The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky

Extract from “Summing Up” in Volume 1

Whatever may be the destiny of these actual writings in a remote future, we hope to have proven so far the following facts:

(1) The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism, except in the Hindu sense of the word nastika, or the rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. In this sense every Occultist is a Nastika.

(2) It admits a Logos or a collective “Creator” of the Universe; a Demi-urgos — in the sense implied when one speaks of an “Architect” as the “Creator” of an edifice, whereas that Architect has never touched one stone of it, but, while furnishing the plan, left all the manual labour to the masons; in our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no personal deity, — i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god, — but only the aggregate of the Dhyan-Chohans and the other forces.

As to the latter —

(3) They are dual in their character; being composed of (a) the irrational brute energy, inherent in matter, and (b) the intelligent soul or cosmic consciousness which directs and guides that energy, and which is the Dhyan-Chohanic thought reflecting the Ideation of the Universal mind. This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on Earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures — therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart — invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through “the still small voice” of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls (1); making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence. (See Part II., “On the Hidden Deity.”)

(4) Matter is Eternal. It is the Upadhi (the physical basis) for the One infinite Universal Mind to build thereon its ideations. Therefore, the Esotericists maintain that there is no inorganic or dead matter in nature, the distinction between the two made by Science being as unfounded as it is arbitrary and devoid of reason. Whatever Science may think, however — and exact Science is a fickle dame, as we all know by experience — Occultism knows and teaches differently, from time immemorial — from Manu and Hermes down to Paracelsus and his successors.

Thus Hermes, the thrice great Trismegistus, says: “Oh, my son, matter becomes; formerly it was; for matter is the vehicle of becoming. (2) Becoming is the mode of activity of the uncreate deity. Having been endowed with the germs of becoming, matter (objective) is brought into birth, for the creative force fashions it according to the ideal forms. Matter not yet engendered had no form; it becomes when it is put into operation.” (The Definitions of Asclepios, p. 134, “Virgin of the World.”)

“Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. . . . There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.” (Paracelsus, “Philosophia ad Athenienses,” F. Hartmann’s translations, p. 44.)

(5.) The Universe was evolved out of its ideal plan, upheld through Eternity in the unconsciousness of that which the Vedantins call Parabrahm. This is practically identical with the conclusions of the highest Western Philosophy — “the innate, eternal, and self-existing Ideas” of Plato, now reflected by Von Hartmann. The “unknowable” of Herbert Spencer bears only a faint resemblance to that transcendental Reality believed in by Occultists, often appearing merely a personification of a “force behind phenomena” — an infinite and eternal Energy from which all things proceed, while the author of the “Philosophy of the Unconscious” has come (in this respect only) as near to a solution of the great Mystery as mortal man can. Few were those, whether in ancient or mediaeval philosophy, who have dared to approach the subject or even hint at it. Paracelsus mentions it inferentially. His ideas are admirably synthesized by Dr. F. Hartmann, F.T.S., in his “Life of Paracelsus.”

All the Christian Kabalists understood well the Eastern root idea: The active Power, the “Perpetual motion of the great Breath” only awakens Kosmos at the dawn of every new Period, setting it into motion by means of the two contrary Forces, (3) and thus causing it to become objective on the plane of Illusion. In other words, that dual motion transfers Kosmos from the plane of the Eternal Ideal into that of finite manifestation, or from the Noumenal to the phenomenal plane. Everything that is, was, and will be, eternally is, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective, not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity, (4) and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections. Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone has ever been created, and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced “becoming,” i.e., objectivising into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards, from the most sublimated and supersensuous essence into its grossest appearance. Therefore our human forms have existed in the Eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes; according to which models, the Spiritual Beings (or Gods) whose duty it was to bring them into objective being and terrestrial Life, evolved the protoplasmic forms of the future Egos from their own essence. After which, when this human Upadhi, or basic mould was ready, the natural terrestrial Forces began to work on those supersensuous moulds which contained, besides their own, the elements of all the past vegetable and future animal forms of this globe in them. Therefore, man’s outward shell passed through every vegetable and animal body before it assumed the human shape.


(1) “When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are . . . but enter into thine inner chamber and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” Matt. vi.). Our Father is within us “in Secret,” our 7th principle, in the “inner chamber” of our Soul perception. “The Kingdom of Heaven” and of God “is within us” says Jesus, not outside. Why are Christians so absolutely blind to the self-evident meaning of the words of wisdom they delight in mechanically repeating? (return to text)

(2) To this the late Mrs. (Dr.) Kingsford, the able translator and compiler of the Hermetic Fragments (see “The Virgin of the World”) remarks in a foot-note; “Dr. Menard observes that in Greek the same word signifies to be born and to become. The idea here is that the material of the world is in its essence eternal, but that before creation or ‘becoming’ it is in a passive and motionless condition. Thus it ‘was’ before being put into operation; now it ‘becomes,’ that is, it is mobile and progressive.” And she adds the purely Vedantic doctrine of the Hermetic philosophy that “Creation is thus the period of activity (Manvantara) of God, who, according to Hermetic thought (or which, according to the Vedantin) has two modes — Activity or Existence, God evolved (Deus explicitus); and Passivity of Being (Pralaya) God involved (Deus implicitus). Both modes are perfect and complete, as are the waking and sleeping states of man. Fichte, the German philosopher, distinguished Being (Seyn) as One, which we know only through existence (Daseyn) as the Manifold. This view is thoroughly Hermetic. The ‘Ideal Forms’ are the archetypal or formative ideas of the Neo-Platonists; the eternal and subjective concepts of things subsisting in the divine mind prior to ‘becoming’ ” (p. 134). (return to text)

(3) The centripetal and the centrifugal forces, which are male and female, positive and negative, physical and spiritual, the two being the one Primordial Force. (return to text)

(4) Occultism teaches that no form can be given to anything, either by nature or by man, whose ideal type does not already exist on the subjective plane. More than this; that no such form or shape can possibly enter man’s consciousness, or evolve in his imagination, which does not exist in prototype, at least as an approximation. (return to text)

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