Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
These Portals lead the aspirant across the waters on "to the other shore."
Each Portal hath a golden key that openeth its gate; and these keys are: —
1. DANA, the key of charity and love immortal.
2. SHILA, the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action.
3. KSHANTI, patience sweet, that nought can ruffle.
4. VIRAG, indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived.
5. VIRYA, the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal TRUTH, out of the mire of lies terrestrial.
6. DHYANA, whose golden gate once opened leads the Narjol [Naljor] toward the realm of Sat eternal and its ceaseless contemplation.
7. PRAJNA, the key to which makes of a man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva, son of the Dhyanis.
Such to the Portals are the golden keys. — H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, pp. 47-8
THE MAIN text that we shall have to consider this evening is that on page 207 of volume I of The Secret Doctrine, which has already been read twice, the part dealing with the "ever-living-human-Banyan." As our studies will also include a paragraph on page 424 of the same volume, this latter I shall read. It opens section xii, "The Theogony of the Creative Gods":
To thoroughly comprehend the idea underlying every ancient cosmology necessitates the study, in a comparative analysis, of all the great religions of antiquity; as it is only by this method that the root idea will be made plain. Exact science — could the latter soar so high, while tracing the operations of nature to their ultimate and original sources — would call this idea the hierarchy of Forces. The original, transcendental and philosophical conception was one. But as systems began to reflect with every age more and more the idiosyncrasies of nations; and as the latter, after separating, settled into distinct groups, each evolving along its own national or tribal groove, the main idea gradually became veiled with the overgrowth of human fancy. While in some countries the FORCES, or rather the intelligent Powers of nature, received divine honours they were hardly entitled to, in others — as now in Europe and the civilized lands — the very thought of any such Force being endowed with intelligence seems absurd, and is proclaimed unscientific.
Now then, first, has it ever occurred to us to consider, to ask, why the doctrines which we have been studying for the past months have always been held so secret? There are three general reasons for this, two rather, the third being a corollary of the second. The first is that these teachings have from time immemorial been considered the noble reward, the sublime reward, for those who give themselves heart and soul and irretrievably to the Teachers and to the terrestrial-celestial body that they represent. That is the less reason for the silence. The greater is the following, that these doctrines from their very nature being so abstruse, so subtil that our poor minds of matter find difficulty in comprehending them, would almost of necessity be misunderstood without a preliminary training and education. It requires literally years of study and training to bring the mind into such a state that it can receive these glorious teachings, these sublime doctrines that we have been studying, with some modicum at least of intelligent comprehension. If they were given out to the world indiscriminately, what would be the consequence? Intuitive but otherwise untrained minds would worship the Teachers, Masters, as gods; or the stupid heads in the multitudes would persecute them and try to do them to death as "devils," were they to appear publicly and openly live among men. And a third party of the public, the skeptics, would deride, would mock, not only the Teachers themselves but their holy message.
These rules of secrecy are based on natural law, and on a keen understanding of the workings of the human mind. These doctrines were formulated in the dawn of time by giant intellects, and by godlike minds. He indeed must be blind and perverse of will who can look upon them after study and close examination as speculations or as mere theorizings. What a compliment was paid to H. P. Blavatsky by those who in their blind ignorance said that she had invented them! Think of what that means, what a wonderful woman, according to them, she must have been! And obviously, the truth is the direct contrary. Did she ever claim that they were originated and formulated by her? No; from the beginning she said: "I am but a voice speaking for Those who sent me."
