Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Chapter Twenty-Seven

The Two Fundamental Kosmical Hierarchies: Matter and Spirit-Consciousness. Chaos-Theos-Kosmos: Gods-Monads-Atoms.

There are, assuredly, two forms of Brahma: the formed and the formless. Now, that which is the formed is unreal; that which is the formless is real, is Brahma, is light.

That light is the same as the sun [the spiritual sun, not our visible sun which is only a reflection, a veil, a form].

Verily, that came to have Om as its soul (atman). He divided himself (atmanam) threefold. Om is three prosodial units (a+u+m). By means of these "the whole world is woven, warp and woof, across Him." — Maitri-Upanishad, 6, 3 (Hume, trans.)

An exuberance of power is always present with the highest causes, and at the same time that this power transcends all things, it is equally present with all with unimpeded energy. Hence, conformably to this, the first illuminate the last of things, and immaterial are present with material natures immaterially. Nor should it be considered by any one as wonderful, if we say that there is a certain pure and divine matter. For matter being generated by the father and demiurgus of wholes, receives a perfection adapted to itself, in order to its becoming the receptacle of the Gods. At the same time nothing prevents more excellent beings from being able to impart their light to subordinate natures. Neither, therefore, is matter separated from the participation of better causes; so that such matter as is perfect, pure, and boniform, is not unadapted to the reception of the Gods. For, since it is requisite that terrestrial natures should by no means be destitute of divine communion, the earth also receives a certain divine portion from it, sufficient for the participation of the Gods. — Iamblichus, On the Mysteries, pp. 265-6 (Thomas Taylor, trans.)

IT IS NEARLY fifty years since H. P. Blavatsky brought theosophy to us — nearly half a century has passed, and those of us who have had the opportunity of studying it during that period, or at least during part of it, realize the great changes that have taken place in the thought of the world, changes such that we can only ascribe them to the spiritual impulses given to the world by H. P. Blavatsky, and those behind her.

At the close of our study this evening we shall point to a number of facts, showing how this great theosophist, penetrating the secrets of the ancient wisdom, foreshadowed, prophesied, if you like, some of the greatest of the scientific discoveries, so called, that have been made during these last fifty years.

These are real revolutions in thought, and it is only just that we should place the merit where the merit is due, for there is no other cause of such revolutions — which are not merely still taking place, but which have hardly yet reached their maximum — than the work done by H. P. Blavatsky, and the spiritual impulse which she brought into the world at that time.

We open our study this evening by reading once again the latter part of what we read at our last study from The Secret Doctrine, volume I, pages 638-9, as follows:

The closer the approach to one's Prototype, "in Heaven," the better for the mortal whose personality was chosen, by his own personal deity (the seventh principle), as its terrestrial abode. For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with that "Self-god," one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that supersedes the first, until, from ray to ray, the inner man is drawn into the one and highest beam of the Parent-SUN.

Two fundamental lines of thought, we trust, have been brought out in our studies with at least sufficient clearness for present purposes. Those lines are respectively the exposition of the night-side, the matter-side, the vehicular side, of nature; and secondly, of the light-side, the spiritual side, the divine side, of nature, the latter also being in our system called the Hierarchy of Compassion. The former hierarchy which pervades and really is the space, the matter-space, or the space-matter, in which the second hierarchy works, is composed of the hierarchy of the builders, the masons of the world, the kosmokratores or world makers of mystic Greek philosophy. They are the inferior hierarchy spiritually, but have relative dominion over their subhierarchies from their beginning down to their lowest plane, which forms the mere elemental or nature forces on the lowest plane of their kosmic hierarchy. Such words as elemental or lowest are mere adjectives describing psychological mysteries. As hinted, the seven grades of them run up to the lowest of the Hierarchy of Compassion, forming the divine side. There is no break between them; actually, they interblend and interpenetrate each other. As the spirit works in the soul of man, and the soul of man works in his lower vehicle, so does the Hierarchy of Compassion work in and through the hierarchy of the builders.

This thought is so important for the understanding of the ancient wisdom that we call attention to it again and again, because it provides the philosophical and scientific framework, the structural carpentry, not merely of the universe, but of man's own consciousness, and is the groundwork against which we must place the picture of what takes place in the processes of kosmic evolution and in that of man, as outlined in the ancient initiations and Mystery Schools.

