Meeting held at 17, Lansdowne Road, London, W., on January 10th, 1889, at 8.30 p. m., Mr. T. B. Harbottle in the chair.
Subject: — THE STANZAS OF THE SECRET DOCTRINE — VOL. I.
Sloka (1). THE ETERNAL PARENT (Space), WRAPPED IN HER EVER INVISIBLE ROBES, HAD SLUMBERED ONCE AGAIN FOR SEVEN ETERNITIES.
Q. Space in the abstract is explained in the Proem (pp. 8 and 9) as follows: --
". . . . Absolute Unity cannot pass to infinity; for infinity presupposes the limitless extension of something, and the duration of that 'something'; and the One All is like Space — which is its only mental and physical representation on this Earth, or our plane of existence — neither an object of, nor a subject to, perception. If one could suppose the Eternal Infinite All, the Omnipresent Unity, instead of being in Eternity, becoming through periodical manifestation a manifold Universe or a multiple personality, that Unity would cease to be one. Locke's idea that 'pure Space is capable of neither resistance nor Motion' — is incorrect. Space is neither a 'limitless void,' nor a 'conditioned fulness,' but both: being, on the plane of absolute abstraction, the ever-incognisable Deity, which is void only to finite minds, and on that of mayavic perception, the Plenum, the absolute Container of all that is, whether manifested or unmanifested: it is, therefore, that ABSOLUTE ALL. There is no difference between the Christian Apostle's 'In Him we live and move and have our being,' and the Hindu Rishi's 'The Universe lives in, proceeds from, and will return to, Brahma (Brahma)': for Brahma (neuter), the unmanifested, is that Universe in abscondito, and Brahma, the manifested, is the Logos, made male-female in the symbolical orthodox dogmas. The God of the Apostle-Initiate and of the Rishi being both the Unseen and the Visible SPACE. Space is called in the esoteric symbolism 'the Seven-Skinned Eternal Mother-Father.' It is composed from its undifferentiated to its differentiated surface of seven layers.
"'What is that which was, is, and will be, whether there is a Universe or not; whether there be gods or none?' asks the esoteric Senzar Catechism. And the answer made is —SPACE." (S. D., I., 8).
Q. But why is the Eternal Parent, Space, spoken of as feminine?
A. Not in all cases, for in the above extract Space is called the "Eternal Mother-Father"; but when it is so spoken of the reason is that though it is impossible to define Parabrahm, yet once that we speak of that first something which can be conceived, it has to be treated of as a feminine principle. In all cosmogonies the first differentiation was considered feminine. It is Mulaprakriti which conceals or veils Parabrahm; Sephira the light that emanates first from Ain-Soph; and in Hesiod it is Gaea who springs from Chaos, preceding Eros (Theog. IV.; 201-246). This is repeated in all subsequent and less abstract material creations, as witnessed by Eve, created from the rib of Adam, etc. It is the goddess and goddesses who come first. The first emanation becomes the immaculate Mother from whom proceed all the gods, or the anthropomorphized creative forces. We have to adopt the masculine or the feminine gender, for we cannot use the neuter it. From IT, strictly speaking, nothing can proceed, neither a radiation nor an emanation.
Q. Is this first emanation identical with the Egyptian Neith?
A. In reality it is beyond Neith, but in one sense or in a lower aspect it is Neith.
Q. Then the IT itself is not the "Seven-Skinned Eternal Mother-Father"?
A. Assuredly not. The IT is in the Hindu philosophy, Parabrahm, that which is beyond Brahma, or, as it is now called in Europe, the "unknowable." The space of which we speak is the female aspect of Brahma, the male. At the first flutter of differentiation, the Subjective proceeds to emanate, or fall, like a shadow into the Objective, and becomes what was called the Mother Goddess, from whom proceeds the Logos, the Son and Father God at the same time, both unmanifested, one the Potentiality, the other the Potency. But the former must not be confounded with the manifested Logos, also called the "Son" in all cosmogonies.