These reservations of secrecy, caution, and prudence, are not the singular and otherwise unknown rule of the trans-Himalayan school to which we belong. They were the invariable rule of all the great Mystery Schools of past times. Even in the latest of the exoteric faiths, in the Christian religion, you find the same thing, and conceived in words, by the way, which are as unkind as it is possible to put them in — almost cruel in the haughty reserve that they signify. Yet they are not so when properly understood. I refer to certain warnings uttered by the mythical Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount; and remember, that Sermon is prefaced by the words of explanation that he went up onto a hill in order to escape from the crowds thronging and pressing him, when he then called his disciples and delivered unto them the so-called Sermon on the Mount, evidently a Mystery-teaching. More of this hid meaning we shall point out this evening. But here are the words:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. — Matthew, 7:6-8
It is extremely doubtful if the real Jesus, the center around whom were collected the legends of the Mystery-figure Jesus, ever used language of that kind; but it represents the spirit of esotericism and is a true echo of the esoteric methods of the Near East, leaving the framework of the words aside. It shows the immense prudence and caution that always surrounded the giving out of any part of the ancient Mystery-teachings. From immemorial time was it always so.
And, another thing. The penalty for betrayal of the Mysteries, in later times, was death. Never in any circumstances has the power or the force of the Lodge, has the hand of a Teacher, been raised in violence or in hatred against a betrayer, against the unfaithful, no matter how grave the crime might have been. Their punishment was in this: they were left strictly to themselves; and the inner penalty was the withdrawal of the Deathless Watcher, the higher self within, which had been consciously and successfully invoked upon entrance into the Mysteries, and in the higher degrees of initiation had been faced, literally face to face. The early and automatic penalty was inner death by the soul-loss. The betrayer lost his soul. Let me tell you further, in passing, that practically all the civil institutions of ancient times, punishments among others, were based upon what took place in the Mystery Schools. Such, for instance, was the crucifixion of the Romans, taken direct from one of the ceremonies of initiation, the "mystic death"; taken from it, stolen from it, and made an instrument of legal murder by the State in later, degenerate times. Another instance, also taken from the ceremony of the mystic death was the "cup," in India the Soma draft. In Greece we find Socrates punished by drinking from the cup of hemlock; and we are reminded of Jesus, praying that the "cup" might pass from him. Numerous other very different instances could be cited.
Similarly in Egypt and in other countries, when the periods of spiritual barrenness, of which Plato tells us, had succeeded the periods of spiritual fertility; when those periods came upon the world the State then undertook to punish in its own name the betrayal of the Mysteries, which by those times had become merely a State institution and nothing much else, merely a part of the religious establishment. Two or three instances have come down to us so far as Athens in Greece alone is concerned. One was Socrates, 5th-4th century BC, who unwittingly betrayed some of the secrets of the Mysteries; and despite his innocence of conscious wrongdoing, they unwillingly killed that great man. Another was the philosopher-poet Diagoras, 5th century BC, who was accused of impiety, of so-called atheism, and who fled from Athens. A third was the dramatist-poet Aeschylus, 5th century BC, who had to flee to Italy in order to escape death. He was accused on the same grounds, of what was called profanation or impiety.
Another instance which we might mention, of a quite different type, is that of the wearing of a crown or a diadem by civil rulers, formally enacted in the coronation of a king — a ceremony adopted from the Mysteries. Some of the earliest crowns which they wore had outstanding spikes, reminding one of the crown of thorns of Jesus; or it may have been in the form of the Greek diadem, representing, in Greece, the crown of the central and west and northwest parts of Europe. As just hinted, this also was a symbol of one of the ceremonies of one of the stages of initiations, a ceremony signifying what occurred when the one undergoing trial was in a state of samadhi, as the Hindus say, and his head was surrounded with a glory or aura radiating from the brain like the spikes of the early crown, in which state, also, a nimbus or aura surrounded the body as well as the head, but far less strongly.
Now we embark more particularly upon our main theme. It will be recalled that we have been studying from the time these meetings were inaugurated about a year ago the so-called seven treasures or jewels, and we are now studying certain aspects of the seventh or highest, more especially in its relation to the Wondrous Being, called the Great Initiator, the Lonely Watcher, the Silent Witness, and by other such names. And we called attention last week to certain of the analogies which our own human life bore to the kosmic Wondrous Being — for instance, particularly the analogy of the infinitesimals, the lives infinitesimal, living in and upon the kosmoi or universes comprised in our own physical body, the atomic infinitesimals, and how our personal self was the supreme self of that host of those almost innumerable atoms; that it was the self which held that infinitesimally immense kosmos together, and permeated all in it, and reached through all in it, like a mystic fire. And we also pointed out how, nevertheless, each one of those atoms, being a universe in itself, had its own entire hierarchy, its own series of ten degrees or stages, counting from its own supreme, its own Parabrahman and Mulaprakriti, down to its own "absolute matter."
