the monadic ray penetrates, gradually thicken downwards and become more dense until the final "soul." The final soul is the physical body, the general vehicle or bearer or carrier of them all. Soul, as the term is here used, is seen to be a general expression for any bearer or carrier of an egoic center, or ego.

When we call this hierarchical Wondrous Being our highest self, we mean that it is the primeval or originating seed from which we grow and develop into composite entities, the immortal divine part of our nature and being. We can consider it, in one aspect, as a sheaf of divine light separating into innumerable individuals or entities (monads and monadic rays) in a manvantara; and when the pralaya comes, again withdrawing and drawn back into itself, enriched and ennobled, however, through its countless hosts of manifested monads and monadic rays, with the individualizing experience that these latter have gained, because, though at first unself-conscious god-sparks, they are now self-conscious divinities. The innumerably various individual consciousnesses increase in power and glory and self-cognition by means of the life and lives through which it (and they) have passed. Hence the wonder-teaching flowing forth from this.

Listen carefully: last spring we pointed out that the one end and aim of all manvantaric evolution is the raising of the mortal into immortality; and we mentioned as an illustration of the idea the beautiful Invocation of Katherine Tingley, "that from the corruptible I may become incorruptible; that from darkness I may go forth in light." That, indeed, is the aim and end of kosmic evolution. Have we reached as yet such a state, you and I? We have not; and our immortality as men is nonexistent or rather conditional, and will so be until we have "raised the corruptible into incorruptibility."

In order to make things more clear, please note the following: no student of these studies should feel discouraged at what may seem to him to be the confusion caused by using such words as spiritual, divine, Wondrous Being, the One, hierarchy, and many more, in various places which seem different from other places or conditions. The fact is that such usage is really unavoidable. No European language has evolved terms or expressions suitable to these majestic and often (to us) complex doctrines; and hence a speaker is obliged to do the best he can in this respect. But please mark this well: there need be no confusion whatsoever, and in time there will be none, if the student or reader will constantly bear in mind the following facts. The entire framework of kosmos, or nature, is builded throughout in scalar fashion, and on correspondences and repetitives, so that, actually, the same descriptive words are properly applied to any theme of a repetitive character, for the reason that there are no absolutes anywhere, and everything is strictly relative to everything else. The only differences are those of evolutionary development, and the relative and varying greater or less degree in which spirit or matter is evolved or manifesting. The divine of one hierarchy is actually grossest matter to another far superior hierarchy; but within one and the other the repetitive rules apply very strictly, because kosmos or nature follows one general course and one law, and has one general and throughout-repeated course of action, which applies as strictly and fully to a kosmos as to the less kosmos, the atom.

Hence, the Wondrous Being of our own planetary spiritual-psychological hierarchy of Adepts, etc., is a correspondence in small of the kosmical One of the universal kosmical hierarchy of the solar system, etc.

Bearing this rule ever in mind, confusion will gradually fade away into dazzling light of illumination. It is well worth trying!

Some perhaps may think it a remarkable thing that in our last two studies we contrasted the case of the lost soul with the case of the children of this Wondrous Being — the buddhas. Naturally the former are the other or nether pole of the buddhas, as these lost souls are, like the buddhas, cases of extreme rarity of occurrence. In our present state of evolution, in which these lost souls occur, equally rare is the other occurrence: the raising of the mortal into immortality, of the corruptible into incorruptibility.

Let us go into this a little farther. What is it that is "lost"? It is the soul. Now what is soul? As I have explained before, by our use it is a vehicle on the higher planes manifesting as a sheaf or pillar of light; and on the lower planes, depending upon the spirituality of the plane, or its materiality, a more or less physically corporeal body. These souls in all cases are living, more (or less) conscious, sentient entities; living beings, composite: each one of them composed of innumerable multitudes of less (inferior) entities, as our body itself is composed of quasi-infinite numbers of atomic cosmoi, tiny cosmoses, minute universes.

Now such a soul becomes lost, annihilated truly, when it has lost its touch or rather union with that which gives it immortality — or the promise of it. For, if and when the impulse, all impulses or aspirations, towards the indwelling divinity, towards its closer union therewith, have faded out or ceased completely, then there is nothing left in it to hold it together, for it is wholly a compounded thing, as said before, and it then disintegrates, falls to pieces, as the physical body will disintegrate in the fire or in the earth. What then happens to the immortal monad which had informed it? Its career in that vehicle is violently checked. The course of nature, of destiny, in that particular instance, has been violated and interrupted. Yet all the previous spiritual gleanings from the former lives of that monad in other former vehicles still remain; and, after a certain period, the monad shoots forth another ray, another ego, although the page of the lost soul remains blank, so to say — it is, as it were, nonexistent, completely wiped out. Immortality has no record of it. It is truly a terrible thing, not only spiritually, but for the higher soul, the spiritual ego, itself (see diagram).

