Fountain-Source of Occultism — G. de Purucker

Section 5: Hierarchies and the Doctrine of Emanations

Part 1


It is the ONE LIFE, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations, between which periods reigns the dark mystery of non-Being; unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness; unrealisable, yet the one self-existing reality; truly, "a chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason." Its one absolute attribute, which is ITSELF, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called in esoteric parlance the "Great Breath," which is the perpetual motion of the universe, in the sense of limitless, ever-present space. That which is motionless cannot be Divine. But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 2

Everything, every being or entity of the vast hierarchies that infill Space, is alive, is more or is less conscious, or self-conscious; and this is the case from supergod through all the intermediate hierarchical ranges of being down to the component parts of an atom. All have a consciousness side and a vehicle side, and both indwelling spirit and its vehicle are one composite unit. It is perfectly true that mechanics exist, whether in the cosmos or on the infinitesimal scale that prevails in the building of atomic structures, yet behind the mechanism are the living spiritual intelligences, the mechanicians. As H.P.B. writes:

The Occultist sees in the manifestation of every force in Nature, the action of the quality, or the special characteristic of its noumenon; which noumenon is a distinct and intelligent Individuality on the other side of the manifested mechanical Universe. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 493

Most of us, however, make too radical a distinction between these two aspects of the cosmic life structure, and this is understandable, because obviously there is an enormous difference between the car and the man who drives it. But in the universe there is no such sharp distinction in space and time between the spiritual mechanician and the mechanism which is its vehicle of expression. Here is where the mistake was made which brought about the birth of materialistic philosophies and those particular religions which teach of an extracosmic God working upon matter as his creature. There are no extra cosmic gods anywhere. Whatever inspirits and invigorates a universe, or any component factor of it, lives in and works through it, precisely as the spirit and mind and psychical apparatus of a man form one composite whole working through his astral-vital-physical body.

The sun, the stars and the planets are not just material shells invigorated by spiritual entities having none other than a mere force connection with them. They are, like man, an incarnation of a spirit and a mind working in union through their own effluxes of force and substance, which are the lower parts of the constitution ending in the physical body. Every celestial body is essentially a divine being presently manifesting itself as a star or a sun or a planet.

If we understand the theosophical conception of emanation, we will have a key to many mysteries of the universe. Emanation signifies the flowing forth of all the lower stages of the hierarchical structure which we call cosmic planes or spheres. All this flowing out is from cosmic consciousness centers, and every such cosmic monad is essentially a god, from whose essence there emanate the veils or garments in which it clothes itself. These garments are the multiplicity of beings and things which make up the universe that we see. And exactly the same rule of emanational unfolding produces the various hierarchical grades of the constitution of any individual being or entity, from a star to an atom. So, at the beginning of a cosmic manvantara a universe is unrolled out into an expression of the substances and forces and consciousnesses inherent in itself; and thus does every hierarchical unit emanate from Parabrahman.

Evolution is but an aspect of emanational unfolding; from the instant emanation begins, evolution likewise begins its work. If we restrict the word emanation to the process of flowing forth from latency into active manifestation, then we can with logic restrict the word evolution to signify the immediate beginning of developmental growth, or the unfolding of inner faculty and organ from preceding and latent causal seeds. Actually, these terms are so much alike that it is difficult to distinguish between them.

It would be a mistake to say that Parabrahman by will or by an effort of its own consciousness emanates the universe or any hierarchical unit; or, similarly, that the Boundless by the action of its will and life unfolds a universe or hierarchy from itself. We would then be ascribing to Parabrahman or the Boundless action or acts which belong not to Infinity but to already manifested entities, such as cosmic or galactic monads. Parabrahman never acts, because Parabrahman is an abstraction. It is only beings and things that act; and both Parabrahman and the Boundless are but words signifying frontierless Space and beginningless and unending Duration.

Every cosmic entity coming into manvantaric activity does so from forces and powers and substances inherent in itself; arising out of its paranirvanic latency it begins its process of emanational unfolding in progressive stages towards evolutional development. Similarly with a man: it is no 'god,' nor the Boundless, nor Parabrahman, which brings about the reincarnation of a human being; but it is the awaking from latency into activity of innate powers and substances which ultimately results in the reclothing of the devachanic monad in its series of vehicular veils, ending with the physical body.

When a universe or any other entity begins its emanational unfolding from pralayic paranirvana into manvantaric activity, the stages progress 'downwards' into the ethereal and finally the material realms of encompassing space; but in its descent from spirit to matter, never does the highest directly drop through planes to lower planes. What happens is that first the divine awakens from its paranirvanic rest and clothes itself with a spiritual veil, mulaprakriti or pradhana, which then through cosmic time periods clothes itself in its veil of manifestation; and this last throws around itself, partly from forces and substances flowing forth from within its heart, and partly by accretions from surrounding space, still another encompassing vehicle or garment. This process continues until the emanating and evolving entity reaches its lowest or most material stage, which for it is its physical body, whether of a sun, a man, or an atom.

This idea is found in the Bhagavad-Gita (ch. x) where Krishna says: "I established all this universe with portions of myself, yet remain separate." This means that the divine from its own effulgence of intelligence and life, its 'surplus of life,' clothes itself in garments of differing degrees of descending ethereality, finally reaching and composing the physical; the divine part nevertheless, and the spiritual, intellectual and higher psychical portions, remain above and unmoved as essences. Rays from each constitutional part sink into manifestation, infilling the lower cosmic planes with life and mind and consciousness appropriate to each plane thus formed.

The whole process of emanational unfolding can be likened to a column of light, pure spirit in its highest parts and physical matter in its lowest, with all intermediate stages of increasing substantiality in between. When the physical plane is reached, the process of descent ceases, and immediately there begins the process of ascent or of return to spirit, which is for any cosmic entity the grand consummation est. The unfolding is the arc of descent, and the infolding is the arc of ascent.

Mechanics naturally are involved in emanation but, because we are dealing with beings and things and their common relations and interrelations, such mechanical aspects are entirely the productions of inner and inspiriting consciousnesses. In other words, because the universe and everything in it is alive throughout, cosmic life and mind or consciousness are the real factors and causal agents in producing, through emanation and evolution, the wondrous mystery of an imbodied universe and its component principles.