Similarly, our own universal kosmos can be considered as an imbodied soul or rather self, made up of almost innumerable kosmic atoms or solar and planetary bodies, living with numberless companions on the face of the Boundless. We began to have some intelligent comprehension from this study of the self, how, in a sense, the One might become the many, yet remaining forever the One, merely calling it the One because it is the summit or SELF of that most great hierarchy which our imaginations can attain to. But beyond its boundaries there are innumerable other such Ones, and beyond all such Ones, there are innumerable hosts of infinitely greater Ones; and so ad infinitum! The best way by which to represent the Boundless, in which they all move and live and have their being, is by the age-old symbol of the zero — limitless boundlessness.
That symbol is remarkable also in another respect, that it so clearly and beautifully exemplifies the teaching of the Void, the Emptiness, called in Buddhism sunyata, meaning the "empty," the "void." It is really extraordinary how our Western scholars will misunderstand and therefore misrepresent these things. They are such literalists that they will take a word and drive that word to literal death. They take the form of the thought, the body, and see little or nothing of the soul behind it. They seem to have no realization of the mystic meaning behind this wondrous thought, the Void, the Emptiness.
Do you remember that in a former study we spoke of a medieval mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux in France, who said that the state a student of mysticism should aspire to was that of emptying himself, utterly casting out everything that was personal or limiting, everything that was bound and finite? Such a state of mind lets the free winds of infinity blow through one, as it were!
Let us pause a moment over this. The Void is a symbol of the Boundless; hence, it is everything because it is no thing. "No-thing," if you like. Not "nothing" in the Christian theological sense, but no thing, no manifestation. It is not a consciousness, because it is all consciousness, which is unconsciousness in every personal and limited sense; consciousness is a human term. Yet it is not unconsciousness, because it is all unconsciousness of any personal or limited sense, and unconsciousness is a human term. It is both the limited and the illimitable time, and eternity; everything and therefore no thing. Call it by anything and you limit it. It is that which IS and WAS and in the utter eternity ever shall BE. And because it is nothing finite, because it is not a thing, because it is not one, or two, or three, but beyond all numeration; because it is beyond all human thought and similitude and comparison and expression, it is called that which the human mind reaches when it opens to its utmost for an abstraction, the Void, which is likewise utter Fullness.
Our study this evening calls to us to move forward. Each one of our studies lately has been dealing with very difficult subjects; and each one, if properly understood, means a great stride forward for us along the esoteric path. Tonight, let us be more particular in our remarks.
These seven treasures, then, represent in doctrinal form the seven stages of initiation. We are told that there are ten stages or degrees of initiation, which means that there are three more than the above named seven of these treasures. But we need not consider these three others. They are utterly beyond our capacity. They belong, we are told, to beings who have advanced so far beyond us that they can no longer truly be called human entities, although they do belong to our planetary chain by reason of past evolutionary karma.
Each stage or degree of initiation after the third of the seven, we are taught, is marked by something more than teaching. The first three initiations, or stages or degrees in initiation, are composed of teachings. With the fourth degree, there begins another method. What is this method?