On the contrary, on the other side, when once in many, many generations the flower of spirituality blooms full in a soul, and mortality is raised into immortality, we have the opposite case: a Master is born, consciously immortal, linked for ever with his higher individual self. As the one case is one pole, so is the other case the other pole of nature's course.

But when the former soul is lost, there is then for it no more pain, no more sorrow; it is wiped out, and vanishes, even as a shadow which passes along a wall and is gone.

Now listen: modern science tells us in its hypotheses built upon its recent discoveries, that every physical atom is composed, first, of a central nucleus which is called a proton; and, second, that around it go circling, cycling, revolving — precisely as the planets and many comets in the solar system do around the sun — other corpuscular bodies called electrons. We will use these facts as illustrative of our theme because the conception is so closely similar in outline to that of the ancient wisdom. The next idea to grasp is that mere bulk, mere magnitude, is no proof or criterion of greatness, either in spiritual grandeur or in physical power. The fact is that every atom in the manifested universe is a bearer and a carrier of lives. Our bodies are actually composed and builded up of innumerable hosts of such atoms, every one a miniature cosmos or solar system, every one of them carrying its hosts of astral-psychic and even spiritual infinitesimals. Over all, through all, permeating all, controlling all, giving connected and inhering life to all, are the predominant life, power, and characteristic of our own personality, of our own personal ego as man; the Paramatman, the spiritual self, the Father in Heaven, of these infinitesimal beings. We are not necessarily greater in essence than any one unit of these innumerable hosts of infinitesimals which live, and move, and have their being, in one or another or another or another atom of our body. There may be entities among them very much farther advanced than we are, paradoxical as the statement may sound; and therefore I repeat: "Break the molds of your minds; let in the light!" Because a thing may be strange to the mind and because it may sound new, is it therefore necessarily untrue? How dare you or I or anyone say: "This or that is the only truth, the only thing that can be"? What is the criterion of truth here? What, indeed, is truth, as judged by such standards?

Let us go a step farther. Take our body or, for instance, its organs — the heart, the liver, the brain, and others, each one receiving from the predominant personal ego of the man certain particular rays of force, and each one a kosmical universe or a universal kosmos for the hosts of atomic infinitesimals composing it — in this connection, I say, has it ever struck you, has it ever occurred to you, that our solar system is such an atomic infinitesimal as compared with the universal kosmos; formed of its proton the sun, and of its electrons the planets, each planet bearing its hosts of lives, and forming a part of the vehicle or body, if you will, of some immense titanic entity utterly beyond our sphere of comprehension? "God"? But why God? What assurance have we that such a titanic entity is better than you or I, as God is supposed to be? Mere magnitude or bulk, mere material magnitude, is absolutely no criterion of anything. Our picture may or it may not be true. But the point to get here is this, that as our body is held together by the forces driving through it, and coming from us, secreted and excreted by you and by me; so does the One of the universal kosmos — or of any hierarchy inferior to it — send forth and control the many. Thus, then, the universal kosmical Wondrous Being is our highest self; which in no way whatever contradicts or interferes with the other fact, that each one of us has his own monadic higher self, a spark thereof, destined in its turn to become in future manvantaras the highest self of a kosmos. Profound, sublime thought! And the Wondrous Being of inferior scope and splendor, who is the root-base of our own planetary spiritual-psychological hierarchy of Adepts, a miniature as it were of the kosmical, is the one spoken of in the passage from The Secret Doctrine which forms our present theme.

Now, the hierarchical Wondrous Being has been deliberately spoken of in our last two studies, and also in this our present study, as an entity because, generalizing the conception, it is an entity. But there are three forms in which, or planes upon which, this entity manifests; and for the sake of perspicuity and convenience, just here, we are going to use the Buddhist phraseology, the phraseology of Buddhism and Tibet, as expressed in the Sanskrit language. The highest aspect, or the highest subentity of the Wondrous Being is called adi-buddha, adi meaning "primeval" (or the highest). This adi-buddha is in the dharmakaya state: a Sanskrit compound of two words meaning the "continuance-body," sometimes translated equally well — or ill — the "body of the law," both very inadequate expressions, for the difficulty in translating these extremely mystical terms is very great. A mere correct dictionary translation misses the esoteric meaning entirely; and just there is where Occidental scholars make such ludicrous errors at times. The first word comes from the root dhri, meaning "to support," "to sustain," "to carry," "to bear," hence "to continue"; also human laws are the agencies supposed to carry, support, sustain, civilization; the second element, kaya, means "body"; the noun thus formed may be rendered the "body of the law," but this phrase does not give the idea at all. It is that spiritual body or state of a high spiritual being in which the sense of soulship and egoity has vanished into a universal (hierarchical) sense, and remains only in the seed, i.e., latent — if even so much. It is pure consciousness, pure bliss, pure intelligence, freed from all personalizing thought.

