Introductory Notes on the The Secret Doctrine
Notes on the "Proem" to The Secret Doctrine
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The Greek Logos or Latin Verbum, the Cosmic Intelligence that informs life.
Space is the infinite, eternal background of Being, Being itself, the ever-lasting substratum of the universe. “The body of the Universe . . . a body of limitless extent, whose principles . . . manifest in our phenomenal world only the grossest fabric of their subdivisions” (SD 1:342).
The dissolution of the visible into the invisible, from the many into the One; the state of latency between two comic manvantaras (active periods of the universe). In a cosmic Pralaya, the objective universe returns into the one primal and eternally productive Cause, to reappear at the beginning of the next cycle of manifestation.
A symbol used by ancient cultures all over the world to signify the pre-cosmic matrix of the universe. See SD 1:359-68.
Impressed by Cosmic Spirit, it is the storehouse of the prototypical model of the material worlds, and the transmitter of this model to the world of material and physical objectivity. It is “the great Soul, the vehicle of Spirit, the first primeval reflection of the formless CAUSE.” — SD 1:420
The guiding intelligence of manifested nature on all planes. Divine Thought remains during pralaya as the permanent root of subsequent cosmic Ideation during manifestation.
A term popularized in 1869 by Eduard von Hartmann in Philosophie des Unbewussten (Philosophy of the Unconscious). Von Hartmann postulated “an unconscious world soul” as the basis for all manifestation, describing it as “pure, unconscious Spirit.” Unconsciousness and consciousness are used in theosophy with direct reference to human understanding — what we call unconsciousness in the sense it is being used here is consciousness on a plane so high, and with a range so vast, that human understanding cannot contain it.
“by a clairvoyant wisdom superior to all consciousness”
An excerpt from Philosophy of the Unconscious (vol. II, ch. 8) by the German philosopher Eduard von Hartmann (1842-1906): “the function of this unconscious intelligence is anything but blind, rather far-seeing, nay, even clairvoyant . . . in its infallible purposive activity, embracing out of time all ends and means in one, and always including all necessary data within its ken, it infinitely transcends the halting, stilted gait of the discursive reflection of consciousness . . . We shall thus be compelled to designate this intelligence, which is superior to all consciousness, at once unconscious and super-conscious . . .” — Philosophy of the Unconscious, tr. W. C. Coupland, 1890, II:246-7
Vedānta is a system of mystical philosophy derived from the efforts of Brahmanical sages through many generations to interpret the sacred and esoteric meaning of the Upanishads, especially the connection between Brahman and Ātman. One such Vedāntic sage was Śankara.
Śankara equated knowledge of the Self (Ātma-vidyā) with knowledge of Brahman (Brahma-vidyā), and he described Absolute Wisdom in terms of Self-knowledge, the knowledge of one’s true Self: “There is a self-existent Reality, which is the basis of our consciousness of ego. . . . That Reality is the knower in all states of consciousness . . . It is the Ātman. . . . Here, within this body, in the pure mind, in the secret chamber of intelligence, in the infinite universe within the heart, the Ātman shines in its captivating splendour, like the noonday sun. By its light, the universe is revealed.” — Crest-Jewel of Discrimination, tr. Prabhavananda and Isherwood, 1947, pp. 62-3
Direct perception of truth independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension. Iamblichus wrote of intuition: “There is a faculty of the human mind, which is superior to all which is born or begotten. Through it we are enabled to attain union with the superior intelligences, to be transported beyond the scenes of this world, and to partake of the higher life and peculiar powers of the heavenly ones.”
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The condition of life in pralaya, preceding and following manifestation. It corresponds to the Sanskrit asat, while sat corresponds to Being.
“a chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason”
“What, then, is that which is at once single and multiple, identical and diversified — which we perceive as the combination of a thousand elements, yet as the expression of a single spirit — which is a chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason? What is it but harmony — proportion — the one governing the many, the many lost in the one?” — Benjamin Franklin Cocker, Christianity and Greek Philosophy, 1872, p. 303
The ceaseless alternate outflowing and inflowing of cosmic life. Even after the point of total dissolution, when the many are withdrawn into the One and Being becomes non-Being, the alternating motion of the Great Breath does not cease.