It is one of the fundamental teachings of occultism that nothing can be truly known which is not experienced, lived through. As a matter of fact, we all know this, as it is common experience. One of the so-called laws of our being, one of the fundamental conditions of our human nature is this, that thoroughly to know a thing, thoroughly to enter into it, thoroughly to understand it, you must be it, you must become it. You cannot tread the Path until you become and are that Path. Thus, therefore, the different stages or degrees of initiation are really a kind of forcing-process for certain chosen spirits, certain chosen souls, who have proved themselves worthy: a "forcing" or developing-process enabling them through actual experience, individual experience, to pass through and realize the hid secrets of being which the slow processes of evolutionary development would have brought to them as the ages rolled by. It is, in fact, a quickening or awakening of the man to inner knowledge and power. These different stages or degrees of initiation are marked by preparatory purifications, first. Then came the "death," a mystic death. The body and lower principles, so to say, are paralyzed, and the soul is temporarily freed. And, to a certain extent, the freed inner man is guided and directed and helped by the initiators while it passes into other spheres and to other planes and learns the nature of these by becoming them, which is the only way by which knowledge thereof roots itself into the soul, into the ego: by becoming the thing.
The initiant is one undergoing initiation — and remember that initiation means "beginning"; an initiant is a "beginner," while a person initiated, an initiate, is one who has begun an undertaking. Please also note that adept means one who is "skilled"; hence, even in our ordinary life, a chemist, a physician, a theologian, a mechanic, an engineer, a teacher of languages, an astronomer, are all "adepts," persons who are skilled, each in his own profession. Those two words have, generally speaking, the same meaning also in the Esoteric School: an Adept is one who is skilled in the esoteric wisdom, in the teachings of life; and an initiant is one who is beginning to learn them. To say that you and I are beginners, i.e., initiants, is merely stating the obvious truth. It is likewise a convenient word, for it tells you nothing definite as to degree or stage; it is a generalization. Hence one could properly ask: "beginning where and what?" I may be at the bottom rung of the ladder of initiation, and you may be at the top; yet each one of us is beginning, for progress is endless.
Let us then closely examine all these or any other similar statements, for our own sakes. We are taught strictly to examine, strictly to search into, everything that is told us; to awaken ourselves to the realization of things, to live the life, to be it, to become it; for such is the old teaching of uncounted ages gone by.
Now the passage from The Secret Doctrine to which we have alluded this evening and which forms our main theme at present, in which H. P. Blavatsky speaks of the "ever-living-human-Banyan," refers also to the arhats (a Sanskrit word meaning "worthies") who belong to the seventh rung of the spiritual-psychological hierarchy, being only one remove from the root-base of their hierarchy, which is the Wondrous Being of our present study, therefore on the eighth plane of the ten composing that hierarchy. There is a still greater and more Wondrous Being on the ninth plane; the highest of all, the summit of all, is on the tenth.
Let us make a step still farther forward. We are taught that at the fifth initiation, part of the wonderful experience that the initiant of that degree must go through is that, after due and sufficient preparation and purification of the lower self and of the soul within, the one under trial in the mystic path meets his higher self, his own inner god, face to face for "a passing moment." Woe unto him if there be anything in him which cannot support the trial! The warnings given to us in this respect are solemn indeed. The Deathless Watcher knows all, and accepts no excuses. Those who fail have indeed another chance in another life, or in other lives; but no base metal either now or then can be accepted in this dread test. The inner nature must be pure gold tried in the fire, nothing counterfeit, nothing that is weak and will break or fail when the test comes upon it. You must then be fully ready to take your place in the Guardian Wall; no weakling can stand there.
We are further told that in the sixth degree, instead of one's own higher self, the initiant meets another One, a matter which we will tonight pass over in silence. And in the seventh degree, the same proceeding takes place as part of the mystic death, and the aspirant — can we say "meets face to face"? no, he becomes for a passing moment the Wondrous Watcher himself; and either returns among men as a ------, or vanishes and is seen no more. In the former case, he knows, because he has become!