It was said at a former meeting that man is spiritually higher than the sun. So he is; but it was not said which man — purposely not said . The sun is the vital locus of his system, and so terrific are the forces of that same inwardly divine entity, even on our plane, that were one of us, a man, to approach within the range of those forces he would be simply annihilated, not merely broken up and dispersed as the physical body is at death, but reduced to nothing, wiped out. Why? Because the first five (counting upwards), i.e., the five lower principles of his psychological economy, would be dissipated into their component atoms, each to each on its own plane, and drawn, sucked, into the stellar body, and only his higher part, the divine part, the spiritual part, belonging to the Hierarchy of Compassion, the Christ part, the Buddha part, would remain intact. Why? Because the latter part itself is of the same substance as the hid sun, of which our physical sun is merely the reflection or the manifestation on this plane of the divine being behind it. Consequently, when we said that man is greater than the sun, we meant that his progress along the path of evolution has proceeded farther than that entity (considered as a reflection) which is the sun. He undoubtedly is farther along the path of evolution than is his solar locus — a paradox, indeed, but true! It was the entry into the senseless "shadows" of his being, i.e., the four lowest of his seven principles, by the manas principle, inferior to the two highest, during the middle of the third root-race in this fourth round, that made of him the being that he now is, self-conscious; and thereby he became literally an incarnation of the divine.

It now remains with him to bring into activity those inner forces, his higher principles, which form his inner spiritual nature, and which are not indeed inert, but only sleeping, as it were. We speak of the higher principles as "sleeping" in a man, a form of speech which is perhaps correct as a manner of expression, but really it is the lower ones which are asleep spiritually and need awakening. The very root budh, from which we have buddhi, and buddha, and budha with one d, means "to awaken," hence derivatively "to enlighten." Our higher principles are actual entities living on their own planes, individual beings, fully conscious and thinking entities. Fix that thought firmly in your minds, if you please. Our higher parts are not inchoate, uncoordinated, undeveloped, sleeping things. They are a unity of entities, a spiritual kosmos in miniature.

The great awakening of the lower elements in third-race man that was accomplished by the incarnation of these manasaputras was repeated, partly dramatically and partly actually, in the ancient Mysteries and in the initiations, which were thus a copying of what still takes place in nature, and took place in nature preeminently during the third root-race. And by those initiations the attempt was still further to stimulate, still more to awaken, still more greatly to enliven and bring forth that inner and higher nature of man. That great purpose formed the core, the heart, and the meaning, of the ancient initiations.

Yet, please mark, initiation and Mystery do not mean the same thing exactly. Though very closely similar in purpose and running on parallel lines, of the two, initiation meant teaching, awakening, opening the mind; the Mysteries were the dramatized forms of what took place in the higher degrees. There were three dramatizations, training and educating the neophyte for what he must be, and go through, in the four higher degrees. He was directed and helped in those higher degrees as far as was made permissible by his karma; but the very heart and essence of the trial was a test, and he had to face it alone, and himself to prove his spirit-power, to prove the soul-nature of him. If he came through the first trial triumphant, he was granted the privilege, and he had the inner strength, to undertake the higher degrees. There could, under such conditions, be no full protection, no mollycoddling. Just the contrary of that took place. His teacher watched over his senseless body while his inner nature was out exploring the realms of space, yea, entering into the sun, entering into the planets, and into the moon, and into other things and beings, becoming, losing his self and becoming, that which he had to face and conquer, or fail. Glorious were the privileges of victory; and at the end, at the seventh trial, if and when the final triumph came, he rose a glorified Buddha, a glorified Christ, truly a master of men. Then he knew, because he had been. This was no mere sensual experience, sensual in the sense of being an experience of the senses — hearing, seeing, touching, feeling, smelling, tasting — but it was being the things and beings of which he had been taught, i.e., complete knowledge of life in this hierarchy.

Such was the meaning of the higher initiation, of those higher degrees which went beyond the scope and meaning of the Mysteries, which latter were the dramatizations of the processes of kosmical life, the preparation for whatever it was that the candidate had to face in the four higher initiatory degrees.

In order to make the matter more clear, let us write down a symbolic outline of the two lines of growth or development of the two fundamental kosmical hierarchies.

On the left or matter-side:

On the right or divine side, the light-side:

corresponding each to each; and psychologically, so far as man is concerned, (1) the divine; (2) the spiritual or human; and (3) kosmic-astral.

