AWAKENING TO TRUTH
“The Secret Doctrine” is the basic book of philosophy in the Theosophical literature, placing before the reader the plan of Evolution and its various processes; commencing from pre-manifestation state to that of the future of Humanity in the present circle.
It contains the ‘timeless wisdom’, unifies the different avenues of exploration into cosmology and elucidates the human psyche, the spiritual-being and its attainment to divinity at large. It provides the needed inspiration to exert in the right direction to achieve the Ultimate. It leads men and women of the World towards the Truth. This is the book that explains the meaning and method of emanation, emergence and manifestation of the Cosmos and the Man. It has a unique Teaching to humanity for its progression towards Perfection.
Statements made in the text are culled from the Esoteric Philosophy of the Ancient Lore, well corroborated with the numerous Mythologies and philosophies of the Globe. The Writer of this work was an ‘Extra-ordinary Woman’ of the 19th Century, acclaimed for her Divine Knowledge and its Administration. She presents this knowledge to the world-reader, not to be taken on ‘authority’ but for examination of the rationale and for its use as a ‘spring board’ for newer ideas.
Being a granary of ideas, the book provides rich results after each reading. Awakening to Truth is not a moment’s job but is a continuous process. It is not that one is awakened now, then lapses into sleep and reawakens again and again. Once awakened, the process goes on incessantly; and this is what a student of Occult Science must note. It is only in the constant awareness of this awakening one can journey to the Truth, which is latent and inherent, as also in the manifestation as a whole – of which he is an embedded factor. The journey becomes an endless path, one which never meets a dead-end.
‘The Secret Doctrine’, the magnum opus of Madame Blavatsky, is available to the world-reader for the last 120 years and more; with very many ideas for centuries to come. In the scholarly world, a lurking doubt still prevails that the ideas are not yet fully understood and assimilated, particularly of the portion of ‘anthropogenesis’. A serious study of the Text is demanded of the successive generations, for the simple reason that the experiences and opportunities of each generation are incomparable with the other.
Many new studies of the text have come up after the centenary of its publication. A general reader always finds it tiresome and laborious to go through the whole text; and so, many adaptations, concise presentations, epitomes and abridgements have appeared. Simplifications and over-simplifications are to inculcate the reading-habit of the original text, initially and are not substitutes to the latter.
The text not only reveals the Occult and esoteric philosophy, but in addition gives apt and appropriate information from the earlier civilizations such as the Kabala, Chaldean, Egyptian – besides the thoughts from the East of Aryans and Buddhists. It provides much fare for those interested in Mythology, Symbology, and Philology etc.
The present tiny appearance of this slim text is only to help the reader in getting into the feel and the splendorous taste of the huge volumes, and is no way a substitute or an apology to the study of the original volumes. This is both for personal and collective study and is intended to kindle the interests in Occult Science. An introduction to the study of the text, not as a scholarly exposition but as one ‘torch-light’ for one groping in the darkness, is what is attempted. The themes, doctrines, tenets incorporated in the original texts are too many to be detailed here. To know what they are, what would be the result of its study and what we would ‘miss’ if we do not approach the original – is briefly placed before the enthusiastic reader in a simpler and direct manner. It will be to the pleasure of the compiler if this presentation meets that purpose.
What is The Secret Doctrine?
A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy.
A Work dedicated to ‘all true theosophists in every country and of every race for they called it forth and for them it was recorded’.
The knowledge that the custodians thought it right and appropriate to reveal to the world, so that it could help the furtherance of Cosmic evolution.
“The Secret Doctrine” is a voluminous text produced by Madame H.P. Blavatsky (1831-’91). When it came out in 1888, published by The Theosophical Publishing Company Limited, 7, Duke Street, Adelphi, WC, it ran into 2 volumes consisting of 676 & 798 pages respectively, not reckoning the preliminary pages of introduction etc. It was later published, severally; in sets of 3 volumes and 6 volumes; and a third volume was added in 1897 where some uncollected papers of the author were, for the first time, posthumously brought under covers.
The first volume is named “Cosmo genesis” meaning ‘the story of creation of Cosmos’, and the second “Anthropogenesis” meaning ‘the story of creation of Man’. Each volume is again divided into 2 prominent parts, the first the basic text and the second an explanation of the symbology incidentally connected to that. The whole Text is sub-titled “A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy.”
The basic philosophy underlying “The Secret Doctrine” is supplied in the Chapters: Introductory, Proem, The Summing-up, The Preliminary Notes and Conclusions.
“The Stanzas of the Dzyan” and occult commentaries thereupon form the ‘core of the text’. Cosmogenesis part has 7 verses further divided into 53 slokas and similarly the Anthropogenesis part has 12 verses further divided into 49 slokas. The basic book “The Stanzas” is not available on the lists of any libraries world over, but is obtained by the writer from the Akashic Records, read by her through Astral Sight. ‘Dzyan’ is a word meaning ‘Dhyana’ or ‘Jnana’ or both in Sanskrit.
The Story of Creation of the Cosmos and the Man is dealt with in the text. What is stated as canon of Occult doctrines, Esoteric philosophy, backed by the commentaries to the verses, is given out first. Then what was already available with the available and published records of science, philosophy and religion in support or opposition to this is narrated. The errors, misconceptions and misinterpretations that have crept into the old records are elaborately discussed. In particular, the dogmatism of the then prevailing science and the orthodoxy of the religion are elucidated to correct the distorted versions paving way for setting the record right and straight.
The purpose of the study is to search out and find the truth for oneself (Satyanveshana). This needs the corroboration of the three distinct approach roads viz. Science, Religion and Philosophy. A long-time error, according to the GREAT ONES, was that the three were placed one against the other and the entering into an endless controversy in supremacy of one particular study, while the three branches were supplementary and complementary. An integrated approach alone could yield the right results. An awakening to this facet of understanding is the specific pointer of text.
I dedicate to all True Theosophists,
In every country,
And of every Race,
For they called it forth, and for them it was recorded ---
--- is how Madame Blavatsky makes the dedication of her stupendous work.
The meaning of the words is clear, yet the import can be immensely pondered over. The human thought had developed to a state that certain ‘new facts of nature’ could as well be presented before humanity. Wisdom does not confine to one time, one space, and one stage of understanding. It is an Order beyond, transcendental and equally applicable to all Space, Time and Understanding; it grows from strength to strength with undaunted courage.
The suggestion here is that the book is a ‘historical necessity’, the time having arrived for such a book to emerge and to fulfill the need. The world is torn in between the scientific dogmatism and the religious orthodoxy of the day; and it is felt that the humanity must be directed to look at the Spiritual science to fuse the material and psychological sciences rapidly expanding, if at all it has to survive.
The book records the information and knowledge needed for generations to come. All races are to realize that Truth is one, though severally stated. The Unity of existence is emphasized in the presentation; and the stress is on the point that all manifestation emanated from One source. The Unitary base is made irrevocably. The book is intending for a careful study of the intellectuals that they may not drift into the trap of the ‘seen’ only, and look into the ‘unseen’ too for a fuller understanding of Nature and Life. The dedication has this import.
The Wisdom is not brought into the manifestation for the first time. It is there all the time, at every stage of being including the ‘unmanifest’. It is concealed and inherent. This is ‘dis-covered’ and brought into focus from time to time. There is no ‘revelation’ as such but only ‘dis-covery’. Engrossed in our limitation and conditioned perspective we think we are discovering, yet no discovery is ‘original’. All is available to us, we have only to open our senses and look at things in perfect understanding. This is ‘awakening’.
Tradition says that the Wisdom is preserved, sustained and let out in fragments to accommodate or suit the level of human understanding each time by the custodians, who are also the directors of the process of evolution. The purpose of this is to help the cosmic evolution in which human evolution invariably is a part.
A pre-view of the Book:
Madame Blavatsky (1831-’91), the chief exponent of the theosophical philosophy, earlier, published a book ‘Isis unveiled’ (1877) which not only drew the attention but arrested the minds of scholars both in the West and the East. It took years for her to formulate her ideas and give them a definite shape. Her work in Search after Truth started in this life in 1851, at the age of 20, when she met the Spiritual Teacher who, she says, was guiding her through the journey of lives. She was given the option: ‘Do you desire for a worldly life now (which means marriage, wedded life, begetting children, running after the physical, emotional and intellectual wants) or Are you prepared to work for the Uplift of Humanity, in association with me, as in the earlier lives? The Choice is yours. No pressure on your psyche or the mind. Choose as you feel like.’ She made the choice as Arjuna in the scripture Bhagavad-Gita did. “Karishye Vachanam Tava” (I shall do your bidding).
She describes her plight in her first book Isis thus:
When, years ago, we first traveled over the East, exploring the penetralia of its deserted sanctuaries, two saddening and ever-recurring questions oppressed our thoughts: Where, who, what is God? Who ever saw the immortal Spirit of man, so as to be able to assure himself of man’s immortality? It was while most anxious to solve these perplexing problems that we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instruction we lent a ready ear. They showed us that by combining science with religion, the existence of God and immortality of man’s spirit may be demonstrated like a problem of Euclid.
The bidding given her is to bring in an group of people to a better understanding of the Life and its processes, to make known to public there is a continuity for Life (no death) form after form till a stage of perfection is received, and the journey before the humanity is rather ‘obligatory’ than ‘optional’. She was given ‘instructions’ as to what s to be done; the ‘how’ part of it was subject to her thinking, imagination and good spirit. She was alone in the pursuit, of course joined by very few like-minded persons around the globe, too few around her to serve her needs occasionally. Her insight was improved upon and she was able to see material things, objects and events through a spiritual eye. She warned that objects of the spirit are attempted to be seen by physical eye and that is the source for all confusion and chaos in human understanding.
Philosophy starts with a look at the wonder enveloping the manifestation. A person looks at the surroundings, other men and women, the nature and its continuous springing with new stems etc. and is in unexplainable awe and wonder at everything. Then he or she starts questioning in a way to understand things better and clear. Ethics or Right Living is normally considered the beginning of philosophy, yet it is the culmination. Ethics is the end point of philosophic living and being. ‘Theosophy is first and foremost Ethics,’ asserts Madame Blavatsky and untiringly explains in her writings how the helping of the neighbor is a preliminary exercise gradually expanding to helping all ‘humanity’ without any distinction whatsoever.
She mentions about a Principle, which is ever-present, infinite, eternal and immutable for emanation and evolution of all manifestation. He further elucidates: It is that same Principle which may be understood and realized but in our innermost thought, in solemn silence and in reverential awe. It is but during such moments of illumination that man may have a glimpse of it, as from and in the Eternity. It broods in (not over) the Waters of Life, in the boundless chaos of cosmic Ether as the manifested or the unmanifest universe. This Narayana is the seventh principle of the manifested solar system. It is the Antaratma, or the latent spirit everywhere present in the five tanmatras, which in their admixture and unity, constitute what is called by Western occultists the pre-adamite earth. This principle or Paramanu is located by the ancient Rishis of India (as may be seen in Maha-Narayana or Taittiriya Upanishad) in the centre of astral fire. Its name of Narayana is given to it, because of its presence in all the individual spiritual monads of the manifested solar system. This principle is, in fact, the Logos, and the one ego of the Western Occultists and Kabalists, and it is the Real and Sole deity to which the ancient Rishis of Aryavarta addressed their prayers, and directed their aspirations.
This Principle emanates the First Cause for everything, periodically appearing and disappearing as Worlds, generating the beings that people it in gradation and ultimately reabsorbing them into the origin/source, after completion of the ‘obligatory journey.’ She establishes that there is perfect identity between the Principle and all items of manifestation, giving out elaborate explanations and evidences. If we look at these abstract statements, we clearly see that these are in sum and substance what every philosophical thought, in the West or the East, assert in their own terminology and tenor.
Then one would ask, ‘What is the Secret about it? How is it a Doctrine at all?’
It is true and also a fact that the general public knows the content of it on hearsay. It is now being told on authority of certain scriptural texts of the Ancient, time-tested findings and more than anything else the commonality of the knowledge is traced to One Source. The beauty and fineness of it is the content and substantiation is placed before the world reader for examination as to its rationale, scientific scrutiny and not for acceptance on blind belief or as a bitter pill for swallow on authority of some great Teacher. All this may appear to be a folk tale or a fairy tale; she says suggesting that those are only symbolical and allegorical statements in placing before the profane the truths/laws of Nature. All this is a doctrine said in parables or fables for common appeal and understanding; not one crystallized dogmatic presentation. The practice in popularization of philosophic truths the world over, notwithstanding the time and space, was this method. To oversimplify, everyone knows the secret but not the fact that it was a ‘secret’. All sacred things are secret, though the vice-versa is not true.
It starts with cosmology, ends with the ‘man in future’. History, anthropology and such standards are applied the same time, making it clear that source material for such studies is embodied therein. Evolution of man, world, civilizations, the keys and deadlocks therewith are elucidated. Certain new factors also spring. There is simultaneous evolution of seven human groups in seven different portions of the globe. Before the physical form is evolved, the astral root for that was available. Life proceeds through the forms and not that forms or matter emanate life and consciousness. Kingdoms of Life move on, there was the human form on this globe even before the animal kingdom sprang. Theories of evolution advanced by Darwin are furthered in understanding by supplying the missing links. Where did science not succeed, where did the religion superimpose its redundant practices extraneously? These questions were thoroughly discussed. Science of the objects is expanded to the inner or invisible life and new ways of finding solutions to numerous problems of Life and Consciousness are indicated. The whole gamut of symbolism underlying the earlier teachings is elaborated. The need for fusing the physical and psychological sciences with that of the spiritual sciences is made an inescapable necessity for the continuance of humanity on the globe. How the Intelligence came first and in advance, its guidance through ages by Beings, called reverentially the Celestial, and the manner and method involved in the course of manifestation are the topics of absorbing interest in these volumes titled as The Secret Doctrine.
Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine to be read together:
Madame H P Blavatsky (1831-’91) is the writer of both the books, of course, in a gap of 11 years. One must remember that when the Theosophical Society was started in 1875, there was no literature on the organization and its philosophy, except few circulars and hand-outs issued by Col. H S Olcott, the Founder-President. Madame Blavatsky, besides being the co-founder, is the chief exponent of the theosophical philosophy. She made out her first book, Isis in 1877 and the second one, The Secret Doctrine in 1888. She did not hide the fact that she was advised, guided and superintended by the Masters of the Wisdom in doing these works. She was provided the astral sight required for the reproduction of the accumulated wisdom of the ages.
Isis provides the Master key for ancient mythologies the world over. The two principal questions that haunted her mind earlier were: Who, where and what is God? How to prove the immortality of human soul? She obtained answers from the sages of the East, and she tried to annotate all the Wisdom obtained from Them to the reader for his benefit. She put the knowledge of the ancient mysteries in covers and to make a long story short made Mother Nature stand in the witness box and unfurl her work through the times unrecorded, even before the term ‘time’ emerged. Her plea was that Science and Religion are complementary studies and are not to be considered one against the other.
Isis contains the very many details of human experience, human history, religion, science and tradition in astounding abundance, and then, gradually and methodically, as the evidences are focused, points out the "laws" that not only govern this universe but all manifestation in the cycle. In the last chapter of the second volume gives out, in the name of recapitulation, the ten points of the rational conclusions that one could arrive at. These conclusions are statements of the fundamental laws of nature -- the Universal Truths which underlie all experimental science and all religious experience.
The factors of Occult Science are never revealed untimely and to the ineligible. The Wise-men, who happen to be the custodians, safely guard them against misuse and abuse. They are made available to those who are keen and earnest. They want the knowledge to be utilized for the benefit of humanity and not otherwise. Effort is needed to obtain the right results.
The Secret Doctrine is a synthesis of Religion, Philosophy and Science. The basic philosophy of theosophy is embedded in the three fundamental propositions, the part of the proem to the text. There are several methods of reading the text. Though it is commonly felt that the Proem, Summing up, Four basic points, Six pointed items and conclusions serve the purpose, unless one goes through the Stanzas and the commentaries thereon much would be lost. The understanding would be inadequate. The text is basically the manner and method of manifestation. The cosmological and anthropological studies were very exhaustively made with all evidences and arguments that convince a rational mind.
The effort of both the books is to upgrade the human intellect to Intuition. It may appear that the topics dealt with in the two texts are similar, but their methods differ. Isis proceeds from particulars to universals, while the other takes the opposite way. In both, emphasis on Hermetic philosophy and its universality is proffered.
The Proem to The Secret Doctrine contains the Three Fundamental Propositions, "upon whose clear apprehension," says H.P.B, "depends all that follows..." These "axioms to be applied" closely lead to the numbered statements at the commencement of the final chapter in Isis. Thus the summation of Isis is a conclusion derived from the examination of evidence afforded by past history, religion, science, and tradition; while the New Propositions of The Secret Doctrine are inclusive not only of the past and present, but of the future.
Isis is the embodied Intellect of perception and experience, while The Secret Doctrine is the Intuition or the Buddhi-Manas of the same perception in the individual and the globe. Until the field of experience is better understood, i.e., until the human being recognizes the present status and function in the economy of nature, he will not be able to obtain results. .
Premise for Study:
General readers, not excluding the members of the Theosophical Society, are nervous of reading “The Secret Doctrine” for numerous reasons.
The first uneasiness is – it is too voluminous and cites many ancient texts on religion and philosophy and so one has to labor a lot to get through the text.
The second predicament is – it is too scholarly and is meant only for highly educated and enlightened persons.
The third quandary is – it is a text of religion and is full of promotional endeavor involving much rejection of the established norms.
The fourth impasse is -- you land in a forest of speculative ideas and cannot find a way out.
The fifth inhibition is – mental lethargy which discards constant attention on specific topics of study and easy drifting to light reading.
The sixth reticence is – the title itself is paradoxical. How can a ‘secret’ doctrine, however valuable, be documented?
Apart from these, there are some valid reasons too; there are short volumes, booklets and pamphlets that are commentarial to the subject dealt with. They facilitate easy reading and quick understanding. Yet, the enchantment in reading the Original Text can never be substituted.
There are specific reasons for studying. The Text is a synthesis of Religion, Philosophy and Science. Academic and intellectual way of playing one against the other is common. These three disciplines are supplementary and complementary to each other. Truth or ultimate factors of Reality cannot be arrived at without a comprehensive and integrated study.
The expressive manner and method of manifestation of the Universe is never a settled question. There are very many theories and authoritative statements already the world over; each trying to change the other and establish its own superiority. That stated here in the Text is not ‘revelation’ or ‘authoritarian’ but simple presentation of ‘postulate’ for consideration and ‘hypothesis’ for examination.
It is rendered in sincere service to humanity by an honest seeker of Truth and a Messenger of The masters of The Wisdom, specially equipped to collect material from Unknown Zone. It is the ‘accumulated wisdom of the ages’ and enables the men and women of the world acquire a mind that ‘embraces the universe’ effortlessly and in perfect understanding.
There are Abridgements and Digests for the Text, many concise and epitomized versions, not to speak of thin volumes on the several doctrines introduced in the Text. All these serve as appetizers. The real quest and thirst for knowledge is quenched and fulfilled only by an organized study of the basic text.
Method of study:
Read the Preface, Introduction. Proem, Summing Up and Conclusions.
Read the Stanzas and the brief commentary following them; skip the evidences and arguments.
Read the story of manifestation and evolution portions, carefully scanning the Text.
Read the basics facts of the presentation, added with particular reference to the system of thought (Indian, Chaldean, Egyptian etc.) with which you are somewhat familiar.
Who wrote it, When and Why?
HPB wrote it. But the Authors are different.
Plans were drawn right from 1880 and the volumes finally came out in 1888- end.
Written in the service of Humanity.
Madame Blavatsky wrote these voluminous texts. She does not claim to be the author and shall reverentially give that credit to those who made her write, and who directed her at every stage of production of the text. She humbly states that she brought only the thread to link the various factors in incorporating therein.
The ‘Historical Introduction’ provided by the editor of her Collected Writings, Mr. Boris de Zirkoff, brought out in 1979 (many times reprinted already) by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar is earnestly suggested to be studied by the readers, for it contains the whole story of the origin, evolution and experiments in the method of writing and publishing the Text. It is too long, 76 pages in large format, to be reproduced or too substantial to be reduced here.
Madame Blavatsky begins her Preface to the text with the words: The author – the writer – rather ….! This makes the suggestion that the author is different from the writer. The writer has only the role of a ‘scribe’ in the true meaning of the word. She was inspired and directed to do the work in her ‘service to humanity.’ She was provided the ‘astral vision’ to copy down the extracts from ‘Akashic Records’ and to obtain the source material. She was even asked to step down from the physical body to make room for a senior person, well equipped for the job, to occupy her vesture and carry on the work of writing. This method is not immediately comprehendible for us and must therefore be left as such there.
Her spiritual Teachers, who are also the resource persons for the establishment of the Theosophical Society, did help her in the production of this work. Besides these two Great Ones, known as Master Morya and Master Kuthumi, there is internal evidence that some more were associated in the job. Prominent among them is Master Jupiter or one known as Narayan, the Grand Old Man.