We have spoken tonight of the Christian mythos. We deliberately have chosen this term, for truly it is a mythos. The entire story of Jesus as it is given in the so-called Gospels is a Mystery-story. No such man or being as the Jesus of the Gospels ever lived. Remember what a mythos is. It is a tale or allegory imbodying some secret truth. In this case, it is the story of the Mysteries partly told in symbol and allegory, partly told with some degree of later ignorant embroidery; but, as a whole, representing almost, as it were picturing, what took place in the Mysteries of Asia Minor. The manner and style of narrative, in all such cases, depended upon the national custom of celebrating them, and on the cast of mind of the peoples among whom such or another scheme or system of initiation prevailed. But the Jesus of the Gospels is a Mystery-figure only: a composite figure based on mystical teaching. Undoubtedly there did exist a young Syrian initiate of that time, around whom were grouped these various tales and stories taken more or less bodily from the Mystery Schools of Asia Minor and especially of Alexandria; because Alexandrian mysticism is the main origin of theological Christianity, for in that city it had its rise theologically. This Syrian initiate, probably a young Jewish rabbi, was possibly actually called Yeshua, Iesous in Greek, Jesus in Latin. The Hebrew word yeshua` itself means "savior," and the later Christians of course seized upon this name — or later conferred it upon their supposed founder — and wove a mystical tale about his name, thus symbolizing his mission on earth as a "savior." We all know the Christian tale. But from the very beginning of it as the Gospels give it: from the story of the Magi following the star, to the mystical death by crucifixion, and the rising again on the third day from the tomb, it is nothing but a copy, more or less denatured and faded and poorly woven together, of great actual Mysteries, the Mysteries of some of the ceremonies of initiation, of which the earliest Christians certainly had some knowledge (see Origen and Clement of Alexandria, for instance). But the story in its various imperfections shows clearly that it is only a feebly constructed allegory, or mythos, of actual initiatory occurrences.
Apollonius of Tyana, the Greek, was probably as noble a character as was the Syrian Yeshua, or Jesus. Jesus is merely the Roman form of the name. We read of the marvels of Apollonius of Tyana, of his works and life, in the mystic "Life" written by Philostratus. But Apollonius is a historical character, and Jesus is not. The story of Apollonius is an interesting one. We read of his "vanishing away" before Domitian, when he was on trial before that eccentric and severe monarch; and much more. Why was it that Jesus was said to have been "crucified"? But he was not actually crucified. It is a Mystery-story, as I have said; and not necessarily a Jewish Mystery-story, nor a Greek Mystery-story. Each nation had its own Mysteries, greatly resembling one another, but varying in detail; but in all, there was always the "mystical death"; there was always the "descent into hades" or "hell"; there was always the "resurrection," the rising, usually after "three days"; and the "glorification" at the end of the trial.
Very many of the things that occurred in the Mysteries were taken over into civil functions of the State, and they thus formed the types of many institutions in civil life in ancient times. The king and his ministers or servants, as officers or functionaries of the State, were taken over from the ancient Mysteries, as copies of the teacher and his disciples or officials. This is one reason (of two reasons) why the ancients wrote of their divine dynasties of primeval times; and on this also was originally founded the idea of the "divine right of kings" — in later ages so greatly misunderstood and abused. Why, the very calendars of the ancient nations were based upon the same thing: they were derived, taken over, from the Mysteries. Originally, they were based on actual astrological truths, real knowledge of time periods; and later were misunderstood and misapplied.
For instance, have you realized that the Christian commemorative holy days of Good Friday, and Easter three days later, are practically the same thing as the winter solstice of December 21-22, and Christmas, December 25, three days later? Both are based on the same original idea of the mystic death, and the birth or resurrection three days later of the "unconquered Sun," exemplified in the "death" and "resurrection" of the successful neophyte in the Mysteries three days later! Why was it, I ask you, that the Christians adopted both the ancient pagan festival of the winter solstice, and the ancient pagan resurrection-mythos, and made an Easter out of the latter — one being the alleged anniversary of their Jesus' birth (Christmas), and the latter the anniversary of his "resurrection"? Because they wanted very much to connect and bind together their newfangled religion with the personality of the great Jewish prophet or initiate later called Jesus; and, at the same time, to connect him with the archaic Mystery-teachings of the School of Wisdom. Now, as the Jewish or rather Syrian festival took place in the month of the spring equinox, or rather on the day of the full moon following the spring equinox, they copied the ancient Mysteries again here, as follows: they, as it were, severed the symbol into two parts, and called one Christmas, commemorating the birth of the physical body of their supposed Jesus; and the other part they called resurrection, or Easter, commemorating the "birth" of the transcending Christos. It was a curious tour de force, as the French say, a curious feat of "mystical gymnastics," as Katherine Tingley so neatly puts it. But, and please mark this, these two dates were actually in very truth closely connected in the ancient Mysteries, and very much in the line the Christians followed!