The second aspect or subentity is called the dhyani-buddha, "contemplation-buddha," a great descent from the former, so far as mere impersonal spirituality goes. This is carried by the sambhoga-kaya, two Sanskrit words meaning "enjoyment-body," or rather "participation-body," because the buddha in the sambhoga-kaya state still participates in, still retains, its consciousness as an individual, its egoship and its soul, though it is still too far above material or personal concerns to care about or to meddle with them; and therefore it would be powerless here on our material earth. As H. P. Blavatsky once said, a god from the spheres celestial, living solely in its own nature, and without a material body to manifest in material spheres, would be utterly powerless there.

The third, and lowest, yet in one sense the highest aspect or subentity (highest on account of the immense, willing, self-sacrifice involved in its incarnation in human flesh) is the manusha-buddha, meaning "human buddha," because born in a human body for compassionate work among men. The manusha-buddha at will or need lives and works in the nirmanakaya, "form-body," about which a very wonderful doctrine exists, to be explained later.

The dhyani-buddhas are one of the ten classes of beings which came to our globe from the preceding planetary manvantara. We will recite them, as follows: three elemental kingdoms, the lowest; the mineral kingdom; the plant kingdom; the beast kingdom. I pause a moment in order to make a remark. Please do not say "animal" in this connection. We must have precision here. Animal means any being which has an anima, or "vital soul." Man is an animal in that sense, but he is not a beast, His vital-astral-physical body is a beast, and he works in and with a human soul through a vital or beast soul, enlightened by a spiritual soul. We hope to have time later to illustrate this point more fully this evening.

Then another kingdom after the beast kingdom: the manusha-kingdom or human kingdom. So far, then, we have three elemental kingdoms, 3; then the mineral, 4; plant, 5; beast, 6; human, 7. Then begin the dhyan-chohans of three classes. Man in his higher nature is an embryo dhyan-chohan, an embryo lord of meditation. It is his destiny, if he run the race successfully, to blossom forth at the end of the seventh round as a lord of meditation; if you like, as a spiritual planetary, or a planetary spirit, when this planetary manvantaric kalpa is ended, this Day of Brahma, which is the seven rounds in seven stages each. But there are three classes of dhyan-chohans, as said; these three classes in their turn are each divided into seven, as you know. Now of these three the lowest class being divided into seven, of these seven the fourth is that dhyan-chohan who is our "God in Heaven," for this fourth round. Its spiritual primary is the adi-buddha of the fourth round. It itself is a dhyani-buddha.

Let us try to make this clearer. On each planet or globe of the seven globes forming the planetary chain, as the life-wave touches it in a round — and similarly through all the seven rounds — there is evolved, or rather appears, a buddha, it might be better to say a maha-buddha: one at the commencement of a globe's awakening to life again, and another maha-buddha when the life-wave leaves the planet after completing its round there. Likewise, for each race during such a globe-round there appears another buddha who, so to say, is a ray from the maha-buddha of the planet, and is called the race-buddha; and he in his turn, at the middle of the race, or when the central point of the race is nearing, overshadows a chosen human vessel of purity and nobility, or spiritual grandeur, this last becoming the buddha preparing the spiritual way for the great race-buddha of the succeeding root-race, who appears shortly before the close of the preceding root-race. Such a one (as this last) was the Lord Sakyamuni, Gautama Buddha, who is now living on earth, as the Teachers tell us, a nirmanakaya. A nirmanakaya is the lowest of the three mystical vehicles, as we explained a little while ago. It exists in seven degrees or kinds, the lowest being the case where the entity, the spiritual entity, retains all his human principles except the physical body — all. He is a man in every respect, except for the physical body, which he has discarded.

Now all these buddhas — and we have no time this evening to illustrate the wonderful mysteries connected with this doctrine — all these buddhas of a round derive from the dhyani-buddha of that round. They form part of the spiritual-psychological hierarchy of that round. It is this dhyani-buddha of our fourth round, our Father in Heaven, who is the Wondrous Being, the Great Initiator, the Sacrifice, spoken of before. The name and titles are sometimes likewise applied to that spiritual entity, the race-buddha, who comes shortly before or at the beginning of a root-race; and who at certain epochs during the course of that race chooses a fit human vehicle, usually one of the Great Lodge, overshadows this chosen vessel or incarnates in it, as the case may be — depending upon the materiality of the race and round and many other factors — and so overshadowed, the chosen vessel becomes the manusha or human buddha. Strictly speaking, the race-buddha himself is a manusha or human buddha also. As remarked before, probably none of these titles or names are hard and fast as limited to one sole entity; they are often applied, mutatis mutandis, to more than one sole entity or class. This is extremely suggestive.

