Copyright © 1974 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
The most mystic of discourses inform us, that the wholeness of him (the sun) is in the superior cosmic realms; for there a solar cosmos and a complete light subsist, as the oracles of the Chaldaeans affirm. — Proclus, On the Timaeus of Plato, iv, 242 (cf. Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 266, 2nd ed., London, 1832)
Every monadic essence, every monad, no matter where or in what period of time, is a learning entity, always advancing from the less to the more perfect. In any one cosmic manvantara it begins its evolutionary journey as an unself-conscious god-spark, passing through all the phases and experiences which that particular manvantara contains, and finishes as a fully perfected god.
During the course of our evolution in the various cosmic manvantaras as they succeed each other, it is part of our destiny ultimately to become a glorious sun in space — more particularly its soul or spirit, not so much its physical body, be it visible or invisible. And every such sun is composed of monads less evolved than it, godlings and atom-souls in the many degrees of their evolutionary development.
The spirit of our sun is surrounded by an army of these godlings not as old as itself, yet in many cases they are great spiritual beings when contrasted with men. In their turn these young gods are composed of other less evolved beings, although of a spiritual character; and so forth throughout the solar hierarchy until the physical body of the sun is reached, which contains atom-souls formed of light. These atom-souls, unself-conscious god-sparks, are all evolving continuously, and will with all other entities be ready to begin a new and higher cycle of experience at the opening of the new solar manvantara.
The constitution of the sun, just like that of a man, is built of monads, of atom-souls, which are pilgrims on the pathways of the spaces of Space, each one at its heart a god. Consequently, when our sun in distant cosmic times shall have become something still more wondrous, the atom-souls and monads which make up its vehicles now — and which form in part even the physical splendor that we see — will have become suns. Our present sun by then will be the divine essence infilling a galactic universe; and its atom-souls, and the younger gods and spiritual beings now belonging to and surrounding it, will be scattered through that universe as stars and suns, nebulae and planets.
The sun is immaterial in its higher parts. This does not mean that there is no matter there, for the sun is surrounded with veils of ethereal matter which produce our sunlight. What we see is the physical expression or reflection of a cosmic god — literally. (1)
The heart of the sun is a particle of mother-substance which is pure spirit. H.P.B. points to this by quoting from a private commentary:
The real substance of the concealed (Sun) is a nucleus of Mother substance. It is the heart and the matrix of all the living and existing Forces in our solar universe. It is the Kernel from which proceed to spread on their cyclic journeys all the Powers that set in action the atoms in their functional duties, and the focus within which they again meet in their SEVENTH ESSENCE every eleventh year. He who tells thee he has seen the sun, laugh at him as if he had said that the sun moves really onward on his diurnal path. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 290
The heart of the sun is a dhyani-buddha.
Now there is no contradiction in saying in one breath that the heart of the sun is a particle of mother-substance and that it is also a dhyani-buddha. It is merely voicing two aspects of the same fundamental verity. The term dhyani-buddha refers to the solar monad itself or the higher triad of the solar divinity; whereas the expression, "the heart of the sun is a particle of mother-substance," has reference to our visible orb, globe D of the solar chain. This particle of mother-substance (otherwise, spirit-matter, pradhana or mulaprakriti) is the substantial although spiritual focus in and through which the dhyani-buddha of the sun lives and expresses its powers. Similarly, every one of the other globes of the solar chain has as its spiritually substantial heart such a particle of mother-substance through which the same solar monad manifests.
Furthermore, every globe of our earth chain is the dwelling and vehicle of a planetary spirit, and yet all the globes form a unity through which the still more evolved monad of the entire chain works, just as in man his divine monad exists in and works through all the subordinate monads of his constitution. We find here again the law of nature's composite structure, so that solar chain and earth chain, and man himself, are each one a microcosm repeating analogically what exists in the macrocosm. Thus every globe of the solar chain is an entity with its own seven element-principles, and each globe is ruled over and inspired by its own minor solar monad, all nevertheless being under the governance and supreme control of the still more sublime monad of the solar divinity.
That which we call the sun is but a physical reflection, a reflected essence of the real sun which to us is as invisible as air. What we see is merely the spiritual-electromagnetic flame of the working of the titanic energies and forces which the sun essentially is; and we perceive all this on the physical plane and imagine it to be the sun. (2) It is the sun's lowest, grossest aspect; yet even this aspect is only quasi-material or, rather, ethereal. In other words, the sun that we see is physical matter in its fifth, sixth, and seventh degrees of ethereality, these being the three highest degrees of matter on this physical cosmic plane.
Now it would appear that some students have taken the statement that the physical sun is but the reflection of the real sun, the solar monad, in a strictly literal sense, as when one speaks of seeing his reflection in a mirror; and thus have obtained the totally erroneous idea that what we see is not the sun at all but a kind of magical optical reflection cast in some mysterious way by the real sun which is situated somewhere else in space! The sun is a reflection (much as the physical man is the reflection of the inner man), real enough to our physical eyes, yet not the real sun, which is invisible, a spiritual being, indeed a god, and therefore existing on a far higher plane than the physical plane of our solar universe.
Our sun is the globe D of the solar chain as it appears on our subplane, the fourth of the physical plane of the solar system. We should remember that the solar chain consists of seven or twelve globes, exactly as our earth chain does. The solar globe D is, in a certain sense, therefore, on all the subplanes of the physical plane of the solar system; in other words, it has an appearance, a certain form and certain qualities and attributes which are visible on, because belonging to, each one of the seven subplanes of this physical plane. Here again our sun as it appears on each such subplane is a reflection of the true sun on that subplane, and thus enlightens all the different planetary and other bodies existing in and on this physical plane of the solar system, whether we see them or not.
Now the solar globe D in its essence is a focus or mass of physical plane matter in this matter's highest or first state if we count downwards, or in its seventh state if we count upwards. This core of highly ethereal or even spiritual substance of the physical plane of the solar system surrounds itself with its veil of glory, its prakriti, which bears the same relation to it that prakriti does to Brahma. This veil of the solar heart is therefore the matter of this physical plane of the solar system.