Leucippus and Democritus
Leucippus and Democritus were Greek philosophers in the time of Empedocles and Socrates respectively (5th century bce). They are usually credited with being the first proponents of Atomism, which held that all things arose from two ultimate principles: atoms (or Being per se, each atom a plenum or fullness) and the void (non-Being, but nevertheless existent). By atoms they meant an infinite number of “indivisible particles of substance” in innumerable shapes that are naturally in constant motion. Through their various movements these atoms contained the potentialities of all possible future development in the cosmos.
Epicurus and Lucretius
Epicurus (b. 341 bce) was a Greek philosopher who further developed the atomistic theory of Democritus, using it as the basis for a practical philosophy that emphasized ethics, moderation of desires, and that we can be liberated from the fear of death and the supernatural. Lucretius (b. 99 bce) was a Roman poet who studied the writings of Epicurus and explained his teachings in a poetical treatise, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things).
“Fire is the father of light, light the parent of heat and air (vital air). If the absolute deity can be referred to as Darkness or the Dark Fire, the light, its first progeny, is truly the first self-conscious god. . . . Fire is the invisible deity, ‘the Father,’ and the manifesting light is God ‘the Son’. . . . Light sets in motion and controls all in nature, from the highest primordial aether down to the tiniest molecule in Space. . . . Thus Fire may be called the unity of the Universe. Pure cosmic fire is Deity in its universality . . .” “Fire here stands for the concealed Spirit, Water is its progeny, or moisture, or the creative elements here on earth . . . and the evolving or creative principles within, or the innermost principles.” — Blavatsky, Collected Writings 10:375, 378
One of Plato’s Dialogues, in which the derivation of θεός (theos) is described by Socrates: “I suspect that the sun, moon, earth, stars, and heaven, which are still the gods of many barbarians, were the only gods known to the aboriginal Hellenes. Seeing that they were always moving and running, from this running nature of them, they called them gods or runners . . .” (Cratylus, 397d, tr. B. Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato, 1885, p. 636).
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Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Kabala
One nature, perfect and pervading, circulates in all natures;
One reality, all comprehensive, contains within itself all realities . . .
— Yoka Daishi, “Song of Enlightenment”
there are not many but only One. . . .
Behold then as One the infinite and eternal One who is in radiance beyond space,
the everlasting Soul never born.
— Bṛihadāraṇyaka Upanishad, IV.iv, 19-20
The Aged of the Aged, the Unknown of the Unknown, has a form, and yet no form.
He has a form whereby the universe is preserved, and yet has no form,
because he cannot be comprehended.
— Zohar, 3:288a
“Learn now summarily the measure of a day and a night of Brahmā . . . At the end of His day and night, He, being asleep, awakes, and awaking creates mind, which is and is not . . .” — The Ordinances of Manu, tr. Arthur Burnell, 1884, I.68, 74
Svābhāvat (Sanskrit, “self-existent”)
Refers to “the eternal cause and effect, omnipresent yet abstract, the self-existent plastic Essence and the root of all things, viewed in the same dual light as the Vedantin views his Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti” (SD 1:46).
George Berkeley (1685-1753)
Anglo-Irish bishop and philosopher, the leading exponent of subjective idealism. Berkeley held that existence depends on the perceiver and the act of being perceived (“to be is to be perceived”), and that “sensible things” exist to us because we perceive them.
Conceptualism is the view proposed by Peter Abelard (1079-1142), that Universals exist only in the mind, yet they also correspond to real similarities in things, which existed before creation in the mind of God. If emanation is substituted for “creation” and Cosmic Intelligence for “God,” then the conceptualist view is similar to that of theosophy. Theosophy points directly to all the phenomena of nature as expressed in beings, objects, entities, and things as arising in spiritual realms, or noumena. The hidden or invisible noumena of beings and things are both real and mere abstract names.
Roscelin . . . Realism and Nominalism
In the Middle Ages scholastic controversy arose as to whether substantive reality should be ascribed to particular things or to Universals. One of those involved in this controversy was the French scholastic philosopher Jean Roscelin (c. 1050-1120). Roscelin held that nothing exists but individual things, and this position became known as Nominalism. The Realists, on the other hand, maintained that only Universals have substantive reality, and that they exist independently of and prior to all individual entities, which are derived from them. Roscelin viewed the Universals of Realism as mere names invented to express certain qualities — universal qualities were merely figments of the mind.