It is in this manner that this subject of the Wondrous Being, which seems so intricate, but which is actually so simple, is explained. It seems intricate on account of its subtility, but it is very simple indeed. It is our brain-minds of matter which prevent us from seeing it easily and clearly. The ray running through all our individual being, from which we draw our spiritual life and spiritual sustenance, comes direct to us from this hierarchical Wondrous Being in whom we all are rooted. He to us, psychologically and spiritually, holds exactly the same place that the human ego, the man-ego, holds to the innumerable multitudes of elemental entities which compose his body — atomic infinitesimals, before referred to, are not meant here.

But listen: the analogy is correct also in this respect, that if we made it universal, kosmic, we would say that that inexpressible One — which is the Utmost of the Utmost, and the Inmost of the Inmost, of our kosmical universe, comprising the greatest boundaries of the Milky Way — corresponds to all within the Milky Way as our human ego corresponds to the infinitesimal atomic universes which compose its own physical body. The symbology is there; the correspondence is there; and it is by the correspondence that we are striving to explain somewhat of the mystery, how the One becomes the many; not because the One "descends into matter" or becomes "many" materially and literally. Not at all. But in the same way that the sun is an immense and exhaustless reservoir of vital, psychic, and spiritual rays, sending them out through billions of years, exhaustlessly; in the same way this hierarchical Wondrous Being of kosmic magnitude, through its inferior but high Wondrous Beings of various degrees, enlightens us and uplifts us and inspires us, and leads us onward and upward towards immortality, for aye doing its best, through its own spiritual ray within us, to illumine and lighten our material corruptibility, in order to make it incorruptible; that from personality we may enter individuality; "that from darkness, we may go forth in light!" And the time will come when we shall do this work and become incorruptible consciously, working with nature and becoming one with her; for, just as this Wondrous Being is the foundation-force back of and behind all that we call nature, so that same Wondrous Being in far-gone former manvantaras was then a man, even as you and I now are. Such we shall also become, if we run the cosmic race successfully. Wonderful, inspiring thought!

Now I wish to read a citation from Katherine Tingley, taken from one of her recent lectures, because it is so appropriate to our present studies on this point, that if we come here with pure hearts and a sincere motive, learning from each other in the spirit of true comradeship and brotherly love, we shall all get something high and fine, something to urge us upward and onward. It will be a holy thing, a benediction. Listen:

A man gets what he works for, and if he does not work for it, be does not get it. But when one wants truth so much that he is actually hungry for it, he gets it. It is the wine of life, so to speak, the revelation of the book of life. No language can describe it.

Those who desire the truth, those who have the courage to enter the new life, those who have the desire to be reborn in a sense, must throw overboard everything that has held them down in their limitations, in their doubts, in their fears, their dislikes, and their passions. Man is a majestic being if he knows his own spiritual nature, and works assiduously to become that which he was intended to be.

We are cutting brief our lecture tonight; it is already very long; we have still more to say, and our time for closing is drawing near.

Another thought that must be hinted at tonight is that H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine is both an exoteric and an esoteric book. It contains doctrines which were esoteric before this book was printed. Now they are "exoteric." But if anyone thinks — I never did, thank the immortal gods — that he knows The Secret Doctrine by reading it once or even a dozen times, or a score of times, he mistakes greatly the situation. It must be read not only between the lines, but within the words. I have found the value of the following rule: never take a single statement in it and allow your mind to mold itself around it, never let a single idea crystallize; break the molds, let in the light. It is an excellent rule. As soon as a man says: "I have the truth," look out for him, for he is probably blind. The molds of his mind are crystallized, and he cannot see the light.

These things, these thoughts that we study, are serious, there is no playing with them; it means going up or going down; and we have the choice of paths daily, momently, instantly. I do not mean this as a preachment. I speak from my heart, for I have found the truth of what I say, and its great value.

Now to illustrate by a diagram this question of souls and egos alluded to this evening (see diagram):

Please note here what is intended to be an egg-shaped design. It is not a graphic representation, that is, a picture; it is a paradigm. A paradigm is a graphic symbol, but not a picture of a thing.

Let the three parallel lines drawn above the egg represent, if you will, the arupa world, the formless world; and the seven planes comprised within the egg, the rupa world, seven being the number of the principles always in manifestation, held in union as an individual by the higher triad, the arupa triad, its root above.

The three higher of the seven within the egg are also called arupa, formless, but only relatively so. Please remember one of the first lessons of the esoteric wisdom: there are no absolutes. We speak indeed of absolutes, but only as relative absolutes. The popular, ordinary sense of this word as "limitless or endless completions" is utterly inadmissible, for there are no absolutes of that kind, for every thing is relative in quality and space and time to some thing else, and it must be so unless we cast logic and common sense to the winds.