Now, if you take the mystic calendar that guardedly we spoke of last week, it is remarkable how it fits in with the Mystery-teachings connected with this Wondrous Being, the Great Initiator. As to the article in Lucifer (January 1890) referred to, in which H. P. Blavatsky speaks of the date which the esotericists should call the New Year, i.e., January 4th — does anyone really think that she meant that January 4th per se has any especially magical or mystical properties or influences? No; she did not. Our calendar-day for January 4th is a date of a purely mechanical calendar, with nothing mystical or hid in it at all. If we were to fall into a period of universal ignorance such as the Mediterranean nations fell into after Christianity became powerful, we should forget even how to take care of our merely mechanical calendar, and find ourselves unable to make it conform to the changing seasons. We should then be in the same troubled case as the European peoples were in, in the sixteenth century, when Pope Gregory XIII had certain contemporary mathematicians reform the old Julian calendar because of the disorder it had fallen into through the pure ignorance of Gregory's predecessors. They did not know how to intercalate the necessary days at the proper time, and in February 1582, when the Julian calendar was reformed by Papal Bull or Edict, they were eleven to twelve days behind the true year. Similar was the case when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in the year 47 BC, only much worse, for owing to political machinations, doubtless, of the different Pontifices Maximi, the calendar of the Romans, as I remarked last week, had fallen so far behind the natural year of the seasons that the calendar January the first fell on what was really October 13th, according to nature; and the calendar winter solstice, December 21st or 22nd, fell on October 3rd, or thereabouts; and if Caesar had not corrected the growing disorder and confusion, the constant loss of the days through wrong or omitted intercalations would have let the calendar year fall continually backwards all through the natural year, perhaps. So you see that when speaking of H. P. Blavatsky and the astrological calendar, most certainly we do not mean merely the mechanical calendar of common use; nor did H. P. Blavatsky mean it. But she meant a date depending upon real astrological facts.
Remember that astronomy is merely the mechanical aspect of true, ancient astrology and, for that reason, astronomy deals only with the positions, movements, and physical conceptions of planetary and solar and stellar bodies. It is in real fact merely one branch of the ancient astrology, a sublime science of the celestial bodies, and we do not mean what modern writers miscall astrology — a paper-science at best. We have spoken sufficiently strongly against such a misconception at other meetings.
Now our real year, our mystic year, is quite a different one from the civil or ordinary chronological year. The civil chronological year could begin on the true date of the winter solstice, that is to say, on the day and moment when the sun is farthest south, and just as it begins its journey northwards again. That is one of the natural periods of time and season division; and it is also an astrological time period, if we wish to form a time cycle, but with one important change. Now what would be that astrological cycle? We could start our civil year at the winter solstice when the moon is new. But fourteen days after the true solstice or on what is now January 4th, according to our present calendar, the moon is full; and that day opens under the control of the planet Mercury or Hermes, the particular leader, guide, and director, of initiations and the Teachers. This is the case, mark well, when that planet is in inferior conjunction at sunrise; or more particularly when Sun, Mercury, Earth, and Moon are all in syzygy — all along a straight line — Mercury being between Sun and Earth, and the Moon full. The planet Mercury then controls the first hour of the 14th day after the winter solstice; but that solstice must concur with the new moon, and Mercury on that 14th day afterwards must be in inferior conjunction at sunrise. The 14th day (January 4th) is then a true "Wednesday" or Mercury-day. Thus opens the cycle. How long that cycle lasts, I have not had opportunity to investigate. Our astronomers here can work it out. But thus we should have two years: one for what we may call the civil year (fundamentally an astrological year) for the purposes of civil chronology, by which ordinary time would be reckoned; and the Budhic-cycle year. The civil year would then begin with the day of the winter solstice, let us say December 21-22, in the night between December 21st and 22nd. The next day therefore would be the first day of the first month of the new civil year; but our mystic year, our Budhic year, would begin fourteen days after that at full moon, on a true Wednesday or Budha-day.
