Meeting held at 17, Lansdowne Road, London, W., on February 21st, 1889; Mr. W. Kingsland in the chair.
STANZA III. (continued).
Sloka (2). THE VIBRATION SWEEPS ALONG, TOUCHING WITH ITS SWIFT WING (simultaneously) THE WHOLE UNIVERSE; AND THE GERM THAT DWELLETH IN DARKNESS: THE DARKNESS THAT BREATHES (moves) OVER THE SLUMBERING WATERS OF LIFE.
Q. How are we to understand the expression that the vibration touches the whole universe and also the germ?
A. First of all the terms used must be defined as far as possible, for the language used is purely figurative. The Universe does not mean the Kosmos or world of forms but the formless space, the future vehicle of the Universe which will be manifested. This space is synonymous with the "waters of space," with (to us) eternal darkness, in fact with Parabrahm. In short the whole Sloka refers to the "period" before there was any manifestation whatever. In the same way the Germ — the Germ is eternal, the undifferentiated atoms of future matter — is one with space, as infinite as it is indestructible, and as eternal as space itself. Similarly with "vibration," which corresponds with the Point, the unmanifested Logos.
It is necessary to add one important explanation. In using figurative language, as has been done in the Secret Doctrine, analogies and comparisons are very frequent. Darkness for instance, as a rule, applies only to the unknown totality, or, Absoluteness. Contrasted with eternal darkness the first Logos is certainly, Light; contrasted with the second or third, the manifested Logoi, the first is Darkness, and the others are Light.
Sloka (3). DARKNESS RADIATES LIGHT, AND LIGHT DROPS ONE SOLITARY RAY INTO THE WATERS, THE MOTHER-DEEP. THE RAY SHOOTS THROUGH THE VIRGIN EGG; THE RAY CAUSES THE ETERNAL EGG TO THRILL, AND DROP THE NON-ETERNAL (periodical) GERM, WHICH CONDENSES INTO THE WORLD-EGG.
Q. Why is Light said to drop one solitary ray into the waters and how is this ray represented in connection with the Triangle?
A. However many the Rays may appear to be on this plane, when brought back to their original source they will finally be resolved into a unity, like the seven prismatic colors which all proceed from, and are resolved into the one white ray. Thus too, this one solitary Ray expands into the seven rays (and their innumerable sub-divisions) on the plane of illusion only. It is represented in connection with the Triangle because the Triangle is the first perfect geometrical figure. As stated by Pythagoras, and also in the Stanza, the Ray (the Pythagorean Monad) descending from "no-place" (Aloka), shoots like a falling star through the planes of non-being into the first world of being, and gives birth to Number One; then branching off, to the right, it produces Number Two; turning again to form the base-line it begets Number Three, and thence ascending again to Number One, it finally disappears therefrom into the realms of non-being as Pythagoras shows.
Q. Why should Pythagorean teachings be found in old Hindu philosophies?
A. Pythagoras derived this teaching from India and in the old books we find him spoken of as the Yavanacharya or Greek Teacher. Thus we see that the Triangle is the first differentiation, its sides however all being described by the one Ray.
Q. What is really meant by the term "planes of non-being"?
A. In using the term "planes of non-being" it is necessary to remember that these planes are only to us spheres of non-being, but those of being and matter to higher intelligences than ourselves. The highest Dhyan-Chohans of the Solar System can have no conception of that which exists in higher systems, i.e., on the second "septenary" Kosmic plane, which to the Beings of the ever invisible Universe is entirely subjective.
Sloka (4). (Then) THE THREE (Triangle) FALL INTO THE FOUR (Quaternary). THE RADIANT ESSENCE BECOMES SEVEN INSIDE, SEVEN OUTSIDE. THE LUMINOUS EGG (Hiranyagarbha), WHICH IN ITSELF IS THREE (the triple hypostases of Brahma, or Vishnu, the three Avasthas) CURDLES AND SPREADS IN MILKWHITE CURDS THROUGHOUT THE DEPTHS OF MOTHER, THE ROOT THAT GROWS IN THE OCEAN OF LIFE.
Q. Is the Radiant Essence the same as the luminous Egg? What is the Root that grows in the ocean of life?
A. The radiant essence, luminous egg or Golden Egg of Brahma, or again, Hiranyagarbha, are identical. The Root that grows in the ocean of life is the potentiality that transforms into objective differentiated matter the universal, subjective, ubiquitous but homogeneous germ, or the eternal essence which contains the potency of abstract nature. The Ocean of Life is, according to a term of the Vedanta philosophy — if I mistake not — the "One Life," Paramatma, when the transcendental supreme Soul is meant; and Jivatma, when we speak of the physical and animal "breath of life" or, so to speak, the differentiated soul, that life in short, which gives being to the atom and the universe, the molecule and the man, the animal, plant, and mineral.
"The Radiant Essence curdled and spread through the depths of Space." From an astronomical point of view this is easy of explanation: it is the Milky Way, the world-stuff, or primordial matter in its first form.