Edward Clodd (1840-1930)
English writer and chairman of the Rationalist Press Association, whose mission was to promote the supremacy of reason and to establish a system of philosophy and ethics verifiable by experience, independent of all arbitrary assumptions or authority. Clodd wrote works on evolution, anthropology, mythology, and comparative religion, with an emphasis on universal brotherhood.
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Anthropomorphism is the ascribing of human qualities and attributes to a divine being. It is a degraded symbolism, as it shifts attention away from the spirit and from symbols intended to open the mind to what is non-material and universal.
Those who base their philosophy on positive facts, on physical phenomena, denying the validity of theology or metaphysics, or any speculation on origins or ultimate causes.
See “Isis Unveiled”
HPB has taken a long passage from Isis Unveiled (2:264-5) and is using it here in a slightly edited form.
“The Days and Nights of Brahmā” in Part II
This chapter appears in Part II of Volume I of The Secret Doctrine, pp. 368-78.
In the Vedas, Aditi is devamātri (“mother of the gods”) as from and in her cosmic matrix all the heavenly bodies were born. As the celestial virgin and mother of every existing form and being, the synthesis of all things, she is highest ākāśa. Aditi has correspondences in many ancient religions: the highest Sĕphīrāh in the Zohar; the Gnostic Sophia-Achamoth; Rhea, mother of the Greek Olympians; Bythos or the great Deep; Amba; Surarani; Chaos; Waters of Space; Primordial Light, and the source of the Egyptian seven heavens.
“THAT” is the English translation of the Sanskrit tat, which was used by Vedic writers to indicate the unutterable Principle, the nameless or ineffable. THAT is beyond the utmost that can be defined or comprehended.
The productive and generative powers of Cosmic Spirit, considered from the human standpoint as a feminine agent in universal nature, and hence often called the Great Mother or the Immaculate Virgin, Space, and the Cosmic Deep.
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mundane cross (“world cross”)
It is one of the most widespread symbols in ancient cosmogonies, representing the connection between spirit and matter (heaven and earth), as well as the framework that supports the higher and lower realms of the universe. The vertical line symbolizes spirit, the horizontal line is matter, and the four arms stand for the four elements (and the four directions).
In this context, a period in the Fourth Round of human evolution in which semi-astral bodies developed skeletal and nervous systems, organs and glands, coinciding with the separation of the sexes. These were the first truly physical human beings. Yet more important than these biological changes was the awakening of mind, the quickening of self-conscious thinking.
fall of man
The evolutionary descent of human beings into matter marked by the development of physical bodies, reproduction by sexual generation, and an increasing preoccupation with the material world. “The Fall” has been distorted in Western theology to mean falling into a state of innate sinfulness; however, it is but a natural and necessary human evolutionary passage — spiritually, physically, and mentally.
A period in human evolution in which humanity reached its greatest materiality, and a turning point toward the ascending arc of increasing spiritualization of body and mind. As described in the Stanzas of Dzyan, the Fourth Race at its height “became tall with pride. ‘We are the kings, we are the gods.’ . . . They built temples for human body. Male and Female they worshipped. Then the Third Eye [of spiritual insight] acted no longer.” — SD 2:271 et seq.
Greek pan, all + theos, god: a belief in an all-moving or all-living divine principle pervading the universe, and which is the substratum, the inmost, of all beings and things from atom to cosmos.
Nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet representing an ancient symbol of the cross. “The diameter, when found isolated in a circle, stands for female nature, for the first ideal World, self-generated and self-impregnated by the universally diffused Spirit of Life — referring thus to the primitive Root-Race also. It becomes androgynous as the Races and all on Earth develop into their physical forms, and the symbol is transformed into a circle with a diameter from which runs a vertical line: expressive of male and female, not separated as yet — the first and earliest Egyptian Tau . . .” — SD 2:30
A double-headed hammer called Mjölnir, symbolized by the Tau cross. It was used by the Norse god of thunder and lightning as the instrument of both creation and destruction. It symbolizes the powerful tool that creates all things, as well as that which grinds up all substance and recycles it for future use in worlds to come.