Q. Is the first differentiation from the absolute IT always feminine?
A. Only as a figure of speech; in strict philosophy it is sexless; but the female aspect is the first it assumes in human conceptions, its subsequent materialization in any philosophy depending on the degree of the spirituality of the race or nation that produced the system. For instance: in the Kabbala of the Talmudists IT is called AIN-SOPH, the endless, the boundless, the infinite (the attribute being always NEGATIVE), which absolute Principle is yet referred to as He!! From it, this negative Boundless Circle of Infinite Light, emanates the first Sephira, the Crown, which the Talmudists call "Torah," the law, explaining that she is the wife of Ain-Soph. This is anthropomorphizing the Spiritual with a vengeance.
Q. Is it the same in the Hindu Philosophies?
A. Exactly the opposite. For if we turn to the Hindu cosmogonies, we find that Parabrahm is not even mentioned therein, but only Mulaprakriti. The latter is, so to speak, the lining or aspect of Parabrahm in the invisible universe. Mulaprakriti means the Root of Nature or Matter. But Parabrahm cannot be called the "Root," for it is the absolute Rootless Root of all. Therefore, we must begin with Mulaprakriti, or the Veil of this unknowable. Here again we see that the first is the Mother Goddess, the reflection or the subjective root, on the first plane of Substance. Then follows, issuing from, or rather residing in, this Mother Goddess, the unmanifested Logos, he who is both her Son and Husband at once, called the "concealed Father." From these proceeds the first-manifested Logos, or Spirit, and the Son from whose substance emanate the Seven Logoi, whose synthesis, viewed as one collective Force, becomes the Architect of the Visible Universe. They are the Elohim of the Jews.
Q. What aspect of Space, or the unknown deity, called in the Vedas "THAT" which is mentioned further on, is here called the "Eternal Parent"?
A. It is the Vedantic Mulaprakriti, and the Svabhavat of the Buddhists, or that androgynous something of which we have been speaking, which is both differentiated and undifferentiated. In its first principle it is a pure abstraction, which becomes differentiated only when it is transformed, in the process of time, into Prakriti. If compared with the human principles it corresponds to Buddhi, while Atma would correspond to Parabrahm, Manas to Mahat, and so on.
Q. What, then, are the seven layers of Space, for in the "Proem" we read about the "Seven-Skinned Mother-Father"?
A. Plato and Hermes Trismegistus would have regarded this as the Divine Thought, and Aristotle would have viewed this "Mother-Father" as the "privation" of matter. It is that which will become the seven planes of being, commencing with the spiritual and passing through the psychic to the material plane. The seven planes of thought or the seven states of consciousness correspond to these planes. All these septenaries are symbolized by the seven "Skins."
Q. The divine ideas in the Divine Mind? But the Divine Mind is not yet.
A. The Divine Mind is, and must be, before differentiation takes place. It is called the divine Ideation, which is eternal in its Potentiality and periodical in its Potency, when it becomes Mahat, Anima Mundi or Universal Soul. But remember that, however you name it, each of these conceptions has its most metaphysical, most material, and also intermediate aspects.
Q. What is the meaning of the term "Ever invisible robes"?
A. It is of course, as every allegory in the Eastern philosophies, a figurative expression. Perhaps it may be the hypothetical Protyle that Professor Crookes is in search of, but which can certainly never be found on this our earth or plane. It is the non-differentiated substance or spiritual matter.
Q. Is it what is called "Laya"?
A. "Robes" and all are in the Laya condition, the point from which, or at which, the primordial substance begins to differentiate and thus gives birth to the universe and all in it.
Q. Are the "invisible robes" so called because they are not objective to any differentiation of consciousness?
A. Say rather, invisible to finite consciousness, if such consciousness were possible at that stage of evolution. Even for the Logos, Mulaprakriti is a veil, the Robes in which the Absolute is enveloped. Even the Logos cannot perceive the Absolute, say the Vedantins. (Vide Mr. Subba Row's four Lectures, Notes on the Bhagavat Gita.)