A universal solar system, coming into being from its paranirvanic latency, is born anew into manvantaric manifestation from its own inherent and innate, power. It reproduces itself in the spaces of galactic space as a reimbodiment of all that it was in its last appearance therein, plus the enormous accumulation of experience gained before. This applies both in particular and in general to the reimbodiment of any individual cosmic body, such as a planetary chain, a globe or, on a smaller scale, to that of an inhabitant of a globe, or even of an atom.

All things take birth from within and express themselves outwards, run through the phases of their manvantaric cycles, and then are withdrawn and pass out of the realms of appearance or maya, inwards and upwards into the spirit where they again have their nirvanic repose.

An egg is a good analogy: little by little the germ within awakens into activity, the enclosed chick slowly grows into shape and finally breaks through its shell. So it is with the universe coming into being; and that is why the ancient sages of Hindustan and others, such as the Orphics of archaic Greece, spoke of the cosmic Egg. No germ in an egg could ever follow the regular sequential stages of development unless that germ were filled full with forces and substances emanating from within itself, which really means flowing from invisible spheres outward into our visible sphere, and thus producing the imbodied entity.

The essence of this teaching of emanation is that all beings or entities on the higher planes of development are at one, and hence are virtually to be identified with the veils which they pour forth from themselves and which thus form their bodies. For instance, Brahman and pradhana are not two, but one, these words merely meaning the two aspects of the entity unfolding itself into emanational growth. The Brahman is the consciousness side; the pradhana is its enclosing veil of vital essence, really the stuff of mind, of spirit or of consciousness in which the monad enwraps itself. On the physical plane even our bodies are ourselves, very imperfect pictures of our inner being (and often an infernal nuisance to the higher parts of us), yet ourselves in our grossest aspects. But the heart of us, the monad, is our real Self; and all these bodies of ours, whether physical, astral or manasic — with which from eternity we are karmically connected — are groups of life-atoms to which we have given birth and in which we clothe ourselves.


We enter now upon the rather difficult subject of the nature of cosmic being in its state of mahapralaya preceding the awakening therein of the activities of fohat and the consequent beginning of the evolutionary development into a fully manifested cosmos or universe.

When reading the passages from The Secret Doctrine which follow, we should bear in mind that they refer to an individual universe, and never to Infinitude considered as being in a state of mahapralaya, for that would be a philosophical absurdity. Infinitude has neither manvantara nor pralaya, for the simple reason that periods of divine or spiritual rest and periods of manifested evolutionary activity are appurtenant solely to limited portions of Infinitude, and therefore to universes, whether immensely vast in extent, such as a group of galaxies, or whether smaller cosmic units. It is only with regard to individual cosmic units that we could predicate time periods such as manvantaras and pralayas.

Manvantaric impulse commences with the re-awakening of Cosmic Ideation (the "Universal Mind") concurrently with, and parallel to the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance — the latter being the manvantaric vehicle of the former — from its undifferentiated pralayic state. Then, absolute wisdom mirrors itself in its Ideation; which, by a transcendental process, superior to and incomprehensible by human Consciousness, results in Cosmic Energy (Fohat). Thrilling through the bosom of inert Substance, Fohat impels it to activity, and guides its primary differentiations on all the Seven planes of Cosmic Consciousness. . . .

Cosmic Ideation is said to be non-existent during the Pralayic periods, for the simple reason that there is no one, and nothing, to perceive its effects. — I, 328

Light is matter, and Darkness pure Spirit. — I, 70

The ray of the "Ever Darkness" becomes as it is emitted, a ray of effulgent light or life, and flashes into the "Germ" — the point in the Mundane Egg, represented by matter in its abstract sense. . . . the noumenon of eternal and indestructible matter. — I, 57

The Primordial Substance had not yet passed out of its precosmic latency into differentiated objectivity, or even become the (to man, so far,) invisible Protyle of Science. But, as the hour strikes and it becomes receptive of the Fohatic impress of the Divine Thought (the Logos, or the male aspect of the Anima Mundi, Alaya) — its heart opens. — I, 58

Svabhavat, the "Plastic Essence" that fills the Universe, is the root of all things. — I, 61

"The radiant essence curdled and spread throughout the depths" of Space. — I, 67


The "Light" is the same Omnipresent Spiritual Ray, which has entered and now fecundated the Divine Egg, and calls cosmic matter to begin its long series of differentiations. The curds are the first differentiation, and probably refer also to that cosmic matter which is supposed to be the origin of the "Milky Way" — the matter we know. This "matter," which, according to the revelation received from the primeval Dhyani-Buddhas, is, during the periodical sleep of the Universe, of the ultimate tenuity conceivable to the eye of the perfect Bodhisatva — this matter, radical and cool, becomes, at the first reawakening of cosmic motion, scattered through Space; appearing, when seen from the Earth, in clusters and lumps, like curds in thin milk. These are the seeds of the future worlds, the "Star-stuff." — I, 69


It is through Fohat that the ideas of the Universal Mind are impressed upon matter. — I, 85

In its [Fohat's] totality, viewed from the standpoint of manifested Divine Thought in the esoteric doctrine, it represents the Hosts of the higher creative Dhyan Chohans. . . . By the action of the manifested Wisdom, or Mahat, represented by these innumerable centres of spiritual Energy in the Kosmos, the reflection of the Universal Mind, which is Cosmic Ideation and the intellectual Force accompanying such ideation, becomes objectively the Fohat of the Buddhist esoteric philosopher. Fohat, running along the seven principles of AKASA, acts upon manifested substance or the One Element, as declared above, and by differentiating it into various centres of Energy, sets in motion the law of Cosmic Evolution, which, in obedience to the Ideation of the Universal Mind, brings into existence all the various states of being in the manifested Solar System. — I, 110

It is one of the fundamental dogmas of Esoteric Cosmogony, that during the Kalpas (or aeons) of life, MOTION, which, during the periods of Rest "pulsates and thrills through every slumbering atom" (Commentary on Dzyan), assumes an evergrowing tendency, from the first awakening of Kosmos to a new "Day," to circular movement. The "Deity becomes a WHIRLWIND." — I, 116-17

These extracts, and many similar ones, refer to the condition of a universe when it is resolved back into its highest and original cosmic elemental essence during the state of mahapralaya, all the worlds having vanished out of the lower cosmic planes of manifested life. The universe has been inrolled upwards and inwards to its highest spiritual plane, where in the state of paranirvana all the hosts of manifested beings, from the supergods through the intermediate ranges downwards to ordinary life-atoms, pass cosmic ages in the dreamless 'slumber' which is, nevertheless, intense spiritual and superintellectual activity characteristic of the highest planes of the cosmic essence.