The volumes of the Text were published in 1888, but the writing was not done ‘overnight’ or in an year or two. It was originally contemplated that The Secret Doctrine would be an elaboration of the earlier work “Isis Unveiled”. But the plans were revised and “The Secret Doctrine” became a distinct book to synthesize Science, Religion and Philosophy, in the context of formation of the cosmos and the emergence of man, while Isis was a master key for mythologies to establish the uniqueness of Oriental Philosophy.
Madame Blavatsky was to give the well documented statements from the sacred texts of the Ancient, preserved in occult commentaries, stanzas of Dzyan etc. and Mr. T. Subba Row to provide substantive and supporting data from the Asiatic religious texts. While Subba Row, one considered equally, if not more, well informed in Occult Sciences as Blavatsky was, at first encouraged the writing of the Secret Doctrine and liked the “Proem” well, offered his unstinted cooperation, yet went back on his support. His main objection was that she (HPB) was revealing too much for the general public, the secret teaching reserved for ‘the eligible and well-trained minds’ only. That she had the permission from the Great ones to do that had not appealed well to his mind. His antipathy towards the westerners, their racial pride and colonial policies came in the way of his allowing the higher laws of Occult Science being let out very freely for their ridicule. Though some differences made Madame Blavatsky and T Subba Row part in their ways, she was ever grateful for all the earlier assistance given by him. She quoted profusely from his writings in her text; and used his sentence as ‘top-note’ for her Summing-up chapter. “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 completed. ____ T Subba Row, The Theosophist, vol.iii, Nov,1881, p.44.”
Why did she write in English? She answers thus: The English tongue is employed because it offers the most widely diffused medium for conveying the truths which it had become her duty to place before the world.
The text is considered her magnum opus. It is decidedly a work of genius, yet it is not fair to limit this appendage only to these volumes coming from her. In fact her first work ‘Isis Unveiled’ did astonish the scholars of both the West and the East, and that was the book which arrested the attention of intellectuals to draw them into the fold of the Theosophical Society and its philosophy. The other book ‘The Voice of the Silence’ though slim and precise is a pithy assertion of the yogic life and its invaluable philosophy. ‘The Key to Theosophy’ is a reader for beginners as well as for advanced learners. The basic philosophy of theosophy and its historical perspective were well formulated therein. All the other articles and short treatises were collected posthumously and presented to the reading world under the caption “Collected Writings” running to 14 volumes. Her contribution to the philosophic literature opens a ‘new continent of thought’.
The volumes of the Secret Doctrine serve as reference books for all branches of human knowledge, thought and development. Missing to read and ‘study’ them is decidedly an overlooking of the ‘finesse of Life’.
The Secret Doctrine was an attempt and an effort to ‘reconnect’ humanity to its own past and to lead it on the path of ‘right’ and ‘merit’. Continuity of the stream of cosmic forces at work is well established. Happenings at different parts of the globe, forgotten and concealed for various reasons, are compiled and made into a garland of fact and reality.
In her preface to the work, Madame Blavatsky puts forth the following as the ‘aims’ for writing this book:
To show that Nature is not ‘a fortuitous (= accidental or casual) concurrence of atoms’, and to assign Man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe.
To rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions.
To uncover, to some extent, the fundamental Unity from which they all spring. And finally,
To show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the science of modern civilization.
These aims were against the views prevailing in contemporary science and the orthodox-mind of the addicts to religious faith. Showing with all evidences the ‘rightful’ place of a human-being in the design of the universe and exploration into the ‘occult’ side of manifestation was the task before her. Establishing the unity in all religious thought and the views among manifestation of the universe was the self-chosen task. The basic work was the reassertion of the archaic truths. Records not available to the physical eye were made available to her by the grace of her Teachers.
She states that the work is done in ‘service to humanity’ and not for personal glorification or satisfaction. She also states that this is the beginning of the work and ‘a larger quantity of material has already been prepared, dealing with the history of occultism as contained in the lives of great Adepts of the Aryan race, and showing the bearing of occult philosophy upon the conduct of life, as it is and as it ought to be’.
She says the third volume is entirely ready, the fourth almost so; but they have not come out as such. A lot of controversy and discussion as to their existence or otherwise ran in later period. Enough is enough, all that it is not proposed to be enlisted here. We shall only attempt to see the content and impact of the text available.
The Secret Doctrine will help to familiarize the reader, a member of the Society or not, with the treasure of thought and insight, which is ‘increasingly discovered in it ever since it first appeared’, says Mr. N. Sri Ram in his preface to the fifth reprint of the Adyar edition (1961).
What does it contain?
Story of emergence of Universe and Man,
-- from antiquity to the future.
The stanzas of the Dzyan, commentaries and elaborations.
Evidences from historical records of mythologies, religions and civilizations; arguments and conclusions etc. An authentic document for the developed human thought.
The Secret Doctrine, in general, is the narrative of the story of emanation of the cosmos, the evolution of universes and globes; the eventual appearance of Man and the future progression of humanity. The narration follows the Stanzas of Dzyan, translation-annotation and explanation there upon, substantiate with statements from the texts of antiquity, evidenced from the ‘forgotten’ sacred texts. She draws conclusions at the end. The occult commentaries, esoteric philosophy and doctrines on laws of nature are made use of - to establish the right way in comprehensive understanding. These are placed before the reader as ‘postulates’ and ‘hypotheses’. Though highly reliable and authentic the statements are, Blavatsky has the humility to place the work for reflective examination and independent judgment, rather than ‘blind’ acceptance or ‘unconsidered’ rejection.
Apart from the preface, introductory in the preliminary pages, the text is divided into 2 volumes viz. Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis.
The volume on Cosmogenesis is further divided into:
Proem: Another sort of preface where the Three Fundamental Propositions were made and elaborated.
Part I : Cosmic Evolution: Seven Stanzas followed by long annotations.
Summing-up: the culmination of the study.
Part II: A narrative on evolution of symbolism and its appropriate order in 15 chapters.
Part III: 18 chapters where Science and the secret Doctrine are contrasted.
The Anthropogenesis volume is further divided thus:
Preliminary notes: Another introduction to the text where the Three New Propositions are made and elaborated.
Part I: Anthropogenesis: Twelve stanzas from the Dzyan with translation, annotation and elucidation.
Part II: The Archaic symbolism of World religions in 10 chapters.
Part III: Science and the Secret Doctrine contrasted in 7 chapters.
The volumes end with the Motto: Satyat Nasti Parodharmah (= There is no religion higher than truth).
Madame Blavatsky says, ‘Looking at the past with a piercing eye, in the present, reaching a far-fetched outlook of future is demanded.’ The eye is not a mere sensory organ, it must be a divine eye capable of penetrating and exploring nature in its physical, psychic, spiritual and divine regions.
While beginning the narrative to the ‘Stanzas’, she refers to Nasadiya Suktam, a part of Rig-Veda (Mandal X, verses 129-135), which happens to be the first quest into the origination of manifestation. ‘Suktam’ means a well and fully stated subject. That some Supreme Power runs the design and the working system is the central understanding of this Suktam. It suggests an unknown, incomprehensible Nature and its unpredictability and an ever-expanding vision.
She made use of the translation rendered by one Colebrooke, which was available then. Later many more translated versions have arrived. The following is provided for an effortless grasp of the content:
Hymn of Creation
Then there was not non-existent nor existent:
There was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where? And what gave shelter?
Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal:
No sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider.
That one thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature
Apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness,
This all was indiscriminate chaos.
All that existed then was void and formless;
By the great power of warmth was born that unit.
Thereafter rose desire in the beginning,
Desire the primal seed and germ of spirit.
Sages who searched with their heart’s thought
Discovered the existent’s kinship in the non-existent.
Transversely was their serving line extended:
What was above it then, and what below it?
There were begetters, there were mighty forces,
Free action here and energy of yonder.
Who verily knows and who can ere declare it,
Whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
The gods are later than this world’s production.
Who knows, then, whence it first came into being?
We, the first origin of this creation,
Whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven,
He verily knows it, or perhaps he knows it not.
Nasadiya Sukta(Mandala X, verses 129-135, Rig Veda)*
This is a hymn of creation, used as preamble for her Commentary of the Cosmogenesis. It begins with the words: nasad asin no sad asit, which means ‘It was not what was not, it was not what was’. We speak of a thing as ‘it is’ only in relation to the things that are not elsewhere, or in relation to another that is not there. Similarly, we say that a thing is not, only in relation to something that is elsewhere or in relation to something that is there. In the absolute stage, such a relative usage is impossible. ‘There is no space nor the aspects of space at that stage.’ That is how the verses begin. Certainly the reference is to a positive thing. This accords with the Avyakta or the Unmanifest, the Prathana (the chief) or the Prakriti (the root cause) familiar in the Sankhya system. In the classical Sankhya, there is no life inherent in this Prathana, which is in itself insentient and which receives its sentience as a reflection from the Purusha, the self that is a pure sentience. The sentient is external to the absolute basis of the phenomenal world, in the classical Sankhya. But in Rig-Veda system of thought, sentience seems to be within the Absolute that is the basis of the phenomenal world.
‘That one breathed by its own power without the air coming in or going out as breath.’ (verse 2) This shows that there is the life fundamental within this absolute though there is no life function in it. There is also some power in that absolute, what is called Tapas. The root Tap has the meaning of both light and heat. Here it must be the heat aspect of the root that is to be understood in the context. The Germ was born out on account of this Tapas.(verse 3)
Then there arose a will, Kama. This was the seed of the mind.
There is this question in the verse last: ‘Who knows, who can declare, whence was born this creation?’ ‘It cannot be the gods that produced the first creation, the first change of the absolute into the phenomenal; the gods came after this event.’ The Sookta ends with the statement, ‘He from whom this creation arose, whether he made it or not, only the highest person in heaven who can see, perhaps knows, or perhaps even he does not’. The idea behind seems to be that there was no one who could be declared as a creator; the creation arose out of itself. The absolute from within was transformed into the phenomenal; there was no external agent. The absolute is regarded as matter with life in it.
There is no Vedic authority for the bifurcation of the universe into life and matter, into a dead Prakriti, and the sentience or the Purusha. In the Nasadeeya Sookta, the breath without the air coming out and going into (verse 2), is within the infinite, absolute matter itself and not a feature extraneous to it, a feature reflected on it or transferred into it from an external source. Kama and Tapas (Will and Power) also are in it and they become manifest.
*(Adopted from C Kunhan Raja’s Introduction to The Sankhya Karika of Isvarakrishna.)
The Proem and The summing Up
The Proem and the Summing up in the first volume of The Secret Doctrine are too important, for they contain the sum-total of the Main-stream Philosophy.
The proem begins with the introduction of an Archaic Manuscript, the symbols on its pages and the explanation thereupon. Extracts from the Occult Catechism are also imbedded there. The main focus of the Proem is the Three Fundamental Propositions. Madame Blavatsky said that the Secret Doctrine ‘establishes’ these.
At the outset, it must be remarked that the contents of the propositions is too well known to all men and women of the world, inasmuch as they had become the ‘common knowledge’ consequent upon the ‘Adept-thinking’. We know the essence of these teachings but are not sure of its ‘total meaning’ and impact on the manifested world. The philosophical, or rather metaphysical, ideas are placed before the reading public in a language they can easily understand and comprehend. The philosophical terminology used in the proem must be remembered because it occurs and reoccurs throughout the basic text. Unless the technical meanings of the term are made familiar to oneself, it would prove to be a difficult study.
This speaks of a PRINCIPLE.
This Principle is Omnipresent (ever-present), Eternal, Boundless and Immutable. Any speculation upon this is impossible because it transcends the power of human imagination.
Human expression or similitude will only dwarf the understanding of the Principle. Mandukya Upanishad (in its verse 7) has expressed the same view when it said that it is Achintyam and Avachyam (Unthinkable and Unspeakable).
Madame Blavatsky adds on the following to make the basic statement clearer:
There is One Absolute Reality, and this is the pre-state of manifestation and conditioning.
This is the Infinite and eternal Cause; and is the “Rootless Root” of “all that was, is, or ever shall be.”
It is ‘devoid of all attributes’ and is ‘essentially without any relation to manifested, finite being.
It is “Be-ness” rather than “being.”
In Sanskrit the term for this is “SAT”.
This Be-ness is symbolized in two aspects: 1. absolute Abstract Space (bare Subjectivity) and 2. absolute Abstract Motion (Unconditioned Consciousness).
The absolute Abstract Motion is the “Great Breath”.
The “One Absolute or Be-ness” is symbolized by ‘finite intelligence’ as the religious ‘Trinity’.
Vedantic tenet: Parabrahman, the One Reality, the Absolute – is the field of Absolute Consciousness (that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence. Conscious existence is a conditioned symbol of this. This is Absolute Negation to us. Once we pass in thought from this, duality supervenes thus:
Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter; Subject and Object.
Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are not ‘independent realities’, but are two symbols or aspects of the Absolute, Parabrahman.
The Absolute constitutes the basis of ‘conditioned Being’ both subjective and objective.
Parabrahman (One reality or the Absolute), Spirit and Matter are the metaphysical triad. This triad is the ‘Root’ from which all manifestation proceeds.
The Great Breath assumes the character of ‘pre-cosmic ideation’. It is the ‘Force and of all individual Consciousness’ supplying the ‘guiding intelligence’ in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution.
The ‘pre-cosmic Root-Substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies ‘all the objective planes of Nature’.
The ‘pre-cosmic Ideation’ is the ‘Root of all individual consciousness’ and the ‘pre-Cosmic Substance’ is the substratum (bedrock) of Matter in the ‘various grades of its differentiation’.
The contrast of these two aspects of the Absolute is essential to the existence of the ‘Manifested Universe.’
Cosmic Ideation could manifest as ‘individual consciousness’ only when there is a ‘vehicle’ (upadhi) of Matter. Without Cosmic ideation, Cosmic substance would remain an empty abstraction; and there will be no emergence of Consciousness.
The Manifested Universe is pervaded by duality, which is the very essence of its Ex-istence as “Manifestation.” The opposite poles (Subject/Object or Spirit/Matter) are but aspects of the ‘One Unity’. In the Manifested universe these two are fused by ‘something’ which the Occultists call “Fohat”.
Fohat is the bridge for the Ideas to be impressed on substance; and this imprint is what we call “Laws of nature”.
From Spirit or cosmic ideation comes our consciousness; from Cosmic Substance come the several vehicles in which that Consciousness is individualized and attains to ‘Self-consciousness.
Fohat in its various manifestations is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom in life.
Madame Blavatsky further restates the summary thus:
The Absolute: the Parabrahman, the One reality, Sat, both Absolute Being and Non-Being...
The First Logos: the impersonal, Unmanifest logos, the precursor of the manifested. This is the First Cause or the Unconscious (of European pantheists).
The Second Logos: Spirit-Matter, Life; the ‘Spirit of the Universe’, Purusha and Prakriti.
The Third Logos: Cosmic Ideation, Mahat or Intelligence, the Universal World-Soul; the cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of nature, also called Maha-Buddhi.
[The numbering of Logos as 1, 2 and 3is only for the purpose of our understanding the functional process.]
The Second Proposition:
The Eternity of the Universe, completely and including all parts, is a boundless plane. It is ‘periodically’ the playground of numerous Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing. These Universes are called “Manifesting Stars” and “Sparks of Eternity”
The eternity of the Pilgrim (Monad) is like a wink of the “Eye of Self-Existence”
The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb of flux and reflux.
This second assertion, Madame Blavatsky explains, is the ‘absolute universality’ of that ‘Law of periodicity’. The ebb and flow, flex and reflex are observed and recorded in all departments of Nature, by the physicists.
Alteration such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and waking are perfectly universal and without exception. In this we see the ‘absolutely fundamental Laws of the universe.’
The Third proposition:
The Universal Over-Soul is itself an aspect of the Unknown Root. All souls (in Manifestation) have a fundamental ‘identity’ with the Universal Over-Soul.
Every Soul, which is a ‘spark of the Over-Soul’, has an ‘obligatory’ pilgrimage. This pilgrimage (journey) is through the ‘Cycle of Incarnation’ or Necessity. This proceeds during the whole term, in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic Law.
The ‘Spark’ issued from the Over-Soul (pure essence of the Universal Sixth Principle) has (1) to pass through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara (2) acquire Individuality—first by natural impulse, then by self-induced and self-devised efforts, checked by its Karma, thus ascending through all degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest Archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). Then only, the purely Spiritual Buddhi (Divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence.
There are no privileges or special gifts for Man; and he has to ‘win’ them by his own Ego through ‘personal effort and merit’ through a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.
Madame Blavatsky adds: Hindus say that universe is Brahman and Brahma, for Brahman is in every atom of the Universe. The six Principles in Nature are the outcome (variously differentiated aspects) of the Seventh and One, the only Reality in the universe, whether cosmic or micro-cosmic. The permutations, psychic, spiritual and physical, on the plane of manifestation and form, of the Sixth (Brahma, the vehicle of Brahman) are viewed by metaphysical antiphrasis as ‘illusive’ and ‘mayavic’. The root of every atom individually and of every form collectively is that Seventh Principle or the One reality; and yet, in its manifested phenomenal and temporary appearance – it is no better than an evanescent (momentary and transitory) illusion of our senses.
The One Principle under its two aspects, Parabrahman and Mulaprakriti, is ‘sexless, unconditional and eternal.’ Its periodical manvantaric emanation, or primal radiation, is also One, androgynous (genderless), to become male and female principles in their lower aspects.
To those who are akin with the Indian system of thought, the following will be of interest:
A. The three fundamental principles can be likened to the terms 1. Ekata (Oneness/Togetherness), 2. Kramata (Orderliness/Periodicity) and 3. Samata (Identity/Equanimity).
B. They are also in similarity with the terms 1. Tattwa (Principle), 2. Hita (Beneficence) and 3. Purushartha( Man’s Way to the goal/aim), particularly mentioned in a South Indian School.
C. There is a particular verse in Bhagavat beginning with “Yasmat Jatam Jagat Sarvam, Yasminneva Praliyate, yenedam dharyatam chaiva, tasmaih Jnanatmanenamah.” which means: From who the whole World comes, to who it indeed goes again, by who the world is upheld – to Him, the Self that Knows, reverence be.
This is only illustrative and similar statements can be found in the very and numerous Systems of thought, to prove that the Occult Doctrine, as exemplified by the Secret Doctrine constitutes the ‘Mainstream’ of all metaphysical and philosophical thought, wherever it is found in the World Nations.
Now, Madame Blavatsky proceeds to explain what the Seven stanzas of Cosmogenesis intend to convey:
State of the One All during Pralaya.
Almost the same, with some allegorical phrases.
Reawakening of the Universe to Life after Pralaya.
Differentiation of the Germ into Septenary Hierarchy of conscious Divine Powers.
Process of world-formation.
Subsequent stages and evolution up to our present period.
Descent of life down to the appearance of man.
She asserts only portions of the Stanzas are explained by her; and the full and complete stanzas are comprehensible and useful to the ‘high Occultists’ only.
The Stanzas of Dzyan
Cosmic Evolution (Part 1 of The Secret Doctrine) is the annotation and commentary of the ‘Seven Stanzas translated with commentaries from the Secret Book Of Dzyan.’
The Seven stanzas have sub-stanzas (slokas/verses) running to 9, 6, 12, 6, 6, 7 and 7 in order, thus making a total of 53.
The Summing Up
The Summing Up, in fact, is the recapitulation of the vol.1, the first chapter of the story of Creation of Universe. This has a top-note from T Subba Row’s statement: The History of Creation and of this World, from its beginning to the present time, is composed of seven chapters. The seventh chapter is not yet written.
‘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 attempted here for rendering in a European tongue. --- 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.’
She writes about Veda-s, Upanishad, Buddha and Shankaracharya and the original treatises; and later gives Six pointed (numbered) items.
The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate of all systems. It is an uninterrupted record, covering thousands of generations of Seers, whose respective experiences were made to test and verify the traditions, passed on orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted Beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. For long ages the ‘Wise Men’ of the fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, passed their lives in learning, not teaching. They did this – by checking, testing, and verifying, in every department of Nature, the traditions of old, by the independent visions of the great Adepts (men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organizations, to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions of other Adepts, and by centuries of experience.
One Homogeneous Divine Substance-Principle, the One Radical Cause --- is the ‘central point’. All emerges, around and towards which all gravitates is this point. All its philosophy hangs on this fundamental law in that system.
It remains a Principle, in the beginningless and endless, abstract, visible and invisible SPACE; becomes ‘Substance’ on the plane of the manifested Universe, an Illusion.
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.
The Universe is the periodical manifestation of this unknown Absolute Essence. It is best described as neither Spirit nor Matter, but both.
The Universe, with everything in it, is called Maya, compared to the eternal immutability of the ONE. Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious being in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.
