“The History of Creation and of this world from its beginning up to the present time is composed of seven chapters. The seventh chapter is not yet written.”
(T. Subba Row, Theosophist, 1881.)
The first of these Seven chapters has been attempted and is now finished. However incomplete and feeble as an exposition, it is, at any rate, an approximation — using the word in a mathematical sense — to that which is the oldest basis for all the subsequent Cosmogonies. The attempt to render in a European tongue the grand panorama of the ever periodically recurring Law — impressed upon the plastic minds of the first races endowed with Consciousness by those who reflected the same from the Universal Mind — is daring, for no human language, save the Sanskrit — which is that of the Gods — can do so with any degree of adequacy. But the failures in this work must be forgiven for the sake of the motive.
As a whole, neither the foregoing nor what follows can be found in full anywhere. It is not taught in any of the six Indian schools of philosophy, for it pertains to their synthesis — the seventh, which is the Occult doctrine. It is not traced on any crumbling papyrus of Egypt, nor is it any longer graven on Assyrian tile or granite wall. The Books of the Vedanta (the last word of human knowledge) give out but the metaphysical aspect of this world-Cosmogony; and their priceless thesaurus, the Upanishads — Upa-ni-shad being a compound word meaning “the conquest of ignorance by the revelation of secret, spiritual knowledge” — require now the additional possession of a Master-key to enable the student to get at their full meaning. The reason for this I venture to state here as I learned it from a Master.
The name, “Upanishads,” is usually translated “esoteric doctrine.” These treatises form part of the Sruti or “revealed knowledge,” Revelation, in short, and are generally attached to the Brahmana
portion of the Vedas,* as their third division. There are over 150 Upanishads enumerated by, and known to, Orientalists, who credit the oldest with being written probably about 600 years b.c.; but of genuine texts there does not exist a fifth of the number. The Upanishads are to the Vedas what the Kabala is to the Jewish Bible. They treat of and expound the secret and mystic meaning of the Vedic texts. They speak of the origin of the Universe, the nature of Deity, and of Spirit and Soul, as also of the metaphysical connection of mind and matter. In a few words: They contain the beginning and the end of all human knowledge, but they have now ceased to reveal it, since the day of Buddha. If it were otherwise, the Upanishads could not be called esoteric, since they are now openly attached to the Sacred Brahmanical books, which have, in our present age, become accessible even to the Mlechchhas (out-castes) and the European Orientalists. One thing in them — and this in all the Upanishads — invariably and constantly points to their ancient origin, and proves (a) that they were written, in some of their portions, before the caste system became the tyrannical institution which it still is; and (b) that half of their contents have been eliminated, while some of them were rewritten and abridged. “The great Teachers of the higher Knowledge and the Brahmans are continually represented as going to Kshatriya (military caste) kings to become their pupils.” As Cowell pertinently remarks, the Upanishads “breathe an entirely different spirit” (from other Brahmanical writings), “a freedom of thought unknown in any earlier work except in the Rig Veda hymns themselves.” The second fact is explained by a tradition recorded in one of the MSS. on Buddha’s life. It says that the Upanishads were originally attached to their Brahmanas after the beginning of a reform, which led to the exclusiveness of the present caste system among the Brahmins, a few centuries after the invasion of India by the “twice-born.” They were complete in those days, and were used for the instruction of the chelas who were preparing for their initiation.
* . . . “The Vedas have a distinct dual meaning — one expressed by the literal sense of the words, the other indicated by the metre and the swara — intonation — which are as the life of the Vedas. . . . Learned pundits and philologists of course deny that swara has anything to do with philosophy or ancient esoteric doctrines; but the mysterious connection between swara and light is one of its most profound secrets.” (T. Subba Row, Five Years of Theosophy, p. 154.)
This lasted so long as the Vedas and the Brahmanas remained in the sole and exclusive keeping of the temple-Brahmins — while no one else had the right to study or even read them outside of the sacred caste. Then came Gautama, the Prince of Kapilavastu. After learning the whole of the Brahmanical wisdom in the Rahasya or the Upanishads, and finding that the teachings differed little, if at all, from those of the “Teachers of Life” inhabiting the snowy ranges of the Himalaya,* the Disciple of the Brahmins, feeling indignant because the sacred wisdom was thus withheld from all but the Brahmins, determined to save the whole world by popularizing it. Then it was that the Brahmins, seeing that their sacred knowledge and Occult wisdom was falling into the hands of the “Mlechchhas,” abridged the texts of the Upanishads, originally containing thrice the matter of the Vedas and the Brahmanas together, without altering, however, one word of the texts. They simply detached from the MSS. the most important portions containing the last word of the Mystery of Being. The key to the Brahmanical secret code remained henceforth with the initiates alone, and the Brahmins were thus in a position to publicly deny the correctness of Buddha’s teaching by appealing to their Upanishads, silenced for ever on the chief questions. Such is the esoteric tradition beyond the Himalayas.
Sri Sankaracharya, the greatest Initiate living in the historical ages, wrote many a Bhashya on the Upanishads. But his original treatises, as there are reasons to suppose, have not yet fallen into the hands of the Philistines, for they are too jealously preserved in his maths (monasteries, mathams). And there are still weightier reasons to believe that the priceless Bhashyas (Commentaries) on the esoteric doctrine of the Brahmins, by their greatest expounder, will remain for ages yet a dead letter to most of the Hindus, except the Smartava Brahmins. This sect, founded by Sankaracharya, (which is still very powerful in Southern India) is now almost the only one to produce students who have preserved sufficient knowledge to comprehend the
* Also called “the Sons of Wisdom,” and of the “Fire-Mist” and the “Brothers of the Sun” in the Chinese records. Si-dzang (Tibet) is mentioned in the MSS. of the sacred library of the province of Fo-Kien, as the great seat of Occult learning from time immemorial, ages before Buddha. The Emperor Yu, the “great” (2,207 years B.C.), a pious mystic and great adept, is said to have obtained his knowledge from the “great teachers of the Snowy Range” in Si-dzang.
dead letter of the Bhashyas. The reason of this is that they alone, I am informed, have occasionally real Initiates at their head in their mathams, as for instance, in the “Sringa-giri,” in the Western Ghauts of Mysore. On the other hand, there is no sect in that desperately exclusive caste of the Brahmins, more exclusive than is the Smartava; and the reticence of its followers to say what they may know of the Occult sciences and the esoteric doctrine, is only equalled by their pride and learning.
Therefore the writer of the present statement must be prepared beforehand to meet with great opposition and even the denial of such statements as are brought forward in this work. Not that any claim to infallibility, or to perfect correctness in every detail of all that which is herein said, was ever put forward. Facts are there, and they can hardly be denied. But, owing to the intrinsic difficulties of the subjects treated, and the almost insurmountable limitations of the English tongue (as of all other European languages) to express certain ideas, it is more than probable that the writer has failed to present the explanations in the best and in the clearest form; yet all that could be done was done under every adverse circumstance, and this is the utmost that can be expected of any writer.
Let us recapitulate and show, by the vastness of the subjects expounded, how difficult, if not impossible, it is to do them full justice.
(1.) The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in the exotericism of the Puranas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. But modern science believes not in the “soul of things,” and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony. It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the
traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the “Wise Men” of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences.
