The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 1
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Vol. 1, Page  342   THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

§ IV.
CHAOS — THEOS — KOSMOS.

These three are the containment of Space; or, as a learned Kabalist has defined it, “Space, the all containing uncontained, is the primary embodiment of simply Unity. . . . boundless extension.”* But, he asks again, “boundless extension of what?” — and makes the correct reply — “The unknown container of all, the Unknown FIRST CAUSE.” This is a most correct definition and answer, most esoteric and true, from every aspect of occult teaching.

SPACE, which, in their ignorance and iconoclastic tendency to destroy every philosophic idea of old, the modern wiseacres have proclaimed “an abstract idea” and a void, is, in reality, the container and the body of the Universe with its seven principles. It is a body of limitless extent, whose PRINCIPLES, in Occult phraseology — each being in its turn a septenary — manifest in our phenomenal world only the grossest fabric of their sub-divisions. “No one has ever seen the Elements in their fulness,” the Doctrine teaches. We have to search for our Wisdom in the original expressions of the primeval people and in their synonyms. Even the latest of them — the Jews — show in their Kabalistic teachings this idea, e.g., the seven-headed Serpent of Space, called “the great Sea.” “In the beginning, the Alhim created the heavens and the earth; the 6 (Sephiroth). . . . They created six, and on these all things are based. And those (six) depend upon the seven forms of the cranium up to Dignity of all Dignities (Siphrah Dzenioota, i, § 16), see part ii., vol. ii. “Ancient Divisions and the Mystic Numbers.”

Now Wind, Air and Spirit have ever been synonymous with every nation. Pneuma (Spirit) and Anemos (the wind) with the Greeks, Spiritus and Ventus with the Latins, were convertible terms even if dissociated from the original idea of the breath of life. In the “Forces” of Science we see but the material effect of the spiritual affect of one or the other of the four primordial Elements, transmitted to us by the 4th Race, as we shall transmit Ether (or rather the gross subdivision of it) in its fulness to the Sixth Root Race. This is explained in the text of this and the following Book.

“Chaos” is called senseless by the ancients, because it represented and contained in itself (Chaos and Space being synonymous) all the Elements in their rudimentary, undifferentiated State. They made of Ether, the fifth element, the synthesis of the other four; for the AEther of the Greek philosophers is not its dregs — of which indeed they knew more

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* “New Aspects of Life,” by Henry Pratt, M.D.


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than science does now — which are rightly enough supposed to act as an agent for many forces that manifest on Earth. Their AEther was the Akasa of the Hindus; the Ether accepted in physics is but one of its subdivisions, on our plane, — the Astral Light of the Kabalists with all its evil as well as good effects.

On account of the Essence of AEther, or the Unseen Space, being held divine as the supposed veil of Deity, it was regarded as the medium between this life and the next one. The ancients considered that when the directing active “Intelligences” (the gods) retired from any portion of Ether in our Space — the four realms which they superintend — then that particular place was left in the possession of evil, so called by reason of the absence of the Good from it.

“The existence of spirit in the common mediator, the ether, is denied by materialism; while theology makes of it a personal god. But the Kabalist holds that both are wrong, saying that in ether, the elements represent but matter — the blind cosmic forces of nature; while Spirit represents the intelligence which directs them. The Aryan, Hermetic, Orphic, and Pythagorean cosmogonical doctrines, as well as those of Sanchoniathon and Berosus, are all based upon one irrefutable formula, viz., that the aether and chaos, or, in the Platonic language, mind and matter, were the two primeval and eternal principles of the universe, utterly independent of anything else. The former was the all-vivifying intellectual principle; the chaos, a shapeless liquid principle, without ‘form or sense,’ from the union of which two sprung into existence the universe, or rather the universal world, the first androgynous deity — the chaotic matter becoming its body, and ether its soul. According to the phraseology of a Fragment of Hermias, ‘chaos, from this union with spirit, obtaining sense, shone with pleasure, and thus was produced the Protogonos (the first-born) light.’* This is the universal trinity, based on the metaphysical conceptions of the ancients, who, reasoning by analogy, made of man, who is a compound of intellect and matter, the microcosm of the macrocosm, or great universe.” (Isis Unveiled.)

Nature abhors Vacuum” said the Peripatetics, who comprehended perhaps, though materialists in their way, why Democritus, with his instructor Leucippus, taught that the first principles of all things contained in the Universe were atoms and a vacuum. The latter means simply latent Deity or force; which, before its first manifestation when it became will — communicating the first impulse to these atoms — was the great Nothingness, Ain-Soph, or no-thing; was, therefore, to every sense, a Void — or Chaos.