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.
There is no such thing as either ‘dead’ or ‘blind’ matter, as there is no ‘blind’ or ‘unconscious’ Law.
The universe is worked and guided, from within outwards. Man, the
microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm, is the living witness to this Universal Law, and to the mode of its action.
The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, who are ‘Messengers’ and agents of Karmic and Cosmic laws.
The three distinct representatives (aspects) of the Universe are: the Pre-Existing; evolving from the Ever-Existing; and the Phenomenal – the world of illusion, the reflection, the shadow thereof. The Esoteric Philosophy passes over the ‘necessarianism’ of the 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 (Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta) – the six principles of that unit of body of Wisdom of which the Occult (hidden) knowledge is the seventh.
Now, she gives out Five facts which she did successfully prove:
The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism. It rejects idols including every anthropomorphic God.
It admits a Logos, or a collective “Creator” of the Universe. It does not admit a personal Deity, an imperfect extra-cosmic God, but only the aggregate of the Dhyan Chohans and other Forces.
The Dhyan-Chohans are dual in their character, they are composed of 1. The irrational brute Energy, inherent in Matter;and 2.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. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity. 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, except 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.
Matter is eternal. It is the Upadhi or vehicle for the One Infinite Universal Mind to build thereon its ideations.
The Universe is evolved out of its ideal plan, upheld to Eternity in the Unconsciousness (Parabrahman)
The whole Universe is ruled by intelligent and semi-intelligent Forces and Powers.
Considering the Forces, she quotes again T Subba Row who detailed the six primary forces in Nature thus: Parasakti, Jnanasakti, Itchhasakti, Kriyasakti, Kundalinisakti and Mantrikasakti.
She concludes the narrative with a quote from the Wise Commandments in the Esoteric catechism and the Rules of Initiation, which she mentioned 15 years back:
This is the secret which gives death:
close your mouth,
you should not reveal it to the vulgar;
compress your brain
so that something should not escape from it and fall outside.
She made use of a portion of Runo I of ‘Kalavela’ before getting into the Stanzas in the second volume, Anthropogenesis.
Kalavela (=Land of Heroes) is a compilation of verses and stories in the Finnish language. Finland is on the border of Russia. The verses give the myth, magic, love and war of the people.
The text, an epic, was compiled by one Elias Lonnrot, a physician and a literary scholar in 1880s from the folk poems called Runos and performed by the local singers. His epic generated a new pride in the Finnish national identity, and an independent movement which brought into being an independent Finland.
The gist of the text is as below:
Runo 1: The Virgin of the Air descended into the sea, became the Water-mother. Vainamoinen is born of her.
Runo 2: He clears the Land, plants the country, sows Barley.
Runo 3: Joukahainen competes with him, gets lost and was made to offer his sister Aino to V.
Runo 4: V. makes love to A, but she is drowned in the sea.
Runo 5: V. fishes her out, but she manages to escape. Her mother advises V. to seek a bride in Lapland (Pajola).
Runo 6: J. shoots V.’s horse, V. is drowned and driven onwards by a tempest.
Runo 7: An eagle carries V. to Pajola. Louhi offers her daughter to him, if only he could bring her the talisman ‘Sampo’; V. says he would send his brother Iemarinen to do this. Receives a sledge from her to travel back home.
Runo 8: V. on his way sees the daughter of Louhi, makes love to her. She sets tasks for him. He finds an old man who promises to staunch the blood from his wounds.
Runo 9: The old man heals V., reveals the origin of Iron. He salves the wounds too.
Runo 10: V. returns home. I. refuses to go to Pajola. V. causes a whirlwind. I. forges for Sampo. But the maiden does not marry him. He returns home in disappointment.
The epic depicts Man’s heroism, his capacity to move forward with desire to possess, enjoy and all that, his valor that would lead humanity to prosperity of Perfection.
The Secret Doctrine emphasizes a system and design in the working of the processes of emanation and evolution, emergence of a mind to embrace the whole of the universe, and onward progression into the other schemes of Nature.
The New Propositions as to Human Evolution:
The Doctrine of Evolution is very popularly stated by the Modern Science, it stands to human reason as also supported by the ancient legends and myths. The Secret Doctrine also corroborates this, of course with some additional data.
It is common knowledge that a flower ‘slowly develops from a bud’. The bud is from a ‘seed’. But where from this seed has arrived? The seed has within it a predetermined program of physical transformation and also an invisible ‘force’, which we call ‘spiritual’, which gradually develop the form, color and odor of the flower. Evolution means and implies this.
Having brought out this analysis, Madame Blavatsky further states: “The germ (seed) of the present human race must have pre-existed in the parent of this race, as the seed, in which lies hidden the flower of next summer; was developed in the capsule of its present flower.--- while it s positively absurd to believe the ‘transformation of species’ to have taken place according to some of the more materialistic views of the Evolutionists, it is but natural to think that each genus, beginning with the molluses and ending with monkey-man, has modified from its own primordial and distinctive form.’
“As regards the Evolution of mankind, the Secret Doctrine postulates three new propositions.”Madame Blavatsky was not unaware that ‘they stand in direct antagonism to modern science as well as to current religious dogmas.’
The three new propositions run thus: the Secret Doctrine teaches --
The simultaneous evolution of Seven human groups on seven different portions of our Globe;
The birth of the astral, before the physical body, the former being a model for the latter; and
That man, in this Round, preceded every mammalian – the anthropoids included – in the animal kingdom.
She quotes extensively from Hermes the thrice great, to the Puranas of the Indian origin in support and evidence of the three postulates.
The seed for human evolution is the Logos, and the germ the latent powers.
Madame Blavatsky elaborates the three new propositions in her annotation and commentary to the ‘forty-nine Stanzas and the few fragments from the commentaries.’
To have a close examination of the propositions, we must first have knowledge of the appearance of Humanity on this Globe. Humanity on this Earth is to appear in 7 Races, called Root-races. Five of them have already appeared and two are destined for the future.
The progression made in each Root-race is as follows:
First Root-Race: Chhayas
Humanity did not have physical bodies then. Globe existed only on the Astral Plane. The beings were “Chhayas”. In fact, the same position continued in the Second Root-Race also. “But men, during the first and second races, were not physical beings, but merely rudiments of the future men.” We may call them elementals or Bhutas.
They were Arupa men,with form but no solid substance. These forms grew, ‘condensed through millions of ages, and became gigantic in its physical impulse and tendency, until it settled into the huge, physical form of the Fourth Root Race man.’
‘In those early ages, astral evolution was alone in progress, and the two planes, the astral and the physical, though developing on parallel lines, had no direct point of contact with one another. – The astral bodies of the Chhayas were created by the Lunar Pitris. In India we call them Pitris or Pitara. They were the creators of our bodies and the lower principles. The inferior Lha (Spirits), possessed of a dual body (an astral within an ethereal form). ‘They were the fashioners and creators of our body of illusion.’
The first race, the self-born, were the (astral) shadows of their progenitors. Self-born is a term applied ‘to all the gods or Beings born through the Will, whether of Deity or Adept.’
Second Root Race: (Hyperboreans)
Men existed only on the astral plane and did not yet descend to the physical plane or bodies.
‘The second race was the product by budding and expansion.’
‘When the season of reproduction arrives, the sub-astral (Chhayas) extrudes a miniature of itself from the egg of surrounding aura. This germ grows and feeds on the aura ill it becomes fully developed, when it gradually separates from its parent, carrying with it its own sphere of aura; just as we see living cells reproducing like by growth and subsequent division into two.’
They are called Sweat-born (Swethaja). ‘When the race became old, the old waters (chhayas) mixed with the fresher waters(Hyperboreans); when the drops became turbid, they vanished and disappeared, in the new stream, in the hot stream of life. The outer of the First became the inner of the Second. (Here is the root for my Container and content theory). The old race merged in the second race, and became one with it.’
The shadowy, ethereal, and negative material forms of the first race were drawn or absorbed into the complement of the forms of the second race.
The ‘men’ of the first race never die. They melt gradually away, become absorbed in the bodies of their own ‘sweat-born’ progeny, more solid than their own. The old form vanishes, disappears into the new form. This form is more physical and human.
Chhayas lived all the entire time in a single astral body, eventually made the transition into the Hyperboreans.
The first two races have gone forever, without leaving any fossil remains or traces, because they did not have physical bodies.
Third Root-Race: The Lemurians
The first physical man was the Lemurean, formed from the budding from the previous race. The second race evolved out of itself, the Androgyne Race. The very earliest of that race were: the Sons of Passive Yoga. ‘They issued from the second Manushyas (human race), and became oviparous. The emanations that come out of their bodies during the seasons of procreation were ovulary; the small spheroidal nuclei developing into a large soft, egg-like vehicle, gradually hardened, when, after a period of gestation, it broke and the young human animal issued from it unaided, as the fowls do in our race.’
The third race is in three distinct divisions. Men were differently procreated. ‘The first two are produced by an oviparous method unknown to modern Natural History. The early sub-races of the Third humanity procreated their species by a kind of exudation of moisture or vital fluid, the drops of which coalescing formed an oviform ball – or shall we say egg – which served as an extraneous vehicle for the generation therein of a foetus and child, the mode of procreation by the later races changed, in results at all events.’
Earlier period (Sweat-born, the same as second race)
Middle period (Egg-born)
Later period (Sex-born, as we see today)
The sex-division happened in this Lemurian Root-Race. ‘The so-called Sons of Will and Yoga were generated sexually after the separation of sexes. This was termed as “Fall of Man”. The single person procreation stopped here and the sexual progeny commenced.
‘The History of races begins at the separation of the Sexes, when the preceding egg-bearing androgynous race perished rapidly, and subsequent sub-races of the Third Root-Race appeared as an entirely new race physiologically.’
‘The Third Race is almost human in its latest portion, since it is during its fifth sub-race that mankind separated sexually, and that the first man was born according to the now normal process.’
‘Humanity is 18 million and odd years old, (which is a point of time within the Third Race). We say, yes; but only so far as physical or approximately physical, man is concerned, who dates from the close of the Third Root-Race. Beyond that period MAN, or his filmy image, may have existed for 300 million years, for all we know.’
The Third Race is grouped into three:
The sons of Wisdom, who incarnated into human bodies. These humans had ‘prematurely developed intellects’.
Human who were half ready. They received ‘but a spark’ making the average humanity.
Those who were not ready at all. These were the latest Monads, which had hardly evolved from their last transitional and lower forms at the close of the Third Round and who remained the ‘narrow-minded.’
The Solar Pitris incarnated into the bodies of the first group. They were the Divine Leaders or Kings.
The Lunar Pitris were able to provide astral forms for the new humans, but they could not give them the Higher mind or Manas.
‘Two connecting Principles were needed: Manas and Kama. Living spiritual Fire (Agnisattwas) provide these. Humans, at last, developed Manas or Intelligence.
‘Third Root-Race shows three distinct divisions or aspects physiologically and psychically:
1. The Earlier, sinless 2. Awakening to intelligence and 3.Manas succumbed to the temptations of Kama (Animal).’
‘The Monad of the animal is as immortal as that of man, yet the brute knows nothing of this; it lives an animal life of sensation just as the first human lived, when attaining physical development in the Third Race, had it not been for Agnishwatta and the Manasa Pitris.’
‘It was only in the mid-point of the 3rd Race that man was endowed with Manas. ---Manas or Intelligence, first appeared in the 3rd Race and became well-established in the 4th Race.’
Fourth Root-Race: The Atlanteans
‘Atlanteans were developed from a nucleus of Northern Lemurian Third Race men, centered roughly speaking, towards a point of land in what is now the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Their continent was formed by the coalescence of many islands and peninsulas which were upheaved in the ordinary course of time and became ultimately the ture home of the great Race known as the Atlanteans.’(not to be taken as one race or nation). ‘There were brown, red, yellow, white and black Atlanteans; giant and dwarf.’
‘The Atlanteans were really the first purely human and terrestrial race, those that preceded it being more divine and ethereal than human and solid. --- Since the beginning of the Atlantean race many million years have passed, yet we find the last of the Atlanteans, still mixed up with the Aryan element, 11,000 years ago. This shows the enormous overlapping of one race over the race which succeeds it, though in character and external type the elder loses its characteristics, and assumes the new features of the younger race. This is proved in all the formations of mixed human races.’
Fifth Root-Race: The Aryans
‘The Aryan Race was born and developed in the far North, though after the sinking of the continent of Atlantis its tribes emigrated further south into Asia.’
‘The Aryan nations trace their descent through the Atlanteans from the more spiritual races of the Lemurians, in whom the “Sons of Wisdom” had personally incarnated.’
‘The Aryan races now varying from dark brown, almost black, red-brown-yellow, down to the whitest creamy color, are yet all of one and the same stock – the 5th Race – and spring from one singular progenitor, called in Hindu exotericism by the generic name of Vaivasvata Manu.’
‘The rapid progress of anthropomorphism and idolatry led the early Fifth, as it had already led the 4th Race, into sorcery.’
Sixth Root-Race: Not named
‘The 5th will overlap the 6th race for many hundreds of millenniums, changing with it slower than its new successor, still changing in stature, general physique, and mentality, just as the 4th overlapped our Aryan race, and the 3rd had overlapped the Atlanteans.’
‘The 6th Root-Race will (move) out of its bonds of matter, and even of flesh. ---- In the 6th Root-Race, new forms will develop from the “ cast off ” types of the human races as they revert once again to astral, out of the mire of physical life.’
‘Occult philosophy teaches that even now, under our very eyes, the new Race and Races are preparing to be formed, and that is in America that the transformation will take place, and has already silently commenced. --- all we know is, that it will come into existence; so silently, indeed, that for long millenniums shall its pioneers – the peculiar children who will grow into peculiar men and women – be regarded as anomalous lusus naturae, abnormal oddities physically and mentally. They, as they increase, and their numbers become with every age greater, one day they will awake to find themselves in a majority.’
‘Process of preparation for the 6th great Race must last throughout the whole of 6th and 7th sub-race. But the last remnants of the 5th continent will not disappear until some time after the new Race; when another and new dwelling, the 6th continent, will have appeared above the new waters on the face of the globe, so as to receive the new stranger. To it also will emigrate and settle all those who shall be fortunate enough to escape the general disaster.’
‘Mankind will not grow again into giant bodies as in the case of the Lemurians and the Atlanteans; because while the evolution of the 4th Race let the latter down to the very bottom of materiality in its physical development, the present Race is on its ascending arc; and the 6th will be rapidly growing out of its bounds of matter, and even of flesh.’
Seventh Root-Race: Not Named
The truths of today are the falsehoods
And errors of yesterday, and
(The Secret Doctrine)
THE human races have been born one from the other, grow, develop, become old, and die. Their sub-races and nations follow the same rule. We have spoken of seven races, five of which have nearly completed their earthly career, and have claimed that every root-race, with its sub-races and innumerable family divisions and tribes, was entirely distinct from its preceding and succeeding race. This will be objected to, on the authority of uniform experience in the question of Anthropology and Ethnology. While Materialists deny everything in the universe, save matter, Archaeologists are trying to dwarf antiquity, and seek to destroy every claim to ancient Wisdom by tampering with Chronology. Our present-day orientalists and historical writers are to ancient History that which the white ants are to the buildings in India. More dangerous even than those termites, the modern archaeologists -- the "authorities" of the future in the matter of Universal History -- are preparing for the history of past nations the fate of certain edifices in tropical countries: "History will tumble down and break into atoms in the lap of the twentieth century, devoured to its foundations by her annalists," said Michelet.
Very soon, indeed, under their combined efforts, it will share the fate of those ruined cities in both Americas, which lie deeply buried under impassable virgin forests. Historical facts will remain as concealed from view by the inextricable jungle of modern hypotheses, denials and scepticism. But very happily actual History repeats herself, for she proceeds, like everything else, in cycles; and dead facts and events deliberately drowned in the sea of modern scepticism will ascend once more and reappear on the surface. Once more we address only those who, doubting the general derivation of myths from "the contemplation of the visible workings of external nature" ... think it less hard to believe that these wonderful stories of gods and demigods, of giants and dwarfs, of dragons and monsters of all descriptions are transformations, than to believe them to be inventions. It is only such "transformations" in physical nature, as much as in the memory and conceptions of our present mankind, that the Secret Doctrine teaches. It confronts the purely speculative hypotheses of modern Science, based upon the experience of barely a few centuries, with the unbroken tradition and records of its Sanctuaries. And brushing away that tissue of cobweb-like theories, spun in the darkness that covers a period of hardly a few millenniums back, and which Europeans call their "History," the Old Science says to us: Listen, now, to my version of the memoirs of Humanity.
The Secret Doctrine teaches that the Aryan nations of the present are in their fifth root-race. Hence the Aryan nations could trace their descent through the Atlanteans, who constituted the fourth root-race, from the more spiritual races of the Lemurians who preceded the Atlanteans, and in whom the "Sons of Wisdom" had personally incarnated. It is taught that with the advent of the divine Dynasties, ... referred to, the first civilizations were started. Under the guidance of their divine Rulers, the third-race built large cities, cultivated arts and sciences, and knew astronomy, architecture and mathematics to perfection. Such divine Dynasties among men were claimed by the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Greeks, etc., as being those which preceded their human kings; they are still believed in by the modern Hindus, and are enumerated in their sacred books.
The primeval civilization, that of the Lemurians, did not, as one may think, immediately follow their physiological transformation (i.e., that of the separation of the sexes from the hermaphroditic condition which preceded). Between the final evolution and the first city built by the third-race Humanity, many hundred thousands of years had passed. We find the Lemurians in their sixth sub-race building their first rock-cities, out of stone and lava. One of such great cities of primitive structure was built entirely of lava, some thirty miles west from where Easter Island now stretches its narrow piece of sterile ground, and was entirely destroyed by a series of volcanic eruptions. The oldest remains of Cyclopean buildings were all the handiwork of the Lemurians of the last sub-races; and an occultist shows, therefore, no wonder on learning that the stone relics found on the small piece of land called Easter Island by Captain Cook, are "very much like the walls of the Temple of Pachacamac or the Ruins of Tia-Huanuco in Peru," and that they are in the CYCLOPEAN STYLE. The first large cities appeared on that region of the continent which is now the island of Madagascar. It is further asserted that there were civilized people and savages in those days as there are now.It is this latter fact which would account for the great difference and variation between the intellectual capacities of races, nations, and individual men today. Evolution achieved its work of perfection with the former, the "civilized"; and Karma -- its work of destruction with the latter, the "savage." While incarnating, and in other cases only informing the human vehicles evolved by the first brainless (manasless) race, the incarnating Powers and Principles had to make their choice between, and take into account, the past Karmas of the Monads -- between which and their bodies they had to become the connecting link. The aboriginal Australians still with us today, and their like, are the descendants of those who, instead of vivifying the spark dropped into them by the "Flames," extinguished it by long generations of bestiality. And while, in some regions of the Earth during the period of the third root-race, a portion of mankind preferred leading a nomadic and patriarchal life, and in others savage man was hardly learning to build a fire to protect himself against the Elements, his brothers -- more favoured than he by their Karma, and helped by the divine intelligence which informed them -- built cities, and cultivated arts and sciences. Nevertheless, and civilization notwithstanding, while their pastoral brethren enjoyed wondrous powers as their birthright, the builders, could now obtain theirs only gradually; even these being generally used for power over physical nature and selfish and unholy purposes. Civilization has ever developed the physical and the intellectual at the cost of the psychic and spiritual. The command and the guidance over his own psychic nature, which foolish men now associate with the supernatural, were with early Humanity innate and congenital, and came to man as naturally as walking and thinking. These have become "secrets" only in our race, and were public property in the third.
Gradually, mankind went down in stature, for even before the real advent of the fourth or Atlantean race, the majority of mankind had fallen into iniquity and sin, save their hierarchy of the "Elect," the followers and disciples of the "Sons of Will and Yoga" called later the "Sons of the Fire Mist." Then came the Atlanteans; the giants whose physical beauty and strength reached their climax, in accordance with evolutionary law, toward the middle period of their fourth sub-race.
Lemuria is said to have perished about 700,000 years before the commencement of what is now called the Tertiary Age (the Eocene). H. P. Blavatsky quotes the author of "Historie des Vierges: Les Peuples et les Continents Disparus," who says:-- "One of the most ancient legends of India, preserved in the temples by oral and written tradition, relates that several hundred thousand years ago there existed in the Pacific Ocean an immense continent which was destroyed by geological upheaval, and the fragments of which must be sought in Madagascar, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the principal isles of Polynesia. The high plateaux of Hindustan and Asia, according to this hypothesis, would only have been represented in those distant epochs by great islands contiguous to the central continent...." And further, "that a religious belief, common to Malacca and Polynesia, that is to say, to the two opposite extremes of the Oceanic world, affirms 'that all these islands once formed two immense countries, inhabited by yellow men and black men, always at war; and that the gods, wearied with their quarrels, having charged Ocean to pacify them, the latter swallowed up the two continents, and since, it has been impossible to make him give up his captives. Alone, the mountain-peaks and high plateaux escaped the flood, by the power of the gods, who perceived too late the mistake they had committed.' ... The three summits of this continent, the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, Easter Island, are distant from each other from fifteen to eighteen hundred leagues, and the groups of intermediate islands ... are themselves distant from these extreme points from seven or eight hundred to one thousand leagues. ... And yet each of these people maintained that their island had at one time formed part of an immense stretch of land which extended toward the West on the side of Asia. All, brought together, were found to speak the same language, to have the same usages, the same customs, the same religious belief. And all to the question, 'Where is the cradle of your race?' for sole response, extended their hand toward the setting sun."