Such paranirvanic bliss lasts for "Seven Eternities," which is the vast period of time-space equivalent in length to the preceding mahamanvantara. All manifestation has been swept out of existence. The inrolling of all the cosmic planes began first with the lowest plane, followed by the inrolling of the next higher one, the procedure thus continuing until finally the highest was reached, into which all the divine monads of the previous armies of evolving beings were ingathered, resting in paranirvanic consciousness untrammeled by any veiling garments of sentient lower existence. We may phrase the matter otherwise by saying that the auric egg of the universe or cosmos has been indrawn into the highest cosmic plane or element of the cosmic Egg, the Mahabrahmanda.

It may be well to call attention to one or two fundamental ideas of the archaic wisdom pertaining to the essential Being, rather than to the manvantaric existence, of a cosmic spirit. A cosmic spirit is for its own universe one and sole during mahapralaya, because during this period manifestation is not; or, as it is expressed in the Stanzas of Dzyan, the Mother sleeps in dreamless peace and in utter unconscious consciousness of manifestation for seven eternities. This is looking at the subject from the standpoint of our worlds of manifestation, all the hosts of the galactic world existing manifestedly in their bewildering ramifications and differentiated varieties.

In reality, all such differentiation is a kind of death — the underworld — for the cosmic spirits within the universe, which universe nevertheless works and lives in and through its own anima mundi; whereas pralaya or mahapralaya is the condition in which the spiritual-intellectual life of the universe is at its highest, even the anima mundi having disappeared because having been indrawn into the cosmic monad.

Following the same line of thought, in ancient Egypt the highest aspect of the god Osiris was spoken of as a dark god, a black god, actually meaning, however, light so pure and intense that our manifested light is like its shadow.

On this subject, in response to the question: "Are the 'Great Waters' the same as those on which the Darkness moved?", H.P.B. answered:

It is incorrect in this case, to speak of Darkness "moving." Absolute Darkness, or the Eternal Unknown, cannot be active, and moving is action. Even in Genesis it is stated that Darkness was upon the face of the deep, but that which moved upon the face of the waters, was the "Spirit of God." This means esoterically that in the beginning, when the Infinitude was without form, and Chaos, or the outer Space, was still void, Darkness (i.e., Kalahansa Parabrahm) alone was. Then, at the first radiation of Dawn, the "Spirit of God" (after the First and Second Logos were radiated, the Third Logos, or Narayan) began to move on the face of the Great Waters of the "Deep." Therefore the question to be correct, if not clear, should be, "Are the Great Waters the same as the Darkness spoken of?" The answer would then be in the affirmative. Kalahansa has a dual meaning. Exoterically it is Brahma who is the Swan, the "Great Bird," the vehicle in which Darkness manifests itself to human comprehension as light, and this Universe. But esoterically, it is Darkness itself, the unknowable Absolute which is the Source, firstly of the radiation called the First Logos, then of its reflection, the Dawn, or the Second Logos, and finally of Brahma, the manifested Light, or the Third Logos. — Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, pp. 90-1

Hebraeo-Christian theology and literature refer to cosmic emanational unfolding as the Elohim moving on the "face of the Waters" in the first verse of Genesis. 'Elohim actually is a plural noun meaning gods, although European scholars almost invariably translate it by the word God — a highly misleading translation as it succeeds in disguising, however unintentionally, the truth that the Elohim are the hierarchy of formative or demiurgic cosmic spirits extending from the highest cosmic plane down to the lowest Elohim of the physical plane. This Hebrew term corresponds to what in esoteric Buddhism is called the hierarchies of the dhyani-chohans.

With regard to manifested light, if there be no things to reflect that light, no illumination could exist. We see the planets in the heavens because they intercept light, but we do not see the light itself as it flashes from the sun through space. There must be differentiation, i.e. objects, to bring about visible light. Therefore, light as we know it is vastly inferior to that utter glory of the spirit divine, totally indescribable and invisible to human beings. Light is in fact the efflux of a spiritual entity; one of the aspects of the vitality of a god — its psychovital fluid.

So we see that manvantara is a kind of death to the cosmic monad expressing itself through its beclouding veils of the anima mundi. It is a kind of deprivation, a sinking into the maya of cosmic dreams; whereas pralaya is really the spirit of the universe fully awake on its own plane, because all is ingathered into it, and it is freely active in its own ineffably spiritual realms.

When evolution or manvantara commences, and the last moment of the cosmic pralaya is ended, the exactly reverse procedure takes place. There now awakens in the divine heart of the sleeping universe a purely abstract yearning to begin manifestation — a fact which is repeated analogically in the case of man. This desire for manifestation — expressed in Greek philosophy by Eros and in the Vedas as "Desire first arose in IT" — shows itself in the highest cosmic plane as the awakening of the divine part of fohat guided by the divine mind of the 'sleeping' universe. When we speak of fohatic awakening, this is really but another way of saying that the supremely high classes of dhyani-chohans begin to stir out of their ages-long paranirvana, thus bringing about the evolutionary unfolding of the cosmic elements as they proceed steadily downwards through the cosmic planes until finally the complete structural framework of the fully evolved universe appears once more.

