Secret Doctrine Commentary (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge) by H. P. Blavatsky

Meeting 6

Meeting held at 17, Lansdowne Road, London, W., on February 14th, 1889; Mr. W. Kingsland in the chair.



"The seemingly paradoxical use of the sentence 'Seventh Eternity,' thus dividing the indivisible, is sanctified in esoteric philosophy. The latter divides boundless duration into unconditionally eternal and universal Time and a conditioned one (Khandakala). One is the abstraction or noumenon of infinite time (Kala); the other its phenomenon appearing periodically, as the effect of Mahat (the Universal Intelligence limited by Manvantaric duration)." (Vol. I., p. 62.)

Q. Does the commencement of Time as distinguished from Duration, correspond to the appearance of the manifested Logos?

A. Certainly it cannot do so earlier. But "the seventh vibration" applies to both the First, and to the manifested Logos — the first out of Space and Time, the second, when Time has commenced. It is only when "the mother swells" that differentiation sets in, for when the first Logos radiates through primordial and undifferentiated matter there is as yet no action in Chaos. "The last vibration of the Seventh Eternity" is the first which announces the Dawn, and is a synonym for the First or unmanifested Logos. There is no Time at this stage. There is neither Space nor Time when beginning is made; but it is all in space and Time, once that differentiation sets in. At the time of the primordial radiation, or when the Second Logos emanates, it is Father-Mother potentially, but when the Third or manifested Logos appears, it becomes the Virgin-Mother. The "Father and the Son" are one in all the world Theogonies; hence, the expression corresponds to the appearance of both the unmanifested and the manifested Logos, one at the beginning, the other at the end, of the "Seventh Eternity."

Q. Can you, then, speak of Time as existing from the appearance of the Second or Unmanifested-Manifested Logos?

A. Assuredly not, but from the appearance of the Third. It is here that the great difference between the two lies, as just shown. The "last vibration" begins outside of Time and Space, and ends with the third Logos, when Time and Space begin, i.e., periodical time. The Second Logos partaking of both the essences or natures of the first and the last. There is no differentiation with the First Logos; differentiation only begins in latent World-Thought, with the Second Logos, and receives its full expression, i.e., becomes the "Word" made flesh — with the Third.

Q. How do the terms "Radiation" and "Emanation" differ in the Secret Doctrine?

A. They express, to my mind, two entirely different ideas, and are the best apologies for the original terms that could be found; but if the ordinary meanings are attached to them the idea will be missed. Radiation is, so to say, the unconscious and spontaneous shooting forth, the action of a something from which this act takes place; but emanation is something from which another thing issues in a constant efflux, and emanates consciously. An orthodox Occultist goes so far as to say that the smell of a flower emanates from it "consciously" — absurd as it may seem to the profane. Radiation can come from the Absolute; Emanation cannot. One difference exists in the idea that Radiation is sure, sooner or later, to be withdrawn again while Emanation runs into other emanations and is thoroughly separated and differentiated. Of course at the end of the cycle of time emanation will also be withdrawn into the One Absolute; but meanwhile, during the entire cycle of changes emanation will persist. One thing emanates from the other, and, in fact, from one point of view, emanation is equivalent to Evolution; while "radiation" represents to my mind — in the precosmic period, of course — an instantaneous action like that of a piece of paper set on fire under a burning glass, of which act the Sun knows nothing. Both terms, of course, are used for want of better.

