Theosophical University Press Online Edition
1. . . . . Where were the builders, the luminous sons of manvantaric dawn (a)? . . . . In the unknown darkness in their Ah-hi (Chohanic, Dhyani-Buddhic) Paranishpanna, the producers of form (rupa) from no-form (arupa), the root of the world — the Devamatri* and Svabhavat, rested in the bliss of non-being (b).
(a) The “Builders,” the “Sons of Manvantaric Dawn,” are the real creators of the Universe; and in this doctrine, which deals only with our Planetary System, they, as the architects of the latter, are also called the “Watchers” of the Seven Spheres, which exoterically are the Seven planets, and esoterically the seven earths or spheres (planets) of our chain also. The opening sentence of Stanza I., when mentioning “Seven Eternities,” is made to apply both to the Maha-Kalpa or “the (great) Age of Brahma,” as well as to the Solar pralaya and subsequent resurrection of our Planetary System on a higher plane. There are many kinds of pralaya (dissolution of a thing visible), as will be shown elsewhere.
(b) Paranishpanna, remember, is the summum bonum, the Absolute, hence the same as Paranirvana. Besides being the final state it is that condition of subjectivity which has no relation to anything but the one absolute truth (Para-marthasatya) on its plane. It is that state which leads one to appreciate correctly the full meaning of Non-Being, which, as explained, is absolute Being. Sooner or later, all that now seemingly exists, will be in reality and actually in the state of Paranishpanna. But there is a great difference between conscious and unconscious “being.” The condition of Paranishpanna, without Paramartha, the Self-analys-
* “Mother of the Gods,” Aditi, or Cosmic Space. In the Zohar, she is called Sephira the Mother of the Sephiroth, and Shekinah in her primordial form, in abscondito.
ing consciousness (Svasamvedana), is no bliss, but simply extinction (for Seven Eternities). Thus, an iron ball placed under the scorching rays of the sun will get heated through, but will not feel or appreciate the warmth, while a man will. It is only “with a mind clear and undarkened by personality, and an assimilation of the merit of manifold existences devoted to being in its collectivity (the whole living and sentient Universe),” that one gets rid of personal existence, merging into, becoming one with, the Absolute,* and continuing in full possession of Paramartha.
2. . . . . Where was silence? Where were the ears to sense it? No! there was neither silence, nor sound (a). Naught save ceaseless, eternal breath (Motion) which knows itself not (b).
(a) The idea that things can cease to exist and still be, is a fundamental one in Eastern psychology. Under this apparent contradiction in terms, there rests a fact of Nature to realise which in the mind, rather than to argue about words, is the important thing. A familiar instance of a similar paradox is afforded by chemical combination. The question whether Hydrogen and Oxygen cease to exist, when they combine to form water, is still a moot one, some arguing that since they are found again when the water is decomposed they must be there all the while; others contending that as they actually turn into something totally different they must cease to exist as themselves for the time being; but neither side is able to form the faintest conception of the real condition of a thing, which has become something else and yet has not ceased to be itself. Existence as water may be said to be, for Oxygen and Hydrogen, a state of Non-being which is “more real being” than their existence as gases; and it may faintly symbolise the
* Hence Non-being is “Absolute Being,” in esoteric philosophy. In the tenets of the latter even Adi-Budha (first or primeval wisdom) is, while manifested, in one sense an illusion, Maya, since all the gods, including Brahma, have to die at the end of the “Age of Brahma”; the abstraction called Parabrahm alone — whether we call it Ensoph, or Herbert Spencer’s Unknowable — being “the One Absolute” Reality. The One secondless Existence is adwaita, “Without a Second,” and all the rest is Maya, teaches the Adwaita philosophy.
condition of the Universe when it goes to sleep, or ceases to be, during the “Nights of Brahma” — to awaken or reappear again, when the dawn of the new Manvantara recalls it to what we call existence.
(b) The “Breath” of the One Existence is used in its application only to the spiritual aspect of Cosmogony by Archaic esotericism; otherwise, it is replaced by its equivalent in the material plane — Motion. The One Eternal Element, or element-containing Vehicle, is Space, dimensionless in every sense; co-existent with which are — endless duration, primordial (hence indestructible) matter, and motion — absolute “perpetual motion” which is the “breath” of the “One” Element. This breath, as seen, can never cease, not even during the Pralayic eternities. (See “Chaos, Theos, Kosmos,” in Part II.)