So called by 19th-century Freemasonry, the Jain svastika (Skt, su + asti, “well-being”) is an ancient symbol found all over the world. As a mystical sign, it is a summary of evolution and involution. It expresses the ever-churning “mill of the gods,” in whose center is the soul, while the bent arms suggest the ceaseless turning of the wheels of life through a succession of cycles and rebirths.
The Fifth Root-Race, the human race at present on earth. The term root-race is not related to any of the traditional “racial” divisions of humanity, for none of these are essentially or radically distinct. The Fifth Root-Race comprises the many and extremely varied human stocks, which are more or less intermixed, all of them living in this evolutionary period called the Fifth Root-Race.
sacr . . . n’cabvah [zâkâr . . . n’qêbâh] (Hebrew, “male” . . . “female”)
The Hebrew words zâkâr and n’qêbâh are generally rendered as “male” and “female” in the English translation of the Bible (e.g., “male and female He created them”). Their symbolical representations can signify either abstract cosmological concepts or physical generation.
The Egyptian Ankh, represented as the tau-cross topped by a circle or a loop, and often called crux ansata (cross with a handle). It was the symbol of life in ancient Egypt.
Making the sign of the cross was originally part of the ancient Mysteries. The tracing of the cross formed the numeral 4, the sacred number of Hermes. It was used as a mystical symbol by alchemists in the Middle Ages, often as printers’ watermarks, and came to be known as the Hermetic Cross — the cross ascends from a base of two interlaced Vs, one pointing up and the other pointing down, signifying “as above, so below.”
In Hinduism there are four ages of the world, which proceed in succession: Satya-Yuga, Tretā-Yuga, Dvāpara-Yuga, and the Kali-Yuga, which is our current age and most material phase of the evolutionary cycle.
“The Source of Measures”
The full title of this book is Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery in the Source of Measures — originating the British inch and the ancient cubit by which was built the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the Temple of Solomon; and through the possession and use of which, man, assuming to realize the creative law of the deity, set it forth in a mystery, among the Hebrews called Kabbala. Published in 1875 by James Ralston Skinner, a Mason who wrote numerous books and articles on the mystical use and symbolism of ancient measuring systems.
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The nondualistic form of Vedānta expounded by Śankara teaches the unity of all life: the oneness of Brahman with ātman, the human spirit-soul, and the identity of spirit and matter. It holds that the divine spirit of the universe is the all-efficient, all-productive cause of the periodic coming into being, continuance, and dissolution of the universe, and that this divine cosmic spirit is the ultimate truth and sole reality.
Brahman is the self-enduring, eternal, self-sufficient cause of all, the one essence of everything in the kosmos. Parabrahman is no entity or individualized being, but implies whatever is beyond the Absolute or Brahman of any hierarchy.
“In the beginning, there was Being alone, one only without a second. Some people say ‘in the beginning this was non-being alone, one only; without a second. From that non-being, being was produced.” — Chāndogya Upanishad VI.2.1
Brahman is the one reality, the impersonal, supreme and incognizable Principle of the universe, immaterial, unborn, eternal, beginningless and endless.
Vedānta postulates three kinds of existence. “(1) the pāramārthika (the true, the only real one), (2) the vyāvahārika (the practical), and (3) the pratibhāsika (the apparent or illusory life) . . .” Pāramārthika is “the universal life in toto while the other two are but its ‘phenomenal appearances,’ imagined and created by ignorance, and complete illusions suggested to us by our blind senses.” — Blavatsky, Collected Writings 3:422
Can the flame be called the essence of Fire?
“. . . the divine Fire or Light, ‘whose external body is Flame’ . . . At one end of the ladder which stretches from heaven to earth is Īśvara — Spirit, Supreme Being, subjective, invisible and incomprehensible; at the other his visible manifestation, ‘sacrificial fire’ . . .” — Blavatsky, Collected Writings 2:36
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A Sanskrit term denoting that which is unconditioned and used in opposition to baddha, conditioned.