In esoteric Buddhism, the nature of the cosmic stuff or essence sunken in paranirvanic rest during its mahapralaya is called swabhavat, a Sanskrit compound which means not only self-essence but self-evolving; and this is cosmic stuff of a divine-spiritual character, out of which the universe is evolved. Swabhavat, therefore, is essentially abstract cosmic substance, but of a distinctly vital and spiritual-intellectual nature; and whether we call it the cosmic mother or womb, or the cosmic divine essence of nature, matters not at all, for these phrases are but different manners of attempting to describe what the spiritual essence of nature is during mahapralaya.

We thus see that the urge awakening the sleeping universe to its new mahamanvantara is guided by the divine thought of the universe, expressing itself through its divine, spiritual and intellectual as well as its essential magnetic energies, which energies collectively are called fohat.

When this divine thought begins to awaken into activity, it emanates rays of divine-spiritual intelligence which are sevenfold, or even twelvefold, and these are the cosmic logoi. These cosmic logoi, or what H.P.B. has once named the "Cosmic Sons of Light," are the primordial or highest dhyani-chohans from whom stream, as the evolutionary unfolding of the cosmic planes proceeds, their own children-rays or minor logoi — all these minor hierarchies of dhyani-chohans being the light side of the universe, otherwise called the Hierarchy of Light.

Finally, the divine thought is called in Hindu philosophical writings mahat, the universal mind, corresponding in man's constitution to manas, a ray from mahat. Higher even than mahat, we must envisage the still more sublime essences whose rays in man we call buddhi and atman, and in the universe mahabuddhi or cosmic buddhi, and Paramatman or Brahman, respectively.


There is, perhaps, no single point of the esoteric philosophy about which cluster so many vague ideas as around the teaching concerning the logoi. The word logos, commonly used in ancient Greek mystical thought, was adopted by the early Christians, as for instance by John of the Fourth Gospel, and used with their own understanding of its meaning. Logos originally meant reason, and finally also came to mean word. Certain schools of Greek philosophy transferred it as a figure of speech to cosmic processes: in the beginning there was divine reason, divine thought, which in order to communicate life and intelligence within itself needed a vehicle, a 'word,' to pass itself on. And the word was produced by the functioning of divine reason, just as human speech is produced by the functioning of human reason or thought.

Now then, each hierarchy, each plane in other words, has its own three Logoi: the unmanifest, the partially manifest, and the manifest, or the First, Second, and Third Logos — although, because the entire universe is constructed of and in hierarchies which repeat each other on the different planes, an almost incalculable number of minor logoi exist in any universe as rays therefrom.

Considered as a triadic unity, the conception of the three primordial Logoi gave to the Christians their Holy Trinity, even if in somewhat distorted form; and the same concept gave to other religious and philosophical systems of antiquity the three individuals of their respective triads. Thus the First Logos, called by H.P.B. the Unmanifest Logos, is equivalent to the Pythagorean cosmic monad, the Monas monadum, which remains forever in what is to us silence and darkness — although it is the most utter and perfect light of the world. In the archaic Hindu Trimurti it is represented by Brahman; and in the Christian scheme by the Father.

This First or Unmanifest Logos is the Primordial Point or Ancient of Days of the Qabbalah; and from one aspect, as when we are considering the very first stage in the opening drama of evolution, it is the primeval seed out of which all the hierarchy — imbodying all subsequent hierarchies — of the universe flows forth into manifestation. Such emanational evolution takes place through the First Logos clothing itself with a veil of spiritual light, which is at one and the same time cosmic intelligence and cosmic life, becoming the Second or manifest-unmanifest Logos, and to which different schools of philosophy gave different names.

In the ancient Pythagorean mystical system this Second Logos was the cosmic Duad, conceived of as a feminine power or veil of the First Logos or Monad of monads, while in Greek mythology it was spoken of as Gaia, the consort or veil of Ouranos or heaven, the First Logos. Similarly, certain mystical schools of the Orient spoke of the Second Logos as Pradhana, the veil of Brahman or the First Logos; or again, as in esoteric Buddhism, as Alaya or mahabuddhi, which is the summit or root of cosmic akasa. The original Christian conception of the Trinity, as still held in the Orthodox or Greek Church, looked upon this Second Logos as a feminine power which is the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (cf. H.P.B.'s article "Notes on the Gospel according to St. John," Lucifer, February and March, 1893).

This Second Logos, the cosmic womb of Space, being as it were the generative and productive field of lives, or seeds of life, brought forth the Third Logos. It was conceived of as the Son, as in the original Greek Christian scheme, the Third Person of the Trinity born of the Holy Spirit. In the ancient Brahmanical system it was Siva born from the essence of Vishnu. Another name given in early Hinduism to this Third Logos was Brahma, the Creator, the reproduction of Brahman, the First Logos, by and through the intermediary feminine power Pradhana or the Second Logos.

With the cosmic appearance of the Third Logos, the evolutional unfolding of the universe has reached its third stage, and then and there begins the emanation of the innumerable minor hierarchies which, in their aggregate, compose the complex mystery of the manifold cosmos in all its interwoven activities and substances.

Many and various were the names given to the Third Logos by the philosophical and religious systems of antiquity. The Greeks gave this Third or formative Logos the title Demiourgos, a word mystically signifying the supreme cosmic Architect of the universe. This same idea always has been held by the Christians as well as by modern speculative Freemasonry, as indicated by their title The Grand Architect of the Universe. In Hinduism another aspect of the Third Logos was called Narayana or Purusha, supposed to be involved in its accompanying cosmic veil, prakriti. Narayana means the cosmic man moving in and on the waters of Space (the cosmic waters of Genesis), and these cosmic waters, by the way, are but another name for the Second Logos, otherwise the vast womb of cosmic entities.(1)

In connection with the Logoi the following question and answer from the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (p. 113) may be of value:

Q. What is the difference between Spirit, Voice and Word?

A. The same as between Atma, Buddhi and Manas, in one sense. Spirit emanates from the unknown Darkness, the mystery into which none of us can penetrate. That Spirit — call it the "Spirit of God" or Primordial Substance — mirrors itself in the Waters of Space — or the still undifferentiated matter of the future Universe — and produces thereby the first flutter of differentiation in the homogeneity of primordial matter. This is the Voice, pioneer of the "Word" or the first manifestation; and from that Voice emanates the Word or Logos, that is to say, the definite and objective expression of that which has hitherto remained in the depths of the Concealed Thought. That which mirrors itself in Space is the Third Logos.

