Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press. All rights Reserved.
| From Boundless Space | Man Is a Hierarchy | Atomic to Galactic Consciousness | Dhyan-Chohanic "Failures" | Relation of Teacher to Pupil | Devachan and Nirvana |
G. de P. — Hierarchies within infinitude come and go like flashes, like sparks of light. Each such spark is an ending of itself as a manifestation, but those manifestations continue forever progressing. There are no absolute ends, but there are relative ends.
Boundless infinitude, however, has no attributes of change, nor of time, nor of extension of space. It simply is from eternity unto eternity, and that is all that our minds can grasp of it. But any manifested universe arising in the bosom of infinity, be this universe great, be it small, precisely because it is delimited by individuality, because it is a being, is by that same token and by so much a limited part of the Boundless.
Now then, a universe is therefore obviously not boundless infinitude which is not even one — one being the beginning of enumeration of manifestation — but boundless infinitude we must consider to be zero represented in symbol as a circle. The one signifies the universe, any universe, our universe, all the universes outside of our universe, which has a beginning, passes through its various phases or stages of emanational evolution and development, and after this is ended, retires again, as Pythagoras said speaking of the cosmic monad, into the utter silence and darkness of infinitude — silence and darkness to us. Following this line of thought, the infinite, that is the boundless, the frontierless essence of all universal Being, has no beginning, has no end, has no manifestation of itself, but forever and forever is.
Consider for a moment in the fields of boundless space universes arising here and there like sparks of light. As they arise and begin their evolutionary unfolding, other universes are disappearing, unfolding and vanishing, in due time to reappear. Consider therefore, not one or two do this, but innumerable such over the fields of boundless space, so that we have the picture of infinity, eternally as it is, evolving forth and evolving back into its countless universes and systems of universes and supersystems builded of systems. But infinity itself: you cannot speak of infinity as the One. You cannot speak of infinity as manifesting. It is only beings or things, monads, however small however great, which undertake these stages or periods of evolutionary unfolding, and then involving or infolding. Infinitude undergoes no modifications of itself. If it did, it would not be infinity. It is only manifested beings and things which clothe themselves in the garments or veils of maya; and while some "portions" of infinitude are in their progressive unfolding into veils of maya, other portions here and there scattered over the limitless fields of space are involving and rising out of maya back into the bosom of the deep, only to come forth again in good time.
I wonder if you catch this thought. It is an exceedingly important one. Infinitude does not evolve as infinitude. If it did, then infinitude could change, and to speak of infinity which changes is to speak absurdity, because it is only things or beings which undergo modifications of themselves, and hence are subject to change.
The thought is important because out of misunderstanding of this fact that the universe is forever and throughout boundless duration in continual action and activity around us, through misunderstanding this thought rose originally the idea of a god, of a being who created and who acted and who did things. Now infinity does not create, nor does it act, nor does it do, because all these are limited operations, and infinity as infinity has no activity because no limitations. It forever is itself. It is only things which are active. If infinity acted, it would have to have an enclosing space greater than infinity in which to act, which is obviously absurd because then it no longer would be infinity.
The universes in the boundless fields of space are numberless. They are literally and actually forever and forever appearing and vanishing, some higher, some lower, and there is no ending to the high nor ending to the low, because these very terms are terms of maya, terms of manifestation. But infinity as infinity is, we can only describe as motion itself, not anything which moves, but motion per se. Consciousness itself, not any one consciousness, but consciousness as consciousness. Intelligence itself, not any one intelligence, but intelligence as intelligence.
What is it within any one of the different knots or foci of consciousness which allows it to grow first into the stage immediately above its own, and then continue to grow into the stage immediately above that, and so forth onwards, as far as we know forever? What is it within any one of these entities, within a human being, which enables it to roll forth from within its own essence virtually unending series of steps ahead?
Each one of the companion monads which in their aggregate make a human being's constitution, as it grows becomes more and more individualized, more and more a being in itself. Thus man is a hierarchy truly, and exactly the same observation may be made with regard to the literally uncountable hosts of embryo monads or life-atoms which build up his various vehicles on the different planes on which his monads function.
Now then, this being the case, every one of these companion or composing monads at its own core is the rootless root of infinitude. Where then in this vast congeries of entities, in this vast assemblage of embryo gods or godlings, is man? If we say that man is the soul or the intermediate part of his constitution, we say truly; but when we analyze this soul or intermediate part more strictly, more rigidly, we find that it too unfolds into a hierarchy, and we are met again with exactly the same problem. If we seize upon a certain center of this second companion hierarchy, and say this is man, and then subject this point of inquiry or of observation to the same strict and rigid scrutiny, we meet again a hierarchy anew. Thus we discover a hierarchy within a hierarchy within a hierarchy, and we find that this third hierarchy itself is a composite entity; and yet each one of these hierarchies is a monad!