Chaos is a Greek word, and is usually thought to mean a sort of helter-skelter treasury of original principles and seeds of beings. Well, so it verily is, in one profound sense; only it is most decidedly and emphatically not helter-skelter. It is the kosmic storehouse of all the latent or resting seeds of beings and things from former manvantaras. Of course it is this, simply because it contains everything. It means space, not the highest space, not the Parabrahman-Mulaprakriti, the Boundless — not that; but the space of any particular hierarchy descending into manifestation, i.e., what space for it is at that particular period of its beginning of development. Remember the principle of relativity. There are no utter absolutes anywhere and never have been and never will be. The directive principles in Chaos are the Gods of the corresponding column.

Theos is a Greek word meaning "god." Corresponding to it are the Monads.

Kosmos is a Greek word meaning "arrangement." Kosmos was also used for a woman's paraphernalia, decoration, and all that kind of thing: cosmetics and robes and jewelry. It meant that which was arranged and kept along the lines and rules of harmony — the arrangement of the universe; and corresponding to it in the other column are the Atoms. Note the three correspondences: Chaos, Gods or divine beings, the kosmic architects; then Theos, for the builders, the kosmokratores, corresponding to the Monads, the spirit-beings; then Kosmos, the universe, arranged as we see it; and the Atoms, or vital-astral seeds, on the divine side.

We do not speak here of chemical atoms, please understand. These belong to the Kosmos. As used in this outline, Gods, Monads, and Atoms, we mean (1) the divine; (2) the spiritual-human; and (3) those ultimate particles of substance which inflame, which inspire, which vitalize, the material kosmos. Each to each: the Gods work in the Chaos; the Monads work in and through the Theos, the theoi, the builders; and the Atoms, as the semiconscious, ultimate entities of matter, work through the Kosmos or the manifested universe, as prepared according to what is popularly called natural law, i.e., the essential and inherent operations of nature, deriving from the Gods and Monads.

Such an atom, according to these parallel columns (which are H. P. Blavatsky's, of course), signifies the ultimate particle of matter, which ultimate particle is matter's seventh principle, its highest principle; and for that reason the sun is called an atom, because it is the seventh or highest degree of matter or prakriti on this plane. Prakriti means nature or the developing power, that which has brought forth manifestation. There are seven kosmical prakritis, and we are in the first or lowest; the seventh as you count downwards, the first if you count upwards. Each of these again has seven subplanes. The sun as an entity is the highest entity of the kosmical system, the solar system. But what we see is merely its vehicle, its seventh or lowest or material element or principle, counting downwards. The so-called solar flames are not flames. The sun is not burning; it is not in combustion; it is not hot; what we see is the aura of the Sun, the sixth subelement or subprinciple of the first or lowest prakriti. That aura therefore is the sun's material buddhic aura, and looked at from the scientific standpoint it is a globe of kosmic forces. Please remember, as so often said before, that force and matter fundamentally are the same; they are simply different degrees of manifestation of spirit-substance. Matter is crystallized force; or, if you like, though it is not so good a method of describing it, spirit or force or energy is etherealized matter. Much better is it to put it the other way.

Matter on our plane is crystallized light. Light is substance-energy or energy-substance, either will do. Call it force. And light, this force, again is the matter of something still higher than it, the prakriti above it.

Now our time has nearly expired, and we wish to call attention to what was spoken of at the beginning of our study this evening, certain very important and fundamental principles of thought which the scientists call discoveries of our era made by them (or at least in the making by them), but which were anticipated in time by members of this School from the study of theosophical doctrines. Please understand that we look upon science, ordered and coordinated knowledge, as the greatest friend and ally we have. But when it comes to the theories or speculations or dogmas of scientific men, we accept them or reject them exactly in proportion as we think that they contain or do not contain truth — not my truth or your truth, but as they contain (or do not contain) those fundamental principles which, by their coherency and consistency and appeal to the best in us, announce themselves as facts of being.

Theosophy, indeed, has changed the world's thought. Practice without theory is emptiness of mind; theory without practice is folly. A man who has a beautiful theory, and does no act to carry it into operation or fact, is a drone, for he was not born to be a sloth; but on the contrary, a man who has no theory, whose ideas are not coordinated and directed by principles, is a madman, and acts like a fool. The noblest thing that we can do is so to change the thought of the world that men will realize their oneness with the inner beings on the various planes of life universal, and govern themselves accordingly, not merely in the legislatures, but in their teachings and in their personal conduct of life, and in their care for their brothers, and in their sense of loyalty and fidelity to their teachers, those whom they know and believe to have that truth.