(2.) The fundamental Law in that system, the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon which is hung the philosophy of the rest, is the One homogeneous divine Substance-Principle, the one radical cause.
. . . “Some few, whose lamps shone brighter, have been led
From cause to cause to nature’s secret head,
And found that one first Principle must be. . . .”
It is called “Substance-Principle,” for it becomes “substance” on the plane of the manifested Universe, an illusion, while it remains a “principle” in the beginningless and endless abstract, visible and invisible Space. It is the omnipresent Reality: impersonal, because it contains all and everything. Its impersonality is the fundamental conception of the System. It is latent in every atom in the Universe, and is the Universe itself. (See in chapters on Symbolism, “Primordial Substance, and Divine Thought.”)
(3.) The Universe is the periodical manifestation of this unknown Absolute Essence. To call it “essence,” however, is to sin against the very spirit of the philosophy. For though the noun may be derived in this case from the verb esse, “to be,” yet It cannot be identified with a being of any kind, that can be conceived by human intellect. It is best described as neither Spirit nor matter, but both. “Parabrahmam and Mulaprakriti” are One, in reality, yet two in the Universal conception of the manifested, even in the conception of the One Logos, its first manifestation, to which, as the able lecturer in the “Notes on the Bhagavadgita” shows, It appears from the objective standpoint of
the One Logos as Mulaprakriti and not as Parabrahmam; as its veil and not the one Reality hidden behind, which is unconditioned and absolute.
(4.) The Universe is called, with everything in it, Maya, because all is temporary therein, from the ephemeral life of a fire-fly to that of the Sun. Compared to the eternal immutability of the One, and the changelessness of that Principle, the Universe, with its evanescent ever-changing forms, must be necessarily, in the mind of a philosopher, no better than a will-o’-the-wisp. Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious beings in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.
(5.) Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any signs — which we can recognise — of consciousness, say, in stones, we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there. There is no such thing as either “dead” or “blind” matter, as there is no “Blind” or “Unconscious” Law. These find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy. The latter never stops at surface appearances, and for it the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts; it resembles therein the mediaeval Nominalists, for whom it was the Universals that were the realities and the particulars which existed only in name and human fancy.
(6.) The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man — the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm — is the living witness to this Universal Law, and to the mode of its action. We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man’s external body can take place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three functions named, so with the external or manifested Universe. The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who — whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyan-Chohans or Angels — are “messengers” in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary infinitely in their
respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of the earthly alloy “which time is wont to prey upon” is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are perfected, when not incipient, men; and differ morally from the terrestrial human beings on their higher (less material) spheres, only in that they are devoid of the feeling of personality and of the human emotional nature — two purely earthly characteristics. The former, or the “perfected,” have become free from those feelings, because (a) they have no longer fleshly bodies — an ever-numbing weight on the Soul; and (b) the pure spiritual element being left untrammelled and more free, they are less influenced by maya than man can ever be, unless he is an adept who keeps his two personalities — the spiritual and the physical — entirely separated. The incipient monads, having never had terrestrial bodies yet, can have no sense of personality or ego-ism. That which is meant by “personality,” being a limitation and a relation, or, as defined by Coleridge, “individuality existing in itself but with a nature as a ground,” the term cannot of course be applied to non-human entities; but, as a fact insisted upon by generations of Seers, none of these Beings, high or low, have either individuality or personality as separate Entities, i.e., they have no individuality in the sense in which a man says, “I am myself and no one else;” in other words, they are conscious of no such distinct separateness as men and things have on earth. Individuality is the characteristic of their respective hierarchies, not of their units; and these characteristics vary only with the degree of the plane to which those hierarchies belong: the nearer to the region of Homogeneity and the One Divine, the purer and the less accentuated that individuality in the Hierarchy. They are finite, in all respects, with the exception of their higher principles — the immortal sparks reflecting the universal divine flame — individualized and separated only on the spheres of Illusion by a differentiation as illusive as the rest. They are “Living Ones,” because they are the streams projected on the Kosmic screen of illusion from the absolute life; beings in whom life cannot become extinct, before the fire of ignorance is extinct in those who sense these “Lives.” Having sprung into being under the quickening influence of the uncreated beam, the reflection of the great Central Sun that
radiates on the shores of the river of Life, it is the inner principle in them which belongs to the waters of immortality, while its differentiated clothing is as perishable as man’s body. Therefore Young was right in saying that
“Angels are men of a superior kind”
and no more. They are neither “ministering” nor “protecting” angels; nor are they “Harbingers of the Most High” still less the “Messengers of wrath” of any God such as man’s fancy has created. To appeal to their protection is as foolish as to believe that their sympathy may be secured by any kind of propitiation; for they are, as much as man himself is, the slaves and creatures of immutable Karmic and Kosmic law. The reason for it is evident. Having no elements of personality in their essence they can have no personal qualities, such as attributed by men, in their exoteric religions, to their anthropomorphic God — a jealous and exclusive God who rejoices and feels wrathful, is pleased with sacrifice, and is more despotic in his vanity than any finite foolish man. Man, as shown in Book II., being a compound of the essences of all those celestial Hierarchies may succeed in making himself, as such, superior, in one sense, to any hierarchy or class, or even combination of them. “Man can neither propitiate nor command the Devas,” it is said. But, by paralyzing his lower personality, and arriving thereby at the full knowledge of the non-separateness of his higher Self from the One absolute Self, man can, even during his terrestrial life, become as “One of Us.” Thus it is, by eating of the fruit of knowledge which dispels ignorance, that man becomes like one of the Elohim or the Dhyanis; and once on their plane the Spirit of Solidarity and perfect Harmony, which reigns in every Hierarchy, must extend over him and protect him in every particular.
The chief difficulty which prevents men of science from believing in divine as well as in nature Spirits is their materialism. The main impediment before the Spiritualist which hinders him from believing in the same, while preserving a blind belief in the “Spirits” of the Departed, is the general ignorance of all, except some Occultists and Kabalists, about the true essence and nature of matter. It is on the acceptance or rejection of the theory of the Unity of all in Nature, in its ultimate Essence, that mainly rests the belief or unbelief in the existence around us of other conscious beings besides the Spirits of the Dead.
It is on the right comprehension of the primeval Evolution of Spirit-Matter and its real essence that the student has to depend for the further elucidation in his mind of the Occult Cosmogony, and for the only sure clue which can guide his subsequent studies.
In sober truth, as just shown, every “Spirit” so-called is either a disembodied or a future man. As from the highest Archangel (Dhyan Chohan) down to the last conscious “Builder” (the inferior class of Spiritual Entities), all such are men, having lived aeons ago, in other Manvantaras, on this or other Spheres; so the inferior, semi-intelligent and non-intelligent Elementals — are all future men. That fact alone — that a Spirit is endowed with intelligence — is a proof to the Occultist that that Being must have been a man, and acquired his knowledge and intelligence throughout the human cycle. There is but one indivisible and absolute Omniscience and Intelligence in the Universe, and this thrills throughout every atom and infinitesimal point of the whole finite Kosmos which hath no bounds, and which people call Space, considered independently of anything contained in it. But the first differentiation of its reflection in the manifested World is purely Spiritual, and the Beings generated in it are not endowed with a consciousness that has any relation to the one we conceive of. They can have no human consciousness or Intelligence before they have acquired such, personally and individually. This may be a mystery, yet it is a fact, in Esoteric philosophy, and a very apparent one too.