Īśvara plus Māyā
Īśvara is the supreme self or hierarch of any universe. Māyā (“unreality, the non-eternal”) is the cosmic power which renders the “illusion” of phenomenal existence.
A Sanskrit term meaning “non-knowledge” — not ignorance due to an inherent incapacity, but nescience (the lack of knowledge).
Broadly, a view which holds that ultimate reality is unknown or unknowable. It differs from atheism (“non-theism”), which denies the existence of a personal God.
A title of Vishnu in his aspect of the eternal breath or spirit, and the personification of the highest hierarchies of divine powers moving in and on the waters of creation (cf. Manu 1.10).
Omnis enim per se divom natura necesse est [necessest] inmortali aevo summa cum pace fruatur (Latin)
“For the very nature of divinity must necessarily enjoy immortal life in the deepest peace.” — Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 2.646-7
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The Laws of Manu (Mānava-Dharmaśāstra) is an ancient Sanskrit text that begins with a poetical account of the origin and evolution of the universe, embodied in Brahmā. It also describes the “Ages” of Brahmā — recurring periods in which the universe is born, evolves, and dies.
The Egg of Brahmā, the cosmic womb of the universe, the matrix of imperishable substance, as described in the Laws of Manu: “Removing the darkness, the Self-Existent Lord became manifest, and wishing to produce beings from his Essence, created, in the beginning, water alone. In that he cast seed. That became a golden Egg, in brilliancy equal to the sun; in that he himself was born as Brahmā, the progenitor of the whole world.” — Laws of Manu, 1.6-9
John Locke (1632-1704) was an English philosopher known for his doctrine of empiricism, which holds that the only source of knowledge is experience derived from sensation and reflection, while rejecting the theory of innate ideas “stamped upon the mind of man; which the soul receives in its very first beginning, and brings into the world with it.” Locke believed that our most constant sensation is the idea of solidity, which arises from resistance, and that solidity is distinguished from pure space “which is capable neither of resistance nor motion.” — An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690, 1.1.ii.1, 1.2.iv.3
“The ‘Parent Space’ is the eternal, ever present cause of all — the incomprehensible deity, whose ‘invisible robes’ are the mystic root of all matter, and of the Universe. Space is the one eternal thing that we can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe. It is without dimension, in every sense, self-existent. Spirit is the first differentiation from That, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter. It is, as taught in the esoteric catechism, neither limitless void, nor conditioned fullness, but both. It was and ever will be.” — SD 1:35
The infinite scope and interconnectedness of reality cannot be measured against human standards. Each person interprets what he perceives according to his own limitations and preconceptions. These illusory perceptions are called māyā (from the verbal root mā, “to measure”).
The “fullness” of space, as opposed to the Void or so-called empty space; the plentitude of fullness of matter in space which forms space.
A “singer of sacred hymns,” or sage; also a title given to the inspired personages or seers to whom the Vedic hymns were revealed.
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(Latin) concealed or hidden.
Vach [Vāc] (Sanskrit, “speech, voice, word, sound”)
As “speech” personified, Vāc is the mystic voice or spirit of divine creative activity, the vehicle of divine thought, mother of the Vedas and of Virāj, the third Logos — the manifested Word, or Verbum.
In Hindu mythology, Virāj is the son of Brahmā-Vāc, who as archetypal Man emits the creative potency of Brahmā (or Purusha) in producing the whole universe. “Dividing his own body, the Lord [Brahmā] became half male and half female; with that female [Vāc] he produced Virāj” (Laws of Manu 1:32).
Chapters II, III, and IV of Genesis
See “The Divine Hermaphrodite” (SD 2:124-30).
A term coined by 19th-century French philosopher Auguste Comte, who asserted that knowledge derives solely from “positive” scientific facts, that is, physical phenomena that everyone can experience. Positivism excludes all metaphysical theorizing, yet it also regards the universe as an organic system governed by physical laws.
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Primeval power, the divine force or direct energic emanation from Mūlaprakriti.