Just think of it: if any thing were absolute in the old popular sense, it would be everything, and there could be nothing but that in manifestation, hence no change for betterment, no progress, no evolution. Relativity — which means universally occurring relationships in space and time — is the very heart of the conception of the kosmos as an aggregate of evolving entities, the offspring of infinite motion, infinite life, infinite progress always.

To continue our discussion of the paradigm: through this egg-shaped paradigm falls the ray from the arupa world, represented by the vertical line signifying the self universally manifesting in every atom it touches in this kosmos — and it permeates them all — as the self individual, the self egoic, the human self, the astral self, etc. These three highest divisions, the arupa triad, collectively are likewise called the Paramatman, the supreme self, the summit or flower of the hierarchy, the root-base or source of that self.

Please always keep in mind that there is another hierarchy above our highest division, this division beginning with the lowest, the "absolute matter," of that higher hierarchy. Everything is relative. Absolute matter even of our own hierarchy would be intangible, invisible, to us. Why? Because our present physical senses do not belong to its plane, and therefore have not been trained by evolution to take cognizance of it; our senses, eyesight, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching, can cognize only those things, and all those things, which they have been built to cognize through experience in and through ourselves. We have not descended in this manvantara into the absolute matter of any other hierarchy than our own; we have gone down only as far as the stages of this hierarchy would let us go. I do not here mean our kosmical hierarchy. Rather, I mean our planetary hierarchy. Do not be absolute in the application of terminology, for the reasons already set forth. We must, when we hear a "hierarchy" spoken of, immediately question which one. When we hear the "self" spoken of, we must immediately question which one. When we hear the "soul" spoken of, let us immediately ask ourselves which soul. This is a safe rule and guide to follow in interpretation of any and all passages.

Now, as just said, these three highest planes represented by the three horizontal lines paradigmatically represent the Paramatman or supreme self of the hierarchy, in the archetypal world. If you please, let this topmost circle inside the egg represent the monadic envelope or the divine soul, which is called, from another standpoint, the atman or divine ego. The circle on the horizontal plane below the monadic envelope let us call the spiritual soul or the individual monad. The self corresponding to it is the jivatman. Next comes the third circle in this egg, and corresponding to it is the higher human soul, composed of the lower buddhi and the higher manas; and the self corresponding to it is the bhutatman, meaning the "self of that which has been," or the reincarnating ego. The fourth is the lower human soul or man, manas and kama; and the self corresponding to it is pranatman, or personal ego. The next circle, still lower — growing progressively darker like all the others, which I have attempted to illustrate by increasing the shading — is the beast soul, kama-prana. And the self corresponding to it may be simply called the beast ego. Finally, the lowest "soul" of all is the physical body. Remember that the word soul, in our ancient wisdom, means vehicle; and, of course, this lowest vehicle, the physical body, also comprehends the prana, and the linga-sarira or model-body which is its background and seed and root. These three are inseparable.

Please notice in this diagram the role played by the self, represented roughly by the line dropped from the highest and running through and permeating all the planes below its archetypal origin. I wish to call to your attention the fact that not merely Plato, but the entire Greek school of mystic philosophies, spoke of the self as immanent in kosmos, and as a sacrifice, which Christian mystics call sometimes the "Christ crucified in matter"; and, if we care to make the application to the exoteric Christian religion of the doctrine of the Wondrous Being which we have been studying, we shall discover that the whole Christian mythos or story was actually drawn from it, the entire thing, and distortedly called the "incarnation of the Logos." In old Greek philosophy, the word logos was used in many ways, which the Christians sadly misunderstood. The dhyan-chohan, of which we have spoken this evening, is our spiritual logos, the planetary logos, so far as this fourth round is concerned. The spiritual entity behind the sun is the solar logos of our solar system. Small or great as every solar system may be, each has its own logos, the source or fountainhead of almost innumerable logoi of less degree in that system. Every man has his own spiritual logos; every atom has its own logos; every atom has its own Paramatman and Mulaprakriti, for every entity everywhere has its own highest. These things and the words which express them are relative. Bulk and magnitude have nothing whatsoever to do with it; it is quality, spiritual quality, which is the true criterion. This is a great and useful thing to remember. I have found inestimable help in that one rule.

We have only a few minutes more of time this evening. I have been asked briefly to speak of another matter, and that is in connection with the recurring cycles of the year, and especially as regards the New Year. H. P. Blavatsky somewhere, I think it was in an old issue of her magazine Lucifer at the beginning of the year of 1890, says, among other things in a very interesting article, that theosophists and esotericists particularly should hold the 4th day of January as the beginning of the new year. Now that is an extremely interesting statement; and in general connection with it, I wish to call your attention to one very important fact, which is that the esoteric wisdom is based entirely on nature and her fundamental operations. Nature, as we understand that word, does not mean only the physical, visible universe. That is merely the shell or body of nature the real. Nature, with us, means the entire aggregate of everything that is, inwards and outwards, of all planes in all spheres throughout the Boundless.