The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this. The immutable laws that weed out the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and which ensure the “survival of the fittest,” though so cruel in their immediate action — all are working toward the grand end. The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called “unconscious Nature”* is in reality an aggregate of forces mani-
* Nature taken in its abstract sense, cannot be “unconscious,” as it is the emanation from, and thus an aspect (on the manifested plane) of the absolute consciousness. Where is that daring man who would presume to deny to vegetation and even to minerals a consciousness of their own. All he can say is, that this consciousness is beyond his comprehension.
pulated by semi-intelligent beings (Elementals) guided by High Planetary Spirits, (Dhyan Chohans), whose collective aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested logos, and constitutes at one and the same time the mind of the Universe and its immutable law.
Three distinct representations of the Universe in its three distinct aspects are impressed upon our thought by the esoteric philosophy: the pre-existing (evolved from) the ever-existing; and the phenomenal — the world of illusion, the reflection, and shadow thereof. During the great mystery and drama of life known as the Manvantara, real Kosmos is like the object placed behind the white screen upon which are thrown the Chinese shadows, called forth by the magic lantern. The actual figures and things remain invisible, while the wires of evolution are pulled by the unseen hands; and men and things are thus but the reflections, on the white field, of the realities behind the snares of Mahamaya, or the great Illusion. This was taught in every philosophy, in every religion, ante as well as post diluvian, in India and Chaldea, by the Chinese as by the Grecian Sages. In the former countries these three Universes were allegorized, in exoteric teachings, by the three trinities emanating from the Central eternal germ and forming with it a Supreme Unity: the initial, the manifested, and the Creative Triad, or the three in One. The last is but the symbol, in its concrete expression, of the first ideal two. Hence Esoteric philosophy passes over the necessarianism of this purely metaphysical conception, and calls the first one, only, the Ever Existing. This is the view of every one of the six great schools of Indian philosophy — the six principles of that unit body of Wisdom of which the “gnosis,” the hidden knowledge, is the seventh.
The writer hopes that, superficially handled as may be the comments on the Seven Stanzas, enough has been given in this cosmogonic portion of the work to show Archaic teachings to be more scientific (in the modern sense of the word) on their very face, than any other ancient Scriptures left to be regarded and judged on their exoteric aspect. Since, however, as confessed before, this work withholds far more than it gives out, the student is invited to use his own intuitions. Our chief care is to elucidate that which has already been given out, and, to our regret, very incorrectly at times; to supplement the knowledge hinted at — whenever and wherever possible — by addi-
tional matter; and to bulwark our doctrines against the too strong attacks of modern Sectarianism, and more especially against those of our latter-day Materialism, very often miscalled Science, whereas, in reality, the words “Scientists” and “Sciolists” ought alone to bear the responsibility for the many illogical theories offered to the world. In its great ignorance, the public, while blindly accepting everything that emanates from “authorities,” and feeling it to be its duty to regard every dictum coming from a man of Science as a proven fact — the public, we say, is taught to scoff at anything brought forward from “heathen” sources. Therefore, as materialistic Scientists can be fought solely with their own weapons — those of controversy and argument — an Addendum is added to every Book contrasting our respective views and showing how even great authorities may often err. We believe that this can be done effectually by showing the weak points of our opponents, and by proving their too frequent sophisms — made to pass for scientific dicta — to be incorrect. We hold to Hermes and his “Wisdom” — in its universal character; they — to Aristotle as against intuition and the experience of the ages, fancying that Truth is the exclusive property of the Western world. Hence the disagreement. As Hermes says, “Knowledge differs much from sense; for sense is of things that surmount it, but Knowledge (gyi) is the end of sense” — i.e., of the illusion of our physical brain and its intellect; thus emphasizing the contrast between the laboriously acquired knowledge of the senses and mind (manas), and the intuitive omniscience of the Spiritual divine Soul — Buddhi.
Whatever may be the destiny of these actual writings in a remote future, we hope to have proven so far the following facts:
(1) The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism, except in the Hindu sense of the word nastika, or the rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. In this sense every Occultist is a Nastika.
(2) It admits a Logos or a collective “Creator” of the Universe; a Demi-urgos — in the sense implied when one speaks of an “Architect” as the “Creator” of an edifice, whereas that Architect has never touched one stone of it, but, while furnishing the plan, left all the manual labour to the masons; in our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no
personal deity, — i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god, — but only the aggregate of the Dhyan-Chohans and the other forces.
As to the latter —
(3) They are dual in their character; being composed of (a) the irrational brute energy, inherent in matter, and (b) the intelligent soul or cosmic consciousness which directs and guides that energy, and which is the Dhyan-Chohanic thought reflecting the Ideation of the Universal mind. This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on Earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures — therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart — invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through “the still small voice” of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls*; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence. (See Part II., “On the Hidden Deity.”)
(4) Matter is Eternal. It is the Upadhi (the physical basis) for the One infinite Universal Mind to build thereon its ideations. Therefore, the Esotericists maintain that there is no inorganic or dead matter in nature, the distinction between the two made by Science being as unfounded as it is arbitrary and devoid of reason.
* “When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are . . . but enter into thine inner chamber and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” Matt. vi.). Our Father is within us “in Secret,” our 7th principle, in the “inner chamber” of our Soul perception. “The Kingdom of Heaven” and of God “is within us” says Jesus, not outside. Why are Christians so absolutely blind to the self-evident meaning of the words of wisdom they delight in mechanically repeating?
Whatever Science may think, however — and exact Science is a fickle dame, as we all know by experience — Occultism knows and teaches differently, from time immemorial — from Manu and Hermes down to Paracelsus and his successors.
Thus Hermes, the thrice great Trismegistus, says: “Oh, my son, matter becomes; formerly it was; for matter is the vehicle of becoming.* Becoming is the mode of activity of the uncreate deity. Having been endowed with the germs of becoming, matter (objective) is brought into birth, for the creative force fashions it according to the ideal forms. Matter not yet engendered had no form; it becomes when it is put into operation.” (The Definitions of Asclepios, p. 134, “Virgin of the World.”)
“Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. . . . There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.” (Paracelsus, “Philosophia ad Athenienses,” F. Hartmann’s translations, p. 44.)