It is asked by some Theosophists: "What will Atlantis be like when raised?" Here, there is a slight misconception. Were the same identical lands of Atlantis that were submerged to be raised again, then they would indeed be barren for ages. Because the Atlantic sea-bottom is covered with some 5,000 feet of chalk at present, and more is forming; this is no reason why, however, when the time for a new continent to appear arrives, a geological convulsion and upraising of the sea bottom should not dispose of these 5,000 feet of chalk, for the formation of some mountains -- and 5,000 more come to the surface. The racial cataclysms are not a Noah's deluge of forty days -- a kind of Bombay monsoon. The periodical sinking and reappearance of the mighty continents, now called Atlantis and Lemuria by the modern writers, is no fiction. Our globe is subject to seven periodical entire changes which go pari passu with the races. During this Round, The Secret Doctrine asserts, there must be seven terrestrial pralayas, three occasioned by the change in the inclination of the earth's axis. It is a law which acts at its appointed time, and not at all blindly as science may think; but in strict accordance and harmony with Karmic law. In Occultism this law is referred to as "the great ADJUSTER." The cataclysm which destroyed the huge (Lemurian) continent of which Australia is the largest relic, was due to a series of subterranean convulsions and the breaking asunder of the ocean floors. That which put an end to its successor -- the fourth continent -- was brought on by successive disturbances in the axial rotation. The latter changed the face of the globe, and no memory of its flourishing continents and isles, of its civilizations and sciences remains in the annals of history, save in the sacred records of the East. Nor have we many details about the submersion of the continent inhabited by the second root-race, called the "Hyperborean."
But the term "Atlantean" must not mislead the reader to regard these as one race only, or even a nation. It is as though one said "Asiatics." Many, multiplied, and various were the Atlanteans, who represented several humanities, and almost a countless number of races and nations -- more varied indeed than would be the "Europeans" were this name to be given indiscriminately to the five existing parts of the world. There were brown, red, yellow, white and black Atlanteans; giants and dwarfs (as some African tribes comparatively are, even now). In the Eocene age, even in its very first part, the great cycle of the fourth race men, the (Lemuro) Atlantean had already reached its highest point of civilization, and the great continent, the father of nearly all the present continents, showed the first symptoms of sinking. Atlantis as a whole perished during the Miocene period.
Ælian preserved an extract from Theophrastus written during the days of Alexander the Great. It is a dialogue between Midas, the Phrygian, and Silenus. The former is told of a continent that had existed in times of old, so immense, that Asia, Europe and Africa seemed like poor islands compared with it. It was the last to produce animals and plants of gigantic magnitudes. There, said Silenus, men grew to double the size of the tallest man in his (the narrator's) time, and they lived to twice as old an age. They had wealthy cities with temples, and one of such (cities) held more than a million inhabitants in it, gold and silver being found there in great abundance. Records came to the fifth race Aryans from their predecessors of the fourth, which had been piously preserved and which told them how their parent root-race, becoming with every generation more arrogant, owing to the acquisition of super-human powers, had been gradually gliding toward its end. Those records reminded them of the giant intellect of the preceding races as well as of their giant size. One finds the repetition of those records in every age of history, in almost every old fragment which has descended to us from antiquity. As to the question of the four distinct races of mankind which preceded our fifth race, there is nothing mystical in it, except the ethereal bodies of the first races; and it is a matter of legendary, nevertheless, very correct history. That legend is universal. If the Western savant pleases to see in it only a myth, it does not make the slightest difference. The Mexicans had, and still have, the tradition of the fourfold destruction of the world by fire and water, just as the Egyptians had, and the Hindus have, to this day.
To show how continents, races, nations and cycles overlap each other, one has but to think of Lemuria, the last of whose lands perished about 700,000 years before the beginning of the Tertiary period, and the last of "Atlantis" only a few thousand years ago; thus both overlapping -- one the Atlantean period, and the other the Aryan. Since the beginning of the Atlantean race many millions of years have passed, yet we find the last of the Atlanteans, still mixed up with the Aryan element, 11,000 years ago. While this takes place, in this immense period, the elder race loses its characteristics and external type and assumes the new features of the younger race. This is proved by all the formations of mixed human races. Now, Occult philosophy teaches that even now, under our very eyes, the new Race and Races are preparing to be formed, and that it is in America that the transformation will take place, and has already silently commenced.
Thus the Americans have become in only three centuries a "primary race" pro tem, before becoming a race apart, and strongly separated from all other now existing races. They are, in short, the germs of the Sixth sub-race (of the Aryan race), and in some few hundred years more, will become most decidedly the pioneers of that race which must succeed to the present
European or fifth sub-race, in all its new characteristics. After this, in about 25,000 years, they will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race; until in consequence of cataclysms -- the first series of those which must one day destroy Europe, and still later the whole Aryan race (and thus affect both Americas), as most of the lands directly connected with the confines of our continent and isles -- the Sixth Root-Race will have appeared on the stage of our Round.
When shall this be? Who knows save the great Masters of Wisdom, perchance, and they are as silent upon the subject as the snow-capped peaks that tower above them. All we know is, that it will silently come into existence; so silently, indeed, that for long millenniums shall its pioneers -- the peculiar children who will grow into peculiar men and women -- be regarded as anomalous lusus naturae, abnormalities physically and mentally. Then, as they increase and their numbers become with every age greater, one day they will awake to find themselves in a majority. It is the present men who will then begin to be regarded as exceptional mongrels, until these die out in their turn in civilized lands; surviving only in small groups on islands -- the mountain peaks of today -- where they will vegetate, degenerate, and finally die out, perhaps millions of years hence, as the Aztecs have, as the Nyam-Nyam and the dwarfish Moola Koorumba of the Nilghiri Hills are dying.
All these are the remnants of once mighty races, the recollection of whose existence has entirely died out of the remembrance of the modern generations, just as we shall vanish from the memory of the Sixth Race Humanity. The fifth will overlap the sixth race for many hundreds of millenniums, changing with it slower than its new successor, still changing in stature, general physique, and mentality, just as the fourth overlapped our Aryan race, and the third had overlapped the Atlanteans.
This process of preparation for the sixth great race must last throughout the whole sixth and seventh sub-races. But the last remnants of the Fifth Continent will not disappear until sometime after the birth of the new Race; when another and new dwelling, the sixth continent, will have appeared above the new waters on the face of the globe, so as to receive the new stranger. To it will emigrate and settle all those who shall be fortunate enough to escape the general disaster. When this shall be -- as just said -- it is not for the writer to know. Only, as nature no more proceeds by sudden jumps and starts, than man changes suddenly from a child into a mature man, the final cataclysm will be preceded by many smaller submersions and destructions both by wave and volcanic fires. The exultant pulse will beat high in the heart of the race now in the American zone, but there will be no more Americans when the Sixth race commences; no more, in fact, than Europeans; for they will now have become a new race, and many new nations.
Yet the Fifth will not die, but survive for a while: overlapping the new Race for many hundred thousand years to come, it will be transformed with it -- slower than its new successor -- still getting entirely altered in mentality, general physique, and stature. Mankind will not grow again into giant bodies as in the case of the Lemurians and the Atlanteans; because while the evolution of the fourth race led the latter down to the very bottom of materiality in its physical development, the present race is on its ascending arc; and the Sixth will be rapidly growing out of its bonds of matter, and even of flesh. Thus it is the mankind of the New world -- one by far the senior of our Old one, a fact men had also forgotten, whose mission and Karma it is to sow the seeds for a forthcoming, grander, and far more glorious Race than any of those we know of at present. On the law of parallel history and races, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious Adepts.
Occult Hierarchy down to those connected with Earth
Theosophy brought into currency the existence of an Occult Hierarchy right from the day of manifestation, its continuous activity to the present times and its plans for the future. The process of emanation and manifestation is guided, directed and monitored by it. The knowledge of its operation would surely help the human progression on the right lines. The concept of Hierarchies is one of the corner-stones of the Ancient Wisdom.
The term ‘hierarchy’ comes from Greek words ‘hieros’ meaning sacred and ‘archien’ to rule. It embodies the grades of being with delegated authority by One Supreme Power. Hierarchical organization is a natural working system, each entity working in close coordination with other entities. This situation is necessary for what we call in common parlance the ‘evolution’. The human body by itself is direct evidence to this.
The universe is a hierarchy of Life extending from the earth to the far beyond spiritual realms. We have the example in Indian books of an Aswattha tree with its roots in heaven and branches all over the earth.
Madame Blavatsky states: 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 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 poetic fantasy. For each of these Beings either was, or perhaps to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle. (SD.I.274-5)
Cosmic intelligence and divine substance, emanating from the boundless Unknowable, together produce all transformations related to the spiritual side of nature.
She enumerates the Hierarchies thus:
Men in the Human kingdom: We are in the midpoint of evolution between the elementals and Adepts. Having reached the degree of self-consciousness, capable of functioning with Viveka, we have a choice to further progress or stagnate.
Bodhisattvas: Spiritually and intuitionally advance human beings, who remain in touch with the earth to guide humanity.
Manushya-Buddhas: Born in a human body, they work among mankind to help the emergence of 7 root-races and sub-races. They normally appear in the mid-point of the root-race. (Gautama Buddha is the second racial Buddha in the 5th root-race)
Dhyani-Budhisattvas: They supervise the 7 globes of each round of planetary life. The one in charge of our globe is also called ‘The silent Watcher’.
Dhyani-Buddhas: They are the divine architects who caused the formation of our Solar system. For each round there will be one such.
Sons of Light: They are the reflected rays of manifestation. They provide the Light needed for the system. Sun of our kingdom has seven rays yielding the planetary spirits.
Diaviprakriti: The divine matter or original substance that fills the system.
Mahabuddhi: The Cosmic mind and intelligence. The operations in nature are caused by this Intelligence.
Adi-Buddhi: The universally diffused mystic essence. The wisdom side of the universe swells from this source.
Every form on earth and every atom in Space strives in its effort towards self-formation to follow the model placed for it in the Heavenly Man, asserts Madame Blavatsky. This Heavenly Man has given the life, form and being to every creature in the kingdom of Nature. “He emanates all Nature out of Himself ”.
The downward arc in the Chains is as below:
Chain 1: Asura Hierarchy, who developed the MansII and Mineral forms.
Chain 2: Agnishvatta Hierarchy, who developed Astral and Plant forms.
Chain 3: Barhishad Hierarchy, who developed the Physical I and Animal forms
Chain 4: The present humanity, who develop Physical II and Human forms.
We are in the mid-point. The Heavenly Man is the ‘sum total of Spirit-Matter’, expressed in Life-Form in humanities, for the earth-scheme. We are on the ascending arc.
We have to master the centers of forces in the causal body, those of the higher Mans, Buddhi and Atma. The subtler levels of spiritual consciousness must be ‘evoked’ and eventually the subtler spiritual bodies (Aprakrita sarira) be mastered. All this is ‘from within’.
“During the three Rounds to come, Humanity, like the Globe on which it lives, will be ever tending to reassume its primeval form, that of a Dhyan Chohanic Host.”
“Man, being a compound of the essences of all the celestial Hierarchies, may succeed in making himself, as such, superior, in one sense, to any Hierarchy or class, or even combination of them. ---- 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”.
The heavenly Man, in Indian texts, is called the “Purusha”, and a sooktam available in Rig-veda elaborated his emanation and processes of His manifestation.
Direct from the Occult Records
Madame Blavatsky uses too frequently, while making propositions and substantiating them, the term “Occult” as prefix for the words Philosophy, Teaching, Symbology, Principles, Law, Doctrine, Science, Wisdom etc. in her The Secret Doctrine.
To start with, she quotes from an Occult Catechism – also called the esoteric Senzar Catechism.
“What is that which was, is, and will be, whether there is a universe or not; whether there be gods or none?”
The answer made is --- SPACE.
It is also expressed as the “One Unknown ever-present God in Nature”(Nature in abscondito).
The questions and answers in the Occult Catechism run thus:
“What is it that ever is?”
“Space, the eternal Anupadaka (=parentless)”
“What is it that ever was?”
“The Germ in the Root.”
“What is it that is ever coming and going?”
“The Great Breath.”
“Then, there are the three Eternals?”
“No, the three are one. That whichever is is one, that whichever was is one, that which is ever being and becoming is also one: and that is Space.”
“Explain, oh Lanoo (disciple).”
“The One is an unbroken Circle (ring) with no circumference, for it is nowhere and everywhere; the One is the boundless plane of the Circle, manifesting a diameter only during the manvantaric periods; the One is the indivisible point found nowhere, perceived everywhere during those periods; it is Vertical and the Horizontal, the Father and the Mother, the summit and base of the Father, the two extremities of the Mother, reaching in reality nowhere, for the One is the Ring as also the rings that are within that Ring. Light in darkness and darkness in light: the ‘Breath which is eternal.’ It proceeds from without inwardly, when it is everywhere, and from within outwardly, when it is nowhere –(i.e., maya). It expands and contracts (exhalation and inhalation). When it expands, the mother diffuses and scatters; when it contracts, the mother draws back and ingathers. This produces the periods of Evolution and Dissolution, Manvantara and Pralaya. The Germ is invisible and fiery; the Root (the plane of the circle) is cool; but during Evolution and Manvantara her garment is cold and radiant. Hot breath is Father who devours the progeny of many-faced Element(heterogeneous); and leaves the single faced ones(homogeneous). Cool breath is the Mother, who conceives, forms, brings forth, and receives them back into her bosom, to reform them at the Dawn (of the Day of Brahma, or Manvantara)…..”
The Occult Catechism is again quoted while commenting on the Stanza 5.
‘A bright star dropped from the Heart of Eternity; the beacon of hope on whose Seven Rays hang the Seven Worlds of Being.’ These are the Seven Lights whose reflections are the human immortal Monads – the Atma, or the irradiating Spirit of every creature of the human family, says Madame Blavatsky.
Here follows the portion of Catechism:
“Lift thy head, O Lanoo; dost thou see one, or countless lights above thee, burning in the dark midnight sky?”
“I see one Flame, O Gurudeva, I see countless undetached sparks shining in it.”
“Thou sayest well. And now look around and into thyself. That light which burns inside thee, dost thou feel it different in anywise from the light that shines in thy Brother-men?”
“It is no way different, though the prisoner is held in bondage by Karma, and though its outer garments delude the ignorant into saying, ‘Thy Soul and My Soul’.”
The inseparability from the source and perfect identity of the individual soul with the Over-soul, later developed as the third proposition is suggestive here.
Commenting on Stanza 6 where manifestation is further discussed, the Catechism says:
“The Great Breath digs through Space seven holes into Laya, to cause them to circumgyrate during Manvantara.”
Fohat is producing the ‘Seven Laya Centers’ for creative purposes. They are the seven invisible points within the area of Manifested Universe.
The “Mother lies stretched in infinity, during Pralaya, as the great Deep, the ‘dry Waters of Space,’ and becomes wet only after the separation and as Narayana moves over its face. Catechism says, “Space which is invisible Flame, which never burns, but sets on fire all that it touches, and gives it life and generation.”
Commenting on Stanza 1 of Anthropogenesis, we find extensive quote from the Occult Commentary, which runs thus:
“The Globe, propelled onward by the Spirit of the Earth, and his six Assistants, gets all its vital forces, life, and powers through the medium of the seven planetary Dhyanis from the Spirit of the Sun. they are his messengers of Light and Life.
“Like each of the Seven Regions of the Earth, each of the seven Firstborn (the primordial Human groups) receives its light and life from its own especial Dhyani – spiritually, and from the Palace (House, the Planet) of that Dhyani – physically; so with the seven great Races to be born on it. The First is born under the Sun; the Second under Brihaspati (Jupiter); the Third under Lohitanga (Kuja, Mars, the fiery-bodied and also under Venus or Sukra); the Fourth, under Soma (the Moon, our Globe also, the Fourth Sphere being born under and from the Moon) and Shani, Saturn, the Krura-lochana (Evil-eyed), and the Asita (the Dark); the Fifth, under Budha (Mercury).
“So also with man and every “man” (every principle) in man. Each gets its specific quality from its Primary (the planetary Spirit), therefore every man is a septenate (or a combination of principles, each having its origin in a quality of that special Dhyani). Every active power or force of the Earth comes to her from one of the seven Lords. Light comes through Shukra (Venus), who receives a triple supply, and gives one-third of it to the Earth. Therefore the two are called “Twin-Sisters’, but the Spirit of the earth is subservient to the Lord of “Sukra’. Our wise men represent the two Globes, one over, the other under the double Sign (the primordial Svastika bereft of its four arms, or the cross, +)”
The double sign is the symbol of male and female principles in Nature. The Svastika is all that and much more.
“It is through Shukra that the ‘double ones’(the hermaphrodites) of the Third (Root Race) descended from the ‘Sweat-born’. Therefore it is represented under the symbol , the circle and diameter, during the Third (Race), and during the fourth.”
Madame Blavatsky further explains that the diameter isolated in the circle stands for feminine nature; for the first ideal World, self-generated and self-impregnated by the universally diffused Spirit of Life, also referring to the primitive Root Race.
Studies in Symbology:
Madame Blavatsky has expended a greater portion of her life in the study of: Hidden meanings in every religions and profane legends of all nations, preeminently in the traditions of the East.
She devoted part 2 of Cosmogenesis (vol. 1) to the study of ‘The Evolution of Symbolism’ and part 2 of Anthrpogenesis (vol.2) to the study of ‘The Archaic Symbolism of the World Religions’
The whole text, apart from the basic propositions, is an expression in Symbols and Glyphs. She begins with ‘A white disk within a dull background and the same disk with a central point etc.’ which is clear symbology.
She asserts following factors:
The Mythological story, traditional event in the folklore – is not pure fiction. It has an actual historical lining in it.
Symbology must be studied from every one of its aspects. It has seven departments within it. It should not be interpreted ‘literally.’
Emblem: comprises a larger series of thoughts than a Symbol. A series of pictures (graphic) viewed and explained allegorically and unfolding an idea in panoramic views one after the other. Puranas are written emblems.
Symbol: a concrete visible picture or sign representing a series of principles, recognizable by those who have received certain instructions – Initiates.
All esoteric societies have made use of emblems and symbols.
Students of Archaic school should be careful not to divulge ‘secrets of far more importance to humanity’, they being dangerous in ignorant hands.
Adept will not impart the conditions and means that lead to any correlation of Elements (which may produce harmful as well as beneficent results). He is ready to impart to the earnest student the secrets of ancient thought, and to furnish a few more landmarks for a retrospective view of the past. (Eg. Origin of Man, Evolution of Races etc.)
Parable is a spoken symbol, is an allegorical representation of life-realities, events and facts.
Spoken word has a potency not only unknown to, but even unsuspected and naturally disbelieved in, by the moderns.
Sound and rhythm are closely related to the four elements of the Ancients.
Esoteric reading of symbolism is one of the keys to the once ‘Universal Mystery Language’.
Divine Origin ( = not revelation of an anthropomorphic God) is ‘A Language and a system of science imparted to early mankind by a more advanced mankind, so much higher as to be divine in the sight of that infant humanity by a “mankind”.’
Mystery language of the prehistoric ages is now called symbolism.
Mystery language and its keys: every theology has sprung from One Universal Esoteric of Mystery language. To the hall of Mysteries, key is turned once. Sacred wisdom-science from pre-historic ages.
Seven mysteries of Nature: Each has its own symbolism. All the words of mystery language signified, in the olden days, the same thing to each man, of whatsoever nationality.
Seven keys to the Mystery Tongue were held by Initiated Hierophants of antiquity.
India – in its ancient boundaries – is the only country in the world which still has among her sons Adepts, who have the knowledge of all the seven subsystems; and the key to the entire system.
Exoteric dogmas may often have been altered, the Esoteric never.
Every old religion is but a chapter or two of the eternal volume of archaic primeval mysteries; Eastern Occultism alone being able to boast that it is in possession of the full secret, with its Seven Keys.
Men of Learning and research in the department of symbology have not yet dawned, to who – all the seven keys are known.
Secret records hold the said seven keys to the mystery of the birth of Man.
The seven keys open the mysteries, past and future, of the seven Root-races, and of the seven kalpas.
Once the Mystery Language is approximately mastered, the archaic teaching will be accepted.