We have drawn up a list of a few such anticipations, and doubtless any one of you could have extended the list to thrice or four times its length. Here they are:

1. That simple materialism, comprising fortuity, chance, and dead matter, producing life and consciousness, as an explanation of life and being, is unscientific, unphilosophical, and impossible, because contrary to nature and reason; therefore absurd.

2. That other planets are inhabited by intelligent beings, or are not so, as the case may be; and that this is denied not from knowledge, but from ignorance only, of such planets; the only planet that we do know, our earth, bearing intelligent beings. The denial therefore is irrational, purely speculative and theoretical, and based solely on supposedly true facts concerning atmosphere, cold or heat, etc., as these are known on our planet only.

3. The unreal nature of the physical universe, or sphere, i.e., that all we see and know with sensational perceptions is its purely phenomenal appearances.

4. That force is etherealized matter; or, preferably, that matter is equilibrated or crystallized forces.

(These last two have now been fully admitted by exoteric scientists.)

5. That electricity and magnetism are particular, i.e., corpuscular: formed of particles or corpuscles, and therefore matter. They are the phenomenal effects of noumenal causes — matter or rather matters.

6. That the so-called modes of motion, when H. P. Blavatsky first brought her message to the world, i.e., forces, of whilom scientists, as a definition of forces, is a childish effort to explain forces by ticketing them in a new manner which explains nothing at all, all forces being simply moving matters.

7. That all matter is radiant, i.e., radioactive, that is, it radiates; some forms or states of matter more than others. Compare the work and discoveries of Becquerel, Rontgen, the Curies, Rutherford, and Soddy, etc., and the work on similar lines of great thinkers in other countries.

8. That light is corpuscular, because a matter, or substance; that is, light is a material radiance, in fact.

9. That transmutation of matters, hence of metals, is a fact in nature, occurring hourly, momently, instantly, and continuously through time.

10. That the atom is a divisible body — i.e., the chemical or physical atom; it is, so to say, merely a smaller molecule.

(Numbers 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 have all been admitted by science, or practically admitted; in some cases in full, in other cases verging on full admission.)

11. That the physical atom is a tiny solar system, each member of such a system being in its own turn compounded of physical infinitesimals, or of subatoms, or of infra-atoms.

12. That the nebular hypothesis as commonly accepted was incomplete, insufficient, as a workable hypothesis, although containing certain elements of natural, that is, of occult, truth.

13. That the sun is neither burning, nor even hot, though it is glowing in one sense, superficially, i.e., on its "surface"; nor does it recuperate its heat and other forces, as alleged, by shrinkage of volume; nor does radium account for its expenditure of energy, is practically admitted.

14. That storms — rain, hail, snow, wind — and droughts, likewise most of the earth's heat, are not caused by or derived from solar energy, but result from electromagnetic interplay of forces between the earth's mass and the meteoric mass, or "veil," above our atmosphere; such phenomena or effects being accompanied, partly causally, partly effectually, by periodic expansion or dilatation of the atmospheric body and by periodic contraction thereof; and that the glacial periods, so called, are largely due to the same causes.

(A few months ago, let me interpolate, some eminent scientists in the northern part of California were investigating the upper regions of the atmosphere, and to a certain extent they have come to this conclusion, at least in part and in degree.)

15. That Darwinism and Haeckelism are inadequate to explain and account for the mass of biological phenomena; and neither Darwin's natural selection nor Spencer's survival of the fittest, is other than a minor or secondary operation of nature; that transformism as taught by the modern speculative scientist is not evolution — which is what the ancient wisdom does teach — and is both uncertain as a theory because purely speculative, and unscientific because as a theory it is based on data too few; therefore it is incomplete and insufficient.

(We all know what remarkable changes have taken place in the theories of the transformists even since H. P. Blavatsky died.)

16. And lastly, that all things and operations in the kosmos are relative, not absolute, in nature, there being no absolutes except in the sense of relativity of relationships; our teachings thus anticipating the fundamental concept of Dr. Albert Einstein on this point.

At our next meeting, we shall take up the study of the atom.

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