(5.) The Universe was evolved out of its ideal plan, upheld through Eternity in the unconsciousness of that which the Vedantins call Parabrahm. This is practically identical with the conclusions of the highest Western Philosophy — “the innate, eternal, and self-existing Ideas” of Plato, now reflected by Von Hartmann. The “unknowable” of Herbert Spencer bears only a faint resemblance to that transcendental Reality believed in by Occultists, often appearing merely a personification of a “force behind phenomena” — an infinite and eternal Energy
* To this the late Mrs. (Dr.) Kingsford, the able translator and compiler of the Hermetic Fragments (see “The Virgin of the World”) remarks in a foot-note; “Dr. Menard observes that in Greek the same word signifies to be born and to become. The idea here is that the material of the world is in its essence eternal, but that before creation or ‘becoming’ it is in a passive and motionless condition. Thus it ‘was’ before being put into operation; now it ‘becomes,’ that is, it is mobile and progressive.” And she adds the purely Vedantic doctrine of the Hermetic philosophy that “Creation is thus the period of activity (Manvantara) of God, who, according to Hermetic thought (or which, according to the Vedantin) has two modes — Activity or Existence, God evolved (Deus explicitus); and Passivity of Being (Pralaya) God involved (Deus implicitus). Both modes are perfect and complete, as are the waking and sleeping states of man. Fichte, the German philosopher, distinguished Being (Seyn) as One, which we know only through existence (Daseyn) as the Manifold. This view is thoroughly Hermetic. The ‘Ideal Forms’ are the archetypal or formative ideas of the Neo-Platonists; the eternal and subjective concepts of things subsisting in the divine mind prior to ‘becoming’ ” (p. 134).
from which all things proceed, while the author of the “Philosophy of the Unconscious” has come (in this respect only) as near to a solution of the great Mystery as mortal man can. Few were those, whether in ancient or mediaeval philosophy, who have dared to approach the subject or even hint at it. Paracelsus mentions it inferentially. His ideas are admirably synthesized by Dr. F. Hartmann, F.T.S., in his “Life of Paracelsus.”
All the Christian Kabalists understood well the Eastern root idea: The active Power, the “Perpetual motion of the great Breath” only awakens Kosmos at the dawn of every new Period, setting it into motion by means of the two contrary Forces,* and thus causing it to become objective on the plane of Illusion. In other words, that dual motion transfers Kosmos from the plane of the Eternal Ideal into that of finite manifestation, or from the Noumenal to the phenomenal plane. Everything that is, was, and will be, eternally is, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective, not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity,† and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections. Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone has ever been created, and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced “becoming,” i.e., objectivising into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards, from the most sublimated and supersensuous essence into its grossest appearance. Therefore our human forms have existed in the Eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes; according to which models, the Spiritual Beings (or Gods) whose duty it was to bring them into objective being and terrestrial Life, evolved the protoplasmic forms of the future Egos from their own essence. After which, when this human Upadhi, or basic mould was ready, the natural terrestrial Forces began to work on those supersensuous moulds which contained, besides their own, the elements of all the past vegetable and future animal forms of this globe in them. Therefore, man’s outward shell passed through every vegetable and animal body before it assumed the human shape. As this will be fully
* The centripetal and the centrifugal forces, which are male and female, positive and negative, physical and spiritual, the two being the one Primordial Force.
† Occultism teaches that no form can be given to anything, either by nature or by man, whose ideal type does not already exist on the subjective plane. More than this; that no such form or shape can possibly enter man’s consciousness, or evolve in his imagination, which does not exist in prototype, at least as an approximation.
described in Book II., with the Commentaries thereupon, there is no need to say more of it here.
According to the Hermetico-Kabalistic philosophy of Paracelsus, it is Yliaster — the ancestor of the just-born Protyle, introduced by Mr. Crookes in chemistry — or primordial protomateria that evolved out of itself the Kosmos.
“When Evolution took place the Yliaster divided itself. . . . melted and dissolved, developing from within itself the Ideos or Chaos, called respectively Mysterium magnum, Iliados, Limbus Major, or Primordial Matter. This Primordial essence is of a monistic nature, and manifests itself not only as vital activity, a spiritual force, an invisible, incomprehensible, and indescribable power, but also as vital matter of which the substance of living beings consists.” In this Ideos of primordial matter, or the proto-ilos — which is the matrix of all created things — is contained the substance from which everything is formed. It is the Chaos . . . out of which the Macrocosm, and, later on, by evolution and division in Mysteria Specialia,* each separate being, came into existence. “All things and all elementary substances were contained in it in potentia but not in actu” — which makes the translator, Dr. F. Hartmann, justly observe that “it seems that Paracelsus anticipated the modern discovery of the ‘potency of matter’ three hundred years ago” (p. 42).
This Magnus Limbus, then, or Yliaster of Paracelsus, is simply our old friend “Father-Mother,” within, before it appeared in Space, of the second and other Stanzas. It is the universal matrix of Kosmos, personified in the dual character of Macro- and Microcosm (or the Universe and our Globe)† by Aditi-Prakriti, the Spiritual and the physical nature. For we find it explained in Paracelsus that “the Magnus Limbus is the nursery out of which all creatures have grown, in the same sense as a tree grows out of a small seed; with the difference, however, that the great Limbus takes its origin from the Word, while the Limbus minor (the terrestrial seed or sperm) takes it from the earth.
* This word is explained by Dr. Hartmann from the original texts of Paracelsus before him, as follows. According to this great Rosicrucian: “Mysterium is everything out of which something may be developed, which is only germinally contained in it. A seed is the ‘Mysterium’ of a plant, an egg that of a living bird, etc.”
† It is only the mediaeval Kabalists who, following the Jewish and one or two Neo-Platonists, applied the term Microcosm to man. Ancient philosophy called the Earth the Microcosm of the Macrocosm, and man the outcome of the two.
The great Limbus is the seed out of which all beings have come, and the little Limbus is each ultimate being that reproduces its form, and that has itself been produced by the ‘great.’ The latter possesses all the qualifications of the great one, in the same sense as a son has an organization similar to that of his father.” (See Comment. Book II. para. iii.) . . . “As Yliaster dissolved, Ares, the dividing, differentiating, and individualising power (Fohat, another old friend,) . . . began to act. All production took place in consequence of separation. There were produced out of the Ideos, the elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, whose birth, however, did not take place in a material mode, or by simple separation,” but by spiritual and dynamical, not even complex, combinations — e.g., mechanical mixture as opposed to chemical combination — just as fire may come out of a pebble, or a tree out of a seed, although there is originally no fire in the pebble, nor a tree in the seed. Spirit is living, and Life is Spirit, and Life and Spirit (Prakriti Purusha) (?) produce all things, but they are essentially one and not two. . . . The elements too, have each one its own Yliaster, because all the activity of matter in every form is only an effluvium of the same fount. But as from the seed grow the roots with their fibres, and after that the stalk with its branches and leaves, and lastly the flowers and seeds; likewise all beings were born from the elements, and consist of elementary substances out of which other forms may come into existence, bearing the characteristics of their parents.” (“This doctrine, preached 300 years ago,” remarks the translator, “is identical with the one that has revolutionized modern thought, after having been put into new shape and elaborated by Darwin. It was still more elaborated by Kapila in the Sankhya philosophy”) . . . . The elements as the mothers of all creatures are of an invisible, spiritual nature, and have souls.* They all spring from the “Mysterium Magnum.” (Philosophia ad Athenienses.)
Compare this with Vishnu Purana.
“From Pradhana (primordial substance) presided over by Kshetrajna (embodied Spirit?) proceeds the evolution of those qualities. . . . From the great Principle Mahat (Universal Intellect, or mind) . . . proceeds
* The Eastern Occultist says — “are guided and informed by the Spiritual Beings” — the Workmen in the invisible worlds and behind the veil of Occult nature, or nature in Abscondito.
the origin of the subtle elements and from these the organs of sense . . .” (Book I., ii.).
Thus it may be shown that all the fundamental truths of nature were universal in antiquity, and that the basic ideas upon spirit, matter, and the universe, or upon God, Substance, and man, were identical. Taking the two most ancient religious philosophies on the globe, Hinduism and Hermetism, from the scriptures of India and Egypt, the identity of the two is easily recognisable.