We turn now to another matter, which is of real importance. I refer to the diagram which was discussed somewhat at our last meeting, and which we then had no time to explain in detail.
This paradigm, this symbol, can refer either to man, or mutatis mutandis to the universe of any full hierarchy, it matters not which hierarchy. Note then, first, that we have at the top of the diagram the archetypal world, which is the root or seed, if we look upon it as the origin or commencement of things, as the locus of the initiation of kosmic evolution and progress; or which is the flower, the end, the consummation of things, if we look upon it as the full-blown flower of the kosmic evolutionary cycle. It may be divided into three planes, so to say, forming the highest triad or divine triad; the second of these planes is called the Paramatman or supreme self. The first plane represents the Parabrahman, with its field of Mulaprakriti; this highest triad, as represented, applies to any hierarchy — this hierarchy, that hierarchy, any hierarchy, as this paradigm is representative of all. The Paramatman likewise represents the First or Unmanifested Logos. The third plane, or lowest of the triad, represents the Third or Manifested Logos, or Brahma-Purusha-Prakriti. Then, following the diagram downwards, we reach the seven principles and elements in manifestation, formed of the three quasi-arupa or formless planes, and of the four rupa planes, or planes of form. The egg-shaped envelope of the hierarchy is divided into these seven planes, if you please, and six centers of consciousness with their inseparable six vehicles or "souls." The vertical line running up and down through the egg represents the indwelling self: that self which in you and me and in all is One; that which in all of us says "I am." It does not differ in you or in me, for it is One, the universal self of the hierarchy. But what is it in you and me or in anyone which says "I am I, not you" — that which is self-consciousness? That is the ego, the "I," but not the self, for the self is beyond and outside of all such limitation of consciousness. It recognizes no distinction between Thee and Me.
You remember the beautiful Sufi legend, how the Soul, wandering in search of truth, came finally to the House of God and knocked at the portal. Then in answer to the knock, thunder reverberated through the spaces of Heaven, and God called out: "Who art thou?" And the Soul replied: "I." And God answered: "I know not I." Then the Soul wandered again for many ages in tribulation and sorrow, and finally it came anew, and once more knocked at the portal of the House of God. And the voice of God called out and said: "Who art thou?" And the Soul replied: "Thou." And the voice of God then answered and said: "Enter into thine own, for we are One." No distinction there between I and Thou — a beautiful legend imbodying one of the profoundest concepts of the ancient wisdom.
Further, we have attempted to represent paradigmatically the decreasing consciousness, understanding, power, potency, force, expansion, comprehension, by the six circles gradually decreasing in size downwards, along the central line representing the self. It is impossible to represent adequately on a flat surface a purely metaphysical subject; but our wish in so doing is to show that the higher the circle or sphere is, the more spiritual the sphere or center is; the larger and the more comprehending it is in both quality and potency, not necessarily in magnitude. Further, we have attempted to show the increasing materiality in these centers or spheres as they go farther downwards, by thicker and thicker shading of these centers in the diagram. The highest center is the divine soul or monadic envelope. It is the first or highest vehicle of the atman; and as an egoic center it is the divine ego. The next one downwards is the spiritual soul or the individual monad. This, and the one above it, combined, are the inner Christ; and corresponding to the spiritual soul or individual monad is the jivatman or spiritual ego. It is that portion of our spiritual economy which is deathless as an individualized ego; deathless until the end of the maha-manvantara of the solar system. When the solar pralaya arrives in the grand fullness of time, there comes a moment, a final instant which is the utter completion or consummation of all things in that system; and in the twinkling of an eye, literally, and instantly, all the planets and the sun itself are "blown out," as it were. The last one of all manifested beings has at that instant gone to higher planes; and there being nothing whatsoever left to hold physical matter together anywhere within the solar system, that system immediately falls to pieces and vanishes away (as I have said before) like an instantaneous shadow passing over a wall.