But the “Breath of the One Existence” does not, all the same, apply to the One Causeless Cause or the “All Be-ness” (in contradistinction to All-Being, which is Brahma, or the Universe). Brahma (or Hari) the four-faced god who, after lifting the Earth out of the waters, “accomplished the Creation,” is held to be only the instrumental, and not, as clearly implied, the ideal Cause. No Orientalist, so far, seems to have thoroughly comprehended the real sense of the verses in the Purana, that treat of “creation.”
Therein Brahma is the cause of the potencies that are to be generated subsequently for the work of “creation.” When a translator says, “And from him proceed the potencies to be created, after they had become the real cause”: “and from IT proceed the potencies that will create as they become the real cause” (on the material plane) would perhaps be more correct? Save that one (causeless) ideal cause there is no other to which the universe can be referred. “Worthiest of ascetics! through its potency — i.e., through the potency of that cause — every created thing comes by its inherent or proper nature.” If, in the Vedanta and Nyaya, nimitta is the efficient cause, as contrasted with upadana, the material cause, (and in the Sankhya, pradhana implies the functions of both); in the Esoteric philosophy, which reconciles all these systems, and the nearest exponent of which is the Vedanta as expounded by the Advaita Vedantists, none but the upadana can be speculated upon; that which is in the minds of the Vaishnavas (the Vasishta-dvaita) as the ideal in contradistinction to the real — or Parabrahm and Isvara — can find no room in published speculations, since
that ideal even is a misnomer, when applied to that of which no human reason, even that of an adept, can conceive.
To know itself or oneself, necessitates consciousness and perception (both limited faculties in relation to any subject except Parabrahm), to be cognized. Hence the “Eternal Breath which knows itself not.” Infinity cannot comprehend Finiteness. The Boundless can have no relation to the bounded and the conditioned. In the occult teachings, the Unknown and the Unknowable mover, or the Self-Existing, is the absolute divine Essence. And thus being Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Motion — to the limited senses of those who describe this indescribable — it is unconsciousness and immoveableness. Concrete consciousness cannot be predicated of abstract Consciousness, any more than the quality wet can be predicated of water — wetness being its own attribute and the cause of the wet quality in other things. Consciousness implies limitations and qualifications; something to be conscious of, and someone to be conscious of it. But Absolute Consciousness contains the cognizer, the thing cognized and the cognition, all three in itself and all three one. No man is conscious of more than that portion of his knowledge that happens to have been recalled to his mind at any particular time, yet such is the poverty of language that we have no term to distinguish the knowledge not actively thought of, from knowledge we are unable to recall to memory. To forget is synonymous with not to remember. How much greater must be the difficulty of finding terms to describe, and to distinguish between, abstract metaphysical facts or differences. It must not be forgotten, also, that we give names to things according to the appearances they assume for ourselves. We call absolute consciousness “unconsciousness,” because it seems to us that it must necessarily be so, just as we call the Absolute, “Darkness,” because to our finite understanding it appears quite impenetrable, yet we recognize fully that our perception of such things does not do them justice. We involuntarily distinguish in our minds, for instance, between unconscious absolute consciousness, and unconsciousness, by secretly endowing the former with some indefinite quality that corresponds, on a higher plane than our thoughts can reach, with what we know as consciousness in ourselves. But this is not any kind of consciousness that we can manage to distinguish from what appears to us as unconsciousness.
3. The hour had not yet struck; the ray had not yet flashed into the germ (a); the matri-padma (mother lotus) had not yet swollen (b).*
(a) The ray of the “Ever Darkness” becomes, as it is emitted, a ray of effulgent light or life, and flashes into the “Germ” — the point in the Mundane Egg, represented by matter in its abstract sense. But the term “Point” must not be understood as applying to any particular point in Space, for a germ exists in the centre of every atom, and these collectively form “the Germ;” or rather, as no atom can be made visible to our physical eye, the collectivity of these (if the term can be applied to something which is boundless and infinite) forms the noumenon of eternal and indestructible matter.