This becomes apparent to one who reads the latest translation and rendering of the “Hermetic Fragments” just mentioned, by our late lamented friend, Dr. Anna Kingsford. Disfigured and tortured as these have been in their passage through Sectarian Greek and Christian hands, the translator has most ably and intuitionally seized the weak points and tried to remedy them by means of explanations and foot-notes. And she says: . . . . “The creation of the visible world by the ‘working gods’ or Titans, as agents of the Supreme God,* is a thoroughly Hermetic idea, recognisable in all religious systems, and in accordance with modern scientific research (?), which shows us everywhere the Divine power operating through natural Forces.”
“That Universal Being, that contains all, and which is all, put into motion the Soul and the World, all that nature comprises, says Hermes. In the manifold unity of universal life, the innumerable individualities distinguished by their variations, are, nevertheless, united in such a manner that the whole is one, and that everything proceeds from Unity.” (Asclepios, Part I.)
“God is not a mind, but the cause that the mind is; not a spirit, but the cause that the Spirit is; not light, but the cause that the Light is.” (Divine Pymander, Book IX., v. 64.)
The above shows plainly that “Divine Pymander,” however much distorted in some passages by Christian “smoothing,” was nevertheless written by a philosopher, while most of the so-called “hermetic Fragments” are the production of sectarian pagans with a tendency towards an anthropomorphic Supreme Being. Yet both are the echo of the Esoteric philosophy and the Hindu Puranas.
Compare two invocations, one to the Hermetic “Supreme All,” the
* A frequent expression in the said Fragments, to which we take exception. The Universal Mind is not a Being or “God.”
other to the “Supreme All” of the later Aryans. Says a Hermetic Fragment cited by Suidas (see Mrs. Kingsford’s “The Virgin of the World”): —
“I adjure thee, Heaven, holy work of the great God; I adjure thee, Voice of the Father, uttered in the beginning when the universal world was framed; I adjure thee by the word, only Son of the Father who upholds all things; be favourable, be favourable.”
This just preceded by the following: “Thus the Ideal Light was before the Ideal Light, and the luminous Intelligence of Intelligence was always, and its unity was nothing else than the Spirit enveloping the Universe. Out of whom is neither God nor Angels, nor any other essentials, for He (It?) is the Lord of all things and the power and the Light; and all depends on Him (It) and is in Him (It), etc.” (Fragments of the writings of Hermes to Ammon.)
This is contradicted by the very same Trismegistos, who is made to say: “To speak of God is impossible. For corporeal cannot express the incorporeal. . . . . That which has not any body nor appearance, nor form, nor matter, cannot be apprehended by sense. I understand, Tatios, I understand, that which it is impossible to define — that is God.” (Physical Eclogues, Florilegium of Stobaeus.)
The contradiction between the two passages is evident; and this shows (a) that Hermes was a generic nom-de-plume used by a series of generations of mystics of every shade, and (b) that a great discernment has to be used before accepting a Fragment as esoteric teaching only because it is undeniably ancient. Let us now compare the above with a like invocation in the Hindu Scriptures — undoubtedly as old, if not far older. Here it is Parasara, the Aryan “Hermes” who instructs Maitreya, the Indian Asclepios, and calls upon Vishnu in his triple hypostasis.
“Glory to the unchangeable, holy, eternal Supreme Vishnu, of one universal nature, the mighty over all; to him who is Hiranyagarbha, Hari, and Sankara (Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva), the creator, the preserver, and the destroyer of the world; to Vasudeva, the liberator (of his worshippers); to him whose essence is both single and manifold; who is both subtile and corporeal, indiscreet and discreet; to Vishnu the cause of final emancipation, the cause of the creation, existence, the
end of the world; who is the root of the world, and who consists of the world.” (Vish. Purana, Book L.)
This is a grand invocation, full of philosophical meaning underlying it; but, for the profane masses, as suggestive as is the first of an anthropomorphic Being. We must respect the feeling that dictated both; but we cannot help finding it in full disharmony with its inner meaning, even with that which is found in the same Hermetic treatise where it is said:
“Reality is not upon the earth, my son, and it cannot be thereon. . . . Nothing on earth is real, there are only appearances. . . He (man) is not real, my son, as man. The real consists solely in itself and remains what it is. . . Man is transient, therefore he is not real, he is but appearance, and appearance is the supreme illusion.
Tatios: Then the celestial bodies themselves are not real, my father, since they also vary?
Trismegistos: That which is subject to birth and to change is not real. . . . . There is in them a certain falsity, seeing that they too are variable. . . . .
Tatios: And what then is the primordial Reality?
Trismeg.: That which is one and alone, O Tatios; That which is not made of matter, nor in any body. Which has neither colour nor form, which changes not nor is transmitted but which always is.”
This is quite consistent with the Vedantic teaching. The leading thought is Occult; and many are the passages in the Hermetic Fragments that belong bodily to the Secret Doctrine.
The latter teaches that the whole universe is ruled by intelligent and semi-intelligent Forces and Powers, as stated from the very beginning. Christian Theology admits and even enforces belief in such, but makes an arbitrary division and refers to them as “Angels” and “Devils.” Science denies the existence of such, and ridicules the very idea. Spiritualists believe in the Spirits of the Dead, and, outside these, deny entirely any other kind or class of invisible beings. The Occultists and Kabalists are thus the only rational expounders of the ancient traditions, which have now culminated in dogmatic faith on the one hand, and dogmatic denials on the other. For, both belief and unbelief embrace but one small corner each of the infinite horizons of spiritual and physical manifestations; and thus both are right from
their respective standpoints, and both are wrong in believing that they can circumscribe the whole within their own special and narrow barriers; for — they can never do so. In this respect Science, Theology, and even Spiritualism show little more wisdom than the ostrich does, when it hides its head in the sand at its feet, feeling sure that there can be thus nothing beyond its own point of observation and the limited area occupied by its foolish head.
As the only works now extant upon the subject under consideration within reach of the profane of the Western “civilized” races are the above-mentioned Hermetic Books, or rather Hermetic Fragments, we may contrast them in the present case with the teachings of Esoteric philosophy. To quote for this purpose from any other would be useless, since the public knows nothing of the Chaldean works which are translated into Arabic and preserved by some Sufi initiates. Therefore the “Definitions of Asclepios,” as lately compiled and glossed by Mrs. A. Kingsford, F.T.S., some of which sayings are in remarkable agreement with the Esoteric Eastern doctrine, have to be resorted to for comparison. Though not a few passages show a strong impression of some later Christian hand, yet on the whole the characteristics of the genii* and gods are those of eastern teachings, while concerning other things there are passages which differ widely in our doctrines. The following are a few: —
* The Hermetic philosophers called Theoi, gods, Genii and Daimones (in the original texts), those Entities whom we call Devas (gods), Dhyan Chohans, Chitkala (Kwan-yin, the Buddhists call them), and by other names. The Daimones are — in the Socratic sense, and even in the Oriental and Latin theological sense — the guardian spirits of the human race; “those who dwell in the neighbourhood of the immortals, and thence watch over human affairs,” as Hermes has it. In Esoteric parlance, they are called Chitkala, some of which are those who have furnished man with his fourth and fifth Principles from their own essence; and others the Pitris so-called. This will be explained when we come to the production of the complete man. The root of the name is Chiti, “that by which the effects and consequences of actions and kinds of knowledge are selected for the use of the soul,” or conscience the inner Voice in man. With the Yogis, the Chiti is a synonym of Mahat, the first and divine intellect; but in Esoteric philosophy Mahat is the root of Chiti, its germ; and Chiti is a quality of Manas in conjunction with Buddhi, a quality that attracts to itself by spiritual affinity a Chitkala when it develops sufficiently in man. This is why it is said that Chiti is a voice acquiring mystic life and becoming Kwan-Yin.