There is an interesting series of ideas here relating to the Second Logos, the Voice, which in the Sanskrit is generally termed either Vach or Swara. Both these words meaning Sound, or Breath in another sense, are used mystically for Voice — and occasionally for Word — and are invested with a feminine attribute because being the carrier or mother of the Third Logos.

To recapitulate: we have the cosmic ideation or cosmic Father, i.e. the cosmic thought, the First Logos. This surrounds itself with and reproduces itself in the Second Logos, which is the cosmic Mother, carrying within itself the essence of the First Logos or divine thought and reproducing it as the Third Logos, the cosmic Son or Word. Thus we have: Idea — First; Sound — Second; Word — Third, which last is the manifested or creative Logos of the universe. Therefore Vach or Swara is the mystic Sound of the divine creative activity, the vehicle of the divine thought, of which the Word or Verbum is the manifested expression.

In applying Vach or Swara to a human being, we find that either term corresponds in man's constitution to the buddhi born of the atman, and reproducing the atmic individuality from its buddhic womb as the manas. The same thought is found among several peoples, for example, among the Qabbalists, ancient and modern, who speak of Bath Qol, the daughter of the Voice. Now this Bath Qol was said to be the divine inspiration guiding some highly evolved human individual, whether it be prophet or seer; and signifies the manas of the man enlightened by the buddhi within him, the buddhic transmitting ray being Bath Qol.

Turning again to the cosmic scale, we find ancient mystical Hebrew thought also referring to the divine Voice or Sound as being logoic in character, as instanced in Job, xxxviii, 4-7:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

There is a distinct reference here to a very archaic thought that the world in all its cosmic planes was brought into being by sound, by singing, an idea likewise found among the ancient Druids and Germanic peoples. Here in Job, we see that the stars at the beginning of the manvantara, called the morning, sang together, at which time the sons of God, who were the divinities of the highest cosmic plane, shouted or sang the worlds into being.

As H.P.B. has written:

It is said that "Marcus had it revealed unto him that 'the seven heavens'. . . sounded each one vowel, which, all combined together, formed a complete doxology"; in clearer words: "the Sound whereof being carried down (from these seven heavens) to earth, became the creator and parent of all things that be on earth." (See "Hippolytus," vi., 48, and King's Gnostics, p. 200.) Translated from the Occult phraseology into still plainer language this would read: "The Sevenfold Logos having differentiated into seven Logoi, or creative potencies (vowels) these (the second logos, or "Sound") created all on Earth. — The Secret Doctrine, II, 563

It is noteworthy that Swara in Sanskrit, in one of its significances, also means seven. This reveals an esoteric thought which the earliest Hindu writers attached to the term: that the cosmic Swara evolves itself forth into a series of seven sounds, each corresponding directly to one of the seven cosmic planes, thus giving each plane its own keynote or swabhava. As for Vach, this is often described as being satarupa, hundred-formed; and if we view the evolved universe as having ten cosmic planes, and each plane as being tenfold, we then have one hundred individual keynotes. Such a denary construction of the universe takes for granted the supreme cosmic plane of the unit by which it is linked with the Infinite, as well as the very lowest cosmic plane, which is the physical universe — the mere shell or carrier of all the others — thus making up the twelvefold universe mentioned by many ancient philosophers, including Plato.

If we apply the above to a solar chain (or a planetary chain of twelve globes), we see that every such chain is a manifestation of a logoic hierarch, which is its supreme logos. Each of the twelve globes of the solar chain is the product, and in a sense the dwelling, of one of the twelve rays from the solar logos or solar hierarch. The analogy with the constitution of man is perfect: our atman is our supreme hierarch, and the different foci, in each of which dwells a monad, are the centers of the rays emanating from the atman.

Taking again our sun as an instance in point, each one of the twelve rays emanating from this solar logos is in itself a minor logos, which in turn, being duodenary, is the solar ray guiding and watching over one of the sacred planetary chains. Every globe of such planetary chain is likewise the especial dwelling of one of the twelve minor rays in each such minor logos.

The Latin poet Martianus Capella spoke of the sun "whose sacred head is encircled with twice six rays." These rays represent the twice six powers or globes of the solar chain. There are, of course, as in the case of all the planetary chains, actually ten globes and two 'polar links.' Now these twelve powers of the sun are the twelve forces of the solar logos — the manifest solar divinity — and naturally they must have their own spheres of action as well as the appropriate substances through which to work. As a matter of fact, they are themselves their own homes. Even as a snail builds its own shell, they build their own dwelling places with a portion of themselves, remaining, notwithstanding, apart; as the spirit and the soul of a man remain apart from his body, in it yet above it, and in a true sense not of it. These twelve forces represent and are, in fact, the twelve planes of the solar system.

One of the mystic names of the sun in ancient Hindu literature is dwadasatman, literally twelve-selved. Surya, the sun, is therefore stated to be both twelvefold and sevenfold. These twelve (or seven) selves can be looked upon either as individual logoi or, collected as a unity, as the solar logos or hierarch — very much as a ray of sunlight is composed of the seven colors of the spectrum — and are sometimes called adityas, meaning born of Aditi, or Space; each such aditya or minor solar logos being the ruling spiritual genius of its planetary chain, and therefore its hierarchical chief.

In The Secret Doctrine (II, 29) we find:

"As it is above so it is below" is the fundamental axiom of occult philosophy. As the logos is seven-fold, i.e., throughout Kosmos it appears as seven logoi under seven different forms, or, as taught by learned Brahmins, "each of these is the central figure of one of the seven main branches of the ancient wisdom religion"; and, as the seven principles which correspond to the seven distinct states of Pragna, or consciousness, are allied to seven states of matter and the seven forms of force, the division must be the same in all that concerns the earth.

In conclusion, then, remember that the First Logos is the cosmic consciousness, the summit or Brahman of any hierarchy, and these Brahmans are numberless in boundless Space. Every solar system is one such Brahman on the solar system scale; every galaxy represents or is one on the galactic scale; this is also the case with every planetary chain. Every human being has his own individual Brahman, the highest point of his being, his First Logos.