We see here the reason why the great Indian philosophical systems, particularly the Vedanta, say that the ultimate ultimate in any entity is the cosmic paramatman, the cosmic "I am." Yet, here we have these mayavi egos. They surround us everywhere, the universe is formed of them, every life-atom is an embryonic one. As evolution proceeds, the ego expands its consciousness forever, and everything ultimately loses its I-am-I-ness, because this I-am-I-ness merges into and becomes identified with the cosmic "I am."
When you chase man around the universe after this fashion, where do you find him? It is one of the most important, one of the most difficult, one of the most subtil, and yet one of the most fruitful sources of investigation.
Do not focus your attention on vehicles or names, technically called in the Hindu Vedanta nama-rupa, "name" and "form," but think of the essence of a monad as a point of consciousness — not as a body, not as a vehicle, not as a shape, expanding and growing and enlarging like a balloon constantly growing larger and larger and larger — a point of consciousness which unfolds, rolls forth, emanates from within itself a constantly increasing stream of its self-ness: points of consciousness. Such a point of consciousness is a monad. This monad is eternally, for ages, like an atom of parabrahman, the self of itself is infinitude, yet constantly unfolding from itself ever enlarging streams of its consciousness.
Thus man at the present time is a relatively small being from the standpoint of consciousness so considered. As he evolves by flowing or emanating from within himself, ever enlarging streams of the things and beings within himself, he expands, he grows, and finally becomes a solar system, and then a universe. He keeps on growing, giving birth to children-beings, themselves doing exactly what their great parent is doing through infinity. But the point, the center which never changes, which is for each one through eternity the same, is not a body or a vehicle or a sheath or a veil or a garment, but a center of consciousness, a focus of consciousness. That is the monad. It is eternal. It is not only always the I-am, but whether self-consciously recognized or not, it is always I-am-I. Now the I-am-I is the limited form of it which will keep on growing forever, but it will always be limited when contrasted with the inmost of the inmost, the parabrahman within, the rootless root, the I AM.
Here is just the meaning of the famous statement of the Lord Buddha: there is no abiding soul in man, because those words refer to the old false teaching that I am a soul and am eternal or immortal as my self. You are a soul, different from me, and are immortal as yourself. There is no such entity in man, because everything grows, expands, changes, evolves, becomes essential selfhood is the same in all of us. The limited I-am-I endures forever but with constantly enlarging horizons. It is never for two consecutive instants of time the same, therefore cannot be immortal. Immortal means enduring forever as you are; but by contrast with this, note the changeless consciousness expressed by the phrase, I AM.
Our planet earth is a member of our solar system. Our solar system is a member of the galactic universe formed of many solar systems. Modern astronomers tell us that the number of suns or solar systems we see in the galactic universe runs into the thousands of millions. Our whole galaxy, all included within the far-flung zone of the Milky Way, is one molecule in the physical body of an entity whom we cannot cognize or recognize or understand, because of its immense spacial magnitude. Our little earth is an electron in an atom which is our solar system. We human beings live on this electron. Our galaxy is filled with hierarchies of conscious, quasi-conscious, self-conscious, spiritually conscious, and divinely conscious beings — gods, men, atoms, in the esoteric sense. Yet these beings who in their higher reaches live and think divine thoughts, gods, have their habitat in a molecule in the physical body of an entity whose mere physical shape is so immense, spacially speaking, that we cannot even see it. We simply see the solar systems of the galaxy by which we are surrounded.
Now turn the telescope around, the old-fashioned kind, and look through the big end, in other words, reverse the picture. Our bodies are formed of cells composed of molecules, builded of atoms, in their turn constructed of electrons. Who can say on how many of the electrons of any one physical body may not be living beings thinking divine or human thoughts, seeing a universe surrounding them as we see the universe surrounding us? Their universe is a single organ of our body, and their galaxy is a single molecule of a cell of that organ. This is consciousness, atman, not name and form or nama-rupa.
Let us try to free ourselves from our servility to forms and names. Let us follow consciousness rather than bodies and forms. These latter are suggestive, but when we have grasped the suggestion, then discard the form and name and retain the thought. Indeed, I will go farther. For all anyone can say, there may be vast hierarchies of gods living in some molecule forming a part of a cell of a single organ of somebody's house cat, absurd as it sounds, or of a sparrow building its nest under the eaves.
Think of the wonder of the universe in which we live. Now that house cat or that sparrow may be killed, and its dead body cast into the flames, and its molecules and its atoms dissipated into the air, into the water, into the earth. But that does not affect in any wise these infinitesimal beings. They are perfectly safe.