Extracts from a private commentary,* hitherto secret: —
(xvii.) “The Initial Existence in the first twilight of the Maha-Manwantara (after the Maha-Pralaya that follows every age of Brahma) is a conscious spiritual quality. In the manifested worlds (solar systems) it is, in its objective subjectivity, like the film from a Divine Breath to the gaze of the entranced seer. It spreads as it issues from Laya† throughout infinity as a colourless spiritual fluid. It is on the seventh plane, and in its seventh state in our planetary world.‡
(xviii.) “It is Substance to our spiritual sight. It cannot be called so by men in their waking state; therefore they have named it in their ignorance ‘God-Spirit.’
(xix.) “It exists everywhere and forms the first Upadhi (foundation) on which our World (solar system) is built. Outside the latter it is to be found in its pristine purity only between (the solar systems or) the Stars of the Universe, the worlds already formed or forming; those in Laya resting meanwhile in its bosom. As its substance is of a different kind from that known on earth, the inhabitants of the latter, seeing through it, believe in their illusion and ignorance that it is empty space. There is not one finger’s breath (angula) of void Space in the whole Boundless (Universe). . . . .
(xx.) “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,
* This (teaching) does not refer to Prakriti-Purusha beyond the boundaries of our small universe.
† The ultimate quiescent state: the Nirvana condition of the seventh Principle.
‡ The teaching is all given from our plane of consciousness.
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.
(xxi.) “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 . . . .
(xxiii). “It is on account of his septenary nature that the Sun is spoken of by the ancients as one who is driven by seven horses equal to the metres of the Vedas; or, again, that, though he is identified with the seven “Gaina” (classes of being) in his orb, he is distinct from them,‡ as he is, indeed; as also that he has seven rays, as indeed he has . . . .
(xxv.) “The Seven Beings in the Sun are the Seven Holy Ones, Self-born from the inherent power in the matrix of Mother substance. It is they who send the Seven Principal Forces, called rays, which at the beginning of Pralaya will centre into seven new Suns for the next Manvantara. The energy from which they spring into conscious existence in every Sun, is what some people call Vishnu (see foot-note below), which is the Breath of the absoluteness.
We call it the One manifested life — itself a reflection of the Absolute . . . . .
(xxvi.) “The latter must never be mentioned in words or speech lest it should take away some of our spiritual energies that aspire towards its state, gravitating ever onward unto it spiritually, as the whole physical universe gravitates towards its manifested centre — cosmically.
(xxvii.) “The former — the Initial existence — which may be called while in
* Or the “dream of Science,” the primeval really homogeneous matter, which no mortal can make objective in this Race or Round either.
† “Vishnu in the form of the Solar active energy, neither ever rises nor sets, and is at once, the sevenfold Sun and distinct from it,” says Vishnu Purana (Book II., Chap. 11).
‡ “In the same manner as a man approaches a mirror placed upon a stand, beholds in it his own image, so the energy or reflection of Vishnu (the Sun) is never disjoined but remains in the Sun as in a mirror that is there stationed” (“Vishnu Purana”).
this state of being the One Life, is, as explained, a Film for creative or formative purposes. It manifests in seven states, which, with their septenary sub-divisions, are the Forty-nine Fires* mentioned in sacred books . . . . . .
(xxix.) “The first is the . . . . ‘Mother’ (prima materia). Separating itself into its primary seven states, it proceeds down cyclically; when† having consolidated itself in its last principle as gross matter, it revolves around itself and informs, with the seventh emanation of the last, the first and the lowest element (the Serpent biting its own tail). In a hierarchy, or order of being, the seventh emanation of her last principle is: —
(a) In the mineral, the spark that lies latent in it, and is called to its evanescent being by the Positive awakening the Negative (and so forth). . . .
(b) In the plant it is that vital and intelligent Force which informs the seed and develops it into the blade of grass, or the root and sapling. It is the germ which becomes the Upadhi of the seven principles of the thing it resides in, shooting them out as the latter grows and develops.
(c) In every animal it does the same. It is its life principle and vital power; its instinct and qualities; its characteristics and special idiosyncrasies . . . .
(d) To man, it gives all that it bestows on all the rest of the manifested units in nature; but develops, furthermore, the reflection of all its Forty-nine Fires in him. Each of his seven principles is an heir in full to, and a partaker of, the seven principles of the “great Mother.” The breath of her first principle is his spirit (Atma). Her second principle is Buddhi (soul). We call it, erroneously, the seventh. The third furnishes him with (a) the brain stuff on the physical plane, and (b) with the Mind that moves it — [which is the human soul. — h.p.b.] — according to his organic capacities.
(e) It is the guiding Force in the Cosmic and terrestrial elements. It resides in the Fire provoked out of its latent into active being; for the whole of the seven subdivisions of the * * * principle reside in the terrestrial Fire. It whirls in the breeze, blows with the hurricane, and sets the air in motion, which element participates in one of its principles also. Proceeding cyclically, it regulates the motion
* In “Vishnu” and other Puranas.
† See the Hermetic “Nature,” “Going down cyclically into matter when she meets ‘heavenly man.’ ”
of the water, attracts and repels the waves* according to fixed laws of which its seventh principle is the informing soul.
(f) Its four higher principles contain the germ that develops into the Cosmic Gods; its three lower ones breed the lives of the Elements (Elementals).
(g) In our Solar world, the One Existence is Heaven and the Earth, the Root and the flower, the Action and the Thought. It is in the Sun, and is as present in the glow-worm. Not an atom can escape it. Therefore, the ancient Sages have wisely called it the manifested God in Nature. . . .”
It may be interesting, in this connection, to remind the reader of what Mr. Subba Row said of the Forces — mystically defined. See “Five Years of Theosophy” and “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac.” Thus he says:
“Kanya (the sixth sign of the Zodiac, or Virgo) means a Virgin, and represents Sakti or Mahamaya. The sign . . . is the 6th Rasi or division, and indicates that there are six primary forces in Nature (synthesized by the Seventh)” . . . These Sakti stand as follows: —
(1.) Parasakti. Literally the great or Supreme Force or power. It means and includes the powers of light and heat.
(2.) Jnanasakti. . . . The power of intellect, of real Wisdom or Knowledge. It has two aspects:
The following are some of its manifestations when placed under the influence or control of material conditions. (a) The power of the mind in interpreting our sensations. (b) Its power in recalling past ideas (memory) and raising future expectation. (c) Its power as exhibited in what are called by modern psychologists “the laws of association,” which enables it to form persisting connections between various groups of sensations and possibilities of sensations, and thus generate the notion or idea of an external object. (d) Its power in connecting our ideas together by the mysterious link of memory, and thus generating the notion of self or individuality; some of its manifestations when liberated from the bonds of matter are — (a) Clairvoyance, (b) Psychometry.