(b) One of the symbolical figures for the Dual creative power in Nature (matter and force on the material plane) is Padma, the water-lily of India. The Lotus is the product of heat (fire) and water (vapour or Ether); fire standing in every philosophical and religious system as a representation of the Spirit of Deity,† the active, male, generative principle; and Ether, or the Soul of matter, the light of the fire, for the passive female principle from which everything in this Universe emanated. Hence, Ether or Water is the Mother, and Fire is the Father. Sir W. Jones (and before him archaic botany) showed that the seeds of the Lotus contain — even before they germinate — perfectly formed leaves, the miniature shape of what one day, as perfect plants, they will become: nature thus giving us a specimen of the preformation of its production . . . the seed of all phanerogamous plants bearing proper flowers containing an embryo plantlet ready formed.‡ (See Part II., “The Lotus Flower as an Universal Symbol.”) This explains the sentence “The Mother had not yet swollen” — the form being usually sacrificed to the inner or root idea in Archaic symbology.
The Lotus, or Padma, is, moreover, a very ancient and favourite
* An unpoetical term, yet still very graphic. (See foot-note to Stanza III.)
† Even in Christianity. (See Part II., “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought.”)
‡ Gross, “The Heathen Religion,” p. 195.
simile for the Kosmos itself, and also for man. The popular reasons given are, firstly, the fact just mentioned, that the Lotus-seed contains within itself a perfect miniature of the future plant, which typifies the fact that the spiritual prototypes of all things exist in the immaterial world before those things become materialised on Earth. Secondly, the fact that the Lotus plant grows up through the water, having its root in the Ilus, or mud, and spreading its flower in the air above. The Lotus thus typifies the life of man and also that of the Kosmos; for the Secret Doctrine teaches that the elements of both are the same, and that both are developing in the same direction. The root of the Lotus sunk in the mud represents material life, the stalk passing up through the water typifies existence in the astral world, and the flower floating on the water and opening to the sky is emblematical of spiritual being.
4. Her heart had not yet opened for the one ray to enter, thence to fall as three into four in the lap of Maya (a).
(a) The Primordial Substance had not yet passed out of its precosmic latency into differentiated objectivity, or even become the (to man, so far,) invisible Protyle of Science. But, as the hour strikes and it becomes receptive of the Fohatic impress of the Divine Thought (the Logos, or the male aspect of the Anima Mundi, Alaya) — its heart opens. It differentiates, and the three (Father, Mother, Son) are transformed into four. Herein lies the origin of the double mystery of the Trinity and the immaculate Conception. The first and Fundamental dogma of Occultism is Universal Unity (or Homogeneity) under three aspects. This led to a possible conception of Deity, which as an absolute unity must remain forever incomprehensible to finite intellects. “If thou wouldest believe in the Power which acts within the root of a plant, or imagine the root concealed under the soil, thou hast to think of its stalk or trunk and of its leaves and flowers. Thou canst not imagine that Power independently of these objects. Life can be known only by the Tree of Life. . . .” (Precepts for Yoga). The idea of Absolute Unity
would be broken entirely in our conception, had we not something concrete before our eyes to contain that Unity. And the deity being absolute, must be omnipresent, hence not an atom but contains IT within itself. The roots, the trunk and its many branches are three distinct objects, yet they are one tree. Say the Kabalists: “The Deity is one, because It is infinite. It is triple, because it is ever manifesting.” This manifestation is triple in its aspects, for it requires, as Aristotle has it, three principles for every natural body to become objective: privation, form, and matter.* Privation meant in the mind of the great philosopher that which the Occultists call the prototypes impressed in the Astral Light — the lowest plane and world of Anima Mundi. The union of these three principles depends upon a fourth — the life which radiates from the summits of the Unreachable, to become an universally diffused Essence on the manifested planes of Existence. And this quaternary (Father, Mother, Son, as a unity, and a quaternary, as a living manifestation) has been the means of leading to the very archaic Idea of Immaculate Conception, now finally crystallized into a dogma of the Christian Church, which carnalized this metaphysical idea beyond any common sense. For one has but to read the Kabala and study its numerical methods of interpretation to find the origin of that dogma. It is purely astronomical, mathematical, and pre-eminently metaphysical: the Male element in Nature (personified by the male deities and Logoi — Viraj, or Brahma; Horus, or Osiris, etc., etc.) is born through, not from, an immaculate source, personified by the “Mother”; because that Male having a Mother cannot have a “Father” — the abstract Deity being sexless, and not even a Being but Be-ness, or Life itself. Let us render this in the mathematical language of the author of “The Source of Measures.” Speaking of the “Measure of a Man” and his numerical (Kabalistic) value, he writes that in Genesis, ch. iv., v. 1, “It is called the ‘Man even Jehovah’
* A Vedantin of the Visishtadwaita philosophy would say that, though the only independent Reality, Parabrahmam is inseparable from his trinity. That He is three, “Parabrahmam, Chit, and Achit,” the last two being dependent realities unable to exist separately; or, to make it clearer, Parabrahmam is the substance — changeless, eternal, and incognizable — and Chit (Atma), and Achit (Anatma) are its qualities, as form and colour are the qualities of any object. The two are the garment, or body, or rather attribute (Sarira) of Parabrahmam. But an Occultist would find much to say against this claim, and so would the Adwaitee Vedantin.