Q. Is Mulaprakriti the correct term to use?
A. The Mulaprakriti of the Vedantins is the Aditi of the Vedas. The Vedanta philosophy means literally "the end or Synthesis of all knowledge." Now there are six schools of Hindu philosophy, which, however, will be found, on strict analysis, to agree perfectly in substance. Fundamentally they are identical, but there is such a wealth of names, such a quantity of side issues, details, and ornamentations — some emanations being their own fathers, and fathers born from their own daughters — that one becomes lost as in a jungle. State anything you please from the esoteric standpoint to a Hindu, and, if he so wishes, he can, from his own particular system, contradict or refute you. Each of the six schools has its own peculiar views and terms. So that unless the terminology of one school is adopted and used throughout the discussion, there is great danger of misunderstanding.
Q. Then the same identical term is used in quite a different sense by different philosophies? For instance, Buddhi has one meaning in the Esoteric and quite a different sense in the Sankhya philosophy. Is not this so?
A. Precisely, and quite a different sense in the Vishnu Purana, which speaks of seven Prakritis emanating from Mahat, and calls the latter Maha-Buddhi. Fundamentally, however, the ideas are the same, though the terms differ with each school, and the correct sense is lost in this maze of personifications. It would, perhaps, if possible, be best to invent for ourselves a new nomenclature. Owing, however, to the poverty of European languages, especially English, in philosophical terms, the undertaking would be somewhat difficult.
Q. Could not the term "Protyle" be employed to represent the Laya condition?
A. Scarcely; the Protyle of Professor Crookes is probably used to denote homogeneous matter on the most material plane of all, whereas the substance symbolized by the "Robes" of the "Eternal Parent" is on the seventh plane of matter counting upwards, or rather from without within. This can never be discovered on the lowest, or rather most outward and material plane.
Q. Is there, then, on each of the seven planes, matter relatively homogeneous for every plane?
A. That is so; but such matter is homogeneous only for those who are on the same plane of perception; so that if the Protyle of modern science is ever discovered, it will be homogeneous only to us. The illusion may last for some time, perhaps until the sixth race, for humanity is ever changing, physically and mentally, and let us hope spiritually too, perfecting itself more and more with every race and sub-race.
Q. Would it not be a great mistake to use any term which has been used by scientists with another meaning? Protoplasm had once almost the same sense as Protyle, but its meaning has now become narrowed.
A. It would most decidedly; the Hyle of the Greeks, however, most certainly did not apply to the matter of this plane, for they adopted it from the Chaldean cosmogony, where it was used in a highly metaphysical sense.
Q. But the word Hyle is now used by the materialists to express very nearly the same idea as that to which we apply the term Mulaprakriti.
A. It may be so; but Dr. Lewins and his brave half-dozen of Hylo-Idealists are hardly of this opinion, for in their system the metaphysical meaning is entirely disregarded and lost sight of.
Q. Then perhaps after all Laya is the best term to use?
A. Not so, for Laya does not mean any particular something or some plane or other, but denotes a state or condition. It is a Sanskrit term, conveying the idea of something in an undifferentiated and changeless state, a zero point wherein all differentiation ceases.
Q. The first differentiation would represent matter on its seventh plane: must we not, therefore, suppose that Professor Crookes' Protyle is also matter on its seventh plane?
A. The ideal Protyle of Professor Crookes is matter in that state which he calls the "zero-point."
Q. That is to say, the Laya point of this plane?
A. It is not at all clear whether Professor Crookes is occupied with other planes or admits their existence. The object of his search is the protylic atom, which, as no one has ever seen it, is simply a new working hypothesis of Science. For what in reality is an atom?