Q. What is meant by prototypes existing in the Astral Light? (Vol. I., p. 63.)

A. Astral Light is here used as a convenient phrase for a term very little understood, viz: "the realm of Akasa, or primordial Light manifested through the divine Ideation." The latter must be accepted in this particular case as a generic term for the universal and divine mind reflected in the waters of Space or Chaos, which is the Astral Light proper, and a mirror reflecting and reversing a higher plane. In the ABSOLUTE or Divine Thought everything exists and there has been no time when it did not so exist; but Divine Ideation is limited by the Universal Manvantaras. The realm of Akasa is the undifferentiated noumenal and abstract Space which will be occupied by Chidakasam, the field of primordial consciousness. It has several degrees, however, in Occult philosophy; in fact, "seven fields." The first is the field of latent consciousness which is coeval with the duration of the first and second unmanifested Logoi. It is the "Light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not" of St. John's Gospel. When the hour strikes for the Third Logos to appear, then from the latent potentiality there radiates a lower field of differentiated consciousness, which is Mahat, or the entire collectivity of those Dhyan-Chohans of sentient life of which Fohat is the representative on the objective plane and the Manasa-putras on the subjective. The Astral Light is that which mirrors the three higher planes of consciousness, and is above the lower, or terrestrial plane; therefore it does not extend beyond the fourth plane, where, one may say, the Akasa begins.

There is one great difference between the Astral Light and the Akasa which must be remembered. The latter is eternal, the former is periodic. The Astral Light changes not only with the Mahamanvantaras but also with every sub-period and planetary cycle or Round.

Q. Then do the prototypes exist on a plane higher than that of the Astral Light?

A. The prototypes or ideas of things exist first on the plane of Divine eternal Consciousness and thence become reflected and reversed in the Astral Light, which also reflects on its lower individual plane the life of our Earth, recording it on its "tablets." Therefore, is the Astral Light called illusion. It is from this that we, in our turn, get our prototypes. Consequently unless the Clairvoyant or SEER can get beyond this plane of illusion, he can never see the Truth, but will be drowned in an ocean of self-deception and hallucinations.

Q. And what is the Akasa proper?

A. The Akasa is the eternal divine consciousness which cannot differentiate, have qualities, or act; action belongs to that which is reflected or mirrored from it. The unconditioned and infinite can have no relation with the finite and conditioned. The Astral Light is the Middle Heaven of the Gnostics, in which is Sophia Achamoth, the mother of the seven builders or Spirits of the Earth, which are not necessarily good, and among which the Gnostics placed Jehovah, whom they called Ildabaoth. (Sophia Achamoth must not be confounded with the divine Sophia.) We may compare the Akasa and the Astral Light, with regard to these prototypes, to the germ in the acorn. The latter, besides containing in itself the astral form of the future oak, conceals the germ from which grows a tree containing millions of forms. These forms are contained in the acorn potentially, yet the development of each particular acorn depends upon extraneous circumstances, physical force, etc.

Q. But how does this account for the endless varieties of the Vegetable Kingdom?

A. The different variations of plants, etc., are the broken rays of one Ray. As the ray passes through the seven planes, it is broken on every plane into thousands and millions of rays down to the world of forms, every ray breaking into an intelligence on its own plane. So that we see every plant has an intelligence, or its own purpose of life, so to speak, and its own freewill, to a degree. This is how, I, at any rate, understand it. A plant can be receptive or non-receptive, though every plant without an exception feels and has a consciousness of its own. But besides the latter, every plant — from the gigantic tree down to the minutest fern or blade of grass — has, Occultism teaches us, an Elemental entity of which it is the outward clothing on this plane. Hence, the Kabalists and the mediaeval Rosicrucians are always found talking of Elementals. According to them, everything possessed an Elemental sprite.

Q. What is the difference between an Elemental and a Dhyan-Chohan or Dhyani-Buddha?

A. The difference is very great. Elementals are attached only to the four terrestrial Elements and only to the two lower kingdoms of nature — the mineral and the vegetable — in which they inmetalize and inherbalize, so to speak. The Hindu term Deva may be applied to them, but not that of Dhyan-Chohan. The former have a kind of Kosmic intelligence; but the latter are endowed with a supersensuous intellect, each of its kind. As to the Dhyani-Buddhas, they belong to the highest Divine (or omniscient) Intelligences, answering best, perhaps, to the Roman Catholic Archangels.