Q. Is the Radiant Essence, Milky Way, or world-stuff, resolvable into atoms, or is it non-atomic?
A. In its precosmic state it is of course, non-atomic, if by atoms you mean molecules; for the hypothetical atom, a mere mathematical point, is not material or applicable to matter, nor even to substance. The real atom does not exist on the material plane. The definition of a point as having position, must not, in Occultism, be taken in the ordinary sense of location; as the real atom is beyond space and time. The word molecular is really applicable to our globe and its plane, only: once inside of it, even on the other globes of our planetary chain, matter is in quite another condition, and non-molecular. The atom is in its eternal state, invisible even to the eye of an Archangel; and becomes visible to the latter only periodically, during the life cycle. The particle, or molecule, is not, but exists periodically, and is therefore regarded as an illusion.
The world-stuff informs itself through various planes and cannot be said to be resolved into stars or to have become molecular until it reaches the plane of being of the visible or objective Universe.
Q. Can ether be said to be molecular in Occultism?
A. It entirely depends upon what is meant by the term. In its lowest strata, where it merges with the astral light, it may be called molecular on its own plane; but not for us. But the ether of which science has a suspicion, is the grossest manifestation of Akasa, though on our plane, for us mortals, it is the seventh principle of the astral light, and three degrees higher than "radiant matter." When it penetrates, or informs something, it may be molecular because it takes on the form of the latter, and its atoms inform the particles of that "something." We may perhaps call matter "crystallized ether."
Q. But what is an atom, in fact?
A. An atom may be compared to (and is for the Occultist) the seventh principle of a body or rather of a molecule. The physical or chemical molecule is composed of an infinity of finer molecules and these in their turn of innumerable and still finer molecules. Take for instance a molecule of iron and so resolve it that it becomes non-molecular; it is then, at once transformed into one of its seven principles, viz., its astral body; the seventh of these is the atom. The analogy between a molecule of iron, before it is broken up, and this same molecule after resolution, is the same as that between a physical body before and after death. The principles remain minus the body. Of course this is occult alchemy, not modern chemistry.
Q. What is the meaning of the allegorical "churning of the ocean," and "cow of plenty" of the Hindus, and what correspondence is there between them and the "war in heaven"?
A. A process which begins in the state of "non-being," and ends with the close of Maha-Pralaya, can hardly be given in a few words or even volumes. It is simply an allegorical representation of the unseen and unknown primeval intelligences, the atoms of occult science, Brahma himself being called Anu or the Atom, fashioning and differentiating the shoreless ocean of the primordial radiant essence. The relation and correspondence between the "churning of the ocean" and the "war in heaven" is a very long and abstruse subject to handle. To give it in its lowest symbolical aspect, this "war in heaven" is going on eternally. Differentiation is contrast, the equilibrium of contraries: and so long as this exists there will be "war" or fighting. There are, of course, different stages and aspects of this war: such for instance as the astronomical and physical. For everyone and everything that is born in a Manvantara, there is "war in heaven" and also on the earth: for the fourteen Root and Seed-Manus who preside over our Manvantaric cycle, and for the countless Forces, human or otherwise, that proceed from them. There is a perpetual struggle of adjustment, for everything tends to harmonize and equilibrate; in fact it must do so before it can assume any shape. The elements of which we are formed, the particles of our bodies, are in a continual war, one crowding out the other and changing with every moment. At the "Churning of the Ocean" by the gods, the Nagas came and some stole of the Amrita — the water of Immortality, — and thence arose war between the gods and the Asuras, the no-gods, and the gods were worsted. This refers to the formation of the Universe and the differentiation of the primordial primeval matter. But you must remember, that this is only the cosmogonical aspect, — one out of the seven meanings. The war in heaven had also immediate reference to the evolution of the intellectual principle in mankind. This is the metaphysical key.
Q. Why are numbers so much used in the Stanzas; and what is really the secret of their being so freely used in the World-Scriptures — in the Bible and in the Puranas, by Pythagoras and by the Aryan Sages?
A. Balzac, the unconscious occultist of French literature, says somewhere, the Number is to Mind the same as it is to matter, 'an incomprehensible agent.' But I would answer — perhaps so to the profane, never to the initiated mind. Number is, as the great writer thought, an Entity, and at the same time, a Breath emanating from what he called God and what we call the ALL; the breath which alone could organize the physical Kosmos, 'where naught obtains its form but through the Deity, which is an effect of Number.' (Vol. I., p. 66.) "God geometrizes" says Plato.
Q. In what sense can numbers be called Entities?
A. When intelligent Entities are meant; when they are regarded simply as digits they are, of course, not Entities but symbolical signs.
Q. Why is the radiant essence said to become seven inside and seven outside?
A. Because it has seven principles on the plane of the manifested and seven on that of the unmanifested. Always argue on analogy and apply the old occult axiom "As above so below."
Q. But are the planes of "non-being" also Septenary?
A. Most undeniably. That which in the Secret Doctrine is referred to as the unmanifested planes, are unmanifested or planes of non-being only from the point of view of the finite intellect; to higher intelligences they would be manifested planes and so on to infinity, analogy always holding good.
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