[Page 3] FIFTY years ago if anyone had ventured to assert that the universe did not represent six days' work of a personal Deity, he would soon have had good reason to repent his audacity.
The few philosophers who were suspected of such heresy were looked at askance by the godly, and poor Hugh Miller committed suicide when his geological studies had rendered the faith of his fathers utterly untenable by him. The publication of the Origin of Species raised a storm of pious vituperation that most men would have quailed under, but, strong in the consciousness of his integrity, Charles Darwin steadily pursued his way, and he lived to see the evolution of man recognized as sound in its principles by all the best minds of our day, while those whom Coleridge so aptly terms "orthodox liars for God", could only mutter a sullen dissent from the back seats of the temple which, cleansed from their hereditary superstitions was re-dedicated to Divine Truth.
But while Theosophists duly reverence this great man and readily accept most of his conclusions, they are obliged to protest against his theories, being regarded as a full solution of the great problem of Being.
No one ever more intelligently observed the phenomena of physical life, or more patiently recorded its minutest incidents. Few could equal him in deductive reasoning, and certainly none ever surpassed him in the candour with which he proclaimed anything that told against his arguments. But he never ventured beyond physical nature. The noumenal was constantly ignored by him, and essential causes were left for metaphysicians to wrestle with, consequently his teaching is inconclusive and requires to be supplemented by occult philosophy. In order to exemplify this, I purpose dealing first with physical evolution, and secondly with spiritual evolution, or, as some term it, involution. The first will show H. P. Blavatsky's absolute confirmation of Darwin's conclusions and her acceptance of his theories. She distinctly tells us that "the Brahmins anticipated Darwin in the natural selection of species, the survival of the fittest, and transformation".[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 220] All, therefore, that occultists can claim is priority of theory and a fuller knowledge of the laws of Being. The second part of my paper gives some glimmers of the light which elucidates both Eastern and Western cosmogony, and enables us to offer a reasonable account of much that was previously incomprehensible. How compendious [Page 4] is the occult philosophy may be seen from the following Esoteric summary. The teaching, we are told, professes to demonstrate: —
(a) The existence of our planetary chain and its enormous antiquity.
(b) The actuality of the seven rounds.
(c) The separation of human races, of which our present European humanity is the fifth.
(d) That these races evolve from ethereality to materiality, and from materiality back into relative physical tenuity of texture, so every living organic species of animals and vegetables changes with every new root race." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 697]
According to Hegel, the reason why evolution occurred is: — " ' The Unconscious evolved the universe only in the hope of attaining clear self-consciousness', i.e., of becoming man," [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 106] explains H.P.B., and then she proceeds to affirm that " this is also the secret meaning about Brahmâ being constantly moved by the desire to create". Of course we may make a metaphysical distinction between the Unconscious and the aspect of the Unconscious called Brahmâ; but where is the essential difference ? That which is behind phenomena " is only termed Unconsciousness in the absence of personality", consequently, if the rule "as above so below" is absolute, even the desire which is said to be in Brahmâ must have its correspondent in the Causeless Cause of Brahmâ. Therefore, though this may transcend human conception, Unconsciousness desired to become Brahmâ, and Brahmâ desired to become man.
But for all this we must never forget that " the first lesson taught on esoteric philosophy is that the Uncognizable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits, periodically, different aspects of itself to the perception of finite minds".
We are also told that "Para-Brahm, the root of all Knowledge, does not incarnate, but its expressed ideations form the contents of the universe”.
We have then to regard man as the realised aspiration of deity: the
idol or ideal of the ante-man. This leads us to some very important inferences. We are told " The Breath
becomes a Stone; the Stone a Plant; the Plant an Animal; the Animal a Man; the Man a Spirit; and the Spirit
a God". If then each being is the aspiration,
ideal, or idol of its predecessor, we get the Breath worshipping the Stone, and the Unconscious adoring the Conscious.
The first would account for the fetishism of primitive races, the second for the vague reverence or fear which
precedes the finding of an object worthy of adoration. If, too, each became that which it aspired to be, will
not the same law apply to us, so that we also shall attain hereafter that which we now really desire, if that
desire dominates our being ?
We are further told that "every new Round developed but one of the [Page 5] compound elements known to science. Thus, the first Round developed but one element and a nature and humanity in one aspect of nature. The [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 251] second Round brought forth and developed two elements, 'fire and water', and its humanity was adapted to this condition". "The third Round developed the third principle, 'water', while the fourth transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard-crusted, grossly [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 260] material sphere we are now living on".
Now, except as regards the first and second Rounds, this teaching is quite in accordance with western philosophy, and when we understand what is meant by earths and humanity, even that discrepancy vanishes. " Earths are said to germinate in the universal ether or astral fluid in the womb of the Universe. These Kosmic children are at first nuclei, then ovules, then they gradually mature, and, becoming mothers in their turn [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 188] develop mineral, vegetable, animal and human forms". Evidently, then, the earth spoken of was of an ethereal texture, and did not become what we term solid till the fourth Round. It is also said:
"In the beginning cosmic desire evolves into absolute light", and that [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 201] the first primordial matter, eternal and coeval with Space, is neither hot nor cold, but is of its own, special nature." " In the order of cosmic evolution the energy that actuates matter after its formation into atoms is [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 82] generated on our plane by cosmic heat".