Q. It is a convenient definition of what is supposed to be, or rather a convenient term to divide up, a molecule.
A. But surely they must have come by this time to the conclusion that the atom is no more a convenient term than the supposed seventy odd elements. It has been the custom to laugh at the four and five elements of the ancients; but now Professor Crookes has come to the conclusion that, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a chemical element at all. In fact, so far from discovering the atom, a single simple molecule has not yet been arrived at.
Q. It should be remembered that Dalton, who first spoke on the subject, called it the "Atomic Theory."
A. Quite so; but, as shown by Sir W. Hamilton, the term is used in an erroneous sense by the modern schools of science, which, while laughing at metaphysics, apply a purely metaphysical term to physics, so that nowadays "theory" begins to usurp the prerogatives of "axiom."
Q. What are the "Seven Eternities," and how can there be such a division in Pralaya, when there is no one to be conscious of time?
A. The modern astronomer knows the "ordinances of Heaven" by no means better than his ancient brother did. If asked whether he could "bring forth Mazzaroth in his season," or if he was with "him" who "spread out the sky," he would have to answer sadly, just as Job did, in the negative. Yet this in no wise prevents him from speculating about the age of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, and "calculating" geological periods from that time when there was not a living man, with or without consciousness, on earth. Why, therefore, should not the same privilege be granted to the ancients?
Q. But why should the term "Seven Eternities" be employed?
A. The term "Seven Eternities" is employed owing to the invariable law of analogy. As Manvantara is divided into seven periods, so is Pralaya; as day is composed of twelve hours so is night. Can we say that because we are asleep during the night and lose consciousness of time, that therefore the hours do not strike? Pralaya is the "Night" after the Manvantaric "Day." There is no one by, and consciousness is asleep with the rest. But since it exists, and is in full activity during Manvantara; and since we are fully alive to the fact that the law of analogy and periodicity is immutable, and, being so, that it must act equally at both ends, why cannot the phrase be used?
Q. But how can an eternity be counted?
A. Perhaps the query arises owing to the general misunderstanding of the term "Eternity." We Westerns are foolish enough to speculate about that which has neither beginning nor end, and we imagine that the ancients must have done the same. They did not, however: no philosopher in days of old ever took "Eternity" to mean beginningless and endless duration. Neither the AEons of the Greeks nor the Naroses convey this meaning. In fact, they had no word to convey this precise sense. Parabrahm, Ain-Soph, and the Zeruana-Akerne of the Avesta alone represent such an Eternity; all the other periods are finite and astronomical, based on tropical years and other enormous cycles. The word AEon, which in the Bible is translated by Eternity, means not only a finite period, but also an angel and being.
Q. But is it not correct to say that in Pralaya too there is the "Great Breath"?
A. Assuredly: for the "Great Breath" is ceaseless, and is, so to speak, the universal and eternal perpetuum mobile?
Q. If so, it is impossible to divide it into periods, for this does away with the idea of absolute and complete nothingness. It seems somewhat incompatible that any "number" of periods should be spoken of, although one might speak of so many outbreathings and indrawings of the "Great Breath."
A. This would make away with the idea of absolute Rest, were not this absoluteness of Rest counteracted by the Absoluteness of Motion. Therefore one expression is as good as the other. There is a magnificent poem on Pralaya, written by a very ancient Rishi, who compares the motion of the Great Breath during Pralaya to the rhythmical motions of the Unconscious Ocean.
Q. The difficulty is when the word "eternity" is used instead of "AEon."
A. Why should a Greek word be used when there is a more familiar expression, especially as it is fully explained in the Secret Doctrine? You may call it a relative, or a Manvantaric and Pralayic eternity, if you like.
Q. Is the relation of Pralaya and Manvantara strictly analogous to the relations between sleeping and waking?
A. In a certain sense only; during night we all exist personally, and are individually, though we sleep and may be unconscious of so living. But during Pralaya every thing differentiated, as every unit disappears from the phenomenal universe and is merged in, or rather transferred into, the One noumenal. Therefore, de facto, there is a great difference.