(3.) Itchasakti — the power of the Will. Its most ordinary manifesta-
* The writers of the above knew perfectly well the physical cause of the tides, of the waves, etc. It is the informing Spirit of the whole Cosmic solar body that is meant here, and which is referred to whenever such expressions are used from the mystic point of view.
tion is the generation of certain nerve currents which set in motion such muscles as are required for the accomplishment of the desired object.
(4.) Kriyasakti. The mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally if one’s attention is deeply concentrated upon it. Similarly an intense volition will be followed by the desired result.
A Yogi generally performs his wonders by means of Itchasakti and Kriyasakti.
(5.) Kundalini Sakti. The power or Force which moves in a curved path. It is the Universal life-Principle manifesting everywhere in nature. This force includes the two great forces of attraction and repulsion. Electricity and magnetism are but manifestations of it. This is the power which brings about that “continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations” which is the essence of life according to Herbert Spencer, and that “continuous adjustment of external relations to internal relations” which is the basis of transmigration of souls, punar janman (re-birth) in the doctrines of the ancient Hindu philosophers. A Yogi must thoroughly subjugate this power before he can attain Moksham. . . .
(6.) Mantrika-sakti. The force or power of letters, speech or music. The Mantra Shastra has for its subject-matter this force in all its manifestations. . . . . The influence of melody is one of its ordinary manifestations. The power of the ineffable name is the crown of this Sakti.
Modern Science has but partly investigated the first, second and fifth of the forces above named, but is altogether in the dark as regards the remaining powers. The six forces are in their unity represented by the “Daiviprakriti” (the Seventh, the light of the Logos).
The above is quoted to show the real Hindu ideas on the same. It is all esoteric, though not covering the tenth part of what might be said. For one, the six names of the Six Forces mentioned are those of the six Hierarchies of Dhyan Chohans synthesized by their Primary, the seventh, who personify the Fifth Principle of Cosmic Nature, or of the “Mother” in its Mystical Sense. The enumeration alone of the yogi Powers would require ten volumes. Each of these Forces has a living Conscious Entity at its head, of which entity it is an emanation.
But let us compare with the commentary just cited the words of Hermes, the “thrice great”: —
“The creation of Life by the Sun is as continuous as his light; nothing arrests or limits it. Around him, like an army of Satellites, are innumerable choirs of genii. These dwell in the neighbourhood of the Immortals, and thence watch over human things. They fulfil the will of the gods (Karma) by means of storms, tempests, transitions of fire and earthquakes; likewise by famines and wars, for the punishment of impiety.* . . . It is the sun who preserves and nourishes all creatures; and even as the Ideal World which environs the sensible world fills this last with the plenitude and universal variety of forms, so also the Sun, enfolding all in his light, accomplishes everywhere the birth and development of creatures.” . . . “Under his orders is the choir of Genii, or rather the choirs, for there are many and diverse, and their number corresponds to that of the stars. Every star has its genii, good and evil by nature, or rather by their operation, for operation is the essence of the genii. . . . All these Genii preside over mundane affairs,† they shake and overthrow the constitution of States and of individuals; they imprint their likeness on our Souls, they are present in our nerves, our marrow, our veins, our arteries, and our very brain-substance . . . at the moment when each of us receives life and being, he is taken in charge by the genii (Elementals) who preside over births,‡ and who are classed beneath the astral powers (Superhuman astral Spirits.) They change perpetually, not always identically, but revolving in circles.§ They permeate by the body two parts of the Soul, that it may receive from each the impress of his own energy. But the reasonable part of the Soul is not subject to the genii; it is designed
* See Stanzas III. and IV. and the Commentaries thereupon, especially the Comments on Stanza IV. “the Lipika and the four Maharajas,” the agents of Karma.
† And “Gods” or Dhyanis, too, not only the genii or “guided Forces.”
‡ The meaning of this is that as man is composed of all the Great Elements: Fire, Air, Water, Earth and Ether — the elementals which belong respectively to these Elements feel attracted to man by reason of their co-essence. That element which predominates in a certain constitution will be the ruling element throughout life. For instance, if man has a preponderance of the Earthly, gnomic element, the gnomes will lead him towards assimilating metals — money and wealth, and so on. “Animal man is the son of the animal elements out of which his Soul (life) was born, and animals are the mirrors of man,” says Paracelsus (De Fundamento Sapientiae). Paracelsus was cautious, and wanted the Bible to agree with what he said, and therefore did not say all.
§ Cyclic progress in development.
for the reception of (the) God,* who enlightens it with a sunny ray. Those who are thus illumined are few in number, and from them the genii abstain: for neither genii nor Gods have any power in the presence of a single ray of God.† But all other men, both soul and body, are directed by genii, to whom they cleave, and whose operations they affect. . . . . . The genii have then the control of mundane things and our bodies serve them as instruments. . . . .”
The above, save a few sectarian points, represents that which was a universal belief common to all nations till about a century or so back. It is still as orthodox in its broad outlines and features among pagans and Christians alike, if one excepts a handful of materialists and men of Science.
For whether one calls the genii of Hermes and his “Gods,” “Powers of Darkness” and “Angels,” as in the Greek and Latin Churches; or “Spirits of the Dead,” as in Spiritualism; or, again, Bhoots and Devas, Shaitan or Djin, as they are still called in India and Mussulman countries — they are all one and the same thing — illusion. Let not this, however, be misunderstood in the sense into which the great philosophical doctrine of the Vedantists has been lately perverted by Western schools.
All that which is, emanates from the absolute, which, from this qualification alone, stands as the one and only reality — hence, everything extraneous to this Absolute, the generative and causative Element, must be an illusion, most undeniably. But this is only so from the purely metaphysical view. A man who regards himself as mentally sane, and is so regarded by his neighbours, calls the visions of an insane brother — whose hallucinations make the victim either happy or supremely wretched, as the case may be — illusions and fancies likewise. But, where is that madman for whom the hideous shadows in his deranged mind, his illusions, are not, for the time being, as actual and as real as the things which his physician or keeper may see? Everything is relative in this Universe, everything is an illusion. But
* The God in man and often the incarnation of a God, a highly Spiritual Dhyan Chohan in him, besides the presence of his own seventh Principle.
† Now, what “god” is meant here? Not God “the Father,” the anthropomorphic fiction; for that god is the Elohim collectively, and has no being apart from the Host. Besides, such a god is finite and imperfect. It is the high Initiates and Adepts who are meant here by those men “few in number.” And it is precisely those men who believe in “gods” and know no “God,” but one Universal unrelated and unconditioned Deity.
the experience of any plane is an actuality for the percipient being, whose consciousness is on that plane; though the said experience, regarded from the purely metaphysical standpoint, may be conceived to have no objective reality. But it is not against metaphysicians, but against physicists and materialists that Esoteric teachings have to fight, and for these Vital Force, Light, Sound, Electricity, even to the objectively pulling force of magnetism, have no objective being, and are said to exist merely as “modes of motion,” “sensations and affections of matter.”