Q. Is there an evolution of types through the various planes of the Astral Light?

A. You must follow out the simile of the evolution of the acorn. From the acorn will grow an oak and this oak, as a tree, may have a thousand forms, all of which vary the one from the other. All these forms are contained within the acorn, and though the form which the tree will take depends on extraneous circumstances, yet that, which Aristotle called the "privation of matter" exists beforehand, in the Astral waves. But the noumenal germ of the oak exists beyond the plane of the Astral Light; it is only the subjective picture of it that already exists in the Astral Light, and the development of the oak tree is the result of the developed prototype in the Astral Light, which development proceeds from higher to lower planes, until on the lowest plane it has its last consolidation and development of form. And here is the explanation of the curious fact according to the Vedantin assertion that each plant has its Karma and that its growth is the result of Karma. This Karma proceeds from the lower Dhyan-Chohans who trace out and plan the growth of the tree.

Q. What is the real meaning of Manvantara or rather Manu-antara?

A. It means really "Between two Manus," of which there are fourteen in every "Day of Brahma," such a "Day" consisting of 1,000 aggregates of four ages or 1,000 "Great Ages," Mahayugas. When the word "Manu" is analyzed it is found that Orientalists state that it is from the root "Man" to think, hence the thinking man. But, esoterically every Manu, as an anthropomorphized patron of his special cycle, or Round, is but the personified idea of the "Thought Divine" (like the Hermetic Pymander). Each of the Manus, therefore, is the special god, the creator and fashioner of all that appears during his own respective cycle of being or Manvantara.

Q. Is Manu a unity also of human consciousness personified, or is it the individualization of the Thought Divine for manvantaric purposes?

A. Of both, since "human consciousness" is but a Ray of the Divine. Our Manas, or Ego, proceeds from, and is the Son (figuratively) of Mahat. Vaivasvata Manu (the Manu of our own fifth race and Humanity in general) is the chief personified representative of the thinking Humanity of the fifth Root-race; and therefore he is represented as the eldest Son of the Sun and an Agnishwatta Ancestor. As "Manu" is derived from Man, to think, the idea is clear. Thought in its action on human brains is endless. Thus Manu is, and contains the potentiality of all the thinking forms which will be developed on earth from this particular source. In the exoteric teaching he is the beginning of this earth, and from him and his daughter Ila humanity is born; he is a unity which contains all the pluralities and their modifications. Every Manvantara has thus its own Manu and from this Manu the various Manus or rather all the Manasa of the Kalpas will proceed. As an analogy he may be compared to the white light which contains all the other rays, giving birth to them by passing through the prism of differentiation and evolution. But this pertains to the esoteric and metaphysical teachings.

Q. Is it possible to say that Manu stands in relation to each Manvantara as does the First Logos to the Mahamanvantara?

A. It is possible to say so, if you like.

Q. Is it possible to say that Manu is an individuality?

A. In the abstract sense certainly not, but it is possible to apply an analogy. Manu is the synthesis perhaps of the Manasa, and he is a single consciousness in the same sense that while all the different cells of which the human body is composed are different and varying consciousnesses there is still a unit of consciousness which is the man. But this unit, so to say, is not a single consciousness: it is a reflection of thousands and millions of consciousnesses which a man has absorbed.

But Manu is not really an individuality, it is the whole of mankind. You may say that Manu is a generic name for the Pitris, the progenitors of mankind. They come, as I have shown, from the Lunar Chain. They give birth to humanity, for, having become the first men, they give birth to others by evolving their shadows, their astral selves. They not only give birth to humanity but to animals and all other creatures. In this sense it is said in the Puranas of the great Yogis that they gave birth, one to all the serpents, another to all the birds, etc. But, as the moon receives its light from the Sun, so the descendants of the Lunar Pitris receive their higher mental light from the Sun or the "Son of the Sun." For all you know Vaivasvata Manu may be an Avatar or a personification of MAHAT, commissioned by the Universal Mind to lead and guide thinking Humanity onwards.