Again, this veil or second appearance of the heart of the true physical sun in its turn is surrounded by its own aura or veil, which is the third step downwards towards materialization. This third appearance likewise surrounds itself with its own auric garment; and it is this fourth veil of the heart or mother-substance of the physical sun which we see. (3)
We can continue in the same serial descending steps, with a new veil or reflection at each step until we reach the seventh and last stage of the physical sun, which is far beneath our own fourth subplane of the physical plane of our solar system, and is therefore as much outside the powers of our sense perception as is the highest substance of the sun.
From another standpoint, we can look upon the reflection of the physical sun that we see as its aura, i.e. its vital fluid surrounding and enclosing it so that it appears to us as a globe of splendorous light. In fact, we can say that it is that particular layer of the auric egg of the sun which is on the same subplane on which our earth and we as physical human beings are.
What I have stated with regard to the solar globe D applies, mutatis mutandis, to every one of the seven (or twelve) globes of the solar chain. Each one has the same series of appearances or veils on the cosmic plane on which it is.
It is these teachings that H.P.B. had in mind when quoting the following passage from the private commentary spoken of before:
Matter or Substance is septenary within our World, as it is so beyond it. Moreover, each of its states or principles is graduated into seven degrees of density. SURYA (the Sun), in its visible reflection, exhibits the first, or lowest state of the seventh, the highest state of the Universal PRESENCE, the pure of the pure, the first manifested Breath of the ever Unmanifested SAT (Be-ness). All the Central physical or objective Suns are in their substance the lowest state of the first Principle of the BREATH. Nor are any of these any more than the REFLECTIONS of their PRIMARIES which are concealed from the gaze of all but the Dhyan Chohans, whose Corporeal substance belongs to the fifth division of the seventh Principle of the Mother substance, and is, therefore, four degrees higher than the solar reflected substance. As there are seven Dhatu (principal substances in the human body) so there are seven Forces in Man and in all Nature. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 289-90
The same facts are hinted at by K.H. in The Mahatma Letters (pp. 164-5):
The fact is, that what you call the Sun is simply the reflection of the huge "store-house" of our System wherein ALL its forces are generated and preserved; the Sun being the heart and brain of our pigmy Universe, we might compare its faculae — those millions of small, intensely brilliant bodies of which the Sun's surface away from the spots is made up — with the blood corpuscles of that luminary — though some of them as correctly conjectured by science are as large as Europe. Those blood corpuscles are the electric and magnetic matter in its sixth and seventh state. . . . We know that the invisible Sun is composed of that which has neither name, nor can it be compared to anything known by your science — on earth; and that its "reflection" contains still less of anything like "gases," mineral matter, or fire, though even we when treating of it in your civilized tongue are compelled to use such expressions as "vapour" and "magnetic matter." . . . The Sun is neither a solid nor a liquid, nor yet a gaseous glow; but a gigantic ball of electromagnetic Forces, the store-house of universal life and motion, from which the latter pulsate in all directions, feeding the smallest atom as the greatest genius with the same material unto the end of the Maha Yug.
The time may not be too far distant when science will discover that the interiors of the various suns are not at all existing in conditions of incomprehensibly intense heat, although it is probably true enough that the outermost ethereal layers of the suns possess a certain amount of heat of their own, as a result of chemical processes. The heart of any sun is a most marvelous alchemical laboratory in which occur molecular, atomic, and electronic changes which it would be utterly impossible to reproduce in any of our chemical workshops (cf. H.P.B.'s reply to the question, "Is the sun merely a cooling mass?" published in The Theosophist, September 1883, pp. 299-301). The interiors of the suns are not superheated imaginary furnaces, chemical or alchemical or otherwise, and the future will see intuitions of this great truth dawning upon the minds of our scientists. Every sun is the outward vehicle of an indwelling spiritual and intellectual presence — the solar logos — having its sublime dwelling place in the hidden recesses of the solar chain. Our sun is a cosmic atom and, just as every atom on the infinitesimal scale, it is ensouled by its own spiritual-intellectual 'life-atom,' at the core of which there resides a divine monad of stellar origin and character.
The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its brain is hidden behind the (visible) Sun. From thence, sensation is radiated into every nerve-centre of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein. . . . The planets are its limbs and pulses. (Commentary) — The Secret Doctrine, I, 541
What are the sunspots? Similarly, one might ask, what are the pores of the human skin? The sunspots are the outer mouths of channels through which the rivers of lives go forth from and re-enter the sun. They are the openings (if we do not distort this word too greatly) through which the sun expels to the remotest corners of its system its accumulated store of solar vitality; and it is this vitality which gives life to all things within the sun's aura, which extends even to the farthest boundaries of the solar system. It is through the sunspots again that the solar 'blood,' the solar energy, electricity or psychomagnetism, returns to be purified in the heart which sent it forth some twelve years previously.
The sunspot periodicity is usually reckoned at 11.2 of our years; but it has been found that this is not always exact. Strictly speaking, the cycle of sunspots is ten years, but the current of vitality which governs it requires another year to pass through the sun, and still another one for its return through the sun, which makes twelve years all told. Each cycle is a vibration, a new beat of the pulse of the sun. The sun is a heart, a beating heart; in another sense, it is a brain. There is a temptation to use the words heart and brain literally, and such usage wanders not far from fact. But it is not the physical globe which is the true head and heart, except insofar as the physical universe is concerned. The real head and the real heart, coalescing and working as one, are the divinity behind and above and within the physical vehicle of our glorious daystar.
The statement that the sun is both the heart and the brain of the solar system may seem puzzling, because in the human body they are two different organs. In biological science, however, there are entities known which have no such distinct organs, combining in one what in our body is separated into two. The living cell is such an example; and from a certain standpoint our visible solar orb is a cosmic living cell. Even in ourselves the flow of substances and energies from our spiritual monad through the astral body into the physical body is really a stream of consciousness, which because of its functioning brings about our relatively high degree of development in the evolutionary scale; and this stream is divided into two currents, one the manasic, and the other the buddhi-pranic which has its locus in the human heart. Similarly the same stream of consciousness flowing from the spiritual monad includes other attributes or functions which need their corresponding organs in our bodies in order to express themselves; and so it comes about that we have a stomach and a nervous system and an arterial circulatory system, and so forth.