That Chaos, however, became the “Soul of the World,” according to Plato and the Pythagoreans. According to Hindu teaching, Deity in the shape of AEther (Akasa) pervades all things; and it was called there-

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* Damascius, in the “Theogony,” calls it Dis, “the disposer of all things.” Cory, “Ancient Fragments,” p. 314.


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fore by the theurgists “the living fire,” the “Spirit of Light,” and sometimes Magnes. It was the highest Deity itself which, according to Plato, built the Universe in the geometrical form of the Dodecahedron; and its “first begotten” was born of Chaos and Primordial Light (the Central Sun). This “First-Born,” however, was only the aggregate of the Host of the “Builders,” the first constructive Forces, who are called in ancient Cosmogonies the Ancients (born of the Deep, or Chaos) and the “First Point.” He is the Tetragrammaton, so-called, at the head of the Seven lower Sephiroth. This was the belief of the Chaldees. “These Chaldeans,” writes Philo, the Jew, speaking very flippantly of the first instructors of his ancestors, “were of opinion that the Kosmos, among the things that exist (?) is a single point, either being itself God (Theos) or that in it is God, comprehending the soul of all things.” (See his “Migration of Abraham,” 32.)

Chaos-Theos-Kosmos are but the three aspects of their synthesis — space. One can never hope to solve the mystery of this Tetraktis by holding to the dead-letter even of the old philosophies, as now extant. But, even in these chaos-theos-kosmos = space, are identified in all Eternity, as the One Unknown Space, the last word about which will, perhaps, never be known before our seventh Round. Nevertheless, the allegories and metaphysical symbols about the primeval and perfect cube, are remarkable even in the exoteric Puranas.

There, also, Brahma is the Theos, evolving out of Chaos, or the great “Deep,” the waters, over which Spirit = space, personified by ayana — the Spirit moving over the face of the future boundless Kosmos — is silently hovering, in the first hour of re-awakening. It is also Vishnu, sleeping on Ananta-Sacha, the great Serpent of Eternity, of which Western theology, ignorant of the Kabala, the only key that opens the secrets of the Bible, has made — the Devil. It is the first triangle or the Pythagorean triad, the “God of the three Aspects,” before it is transformed through its perfect quadrature of the infinite Circle into the “four-faced Brahma.”

“Of him who is and yet is not, from the not-being, Eternal Cause, is born the Being-Purusha,” says Manu, the legislator.

In Isis Unveiled, it is said that: —

“In the Egyptian mythology, Kneph, the Eternal Unrevealed God, is represented by a snake emblem of Eternity encircling a water urn, with its head hovering over the waters, which it incubates with its breath. In this case the serpent is the Agathodaemon, the good spirit: in its opposite aspect, it is the Kakodaemon — the bad one. In the Scandinavian Eddas, the honey dew, the fruit of the gods and of the creative busy Yggdrasill (bees), falls during the hours of night, when the atmosphere is impregnated with humidity; and in the Northern mythologies, as the passive principle of creation, it typifies the

Vol. 1, Page  345   THE BIRTH OF MIND.
creation of the universe out of water; this dew is the astral light in one of its combinations, and possesses creative as well as destructive properties. In the Chaldean legend of Berosus, Oannes or Dagon, the man-fish, instructing the people, shows the infant world created out of water, and all beings originating from this prima materia. Moses teaches that only earth and water can bring a living soul: and we read in the Scriptures that herbs could not grow until the Eternal caused it to rain upon earth. In the Mexican Popol-Vuh, man is created out of mud or clay (terre glaise), taken from under the water. Brahma creates the great Muni (or first man) seated on his lotus, only after having called into being spirits who thus enjoyed over mortals a priority of existence, and he creates him out of water, air and earth. Alchemists claim that the primordial or pre-Adamic earth, when reduced to its first substance, is in its second stage of transformation like clear water, the first being the alkahest proper. This primordial substance is said to contain within itself the essence of all that goes to make up man; it has not only all the elements of his physical being, but even the “breath of life” itself in a latent state, ready to be awakened. This it derives from the “incubation” of the “Spirit of God” upon the face of the waters — chaos: in fact, this substance is chaos itself. From this it was that Paracelsus claimed to be able to make his “homunculi;” and this is why Thales, the great natural philosopher, maintained that water was the principle of all things in nature.* . . . Job says, in chap. xxvi. 5, that “dead things are formed from under the waters, and inhabitants thereof.” In the original text, instead of “dead things,” it is written dead Rephaim (giants or mighty primitive men), from whom “Evolution” may one day trace our present race.”