The second center is comprised of buddhi, both the fruit and the seed of manas. This is the center or seed or root or base of the reincarnating ego. Then below it comes in our diagram the higher human soul, composed of the lower buddhi and the higher manas, with the self permeating it, as said above. Corresponding to it as egoic center is the bhutatman, explained at our last meeting, otherwise the human ego. Next comes the human soul or man: this is formed of manas, kama, prana, and the egoic center corresponding to it is the pranatman, or the personal ego, which is mortal.
There is no abiding principle from and including this, downwards; no abiding principle in "man" whatsoever. The next below is the beast soul, or the vital-astral soul, the kama-prana; its quasi-egoic center being the beast ego, if you like: that elementary principle of egoship in the beast which holds it together during its existence. Our teachings do give to every animate thing a soul; not a human soul or a divine soul or a spiritual soul, but a soul corresponding to its type. What it is, what its type is, comes from its soul; hence we properly may speak of the different beasts as having, one or the other, a duck soul, an ostrich soul, a bull or a cow soul, a chicken soul, or a nightingale soul, and so on. The lower entities, considered as a kingdom, are differentiated into these different families of animate beings by the different souls within each; and of course behind the soul from which it springs, there are in each individual entity all the other principles that likewise inform man. But all the higher principles are latent in the beast. That is why man belongs to another — the human kingdom, for there is in him the buddhi principle more or less active. Manas springs forth from the buddhi as the fruit from the flower; but manas itself is mortal, goes to pieces at death. All of it that lives after death is only what is spiritual in it, and that can be squeezed out of it, so to say. H.P.B. calls it the aroma of the manas, much as the chemist takes from the rose the attar or essence of roses.
The last is the physical "soul" or body: the sthula-sarira, the gross body, prana, and the linga-sarira.
We have spoken before of the lost soul as being at one pole, and of the Master at the other pole, of consciousness. It is between the higher human soul and the human soul (or man proper) that lies the psychological frontier over which one must pass forwards or upwards, backwards or downwards; into regeneration or degeneration. If you go upwards and continue to go upwards or rather inwards — please remember that we are obliged to use human language in all such descriptions; we actually do not go up in space; it is quality that we are speaking of, the refining of the quality of the human ego, the penetrating, the breaking into, as it were, of the final sheaths of our inner being that makes the distinction — if we continue to go upwards or inwards, we attain finally to Masterhood. But, contrariwise, if we go downwards, if our egoic soul-quality wholly deteriorates, then at last we lose the ego-center, the soul-center which, divorced from its upper life-thread, is dissipated and, as said, is at last annihilated. There is the case of a lost soul at one pole of consciousness, and of the Master at the other pole. When mortality becomes immortality, when the corruptible becomes the incorruptible, then do we attain to full and complete conscious Masterhood — a lord of life.
As said before, when the conscious center which we now are is given over to full attraction or gravitation towards matter, the momentum increases with time and use and, through attrition as it were, that part of us where our egoic consciousness then resides, called soul, is worn away and finally vanishes. It is wiped out, annihilated; nothing is left of it. It sinks into the Eighth Sphere, the Planet of Death, where it meets finally its fearful fate. As to the monadic (the spiritual) essence of our being, it then has to evolve a new conscious center or egoic vehicle for future reincarnations. That is where the seriousness of this thing comes in. It has to develop or evolve the new soul-center, the new egoic center, in order to take up again the link in the series of lives; and it may be that in certain circumstances ages upon ages may pass before the newly evolved vehicle of monadic consciousness is able to make up the lost time and opportunities. In the meanwhile, the racial life-wave has swept far along the pathway of destiny; leaving the "failures" far in the rear.
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