Mūlaprakriti (Sanskrit, “root nature, substance, or matter”)
Undifferentiated cosmic substance in its highest form, the abstract essence of what later becomes the various forms of matter. “ . . . the noumenon of undifferentiated Cosmic Matter. It is not matter as we know it, but the spiritual essence of matter, and is co-eternal and even one with Space in its abstract sense. Root-nature is also the source of the subtile invisible properties in visible matter.” — SD 1:35
Ākāśa (Sanskrit) is the subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space. It is not the hypothetical ether of science, but the aether of the ancients. Genesis refers to it as the “Waters of the Deep.” As primordial substance, Ākāśa is the vehicle of divine thought, as well as the fountainhead of all the intelligent forces in nature.
A great cycle of cosmic manifestation and activity.
Adjectival form of Mazdaism, a proper name for Zoroastrianism, derived from the name of its highest god, Ahura Mazda.
Magism [or Magianism]
Traditionally signifying in the Hellenistic and Roman periods a follower of Zoroaster, Magism being popularly associated with the ideas and practice of Persian astrology, alchemy, etc. “All the religions from the old Vedic, the Zoroastrian, and Jewish creeds down to the modern Christianity, . . . sprang from archaic Magianism, or the Religion based upon the knowledge of Occult nature, called sometimes Sabaeanism — the ‘worship’ (?) of the Sun, moon, and stars.” — Blavatsky, Collected Writings 4:530-1
author of the Four Lectures
T. Subba Row. His lectures were published in The Theosophist in 1887 and in book form as Notes on the Bhagavad Gita.
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Gupta Vidyā and the Zohar
See three articles titled “The Eastern Gupta Vidyā and the Kabalah,” “Hebrew Allegories,” and “The ‘Zohar’ on Creation and the Elōhīm” (Blavatsky, Collected Writings 14:167-219).
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6th and 7th Races [Root-Races]
Humanity is now the 5th Root-Race of the 7 Root-Races of the 4th Round of our planetary system, which has 7 Rounds.
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
English philosopher perhaps best known for coining the phrase “survival of the fittest,” who became a major proponent of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Spencer interpreted all phenomena in terms of evolutionary progress. He proposed a philosophy called “Evolutionary Utilitarianism,” linking morality with evolutionary survival.
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In Classical antiquity æther denoted primordial substance, the unitary source of all substances and energies.
“An Hypothesis explaining the Properties of Light, discoursed on in my several Papers” — Isaac Newton’s title of a letter addressed to Henry Oldenburg (December 7, 1675) which can be found in Newton’s Correspondence.
Lords of Meditation, the highest gods, the hierarchs of cosmic intelligence who take a self-conscious and active part in the architectural ideation of the universe. Also called Planetary Spirits.
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“unthinkable and unspeakable”
Describing the absolute consciousness of Brahman: “It is not simple consciousness. It is not unconsciousness. It is unseen, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferrable, unthinkable and unspeakable.” — Māndūkya Upanishad, verse 7
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fons et origo
Latin, “source and origin.”
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“Fohat is a generic term and used in many senses. He is the light
(Daiviprakriti) of all the three logoi
— the personified symbols of the three spiritual stages
of Evolution. Fohat is the aggregate of all the spiritual creative ideations above
, and of all the electro-dynamic and creative forces below
, in Heaven and on Earth.” — Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine Commentary
“But in the unmanifested Universe, Fohat is . . . simply that potential creative power in virtue of whose action the NOUMENON of all future phenomena divides, so to speak, but to reunite in a mystic supersensuous act, and emit the creative ray. When the ‘Divine Son’ breaks forth, then Fohat becomes the propelling force, the active Power which causes the One to become Two and Three — on the Cosmic plane of manifestation. The triple One differentiates into the many, and then Fohat is transformed into that force which brings together the elemental atoms and makes them aggregate and combine.” — SD 1:109
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was a German philosopher whose philosophy was based on the constancy of change driven by “dialectical movement” — every thought or situation is a thesis which gives rise to its opposite, the antithesis.
Purusha and Prakriti
Sanskrit terms for spirit and matter.
“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.” — Blavatsky, Collected Writings 10:313-14
Sanskrit, “great” + “awakened mind or consciousness,” the Intelligence of the Cosmos.
our Monad (Greek, “Unit”)
As “the two in one” (ātman-buddhi united), our Monads are the ultimate element of our composite being; they are spiritual-substantial entities, self-impelled, self-conscious, in infinitely varying degrees. As any monad “descends” into matter, though remaining on its own plane, it emanates a hierarchy of vehicles adapted for its self-expression on the various cosmic planes.