We are all children of the First Logos, life of its life, consciousness of its consciousness. The more we ascend into the higher parts of our being, the more we become self-conscious of our identity with it. Yet all these cosmic Brahmans, cosmic consciousnesses, 'First Logoses,' are offspring of the Boundless, "sparks of Eternity," coming and going throughout endless Duration. This is why Parabrahman is spoken of as being both conscious and unconscious, manifesting and unmanifesting, spirit and matter, because it is both and neither. It is both, because the Boundless gives birth to these points of its being throughout Infinitude and then receives them back — just as the spirit within us is that root which produces us, yet we are not it. We are but its feeble ray, which one day will be withdrawn into the Brahman within us, our First Logos. And therein the manifested being will lie latent for a time, but to reappear.

Thus are worlds born out of the depths of the Boundless and re-enter it, just as men are born from the Brahman within them, from their auric egg, and re-enter therein. When the solar system shall have come to its end, all beings whatsoever within it will be withdrawn into the Boundless for a still higher rest, to reissue forth again as logoic rays when a new cosmic drama of life begins.


In The Secret Doctrine (I, 16) H.P.B. gives in masterly fashion the essential character of fohat:

It is the "bridge" by which the "Ideas" existing in the "Divine Thought" are impressed on Cosmic substance as the "laws of Nature." Fohat is thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation; or, regarded from the other side, it is the intelligent medium, the guiding power of all manifestation, the "Thought Divine" transmitted and made manifest through the Dhyan Chohans, the Architects of the visible World. Thus from Spirit, or Cosmic Ideation, comes our consciousness; from Cosmic Substance the several vehicles in which that consciousness is individualised and attains to self — or reflective — consciousness; while Fohat, in its various manifestations, is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life.

Fohat is a Tibetan as well as a Mongolian philosophical term, possessing the general meaning of cosmic life or vitality, ever guided by cosmic mind or intelligence. The verbal root foh is of Mongolian origin, and corresponds to the word buddha or even buddhi, or again to bodhi-wisdom. Fohat performs its manifold wonders in weaving the web of universal being, because working through or directing it is the maha-buddhi. This cosmic vitality represents in the universe what the pranas are in our bodies.

The reason the Mongolians spoke of the cosmic vitality in connection with thoughts properly ascribable to the terms buddhi, bodhi, etc., is that they refused to see in the symmetrical and harmonic structure of the universe that purely imaginary play of blind and soulless forces on dead matter which has been the bane of Occidental scientific thinking. To these early Orientals the universe was an expression of cosmic wisdom.

As a matter of fact, fohat, being the cosmic life in the sense of the vital flow or ethereal-vital fluids in a universe, is divisible into seven or ten principles or elements, each one a vitality with its own swabhava, and their unity forming the generalized fohat of which H.P.B. wrote:

"Each world has its Fohat, who is omnipresent in his own sphere of action. But there are as many Fohats as there are worlds, each varying in power and degree of manifestations. The individual Fohats make one Universal, Collective Fohat — the aspect-Entity of the one absolute Non-Entity, which is absolute Be-Ness, 'SAT.' "Millions and billions of worlds are produced at every Manvantara" — it is said. Therefore there must be many Fohats, whom we consider as conscious and intelligent Forces. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 143; see also I, 111-12

Primordial fohat, originating in the First Logos, is septenary or denary because the First Logos itself is seven- or tenfold. Hence fohat exists as a septenary or denary on every one of the planes of the universe. When the Second Logos unfolds itself from within the First Logos, fohat likewise follows each step of such emanation, thus reproducing itself as the cosmic vitality in seven or ten forms in the Second Logos. In exactly similar way does fohat reproduce itself in the Third Logos.

Now fohat is in the cosmos what the seven or ten pranas are in man; and as man's constitution has its pranas on every layer of his auric egg, so are the pranas of the cosmos the different aspects of fohat on the different planes. Just as in man the pranas are the vehicles for thought, feeling, emotion, and instinct, so on the cosmic planes fohat acts as the vehicle of cosmic ideation. Fohat is the steed, cosmic thought is the rider.

Fohat manifests in various forms, and electricity as we know it is one of its lowest manifestations. What vitality is in the human frame, electricity is in the framework of the material universe. They are manifestations of the same fundamental force. Mystically, cosmic electricity is the corporeal vitality of the entity in which we live and move and have our being. It is not a force by itself. There is no such thing in the universe as a force by itself, existing apart from other forces. It is a phase, a manifestation, of the fundamental of all things, which is consciousness. Gravitation actually is one of the manifestations of cosmic electricity and, equivalently, electricity is one of the manifestations of cosmic gravitation. Quoting again from The Secret Doctrine (I, 145):

. . . Fohat, the constructive Force of Cosmic Electricity. . . has seven sons who are his brothers; . . . [these] represent and personify the seven forms of Cosmic magnetism called in practical Occultism the "Seven Radicals," whose co-operative and active progeny are, among other energies, Electricity, Magnetism, Sound, Light, Heat, Cohesion, etc.

Furthermore, just as vitality in a human body appears as cosmic-atomic electricity or the fohatic manifestation in the structure of every one of the atoms which compose our body, so the vitality of the grand entity in which we have our being is the cosmic electricity. Lightning is electricity or the cosmic vitality manifesting at a certain spot and under certain conditions. It re-establishes the local electrical equilibrium. Similarly, when a balance of vitality is maintained in the human body, this means health; and when the equilibrium is disturbed, this means disease.

When things are not in equilibrium, electrically speaking, we have the very hot or the very cold days, the stormy days or the abnormally calm days. There is a constant change of direction in the movements and operations of this cosmic electricity. Lightning is one short segment of a circulation of the cosmos, and is very closely involved with certain vital currents between the sun and the earth and man and the earth, which pass through, and to and from, the earth and the meteoric veil which surrounds it. Magnetism is the alter ego of electricity, each a 'brother-son' of fohat. Fundamentally what we call gravitation, electricity and magnetism are all the same thing: three manifestations of fohat or the cosmic vitality as it appears in our physical section of the universe. This universe is not divided into grades separate from each other but is an organic whole, containing grades or stages passing into each other, from the invisible to the visible and passing still lower downwards into the invisible again. There are no radical divisions really except in a schematic sense.