Thus our sun contains and expresses the solar manas, its brain, and also the solar buddhi-prana, its heart; and just as in man's physical body heart and brain work in coordination, although through two distinct organs, so in the sun do heart and brain work coordinately but in a union of these two functions of the solar monad.
In the distant aeons of the future we shall lose the physical body that now we possess; we shall then have egg-shaped or globe-shaped bodies of glowing light, in which will abide both heart and mind of the entity, each separate and yet both coalescing in operation as one. We shall be highly intelligent entities, far more so than now — far more intellectual and far more spiritual.
As H.P.B. explained it:
If the "Adepts" are asked: "What then, in your views, is the nature of our sun and what is there beyond that cosmic veil?" — they answer: beyond rotates and beats the heart and head of our system; externally is spread its robe, the nature of which is not matter, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, such as you are acquainted with, but vital electricity, condensed and made visible. . . . Undoubtedly were the "robes," the dazzling drapery which now envelopes the whole of the sun's globe withdrawn, . . . our whole universe would be reduced to ashes. Jupiter Fulminator revealing himself to his beloved would incinerate her instantly. But it can never be. The protecting shell is of a thickness, and at a distance from the universal HEART that can hardly be ever calculated by your mathematicians. — The Theosophist, September 1883, p. 300
As the heart and brain of its entire system, the sun sends a twelve-faceted life into every atom of its own solar universe of which we form an integral part. The sun is pre-eminently a giver of life. Cosmogonically, it is our elder brother, and not at all our physical parent as scientific speculations would have it; yet it is also in a vital sense our father-mother, because through the sun come down the invigorating life streams from systems and worlds above ours. And our planet Terra, as well as all the other planets, receives its own share of these life-giving streams, precisely as every individual atom and every entity does on the microcosmic scale, while at the same time receiving them individually from the inmost of the inmost within itself. The sun is a storehouse of vital-electric energies and, as the great pulsating heart of its system, vitalizes and informs the endless hosts of beings under its systemic sway.
In one of the most illuminating passages from her pen, H.P.B. writes in The Secret Doctrine (I, 541-2):
Thus, there is a regular circulation of the vital fluid throughout our system, of which the Sun is the heart — the same as the circulation of the blood in the human body — during the manvantaric solar period, or life; the Sun contracting as rhythmically at every return of it, as the human heart does. Only, instead of performing the round in a second or so, it takes the solar blood ten of its years, and a whole year to pass through its auricles and ventricles before it washes the lungs and passes thence to the great veins and arteries of the system.
This, Science will not deny, since Astronomy knows of the fixed cycle of eleven years when the number of solar spots increases, which is due to the contraction of the Solar HEART. The universe (our world in this case) breathes, just as man and every living creature, plant, and even mineral does upon the earth; and as our globe itself breathes every twenty-four hours. . . . It is similar to the regular and healthy pulsation of the heart, as the life fluid passes through its hollow muscles. Could the human heart be made luminous, and the living and throbbing organ be made visible, so as to have it reflected upon a screen, such as used by the astronomers in their lectures — say for the moon — then every one would see the Sun-spot phenomenon repeated every second — due to its contraction and the rushing of the blood.
The periodicity of the sunspots coincides with the mean periods not only of the planets nearest the earth, but of all the planets of our solar system — those which are visible as well as the scores of planets which are invisible. As our sun is the pulsing heart and the sensitive brain of our solar world, consequently every movement of its heart is intimately related to and in exact synchronous accord with every other movement, great or small, which takes place within the members of its solar family.
Every celestial body, be it sun, nebula, comet or planet, is the manifestation of a god. All these divine beings — cosmic, solar or planetary — are organs or members within the life of the spiritual sun, the supreme divinity of our solar system. In using these terms, gods, cosmic or planetary spirits, etc., no reference is made to the physical body of any celestial orb, whether we see it or not, but to its indwelling life, its indwelling spiritual, intellectual and vital essence. The solar system, from one standpoint, can truly be looked upon as a vital-mechanical organic entity, functioning in its physical and astral aspects as a mechanism, but a mechanism which is, nevertheless, ensouled by spiritual beings greatly varying in evolutionary degree.
The giant planet Jupiter, especially in its time periods, has a particular relation to the cycle of sunspot maxima and minima. Jupiter's year is some twelve (11.86) of our years. There is a large body of most interesting facts showing the connection between the sunspot cycles and the orbital periods of the planets, for their respective 'years' are as precisely geared together, both causally and effectually, as are the interlocking wheels of some intricate physical mechanism. When we remember that our sun is at once the heart and the brain of our solar system and that it is both a giver as well as a receiver of the vitality of that system — and of those far higher powers and potencies thereof which we call spiritual, intellectual and psychical — we can perhaps picture the relations of sunspot periods to the respective planetary 'years.'
Doubtless the mathematicians or astronomers of the future will discover this close cyclical relation of the planetary 'years' with the sunspot periods; possibly the rule of the lowest common multiple will be a hint to those of a mathematical bent of mind in discovering how the planets work together with the sun towards a common ultimate destiny in the evolutionary scheme.
Now in and out of these sunspots steadily flow — and at certain periods in veritable inrushes and outrushes — not only streams of lives, but their involved masses of psychomagnetic-vital powers. These rivers of lives are intimately connected with the planetary periods in which the respective positions taken by the planets at different times (what astrologers would call aspects) mark critical points in the interlocking celestial mechanics of the solar system. The term celestial mechanics does not here refer to mere mechanisms, but applies directly to the circulations and interblendings of the various planetary magnetisms, coalescing with the magnetism of the sun itself.
The great as well as all smaller cycles on earth are the effects of cosmic causes, which causes at the beginning of their operations are marked by the positions of the different planets in their orbits and by their aspects to the sun. It is stated in ancient Hindu books that at the opening of kali yuga certain planets, including our earth, were grouped together in one of the zodiacal signs, aspecting certain other planets, thus powerfully affecting the sun which in turn likewise reacted upon such grouping. (4) This took place at the end of the dwapara yuga and the opening of the kali, which important event was marked in history by the death of the avatara Krishna.