Neither the Occultists generally, nor the Theosophists, reject, as erroneously believed by some, the views and theories of the modern scientists, only because these views are opposed to Theosophy. The first rule of our Society is to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. The Theosophists, therefore, are the first to recognize the intrinsic value of science. But when its high priests resolve consciousness into a secretion from the grey matter of the brain, and everything else in nature into a mode of motion, we protest against the doctrine as being unphilosophical, self-contradictory, and simply absurd, from a scientific point of view, as much and even more than from the occult aspect of the esoteric knowledge.
For truly the astral light of the derided Kabalists has strange and weird secrets for him who can see in it; and the mysteries concealed within its incessantly disturbed waves are there, the whole body of Materialists and scoffers notwithstanding.* These secrets, along with
* The astral light of the Kabalists is very incorrectly translated by some “AEther;” the latter is confused with the hypothetical Ether of Science, and both are referred to by some theosophists as synonymous with Akasa. This is a great mistake.
“A characteristic of Akasa will serve to show how inadequately it is represented by Ether,” writes the author of Rational Refutations, thus unconsciously helping Occultism. “In dimension it is infinite; it is not made up of parts; and colour, taste, smell, and tangibility do not appertain to it. So far forth it corresponds exactly to time, space, Isvara, (“The Lord,” but rather creative potency and soul — anima mundi). Its speciality, as compared therewith, consists in its being the material cause of sound. Except for its being so, one might take it to be one with vacuity” (p. 120.)
It is vacuity, no doubt, especially for Rationalists. At any rate Akasa is sure to produce vacuity in the brain of a materialist. Nevertheless, though Akasa is not that Ether of Science, not even the Ether of the Occultist, who defines the latter as one of the principles of Akasa only, it is as certainly, together with its primary, the cause of sound, only a physical and spiritual, not a material cause by any means. The relations [[Footnote continued on next page]]
many other mysteries, will remain non-existent to the materialists of our age, in the same way as America was a non-existent myth for Europeans during the early part of the mediaeval ages, whereas Scandinavians and Norwegians had actually reached and settled in that very old “New World” several centuries before. But, as a Columbus was born to re-discover, and to force the Old World to believe in Antipodal countries, so will there be born scientists who will discover the marvels now claimed by Occultists to exist in the regions of Ether, with their varied and multiform denizens and conscious Entities. Then, nolens volens, Science will have to accept the old “Superstition,” as it has several others. And having been once forced to accept it — judging from past experience — its learned professors will, in all probability, as in the case of Mesmerism and Magnetism, now re-baptised Hypnotism, father the thing and reject its name. The choice of the new appellation will depend, in its turn, on the “modes of motion,” the new name for the older “automatic physical processes among the nerve fibrils of the (Scientific) brain” of Moleschott; as also, very likely, upon the last meal of the namer; since, according to the Founder of the new Hylo-Idealistic Scheme, “Cerebration is generically the same as chylification.”* Thus, were one to believe this preposterous proposition, the new name of the archaic thing would have to take its chance, on the inspiration of the namer’s liver, and then only would these truths have a chance of becoming scientific!
But truth, however distasteful to the generally blind majorities, has always had her champions, ready to die for her, and it is not the Occultists who will protest against its adoption by Science under whatever new name. But, until absolutely forced on the notice and acceptance of Scientists, many an Occult truth will be tabooed, as the phenomena of the Spiritualists and other psychic manifestations were, to be finally appropriated by its ex-traducers without the least acknowledgment or thanks. Nitrogen has added considerably to chemical knowledge, but its discoverer, Paracelsus, is to this day called a “quack.”
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] of Ether to Akasa may be defined by applying to both Akasa and Ether the words said of the god in the Vedas, “So himself was indeed (his own) son,” one being the progeny of the other and yet itself. This may be a difficult riddle to the profane, but very easy to understand for any Hindu — though not even a mystic.
* National Reformer, January 9th, 1887. Article “Phreno-Kosmo-Biology,” by Dr. Lewins.
How profoundly true are the words of H. T. Buckle, in his admirable “History of Civilization” (Vol. I., p. 256), when he says: —
“Owing to circumstances still unknown (Karmic provision, H.P.B.) there appear from time to time great thinkers, who, devoting their lives to a single purpose, are able to anticipate the progress of mankind, and to produce a religion or a philosophy by which important effects are eventually brought about. But if we look into history we shall clearly see that, although the origin of a new opinion may be thus due to a single man, the result which the new opinion produces will depend on the condition of the people among whom it is propagated. If either a religion or a philosophy is too much in advance of a nation it can do no present service but must bide its time* until the minds of men are ripe for its reception. . . . Every science, every creed has had its martyrs. According to the ordinary course of affairs, a few generations pass away, and then there comes a period when these very truths are looked upon as commonplace facts, and a little later there comes another period in which they are declared to be necessary, and even the dullest intellect wonders how they could ever have been denied.”
It is barely possible that the minds of the present generations are not quite ripe for the reception of Occult truths. Such will be the retrospect furnished to the advanced thinkers of the Sixth Root Race of the history of the acceptance of Esoteric Philosophy — fully and unconditionally. Meanwhile the generations of our Fifth Race will continue to be led away by prejudice and preconceptions. Occult Sciences will have the finger of scorn pointed at them from every street corner, and everyone will seek to ridicule and crush them in the name, and for the greater glory, of Materialism and its so-called Science. The Addendum which completes the present Book shows, however, in an anticipatory answer to several of the forthcoming Scientific objections, the true and mutual positions of the defendant and plaintiff. The Theosophists and Occultists stand arraigned by public opinion, which still holds high the banner of the inductive Sciences. The latter have, then, to be examined; and it must be shown how far their achievements and discoveries in the realm of natural laws are opposed, not so much to our claims, as to the facts in nature. The hour has now struck to ascertain whether the
* This is Cyclic law, but this law itself is often defied by human stubbornness.
walls of the modern Jericho are so impregnable that no blast of the Occult trumpet is ever likely to make them crumble.
The so-called Forces, with Light and Electricity heading them, and the constitution of the Solar orb must be carefully examined; as also Gravitation and the Nebular theories. The Natures of Ether and of other Elements must be discussed: thus contrasting scientific with other Occult teachings, while revealing some of the hitherto secret tenets of the latter. (Vide Addendum.)
Some fifteen years ago, the writer was the first to repeat, after the Kabalists, the wise Commandments in the Esoteric Catechism. “Close thy mouth, lest thou shouldst speak of this (the mystery), and thy heart, lest thou shouldst think aloud; and if thy heart has escaped thee, bring it back to its place, for such is the object of our alliance.” (Sepher Jezireh, Book of Creation.) And again: — “This is a secret which gives death: close thy mouth lest thou shouldst reveal it to the vulgar; compress thy brain lest something should escape from it and fall outside.” (Rules of Initiation.)
A few years later, a corner of the Veil of Isis had to be lifted; and now another and a larger rent is made. . . .
But old and time-honoured errors — such as become with every day more glaring and self-evident — stand arrayed in battle-order now, as they did then. Marshalled by blind conservatism, conceit and prejudice, they are constantly on the watch, ready to strangle every truth, which, awakening from its age-long sleep, happens to knock for admission. Such has been the case ever since man became an animal. That this proves in every case moral death to the revealers, who bring to light any of these old, old truths, is as certain as that it gives life and regeneration to those who are fit to profit even by the little that is now revealed to them.