Now, let us see the definitive meaning of the term:
Symbolism: The pictorial expression of an idea or a thought. Primordial writing had at first no characters, but a symbol generally stood for a whole phrase or sentence. A symbol is thus a recorded parable, and a parable a spoken symbol. The Chinese written language is nothing more than symbolic writing, each of its several thousand letters being a symbol. (Glossary, p.116)
Mr. Ernest Wood, in his Digest categorized the explanations found in The Secret Doctrine thus:
Place of symbolism in Religions.
The Circle and the Square.
The Disc, the Diameter and the Cross.
Qualities of Numbers.
The Egg and the Birds.
Meaning of the Lotus.
The Moon and the cat.
Trees and Serpents.
Creative Gods and the God-men.
The literature on Religions, the world over, consists of philosophical and scientific explanations; and the allegorical stories, parables and myths intended for the illiterate masses. Madame Blavatsky stated, ‘even a parable is a spoken symbol: a fiction or a fable an allegorical representation of life-realities, events and facts. A moral was ever drawn from a parable, that moral being an actual truth and fact in human life, so an historical, real event was deduced from certain emblems and symbols recorded in the ancient archives of the temples.’
‘It is from the exoteric religions that we have to dig out the root-idea before we turn to esoteric truths. Furthermore, every symbol may be read esoterically, and the proof furnished for its being correctly read by transliterating it into its correct numerical and geometrical forms, however much the glyphs and symbols may vary among themselves. For in the origin those symbols were all identical.’
The circle represents the ‘boundless All’, both at the level of matter and the spirit.
The square indicates the manifestation. The square is all the time within the circle. Madame Blavatsky refers to the Pythagorean triangle with 1, 2. 3. 4 dots within in horizontal lines, suggesting the ‘reality in the manifested world is composed units or unity.’
The Disc, the Diameter and the Cross are further presentations of the process of manifestation.
Annotating the quality of numbers, she said Number 10 represents ‘the Universe and its evolution out of Silence and the unknown depths of the spiritual Soul.’ She provides explanations for all numerical, and finally says, the symbol of man is a cube unfolded, three crossways (the female) and four vertically and the man is the culmination of the deity on Earth.
The egg was revered both on account of its form and its inner mystery. ‘ The gradual development of the imperceptible germ within the closed shell; the inward working, without any apparent outward interference of force, which from a latent nothing produced an active something,---- must have been a standing miracle…’ The bird has two wings, symbolizing the divine substance and divine ideation, with which it carries on its journey. ‘The bird of Time’ (Kala-hamsa) is a much known word.
Lotus ‘is the flower sacred to Nature and her Gods, and represents the abstract and the concrete Universes, standing as the emblem of the productive power of Nature, through the agency of fire and water. --- The spirit of Fire stirs up and fructifies and develops into concrete form everything from its ideal prototype, which is born of Water or primordial earth
Moon chain was the precedential one to our Earth chain. Moon is the giver of Life to our globe, while the sun is the giver to the planetary system. ‘The Sun and the Moon, as male-female deities, fructify the earth, the microcosmic mother, and the latter conceives and brings forth in her turn.’ Cat is a symbol and orbit of the moon. ‘The eye of the cat seems to follow the lunar phases in its growth and decline, and its orbs shine like two stars in the darkness of night.’
‘In the beginning of their joint existence as a glyph of Immortal Being, the tree and the Serpent were divine imagery, truly.’ The roots of the tree were generated in the heaven and it grew out of the Rootless Root of all-being. As its trunk grew and developed, the terrestrial worlds came into existence. The serpent is the symbol of Eternity. The tree is also a symbol of the Adept and wise-man. Serpent swallowing its own tail indicates the continuous nature of existence.
‘A hierarchy of Forces or rather the intelligent Powers of Nature’ is the creative Gods. She says that all the gods of Olympus, as well as those of the Hindu (Indian) Pantheon and the Rishis were the seven-fold personating of:
The noumena of the intelligent Powers of nature
Divine Kings on Earth and
Terrestrial heroes or men.
Coming to the God-men, the world mythologies and histories have much to say.
Manas, or the mind, has much to do with the man, as it is a great power from the cosmic fire. At the human level it is the ‘thinking principle’. It is a friend of mankind in its progression and perfection. ‘No being can become god, or deva, unless he passes through the human cycles.’ The human monad has its task of arriving at the point. Man is described as the ‘God in the Becoming’.
Madame Blavatsky brought out her The Secret Doctrine (1888), The Key to Theosophy (1889), founded her magazine The Lucifer, saw through the proofs (of the first 32 pages) of her Thesophical Glossary and passed on from the physical plane on 8 May 1891. Some papers from her were yet to see the open light and become available to the public reader. Dr Annie Besant who was in charge her papers collected some of them and brought out as The Secret Doctrine vol.III (1897). This volume and The Theosophical Glossary happen to be her principal works too, though posthumously. The papers brought out in the Volume III were organized in 51 Sections and ‘Some papers on the bearing of Occult Philosophy on Life’ were included too.
These papers carry many informative facts that can be used for enlightening oneself. A summary of the beginning of the latter part is attempted now in the following pages.
Most important that needs our special study is the Diagram I which explains the correspondences among the Centres of Creative Forces, the Potential Forces and the Centres of Action. In other words, they are the Macrocosm along with the Manifested Logos, the Microcosm (the Inner Man) and Microcosm (the Physical man).
The Macrocosm is A. Sexless, Unmanifested Logos, B. Potential wisdom and C. Universal Ideation. They are the unknowable, One in Three.
The Manifested Logos projecting therefrom is a) Creative Logos (Purusha), b) Eternal Substance (Prakriti) and Spirit (Mahat). These 3 constitutes the Pradhana, an undifferentiated matter Sankhya) – Good, evil and Chaotic darkness (Sattva, rajas and Tamas)- neutralizing each other. When differentiated they become the Seven Creative Potencies: Spirit, Substance and Fire stimulating Matter to form itself. They make the Spiritual, psychic, Astral and Material planes.
The Microcosm (the Inner Man) consists of Atman, although exoterically reckoned as the 7th Principle, is no individual Principle at all, and belongs to the Universal soul; 7 is the ‘auric egg’, the magnetic sphere round every human and animal being. The three hyper states of Atman contact the nature. The resultant 4th is the Man. Thus Man is a Quaternary (Tetraktys), which is named the Higher Self.
The 6 Principles, acting on 4 different Planes, and having their Auric envelope on the 7th are as below:
Buddhi, the vehicle of Atma; 2. Manas, the vehicle of Buddhi; 3. Lower Manas (the upper and Lower Manas are two aspects of one and the same principle; 4.Kama-rupa, its vehicle; 5. Prana, Life; and 6. Linga sarira, its vehicle. The 7th is denoted as “Maya”, the Physical Body (which is not considered a principle at all) and is entirely ignored.
The six are used by the Adepts of the Right Hand, or White Magicians (Dakshinacharas) and the 7th by those of Left hand or Black Magicians (Vamacharas).
Now comes in the Microcosm (the Physical man with his Centres of Action as below:
1.Buddhi (Right Eye); 2. Mans (Left Eye); 3. Lower Mans (Right Ear); 4. Kama Rupa (Left Ear); 5. Life principle (Right Nostril); 6. Life Vehicle (Left Nostril); 7. The Organ of the creative logos, the Mouth, (This is the Paradigm of the Creative Orificein the Lower Triad. 8, 9 and 10. The Lower Ternary having direct connection with the Higher Auric Triad and its three spheres (creative, preservative and regenerative)
These Physical organs are used by the Black Magicians. The abuse of the corresponding functions is the most terrible of Karmic sins.
The ‘auric body’ is not mentioned in exoteric literature because it is too sacred. It is this bodywhich assimilates at death the essence of Buddhi and Mans and becomes the vehicle of these spiritual principles, which are not objective, and then, with the full radiation of Atma upon it, ascends as Manas-Taijasi into the Devachanic state. It is also called the ‘Sutratma’, which incarnates from the beginning of Manvantara to the end, stringing upon itself the pearls of human existence. It is also the material from which an Adept forms his Astral bodies.
We have seven physical senses, two are not yet publicly known and named. They correspond to the seven states of consciousness: 1. Waking; 2. Waking-dreaming; 3. Natural sleeping; 4. Induced or trance sleep; 5. Psychic; 6. Super-psychic; and 7. Purely Spiritual –corresponding with one of the seven cosmic planes.
In Diagram II, the Atmic correspondences with the terrestrial plane through numbers, metals, planets, the human principles, days of the week, colors and sound (musical scale0 are detailed.
She later explains what Magic is in Reality. Magic means the “Great Life” or divine life in spirit. The root of magh (sansktit – Mahat) means “Great”.
In Diagram III, she explains the relation the Human Principles have with the Colors as below:
1.Violet: Linga Sharira; 2. Indigo: Higher Manas; 3. Blue: Auric Egg; 4.Green: Lower Manas; . 5.Yellow: Buddhi; 6. Orange: Prana and 7. Red: Kama Rupa.
Occultism provides 2 reasons for Secrecy:
The whole truth is too sacred to be given out promiscuously.
The knowledge of all the details and missing links in the exoteric teachings is too dangerous in profane hands.
The writings have many purposeful suggestions for one who has deep intent in studying and living the Occult Life, which is full and splendorous.
Target Readers, Relevance and Impact
Thinkers and intellectuals who are awaiting their ‘intuitions to open.
The facts presented are ever relevant, but need exploration forever.
Many men and women of the World in literary, scientific, artistic and philosophical fields of study could advance their thought further.
The following statements appearing in the text need special mention:
A Law in Nature provides implant in Man as in every heart a passionate, inherent and instructive desire for freedom and self-guidance.
First lesson in Esoteric Philosophy is that the Incognizable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits periodically different aspects of itself to the perception of finite minds.
There is an elaborate law in Nature, one that always tends to adjust contraries and to produce final harmony. It is owing to this law of spiritual development superseding the physical and purely intellectual that mankind will become freed from its false gods and find itself finally self-redeemed.
Madame Blavatsky provides the basis for integration in comprehensive levels of human understanding, which was her special mission in life. The target readers are the discerning thinkers and true seekers of Truth. The fusion of material and psychological sciences with that of spiritual wisdom, through opening the chapters of Occult Science, is a historical necessity. The very purpose of establishing a Society for such study and its fulfillment stands a bystander for this. The students of occultism have many veils moved and removed providing a path to the sanctum-sanctorum of Nature. Every branch of study in nature finds a definite opening here. The onward movement of evolutionary process receives a new impetus to greater heights.
We exist, yet knowing why? and how? of it decidedly improves our knowledge and search. Goings into the roots of ‘Being’ enhances the purpose meaningfully. Apart from other factors, the study helps to regain the faith in one’s being, to obtain a rational view, to understand the great plan, to strengthen effort in reaching perfection and finally, to fulfill the objective of divinizing the Matter in nature.
The study should not, in any way, bring intellectual pride. As Madame Blavatsky indicates in her ‘The Voice of The Silence’, one must be humble to receive wisdom and be humbler after receiving it. The awakening may be slow but steady and the aspirant always holds the ‘key’ in oneself, not in an external agency. In mental and spiritual regions, as she asserts, one stands upon one’s own merit; fear or favor being absent. ‘Theosophy remains a riddle for those who are mentally lazy.’ The facts may at the first sight appear abstruse but a persistent effort makes the way easier and welcoming.
The text is relevant for anytime for the simple reason that it is open-ended. Cosmological and anthropological studies receive a new impetus. A Divine Plan and a Path are drawn intelligible for humanity.
The pre-requisites for right understanding can be summed up thus:
Caught up in a mesh of illusion and worldliness, it is first necessary that we are ceaselessly self-deceived.
An awakening to the knowing of divine nature in manifestation needs much effort supported by indomitable determination.
Seeking the knowledge of Occult Science (Atma-Vidya) is more important than obtaining command over the elements of nature.
All old superstitions and errors, of centuries, must be swept away by the hurricane of Truth. The Text is the accumulated wisdom of the ancient Rishis.
Unselfishness, altruism in theory and practice, devotion to human race and its perfection are of supreme importance.
‘Civilization may progress; human nature will remain the same throughout all the ages. Occultists, beware!’ forewarns Madame Blavatsky.
Much can be said on the point of relevance, since it would appear to be prima-facie hyperbolic, and could be taken as ‘indoctrination’. Yet relevance depends on deeper understanding of the enunciated truths. An examination into the Ancient Wisdom-Religion is relevant here.
Madame Blavatsky describes theosophy as ‘Wisdom-Religion’ or ‘Divine-Wisdom’. Wisdom-Religion means the ‘One Religion’ which underlies all the existing religions. The faith being primordial, it got revealed directly to the humankind by the progenitors and the ‘informing egos’. It then required no grace, nor blind faith – for it was the ‘Knowledge’. It is on this ‘Wisdom-Religion’ that the statements of theosophy are based. This wisdom-Religion is ‘the inheritance of all nations the world over.’
When we say ‘Ancient Wisdom-Religion’, we do not mean that there is a ’modern’ part of it. Ancient here means that which is ‘eternal, ever-new, boundless; to use the Indian terms “Sanatana”, “Nitya’ and “Nutana”. The term should not be taken to mean ‘obsolete’ or ‘dead’. It only means ‘age old, yet current’. There can be no modern or ancient Wisdom on opposing poles. Wisdom is ‘ancient, all-time, time-honored knowledge’.
‘Gupta-vidya’ and ‘Guhya-vidya’ are two facets of this knowledge popular in India, for the esoteric or secret science; and if we could translate into the English language identical to the terms are ‘Occultism and Mysticism’.
Madame Blavatsky also refers to a coinage of the terms as ‘esoteric philosophy.’ This is the reconciliation of all religions, striped every one of the outer garments and gets into the ‘source’ of all. It proves the necessity of a ‘divine absolute principle in Nature’. It denies ‘deity’, never rejecting the ‘god in nature’, ‘nor deity as the absolute and in abstract’. It only refuses to accept any of the gods created by man in human image and the likeness.
She refers to an ‘old book’ which is the original work from which all the volumes of ‘Kiu-ti’ were compiled. It is taken down in ‘Senzar (cenzar)’ the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of divine beings who dictated it to the Sons of Light, in Central Asia at the very beginning of the fifth race. This record stops with the beginning of Kali-yuga, at the death of Sri Krishna. She refers to yet another book that is as old as the ‘Black age’ of about 5000 years.
In a foot-note she states: The first 5000 years of the Egyptian darkness of Kali-yuga, the ‘Black-age’ is preparing to close the world between 1897-98. Unless we succeed in placing the theosophical society before this date on the safe side of the spiritual current, it will be swept away irretrievably into the deep called failures and the cold waves of oblivion will close over its doomed head. Thus will hwve ingloriously perished the only association whose aims, and rules and original purposes answer in every particular and detail – if strictly carried out – to the innermost fundamental thought of every Adept-Reformer, the beautiful dream of a ‘universal brotherhood of Man’.
Her “The Secret Doctrine” is ‘an attempt to render in a European language the grand panorama of the ever periodically recurring Law’. ’It is not in any of the six Indian schools of philosophy, for it pertains to their “synthesis”, the seventh- which is the Occult Doctrine. She makes reference to Upanishads and says, 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. They treat and expound the secret and mystic meaning of the Vedic texts.’
In her recapitulationof an earlier volume of the text, she affirms:
There is but one indivisible absolute Omniscience and Intelligence in the Universe, and that thrills throughout every atom and infinitesimal point of the whole Kosmos, which has no bounds, and which people call Space, considered independently of anything contained in it.
The whole order of Nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life.
There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces.
Three distinct representations of the universe are impressed upon oour thoughts: (i) pre-existing, evolving from the (ii) ever-existing, and the phenomenal; and (iii) the World of illusion, the reflection and shadow thereof.
The 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, viz. Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta, - the principals of that Unity body of Wisdom of which the Gnosis, the hidden knowledge, is the Seventh.
The work ‘The secret Doctrine’ withholds more than it gives out; the student is invited to use his own instincts. It gives life and regeneration to those who are fit to profit even by the little that is now revealed to them.
The Radical Unity in Nature:
The main philosophical-literary output from Madame Blavatsky in her Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888) gave an entirely different opening to the awakening mind of the last part of 19th century. Subtitled respectively as ‘A Master key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology’ and ‘A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy’, the contents of the books brought in a new continent of thought to the puzzled mind overridden with the new psychism and spiritual séances. She based her texts on the spiritual wisdom derived from her Teachers who also endowed her with the faculty of visioning the Astral Records, those of eternal existence and indelible perennial value. She focused her writings as “occult” and hitherto not given out except in fragments and named it the “Esoteric Philosophy”. The Stanzas of Dzyan (Dhyana-sloka-s) and the texts of Kiu-ti were her basics.
Her intention in producing the books was to show to the thinking world that the universe is not recent born but is a reflective projection from the Absolute Space, the humanity has a long line of time to proceed and perfect itself, and it is necessary for all to know their origin and purpose in Life.
In her preface to the first book, she said: “It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face. It is an attempt to aid the student to detect the vital principles which underlie the philosophic systems of old. --- Truth, high-seated upon its rock of adamant, is alone eternal and supreme.--- Our work is a plea for the recognition of the Hermetic philosophy, the anciently universal Wisdom Religion, as the only possible key to the Absolute in science and theology.--- It will hardly fail to result ultimately in the over throw of error and the triumph of Truth. We are laboring for the brighter morrow.”
In her preface to the second book she asserted that “what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the Scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed. --- What is now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole.” The book explains the manner and method of emanation and manifestation of the Universe and Man.
The books are popular around the world and provide the spring board for new ideas to all thinkers including men of religion and science. Elaborate studies are made thereupon and continue to be made. Sumptuous food for thought is seen by all sections of scholars in all Nations.
The key-note provided by Madame Blavatsky was the express statement as to the “One Fundamental Law in Occult Science.” This runs thus: “The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature – from star to mineral atom, from the highest Dhyan Chohan to the smallest infusorium, in the fullest acceptance of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual, or physical worlds – this unity is the one fundamental law in Occult Science.” This statement provides the base for very many concepts and action points. Let us go into the sections of thought:
Nature has unity and that unity is radical. The term ‘radical’ means many, viz. fundamental, essential, deep-seated, sweeping, thorough, far-reaching, drastic, major, extreme, uncompromising, militant, activist, revolutionary etc.
Nature has various compounds and constituents, right from a distant star and a nearer mineral (hard and solid) atom; a small insect below and an ever expanding Intelligence. Ultimate essence of these makes the radical unity. Variety of differentiation and diffusion is suggested here, the Mother Nature being One.
The constituent parts of Nature have a number of states and stages, broadly reckonable as: Spiritual, intellectual and Physical worlds. The plurality of the worlds is to be noticed here.
The stages and states of Nature are both terrestrial and transcendental. The outer form and the inner life are to be seen as two-different and yet unified by the Ultimate essence. The material and essence might undergo trans-formations and a change, but the ultimate facet of the essence is that radical Unity.
The Unseen and the Visible Space, called the “Seven-skinned Eternal Mother-Father”, is the source for the Nature and its Unity. Undifferentiated Space and its differentiation are composed of ‘seven layers’.
Besides being an open book on Occult Science, it had influenced the way of thinking in all walks of life. Ms. Sylvia Cranston in her well documented book: ‘H P B : The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the modern Theosophical Movement’ (Pub: Tarcher/Putnum, 1993) gives out the names of two Nobel Laureate Scientists Robert Millikang and Albert Einstein, besides those of Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi, W.B.Yeats, James Joyce, Jack London, D.H. Lawrence, Frank Baum, Kurt Vonnegut, Nicholas Roerich, Kandinsky, Mondrain, Klee, Gaugin, Gustav Mahler, Sibelius, Edgar Cayce, Elvis Presley, Joseph Campbell and Carl Yung as those who were greatly influenced in their work and endeavor. Madame Blavatsky was very prophetic when she said, ‘in the 20th century that portions, if not the whole, of the present work will be validated.’
Reed Carson, in his book ‘Blavatsky’s Foreknowledge of twentieth century Science’ gives out at least three ‘prefigured discoveries’: 1. Atoms are divisible 2.atoms are perpetually in Motion 3. Matter and energy are convertible. That a universal vital principle, independent of matter, manifests as ‘atomic energy’ on our plane of consciousness, is what she categorically said. The coining of the term ‘Atomic Energy’ is credited to her.
She changed the face of physical and chemical sciences not to speak of other literary arts and humanities. The religious and philosophical thoughts were entirely ‘different’ after her work. She did affect the scales of human thought enormously.
She did not mind the reader taking the work as a fairy tale, and in fact, recommends that. Yet, he wants him to be ‘kindly to judge’. The text is considered a scientific presentation of Yoga. George S Arundale’s book ‘The lotus Fire’, Sri Krishna Prem and Madhav Asishs’ books ‘Man: The Measure of tings’ and ‘Man: The Son of Man’ are in fact commentaries on the same Stanzas of Dzyan, first introduced by her. It was Annie Besant who reviewed the volumes of ‘The Secret Doctrine’ for The Pall Mall Gazette, and how her life changed to take a new turn is well known and needs no elaboration here. The influence on the readers in the east is more unequivocal.