When it is said that every planet in the solar system has its individual influence on the period of the sunspots and, conversely, the sunspot cycle is intimately connected with and influences the vital activities of all the planets, visible or invisible, this does not imply that either the visible or the invisible planets have attributes of inferiority or of superiority. Visibility simply means that our eyes, because of having evolved on this plane, can see certain celestial bodies belonging to this plane: just as our eyes can take in a certain range of electromagnetic vibrations which we call light. There are other ranges of electromagnetic vibrations which we sense as heat; and still others which are the X rays, cosmic rays, etc.
The sunspots may be described as windows through which we may get a vague glimpse into the temple-body of a living god, thus seeing a little way into the dark invisible heart of the sun. We may think of them as channels, openings or vents, which serve for the entrance into the sun, and for the ejection from it, of rivers of lives of many grades. Every monad of all the countless myriads which infill the solar system, must pass again and again at cyclic periods into and through the solar heart, and come out therefrom; just as in the human body, every atom of every molecule of every drop of blood must pass into and through the heart, and leave it again to pursue its destiny along the circulations of the body.
What brought the sun into being in the beginning? What governs its course? What is the cause of its incessant outpouring of energy? To begin with, there is a suggestive passage in The Mahatma Letters (p. 168):
The sun gives all and takes back nothing from its system. The sun gathers nothing "at the poles" — which are always free even from the famous "red flames" at all times, not only during the eclipses. . . . Nothing can reach the sun from without the boundaries of its own system in the shape of such gross matter as "attenuated gases." Every bit of matter in all its seven states is necessary to the vitality of the various and numberless systems — worlds in formation, suns awakening anew to life, etc., and they have none to spare even for their best neighbours and next of kin. They are mothers, not stepmothers, and would not take away one crumb from the nutrition of their children. . . . For indeed, there is but one thing — radiant energy which is inexhaustible and knows neither increase nor decrease and will go on with its self-generating work to the end of the Solar manvantara.
Every sun is a living entity, and it derives from within itself its streams of energy, which it is so unceasingly pouring into space through billions and even trillions of years. Atomic dissociation may, from a mechanical point of view, account to a certain degree for the modus, but does not explain the origin of the solar energy, all of which on its way outward feeds the entire solar system with life, with spirit, with psychical powers. For however great may be its physical influence, it is very minor as compared with the enormous part that the sun plays in the invisible realms. The vitality, the intellectual power, together with the spiritual energy that the sun ceaselessly emanates, are all derived from the god which is its heart. And this god should not be thought of as being solely at the core of the physical sun, but rather as being in the invisible realms and spheres. So, too, the real man does not dwell in his physical body, for it is but the reflection of the real man who lives and acts and, strictly speaking, moves in the invisible parts of his constitution.
Energy or force and matter are fundamentally one. What is force to us is substance on a higher plane; what is matter on our plane is force or energy on a plane inferior to ours. Deduction: could we trace the reach of the energies flowing forth from the sun and extending to the outermost bounds of its kingdom, and could we do this by rising to a higher plane, we would see the 'empty space' of our solar system as one vast substantial body. And could we glimpse this apparently substantial energy through a telescope, from some distant planet circling round some distant star, we would see it as an 'irresolvable nebula.' This would be simply the flood of energy, of life, of vitality, of substance, pouring forth from the heart of the sun, and returning to it in regular cyclic intervals through the circulations of the cosmos — the pathways which all entities follow in passing from planet to planet, and from planet to sun, and from sun on their returning journey to planet: a circulation truly of the lifeblood or life essence of the solar system.
The two poles are said to be the store-houses, the receptacles and liberators, at the same time, of Cosmic and terrestrial Vitality (Electricity); from the surplus of which the Earth, had it not been for these two natural "safety-valves," would have been rent to pieces long ago. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 205
There is a very close connection between the sunspot cycle and terrestrial magnetism, particularly at the two poles of the earth, although there exists a very important difference of quality in the respective polar magnetisms.
To use the ancient metaphor, there is a Door of Horn and a Door of Ivory through which enter and leave the earth, not only celestial influences, but also the souls of men and other beings. Mystical Greek and Roman writers said that through the Door of Horn came and went one class of entities and influences, while through the Door of Ivory an opposite class came and went. (5) The Door of Horn is the portal of ingress, the north pole; and the Door of Ivory or south pole is the earth's vent or door of egress. All things that are good, elevating, and spiritual, belong to the north pole; and all things that are evil, degrading, and unclean, pertain to the vent of the earth, the south pole.
The eleven-year sunspot cycle affects each of the planets of the solar family through their north and south poles. The magnetism which reaches us from the sun — physical, astral, as well as mental — enters the earth through the north pole; it then follows certain circulations within and around the earth, and leaves it at the other pole. All these magnetic circulations pass around the equator a certain number of times, whether they be brief or of longer duration.
The earth follows very closely the breathing of the sun, very closely indeed, because the entire solar system is an animate organism of which the planets are the organs. It is likewise true that the earth has many periodic circulations smaller than the sunspot cycle, such as the lunar cycle, but these pertain more particularly to the intimate family life of the earth. All movements throughout boundless Space are cyclical in character, whether they last for an infinitesimal fraction of a second or as long as the cosmic manvantara itself. Everything is cyclic. The life of a firefly is as cyclic as is the life of a human being or the periodic revolution of a planet around the sun.
Terrestrial magnetism is of course connected with the nature and characteristics of the aurora borealis at the north pole as well as the aurora australis at the south pole — both the geographic and the magnetic poles at either end of the earth being involved. The aurorae are manifestations of the psychomagnetic vitality of the earth, and are most intimately linked with the sun, and particularly with the sunspots and, in a somewhat less close relationship, with the seven sacred planetary chains. They are psychomagnetic phenomena, and therefore we must never regard them as merely electric and magnetic displays or outbursts.
As a matter of fact, both aurorae are very much involved with the peregrinations of the simply numberless hosts of monads constantly entering and leaving our globe, yet doing so at certain stated periods in far greater numbers or masses — as inrushes and as outrushes; and the auroral displays, i.e. the psychomagnetic and vital outbursts, usually come about during these periods of inrush and outrush.