Measure, and this is obtained in this way, viz.: 113 x 5 = 565, and the value 565 can be placed under the form of expression 56.5 x 10 = 565. Here the Man-number 113 becomes a factor of 56.5 x 10, and the (Kabalistic) reading of this last numbered expression is Jod, He, Vau, He, or Jehovah. . . . The expansion of 565 into 56.5 x 10 is purposed to show the emanation of the male (Jod) from the female (Eva) principle; or, so to speak, the birth of a male element from an immaculate source, in other words, an immaculate conception.”
Thus is repeated on Earth the mystery enacted, according to the Seers, on the divine plane. The “Son” of the immaculate Celestial Virgin (or the undifferentiated cosmic protyle, Matter in its infinitude) is born again on Earth as the Son of the terrestrial Eve — our mother Earth, and becomes Humanity as a total — past, present, and future — for Jehovah or Jod-he-vau-he is androgyne, or both male and female. Above, the Son is the whole Kosmos; below, he is Mankind. The triad or triangle becomes Tetraktis, the Sacred Pythagorean number, the perfect Square, and a 6-faced cube on Earth. The Macroprosopus (the Great Face) is now Microprosopus (the lesser face); or, as the Kabalists have it, the “Ancient of Days,” descending on Adam Kadmon whom he uses as his vehicle to manifest through, gets transformed into Tetragrammaton. It is now in the “Lap of Maya,” the Great Illusion, and between itself and the Reality has the Astral Light, the great Deceiver of man’s limited senses, unless Knowledge through Paramarthasatya comes to the rescue.
5. The Seven (Sons) were not yet born from the Web of Light. Darkness alone was Father-Mother, Svabhavat, and Svabhavat was in darkness (a).
(a) The Secret Doctrine, in the Stanzas given here, occupies itself chiefly, if not entirely, with our Solar System, and especially with our planetary chain. The “Seven Sons,” therefore, are the creators of the latter. This teaching will be explained more fully hereafter. (See Part II., “Theogony of the Creative Gods.”)
Svabhavat, the “Plastic Essence” that fills the Universe, is the root of all things. Svabhavat is, so to say, the Buddhistic concrete aspect of the abstraction called in Hindu philosophy Mulaprakriti. It is the body of the Soul, and that which Ether would be to Akasa, the latter being the informing principle of the former. Chinese mystics have made of it the synonym of “being.” In the Ekasloka-Shastra of Nagarjuna (the Lung-shu of China) called by the Chinese the Yih-shu-lu-kia-lun, it is said that the original word of Yeu is “Being” or “Subhava,” “the Substance giving substance to itself,” also explained by him as meaning “without action and with action,” “the nature which has no nature of its own.” Subhava, from which Svabhavat, is composed of two words: Su “fair,” “handsome,” “good;” Sva, “self;” and bhava, “being” or “states of being.”
6. These two are the Germ, and the Germ is — one. The Universe was still concealed in the Divine Thought and the Divine Bosom.
The “Divine Thought” does not imply the idea of a Divine thinker. The Universe, not only past, present, and future — which is a human and finite idea expressed by finite thought — but in its totality, the Sat (an untranslateable term), the absolute being, with the Past and Future crystallized in an eternal Present, is that Thought itself reflected in a secondary or manifest cause. Brahma (neuter) as the Mysterium Magnum of Paracelsus is an absolute mystery to the human mind. Brahma, the male-female, its aspect and anthropomorphic reflection, is conceivable to the perceptions of blind faith, though rejected by human intellect when it attains its majority. (See Part II., “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought.”)
Hence the statement that during the prologue, so to say, of the drama of Creation, or the beginning of cosmic evolution, the Universe or the “Son” lies still concealed “in the Divine Thought,” which had not yet penetrated “into the Divine Bosom.” This idea, note well, is at the root, and forms the origin of all the allegories about the “Sons of God” born of immaculate virgins.