Q. Sleep has been called the "Shady side of life"; may Pralaya be called the shady side of Cosmic life?
A. It may in a certain way be called so. Pralaya is dissolution of the visible into the invisible, the heterogeneous into the homogeneous — a time of rest, therefore. Even cosmic matter, indestructible though it be in its essence, must have a time of rest, and return to its Layam state. The absoluteness of the all-containing One essence has to manifest itself equally in rest and activity.
Sloka (2). TIME WAS NOT, FOR IT LAY ASLEEP IN THE INFINITE BOSOM DURATION.
Q. What is the difference between Time and Duration?
A. Duration is; it has neither beginning nor end. How can you call that which has neither beginning nor end, Time? Duration is beginningless and endless; Time is finite.
Q. Is, then, Duration the infinite, and Time the finite conception?
A. Time can be divided; Duration — in our philosophy, at least — cannot. Time is divisible in Duration — or, as you put it, the one is something within Time and Space, whereas the other is outside of both.
Q. The only way one can define Time is by the motion of the earth.
A. But we can also define Time in our conceptions.
Q. Duration, rather?
A. No, Time; for as to Duration, it is impossible to divide it or set up landmarks therein. Duration with us is the one eternity, not relative, but absolute.
Q. Can it be said that the essential idea of Duration is existence?
A. No; existence has limited and definite periods, whereas Duration, having neither beginning nor end, is a perfect abstraction which contains Time. Duration is like Space, which is an abstraction too, and is equally without beginning or end. It is in its concreteness and limitation only that it becomes a representation and something. Of course the distance between two points is called space; it may be enormous or it may be infinitesimal, yet it will always be space. But all such specifications are divisions in human conception. In reality Space is what the ancients called the One invisible and unknown (now unknowable) Deity.
Q. Then Time is the same as Space, being one in the abstract?
A. As two abstractions they may be one; but this would apply to Duration and Abstract Space rather than to Time and Space.
Q. Space is the objective and Time the subjective side of all manifestation. In reality they are the only attributes of the infinite; but attribute is perhaps a bad term to use, inasmuch as they are, so to speak, co-extensive with the infinite. It may, however, be objected that they are nothing but the creations of our own intellect; simply the forms in which we cannot help conceiving things.
A. That sounds like an argument of our friends the Hylo-idealists; but here we speak of the noumenal and not of the phenomenal universe. In the occult catechism (Vide Secret Doctrine) it is asked: "What is that which always is, which you cannot imagine as not being, do what you may?" The answer is — SPACE. For there may not be a single man in the universe to think of it, not a single eye to perceive it, nor a single brain to sense it, but still Space is, ever was, and ever will be, and you cannot make away with it.
Q. Because we cannot help thinking of it, perhaps?
A. Our thinking of it has nothing to do with the question. Try, rather, if you can think of anything with Space excluded and you will soon find out the impossibility of such a conception. Space exists where there is nothing else, and must so exist whether the Universe is one absolute vacuum or a full Pleroma.
Q. Modern Philosophers have reduced it to this, that space and time are nothing but attributes, nothing but accidents.
A. And they would be right, were their reduction the fruit of true science instead of being the result of Avidya and Maya. We find also Buddha saying that even Nirvana, after all, is but Maya, or an illusion; but the Lord Buddha based what he said on knowledge, not speculation.
Q. But are eternal Space and Duration the only attributes of the Infinite?
A. Space and Duration, being eternal, cannot be called attributes, as they are only the aspects of that Infinite. Nor can that Infinite, if you mean by it The Absolute Principle, have any attributes whatever, as only that which is itself finite and conditioned can have any relation to something else. All this is philosophically wrong.
Q. We can conceive of no matter which is not extended, no extension which is not extension of something. Is it the same on higher planes? And if so, what is the substance which fills absolute space, and is it identical with that space?
