In the "Key to Theosophy" of H. P. B. there are some allusions to the omniscience of the real man within everybody. Not grasping the meaning, I once had a conversation with Madame Blavatsky on the subject, and I must confess that at the time I was not any wiser for it. I thought what a good thing it would be if instead of passing hours and hours on the solution of a problem, one might simply ask the real man, who knowing all, would tell you at once all about it. I must confess that I had some doubt about the real man knowing all, and I asked Madame Blavatsky to explain. I am sure that she tried to awake my understanding, but at that time it was all a beginning, and young Theosophists felt then (as they do sometimes even now) proud, when they knew the Sanskrit names of the seven principles and a few more strange sounding words.
I thought: Omniscience is knowing all, which of course must comprise everything and every problem, and the hardest mathematical nut will be child's play for the real man to crack — if H. P. B. is right!
Now if we but change intonation and instead of knowing all, say knowing all, we shall get a little step nearer the standpoint from which the question looks more attackable. The question turns first about that much abused word "knowledge." We generally think it to mean the conviction or even certainty, that under given conditions of things some unavoidable result took place, and will take place anew when those conditions will re-occur. A doctor knows that for a certain illness, the name of which implies a certain condition of the human body, a certain remedy will reestablish other conditions called health. An engineer knows by experiment and calculation, that a certain form of structure under given loads will have to resist such and such forces in its divers parts, and then he lodges his material in such a way, that no part gets too much and no material gets too little anywhere, which he can only do approximately. But all this is not real knowledge and neither the doctor nor the engineer knows what that thing is he is dealing with and how its molecules feel.
Real knowledge has nothing to do with apparent knowledge, and it is useless to ask the real man within to write out the development of a mathematical problem for you. But when it comes to the application of such a mathematical solution whereby one tries to get a certain insight into nature, then it may be said that the real man has that insight into nature without passing by the tedious ways of a mathematical investigation.
What science tries to find out, that the real man is already, and he knows without a shade of doubt that which science strives at but never reaches. That essence which constitutes the real man, which has passed through all the kingdoms below man, which we find specified in every human being as the monad, clothed in different garbs so as to appear distinct, that essence knows all about everything we can think of, and that part of the Universe which we can think of constitutes the omnia for man. Having had the experience of all the kingdoms below us, the monad knows them, and our all, as far as human nature is concerned, is that of which we are able to think; therefore it is right to say, that the real man knows that which the ordinary man comprises under the term "all," and even more, because the all for the man of the present day is less than the all of those who served to clothe the monad at some earlier periods. It thus seems to me that the object of the development of the thinking principle is not to arrive at a better knowledge of nature, but to arrive at some knowledge in a certain way, which way has to be learnt during certain periods of evolution. Discrimination has to be learnt, and if one will learn how to avoid a wrong way, he must pass it first, or else it would remain unknown to him. It seems a strange thing that man has to incarnate so many times during millions of years in order to develop the thinking principle, and after having developed it, abandon it as a wrong way. But is it not the same with the evolution of all the principles in Cosmos? Has not all to be gone through? Has not every plane of consciousness to give way to another? We call them higher or lower — but what about such terms? This is no loss, it is a momentary necessity for a certain purpose of divine law, and although less in one sense we gain and go forward in another, and pass where we have to pass. This must not be misunderstood, and we must not say: Very well, I have to develop intellect, and I shall do it, and shall not care for real knowledge which will all come in time. This is sophistry. Through our will and endowed with the thinking principle we have to regain that knowledge which gradually has become latent while Manas had to be developed, or else we shall never regain it. Thus we have to work with ardent aspiration towards our highest ideals along the lines of nature and divine law; thus we keep balanced, and while doing every one of our daily duties, we inwardly live a life of spirituality and in consciousness divine.
Universal BrotherhoodTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE