The urge behind evolution is not external to, but lies in germ or seed within, the evolving entity itself; both the urge and the seed arising out of one thing, and this is its swabhava (1), the selfhood or essential characteristic of the Self.
The doctrine of swabhava has two basic aspects: first, the coming into being or existence through an entity's own innate powers of growth; and second, as a conception derivative from this, the inherent quality or character of an entity, so that whatever it is or does during the processes of its continuous expansional growth is along the lines of the forces and substances pouring forth from within its own heart, and all marked by the characteristic attributes of this fontal source.
In the case of man, his entire constitutional character is the compound swabhava formed of the individual swabhavas of his various monads. Each of these monads has its own character or type of individuality, and throughout the mahamanvantara is unceasingly active in both an energic and a passive sense, pouring forth its own life essences from within. Since these different monads are in constant activity, which means in constant change, not only does the swabhava of each individual monad undergo modification through evolution, but these modifications of necessity contribute to bring about equivalent changes in the complex general swabhava of the human constitution. Hence, no swabhava is eternally the same, never for even a fleeting instant utterly static; it is forever in course of modification or evolutionary change through timeless time.
As every swabhava has its original source in the core of its constantly evolving monad, so every individual monad has its own swabhavic spiritual magnetism, its individuality. Similarly so with every life-atom in the entire range of the universe. Furthermore, every group of individuals is collected together in a spiritual-magnetic swabhava of its own; thus it is with man's physical body, or indeed his whole constitution, a nation or race, or even a group of stars such as the constellations of the zodiac. Variety is the law of the universe, because it springs from the indwelling entity resident at the core of every living being, a ray of the everlasting monad in each.
A planet, for instance, is not only an entity by itself with a swabhava or character different from that of other planets, but its inhabitants likewise partake to a certain extent of its individuality, as well as having a swabhava of their own. Nature's fundamental laws, being universal, obviously must act throughout the universe; whereas nature's derivative laws, being largely the product of the indwelling spiritual entities of the cosmos which are the monads, vary according to time and place. We are, all of us, built of the same cosmic substances which exist everywhere. Our individualities are our respective swabhavas, tones, numbers — call them what you like.
Hence every monad is a consciousness center with a definite swabhava of its own, always in activity; and this activity, being spiritual-divine, is expressed on the lower planes by rays. Every monad thus irradiates forth from itself a continuous stream of energies of varying swabhavic stamp, divine, spiritual, intellectual, psychic, etc. These rays penetrate the matter below them and surrounding them, and in this way produce the various phenomena in the beings in which they work. If these beings or vehicles are highly evolved and ready, so that they can manifest at once the powers of the monadic energy working within them, they do so, and the result is sublime. If, however, the vehicles are so low in the evolutionary scale that they can put forth but slightly some of the monadic qualities, then such slight manifestation is all that appears.
Of the multitude of rays that the monad is continuously sending forth, there is always one which is the highest. Every human being is an example. Around his core, which is this higher ray from his monad, are built the various vehicles or principles: the spiritual, the mental, the astral, the physical. Each one of these bodies is compounded of life-atoms, innumerable hosts of them, yet all having their own individual character, their swabhava. Each such life-atom itself is a growing thing, and is a ray from the parent monad of the human being.
As the monadic essence or supreme hierarch of any spacial unit, whether a planetary chain, solar system or galaxy, emanates rays, every human being is 'born under' one or another of these rays. This statement as thus simply put is correct; but unfortunately there has been a good deal of mere guesswork and even foolish nonsense written about these rays, and how they affect and guide mankind, and how such or another individual 'belongs' to this or that ray.
It is of course true that every human being is a child of his own spiritual ray or parent star, but, as H.P.B. points out (cf. The Secret Doctrine, I, 572-3), this star must not be confused with the merely astrological sun or star which marks the birth chart of a man. The spiritual ray here referred to is his highest and therefore first spiritual originant, whether it be the sun of our own solar system or one of the scores of billions of stars forming our glittering galaxy.
This does not mean that we are the only child of our parent star, as each such star has innumerable rays or children. It is something to think about, that the destiny of that star and our destiny are intimately related by swabhavic or fohatic magnetism — and this will last as long as our present galaxy endures and, for all I know, even beyond that.
The matter of similarity and likeness among human beings does not mean that they come from the same monadic essence of any individual, but that they belong to identic planetary rays — in other words, that they are family rays from a grander monadic essence, a planetary monad. Human beings resemble each other. They are not as different from each other as they are different from beings occupying a state equivalent to humanity on the planet Venus, or on Mars or some other planet. But among ourselves, there are those who resemble each other still more closely than merely in similar traits; and these belong to the rays from the same planetary monad. A human 'Martian' does not have the same close similarity to a human 'Jovian' as he does to some other human being of the 'Martian' type, and so forth.
I would that I could write at greater length upon this matter of the rays if only in order to point out the mistaken conclusions of the many astralistic and psychistic authors who have written such flapdoodle about them; but it would take a volume to untangle all the errors.
Man as well as the universe is composite of distinct principles or elements, or tattwas, every one of which is itself divided into subprinciples, each having its own distinct swabhava. Now if each principle contains all the swabhavic energies of the others, why is it that we speak of one being superior or more spiritual than another? Why is not the sthula-sarira, the physical body, as lofty as the atman?
In essence every one of the principles, cosmic or human, is as spiritual as any other; what makes one superior to another is not the essential substance out of which these elements or principles are composed, but the swabhava which each manifests as its dominant note. The dominant characteristic of the atman is spiritual selfhood; of the kama, conscious fiery force or energy; of the manas, individualized intelligence or mind, etc.; yet each one has all the other six principles latent within itself.
Thus if a man, whose swabhavic character is kama, lives in the atman part of it, he is living on a far higher plane than a man whose essential swabhava is atman, and yet lives in the lower portions thereof. Likewise, one who lives in the buddhi or higher manas of the kama principle is really a nobler man than one who lives in the manas element of his constitution, but who at the same time is in the kama part of his manas.
It is the principle in which we live that places us on the ladder of life. If we live in the atman, the essential self, the divine part of any color, of any force, of any element, we are in the higher state of consciousness, and living far more nobly than a man who may be dwelling in the buddhi-manas, but on a very low plane of it. The thing is to strive to live in the highest plane where all is colorless glory. As soon as we descend into color, into distinct principles or tattwas, we descend into manifestation and differentiation producing a corresponding maya and consequent ignorance. There is a divine kama, there is a debased kama; there is a divine buddhi, there is a human buddhi, which is its reflection. Every plane is subdivided and is patterned after its grand plane. Therefore, no matter in what station of life a man may be born, no matter to what ray he may belong, this does not place him. What places him is where his consciousness is focused. If it is focused upwards, rising into the atman, into the colorless sphere, then he contains divinity. In the Absolute no one color, no one principle or tattwa, is more spiritual than any other, because all are born from the heart of divinity. When we come down into the worlds of differentiation, of existence, then we are obliged to make divisions.
One might ask: where on earth am I in this wilderness of swabhavas and individualities and subprinciples, etc.? Granted that I am sevenfold, that I have seven atmans or divinities within me, cooperating to make me what I am, as chemical elements cooperate to make an entity; but which part of this compound swabhava is that which I know as I, that little unimportant part of me which is so aggressive?
We must remember that man is all his sevenfold being, from divinity downwards through all intermediate stages to the body. Where he centers his consciousness at any one time, in whatever particular layer of his auric egg, or in whatever swabhavic center, that is the part which for the moment we may speak of as the I. The animal has it in his animal consciousness; we have it usually in our kama-manas; the sages have it still higher, probably in the buddhi-manas; the Buddhas and Christs higher still, the divinities on a yet loftier stage.
We see here the tremendous import of this doctrine. A man can live in any portion of the entire range of his being if he so wills. He can center his consciousness, for a while at any rate, in whatever swabhavic energy he desires and thereby gain inspiration and help from the energies of the universe, or he may center his thoughts and feelings in the lower energies; and, if he persist through many lives in loving evil and distortion, eventually he will sink to the Pit.
The hosts of monads are all learning, evolving entities, and they pass during the course of the revolving ages up and down through the immense cosmic planes. Each monad, originating in its primordial evolutionary development in a cosmic tattwa, must bear for long ages the fundamental impress of this cosmic tattwa as its foundation swabhava; but as it rises through evolutionary modification or growth out of one cosmic plane or one cosmic tattwa into another, it does so because its swabhava has likened itself unto the innate swabhava of the new cosmic plane or tattwa into which it is entering. Furthermore, every swabhava being compounded, we can, in our search for the 'first' swabhava, pass upwards and inwards, so to speak, to its essence in order to find this primordial swabhavic background; and in striving to do this we realize that there is always something higher still, still more recondite and immense, and that this something, apparently always unattainable, is an inexplicable x-quantity pouring forth from the very core of the monadic essence itself.
We may say, then, that every entity has the swabhava of its divine monad, which it draws directly from its inseparable unity with the galaxy; that likewise there is in each one of us the swabhavic core of the spiritual monad, which is of the spiritual essence of our solar system; that also we have within us as another swabhavic core the human monad or reimbodying ego, which characterizes us as individual human beings and is of the spiritual essence of our planetary chain. Making the applications in proper order, we see that the most fundamental swabhava within our compound swabhava is the galactic swabhavic core of us, which in its characteristic individuality lasts the longest and is the slowest to change; and even beyond that is the incomprehensible background of Infinity. In exactly similar fashion, the swabhavic essence of our spiritual monad, whose home is the solar system, lasts as a characteristic individuality longer than does the swabhavic element of our reimbodying ego which belongs to the planetary chain. Yet all these swabhavas, from the galactic down to the rather temporary swabhava of the astral monad of a single human earth life, are evolving, and therefore in process of change towards inner and larger realms of cosmic life.
Man is therefore an intricate web of swabhavas, each one of us having his own particular swabhava complex. I might add here that were anyone to try to find out his own essential swabhava or that of someone else — had he the power to do so — this would be an exceedingly dangerous thing. For if he were of unstable or weak moral sense, and yet had knowledge enough to know exactly the swabhava or keynote of another person's character, it would be all too easy to subject that other to his will and thought and thus reduce him to the status of a willing or unwilling automaton or puppet.
Moreover, the monadic swabhavas in our constitution are likewise modified by the different cosmic tattwas in and from which, and in serial order, they are born during the process of a manvantara, whether solar or planetary, so that at the same time any individual may have one of his monads akasic in its swabhava, while another one of his monads may be either a taijasa (fiery) or a vayava (airy) type; and others may be of still different tattwic characteristics. Our future destiny is to become self-consciously conscious on all the planes of our constitution, in all our swabhavic tattwas which are in us, because we are microcosms of the encompassing macrocosm. When we reach such a condition of complete awakening we shall be fully self-conscious gods and, in fact, Silent Watchers or cosmic hierarchs — on a higher or lower plane of the environing universe — according to our destiny.
This is really a wondrous teaching, for it shows us the manner in which our whole constitution is enwebbed with the fabric of the universe. To change the figure of speech, a human being is somewhat like a sounding board, strung with seven chords like Apollo's lyre, across which sweep the winds of eternity, and the combined notes of these chords produce within him a cosmic symphony — each one of us being a living mystic lyre vibrating in sympathy with the Music of the Spheres.
In Kosmos, the gradations and correlations of Colors and Sounds and therefore of Numbers, are infinite. This is suspected even in Physics for it is ascertained that there exist slower vibrations than those of the Red, the slowest perceptible to us, and far more rapid vibrations than those of the Violet, the most rapid that our senses can perceive. But on Earth in our physical world, the range of perceptible vibrations is limited. Our physical senses cannot take cognizance of vibrations above and below the septenary and limited gradations of the prismatic colors, for such vibrations are incapable of causing in us the sensation of color or sound. It will always be the graduated septenary and no more, unless we learn to paralyze our Quaternary and discern both the superior and inferior vibrations with our spiritual senses seated in the upper Triangle. — H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions, II
It is one of the fundamental teachings of the esoteric philosophy that every sound has its innate swabhavic color, and, conversely, that every color has its inherent swabhavic sound; and that, as a corollary, since both sound and color are expressions of rates of vibration, there can be no sound and no color without number, for every period of vibrational frequency has just so many units of vibration, which is equivalent to saying it is a number.
From this standpoint, when we speak of sound we at once imply both color and number; or, whenever we speak of color we imply sound and the vibrational number which manifests it; and equally so, whenever we speak of number, had we the eyes to see it and the ears to hear it, we should see the color as well as hear the sound corresponding to such number or vibrational frequency. It is to this that Pythagoras alluded when he spoke of the majestic harmony of the spheres.
Now as every atom in every object of nature, animate or inanimate, sings its own keynote and produces its own sound and has its own color and number, so every man, flower, tree, and every celestial body, is a play and interplay of sounds both loud and faint, interblending in a marvelous symphony, as well as being a beautiful intermingling of flashing and scintillating color. For instance, the auric egg of a man, because of the continuous activities of the pranic auras, is not only a mass of coruscating colors, but equally is a living organ producing harmonies of sound when the emotions, thoughts, and feelings are on a high plane, and horrible discord when they are characterized by hatred and other low passions.
For many decades astronomers have been intrigued by the varying shades of color which the vast stellar host presents; some stars are bluish, others are yellowish, still others reddish. The scientific idea is that the colors of the stars represent different ages in their evolutionary development. Be that as it may, and viewing the matter from another angle, it would be wrong to say that all blue stars are more spiritual than all red stars, merely because red is given as the color of kama, and blue or indigo-blue as the color of the higher manas. For there is a spiritual red as well as a material red, and a spiritual blue as well as a material blue. Indeed, there are strong occult reasons for saying that for certain stars a reddish color would signify a more spiritual condition than the bright electric blue of certain others. The greater the intensity of vibration of light or radiation, the lower or more material in the scale that light is; and as the color of blue in our own octave of visible radiation is produced by a much higher frequency than is red, it is obvious that blue could signify a more material condition than the less intense vibration of red.
H.P.B. has stated (E.S. Instructions, II) that "the true color of the Sun is blue" because its vital aura is blue. It is the real sun in the same sense as the vital aura of a human being is the real man; nevertheless the real man, the essential core, is the spiritual source of his merely vital aura. It would not be correct to say that the sun's vital aura is the interior sun; it is merely one of the coats or layers of its auric egg, and by no means one of the most interior. The blue force spoken of is the sun's vital aura intermingled, to some extent, with intellectual and spiritual energy, which flows forth from the sun continuously and in all directions. The sun is constantly pouring forth this blue energy in simply inestimable volume.
Other suns have other colors, which are the expressions of their complex swabhavas. Likewise, could we hear the sounds which the various celestial bodies make as their natural expression, we would realize that each sun, each star, each planetoid, has its own characteristic keynote. Our scientists already are able to 'hear' certain stars, that is, to transform the light coming from a particular luminary into sound (cf. The Mahatma Letters, p. 170). Curiously enough, when the moon's rays lighted upon the photoelectric cell used in these experiments, they sent forth moaning sounds, as of the tolling of great bells; but when the light from the bright star Arcturus flashed, it gave forth brilliant, scintillating sounds. If we could know the scheme of the correspondence of colors and sounds and numbers, we would be able to judge of the qualities of a sun or a star: for instance, dark blue would signify an intellectual sun; yellow, a buddhi sun.
The difficulty in attempting to determine to what specific ray or class any particular sun may belong by its color, is that our atmosphere affects colors very greatly as well as other things that come to us from the celestial bodies. The airy atmosphere surrounding our earth is a remarkable changer and a solvent to a certain extent. Our atmosphere is a transmuter as well as a transmitter. It deforms and actually changes the light — and therefore the sound — that comes to us from the planetary and solar bodies. Spectroscopic observation is by no means so reliable as has hitherto been supposed.
All the different colors of the solar spectrum originate in the sun and are represented on our earth in the form of light, in the form of forces — forces in the sun, every color of which is the outflow of a distinct swabhava or individual energy, or solar logos. The sun is the vehicle of a divinity; whatever flows forth from it is rooted in the divine. There are seven (or twelve) solar forces or element-principles, and therefore seven (or twelve) swabhavas making up the grand swabhava of the sun. From these solar individualities, powers, forces, minor logoi, flow streams of substance-energy, combined in the light which we receive as daylight, white light. Pass this solar beam through a prism, and it will be broken up into its component colors. These seven rays of the spectrum are seven auric flows of vitality from the solar heart, and these swabhavic energies combine to make light as we perceive it. Not one of the colors in essence is superior to any of the others. But on the plane of material existence, and having in view the work which each of the effluvia from the sun does on this scale of matter, we are bound to make distinctions and say that atman is colorless, buddhi is yellow, kama is red, and so forth. Yet all are divine in origin.
Every minutest portion of Infinity contains every essential element and force and swabhava that Infinity contains. Likewise, every subdivision or subplane derives its own repetitive septenary from the surrounding universe. The microcosm simply repeats the macrocosm. In this connection we quote a somewhat lengthy extract from the E.S. Instructions of H.P.B. concerning the famous Tibetan invocation, Om Mani Padme Hum:
Know the corresponding numbers of the fundamental principle of every element and its sub-elements, learn their interaction and behavior on the occult side of manifesting nature, and the law of correspondences will lead you to the discovery of the greatest mysteries of macrocosmical life.
But to arrive at the macrocosmical, you must begin by the microcosmical: i.e., you must study MAN, the microcosm . . . if we separate him for one moment from the Universal Whole, or view him in isolation, from a single aspect, apart from the "Heavenly Man" — the Universe symbolized by Adam Kadmon or his equivalents in every philosophy, — we shall either land in black magic or fail most ingloriously in our attempt.
Thus the mystic sentence, "Om Mani Padme Hum," when rightly understood, instead of being composed of the almost meaningless words, "O the Jewel in the Lotus," contains a reference to this indissoluble union between Man and the Universe, rendered in seven different ways and having the capability of seven different applications to as many planes of thought and action.
From whatever aspect we examine it, it means: "I am that I am"; "I am in thee and thou art in me." In this conjunction and close union the good and pure man becomes a god.
. . . in Tibet this sentence is the most powerful six-syllabled incantation and is said to have been delivered to the nations of Central Asia by Padmapani, the Tibetan Chenresi.
But who is Padmapani in reality? Each of us must recognize him for himself whenever he is ready. Each of us has within himself the "Jewel in the Lotus," call it Padmapani, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, or by whatever name we may give to our Divine Self. The exoteric story runs thus:
The supreme Buddha, or Amitabha, they say, at the hour of the creation of man, caused a rosy ray of light to issue from his right eye. The ray emitted a sound and became Padmapani Bodhisattva. Then the Deity allowed to stream from his left eye a blue ray of light which, becoming incarnate in the two virgins Dolma, acquired the power to enlighten the minds of living beings. Amitabha then called the combination, which forthwith took up its abode in man, "Om Mani Padme Hum" ("I am the Jewel in the Lotus, and in it I will remain"). Then Padmapani, "the one in the Lotus," vowed never to cease working until he had made Humanity feel his presence in itself and had thus saved it from the misery of rebirth. He vowed to perform the feat before the end of the Kalpa, adding that in case of failure he wished that his head would split into numberless fragments. The Kalpa closed; but Humanity felt him not within its cold, evil heart. Then Padmapani's head split and was shattered into a thousand fragments. Moved with compassion, the Deity re-formed the pieces into ten heads, three white and seven of various colors. And since that day man has become a perfect number, or TEN. . . .
From Amitabha — no color or the white glory — are born the seven differentiated colors of the prism. These each emit a corresponding sound, forming the seven of the musical scale. As Geometry among the Mathematical Sciences is specially related to Architecture, and also — proceeding to Universals — to Cosmogony, so the ten Jods of the Pythagorean Tetrad, or Tetraktys, being made to symbolize the Macrocosm, the Microcosm, or man, its image, had also to be divided into ten points. — I
. . . . . . .