The impact in general is boundless in churning the human consciousness.
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY*
The Person and the Principle
Occult history – the study of the real causes behind the manifest unfolding of the human drama – is the story of the immortal soul striving under the eternally steady Atmic Light to recognize that Light within itself and all beings. It is the evolution of Universal Brotherhood. A chasm exists between history as known to initiates who can peer into the dawn of time and ordinary men often content with a partial account of superficial if turbulent events. Deeper reflections upon the story of man merely intimate the wisdom, power and majesty of the full comprehension of universal history.
However inadequate, a sense of the sweep of the history of the last seven centuries is a minimal requirement for an understanding of the life of the greatest occultist of the age, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891). Tsong-Kha-Pa's fourteenth century reform of Buddhist thought and practice in the ancient East and his decision to send messengers of Truth into the modern West is the fundamental starting point of this period. Bold Renaissance philosophers and Rosicrucian physicians, brilliant aristocrats and men of affairs, carried the impulse toward new levels of spiritual achievement across the pages of history into the nineteenth century, when it was possible to proclaim that Mahatmas – the embodied fountainhead of wisdom – exist on earth.
Nevertheless, dark clouds filled the nineteenth century horizon. The fluidity of change and innovation which made rapid human progress possible also allowed the most greedy and selfish forces in human consciousness to manifest. The industrial revolution led to the exploitation of domestic labour for the profit of a few, and of colonial territories for the glory of the homeland. Squalid slums swelled with those who were drawn to urban centres for work and decent lives and found neither. Vices of the most degrading sorts were spawned. The discovery of the logic of unfoldment in the evolution of nature was appropriated by the crudest and unphilosophical materialism, encouraging an absurd denial of reason in nature by many religious institutions. Representative forms of government revealed their own peculiar flaws, including tendencies to mob rule by whim and an inability to restrain the economically powerful. The abuse of tradition (e.g., the torture of the work ethic to justify near servitude in factories), the collapse of old ideas, and the clash of many discordant interests generated a psychic unrest which precipitated as a highly excited and often escapist spiritualism to satiate a lust for phenomena which was frustrated on the plane of everyday life. Intellectuals, cocksure yet insecure, led the masses down a thousand false corridors, debasing the unconscious virtues of simpler minds.
While this was the position in the West, by and large, in the East, for various reasons the Occult knowledge and Wisdom obtained and circulated by the Seers and Sages had gone into oblivion, marginalized by the newly Western-educated. Orthodoxy and ‘Purohit’ cult began to keep people and masses in the ignorance and rule them in servitude.
Through all this pathetic ugliness, the work of the Masters of the Wisdom quietly continued, calmly passing through the climacteric of the nineteenth century in its movement toward 1875. At midnight on August 11-12, 1831, that being who was to be known as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky took birth in Ekaterinoslav on the banks of the Dnieper River in the Ukraine. Her family was aristocratic, descended from German and Russian nobility. In peasant lore, her birth date suggested that she would have great and mysterious powers, and since the robes of the presiding priest caught fire at her christening, it was believed that her life would be difficult.
H.P.Blavatsky showed from the beginning a profound interest in universal learning – in the Enlightenment tradition – and an unshakable sense of individual integrity. This rare combination made her utterly fearless, mentally and physically. She braved every kind of difficult journey and refused to calibrate her actions by the myopic measure of public opinion or conventional morality. Rather, two questions so intensely absorbed her consciousness that mundane concerns paled into insignificance. "Where, WHO, WHAT is GOD? Who ever saw the IMMORTAL SPIRIT of man, so as to be able to assure himself of man's immortality?" Those who could answer these questions would have her unswerving devotion and unstinting service.
She tirelessly educated herself until 1848, and then began her travels across Europe and the Middle East. Though she repeatedly dreamed of a wondrous human being who seemed to protect her in crises, she did not meet him until 1851 in Hyde Park, London. He could answer those fundamental questions, and H.P.Blavatsky placed her whole trust in him as her Spiritual Guru and in the Great Brotherhood of Mahatmas. She never wavered in thought, word, feeling or deed from a loyal sense of duty to her Teacher, and a willing obedience to the behests of the Truth he taught and embodied. From that moment her extraordinary powers and Will were focused upon one aim: to serve the Fraternity of the Great Ones in popularizing Their thought for the “Spiritual regeneration of Humanity”.
She travelled to Canada and the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, reaching India in 1852. Passing again through England to the United States, then through Japan to India and Tibet, and back to Europe, she arrived in Russia in 1858. She learned both empirically and metaphysically the complexities and possibilities of human nature. Travelling in the Caucasus from 1860 to 1863, she emerged from a prolonged death-struggle with a total mastery of her powers. After further journeys, she accompanied her Master to India and Tibet in 1868. Later shipwrecked en route from Greece to Egypt, she lived in Cairo during 1871-72, and a journey through the Levant brought her to Paris in 1873.
H.P.Blavatsky received orders to go to New York, and though she had little money, she promptly left, arriving there on July 7, 1873. She established herself, earned a simple living and began to meet the people most deeply involved in the examination of spiritualistic phenomena. On October 14, 1874, during a visit to the Eddy farm in Chittenden, Vermont, the scene of remarkable spiritualistic demonstrations, she met Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. At about that time she began publishing defenses of the genuineness of the phenomena while raising questions about the adequacy of the explanations and theories generally proferred.
In July 1875 H.P.Blavatsky noted in her scrapbook: "Orders received from India direct to establish a philosophico-religious Society and choose a name for it – also to choose Olcott." She published an open letter in the Spiritual Scientist for September 23, 1875, in which she laid down the major themes and key ideas which were to be elaborated in the remainder of her life and in her writings.
Rejecting both blind belief and cynicism, she wrote that "my own principle has ever been to make the Light of Truth, the beacon of my life." Translated into a mode of discovery,
The words uttered by Christ eighteen centuries ago: 'Believe and you will understand,' can be applied in the present case, and repeating them with but a slight modification, I may well say: 'Study and you will believe.'
The Occult Sciences require the devotion of a whole life, she wrote, and the consequences of taking study of them lightly are dangerous.
One must bear forever in mind the impressive fable of Oedipus, and beware of the same consequences. Oedipus unriddled but one-half of the enigma offered him by the Sphinx, and caused its death; the other half of the mystery avenged the death of the symbolic monster, and forced the King of Thebes to prefer blindness and exile in his despair, rather than face what he did not feel himself pure enough to encounter. He unriddled the man, the form and had forgotten God – the idea.
The requirements laid down for the pursuit of esoteric wisdom are stringent: absolute purity, willingness to suffer martyrdom, especially as a personal being before the eyes of the world, and renunciation of all personal pride and all selfish interests.
He must part, once for all, with every remembrance of his earlier ideas, on all and on everything. Existing religions, knowledge, science must rebecome a blank book for him, as in the days of his babyhood, for if he wants to succeed he must learn a new alphabet on the lap of Mother Nature. . . .
The "truly courageous and persevering" Occultist cannot expect comfort from either science or religion.
The two hitherto irreconcilable foes, science and theology – the Montecchi and Capuletti of the nineteenth century – will ally themselves with the ignorant masses, against the modern Occultist.
And their great weapon will not be the stake but rather slander. The Occultist must be prepared to prove to science that there is ''but one positive Science – Occultism."
To Theology, the Occultist of the future will have to demonstrate that the Gods of the Mythologies, the Elohim of Israel as well as the religious, theological mysteries of Christianity, to begin with the Trinity, sprang from the sanctuaries of Memphis and Thebes; that their mother Eve is but the spiritualized Psyche of old, both of them paying a like penalty for their curiosity, descending to Hades or Hell, the latter to bring back to earth the famous Pandora's box – the former, to search out and crush the head of the serpent – symbol of time and evil; the crime of both expatiated by the Pagan Prometheus and the Christian Lucifer; the first, delivered by Hercules – the second conquered by the Saviour.
Those whose interests are bound up with preserving the status quo will not willingly consider the claims of truth: they will attempt to turn the "thousand-headed Hydra" of public opinion against real occultism. Since it is "composed of individual mediocrities," it is a far greater danger to the occultist than the miniature thunderbolts of the clergy" and the "unwarranted negations" of science "in the forthcoming conflict between Truth, Superstition and Presumption; or, to express it in other terms, Occult Spiritualism, Theology and Science."
The keys to truth lie buried deep, and almost insurmountable obstacles bar the path of the disciple.
Faith alone, one grain of which as large as a mustard-seed, according to the words of Christ, can lift a mountain, is able to find out how simple becomes the Cabala to the initiate, once that he has succeeded in conquering the first abstruse difficulties. The dogma of it is logical, easy and absolute. The necessary union of ideas and signs; the trinity of words, letters, numbers and theorems; the religion of it can be compressed into a few words: 'It is the Infinite condensed in the hand of an infant,' says Eliphus Levi. Ten ciphers, 22 alphabetical letters, one triangle, a square and a circle. Such are the elements of the Cabala, from whose mysterious bosom sprang all the religions of the past and present; which endowed all the Free Masonic associations with their symbols and secrets, which alone can reconcile human reason with God and Faith, Power with Freedom, Science with Mystery, and which has alone the keys of the present, past and future.
This language, a veil which protects the mysteries from those seeking only wealth and power, "is a living, eloquent, clear language: but it is and can become such only to the true disciple of Hermes."
Thus the works on Occultism were not, I repeat, written for the masses, but for those of the Brethren who make the solution of the mysteries of the Cabala the principal object of their lives, and who are supposed to have conquered the first abstruse difficulties of the Alpha of Hermetic Philosophy.
Phrasing her discussion of the keys to wisdom in the relatively familiar though misunderstood symbolism, H.P.Blavatsky concludes her open letter with one word of advice: "Try and become."
One single journey to the Orient, made in the proper spirit, and the possible emergencies arising from the meeting of what may seem no more than the chance acquaintances and adventures of any traveller, may quite as likely as not throw wide open to the zealous student, the heretofore closed doors of the final mysteries.
In the same journal, on October 4, 1875, H.P.Blavatsky took up the concept of magic directly. She wrote:
The exercise of magical power is the exercise of natural powers, but SUPERIOR to the ordinary functions of Nature. A miracle is not a violation of the laws of Nature, except for ignorant people. Magic is but a science, a profound knowledge of the occult forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible and invisible world. Spiritualism in the hands of an adept becomes Magic, for he is learned in the art of blending together the laws of the Universe, without breaking any of them and thereby violating Nature. In the hands of an inexperienced medium, Spiritualism becomes UNCONSCIOUS SORCERY . . . through which emerge the blind forces of Nature lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits.
After elaborating upon these statements, illustrating the beneficent use of magic in world history, and pointing to great Initiates who worked in the midst of humanity, H.P.Blavatsky boldly declared:
The BROTHERHOOD OF LUXOR is one of the sections of the Great Lodge of which I am a member.
If someone doubts this claim, "he can, if he chooses, write to Lahore for information," though the "Seven of the Committee" will most likely not reply.
On September 7, 1875, at a lecture given by George Felt, and on September 8, Madame Blavatsky, Col. Olcott and few others who were interested in Occult studies, decided to form a Society under the name and style “The Theosophical Society”. By mid-October it was agreed that Olcott should be president, Judge legal counselor and H.P.Blavatsky corresponding secretary. On November 17 Olcott delivered the inaugural address of the Theosophical Society. H.P.Blavatsky thereafter outlined the basic principles of the ageless Theosophical Movement. Drawing together the golden threads of past cycles, she crowned them with the public revelation that Masters are living Men, in touch with individuals, and ready to welcome into the Great Work those who meet the criteria set forth for discipleship.
During the next two years, the fledgling Society held a few meetings and received little notice from the public. H.P.Blavatsky, however, instructed Olcott and others in Theosophical principles and modes of investigation and self-discovery. While receiving and teaching a continuous flow of visitors from around the world and publishing a number of articles and letters, she worked intently upon her first book. In 1877 she published Isis Unveiled, a master-key to the mysteries of ancient and modern science and theology. W.Q.Judge accompanied her when she signed the contract for its publication. "When that document was signed," he later wrote, "she said to me in the street, 'Now I must go to India.'" The book had a profound impact in America, England and India, especially among students of occultism. Its insightful treatment of abstruse philosophical problems, its erudition and bold analyses of perplexing phenomena, its first-hand accounts of strange places and stranger events fascinated, excited and sometimes outraged the English-speaking world. It became clear that the Theosophical Movement would neither compromise the right of inquirers to search out knowledge wherever it was to be found nor pander to appeals to external authority. Spiritualists found their phenomena appreciated but their theories criticized, scholars learned that their findings could be used while their preconceptions were abandoned, and scientists discovered that their nineteenth century smugness did not intimidate Theosophical examination.
H.P.Blavatsky became an American citizen on July 8, 1878, and left with Colonel Olcott for India late in the year. Establishing themselves in Bombay, she began publishing The Theosophist in October 1879. Orientalists were attracted to the Indian centre and thought highly of H.P.Blavatsky's efforts, even when they, like Bernouf, failed to grasp the connection between universal brotherhood and divine wisdom. Indian scholars, naturally pained by the treatment their sacred works received at the profane hands of Western orientalists, came into the Theosophical arena. T.Subba Row, a scholar and student of Eastern Occultism, came into the ranks of the Society. Tukaram Tatya published translations and commentaries in India of several old texts.
Permanent headquarters were found in Adyar, Madras, in 1882. By now the Society had a broad international impact and its success was marked by the appearance of real chelas like Damodar K. Mavalankar as well as a host of jealous and small-minded self-seekers. In 1884 H.P.Blavatsky travelled to France, Germany and England where she found a favourable climate for Theosophy. After a brief return to India, she left for Europe on March 31, 1885, never to go back. The machinations of the Coulombs, an ungrateful couple who had been housed and fed by H.P.Blavatsky when they were on the verge of starvation, led to the infamous Hodgson Report to the London Society for Psychical Research. Based on falsified evidence, the report accused H.P.Blavatsky of trickery in respect to phenomena she sometimes produced. Though the S.P.R. repudiated its report in 1968, long after it had ceased to be convincing to anyone, it resulted in mutual recriminations and hard feelings in Adyar. H.P.Blavatsky chose not to expend her energies on such matters, and instead travelled through Italy and Germany, settling in London in May 1887. In September she commenced publication of Lucifer.
H.P. Blavatsky knew that time was precious. Theosophy had to be stated in a form which challenged the thought-forms of the age; it had to be accessible to the sincere student; it had to speak to future generations. At the same time, a core of students who could be counted upon to assimilate and propagate the teachings and exemplify them before the world as a prelude to possible chelaship needed to be gathered together in a mutual bond. The ground for the next Teacher had to be prepared. Though in poor health and pestered from every side, she bent her incredible energies towards these ends.
In 1888 Olcott came to England to help her organize the Esoteric Section, designed to draw fully committed Theosophists together in a manner which would guarantee that the spirit of the Movement and the centrality of Masters would be preserved after the Founders departed. On October 9 the Esoteric Section was announced. In the same month The Secret Doctrine, a monument and a mystery in both its production and its contents, was published. In an elaborate commentary on selected stanzas from the Book of Dzyan, the origin, nature and evolution of cosmos and man is outlined and elucidated with a philosophical analysis of myth and religion and an uncompromising critique of nineteenth century science. In 1889 she published The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence.
The Secret Doctrine aroused great interest among close disciples. H.P.Blavatsky answered questions on the stanzas in London and they were stenographically recorded, revised by her and published as Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge in 1890 and 1891. In 1890 the European headquarters of the Theosophical Movement was established in London, and a great stream of articles and letters, scintillating with insight and wisdom, poured from her pen throughout this period.
Having seen that the teachings which could be given out in the 1875 Cycle were clearly enunciated and that a core of disciples would carry the torch of Truth into the twentieth century, H.P.Blavatsky was entitled to leave her mortal tenement at the age of sixty on May 8, 1891. H.S.Olcott remained President of the Theosophical Society until his death in 1907.
To honour this remarkable being, who was consistently and totally devoted to the Lodge of Mahatmas, yet who seemed more like one of them than their understudy, her death anniversary is commemorated as White Lotus Day in Theosophical Lodges and Societies throughout the world.
Several editions of her Works were published by various organizations. Her biographies appeared. Many important documents of her period were unearthed and circulated among the readers. The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society, How to study The Secret Doctrine and The Diagram of Meditation are the few that came to light thus.
She ardently wished that her work should continue and ‘the line be unbroken.’ She is remembered as the Messenger of the Great Ones, a Light-bearer of the Wisdom and the Human approach to that. Blavatskian Thought helped the thinkers, intellectuals, scientists and the like to find ‘a new continent of thought.’ Exploration of her ideas, propositions and doctrinal statements continues to be done by Individuals and Organizations, individually and collectively. She remains a Colossus of Occultism and studies connected with it.
*[Slightly adopted from the Notes of Blavatsky Trust.]
Madame Blavatsky cast off her physical vesture on 8 May 1891, which day is reckoned by the theosophical world as the White Lotus Day. Her short span of life for 60 years - most particularly from 1851till the end – was a dedication to humanity specially aimed at enlightenment and empowerment for all ranks in occult science and the philosophy connected to that. A review of her life and work will reveal her:
Devotion to the cause
Dedication to the Masters of the Wisdom whose Messenger she was
Reverence for Life in all its multifarious forms
Love for the sacred Land, and
Sincere desire that the Society she was instrumental to establish grow from strength to strength in the age to come.
She had great reverence for Aryavarta for various reasons. It is the cradle of civilizations of humanity. It is the land of her spiritual Teachers. The sacred scriptures of the land received her adoration. She enthused the cultured citizen of the land ‘live up to the teaching, preach and popularize the invaluable ideas among all.’ Her role in presenting the Ancient Wisdom-Religion to the public of the East and the West is unparallel.
Orientalists earlier to her, no doubt, spotted the greatness of this sacred land but they were not ‘sure’ in acknowledging this for pride of their own racial culture. Indian scriptural texts have many ‘secrets’ veiled in symbolism and concealed in allegory. It is not possible to understand them in their entirety.
Here Madame Blavatsky made her mark in producing “Isis Unveiled” which brought in new concepts of ‘metaphysical realism’ suggesting:
She tried to unveil to the modern man the ‘secrets of Universally Ancient Wisdom-Religion’ the key to which is everywhere. She provided the key to unlock. Perfect unity of the human soul with the universal soul is possible and achievable.
She thus remains a great teacher and preceptor to the thinking men and women of the World.
She gives the architectural plans behind the process of manifestation:
Madame Blavatsky elucidates thus: The One Divine essence, unmanifest, perpetually begetting a second Self, manifest, which second self androgynous in its nature, gives birth in an immaculate way to everything macro and micro cosmical in this universe.
The three obscure beginnings of the building of the Kosmos are: Sun&Moon, Light and Water – or Fire, Water and Spirit-Matter.
Fire is the Daiviprakriti or the Light of the Logos, water the manifestation of Mulaprakriti (the root matter). Mahat, the Ideating Power, Thought and Intellect are at the root of Existence.
Madame Blavatsky explains the spiral (serpentine) motion of Fohat in Space. The fohat is the underlying force for all things to manifest. Ahamkara and the five Tanmatras follow to complete the formation.
Her work was not easy, she had to combat the ‘organized systems’, settled opinions and the like, and the orthodox classes that did not allow any expansive thought. She endeavored to free the knowledge held in captivity by some exclusive classes.
She explained in great detail how the Civilizations developed and how the thoughts travelled from one part of the globe to others, thus mixing the cultures/wisdom. She employed a term “Race” in explaining the distinctions and developments, which term is not well understood. The East and the West come together in unison when Men of perfection (Dhiras) face each other.
Look at what Rudyard Kipling said in a poetic piece:
O, East is East and west is West and never the twine meet,/But there is neither East nor West, border, breed nor birth,/When two strong men stand face to face, Though they come from the ends of earth.
Late Gurazada Appa Rao, a modern thinker and poet of Telugu region in one of his pieces said:
Ella lokamulokka illayi, varnabhedamulella kallayi/ Vela yerugani Premabandhamu Vedukalu Kuriyu/ Mathamulanniyu maasipovunu, Jnanamokkati nilachi velugunu/ Anta swargasukhamulannavi avani vilasillu.
[When all the world be One house, all class-distinctions die down, boundless unity of love binds all, all denominational religions will vanish, Wisdom alone prevails standing upright and sheds the light; Then the blissful paradise comes down to the earth.]
Swapneeswara, in his commentary to the Sandilya Bhakti Sutras, ends the text with this salutary verse: Parveeta pitavasanam ghanopamam/ Satapatra sadrusayate kshanam/Ghrutavenurenu parimanditam gavam/Hridayostu Kaustubha vibhooshanam mahah.