Now then, transfer your thought to us and our galaxy. A catastrophe of unimaginable immensity might happen to this galactic cosmic being. We might not know anything about it, or little of it. The solar systems, the atoms of the galaxy, would probably simply begin peregrinating as do the life-atoms which enter and leave our human bodies at every instant of time, these life-atoms carrying their burden of armies of beings. I repeat, we must free our minds from the magic, from the maya, of names and forms, nama-rupa, the greatest delusion of consciousness, and try to understand consciousness per se. You can only understand consciousness by stilling consciousness, not by thinking names and thoughts but by entering into consciousness, being it. For instance, you cannot understand life if you merely think of it as a name or as a shape. You have got to be alive to feel life, to be in it, to be of it, to be life before you can even grasp what it means. The same with consciousness in even larger degree. Consciousness has no magnitude. It will fill space, it will fill an atom, and things incomparably smaller than one of our chemical atoms. It is dimensionless, because it has no shape, no form, no rupa. It belongs to the arupa world. We now see the meaning of this term arupa, formless. All entities have forms, but if we want to understand them we must leave the rupas or forms of our universe, and enter into the arupa or formless which is pure consciousness. Then our minds can contact the consciousness of these other beings. We can begin to realize, to understand, to feel, inwardly to see what is, because we coalesce in our consciousness with these other consciousnesses. It is a wonderful thought this, that an entity may exist in the infinitesimal, thinking divine thoughts, itself composed of atoms and electrons on a still more infinitesimally infinitesimal scale. It lends dignity to us. We respect the universe around us. We respect our own bodies. We treat not only ourselves, but we treat others with reverence. Wonderful mystery.
What we have studied in this group, advanced as it is, about the planetary chains, falls very far short of being the entirety of that doctrine. There is a vast deal more that might be given on this one branch of the esoteric philosophy.
Referring particularly now to the classes of monads of a planetary chain: there are twelve classes though it is customary to speak of ten classes of evolving beings, commonly called monads, which we divide arbitrarily as follows: the three elemental kingdoms, the mineral, vegetable, beast, human, plus the three dhyan-chohanic kingdoms. They are all akin; they are all related. Each class follows the other in spirituality or in ethereality, and conversely in materiality. Each such class through evolution reaches up to and takes the place of the class above it, which in its turn has progressed upwards or forwards one plane. If it fails to do so in any one planetary manvantara (and by that I mean a chain-manvantara) it is a failure, simply because it has not reached up to and taken the place of the class immediately above it.
Just so with the dhyan-chohans: if they do not pass out of dhyan-chohanship, in other words go beyond the three classes of dhyan-chohans belonging to a planetary chain, into that higher grade above it, beyond the ten of our chain, they are "failures." It is not a crime; and it is precisely these failures which bring about the architectural guidance, the spiritual overseeing of the new chain to be. See how carefully the great cosmic intelligence regulates things, so that the very failures in the highest classes become the gods and instructors and lights for all those behind and below them, and thus lead and guide the construction of the chain to be.
Do not construe mere words too strictly. Get ideas, and endeavor to coalesce these ideas, to blend them into each other, so as to get a picture of things. Now all this would be abundantly clear to you if I could talk to you with greater clarity about other portions of the doctrine of the planetary chains. I cannot do it here, but what has been given already is just crammed with hints and ideas. Try to visualize pictures. Let words be mere thought-carriers to your minds, and not stumbling blocks. Actually words are so imperfect in carrying these sublime verities that at the best they just hobble along, stumble along. I suppose it would take a dhyan-chohan to pick words which would become flashing lights into your minds.
Consider a moment: we of the human family on this our present chain were failures on the moon because we were not wholly human there. We had not even fully entered into the human kingdom, so we were failures in that sense. Do you understand what I mean?
Now then, we shall become dhyan-chohans when this chain reaches the end of the seventh round, or twelveth, the concluding round, the end of the present chain manvantara. Those of us who make the grade, who pass the peril time, those who can turn the corner and go upwards when the moment of choice comes — those of us who will do it, who will probably be the majority, will be dhyan-chohans at the end of this chain. A few will go beyond the dhyan-chohanic ring-pass-not. They will attain a higher grade. Those of us, however, who cannot go farther than dhyan-chohanship will be dhyan-chohanic failures because we do not go farther. But we shall nevertheless be high spiritual beings.
Every human being on the highest globe of this chain at the end of the seventh round will be an imbodied buddha, an imbodied dhyan-chohan, a high spiritual entity. If we fail to go beyond even that stage and thus enter into new and loftier spheres of cosmic life, we will be the failures who will inaugurate as spiritual architects the karmic building up of the next chain, the child-chain of this earth-chain.