The auroral phenomena, being so closely associated with the mysterious operations of the terrestrial vitality, are connected with some of the most occult facts concerning the destiny of the earth as well as of all its families of monads. I might add that were it not for the relief given by these psycho-electromagnetic effluxes and influxes, our mother-globe would suffer catastrophes of the most appalling kind. Like earthquakes, however disastrous these at times may be, the auroral discharges in one of their functions dissipate what would otherwise become an overaccumulation of magnetic and electric energy within the earth; and thus they save it from catastrophes so terrible — physical, psychical and astral — that research in all recorded history could find no parallel to what would occur if such dispersion of energy did not take place.
These currents of magnetism and of vitality manifest not only at the poles, but likewise at what are known as the four cardinal points: north, south, east, and west. Hindu mythology speaks of them as the four Maharajas, and these are represented both in our physical world and in the entire solar system.
What are the cardinal points? Do such points actually exist in space, to which the sun and the planets of our solar system conform directionally? Why is it that the plane of the ecliptic contains within itself all the planets of our solar system, and why does it pass through the sun?
It is the spinning earth itself which produces the cardinal points so far as this globe is concerned, and this rotation is caused by the entry into it at its north pole of spiritual and psychomagnetic energies; for electricity, and magnetism perhaps especially, pursue a circuitous or serpentine path, somewhat like that of a spiral, and the entity through which it flows follows the circular impulse given to it and therefore whirls or rotates.
But this is not all. The poles of the earth point at various times to different parts of the celestial sphere — the abysses of space surrounding us on all sides. The pointing of the north pole is caused by the attracting influences emanating from that quarter of the celestial sphere towards which that pole may be directed at any time. This pointing gives us the cardinal north, and its direct opposite the cardinal south, with east and west at right angles to them. You may remember that in more than one of the Dialogues of Plato, that great initiate describes the cosmic cross, which Greek manuscripts usually show as having somewhat the shape of the Greek cross. This is the cross in space on which the cosmic consciousness is 'crucified.'
The cardinal points per se are not at all four limited concrete points in space, i.e. four centers of force or energy to which the earth is attracted especially by its north pole. The opposite is the case. All the points of the vault of space considered as a sphere are pointed to in serial rotation by the earth's north pole. The instinct to point arises from within the earth's inner constitution, but at the same time the north pole is attracted by the influences emanating from the spacial sphere. The cardinal points therefore result from the mutual and interchanging influences between earth and the twelve main directions of space.
The earth as a magnet is infilled with the solar energies streaming continuously from our daystar through the entire solar system. This solar magnetism is septenary and enters the earth in the region of the north pole. Certain elements of this magnetism pass directly from pole to pole through the center of the earth, while other parts sweep around or over its surface, but always from north to south. (6) Furthermore, there are crosscurrents which this solar magnetism follows in its circulations in and around the earth, and these crosscurrents, although flowing from the north pole, take a slanting or oblique direction, always from northeast to southwest, pursuing their course around the earth and swinging back again to the north pole.
If we could see these lines of magnetic force, they would appear to us as streaming in from outer space, impacting the earth at its north pole, rebounding thence and sweeping around all the surface of the globe, towards the south pole — where a portion is sucked in and returns to the north pole, again to be sent forth. Thus the circulation continues. But not all the magnetism is sucked in at the south pole; a portion of it streams outwards, cone-like, into space, and ultimately returns to the sun from which it came.
It must be remembered that every cosmogony has a trinity of workers at its head — Father, spirit; Mother, nature, or matter; and the manifested universe, the Son or result of the two. — Isis Unveiled, II, 420-1
The life of the sun, considered as a unity, infills the whole of its kingdom with the vital effluxes flowing forth from all parts of the solar chain. This solar life for the time being we may consider as septenary, the three higher aspects or planes being spiritual, and the four lower planes being ethereal, of which the lowest parts are concretely physical. The upper triadic life-consciousness of the sun is often spoken of as Brahma-Vishnu-Siva, corresponding to what in the human principles are atman-buddhi-manas. Hence this triad is relatively arupa, and itself flows forth from the highest parts of the solar constitution, thus making the tenfold (or indeed twelvefold) fullness of the solar being.
Such a triad, usually recognized as being solar in essential character, was known in all the ancient religious and philosophical systems under different names. These various triads are not all referable to the same cosmic planes; nevertheless, a lower triad corresponds on its own planes with a triad conceived as being on superior planes. For example, the Egyptian triad of Osiris-Isis-Horus has similarities in many respects both to the Hindu triad of Brahma-Vishnu-Siva and also to the Christian Trinity. Yet, plane for plane, this last triad is a more perfect correspondence with the Parabrahman-mulaprakriti, Brahman-pradhana, and Brahma (Purusha)-prakriti of Hindu philosophy: the Father corresponding with Parabrahman-mulaprakriti; the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost with Brahman-pradhana; and the Son with Brahma (Purusha)-prakriti.
It may be said in passing that this order of the so-called procession of the Trinity — Father-Holy Spirit-Son — is that of the earliest Christian thought, to which the Greek Orthodox Church, faithful to the pagan tradition from which Christianity came, has always held. However, the Church of Rome from even an early period has preferred to consider the two latter Persons of the Trinity as proceeding from the Father in the order of first the Son and then the Holy Ghost, and this has been accepted by the various churches of the West. This difference in viewpoint was one of the main causes of the theological schism between the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Church and brought about the filioque controversy — a Latin word meaning 'and from the son' — the idea being that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and from the Son.
All these triads are really solar in character when they are properly understood. As a matter of fact, Parabrahman-mulaprakriti and correspondentially the Father of the Christian Trinity are the First Cosmic Logos; Brahman-pradhana and likewise the Holy Spirit are the Second Cosmic Logos; and Brahma (Purusha)-prakriti and the Son are the Third Cosmic Logos. On the other hand, the Egyptian triad of Osiris-Isis-Horus really originates in or emanates from the Third Cosmic Logos, just as does the Hindu triad of Brahma-Vishnu-Siva.