[May the luster of Lord Krishna adorned with Kaustubha gem, wearing yellow garments, resembling the dark cloud, with lotus-like eyes, holding flute and surrounded by the dust raised of the cows, abide in our hearts.]
The symbolic play of Nature is to be understood by us well. The travel of Indian youth to the other European and American countries, though it would appear to be a ‘craze’, is a necessity of civilization and is within the process of amalgamating the cultures. Evolution (change/regeneration) should go on, it is always at a turning point to bring in new things and events. A flow of Asian energy is to quietly replace the Western seeming modernism. ‘I am here to deliver the west from its curse, not to listen to your sobbing arguments that you (western mind) are still great,’ said Nandi to Prof. Skolomowski. Without the cosmic mind and the truth of the heart, the humanity cannot effectively progress. ‘The human condition is capable of extraordinary new departures if there is Will, Wisdom and Vision to guide us.’
An unveiled perception is what she advocated for humanity. Various phrases put into the Golden Stairs to the temple of ‘The Divine Wisdom’ and the ‘Diagram of Meditation’ speak out the Path. In both, she emphasizes the Unity of All Existence. The following assertion occurring in ‘The Secret Doctrine’ may be looked in depth:
The First-born feeling in human consciousness is ‘solidarity’: Oneness with the Spiritual Creators. In the beginnings of humanity, the psychic and physical intellect was dormant; consciousness was still undeveloped; spiritual conceptions were quite unconnected with its physical surroundings. In that state the Divine Man dwelt in his animal form- though externally. There was instinct in him. Self-consciousness did not yet enlighten the darkness of the fifth principle.
Moved by the law of evolution, the Lords of Wisdom infused into ‘him’ the spark of consciousness. The first feeling it awoke, in him, to life and activity, was a sense of solidarity, of oneness with the spiritual creators (the Lords of Wisdom). Devotion arose out of that feeling. It became the first and foremost motor in his nature; it is the only one which is natural in our heart; it is innate in us. This we find in a human babe, the young of the animal. It lived undeniably, and has settled in all its ineradicable strength and power in the Asiatic Aryan heart (from the third race) – direct through its first ‘mind-born soul – the fruits of ‘kriyasakti’. ---- There is no nation in the world in which the feeling of devotion or of religious mysticism is more developed and prominent than in the Hindu people. This is direct inheritance from the primitive conscious men of the third race.
She stands on her own worth and merit, be the Messenger of the Great ones. ‘After a century of fruitless search, our Chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European body upon European soil to serve as a continuous link,’ says Master KH in one of his messages to Mr. A P Sinnet. She in one of her letters says, ‘there are two persons in me. But what of that? So are two in you: only mine is conscious and responsible and yours is not.’
She always addressed herself exclusively to the Intelligence of mankind, to the universal experience, the commonsense, the innate reason of all men, therefore of every man. She appealed to the truth in us, making approach through the bridge of Antahkarana of the spiritual among others. Her mission is always ‘educative’. She wants us pass the Hall of Learning to reach the Wisdom.
The Theosophical Society and Philosophy
The Theosophical Society is in its second century to present the canons of the universally Ancient Wisdom-Religion. When it was established in 1875, it bye-law stated:
The Object of the Society is ‘to collect and a diffuse a knowledge of the laws which govern the universe.
Col. Olcott, the Founder-President commenting on the bye-law later writes:
The Brotherhood plank in the Society’s future platform was, therefore, not thought of; later on, however, when our sphere of influence extended so as to bring us into relation with Asiatics and their religions and social systems, it became a necessity, and, in fact, the cornerstone of our edifice. The Theosophical Society was an evolution, not – on the visual plane – a planned creation.
In his inaugural address delivered on 17 November 1875, he states:
In future times, when an impartial historian shall write an account of the progress of religious ideas in the present century, the formation of this Theosophical Society will not pass unnoticed. This much is certain. How great an effect this Society will have upon religious thought – I will further, and say, upon the science and philosophy – of age: great events sometimes come from mere modest beginnings.
A look at the preparatory work and the early history of the Society, shows that a ‘miracle’ society had transformed itself into a ‘mysterious organization’. This is an experiment to globalize the ‘ideas’ of spirituality upon the dense physical world. That the Man of the World is not a creature of circumstances, and that he is a co-creator is the content brought into circulation.
The philosophy of theosophy is broadly stated in the following three sets:
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor has no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard, or seen, or smelt, but s perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself, the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
The declared objects of the Society serve as directive principles in working out the philosophy:
To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Religion and Philosophy.
To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in Man.
In the words of Col. Olcott, the Society ‘is to aid in freeing the public mind of theological superstition and a tame submission to the arrogance of science.
Dr. Annie Besant, the second president of the Society says,
Our windows must be kept open to all new light. Diversities of method, of thought, of operation will enrich, not weaken our Movement.
Dr G S Arundale, the next president, strikes the same in different words:
Mr. C Jinarajadasa, the fourth president and the first from the Asiatic countries, says:
‘Theosophist’ signifies not one who belongs to a society; but one who has learnt how, as did once upon a time the sages in India, to create new hymns of new Vedas, in singing which the world of Angels joins with the world of men; to create statues as did Phidias and Praxiteles in Greece, to contemplate which gave the utmost solace to every troubled heart – to create dance, in looking at which we gain a far away glimpse of the Cosmic rhythm in which all creation moves.
The succeeding presidents, viz. Mr. N. Sri Ram, Mr. John Coats, and the present one Mrs. Radha Burnier have enriched the theosophical thought in making it a ‘living and regenerating power’ in human conduct and behavior.
Theosophy touches upon all areas and avenues of human knowledge. Uniqueness, importance or enormity of a system of thought is too often brought out by comparing one with the other, explaining the contemporary merits of relevance and highlighting/upholding the one selected.
In India, particularly, it is Khandana and mandana. A comparative statement of similarities and dissimilarities is attempted against the philosophies and religions, but one what is attempting there is to outwit the other and not finding out/inquiring into the Truth, the heart of matter. To examine the uniqueness in terms of the merits Theosophy offers; and what exactly it is as a perennial philosophy rather than what the world has seen/ experienced these 150 years in approximation- is the attempt now.
Madame Blavatsky refers to one Ammonius Saccas of 3rd century AD, who was ‘self-taught’ and ‘lover of the Truth’, instituting an ‘Eclectic Theosophical System’. This was the direct emanation of the Wisdom Religion. He made a direct attempt to benefit the world by teaching those portions of the Secret Science (Gupta Vidya) that were permitted by its direct Guardians to be revealed in those days. She further states that the modern movement of our Theosophical Society was begun on the same principles; for the Neo-Platonic School of Ammonius’ aimed, as we do, at the reconcilement of all sects and people, under the One common faith of the Golden Age, trying to induce the Nations to lay aside their contentions – in religious matters at any rate – by proving to them that their various beliefs are all the more or less legitimate children of One common parent, the Wisdom Religion. (See p. 302, The SD, vol.5)
Theosophy has continuing relevance in the world-thought and more particular to the Indian situation. Historically, theosophy came into the world at a time when the Spirit of India (East) was slowly degenerating the Western unpolished ideas were percolating into the human soul.
Reawakening the dying Indian Spirit and making its Light brighten up for the world-consciousness to move forward securely can at the outset be particularized as the uniqueness of Theosophy.
Uniquesness is all the time in Abstract. It is difficult to concretize that unless we know what exactly theosophy stands for. It is not mere moralizing or philosophizing but taking a total round from the Human consciousness to the unknown total consciousness.
Grasping the concept and translating it into one’s daily life is important. Many do the first thing but ignore the second for various reasons – such as lack of reflection, want of immediacy etc.
Theosophy is the opener, the revealer, of the occult history of humanity. Its uniqueness springs from The Secret Doctrine, which is not a mere book but a Teaching for the centuries to come. It is a granary of ideas derived from Occult Philosophy. Besides the book, its writer is equally a unique person in contributing to the advancement of thought to its ultimate.
The ‘impulse given for a new cycle of occult research’ came through ‘a woman of most exceptional and wonderful endowments’ who descended on earth some 180 years back and who dramatized the events on the canvas of Cosmos, forwarding ‘the crest wave of intellectual advancement’ towards the sharpened Intuition. She wrote volumes and volumes, hundreds of articles in various languages; yet her works withhold rather than what they gave out, inviting the intellectual humanity to open and operate ‘on their own intuitions’. They need to be decoded. The key for such decoding is not held by her but is kept open for every aspirant to Truth. Some of the ideas run thus:
The Universe is alive.
Every stone and grain of sand is the form of Spirit.
The universe is ‘One Being’ with all its parts (constituents) interconnected, related and dependent. (Uni-verse = one song; Eka Giti)
The Universe is an outfall of Divinity through the channels/links of spiritual psychical and material vestures.
Her proclamations, though authorities were not made in such a tone and texture; they were postulates, suggestions made available for all and sundry for examination, observation and adoption only when considered authentic, utilitarian and beneficent. People of all sorts examined them; some saw wisdom in them, though some set her aside as an imposter/charlatan. One who gives careful attention to her and one who can follow the dire necessity for the ‘secrecy of Wisdom’, ‘concealment of Divine knowledge from profane’ can grasp the intense feeling she had for the progression of humanity.
We now come down to a common place (average/ normal) understanding.
Many misnomers on ‘Theosophy’ still prevail in the public mind.
It is philosophy, highly speculative. -- But it is the basic foundation for all existence. It has all the ingradients of philosophy including psychology and material sciences.
It is religion, deeply separative. – But it is the source material, substratum for all behavioral tendencies. It has the power to exhibit the Magic Reality of manifestation.
It is science, intrinsically experimental. – But it is the finding, fundamental to all being. Moral sciences and behavioral sciences are also part of it.
Theosophy is the fountain-head of all philosophies, religions and sciences that the world has so far surfaced and those yet would get invented in future times.
It is descriptive way of the unmanifest gradually manifesting.
It is the pathway for the motion of life in all durations.
It is the holistic science, an integrated expression of all the knowledge that is stored in the cosmos. The way of unveiling this layer after layer, the civilization and cultural studies is invariably a part of this. There is yet much that is not revealed. The effort to make it full, complete and total is still on. It is rather mystifying than electrifying the pack of energy that runs through the intelligent minds.
The normal expressions such as Divine Wisdom and Wisdom Religion pale out before the total sense of Theosophy, as it cannot be caged in words, felt in experience, smelt in the highest glory. It is ever-unfolding, stretching beyond all scope of netting. The net-work of the mechanization is explained in many doctrines. The whole of it is termed as the ‘Divine Plan’ made simple for human understanding and running thought.
Theosophy is unexplainable, but is attempted to be explained and elucidated in many of its doctrines, stemming out from a singular law of One Life; Oneness.
The Principles are lowered down as concepts and action points. Ideals are brought down as Ideas and Idols.
The uniqueness is cosmological and it is humanized too. Cosmologically: Principle; Emanation/Evolution; Identity. Humanized: Simultaneous evolution of septenary groups of humanity; Birth of Heavenly Man, before the Animal-man; Birth of Human before the Animal Kingdom.
The centre of focus in Theosophy is the “Human” and Fohat (the fundamental aspect of Energy). The highest spirit and the lowest matter are joined in the human by Intelligence. Further expansion becomes possible because of the ‘fohat’.
The wave motion of living particles becomes comprehensible on the theory of a spiritual One Life, of a universal Vital Principle, independent of our Matter, and manifesting as Atomic Energy only on our plane of consciousness. (HPB)
The Hermetic philosophy states: Nothing is Inner, nothing is Outer / nothing is Great, nothing is Small / nothing is High, nothing is Low – in Divine Economy.
Theosophy is the working of the Divine Economy, fusing, absorbing and culminating all differences into One Life and One Law. He that works is the One. This one is the Human embracing the whole of theUniverse. Human potential is the key-factor in Theosophy.
Theosophy is a magic carpet, reviving a new hope; charging a new power and renewing us, moment after moment, with new enthusiasm and aspiration.
A new note is struck in theosophy and that is Uniqueness.
Is there a God, a Creator?
What is the meaning and purpose of Life?
How does death occur and what is after that?
What is Nature?
How is the Human connected with it?
Human-God- Universe: How to get at a comprehensive, metaphysical and common sense understanding of the relationship?
Why are so many systems in each branch of discipline (study), Is reconciliation necessary and possible?
What is the Ultimate purpose of Life and living (Parama-Artha)?
How will the structure of thought end?
What is the continuing culmination of all this?
Such perplexing, vexed questions in the Human Mind are all self revealed, self unfailingly answered as consequence of the touch with theosophy. Theosophy, thus, is the only refuge for Humanity.
Theosophy explains how to move from Form to Formlessness (Rupa to Arupa). It does not stop there. Suggests the fusing of the both. The first step is deconditioning and the second reconditioning. All this is done in total awareness, that is, consciously.
Touching the Unconscious and bringing the fragrance of Unconscious (Unmanifest) to the region (levels) of consciousness. All the states of consciousness are absorbed into one, which is the state of Reality (or Absolute). That is the Be-ness of Madame Blavatsky. Being and Becoming are the process of the Be-ness. To put it in other terms, Naturalizing/ material-psychical-spiritual and divine/ Transformation of Dravya Prakriti into Daivi-Prakriti (the Light of the Logos). Perceiving (Looking/viewing) from the Ultimate (Divine) prakriti, the lower segment of Nature. Thus the functioning (operation) of theosophy is Natural. There is no Supernature; we use the term only to mean what is not immediately perceived by the senses.
Theosophy opened a new meaning to Life (Energy). It substantiated the use of ‘consciousnesses for the activating of Life. Consciousness as the canvas of everything, Cosmos as well as the Human, for its working and thus the layers of consciousness are opened.
A new way of Life indicated by theosophy is actually this: Live Consciously/Intelligently. That is the purpose of Life, for its fulfillment.
Guiding humanity to this Ultimate purpose (Parama-artha) is what Theosophy directs from time to time. Thus, it becomes the universally Ancient Wisdom- religion.
Certain Terms explained
The downward arc in the Chains is as below:
Chain 1: Asura Hierarchy, who developed the MansII and Mineral forms.
Chain 2: Agnishvatta Hierarchy, who developed Astral and Plant forms.
Chain 3: Barhishad Hierarchy, who developed the Physical I and Animal forms
Chain 4: The present humanity, who develop Physical II and Human forms.
We are in the mid-point. The Heavenly Man is the ‘sum total of Spirit-Matter’, expressed in Life-Form in humanities, for the earth-scheme. We are on the ascending arc.
We have to master the centers of forces in the causal body, those of the higher Mans, Buddhi and Atma. The subtler levels of spiritual consciousness must be ‘evoked’ and eventually the subtler spiritual bodies (Aprakrita sarira) be mastered. All this is ‘from within’.
“During the three Rounds to come, Humanity, like the Globe on which it lives, will be ever tending to reassume its primeval form, that of a Dhyan Chohanic Host.”
“Man, being a compound of the essences of all the celestial Hierarchies, may succeed in making himself, as such, superior, in one sense, to any Hierarchy or class, or even combination of them. ---- 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”.
The Heavenly Man, in Indian texts, is called the “Purusha”, and a sooktam available in Rig-veda elaborated his emanation and processes of His manifestation
We must remember that The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky is a granary of Ideas. Statements appearing there in require a careful reflection and contemplation.
Here are some such arranged term-wise.
The universe is called with everything in it, Maya, because all is temporary therein. – Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious beings in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.
Vol. I, 208
It is difficult to find all the ‘meaning’ and ‘import’ of a term at one place. One has to run through the text many times.
Here are some more terms that need explanations:
Akasa: The subtle, super-sensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space, the primordial substance erroneously identified with Ether.
Astral light: The invisible region that surrounds the globes.
Asuras: Exoterically, elements, and evil gods considered maleficent, demons and no gods. Esoterically, the reverse. In the most ancient portions of Rig-veda, the term issued for the Supreme Spirit and therefore, Asuras are spiritual and divine.
Be-ness: A term coined by theosophists to render more accurately the essential meaning of the untranslatable word ‘SAT’. It is applied only to the Absolute Principle, the universal, unknown, and ever unknowable Presence.
Cycles and Rounds: Various evolutionary cycles in the elemental, mineral, and further kingdoms through which the Monad passes on any one globe. Round is the cyclic passage of the Monad round the complete chain of seven globes.
Elementals: The creatures evolved in the four kingdoms or elements – Earth, Air, Fire and water. They are the forces of the Nature, than ethereal men and women.
Fohat: The active (male) potency of the Sakti (female reproductive power) in Nature. The essence of cosmic electricity. Daiviprakriti, the primordial light. Universal propelling vital force, at once, the propeller and the resultant.
Cosmos: The universe, as distinct from the world, which may mean our globe or earth.
Mahat: The first principle of universal intelligence and consciousness. The first product of root-nature or Prathana. The producer of Manas, the thinking principle and of Ahamkara, egoism or the feeling of ‘I am I’ in the lower mind.
Moolaprakriti: The Parabrahmic root, the abstract deific feminine principle – undifferentiated substance. Root of nature or matter.
Occultist: One who studies the various branches of Occult Science, the science of natural-physical, psychic, mental and spiritual areas.
Pitris: The ancestors, or creators of mankind. They are of seven classes, 3 Arupa and 4 Rupa. They are various genealogies, but in esoteric philosophy they are as given in ‘The secret Doctrine’.
Purusha: Man, the Heavenly Man. The spiritual self.
Secret Doctrine: A general name given to the esoteric teachings of antiquity.
Senzar: The mystic name of the secret sacerdotal language or the mystery speech of initiated adepts, all over the World.
Svabhavat: Literally, Self-Ideation, one’s innate and intelligent nature; Root of all things which work in obedience to a Law of motion inherent in it. Supposedly, aBuddhist term in Sanskrit for Moolaprakriti of the Vedantins; yet not found in any Tibetan texts. ‘Svabhavatah” means by one’s own impulsive, instinctive and intelligent nature.
Indian Wisdom in The Secret Doctrine
The Secret Doctrine is a continuous record of historical (mythological) events in the course of emanation of the cosmos/Universe, well supported by evidences from fables/tales of several nations and civilizations. Madame Blavatsky’s purpose is to convince the intellectuals/ scholars the world over that the esoteric philosophy has its foundation in many national records since antiquity; their existence is forgotten by humanity; and an attempt is being made now to reawaken the readers and to show them the Path for progress. In the process of her gathering material in evidence, she brought into focus much of the Learning of the East, most particularly that of India.
She consulted the following ancient records of Indian Wisdom (Indosophy), quoted profusely from them in substantiation of her propositions:
Manava dharma sastra
Vishnu purana and other puranas
She quotes ‘a few occult aphorisms’ from a private Commentary, qualifying them ‘not referring to Prakriti-Purusha beyond the boundaries of our small universe’; and ‘given from our plane of consciousness.’ The aphorisms assert the following:
(excerpts are selective only)
17. The initial existence is of a conscious spiritual quality. It is on the seventh plane, and in its seventh state in our planetary world.
18. it is the substance of our spiritual sight, t is God-spirit in our waking state.
19. It exists everywhere and forms the first ‘powerdhi’ (foundation) on which our world is built. There is not one finger’s breadth (angula) of void space in the whole boundless universe.
20. substance is septenary within our world. Each of its states or principles is graduated into seven degrees of density. As there are seven ‘dhatus’ (principle substances in the human body) , so there are seven forces in Man and in Nature.
21. Nucleus of Mother-substance is the real substance of the concealed Sun.
23. Seven horses of the Sun, seven meters of the Vedas, seven classes of beings, seven rays.
25. Seven holy beings are the seven beings in Sun. (Self-born from the inherent power in the matrix of Mother-substance). Seven principal forces. Vishnu is the breath of his active energy, never either rises or sets, and is, at once, the seven-fold sun and distinct from it. Matrix of Mother-substance is One Manifested Life.
26. The Absolute is never to be mentioned in word or in speech.
27. The initial existence is the One-Life, a film for creation or formative purposes. It manifests in seven states, with their septenary sub-divisions are the 49 fires mentioned in sacred books.
29. The first is the Mother (prime-matter), proceeding cyclically, the last is the gross matter.
This further elaborates from T Subba Row’s ‘Six Forces in Nature’. Prana, Jnana, Itchha, Kriya, Kundalini and Matrika saktis – in their unity represented by Astral (light). The Light of the Logos (Daiviprakriti) is the seventh force.
Her further elucidation is as below:
The six forces or energies mentioned here are ‘six hierarchies of Dhyan chohans. Absolute is the one and only Reality. All that which is manifestation is what emanates.
The experience on any plane is an actuality for the percipient Being, whose consciousness is on that plane, though the said experience, regarded from purely metaphysical standpoint, may be conceived to have no objective reality.
The secrets of astral light will remain non-existent to the materialist of our age.
Truth has always had its champions ready to die for her, and it is not the Occultist who will protest against its adoption by Science under whatever new name.
Minds of the present generation are not quite ripe for the reception of occult truths.