The significance of this in the present connection is that the esoteric method of reckoning time is a natural method, based wholly on recondite operations of nature. It is not an artificial method. You will find that none of the real anniversaries is based on man-made ideas or on chance, such as the artificial scheme used by the French during the French Revolution; or dating from the founding of a city, like Rome; or from the death of some great man, like Jesus. Such methods, as a matter of fact, are unknown in the esoteric chronology, though parallels do exist, but these are based on natural cycles. The ancient wisdom bases all its chronological reckonings upon the kosmic clock which nature gives us, and which is majestic, infallible, and a perfect timekeeper. That clock is the heavenly vault; and the sun, the moon, the seven planets (as the ancients reckoned them), and the stars, are the "hands" marking time cycles. The year mostly used in reckoning time by the ancients is what astronomers call the tropical year, so called from the change of the seasons. Winter, spring, summer, autumn; winter, spring, summer, autumn; recurring regularly; and recurring regularly because based on the movement of the earth around the sun, like a hand on the dial of the kosmical clock. The so-called anomalistic year and the sidereal year were both known to ancient astronomy, but were not used except for purely astronomical (not astrological) calculations, or only rarely for astrological reckoning.

Mark the difference between astrology and astronomy. Astronomy is the science of the movements, and the relations to each other, of the stars and planets. That is all. It simply tells us what they are made of, where they move, and when they move, and how long it takes them to move along certain orbits or paths, and is purely exoteric. But astrology, mind you, means the "science of the stars" (while astronomy proudly calls itself the "law of the stars"), just as geology means the "science of the earth." Ancient astrology — not the pasteboard-science which passes under that name today, but the ancient spiritual-astral astrology, a true and profound wisdom about the evolution of divinity into and through matter, and about the human soul and the human spirit — taught the science of the relations of the parts of kosmic nature among themselves, and more particularly as that science applied to man and his destiny as timed by the celestial orbs. From that great and noble science sprang up, as said, an exoteric pseudoscience, derived from the Mediterranean and Asian practice, eventuating in the modern schemes of so-called astrology — a poor, degraded, and worn-out remnant of ancient wisdom.

All nations had ways of reckoning the year and fixing the beginning of the year. Not all nations put the opening of the year at the same date; some nations reckoned from the winter solstice, that is when the sun has attained its southernmost point, before beginning its slow course northwards again. I am speaking as an inhabitant of the northern hemisphere. Of course, in South America and in other lands below the equator, the conditions are reversed. But now we are speaking of the northern hemisphere. Other nations reckoned the beginning of the year at the summer solstice, about June 21st or 22nd; while the winter solstice takes place on or about December 21st. Other nations again reckoned the opening of the year at the spring equinox, March 21st or 22nd. Other nations began the reckoning of the year at the autumnal equinox, six months later, on September 22nd or 23rd. The Jews, for instance, had two years: a civil year, beginning in September at the autumnal equinox, and a religious year, beginning with the spring equinox. The ancient Germanic nations of northern Europe before the time of Caesar began the year at the winter solstice on December 21st; the ancient Greeks began their year at different times of the annual cycle, but most often, probably, in the autumn; and the ancient Romans began it in the spring. The ancient Egyptians began it in the summer; and the ancient Persians, and the Syrians, and other nations, had each its own period for opening the year.

The Mediterranean civilizations were already on the downward path for many centuries before what in Europe is popularly called the year l AD. They were slowly losing a great deal of the ancient wisdom, and an understanding of its great secrets, and it was shown not merely in the manner in which the Eleusinian Mysteries were modified and changed, but also in the constant shifting and remodeling of their calendars, and in their methods of computing time, of calculating chronological periods, the beginnings and ends of various cycles, etc. The Romans were particularly blameworthy in this regard. They were perhaps worse in that respect than any other nation known to us. If some dictator or political chieftain wished to have a few days more of power, or to prevent or to postpone an election, he would begin to meddle with the calendar, a course of conduct carried on with the connivance or through the ignorance or negligence of the pontiffs. And so finally it came about that on account of the disorder of the calendar at the time of Julius Caesar — to be exact in the year 46-47 BC — the calends of January, that is the first day of January, fell on the day of the season which now corresponds to the 13th of October; and if the confusion had continued indefinitely, the first of January would in due course have taken place in all the months of the year, wandering through them, and finally completing its course around the year somewhere in March, having completed the cycle. It should be added that the old standard Roman year was lunar, consisting of about 354 days.

