The Theosophical Forum – March 1947

ROOTS — Alexandra McLean

Roots: it seems they hold a very important place in the scheme of things. Their work, invisible to the mortal eye, unobtrusive and silent to the mortal ear, yet brings into manifestation in the external world myriad forms of glory. What stability, strength and power they transmit to the growing and unfolding entity they serve. In all the category of words, it seems that the small word "root" is symbol for one of the greatest mysteries. It implies innate wisdom, humility, devotion, discrimination and dependability.

If we consult a good dictionary as to the meaning of "root" we are intrigued and amazed at the variety of uses beyond the one usually assigned to it, i.e., "Popularly, any subterranean part of a plant." We find it used in anatomy, astronomy, astrology, ethnology, hydraulics, law, mathematics, music, philology, etc. We consult a Thesaurus and hours may be profitably spent in considering the subtle varieties in usage of the word "root."

The Botanical definition offers, "In the higher plants (ferns and seed plants), a portion of the plant body bearing neither leaves, nor reproductive organs, but provided with a growing point and functioning as an organ of absorption, an aerating organ, a food reservoir, or a means of support." One of the specific definitions gives us, "An ancestor or progenitor and hence an early race; a stem, also, — the cause, source." There are thoughts in these definitions which applied Theosophically might be developed to great length. We will attempt to hint at a few ideas and leave it to the reader, if interested, to follow up and develop them for himself.

Dr. de Purucker in speaking of Elemental Kingdoms and Cosmic Elements tells us — "Thus then, these cosmic elements are the different stuffs of the universe, the different substances out of which the universe is builded. We can call them the various prakritis of the universe. . . . Spirit in its sevenfold aspects is the root of all these cosmic elements, or prakritis." (Italics mine.)

H. P. B. calls the Higher Self (Atma) "the Divine Root of all being. . . ." She also offers from an occult catechism (S. D. Proem, p. 11) "What is it that ever is? Space. . . . What is it that ever was? The germ in the root. What is it that is ever coming and going? The Great Breath. . . . The three are one . . . and this is Space."

Now what is it in man that may be analogous to the roots of a plant? Perhaps it is our aspirations. Man, possessed of "Manas," is a self-conscious entity and must learn to discriminate, to choose that which he needs for full development and the unfolding of the Inner Divinity. Man may direct a strong tap root deep into the Source, the Truth of his being. He may send thoughts like root tendrils into the depths of his inmost, seeking the true sustenance for growth. The purity of his aspiration (not for selfish self development, but that he may be an ever more perfect expression of Divinity) and the force of his will shall be as the life energy in roots, surmounting difficulties, finding and bringing that needed to complete his life cycle. Divine Nature works with man and through the just law of his own Karma, provides him with circumstances and opportunities for growth.

We are rooted in Divinity, but the vast powers of this Divine Nature can only act through us as we by aspiration and will create channels (strong roots) for their flow. Evolution is a slow process. The lotus does not open until it has risen above the mud and water into the higher atmosphere, where light plays an important part in the flowering. Even so — man does not become "more than man" except through cycles of growth upward-inward into the "atma-sphere" of his Self. We are gods in embryo and must be nourished by the food of the gods, the "Celestial Fire" that is the Reality of our Inmost.

All manifesting entities follow the same universal law, unfolding the seed of a previous completed cycle. All have roots with their "growing point" and each according to his degree of consciousness, his aspirations and will, must seek and find the nourishment for his own growth. Roots, like all else, are sevenfold and thus each entity may be fully nourished in all its sevenfold being. Within all, the humble dandelion or "Surya" our sun, within the visible and the invisible (for all is One) is an urge that is part of the great Cosmic urge. At the core of Being, invisible, is the Divine Dynamo, the generator of all possibilities of expression. Into That, "The Dot, which is everywhere; the circle, which is nowhere" must we consciously, ever more consciously, send our roots and draw the Life that will in time make us "more than man."

 With Tennyson we may soliloquize:

"Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."

In "Roots" we indeed have more than meets the eye or reaches the ear. The true significance, the esoteric potencies, may only be apprehended by intuitive comprehension. Roots are the humble, willing, eager servants of Truth, seeking persistently for that Source that is the fountainhead of Life itself and bringing into visible form the glory of the secret pattern. "Tat twam asi."

Theosophical University Press Online Edition