Enough has been said to show that while for the Orientalists and profane masses the sentence, Om Mani Padme Hum, means simply "O, the Jewel in the Lotus," esoterically it signifies "O, my God within me." Yes; there is a God in each human being, for man was and will re-become God. The sentence points to the indissoluble union between Man and the Universe. For the Lotus is the universal symbol of Kosmos as the absolute totality, and the Jewel is Spiritual Man, or God. — II
H.P.B. has beautifully expressed the sublime fact that our inner god is not only our highest link with the spiritual-divine universe, but is likewise the font whence streams into us everything that ennobles and purifies human existence. The more we become at one with this 'jewel,' the divinity at the core of our being, the more rapidly do we unfold in ever-expanding measure the grandeur that is within. (2)
In every Cosmogony, behind and higher than the creative deity, there is a superior deity, a planner, an Architect, of whom the Creator is but the executive agent. And still higher, over and around, within and without, there is the UNKNOWABLE and the unknown, the Source and Cause of all these Emanations. — The Secret Doctrine, II, 43
Every form, we are told, is built in accordance with the model traced for it in the Eternity and reflected in the DIVINE MIND. There are hierarchies of "Builders of form," and series of forms and degrees, from the highest to the lowest. — Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 98
Nature is one vast, living, inspirited organic entity, a true cosmic being — even when we limit the word nature to some particular range of the Boundless, such as our earth or solar system. In any organic entity every atom within it is connected with every other atom, and is not only an individual in itself, but likewise an integral part of the nature within whose sphere it has its being. All such 'atoms,' whether a sun, or one of the innumerable hosts of life-atoms, is thus derivative from the mother-substance of the environing nature; and this is true on all planes from the superspiritual down to the physical. Everything is interlocked and interworking with every other thing or being: just as the human body has its various aggregates of atoms and cells collected into organs, each such organ fulfilling its own purpose and function in the general organism. In similar fashion the nebulae, suns and planets, and the beings dwelling on the planets, are the various organs of some larger cosmic entity. But by far the greatest part of any such cosmic organism are the invisible and superior worlds and planes thereof, our physical plane being merely the grossest body that is inspirited and guided from within.
Every unitary being within nature, such as a sun or a planet, is in consequence an imbodied entity, divine in its highest parts, spiritual in the part subordinate to the divine, having an intellectual essence or mind, and all these manifesting through the lower garments, including the physical body. Thus every star is the expression of a divinity; for the universe is imbodied consciousnesses existing in all-various and innumerably vast hierarchies, each possessing its own swabhava.
Spirit at one pole, the higher or negative, and matter at the other pole, the lower or positive; and yet both fundamentally one. Matter is naught but the condensation of spirit, and therefore it is spirit living and working and 'sleeping' in the form of spirit.
The manifested universe, hanging as a pendant of evolution from the Formless and the Nameless, is subject to division by our human understanding into two interpenetrating and interlocking 'parts' — the light side, the spiritual or divine side of nature; and the night side, the matter or vehicular side. Now the light side we may call, although with great inadequacy, those portions of the manifested universe inhabited by the hierarchies of compassion and wisdom, which portions they actually form and are. The matter side is involved with and indeed made up of the many hierarchies of the cosmic builders, the masons of the world, which the mystic Greeks referred to as the kosmokratores, a word which may be translated both as world governors and world makers.
Just as in our building operations we have both architects and construction workers, so may universal nature be divided into two similarly general classes of cosmic beings. Of course, if we desire to be strictly logical, we shall find ourselves compelled to consider the architects of the universe as builders also; and yet there is the same important and natural distinction between them as there is in the human constitution between the ideative and directive human intelligence and the hosts of inferior monads and life-atoms through which the guiding and architectural mind of man works.
The builders of the universe are themselves in a sense architects in a minor fashion, for each one is an evolving entity and in cosmic time will become an architect. In fact, it is impossible to draw a line of demarcation between the two general classes, and we can do so only by excluding from our view the evolutionary future destiny of the builders and looking at the universe just as it is at any moment of time. What are now the cosmic architects were in former ages cosmic builders; just exactly as those who are now the cosmic builders will in future ages become cosmic architects, the places then vacated by them in the vehicular side of the universe being taken by other entities who are now inferior to the builders — the countless hosts of monads passing through evolutionary stages in those portions of the cosmic structure which to us are the lowest, the mineral and elemental kingdoms.
We thus have a picture of the universe which we can express in the words of the great Greek philosopher Heraclitus as being a cosmic entity in unceasing flux, "everything flowing" forwards and onwards to higher stages in evolution, and the places of those who have passed ahead immediately taken by inferior entities who are trailing along behind them. Hence, when we speak of the gods in the universe, we do not refer to certain beings who from utmost eternity have been gods and who in the future will forever and ever be gods, but we mean those fully self-conscious and ideationally active beings who form the hierarchies of light. Gods exist in almost an infinitude of different degrees on the evolutionary ladder of life, so that the lowest orders of the gods blend insensibly with the highest orders of the builders of the matter side of the universe. Again we see that the highest orders of the cosmic builders are themselves like gods and are indeed such to the lower orders of the builders.
The most important point here is that the architects represent the consciousness of the universe, and the builders the ethereal realms and the matter or substances of the universe. Both classes, the cosmic consciousnesses and the hosts of entities forming the matter side of nature, are cosmic monads. The only essential difference between them is that those monads which now have reached the condition of architects are far more evolved than are those other monads which are as yet only entities belonging to the substance side of being, which range all the way down the scale from the highest builders to life-atoms, elementals, and even ordinary atoms.