Generations of our 5th Race will continue to be led away by prejudice and preconception. Sixth Root Race will accept the esoteric philosophy fully and unconditionally. Revealing the old truths, gives life and regeneration to those who are fit to profit even by the little that is now revealed to them.
The preface to ‘The Secret Doctrine’ contains the following observations:
This book is not the Secret Doctrine in its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets, special attention being paid to some facts which have been seized upon various writers and distorted out of all resemblance to the truth.
But it is perhaps desirable to state unequivocally that the teachings, however fragmentary and incomplete, contained, in these volumes, belong neither to Buddhism, Islam, Judaism nor Christianity exclusively. The Secret Doctrine is the essence of all these. Sprung from it in their origins, the various religious schemes are now made to merge back into their original element, out of which every mystery and dogma has grown, developed, and become materialized. (Italics added)
Her Theosophical Glossary, says this with reference to Puranas of India:
(Lit.) ancient, A collection of symbolical writings – eighteen in number now – supposed to have been compiled by Vyasa. ----Sacred Hindu works treating of the creation, destruction and renovation of worlds; the genealogy and deeds of gods and heroes; the reigns of the Manus and the deeds of their descendants. There are 18 principal Puranas and 18 supplementary Upa-puranas. (1)
Of the 18 Puranas, Vishnu Purana is considered the Purana-Ratna (the crest jewel of puranas) and a verse in that says, ‘accomplished in the purport of the puranas, Vyasa compiled a Pauranik Samhita, consisting of historical and legendary traditions, prayers and hymns, and sacred chronology. It is considered equal in sanctity to the Veda (Wisdom). Puranam Veda sammitam, which means also that it consists of the content of Veda and is in strict accordance with that.
The text of the Secret Doctrine is basically a commentary of the Stanzas of Dzyan (Dhyana-slokas) supported in evidence by various sacred books of the world. Vishnu Purana happens to be the principal book considered for such support as we find as many as 130 references drawn from it.
She relied on the English translation of Vishnu Purana rendered by H H Wilson, edited by Fitzerald Hall (published during 1864 &’70) which was available then, (2). When the translation, explanation or elaboration of Wilson was defective, being not faithful to the original, she did not pause to mention that fact and supplying the right meaning and import of the verse-passage.
While it is not possible, and not even necessary, to list out all the 130 and odd references, an effort is made here to particularize certain ideas used by her from the Purana.
1. Elucidating the two aspects of the One principle, (Parabrahman and Mulaprakriti) she quotes Hall’s revised notes:
That Brahma in its totality, has essentially the aspect of Prakriti, both evolved and unevolved (Mulaprakriti), and also the aspect of Spirit and the aspect of Time. Spirit, O twice born, is the leading aspect of the Supreme Brahma. The next is a twofold aspect, --- Prakriti, both evolved and unevolved, and Time is the last.
She cites this in support of her statement:
The periodical manvantaric emanation, or primal radiation of the One principle is also One androgynous and phenomenally finite.
She also brings in the eastern philosopher’s term Bhranti-darshanah meaning ‘false apprehensions and something conceived of erroneous appearance, as material form’.
2. Explaining the ‘Seven Eternities’ (Stanza1, Sloka 1), she cites the verse 90 (chapter VIII, Book II) which means:
By immortality is meant existence to the end of the Kalpa; life as long as the three regions (earth, sky and heaven) last, is called exemption from (reiterated) death.
She draws specific reference to Hall’s foot-note, which rums thus:
This, according to Vedas, is all that is to be understood of the immortality of the gods; they perish at the end of universal dissolution.
She makes a distinction here and says in accordance with the Esoteric philosophy thus:
They (the gods) perish not, but are reabsorbed.
In other words, she corrects the misapprehension of the translator.
3. Explaining the Sanskrit term Prabhavapyaya, (sloka 9 in Stanza I) she says the meaning is ‘the place or the plane whence is the origination, and into which is the resolution of all things’ and this is not brought out totally in the translation by the term ‘one form of existence’. ‘Mother of the world or womb of the world’ is not the correct import of the term ‘Jagad-yoni’ but it should be ‘the material cause of the world’.
4. In the same sloka, the term Pradhana occurs. That which is the unevolved cause is emphatically called, by the eminent sages, Pradhana, original base, which is subtle Prakriti, viz. that which is eternal, and which at once is (or comprehended what is) and (what) is not, or is mere process.
The statement is made here that ‘Brahma does not put forth evolution itself or create, but only exhibits various aspects of itself, one which is Prakriti, an aspect of Pradhana’.
5, Commenting on the term ‘World-egg’, she says;
The Golden Egg was surrounded by seven natural elements (ether, fire, air, water – four ready, three secret) and draws attention of the reader to the sloka in Vishnu purana: Avyaktonavrito brahmasmaih sahito mahan/ Ebhiravaranairh andam saptabhih Prakritairvritam/ Narikelaphalasyantarbijam bahya dalairiva.
She further comments: Elements are translated as ‘envelopes’; and a secret one “ahamkara” is added by Wilson. But the text of purana has no reference to Ahamkara. It only mentions seven elements specifying the last three.
6. In the ‘Summing up’ of vol.1, she makes the following statement:
The universe was evolved out of its ideal plan, upheld through eternity in the unconsciousness of that which the Vedantins call Parabrahma.
She compares this idea with the following sloka of the purana: Gunasaabhyat tatastasmaat kshetrajnadhishtitaatmune/ Gunavyanjana sambhutih sargakale dwijottama
‘From Pradhana (primordial substance) presided over by Soul, Kshetrajna (embodied spirit?) proceeds the unequal development (evolution) of those qualities. From the great principle (Mahat) (universal) Intellect (or mind) is produced the origin of the (subtle) elements and of the organs of sense.
She quotes further evidence from Purana in the Slokas beginning with “Avikaraaya suddhaya--“ meaning the following:
Glory to the Unchangeable, holy, eternal, supreme Vishnu, of One Universal nature, the mighty Over-all; to Him who is Hiranyagarbha, Hari, and Shankara (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) the creator, preserver and destroyer of the world; to Vasudeva, the liberator of his worshippers; to Him whose essence is both subtle and corporeal, indiscreet and discreet; to Vishnu, the cause of final emancipation.
Glory to the Supreme Vishnu, the cause of the creation, existence, and end of the world; who is the Root of the world, and who consists of the world.
7. The “Summing up” has the following statement from the Eastern Private commentary:
The real substance of the concealed Sun is a nucleus of Mother substance.—He who tells thee he has seen the Sun, laugh at him, as if he had said that the Sun moves really onward in his diurnal path.
She quotes the following from the Purana:
Vishnu, in the form of his active energy, never either rises or sets, and is, at once, the seven fold Sun and distinct from it.
8. Discussing the topic on ‘Creation of Divine Beings’, she quotes from the Purana a sloka which means:
In the manner, Jyotsna (dawn); Ratri (night); Ahar (day); and Sandhya (evening twilight) are the 4 bodies of Brahma. Thus it is to be accounted that Brahma, for the purposes of creation, assumes 4 bodies invested in 3 qualities.
9. Advancing the thought that ‘man lived 18 millions of years ago’ she rests upon the Indian chronology and cites the figure available in Book I of the Purana, particularly the period of 4,320,000 years of a Mahayuga; and the regular descending series of 4,3,2 with ciphers multiplied.
10. She draws a parallel between Saria, the wife of Abraham; and Sri, the consort of Vishnu, and quotes extensively from the Purana to reiterate that ‘all in ancient scriptures is allegorical, -- all based upon and inseparably connected with astronomy and cosmolatry. Slokas 15 to 32 of the Book I, chapter 8 of the Purana give a narrative of the status of Sri. The notes of the translator ends with the comment: ‘Hari is all that is called male; Lakshmi is all that is termed female: there is nothing else than they.’
11. Acclaiming Bharata, India – in general --, as the one symbolizing ‘the chosen land of those days (of the third Root-race), she says, ‘it is the land of active, (spiritual) works par excellence; the land of Initiation and of divine Knowledge. In the foot-note she adds:
In the Vishnu Purana with careful reading, may be found many corroborations of the same. The reigns of Gods, and Men are all enumerated in the descriptions of the seven islands, seven seas, seven mountains etc. ruled by Kings. Each King is invariably said to have seven sons, allegory to the seven sub-races.
She draws material in support from chapters 3 & 4 of the Book II of the Purana.
12. Discussing the distinction of classes Agnishatvas and Barhishads, she has the following to say:
Agnishvatta Pitris are devoid of fire, of creative passion, because they are too divine and pure; whereas Barhishads, being Lunar spirits move closely connected with earth, because the creative Elohim of form or the Adam of dust.
She relies on the Vishnu Purana here too.
13. Explaining how the universe is an expansion of the Divine Substance, in her Section “Eastern Gupta-Vidya and the Kabala as a system” and ‘the dissimilarity in their philosophical interpretations since the middle ages’, she mentions the identity of the meanings of terms. Kabala means ‘to receive’ and Srmiti means ‘that received by tradition’. Then she quotes from Zohar to say ‘the universe or the visible world is a farther expansion of the divine substance, and is called ‘the garment of God’; and continues ‘this is the doctrine of all the Hindu Puranas, especially of the Vishnu Purana’. She quotes from Vishnu Purana (Book II, chap.7, slokas 40-3) thus:
Vishnu pervades the Universe and is that universe; Brahma enters the Mundane Egg and issues from it as the Universe; Brahma even dies with it and then remains only Brahman, the impersonal, the eternal, pre unborn and unquantifiable.
This Vishnu is the supreme spirit (Brahma) from whence all this world proceeds, who is the world, by whom the world subsist, and in whom it will be resolved. That spirit (or Brahma) is the supreme state of Vishnu, which is the essence of all that that is visible or invisible, with which all that is identical, and hence all animate and inanimate existence is derived. He is the primary nature; he, in the perceptible form, is the world; and in him all finally melts; through him all things endure.
He is the performer of the rites of devotion; he is the rite; he is the fruit which it bestows; he is the implements by which it is performed. There is nothing besides the illimitable Hari.
14. Detailing the mysteries and their origin in the Section 28(vol.5), she reiterates:
` One must read the Puranas with the esoteric key in one’s hand in order to find out how on almost every page they corroborate the Secret Doctrine.
The Seven Creations:
Madame Blavatsky in her chapter on the subject draws much material from The Vishnu Purana.
The Seven Creations referred here are as below:
Maha-tattva : The universal soul, Infinite Intellect or Divine Mind.
[Tanmatras] Bhuta or Bhutasargas : Elemental creation, the first differentiation of Universal indiscrete Substance.
Indriya or Aindriyaka : Organic evolution.
Mukhya : the fundamental creation of perceptible things – of inanimate bodies.
Tairyagyonya or Tiryaksrotas : animals.
Urdhvasrotas : Divinities
Arvaksrotas : Man
According to esoteric teaching there are seven Primary and seven Secondary “Creations”. The seven primary ones are the forces of self-evolving from the one causeless Force. The secondary ones shows the manifested universe emanating from the already differentiated divine elements.
Both exoterically and esoterically, all the enumerated creations stand for the seven periods of Evolution. The Occult Philosophy never uses the terms creation or evolution with regard to the primary creation. It explains all such forces as the ‘aspects of the Causeless Force.’
Hindu philosophy: When active Creator has produced the world of Gods, the Germs of all the undifferentiated Elements, and the rudiments of future senses(the world) the Universe remains unaltered for a Day of Brahma (a period of 4,320,000,000 years ).
Satapatha Brahmana: The absolute Cause of all causes, radiates the Gods.
In the Vishnu purana, the whole seven periods are give; and the progressive Evolution of the “Spirit-Soul”, and of the seven Forms of Matter or Principles is shown.
Manu : He creates the Ten Lords of being, the Prajapathis. They create other seven Manus.
Primary creation is called the creation of Light (Spirit). The secondary creation is that of Darkness (Matter).
Now follows the explanation of the Seven Creations, mentioned above, as in Vishnu Purana.
The first creation is called Maht-tattva Creation because it was primordial self-evolution of that which had to become Mahat, the Divine Mind, conscious and intelligent. Esoterically, it is the “Spirit of the Universal Soul.”
The Esoteric Docrtine teaches that the Dhyan Chohans are the collective aggregate of divine intelligence or primordial Mind, and that the first Manus, the seven ‘mind-born’ Spiritual Intelligences, are identical with the former. Manu is from the root Man, to think; and thinking proceeds from mind. It is, in cosmogony, the pre-nebular period.
The second creation is Bhuta of the rudimental Princip;es (Tanmatras); thence termed the Elemental Creation (Bhutavarga). It is the period of the first breath of the differentiation of the pre-cosmic Elements, or Matter.
The third creation or Indriya Creation was the modified form of Ahamkara, the conception of “I”, termed the organic Creation, or creation of senses, Aindriyaka.
The fourth creation is the Mukhya or Primary, as it begins the series of four. The Mukhya is the ‘creation,’ or rather organic evolution, of the vegetable kingdom. In this secondary Period, the three degrees of the elemental or rudimental kingdoms are evolved in this World, corresponding, inversely in order, to the three Prakritic Creations, during the Primary Period of Brahma’s activity.
The fifth creation, the Tiryaksrotas (orTairyagyonya) Creation, that of the “(sacred” animals,” corresponding on Earth only to the dumb animal creation. In the Primary creation, this is the germ of awakening consciousness that which is faintly traceable in some sensitive plants on Earth and more distinctly in the protistic Monera(=neither plant nor animal, but an existence between the two).
The sixth creation is the Urdhvasrotas Creation, or that of Divinities, simply the Prototypes of the First Race, the fathers of their ‘mind-born’ progeny with the ‘soft bones.’ It is these who became the Evolvers of the “Sweat-born” collecting his mind into itself (Yoga-willing), Brahma creates ‘ the four orders of beings : gods, demons, Progenitors and Men.
The seventh creation is the evolution of the Arvaaksrotas Beings, and was that of man.
The eighth creation is no creation at all, it is a blind, a purely mental process, the cognition of the ‘ninth creation’ which, in its turn, is an effect, manifesting in the Secondary, of that which was a ‘creation’ in the Primary (Prakritika) Creation. The eigth is called Anugraha, the Pratyayasarga or Intellectual creation of the Sankhyas. The ninth is the Kaumara Creation. “The Kumaras are the Dhyanis, derived immediately from the supreme Principle, who reappear in the Vaivasvata Manu period, for the progress of mankind. ( they may indeed mark a special or extra creation, since it is they who, by incarnating themselves within the senseless human shells of the two first Root-Races, and a great portion of the Third Root-Race, create, so to speak, a new race; that of thinking, self-conscious and divine men). The exoteric four Kumaras are: Sanatkumara, Sanandana, Sanaka and Sanatana; while the esoteric three Sana, Kapila and Santsujata.
Humanity is more concerned with the Kumaras, but not of all the seven divisions of Dhyan Chohans. The importance attached to the number “Seven” is no fanciful imagining of uneducated priests but is of ‘a profound knowledge of natural Law.’
The 18 Puranas are named: Brahma, Padma, Vaishnava(Vishnu), Saiva, Bhagavata, Narada, Markandeya, Agneya, Bhavishya, Brahmavaivaita, Linga, Varaha, Skand, Vamana, Kaurma, Matsya, Garuda, and Brahmanda.
The 18 Upa-puranas as listed in Devi Bhagavata are: Santkumara, Narasimha, Naradiya, Siva, Durvasa, Kapila, Manava, Ausasana, Varuna, Kalki, Samba, Nandi, Saura, Parasara, Aditya, Maheswara, Bhagavata and Vasishta.
Madame Blavatsky concludes her work and again makes a beginning, which should mean that the manifestation or the Story about it is ‘never ending’ and ‘ever continuing.’ Let us look at what she says at the end of the vol. 2, part 1:
“Only, as nature no more proceeds by sudden jumps and starts, than man changes from a child into a mature man, the final cataclysm will be preceded by many smaller minor submersions and destructions both by wave and volcanic fires. The exultant pulse will beat high in the heart of the race now in the American zone, but there will be no Americans when the sixth root race commences; no more, in fact, than Europeans; for they will have now become a new race, and many new nations. Yet, the fifth will not die, but survive for a while; overlapping the new race for many hundred thousands of years to come, it will become transformed with it – slower than its new successor – still getting entirely altered in mentality, general physique, and stature. ----- Thus it is the mankind of the new world– one by far the senior of our old one, a fact men had already forgotten – of Patala (the antipodes, or the Nether world, as America is called in india), whose mission and Karma it is, to sow the seeds for a forthcoming, grander, and far more glorious race than any of those we know of at present. The cycles of Matter will be succeeded by the cycles of spirituality and a fully developed mind. ---- thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cycle-pilgrimage.
“Such is the course of Nature under the sway of karmic Law: of the ever-present and ever-becoming nature. For in the words of a sage, known only to a few Occultists, “ --- Before You ever begin to say “ I am the progeny of the departed moment, the child of the past”, you have become the past itself.”---
She says space forbids her to say anything more; there are still old records’ to which none but the highest initiates have access – and a whole library of comments, glossaries and explanations, form the synopsis of man’s genesis.
In a further volume she intends to give ‘a brief history of all great adepts known to the ancients and the moderns in their chronological order, as also a bird’s eye view of the mysteries, their birth, growth and decay, and final death; and yet another volume entirely devoted to Occult teachings’. But time has not given the opportunity for her to do all that.
She sums up her effort in making the Text thus:
No religion, since the very earliest, has ever been entirely based on fiction, as none was the object of special revelation; and no human-born doctrine, no creed, however sanctified by custom and antiquity, can compare in sacredness with the religion of Nature. ---These two volumes only constitute the work of a pioneer who has forced his way into the well-nigh impenetrable jungle of the virgin forests of the Land of the Occult. A commencement has been made to fell and uproot the deadly ‘Upas trees of superstition, prejudice, and conceited ignorance,’ --- Until the rubbish of the ages is cleared away from the minds of the Theosophists to whom these volumes are dedicated, it is impossible that more practical teaching contained in the third volume should be understood.
What she has put forth in the volumes of ‘The Secret Doctrine’ is the mainstream of philosophy, a record of advancement in human thought in its exploration. She makes the ‘metaphysical reality’ a ‘ground reality’ and the ‘cosmic sense’ a ‘commonsense’, thus offering a great future for humanity.
[Books helpful for the study of The Secret Doctrine]
The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky
(The Basic Text in 6 volumes) various editions of the text from different publishing houses are available)
The Stanzas of the Dzyan, commented upon by Madame Blavatsky
The Secret Doctrine Digest by Ernest Wood
Abridgement of The Secret Doctrine by Various Authors (at least 3 books are available under this title.)
The Divine Plan by Geoffrey Barbarka
The Story of Human Evolution by Geoffrey Barbarka
Peopling of the Field by Geoffrey Barbarka
Studies in the Evolutionary Psychology by Elizabeth Preston
The Story of Creation by Elizabeth Preston
The Story of Man by Elizabeth Preston
Life and its Spirals by Elizabeth Preston
The Earth and its Cycles by Elizabeth Preston
The Pedigree of Man by Annie Besant
Building of the Kosmos by Annie Besant
Civilization’s Deadlocks and Keys by Annie Besant
Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy by G de Purucker
Foundations of Esoteric Philosophy by Ianthe Hoskins
The Web of the Universe by E L Gardner
The Play of the Consciousness by E L Gardner
This Dynamic Universe by E L Gardner and others
The Imperishable Body by E L Gardner
The Heavenly Man by E L Gardner
The Creative Hierarchies by E M Lavender
Fields of Force by Winifred Duncan
Cosmic Creation and Atomic Energy by William Slater
Man, the Measure of Things by Sri Krishna Prem and Madhav Ashish
Man, the Son of Man by Sri Madhav Ashish
The Lotus Fire by G S Arundale
The Secret Doctrine and its Study by Robert Bowen
Studies in the Secret Doctrine by B P Wadia
Many Books and Pamphlets brought out as Transactions of The Science Group of the Theosophical Research Centre, London contain critical studies.
Matter for Blurb:
Madame H P Blavatsky (1831-91) was the Chief founder and exponent of the Theosophical Society and its Philosophy. Her The Secret Doctrine (1888) is well documented and authoritative presentation of the world records on Mythologies, religions and systems of Thought; besides being the narrative depicting the meaning and manner of Manifestation.
Studied in greater detail and highly appreciated by Scholars and thinkers the World over, the Text proved A Granary of Ideas and A container of Occult Wisdom, the study of which is a must for seekers in any walk of Life.
This slim Volume is to provide an incentive to study; included also are sections on HPB, The Theosophical Society and the Indian Wisdom in the Philosophy.
Dr N C Ramanujachary, the compiler of this slim text, is a keen student of Theosophy and Indian Wisdom. His special studies incorporate the works of Blavatsky, T. Subba Row and J. Krishnamurti. His earlier writings received good attention of readers.
Theosophy: Approach Books A Prapti Books Publication
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