The same thing takes place when a man reimbodies himself. There is the spirit — before the intermediate part of his constitution has left the devachan fully, and before he is an imbodied man on this earth — there is the spirit of him moving and guiding elementals on the planes of his constitution to be, to build that constitution. Just as in the building of the planetary chain, the high spiritual powers work through the elementals which are the lower parts of themselves. Architects work with pen and paper and blueprints. Now obviously there is an enormous difference between the mind of the architect and the pencil he uses, or the blueprint paper. Yet both are employed, and every atom of the blueprint paper or the pencil is as much alive as the mind of the architect, composed of life-atoms every one of which is an imbodied elemental.
On higher planes and by karmic destiny, the closer a pupil and teacher are, the more intimately are they conjoined in the future, and the more intimate, contiguous, and persistent throughout time is the interchange of thought, which means lifeatoms. It is for this reason among others that HPB has so plainly stated that the relation between teacher and chela, teacher and pupil, is more sacred even than that between parent and child. Whereas the parent gives to the child its body, the teacher gives to the pupil his soul, awakens the soul. Karmic links are established which persist throughout eternity.
It is precisely so that the manasaputra and the individual which it enlightened, are forever after connected together. They are constantly interchanging or exchanging thought currents. There is a close connection, so close indeed that it is correct in a way to say that the manasaputra which enlightened the individual is actually a part of that individual's constitution, although the manasaputra itself is pursuing its own evolutionary course. Marvelous thought.
Indeed, it is the same principle which keeps groups of egos together as families, as races, which brings about reimbodiments together at the same time, and on the same globes — spiritual, intellectual, psycho-astral-vital physical attraction.
There is a great mystery in the manasaputric inflaming of our own baby minds in the beginning of our human period on this earth. Yet it is so simple really. Now I will try to give you a graphic illustration. The individuals of the third root-race who were enlightened by the manasaputras were children in mind, because they had the same kind of mentality then that children today have with us.
Now hearken carefully: there is the manasaputra in the growing child, but the vehicle is not yet ready and does not respond to the appeal from the inner manasaputra. What happens? The child is taught by its parents. Its mind is quickened, awakened, and as this education by the parents and by the child's teachers continues, little by little the mind of the child itself begins to function. If a child were allowed to grow up to manhood apart from all other human beings whatsoever, on a desert island let us say, it would never normally reach the expansion of thought, of mind, of intellectual consciousness, that it is aided to attain by the ministrations and loving care of its parents who awaken the mind in him, quicken the intellect, and bring it to the point where the child's own inner manasaputric faculty begins to function.
The case of the manasaputra inflaming us is identical with what happens with chela and teacher on whatever plane. Pause a moment in thought, Companions. We have all been through it. We all came into the school, our blessed school, thirsting for light. We received thoughts, our intuitions were quickened, our intellect was stimulated by the manasaputric light that was shed upon us, although each one of us had it already within. But the teacher aided, came and gave, and gave of his own, of her own, gave to us, and we drank, and were awakened, invigorated, and stimulated, quickened, just as a child is. Thus the manasaputras descended from their spheres on the mission of mercy, of compassion, members of the hierarchy of compassion and of light, to quicken the sleeping minds of the infant humanity. They did their work, left these spheres to return to their own, leaving behind them an infant but an awakened humanity. So is it with the child as it grows. Its mind is quickened by its parents, later by its teachers at school, finally by the manasaputra within. There is the whole mystery. It shows again that teachers are needed. If you have not a teacher you will indeed progress, but it will be by the slow, faintly moving current of natural evolution that will take ages and ages and ages before you reach the point that you now reach by receiving a quickening. There is the secret.
What is the essential difference between nirvana, in its various degrees, and the devachan in its?
Devachan is the sublimation of the spiritual best of a person, and therefore it is, even though spiritual, a maya, transitory, changing, altering, always for the better. The nirvana on the other hand is the complete extinction or washing out of the limitations of the person, and an entering into the impersonal egoity of divinity. That is the reason it is called nirvana, "blown out." Consider yourselves as persons. We are all human. We have good in us and bad in us. In our moments of mental and spiritual rest and meditation, the bad part of us drops off and we live in the roseate bliss of doing consciously at least in our minds our human best. It corresponds with the devachan, because it is a spiritual sublimation of the personality. But now suppose that we have reached the end of the seventh round. Obviously we then are no longer the imperfect humans we now are. That will be an epoch of far past history, forgotten, wiped out, extinguished, blown out, finished with. We are living in a far higher part of our being. That corresponds with the nirvana. By the blowing out, we have lost nought. We have gained everything. When a prisoner breaks his shackles and steps from the gloom into the sunlight, he loses nought, but gains.