A. If your "trained intellect" cannot conceive of any other kind of matter, perhaps one less trained but more open to spiritual perceptions can. It does not follow, because you say so, that such a conception of Space is the only one possible, even on our Earth. For even on this plane of ours there are other and various intellects, besides those of man, in creatures visible and invisible, from minds of subjective high and low Beings to objective animals and the lowest organisms, in short, "from the Deva to the elephant, from the elemental to the ant." Now, in relation to its own plane of conception and perception, the ant has as good an intellect as we have ourselves, and a better one; for though it cannot express it in words, yet, over and above instinct, the ant shows very high reasoning powers, as all of us know. Thus, finding on our own plane — if we credit the teachings of Occultism — so many and such varied states of consciousness and intelligence, we have no right to take into consideration and account only our own human consciousness, as though no other existed outside of it. And if we cannot presume to decide how far insect consciousness goes, how can we limit consciousness, of which Science knows nothing, to this plane.
Q. But why not? Surely natural science can discover all that has to be discovered, even in the ant?
A. Such is your view; to the occultist, however, such confidence is misplaced, in spite of Sir John Lubbock's labors. Science may speculate, but, with its present methods, will never be able to prove the certitude of such speculations. If a scientist could become an ant for a while, and think as an ant, and remember his experience on returning to his own sphere of consciousness, then only would he know something for certain of this interesting insect. As it is, he can only speculate, making inferences from the ant's behavior.
Q. The ant's conception of time and space are not our own, then. Is it this that you mean?
A. Precisely; the ant has conceptions of time and space which are its own, not ours; conceptions which are entirely on another plane; we have, therefore, no right to deny a priori the existence of other planes only because we can form no idea of them, but which exist nevertheless — planes higher and lower than our own by many degrees, as witness the ant.
Q. The difference between the animal and man from this point of view seems to he that the former is born more or less with all its faculties, and, generally speaking, does not appreciably gain on this, while the latter is gradually learning and improving. Is not that really the point?
A. Just so; but you have to remember why: not because man has one "principle" more than the tiniest insect, but because man is a perfected animal, the vehicle of a fully developed monad, self-conscious and deliberately following its own line of progress, whereas in the insect, and even the higher animal, the higher triad of principles is absolutely dormant.
Q. Is there any consciousness, or conscious being, to cognize and make a division of time at the first flutter of manifestation? In his Lecture on the Bhagavat Gita, Mr. Subba Row, in speaking of the First Logos, seems to imply both consciousness and intelligence.
A. But he did not explain which Logos was referred to, and I believe he spoke in general. In the Esoteric Philosophy the First is the unmanifested, and the Second the manifested Logos. Iswara stands for that Second, and Narayana for the unmanifested Logos. Subba Row is an Adwaitee and a learned Vedantin, and explained from his standpoint. We do so from ours. In the Secret Doctrine, that from which the manifested Logos is born is translated by the "Eternal Mother-Father"; while in the Vishnu Purana it is described as the Egg of the World, surrounded by seven skins, layers or zones. It is in this Golden Egg that Brahma, the male, is born and that Brahma is in reality the Second Logos or even the Third, according to the enumeration adopted; for a certainty he is not the First or highest, the point which is everywhere and nowhere. Mahat, in the Esoteric interpretations, is in reality the Third Logos or the Synthesis of the Seven creative rays, the Seven Logoi. Out of the seven so-called Creations, Mahat is the third, for it is the Universal and Intelligent Soul, Divine Ideation, combining the ideal plans and prototypes of all things in the manifested objective as well as subjective world. In the Sankhya and Puranic doctrines Mahat is the first product of Pradhana, informed by Kshetrajna "Spirit-Substance." In Esoteric philosophy Kshetrajna is the name given to our informing EGOS.
Q. Is it then the first manifestation in our objective universe?
A. It is the first Principle in it, made sensible or perceptible to divine though not human senses. But if we proceed from the Unknowable, we will find it to be the third, and corresponding to Manas, or rather Buddhi-Manas.