These observations are made solely for the purpose of showing an accurate series of correspondences of solar gods as taught among various ancient peoples. Even though all these triads have reference to our solar system only, they would apply with perfect propriety to the universal solar system, in which case of course they would be conceived of as being of far greater magnitude and sublimity.
The facts of nature are equally true on different planes, the system of triads being as much a fact in the divine and spiritual as it is in the intellectual realms. Making, however, an application of thought directly to our solar system, we can see that all these triads as they were revered in their respective times and countries are virtually the same solar triad differently named, and are derivatives from the Third Cosmic Logos, the Third Logos of our solar system. Furthermore, because of the analogical structure of the universe, their correspondences in the human constitution are: atman, atman-buddhi, buddhi-manas.
All such triadic unities are reflections or reproductions by analogy of the still higher cosmic triad which, because of its deeply abstract character, was rarely, if ever, worshiped by the populace as these reflected triads were. This highest cosmic triad was referred to only occasionally, as Pythagoras did when he spoke of the cosmic monad as being forever in "silence and darkness" — meaning that it was beyond all ordinary human conception.
To illustrate: any cosmos or universe is a ten-principled being, the three highest principles forming the supernal triad, from which emanates the lower septenary (or manifested units) of the decad. This septenary in turn is formed of an upper triad and a lower quaternary — and it is just this upper triad which was envisaged when the ancients spoke of their triadic divinities, such as Brahma-Vishnu-Siva, Osiris-Isis-Horus, Father-Holy Spirit-Son. This second triad is thus seen to be the reflection of the first or supernal triad of a cosmos or Brahmanda.
It is of interest to note that the second Person of virtually every one of these triads has been pictured in the exoteric religions and mythologies as being of a feminine character, as is Isis in the Egyptian triad. In fact, the same feminine characteristics of the second Individual originally applied to the Christian Trinity, for the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, although appearing masculine in name or title, was originally considered to be a feminine cosmic power or influence. (7) It was only when Christianity became dogmatic and crystallized in theological forms that the feminine character of the second Person became distinctly masculinized.
Even in the Hindu triad of Brahma-Vishnu-Siva, while Vishnu is commonly considered to be a masculine type-form of divinity, many of his attributes and functions are feminine, so that the spirit of the idea prevails despite the fact that the gender of the name of the second Person is masculine.
Now these different triads may be considered either as the feminine spirit emanating from the first Individual and in turn, because infilled with the seeds from above, giving origin to the third Individual; or as three coordinate and mutually interacting aspects of the cosmic life. Thus in the human constitution we may look upon buddhi as emanating from atman and in turn giving birth to manas, in serial order; or we may look upon all three, atman, buddhi, manas, as acting coordinately and at the same time as the higher triad of man. The first shows their derivation in origin; the second how they cooperate in unitary action.
The triadic life of the solar system expresses itself as Father Sun, our solar system in its entirety being a solar monad of which the sun is the heart. Father Sun is the spiritual part of that heart. It is this threefold spiritual energy which produces the sun; it is not the sun which originates it. The solar divinity, although manifesting through its chain of twelve globes, dwells apart in the heart of each one of them, much as the soul of man dwells apart in the core of the human being.
Father Sun, then, is a convenient expression which adequately describes several points of teaching. Not only does it have direct reference to the solar divinity of our solar system, but it can also be used on certain occasions for what H.P.B. called the "astrological star" of a man:
The star under which a human Entity is born, says the Occult teaching, will remain for ever its star, throughout the whole cycle of its incarnations in one Manvantara. But this is not his astrological star. The latter is concerned and connected with the personality, the former with the INDIVIDUALITY. The "Angel" of that Star, or the Dhyani-Buddha will be either the guiding or simply the presiding "Angel," so to say, in every new rebirth of the monad, which is part of his own essence, though his vehicle, man, may remain for ever ignorant of this fact. —The Secret Doctrine, I, 572-3
The spiritual star, on the other hand, "the star under which a human Entity is born," involves a sublime mystery. It is that particular sun or star in our home-universe or galaxy of which man's divine monad is the offspring, and with which star in consequence the man is connected in most intimate spiritual relations throughout the virtual eternity of the galactic manvantara.
At other times, when speaking of the solar divinity, I have used this term Father Sun in the sense of the peregrinations on the outer rounds of the spiritual monad in, through, and from the solar chain which includes all its globes. Just as the human father contains in his body, as passing through it, the life germ, to become in the proper environment the beginning of the body of the child-to-be, so does the sun receive into itself all the spiritual and indeed other monads in its kingdom (and therefore likewise does globe D of the solar chain, our visible sun), and after due course of time send them forth again to complete their outer rounds along the circulations of the cosmos. Insofar as our sun's visible globe is concerned, these rivers of lives or streams of monads enter it at its north pole and are expelled from its heart through the sunspots.
The heart of Father Sun is a ray of the Absolute, using the word Absolute in the theosophical sense. Father Sun, could it manifest the full influence and power of this divine ray, would indeed have every faculty, every power, that the universe enshrines. Not only Father Sun, but each human being, has this divine ray within, its inner god. In the case of the sun, what we see is but the physical encasement, a ball of cosmic forces, electricity and superelectricity. A sun is also full of psychical and spiritual forces, each according to its own plane, for there is the inner sun and the outer sun.
This solar divinity is the spiritual and intellectual parent of all the numberless hosts of entities throughout the solar system. From it we came in the far, far past; and to it we shall return in the far distant future, when the evolutionary course of our solar system shall approach its term. When the last cosmic moment comes, the entire solar system — gods, monads, and atoms, sun, planets, and the various moons, as they then shall exist — will suddenly vanish as a shadow that passes along a white wall and is seen no more.
The cause of all this is the withdrawal of the vitality from every atomic entity throughout the range of the solar cosmos; and once the vitality is gone, the whole structure falls to pieces, disappears, and the solar system with all its hosts of entities passes into paranirvana. (8) There it will remain until the hour strikes on the cosmic clock for a new solar system to emerge from the womb of Space — the child, the reimbodied entity, the karmic consequence of the solar system that was.