“In the primordial state of the creation,” says Polier’s Mythologie des Indous, “the rudimental universe, submerged in water, reposed in the bosom of Vishnu. Sprung from this chaos and darkness, Brahma, the architect of the world, poised on a lotus-leaf, floated (moved) upon the waters, unable to discern anything but water and darkness.” Perceiving such a dismal state of things, Brahma soliloquises in consternation: “Who am I? Whence came I?” Then he hears a voice:† “Direct your thoughts to Bhagavat.” Brahma, rising from his natatory position, seats himself upon the lotus in an attitude of contemplation, and reflects upon the Eternal, who, pleased with this evidence of piety, disperses the primeval darkness and opens his understanding. “After this Brahma issues from the universal egg (infinite chaos) as light, for his understanding is now opened, and he sets himself to work: he moves on the eternal waters, with the spirit of God within himself; and in his capacity of mover of the waters he is Vishnu, or Narayana.” This is

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* With the Greeks, the “River-gods,” all of them the Sons of the primeval ocean (Chaos in its masculine aspect), were the respective ancestors of the Hellenic races. For them the Ocean was the father of the Gods; and thus they had anticipated in this connection the theories of Thales, as rightly observed by Aristotle (Metaph. I., 3, 5).

† The “Spirit,” or hidden voice of the Mantras, the active manifestation of the latent Force, or occult potency.


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exoteric, of course, yet in its main idea as identical as possible with the Egyptian cosmogony, which shows in its opening sentences Athtor,* or Mother Night (which represents illimitable darkness), as the primeval element which covered the infinite abyss, animated by water and the universal spirit of the Eternal, dwelling alone in Chaos. Similarly in the Jewish Scriptures, the history of the creation opens with the spirit of God and his creative emanation — another Deity.†

The Zohar teaches that it is the primordial elements — the trinity of Fire, Air and Water — the four cardinal points, and all the Forces of Nature, which form collectively the Voice of the Will Memrab, or the “Word,” the Logos of the Absolute Silent all. “The indivisible point, limitless and unknowable” spreads itself over the endless space, and thus forms a veil (the Mulaprakriti of Parabraham) which conceals this Absolute point. (Vide infra).

In the cosmogonies of all the nations it is the “Architects” synthesized by Demiurgos (in the Bible the “Elohim”), who fashion Kosmos out of Chaos, and who are the collective Theos, “male-female,” Spirit and matter. “By a series (yom) of foundations (hasoth) the Alhim caused earth and heaven to be” (Gen. ii., 4). In the Bible it is first Alhim, then Jahva-Alhim, and finally Jehovah —after the separation of the sexes in chapter iv. of Genesis. It is noticeable that nowhere, except in the later, the last Cosmogonies of our Fifth race, is the ineffable and unutterable Name‡ — the symbol of the Unknown Deity, which was used only in the Mysteries — used in connection with the “Creation” of the Universe. It is the “Movers,” the “Runners,” the theoi (from [[theein]], “to run”), who do the work of formation, the “Messengers” of the manvantaric law, who have now become in Christianity the “messengers” (malachim); and it seems the same in Hinduism or early Brahmanism. For it is not Brahma who creates in the Rig Veda, but the Prajapati, the “Lords of Being,” who are the Rishis; the word Rishi (according to Professor Mahadeo Kunte) being connected with the word to move, to lead on, applied to them in their terrestrial character, when, as Patriarchs, they lead their hosts on the Seven Rivers.

Moreover, the very word “God” in the singular, embracing all the gods — or theos from theoi — came to the “superior” civilized nations from a strange source, one entirely and as pre-eminently phallic as the

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* Orthography of the “Archaic Dictionary.”

† We do not mean the current or accepted Bible, but the real Jewish one, now explained kabalistically.

‡ It is “unutterable” for the simple reason that it is non-existent. It never was a name, nor any word at all, but an Idea that could not be expressed. A substitute was created for it in the century preceding our era.


Vol. 1, Page  347   THE MYSTIC ELEMENTS.

sincere, open-spoken lingham of India. The attempt to derive God from the Anglo-Saxon synonym “good” is an abandoned idea, for in no other language, in all of which the term varies more or less, from the Persian Khoda down to the Latin Deus, has an instance been found of a name of God being derived from the attribute of Goodness. To the Latin races it comes from the Aryan Dyaus (the Day); to the Slavonian, from the Greek Bacchus (Bagh-bog); and to the Saxon races directly from the Hebrew Yodh or Jod. The latter is image_il, the number-letter 10, male and female, and Jod the phallic hook: — hence the Saxon Godh, the Germanic Gott, and the English God. This symbolic term may be said to represent the Creator of physical “Humanity,” on the terrestrial plane; but surely it had nothing to do with the formation or “Creation” of Spirit, gods, or Kosmos!

Chaos-Theos-Kosmos, the triple deity, is all in all. Therefore, it is said to be male and female, good and evil, positive and negative: the whole series of contrasted qualities. When latent (in pralaya) it is incognizable and becomes the unknowable Deity. It can be known only in its active functions; hence as matter-Force and living Spirit, the correlations and outcome, or the expression, on the visible plane, of the ultimate and ever-to-be unknown unity.