Q. Then the First Logos is the first point within the circle?
A. The point within the circle which has neither limit nor boundaries, nor can it have any name or attribute. This first unmanifested Logos is simultaneous with the line drawn across the diameter of the Circle. The first line or diameter is the Mother-Father; from it proceeds the Second Logos, which contains in itself the Third Manifested Word. In the Puranas, for instance, it is again said that the first production of Akasa is Sound, and Sound means in this case the "Word," the expression of the unuttered thought, the manifested Logos, that of the Greeks and Platonists and St. John. Dr. Wilson and other Orientalists speak of this conception of the Hindus as an absurdity, for according to them Akasa and Chaos are identical. But if they knew that Akasa and Pradhana are but two aspects of the same thing, and remember that Mahat, the divine ideation on our plane — is that manifested Sound or Logos, they would laugh at themselves and their own ignorance.
Q. With reference to the following passage, what is the consciousness which takes cognizance of time? Is the consciousness of time limited to the plane of waking physical consciousness, or does it exist on higher planes? In the Secret Doctrine, I., 37, it is said that: — "Time is only an illusion produced by the succession of states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration, and it does not exist where no consciousness exists."
A. Here consciousness only on our plane is meant, not the eternal divine Consciousness which we call the Absolute. The consciousness of time, in the present sense of the word, does not exist even in sleep; much less, therefore, can it exist in the essentially absolute. Can the sea be said to have a conception of time in its rhythmical striking on the shore, or in the movement of its waves? The Absolute cannot be said to have a consciousness, or, at any rate, a consciousness such as we have here. It has neither consciousness, nor desire, nor wish, nor thought, because it is absolute thought, absolute desire, absolute consciousness, absolute "all."
Q. Is it what we refer to as BE-NESS, or SAT?
A. Our kind critics have found the word "Be-ness" very amusing, but there is no other way of translating the Sanskrit term, Sat. It is not existence, for existence can only apply to phenomena, never to noumena, the very etymology of the Latin term contradicting such assertion, as ex means "from" or "out of," and sistere "to stand"; therefore, something appearing being then where it was not before. Existence, moreover, implies something having a beginning and an end. How can the term, therefore, be applied to that which ever was, and of which it cannot be predicated that it ever issued from something else?
Q. The Hebrew Jehovah was "I am."
A. And so was Ormuzd, the Ahura-Mazda of the old Mazdeans. In this sense every man as much as every God can boast of his existence, saying "I am that I am."
Q. But surely "Be-ness" has some connection with the word "to be"?
A. Yes; but "Be-ness" is not being, for it is equally non-being. We cannot conceive it, for our intellects are finite and our language far more limited and conditioned even than our minds. How, therefore, can we express that which we can only conceive of by a series of negatives?
Q. A German could more easily express it by the word "sein"; "das Sein" would be a very good equivalent of "Be-ness"; the latter term may sound absurd to unaccustomed English ears, but "das Sein" is a perfectly familiar term and idea to a German. But we were speaking of consciousness in Space and Time.
A. This Consciousness is finite, having beginning and end. But where is the word for such finite Consciousness which still, owing to Maya, believes itself infinite? Not even the Devachanee is conscious of time. All is present in Devachan; there is no past, otherwise the Ego would recall and regret it; no future, or it would desire to have it. Seeing, therefore, that Devachan is a state of bliss in which everything is present, the Devachanee is said to have no conception or idea of time; everything is to him as in a vivid dream, a reality.
Q. But we may dream a lifetime in half a second, being conscious of a succession of states of consciousness, events taking place one after the other.
A. After the dream only; no such consciousness exists while dreaming.
Q. May we not compare the recollection of a dream to a person giving the description of a picture, and having to mention all the parts and details because he cannot present the whole before the mind's eye of the listener?
A. That is a very good analogy.