Human beings have more to do with lightning than man has any conception of. If there were no animate entities on earth at all, electricity, manifesting in that particular way which we call lightning, would be an exceedingly rare phenomenon; but every point in space contains animate entities both visible and invisible to us.

In her Theosophical Glossary, H.P.B. has defined fohat as "the essence of cosmic electricity. An occult Tibetan term for Daiviprakriti, primordial light"; and in describing daiviprakriti, she gives it as "primordial, homogeneous light, . . . when differentiated this light becomes FOHAT."

There is a subtle distinction hinted at here. Daiviprakriti, meaning literally shining or divine prakriti or substance, is the original luminous force-substance, which Subba Row, an early theosophist and Brahmanical scholar, called the "light of the Logos"; fohat is the same light in a more developed state of manifestation. Thus, while in one sense the two are really the same, if we call ordinary electricity in its cosmic aspect daiviprakriti, then fohat, in this application, would be the more developed manifestations of cosmic electricity, such as lightning, the current that lights our houses, and the force of cohesion which holds the atoms together. Above everything else, daiviprakriti-fohat is active cosmic consciousness; daiviprakriti being the higher or spiritual or negative aspect, and fohat being the lower or active or positive aspect.

Each one of the three Logoi and its corresponding fohat is alive, is Life itself. Because the three Logoi are cosmic living beings, and because all the universe flows forth from them by a serial unfolding of hierarchies in their different emanations, the universe and all in it, including its physical body, is alive; so that from nebula and sun to electron and man, every entity in such universe is a living being, built of Life which is both substance and cosmic mind. Or, as H.P.B. graphically said: "The rays of the Logos vibrate in every atom."


During the two or three centuries following the downfall of the esoteric system in Europe and its appurtenant Mystery schools — a downfall which had its incipient stages around the beginning of the Christian era — there came into existence quite a number of mystical and quasi-occult schools of thought, some of them containing no small portion of the then fading light of esoteric wisdom, others only feeble rays.

Among these schools thus rising into a temporary vogue were the different groups of the Gnostics, most of them commonly miscalled by Christian historical writers "heretical Christian sects," although, as a matter of fact, they were far less Christian than they were declining rays from the original centers of esoteric teaching in the Mediterranean world. Yet it is true that some of these Gnostic groups, for one reason or another and mainly through expediency, had certain avenues of rapprochement with the different Christian sects, probably in order that they might be allowed to live more or less in peace and to continue in relative safety their private studies.

The whole truth about these Gnostic sects has never yet been written. The Gnostic School of Simon was one of the most faithful in teaching some of the fundamental doctrines of the esoteric philosophy. Other Gnostic groups preserving elements of the archaic wisdom were those founded by Menander, Valentinus, Basilides, etc. Simon, because he taught in an age which, while avid and hungry for all kinds of occult and quasi-occult knowledge, was yet extremely critical and theologically unfriendly, obviously had to phrase his teaching in forms of speech that would not offend the dominant Christian power. Consequently, he abandoned very largely the sacred and ages-old phrases of teaching, and used manners of speech and illustrations which were often quite exoteric, and in certain cases were actually invented by him in order to conceal from the enemies of his school just what he really meant in his doctrines — the inner meaning of which was nevertheless perfectly comprehensible to his instructed followers.

The following somewhat lengthy extracts from H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions give the Gnostic system of Aeons as taught by Simon:

Simon, as all the other Gnostics, taught that our world was created by the lower angels, whom he called Aeons. He mentions only three degrees of such, because it was and is useless, as explained in the Secret Doctrine, to teach anything about the four higher ones, and he therefore begins at the plane of globes A and G. His system is as near to occult truth as any, so that we may examine it, as well as his own and Menander's claims about "magic," to find out what they meant by the term. Now, for Simon, the summit of all manifested creation was Fire. It is, with him as with us, the Universal Principle, the Infinite Potency born from the concealed Potentiality. This Fire was the primeval cause of the manifested world of being, and was dual, having a manifested and a concealed or secret side. "The secret side of the Fire is concealed in its evident (or objective) side," (Philosophumena, vi, 9) he writes, which amounts to saying that the visible is ever present in the invisible, and the invisible in the visible. This was but a new form of stating Plato's idea of the Intelligible (Noeton) and Sensible (Aistheton), and Aristotle's teaching on the potency (Dunamis) and the act (Energeia). For Simon, all that can be thought of, all that can be acted upon, was perfect intelligence. Fire contained all. And thus all the parts of that Fire, being endowed with intelligence and reason, are susceptible of development by extension and emanation. This is our teaching of the Manifested Logos, and these parts in their primordial emanation are our Dhyan Chohans, the "Sons of Flame and Fire," or higher Aeons. This "Fire" is the symbol of the active and living side of divine nature. Behind it lay "infinite Potentiality in Potentiality," which Simon named "that which has stood, stands and will stand," or permanent stability and personified Immutability.

From the Potency of Thought, Divine Ideation thus passed to Action. Hence the series of primordial emanations through Thought begetting the Act, the objective side of Fire being the Mother, the secret side of it being the Father. Simon called these emanations Syzygies (a united pair, or couple), for they emanated two-by-two, one as an active and the other as a passive Aeon. Three couples thus emanated (or six in all, the Fire being the seventh), to which Simon gave the following names: "Mind and Thought, Voice and Name, Reason and Reflection," the first in each pair being male, the last female. From these primordial six emanated the six Aeons of the Middle World. . . .