Julius Caesar deserves credit for having stopped this confusion by his reformation of the Roman calendar. I do not mean to say that Caesar did it all himself. He did not; for though he was a clever man and an amateur astronomer, yet he had the services of an Egyptian — or Alexandrian Greek — astronomer, a man of great ability, called Sosigenes. In the year 47 BC, when the first day of January fell on what would now be the 13th of October — just exactly as if our own first of January this year had occurred two or three months before in the late autumn, on the season-day properly belonging to the 13th of October — these two eminent gentlemen, or perhaps three, if we include M. Flavius, put their heads together and shuffled the calendar into conformity with the seasons again. Caesar was Pontifex Maximus at that time, and it was his duty to take charge of or oversee the correct computing of chronological periods, etc. This he did, inserting two extra months (one to have 33 days and the second 34 days) between November and December of that year, 47, and adding an intercalary period or "month" of 23 days to the preceding February, making an addition of 90 days to that year in order to harmonize the calendar with the seasons. That year, then, was 445 days long; and because it was such a long year, and ordinary people were so puzzled as to the way in which business, etc., was going to be done, it was called the Year of Confusion, but Macrobius neatly calls it the "last year of confusion"! Then Caesar fixed the new calendar to have a mean year of 365 days, with a leap year each fourth year of 366 days; an arrangement that has lasted to our own time in the West, but slightly modified. This arrangement of the calendar, of course, abolished the old Roman lunar year. But, if he had only begun the year as he should have done, according to the ancient reckonings, the old reckoning of the ancient wisdom, at the beginning of one of the four seasons of the year and when the moon was new — at the winter solstice, or, if you please, at the spring equinox, or the autumnal, or the summer solstice — if he had taken the old beginning of the year of his own people, the Romans, as it had been before in the early days, that is to say, on December 21st or 22nd at the winter solstice, or at the spring equinox in March, of Numa, everything would have been "all right."

But now mark what happened. He had Sosigenes whispering in his ear, and Sosigenes knew more than Caesar, but he forgot one little thing. He said — this is an imaginary conversation, but something like it, I think, must have taken place — "Brother Caesar, Imperator! According to the old way, the way of our noble ancestors, the year ought to begin not merely at the winter solstice but also at new moon. Now the new moon this year does not fall on the day when the winter solstice takes place, but it falls seven days later, for the solstice this year falls on December 24th." "That is right," said Caesar. "We will begin the year seven days later than the solstice. We will call that day the calends of January" — or, as we should say, the first of January. Caesar made December to have 30 days; later changed to 31 days. And that is how our habit of putting the beginning of the year on the first of January instead of on the day of the solstice, December 21, arose. Had Caesar (he had it in his power to do so as Pontifex Maximus) proclaimed in his edict that the calendar as reformed by him would commence running on the first occasion when the winter solstice and a new moon coincided; or at one of the other three beginnings of a season which coincided with a new moon, it would have been exactly right, according to the ancient wisdom; because, mark you, all these ancient methods of chronological reckoning were not based merely on the fact of somebody founding a city, or on the fact of somebody happening to die on a certain day, but on coordinated astronomical and terrestrial events. The ancient methods were based on the time dial of the kosmos. Caesar should have waited till a new moon coincided with one of the two solstices, or with one of the two equinoxes, beginning the new year at the moment the moon was new on that night. Evidently, Caesar felt that he could not wait; or, perhaps, did not desire to wait; or did not know.

Now, then, as time went on and Christianity in later years came into vogue, people naturally kept the beginning of the year as on January first, the month-day established in the Julian calendar. But finally the Christians began to think that they ought to have their own day for beginning the new year in a religious sense, connected with the supposed birth of Jesus; and so, early in the history of Christianity, eastern Christians took the 12th day after December 25, the 6th of January, in celebration of the mystical epiphany and birth (and baptism) of Jesus. It was, in a religious sense, the beginning of their year. The English call this festival Twelfth Day, as being the twelfth day after December 25th. What a curiously confused mess of ancient ideas and new dogmas! His "birth day" was later transferred to December 25.

Why was the 6th of January chosen, instead of the 4th? For this reason. The winter solstice, when Caesar and Sosigenes made their corrections of the calendar, was made to fall on the 24th of December. The next new moon fell, then, on the first of January, which was why Caesar said the new year was to begin on that day, the calends of January. Then, many years later, 14 days after the day which the Christians thought was the solstice in their time, December 23-24 (December then having 31 days and not 30 days, as arranged by Caesar), was the sixth of January, which the Christians called the Epiphany, copying an ancient pagan word and idea. Epiphany is a Christian word which originally belonged to the Mysteries of the old pagan Greek religion and to the ancient wisdom; it means "appearance" of a god, and was adopted by and adapted to the Christos-mythos.

Let us return to H. P. Blavatsky and her article in Lucifer. We see that calendars can be changed; that calendars can be made by men; that the Roman calendar was also changed and was made by men; and that the Julian calendar, with modifications, has come down to us, and is the one used in Europe and America today. It is no proper calendar for esotericists to use in order to compute the esoteric cycles or the beginning of the true esoteric year.