The entire universe, therefore, is built and formed of, indeed is, hosts of countless monads, and every monad is a consciousness point. Let us place in parallel columns two triads which H.P.B. discusses in The Secret Doctrine (cf. Volume I, 342 ff., 619 ff.):
CHAOS — GODS
THEOS — MONADS
KOSMOS — ATOMS
We see that each member of either triad corresponds to and is involved with its equivalent in the other triad. To illustrate: the gods find their spheres of activity in what the Greeks called chaos, the gods referring not so much to beings as to divine jivanmuktas, consciousnesses so freed and with reaches so extended as themselves to be spacial in the abstract sense; Space, the container, giving birth to those beings who are living, conscious imbodiments of higher forces. The word chaos was chosen because suggesting conscious intelligence under higher direction. The monads similarly find their habitations in those other fields of space and consciousness which are aggregated under the one word theos; while the atoms find their spheres in the kosmos or structure of the manifested universe.
Considering each triad alone: the gods work through monads, and the monads, bearing within themselves the gods, work through atoms. Correspondingly, the esoteric chaos works in and through and by the divine carpentry of the manifested universe called theos which, in turn, bearing the abysses of chaos within itself, produces the manifested universe or kosmos. Thus on the matter side of nature, chaos (which is mulaprakriti or pradhana) works in and through the hierarchies of the builders which are aggregatively theos. These two combine to produce the vast kosmos instinct with evolving life as it is, and actually composed of innumerable monads in their present state of low evolutionary development.
If we now try to unify in thought these two triads and apply this coalesced picture analogically to the human constitution, we shall see that the highest part, the divine monad, is our inner god manifesting in and through its veil of consciousness, the mystical chaos or pradhana of the human constitution. Similarly, our inner god expresses itself in and through the monadic sparks radiating from it, these sparks or rays being our different monads which work each one through its own spiritual garment, making the aggregated theos of our constitution. Again, our life-atoms on all the different planes work in and through their respective veils, the lower and less evolved atoms, which make the kosmos of the human constitution.
We have, therefore, the inner god working through the monads which in turn work through the life-atoms, forming as it were an upright stream of consciousness in man, while at the same time each of these three aspects works through its own garment to form the horizontal line of evolution of the human constitution. Hence the upright stream of consciousness traverses the horizontal and lower stream of consciousness, thus producing the mystic cross of which Plato guardedly speaks. This is the symbolical meaning of the cross in Christian theology: the Christos or spiritual ego of man 'crucified' in the realms of the matters of the human constitution.
By analogy, every universe has its inner god or supreme hierarch, which works through its countless monadic sparks radiating from it; these in turn work through their own rays or sparks, the life-atoms. Here we have the upright stream of consciousness on the cosmic scale. Likewise, the horizontal line of evolution is found in the inner god of our universe working through its pradhana or prakritic essence; while its rays or monads work through the builders of the universe on all its different planes; and these cosmic monads, again, work through the elementals or cosmic life-atoms which find their secondary or horizontal line of evolution in the lower atomic entities which in their vast aggregate produce the kosmos.
Man is a microcosm of the macrocosm, and because he is an integral and inseparable part of the universe, we have an infallible key by which we may unlock the most recondite mysteries of space and time. This rule of course can apply in the inverse direction: once we understand the nature and characteristics and structure of the universe, we have thereby the cosmic master key by which we may unlock all the mysteries in man.
Our inner god is the architect of the building of the human vehicles through which it manifests. Just as our mind evolves an idea, forms a plan, makes a picture, and then uses will in order to corporealize it in certain material creations, such as a building, just so do the life forces, the will powers, and the spiritual and intellectual energies of the three higher classes permeate and stimulate the four inferior classes, and thus set them to work. Automatically, instinctively, the latter begin their activities according to the general cosmic plan. Why is it, for instance, that the ant or the bee follows each its own plan, building so symmetrically? What are these marvelous instincts in the lower creatures? They spring forth undoubtedly from within the creature; but what is that wonderful intelligence which seems to guide the instinct itself? It is the dominant thought of the spiritual planner as contrasted with the activity of the vital builder.
Let us relate these two fundamental hierarchies of architects and builders to the seven classes of monads (leaving aside for the present the uppermost five classes) who make man, build him, and complete him. These seven consist of two kinds of monads: the lower four are the builders, the masons, the workers; the three higher classes are the architects and planners, the evolvers of the idea which the builders follow. These two kinds of monads, as they work within the human being, form the two main divisions of his constitution: the three highest of the seven give to him his spiritual and intellectual principles; while the psychical, vital, astral, and physical parts come to him from the four corporeal classes of pitris, the actual progenitors of these lower principles.
The three higher are the spiritual and intellectual classes, the divine architects, the evolvers of the ideas; whereas the four lower classes, under the general name of lunar pitris or fathers, are they who work in the more material realms of existence and follow automatically the life plans which the spiritual classes have cast upon them in vital waves.
At the birth of a planetary chain the different globes thereof are built by these world builders, who had attained their spiritual and intellectual development in the preceding chain-manvantara. From another aspect, these world builders are of two general classes: first, the inner gods, looked upon collectively as a host of ten classes of monads at work in building any planetary chain; secondly, the spiritual influences coming to this planetary chain-in-building from the other planets and from the sun.
To repeat: higher than the world builders there are what the ancients called the architects, they who scheme the things to be; and in so scheming use thoughts, which are the spiritual elemental energies, the workers. And these thoughts are the hierarchies of the lower deities, such as the demigods, human beings, animals, the vegetable world, the mineral world, and so forth.