Q. We learn that the perfected humanity of one Round becomes the Dhyani-Buddhas and the guiding rulers of the next Manvantara. What bearing then has Manu on the hosts of the Dhyani-Buddhas?

A. He has no bearing at all — in exoteric teachings. But I may tell you that the Dhyani-Buddhas have nothing to do with the lower practical work of the earth-plane. To use an illustration: the Dhyani-Buddha may be compared to a great ruler of any condition of life. Suppose that it were merely that of a house: the great ruler has nothing directly to do with the dirty work of a kitchen-maid. The higher Dhyanis evolve lower and lower hierarchies of Dhyanis more and more consolidated and more material until we arrive at this chain of Planets, some of the latter being the Manus, Pitris and Lunar Ancestors. As I show in the Second Volume of the Secret Doctrine, these Pitris have the task of giving birth to man. They do this by projecting their shadows and the first humanity (if indeed it can be called humanity) are the astral Chhayas of the Lunar Ancestors over which physical nature builds the physical body, which at first is formless. The Second Race is more and more formed and is sexless. In the Third Race they become bi-sexual and hermaphrodite and then finally separating, the propagation of humanity proceeds in diverse manners.

Q. Then what do you mean by the term Manvantara, or as you have explained it Manu-antara, or "between two Manus"?

A. It simply means a period of activity and is not used in any limited and definite sense. You have to gather from the context of the work you are studying what the meaning of the Manvantara is, remembering also that what is applicable to a lesser period applies also to a greater, and conversely.

Q. Is "Water" as used here purely symbolical or has it a correspondence in the evolution of the elements? (Vol. I., p. 64.)

A. It is necessary to be very careful not to confuse the universal with the terrestrial elements. Nor again do the terrestrial elements mean what is known as the chemical elements. I would call the cosmic, universal elements the noumena of the terrestrial elements, and add that cosmic is not confined to our little Solar System.

Water is the first cosmic element and the terms "darkness" and "chaos" are used to denote the same "element." There are seven states of matter of which three are generally known, viz., solid, liquid, and gaseous. It is necessary to consider everything cosmic and terrestrial as existing in variations of these seven states. But it is impossible for me to speak in terms which are unknown to you, and therefore impossible to understand. Thus "water," the "hot and moyst principle" of the philosophers, is used to denote that which is not yet solid matter, or rather that which does not yet possess the solidity of matter, as we understand it. It is rendered rather more difficult by the use of the term "water" as a subsequent "element" in the series of ether, fire and air. But ether contains in itself all the others and their properties, and it is this ether which is the hypothetical agent of physical science: moreover it is the lowest form of Akasa, the one agent and universal element. Thus water is used here to denote matter in its precosmic state.

Q. What relation have the elements to the Elementals?

A. The same relation as the earth has to man. As physical man is the quintessence of the Earth, so Air or Fire, or Water, an Elemental (called Sylph, Salamander, Undine, etc.), is of the quintessence of its special element. Every differentiation of substance and matter, evolves a kind of intelligent Force, and it is these which the Rosicrucians called Elemental or Nature spirits. Everyone of us can believe in Elementals which we can create for ourselves. But this latter class of elemental creation has no existence outside our own imagination. It will be an intelligence, a Force, good or bad, but the form given to it and its attributes will be of our own creation, while at the same time it will have an intelligence derived also from us.

Q. Are the "Virgin-Egg" and the "Eternal Egg" the same thing, or are they different stages of differentiation?

A. The eternal egg is a pre-differentiation in a laya or zero condition; thus, before differentiation it can have neither attributes nor qualities. The "virgin egg" is already qualified and therefore differentiated, although in its essence it is the same. No one thing can be separated from another thing, in its abstract essential nature. But in the world of illusion, in the world of forms, of differentiation, everything, ourselves included, seems to be so separated.

Meeting 7

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