In its turn this triple unit is the producer of the four primary “Elements,”* which are known in our visible terrestrial nature as the seven (so far the five) Elements, each divisible into forty-nine (or seven times seven) sub-elements, with about seventy of which Chemistry is acquainted. Every Cosmical Element such as Fire, Air, Water, Earth, partaking of the qualities and defects of their Primaries, are in their nature Good and Evil, Force (or Spirit) and Matter, etc., etc.; and each, therefore, is at one and the same time Life and Death, Health and Disease, Action and Reaction. (See Section XIV., “The Four Elements.”) They are ever and constantly forming matter under the never-ceasing impulse of the One Element (the incognizable), represented in the world of phenomena by ‘AEther, or “the immortal gods who give birth and life to all.”

In “the Philosophical writings of Solomon Ben Yehudah Ibn Gebirol” (translated in Mr. Isaac Myer’s Kabbalah, just published) it is said on the structure of the Universe, “R. Yehudah began, it is written: — ‘Elohim said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters.’ Come, see, at the time that the Holy. . . . created the World, He

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* The Cosmic Tabernacle of Moses, erected by him in the Desert, was square, representing the four cardinal points and the four Elements, as Josephus tells his readers (Antiq. 1, viii ch., xxii.) It is the idea taken from the pyramids in Egypt and in Tyre, where the pyramids became pillars, the Genii, or Angels have their abodes in the four respective points (See § xiv.; “The Four Elements.”)


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created 7 heavens above, 7 earths below, 7 seas, 7 days, 7 rivers, 7 weeks, 7 years, 7 times, and 7,000 years that the world has been. The Holy is the seventh of all,” etc. (p. 415).

This, besides showing a strange identity with the cosmogony of the Puranas (e.g., Vishnu Purana 1st Book), corroborates with regard to number seven, all our teachings as briefly given in “Esoteric Buddhism.”

The Hindus have an endless series of allegories to express this idea. In the primordial Chaos, before it became developed into the Seven Oceans (Sapta Samudra) — emblematical of the seven gunas (conditioned qualities) composed of trigunas (Satwa, Rajas and Tamas, see Puranas) — lie latent both Amrita (immortality) and Visha (poison, death, evil). This allegory is found in the “Churning of the Ocean” by the gods. Amrita is beyond any guna, for it is unconditioned per se; yet when fallen into the phenomenal creation it got mixed up with Evil, Chaos, with latent theos in it, and before Kosmos was evolved. Hence, one finds Vishnu — standing here for eternal Law — periodically calling forth Kosmos into activity — “churning out of the primitive Ocean (boundless Chaos) the Amrita of Eternity, reserved only for the gods and devas; and he has to employ in the task Nagas and Asuras —demons in exoteric Hinduism. The whole allegory is highly philosophical, and we find it repeated in every philosophical System. Plato, having fully embraced the ideas of Pythagoras — who had brought them from India — compiled and published them in a form more intelligible than the mysterious numerals of the Greek Sage. Thus the Kosmos is “the Son” with Plato, having for his father and mother the Divine Thought and Matter.*

“The Egyptians,” says Dunlap,† “distinguish between an older and younger Horus; the former the brother of Osiris, the latter the son of Osiris and Isis.” The first is the Idea of the world remaining in the Demiurgic Mind, “born in darkness before the creation of the world.” The second Horus is this “Idea” going forth from the Logos, becoming clothed with matter, and assuming an actual existence.‡

“The Mundane God, eternal, boundless, young and old, of winding form,”§ say the Chaldean oracles.

This “winding form” is a figure to express the vibratory motion of the Astral Light, with which the ancient priests were perfectly well acquainted, though its name was invented by the Martinists.

Now Cosmolatry has the finger of scorn pointed at its superstitions by modern Science, which ought, however, as advised by a French

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* Plutarch, “Isis and Osiris,” 1., vi.

† “Spirit History of Man,” p. 88.

‡ Mover’s “Phoinizer,” 268.

§ Cory, “Fragments,” 240.


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savant, before laughing at it “to remodel entirely its own system of cosmo-pneumatological education.” Satis eloquentiae, sapientiae parvum. Cosmolatry like Pantheism may be made to yield in its ultimate expression the words applied to Vishnu . . . . “He is only the ideal Cause of the Potencies to be created in the work of creation; and from him proceed the potencies to be created, after they have become the real cause. Save that one ideal cause, there is no other to which the world can be referred. . . . . Through the potency of that cause, every created thing comes by its proper nature.” (Original Sanskrit Texts, Part iv., pp. 32, 33.)

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