In the building of a planetary chain, for example, the dhyani-chohans make the workshops from themselves, the product of their own being; much as a human being lives in his physical body, largely the product or flowing forth of the energies and substances within. It is the inner astral entity of the human constitution which fills the physical body, and this astral entity is the ultimate flowing forth from the spiritual body of the dhyani-chohan, being composed of the streams of life-atoms. It is the matters and energies which flow forth from within, that build the worlds.
There are many classes of these world builders. There are many classes of the world architects. And above the architects there are other entities still more evolved, still more fully expressing the inexhaustible energies, powers and faculties of the inner god.
Space is boundless. Duration has neither beginning nor end. Time is but a fantasy of the human imagination cast on the background of eternal Duration. And in endless Time and through endless Space — inner and outer — passes the vast procession of the worlds and gods, demigods, men, beasts, etc. Movement always, with occasional breaks when sections of the procession drop out for a rest, and when that rest period is ended they take their place in the procession again, but at the rear.
In conclusion, the spiritual side of nature is composed of the hierarchies of light and compassion, and these hierarchies are monads which have been unfolded through evolution into expressing more and more of latent power and faculty and attribute, so that they have become the present self-conscious architects or true gods of the universe; whereas all the countless hosts forming the matter side, the vehicular side, or the class of the builders, are monads less awakened than are the general class of the gods or architects. By comparison, the monads forming the matter side of the universe are said to be 'asleep' — although of course this word covers ranges of consciousness from the highest of the builders, who are almost architects, down through all the grades to the relatively completely spiritually dormant life-atoms and atoms of the universe.
This is an exemplification of the Golden Chain of Hermes, stretching from the sublimest architect of the universe, the cosmic hierarch, and reaching as a vital flame down through all inferior entities to the lowest range of a hierarchical system. One cosmic plan, one cosmic life, one cosmic direction, one cosmic law.
Who are those highly mysterious agents of karma or occult agencies in nature to which H.P.B. has given the name of Lipikas, (3) taken from the Sanskrit?
Let me begin by quoting certain extracts from her writings. The first is from The Secret Doctrine:
There are three chief groups of Builders and as many of the Planetary Spirits and the Lipika, each group being again divided into Seven sub-groups. . . . The "Builders" are the representatives of the first "Mind-Born" Entities, therefore of the primeval Rishi-Prajapati: also of the Seven great Gods of Egypt, of which Osiris is the chief: of the Seven Amshaspends of the Zoroastrians, with Ormazd at their head: or the "Seven Spirits of the Face": the Seven Sephiroth separated from the first Triad, etc. . . .
The Lipika . . . are the Spirits of the Universe, whereas the Builders are only our own planetary deities. The former belong to the most occult portion of Cosmogenesis, which cannot be given here. Whether the Adepts (even the highest) know this angelic order in the completeness of its triple degrees, or only the lower one connected with the records of our world, is something which the writer is unprepared to say, and she would incline rather to the latter supposition. Of its highest grade one thing only is taught: the Lipika are connected with Karma — being its direct Recorders. . . .
The esoteric meaning of the first sentence of the Slokas is, that those who have been called Lipikas, the Recorders of the Karmic ledger, make an impassable barrier between the personal EGO and the impersonal SELF, the Noumenon and Parent-Source of the former. Hence the allegory. They circumscribe the manifested world of matter within the RING "Pass-Not." This world is the symbol (objective) of the ONE divided into the many, on the planes of Illusion, of Adi (the "First") or of Eka (the "One"); and this One is the collective aggregate, or totality, of the principal Creators or Architects of this visible universe. — I, 127-9
The second extract is from the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge:
The Lipika proceed from Mahat and are called in the Kabala the four Recording Angels; in India, the four Maharajahs, those who record every thought and deed of man; they are called by St. John in the Revelation, the Book of Life. They are directly connected with Karma and what the Christians call the Day of Judgment; in the East it was called the Day after Mahamanvantara, or the "Day-Be-With-Us." Then everything becomes one, all individualities are merged into one, yet each knowing itself, a mysterious teaching indeed. But then, that which to us now is non-consciousness or the unconscious, will then be absolute consciousness.
Q. What relation have the Lipika to Mahat?
A. They are a division, four taken from one of the Septenates that emanates from Mahat. Mahat corresponds with the Fire of Simon Magus, the secret and the manifested Divine Ideation, made to witness to itself in this objective Universe through the intelligent forms we see around us, in what is called creation. Like all other emanations, they are "Wheels within Wheels." The Lipika are on the plane corresponding to the highest plane of our chain of globes. — pp. 112-13
When H.P.B. points out that the Lipikas are "the Spirits of the Universe," she informs us at once that they are a hierarchy, septenary or even duodenary in their divisions, belonging to the very highest cosmic plane of a universe. They are not merely four, as might be supposed from one or two of her remarks to the effect that the Lipikas stand at the four quarters of the world. Actually, there are armies of Lipikas, the four quarters having reference to the polar magnetisms in any globe or chain or solar system, which cross each other producing the mystic North, South, East, and West. This is because of the concentration of focal energy-points at these quarters.