Thus we find in the system of Simon Magus that the first six Aeons, synthesized by the seventh, the Parent Potency, passed into Act, and emanated, in their turn, six secondary Aeons, which were such synthesized by their respective Parent. In the Philosophumena we read that Simon compared the Aeons to the "Tree of Life." "'It is written,' said Simon in the Revelation,* 'that there are two ramifications of the universal Aeons, having neither beginning nor end, issued both from the same root, the invisible and incomprehensible Potentiality, Sige (Silence). One of these [series of Aeons] appears from above. This is the Great Potency, Universal Mind [or Divine Ideation, the Mahat of the Hindus]; it orders all things and is male. The other is from below, for it is the Great [manifested] Thought, the female Aeon, generating all things. These [two kinds of Aeons] corresponding** with each other, have conjunction and manifest the middle distance [the intermediate sphere, or plane], the incomprehensible Air which has neither beginning nor end.'" (Philosophumena, vi, 18) This female "Air" is our Ether, or the Kabalistic Astral Light. It is, then, the Second World of Simon, born of FIRE, the principle of everything. We call it the ONE LIFE, the Intelligent, Divine Flame, omnipresent and infinite. . . .

[*"The Great Revelation" (He Megale Apophasis), of which Simon himself is supposed to have been the author. — H.P.B.]

[**Literally standing opposite each other in rows or pairs. — H.P.B.]

Simon's Third World with its third series of six Aeons and the seventh, the Parent, is emanated in the same way. It is this same note which runs through every Gnostic system — gradual development downward into matter by similitude; and it is a law which is to be traced down to primordial Occultism, or Magic. With the Gnostics, as with us this seventh Potency, synthesizing all, is the Spirit brooding over the dark waters of undifferentiated Space, Narayana, or Vishnu, in India; the Holy Ghost in Christianity. But while in the latter the conception is conditioned and dwarfed by limitations necessitating faith and grace, Eastern Philosophy shows it pervading every atom, conscious or unconscious. . . .

It thus follows that every rational being — called Man on Earth — is of the same essence and possesses potentially all the attributes of the higher Aeons, the primordial seven. It is for him to develop, "with the image before him of the highest," by imitation in actu, the Potency with which the highest of his Parents, or Fathers, is endowed. — II

When H.P.B. refers to Simon's system of Aeons as starting "at the plane of globes A and G," the reader should remember that there are not just seven, but actually twelve different evolutionary stages of growth in the life history of an imbodiment of a planetary chain from its beginning to its end. She has passed over in relative silence the first five preliminary stages, and takes up the chain really at its sixth stage, which she calls the 'first.' The following diagram may make the matter somewhat clearer:

Primordial Stages (2):

Elementary Evolution:

The Seven Manifested Globes

From this it is seen that preceding the evolution of the elemental kingdoms, which are the first to aid in building a globe on a plane, there are the aetheric and etheric stages, which really are the earliest cometary stage in its two chief divisions of development. Once these two primordial stages of preparation and quasi-materialization are ended, then the three main classes of elementals, which have been preparing themselves and have been separated and drawn into their three respective classes, begin their work of laying the foundations of a globe-to-be.

Again, when the three classes of elementals have built the outline of the globe-to-be, each class following when the preceding one has finished its work, the true globe commences its existence in what is here called the first round; because, by the time the three elemental kingdoms have completed their task, the different families of monads have become more or less segregated into their respective groups, and hence are ready to begin their rounds as life-waves.

From this time forwards, the seven rounds start and continue through serial progressions around all the globes of the chain; for it is to be noted that while the above description deals mainly with globe D, all the other globes have been likewise evolving or coming into manifestation part, pari passu with it. A round begins in the highest of the twelve globes and proceeds regularly from globe to globe around the chain. This is but another way of stating that every globe unfolds from itself its surplus of life, or lives.

First of all we have the aetheric awakening into life of a laya-center, which, starting to move in its wanderings through space, gradually accretes to itself aetheric and etheric matter and thus slowly enters upon its second stage, the etheric; and when this stage is ended, the laya-center which is now manifesting as an ethereal comet, has just about become a member of the solar system to which its karmic destiny has inevitably drawn it back to imbodiment as a planetary chain-to-be. Once the comet is settled in its orbit around the sun as a highly ethereal globe in the first, or first and second states, of the matter of the physical cosmic plane, the three kingdoms of the elementals in serial order begin their characteristic activities, (3) and so gradually build a luminous and glowing or 'cloudy' body of very slight physical density, and of a type which probably our astronomers would describe as ethereally fiery. (The word fiery is used to suggest the glowing or luciform nature of fire in its first stages rather than the physical fire producing heat, as we have it on earth; electric substance might perhaps convey the idea somewhat better.) When this stage has been finished then the 'first round' starts, and it is with this round that H.P.B. begins her marvelous exposition.

The process of solidification or of materialization of the globes proceeds steadily until the middle of the fourth round, after which a re-etherealizing of the globe takes place, concomitant with and followed by the spiritualizing on the upward or luminous arc of the various families of monads which have been following or making these rounds up to the present point.


1. Still another term in archaic Hinduism given to the Third Logos was hiranyagarbha — hiranya meaning golden, with the inherent sense of celestial or primordial or most beautiful; and garbha being a term which can be translated according to the context as womb or embryo or vital cosmic seed, this embryo existing in the womb of the Second Logos, and indeed itself sometimes called a womb because being the fecund source of all the seeds of the hierarchies which emanationally flow from it. (return to text)

2. Certain lower dhyani-chohans blend their fluid or vital essence with the elementals of the higher four kingdoms of elementals and likewise with the life-atoms of the corresponding planes, thus providing the architectural ideation and guiding forces and energies upon which the lower three elemental kingdoms build in their turn. Cf. The Secret Doctrine, II, 233, footnote. (return to text)

3. Cf. The Secret Doctrine, I, 205-6, footnote:

"The seven fundamental transformations of the globes or heavenly spheres, or rather of their constituent particles of matter, is described as follows: (1) The homogeneous; (2) the aeriform and radiant (gaseous); (3) Curd-like (nebulous); (4) Atomic, Ethereal (beginning of motion, hence of differentiation); (5) Germinal, fiery, (differentiated, but composed of the germs only of the Elements, in their earliest states, they having seven states, when completely developed on our earth); (6) Four-fold, vapoury (the future Earth); (7) Cold and depending (on the Sun for life and light)." (return to text)

Theosophical University Press Online Edition