Why did H. P. Blavatsky choose the 4th of January of the current calendar for the beginning of the esoteric year? The true esoteric year should begin on the 14th day after the winter solstice, provided that the winter solstice coincide with a new moon. The 14th day thereafter, would, of course, be a full-moon day. The day of the winter solstice could be used as a beginning of the civil year, if so desired; and the 14th day thereafter as the beginning of the esoteric year. Caesar, had he wished or, rather, had he known more, could have so arranged his calendar to fit, either for the new moon at a winter solstice or a summer one, or at one of the equinoxes. But H. P. Blavatsky chose January 4, because it was the 14th day after the winter solstice — not because it was the 4th, or any other month-day.

Now January 4th is 14 days after the winter solstice on December 21st, and when coinciding with a full moon it is an astrological date. It is not a man-made date. It does not depend upon a man-made calendar. It falls fourteen days after the festival of the true winter solstice; and when the winter solstice also coincides with a new moon, a secret cycle opens. Put the winter solstice where it belongs, and ten days will bring you to the first of January by our present calendar. Notice the number ten. H. P. Blavatsky also says in her article that the celebration of the new year by esotericists should be in connection with the Budha-wisdom, a word coming from the same root from which Buddha, the Lord Gautama's title, was taken, the root meaning "to awaken." Now, again, what is Budha, from the same root? Budha is the Sanskrit name for the planet Mercury, which the Greeks called Hermes, and the Latins Mercurius, and which we, adopting the Latin name, call Mercury. Hermes has always been the particular overseer of mystics in many, perhaps all, nations. In ancient Greece, he was given the titles of psychagog and psychopomp, meaning "conductor of souls" to the nether world, likewise the Mysteries. No matter what form the interpretation of the ancient wisdom may have taken in ancient times, one invariably finds the planet Hermes, or Mercury, associated closely with the teachings of the Mysteries dealing with the afterworld. In India, Hermes was named Budha, as just said; and he was called the son of Soma, or the Moon.

For instance, in Homer's Odyssey, you read how Hermes led the souls of the dead suitors, "gibbering like bats," to the "meads of asphodel" (book 24). This allusion to the work of Hermes the psychopomp, the "helper," is a "mystery" which was taken directly from the Eleusinian Mysteries or, perhaps, from still earlier Mysteries.

Mark then, that our new year should begin 14 days after the winter solstice, provided that day is a Mercury-day. Now how are we going to know whether it is a Mercury-day or not? There is the rub. Have you any idea how the days of the week came to be named in the order that they now have, and have had for ages, in many parts of the world widely separated from each other? Why one day is called Sun's day, and another Moon's day, and another Tuesday — Tiw's (Mars's) day? Do you know the old Anglo-Saxon names for these, by the way? Wodnesdaeg, Wednesday, for Mercury-day; and Frigedaeg, Friday, or Venus-day; Thunresdaeg, Thursday, or Jupiter-day; Saeternesdaeg, Saturday for Saturn's day, and so forth. The system was as follows: the first hour of a day beginning when the central point of the sun is on the eastern horizon of that day, according to the ancient system, was said to be under the direct rule of one of the seven sacred planets. Now if the planet Mercury, for instance, was the one in control of that first hour, the whole day which followed that first hour was called Mercury-day. Every succeeding hour of that same day was said to be under the control of one or the other of the seven planets, following each other in a certain order, as follows: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon — the Sun and the Moon, however, being substitutes for two secret planets. The day has 24 hours: beginning with Mercury, for instance, and counting the seven planets in the order just given through all the 24 hours, would bring in the 25th hour, which is the first hour of the next day, with Jupiter in control, and that day would then be Thursday; and so on throughout till we come to Mercury again — one week of seven days. You can easily prove this for yourself. As regards the real esoteric Budha-day, or Wednesday, or Mercury-day, I say here only this: if the winter solstice is coincident with a new moon, plus something else, that day is a real astrological Budha-day; and, of course, 14 days later, or two weeks, is likewise a Budha-day, but at full moon. Verb. sap.!

Now let us go another step farther. The 4th of January, 1890, fell on a Saturday, although H. P. Blavatsky in that article had been speaking of Hermes. But that was merely because she of necessity used the week-names and month-days of the current calendar, spoiled and ungeared as it is. So it is perfectly obvious that the year she is alluding to was the esoteric astrological year, and not the popular one of the current calendar. This manner, above given, of computing cycles of time, following the hour of the kosmical clock, is the one that was always followed in the ancient wisdom. They rejected any other way, because it is the method or the way in which nature herself works in the rounds, in the races, in the kalpas, etc.


Chapter 19

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