In his treatise On Isis and Osiris (ix), Plutarch, the ancient Greek philosopher, biographer and initiate, at one time priest of the Delphic Apollo, tells us that over the portal of the Temple of Isis in Egypt the following mystical words were engraven in everlasting stone:
[Isis] am I; all that was, all that is, all that ever will be. And no one of mortals has ever discovered my garment.
As will be noticed, our rendering of this famous inscription differs somewhat from the one usually given: ". . . and no mortal has ever lifted my veil." This is an important difference, because it introduces a new significance to the meaning of the Greek phrase, really more close to the deep esoteric sense of this majestic declaration. It is noteworthy that Plutarch ends this inscription after the words "discovered my garment," whereas Proclus, the well-known Neoplatonic philosopher, says that it also contained the further words:
The fruit that I brought forth became the sun. — On the Timaeus of Plato, I, 82 (9)
There are two explanations of this statement. The first is that the eternal wisdom or Sophia, which has always been, now is, and always will be, is the virgin-mother of initiates: a mother always fertile, always bringing forth a constant, uninterrupted series of buddha-like men. This is the ancient wisdom, a wisdom ever enduring, a representation in human terms of the operation, structure, and very nature of the universe — divine, spiritual, astral and physical. Such was the mystic Isis.
What is the fruit that this wisdom is continually yielding by a process of becoming, of growth, of evolving forth what is within? "Sons of the Sun" — a literal truth! For as every human being in the core of his essence is a sun, destined in future aeons to become one of the stellar host besprinkling the spaces of Space, so even from the very first instant when the divine-spiritual monad begins its peregrinations throughout universal Being, it is already a sun in embryo, and is furthermore a child of some other sun that then existed in space. Initiation brings forth in the neophyte this inner, latent, stellar energy from the womb of the virgin-mother, Sophia, the ancient wisdom, who is at once the 'mother,' 'sister,' 'daughter,' and 'wife,' of the man-god whom initiation thus brings to birth. Here is the key to the mystery of the virgin birth.
The second significance of this ancient inscription is the following: Isis, particularly in her more mystical aspect as Neith or Nephthys, is the cosmic akasa, eternally virgin yet ever giving being to the universes which begem the skies. From the deeps of Space — the cosmic akasa, the virgin Isis — are born the suns; for the cosmic goddess-mother of any solar system can truly be made to say: "The fruit that I brought forth became the sun." Such a sun is the seed — even as the acorn is the seed of an oak — for future hosts of solar gods. Osiris is the cosmic spirit in its energic aspect, at once the 'father,' 'brother,' 'husband' and 'son' of the goddess Isis, the other aspect of the cosmic spirit; just as the fiery spirit of life, no matter where it may be, even in a seed, is the impelling force which brings out the evolutionary tendencies lying latent within. Therefore is Osiris called the cosmic seed, and Isis is the divine mother of it.
There is a third way of looking at this profound Egyptian teaching wherein Isis signifies the mystical moon, and the children of the moon are each one of them on the way to becoming a sun.
Every one of us is a child of the sun: from it we issued forth in the far distant aeons of the past, and to it we shall return in the far distant aeons of the future, but will do so as gods. Through initiation, if a man pass successfully the tests, his spirit will wing its way from earth through moon and planets to the portals of the sun, penetrate to its heart, then deeper still into the invisible realms and regions, and return finally to his entranced body, waiting for him, and kept alive by the sublime magic of the Hierarchy of Wisdom and Compassion. For a short time thereafter his face will shine with light, his body with splendor; and this is the meaning of the archaic saying that after the three days' trance the "man's face shone with glory," and he appeared as if he were "clothed with the sun."
Yet in order to pass the portals of the sun we must first learn to pass through the portals of our inner god, our inner spiritual sun. For verily there is a portion of our constitution which is composed of solar substance. How could the spirit-soul of man pass the portals of the sublimest entity of our solar system — pass them self-consciously and with safety — unless that spirit-soul itself were of the same essence and being as that of the sun? Anything inferior to the sun, when approaching it closely, would be annihilated. None can enter the sun who is not already a full-grown child of the sun: of the same essence, of the same quality or substance, and therefore possessing potentially the same titanic energy. We sprang from it, and we shall return to it before our pilgrimage in the solar system is fully complete. Back to it we shall go, and then we shall surrender the solar part of us to the sun from which we received it. In each one of the seven sacred planets, as we wing our way sunwards, we shall leave what we took from it: dust to dust, Moon to Moon, Venus to Venus, Mercury to Mercury, Mars to Mars, Jupiter to Jupiter, Saturn to Saturn, Sun to Sun — and then each one will return to his parent star, a 'parent star' only because that star is HIMSELF.
Section 7, Part 2
Main Table of Contents
1. Cf. The Epinomis, § 6, one of the "doubtful works" of Plato:
"For it is possible to conceive correctly that the whole Sun is larger than the whole earth, and that all the stars, which are borne along, possess a wonderful size. Let us then take into our thoughts what would be the method of any nature in causing so great a bulk to revolve for ever for the same time that it revolves at present. Now I assert that a god would be the cause, and that it could not be possible otherwise." (return to text)
2. Cf. The Secret Doctrine, I, 541. It may be of some slight interest to include here the following passage from the Vishnu-Purana (Bk. II, ch. viii), as it proves conclusively that the ancient Aryans knew the globular form of the earth and taught the heliocentric system. However, it was a secret temple-teaching in their days, and therefore was carefully veiled and often purposely contradicted.