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The Sanskrit word karma is derived from the root kri, “to do,” “to make,” and is often called the Law of Cause and Effect or compensation operating on all planes of the universe — physical, mental, and spiritual. The action of Karma is rooted in cosmic harmony, that which preserves equilibrium by adjusting all effects to their causes. In human terms, we reap what we sow.
The Sanskrit root of manas means “to think.” In the human being, manas is the center of intellect, reflection, and self-consciousness.
Generally, the transmigration of the soul, a phase of the more general doctrine of reimbodiment; more specifically, it refers to the clothing of a monad, from within itself, with a new soul (psyche), the karmic progeny of its predecessor, for another round of evolutionary experience. From Greek meta, “change, succession” + empsychos, “ensoul, animate.”
The repeated imbodiment of the soul into vehicles or bodies of flesh. Derived from Latin carne, “flesh.”
The golden thread of individuality — a stream of consciousness-life — running through all our substance-principles; linking every portion of our multifaceted being.
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Addendum “Gods, Monads and Atoms”
See SD 1:610-34.
great or the minor Pralaya
In a great or cosmic Pralaya the objective universe returns into the one primal and eternally productive Cause. During the life of the cosmos there is a vast number of minor Pralayas which leave the worlds in quiescence, more or less in the same state as they were before (in statu quo).
“To screen the real mystery name of AIN-SOPH — the Boundless and Endless No-Thing — the Kabalists have brought forward the compound attribute-appellation of one of the personal creative Elohim, whose name was Yah and Jah, the letters i or j or y being interchangeable, or Jah-Hovah, i.e. male and female.” (SD 2:126).
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abstract Triangle; with the orthodox, the perfect Cube
“Pythagoras, who brought his wisdom from India, left to posterity a glimpse into this truth. His school regarded the number 7 as a compound of numbers 3 and 4, which they explained in a dual manner. On the plane of the noumenal world, the triangle was, as the first conception of the manifested Deity, its image: ‘Father-Mother-Son’; and the Quaternary, the perfect number, was the noumenal, ideal root of all numbers and things on the physical plane. . . . The latter was with the ancients only a secondary ‘perfection,’ so to speak, because it related only to the manifested planes. Whereas it is the Triangle, the Greek delta, Δ, which was the ‘vehicle of the unknown Deity.’ ” — SD 2:582
The Vishnu Purāna, translated by H. H. Wilson and edited by Fitzedward Hall, 1864, note in vol. 1, p. 18.
The Titan Kronos was a son of Ouranos and Gaia (“Heaven and Earth”), and parent with Rhea of six of the twelve Olympian gods, including Zeus. In the Orphic Hymns (12), Kronos is identified with Time (Chronos), the Supreme Cause and progenitor of the primal elements, Chaos, Darkness, Æther, the gods, and men.
The symbol of the 18th degree of the Rosicrucian order is that of a pelican tearing open its breast to feed its seven offspring. Its mystical symbolism has to do with initiation, signifying rebirth, the birth of a new life and a new nature, through the sacrifice of one’s old nature.
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one, three, and seven vowelled terms
Oeaohoo is a very ancient form of the sacred and mystical holy name which occurs in the Stanzas of Dzyan. These seven letters stand for seven vowels, and according to the method of pronunciation the name may be given “as one, three, or seven syllables by adding an e after the letter o” (SD 1:68).
Latin phrase: “the necessary changes having been made,” or “with respective differences taken into consideration.”
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“The ray of the ‘Ever Darkness’ becomes, as it is emitted, a ray of effulgent light or life, and flashes into the ‘Germ’ — the point in the Mundane Egg, represented by matter in its abstract sense. But the term point must not be understood as applying to any particular point in Space, for a germ exists in the centre of every atom, and these collectively form ‘the Germ.’ ” — SD 1:57
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The period after India’s great epic, the Mahābhārata, the oldest parts of which are thought by scholars to have been composed around 400 bce, possibly earlier.
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