Each universe has its own hierarchy of Lipikas, which are to be radically distinguished both in their nature and in their functions from the lower hierarchies of demiurgic or world-forming beings, the builders. In fact, we may speak of the Lipikas as the highest group of the architects; and one of the reasons they are called the agents of karma is that, acting under the impulse of that universal and mysterious law, they lay down the architectural or karmic plan of the structure of a universe when it is coming out of its mahapralaya. As soon as the Lipikas have outlined the plan and impressed it by cosmic ideation on the lower hierarchies of builders, these in turn immediately proceed in their labor of world-building.
The point here is that precisely because the Lipikas are the agents of karma, and the very highest group of the cosmic architects, they are the lofty intelligences almost automatically impressing cosmic ideation upon all 'beneath' them, it being obvious that both cosmic ideation and their own characteristics are typically expressive of the karmic history and background of such a universe. Hence the Lipikas, "Recorders of the Karmic ledger," are the cosmic agents responsible for circumscribing the manifested worlds with the various Rings-pass-not, which are merely the karmic boundaries defining and limiting the various spheres of action of the minor hierarchies and their included individuals.
The Lipikas, considered as the most powerful in their own universe, infill it with their combined intelligence and vital powers, so that all entities therein are continuously permeated by their essence. Consequently, whatever happens within such universe is instantaneously and forever 'recorded' or stamped upon the vital essence or fluids of the Lipikas. It is this fact that gives to them their name of Recorders, because they react to every thought, feeling, and action of all the multitudinous hosts of beings included within them; and thus the Lipikas carry indelibly engraved in their essences all that takes place in the hierarchies subordinate to their sway and which they enclose with their all-encompassing, vital-intelligent essence or substance. This is exemplified by the astral light of our earth, sometimes called the astral picture gallery. As the astral light is the linga-sarira of the earth, it is completely within the vital essence and intelligent fluid of the Lipikas, just as is any other principle or element of our earth.
When the mahamanvantara of a universe is drawing to its end, and the world is being progressively infolded into the higher cosmic planes, the time comes at the opening of the mahapralaya when all subordinate beings and things have become at one with the highest hierarchies of the universe in and upon its highest cosmic plane. In other words, all entities have become at one with the Lipikas themselves, that is, are indrawn into their essence or substance. This consummation of karmic destiny is sometimes called the Day-Be-With-Us, when "everything becomes one, all individualities are merged into one, yet each knowing itself."
In relation to a smaller universe, such as our planetary chain, H.P.B. says: "The Lipika are on the plane corresponding to the highest plane of our chain of globes." As the Lipikas open a manvantara and close it, and are the first to appear and the last to vanish because of the progressive unfolding and infolding at the beginning and end of every period of activity, they are the agents of karma because they carry all karmic seeds within themselves until the next manvantara or mahamanvantara opens. And then, having thus recorded all the karma of a universe within themselves, they begin to emanate it pari passu with the evolving planes and hierarchies of that universe when its new mahamanvantara begins.
We may look upon the grand hierarchy of the Lipikas as being composed of seven (or ten or twelve) grades or minor hierarchies. The three highest of these function particularly on the three highest cosmic planes — or on the three highest planes of any smaller universe such as a planetary chain or even a globe — whereas the remaining four subordinate grades of the Lipikas have especial functions on the four lower cosmic planes. Hence, as we are on globe D on the lowest cosmic plane, it is the four lower minor hierarchies of the Lipikas which affect us particularly and are the ones which record the karma of our four lower planes. It is for this reason that exoterically the Lipikas are referred to as being four in number only — thus stating occult truth under a veil or disguise. Actually these 'four' Lipikas individually are the four lower subgrades or minor hierarchies.
Every cosmic plane is an analogical repetition of all other planes, and especially of those above it on the hierarchical ladder. Even our physical cosmic plane has its Lipika host or Lipika hierarchy, originating on the highest or most ethereal subplane thereof; and it is the direct function and duty of these Lipikas to act as the highest architects in building and overseeing this physical plane, and as the karmic recorders of all that takes place in and on it throughout its various subdivisions.
It is just these Lipikas with their intelligent vital essence infilling and inspiriting any cosmic plane which produce what we call the laws of nature, and we thus see once more how karma, one of the most fundamental of such natural laws, and the Lipikas are interblended and indeed even coalesce into unity.
1. A compound Sanskrit term, swa meaning self, and bhava, becoming, coming into existence, signifying a continuous growth or change from state to state. (return to text)
2. Cf. Isis Unveiled, II, 605-6, where H.P.B. says:
The Hermetic philosophers taught, as we have seen, that the disappearance from sight of a flame does not imply its actual extinction. It has only passed from the visible to the invisible world, and may be perceived by the inner sense of vision, which is adapted to the things of that other and more real universe. The same rule applies to sound. As the physical ear discerns the vibrations of the atmosphere up to a certain point, not yet definitely fixed, but varying with the individual, so the adept whose interior hearing has been developed, can take the sound at this vanishing-point, and hear its vibrations in the astral light indefinitely. He needs no wires, helices, or sounding-boards; his will-power is all-sufficient. Hearing with the spirit, time and distance offer no impediments, and so he may converse with another adept at the antipodes with as great ease as though they were in the same room. (return to text)
3. Lipika is formed from a verbal root lip, signifying to paint, to outline in colors, also derivatively to draw or to write — being a word adapted from the ancient usage of writing with a brush, as the Chinese do even today, thus signifying writing, transcribing, and hence recording. (return to text)