"The sun is stationed, for all time, in the middle of the day, and over against midnight in all the dwipas [continents], Maitreya. But, the rising and the setting of the sun being perpetually opposite to each other, — and, in the same way, all the cardinal points, and so the cross-points, — Maitreya, people speak of the rising of the sun where they see it; and, where the sun disappears, there, to them, is his setting. Of the sun, which is always in one and the same place, there is neither setting nor rising; for what are called rising and setting are only the seeing and the not seeing the sun." (return to text)
3. Cf. Plotinus, On Gnostic Hypostases, ix:
"No one therefore, will admit that light to be the sun, which proceeds from, and shines about it. For this light originates from the sun, and permanently surrounds it; but another light always proceeds from another prior to it, until it arrives as far as to us and the earth. All the light, however, which is about the sun, must be admitted to be situated in something else, in order that there may be no interval void of body after the sun." (return to text)
4. In this connection, the following passage from a little-known ancient work, The Introduction of Alcinous, to the Doctrines of Plato (14), may be of interest:
The Sun is the leader of all, showing and illuminating all things. But the Moon is seen in the second rank, on account of her power; and the other planets proportionally, each according to its own share. Now the Moon makes the measure of a month, after it has completely gone through its own revolution, and overtaken the Sun in such (a time); but the Sun in that of a year. For after it has gone round the circle of the Zodiac, it completes the seasons of the year; while the rest make use singly of their own periodical revolutions, which are beheld, not by ordinary persons, but by the properly instructed. Now from all these revolutions the perfect number and time is completed, when all the planets, after arriving at the same point, obtain such an arrangement, that a straight line being conceived to be let fall from the non-wandering sphere to the earth in the manner of a perpendicular, the centres of all are seen upon that line. There being then seven spheres in the wandering sphere, the deity made seven visible bodies out of a substance, for the most part fire-like, and fitted them to the spheres, formed out of the circle of the different and the wandering. And he placed the Moon in the first circle after the Earth; and the Sun he arranged for the second circle, and Lucifer and the so-called sacred star of Hermes into the circle, which moves with a velocity equal to the Sun, but at a distance from it; and above the rest, (each) in its own sphere, the slowest of them lying under the sphere of the non-wandering, which some call by the name of the star of Saturn; and that, which is the next after it in slowness, by the name of Jupiter, under which is that of Mars. But in the eighth the power, which is above, is thrown around them all. And all these are living intellectual beings, and gods, and of a spherical form. — Cf. The Works of Plato, Vol VI, translated by George Burges (return to text)
5. Cf. Virgil, Aeneid, VI, 893-6:
"Two gates there are of sleep, of which the one is of horn, whence easy exit is given to the true shades, but the other shining in white ivory; thence the Manes send deceiving dreams skywards."
Also Homer, Odyssey, XIX, 560 et seq.:
"Stranger, verily dreams are hard, and hard to be discerned; nor are all things therein fulfilled for men. Twain are the gates of shadowy dreams, the one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Such dreams as pass through the portals of sawn ivory are deceitful, and bear tidings that are unfulfilled. But the dreams that come forth through the gates of polished horn bring a true issue, whosoever of mortals beholds them." (return to text)
6. There are certain currents which flow more strongly or with greater volume at night, and others do so during the day. These currents affect man very little indeed when he is standing, for then he is awake; his body is highly charged with the magnetic energies flowing forth from within his own being, from the manasic and astral-vital vehicles of his constitution, and these are powerful enough during the day to offset — not neutralize — the solar currents as these follow their pathways around the earth.
At night things are very different. The body as a rule is tired and its individual magnetic energy is greatly reduced. Consequently the body is much more subject to the solar electromagnetic currents of energy. That is why it is best to sleep with the head towards the north or northeast, so that the body may be in corresponding polarity of circulation with the magnetism of the earth as it passes from pole to pole. The head is the positive pole and the feet form the negative pole, just as the north pole of the earth is positive and the south pole negative. (return to text)
7. Even the famous Church Father Origen speaks of the Holy Spirit as being feminine, when saying:
Paidiske de kypias tou hagiou Pneumatos he psyche.
The soul is handmaiden to her mistress, the Holy Spirit.
Another illustration is found in the now lost Gospel of the Hebrews (cf. The Lost and Hostile Gospels by Rev. S. Baring-Gould, London, 1874, pp. 130-1), probably one of the first ever written by Christian hands, extracts from which have survived in the writings of Origen and Jerome. This particular passage is quoted by Origen and runs as follows:
Arti elabe me he meter mou to hagion pneuma, hen mia ton trichon mou, kai anenenke me eis to horos to mega thabor.
Straightway my mother the Holy Spirit took me in one of my hairs and bore me to the great mountain Thabor. — Homily xv, on Jeremiah and on John.
Similarly Jerome, another Church Father, wrote (Micheas, vii, 6):
Modo tulit me mater mea Spiritus Sanctus in uno capillorum meorum.
Then my mother the Holy Spirit took me in one of my hairs. (return to text)
8. When scientific thinkers speculate on the alleged dying sun, and wonder when it will be extinguished through loss of heat, as they think, they might find a hint or two in the words of H.P.B.:
"No, we say; no, while there is one man left on the globe, the sun will not be extinguished. Before the hour of the 'Solar Pralaya' strikes on the watch-tower of Eternity, all the other worlds of our system will be gliding in their spectral shells along the silent paths of Infinite Space. Before it strikes, Atlas, the mighty Titan, the son of Asia and the nursling of Aether, will have dropped his heavy manvantaric burden and — died; the Pleiades, the bright seven Sisters, will have upon awakening hiding Sterope [Merope] to grieve with them — to die themselves for their father's loss. And, Hercules, moving off his left leg, will have to shift his place in heavens and erect his own funeral pile. Then only, surrounded by the fiery element breaking through the thickening gloom of the Pralayan twilight, will Hercules, expiring amidst a general conflagration, bring on likewise the death of our Sun: he will have unveiled by moving off the 'CENTRAL SUN' — the mysterious, the ever-hidden centre of attraction of our Sun and System. Fables? Mere poetical fiction? Yet, when one knows that the most exact sciences, the greatest mathematical and astronomical truths went forth into the world among the hoi polloi sent out by the initiated priests, the Hierophants of the sanctum sanctorum of the old temples, under the guise of religious fables, it may not be amiss to search for universal truths even under the patches of fiction's harlequinade." — The Theosophist, Sept. 1883, p. 301 (return to text)
9. The Greek text for the quotation from Plutarch is as follows:
Isis ego eimi pan to gegonos kai on kai esomenon kai ton emon peplon oudeis po thnetos apekalyspen.
And for the additional phrase reported by Proclus:
On ego karpon etekon helios egeneto. (return to text)