It may here be noted that the "Unconscious" must not be identified with Brahmâ, (the collective Creative forces) " a Being who is said to be possessed of the desire and the power to create, and impelled by the potency [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 58] of what is to be created, evolves a fresh universe at the commencement of each Kalpa." This is the active creator, the "Unconscious" is absolute Be-ness.
In the occult cosmogony "all proceeds from Prabhavâpyaya, the evolution [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 107] of the creative and sentient principles in the gods, and even of : the so-called creative Deity himself". We are also told that, " At the beginning of cosmic evolution Swâra threw itself into the form of Âkasâ, and thence successively into the forms of Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Apas (water), and Prithivi (solid matter)". Swara is defined as that which is beyond spirit. The root of sound. Intonation. " The current of the life-wave; the intelligence”. [Nature's Finer Forces, Page 185] "The great Breath, [Nature's Finer Forces, Page 254] which on every plane has five modifications, called Tatwas",m which are the different principles in Nature.
The term Spirit being derived from spirare, to breathe, the same idea runs through all the above quotations. It is this. The abstract idea of life existed before any of its manifestations. This idea was Motion; "breath being the One Life's one absolute attribute, which is itself, eternal ceaseless motion".
To put this into a modern guise, we may say that the cause of evolution [Page 6] is the desire of Deity to become conscious of its own being, and that the first objective manifestation of this desire was a correspondent of the mode of motion we know as light. Now, if there was objective motion, of necessity, there was something to move, consequently primordial matter is predicated.
This matter was at first inert and homogeneous, but afterwards under the action of the correspondent of the mode of motion we know as heat, the forms were generated in it which we cognise as atoms.
But, like most occult terms, atom has many meanings, each of which [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 569] is true only in its special application. It may mean " A soul, a genius or [Lucifer, Volume 8, Page 116] angel, the first-born of the ever-concealed cause of all Causes". " Or a [Blavatsky Lodge Transactions, Volume 2, page 20] compact or crystallized point of divine energy". " A concrete manifestation [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page178] of Universal Energy which has not yet become individualised". " A sequent manifestation of the One Universal Monad". " The seventh principle of a molecule”.[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 633] "That motion which keeps the wheels of life perpetually going". [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 513] "A concretion of crystallized spirit or Akasa". Finally we are told, "An atom belongs wholly to metaphysics. It is an entified abstraction". None of these definitions, however, entirely expresses the commonly received meaning. Perhaps if we regard an atom as the ultimate differentiation of tangible substance, we shall comprehend the sense in which the term is generally used. Materialists seek this ultimate by the sub-division of matter. H. P. Blavatsky calls it the “Atman of the objective cosmos", by which we understand that which is ALL, but is not Any. Thus she accepts the scientific definition as true up to a certain point, and then leads us beyond it.
H. P. Blavatsky further says: — "Though matter is eternal, atoms are born at every new Manvantara,"[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 545] and " there is a perpetual exchange of atoms taking place in Space, correlating and thus changing their combining equivalents on every planet". [ The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 142]
Thus a universal world-stuff whose differentiations combine according to fixed laws is an idea common to both
Eastern and Western cosmogonies.
The correspondent order in which Elements, Attributes and Senses evolved, is thus given:
|Sound and Touch
|Fire or Light
|Sound, Touch and Colour
|Sound, Touch, Colour and Taste
|Sound, Touch, Colour, Taste and Smell
[Page 7] The theory too, that earths originate as nebulas in which a nucleus forms, acquires force and solidifies by rotating in a given orbit, is also one that is generally accepted as a working hypothesis.
The agreement of Occultism with Darwinism concerning the evolution of physical man is not less remarkable. We are told that "All in nature tends to become man", and that "The Monad begins its cycle of incarnations through the three objective kingdoms (mineral, vegetable and animal) on a descending curved line, and has necessarily to enter on the re-ascending curved line of the sphere as a man also".
"On the descending arc it is the spiritual which is gradually transformed into the material. On the middle line of the base spirit and matter are equilibrised in man. On the ascending arc spirit is slowly reasserting itself at the expense of the physical, or matter, so that at the close of the seventh race of the seventh Round the Monad will find itself as free from matter and all its qualities as it was at the beginning, having gained in addition the experience and wisdom, the fruition of all its personal lives without their evil and temptations." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 180]
Thus both systems teach that the human form is derived
from the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, but even here the difference between Darwinism and Occultism
is distinctly marked. Darwinism deals only with the physical body, observes most minutely all the phenomena connected
with it, but accepts them as the results of an efficient inherent force without speculating on the origin of
Occultism asserts that in each case a divine Ego assumed the form suited to its evolution and, having gained the knowledge it needed, passed on to a higher state. The difference therefore is one of limitation, not of principle. The agreement seems still closer when we read " Man's organism was adapted in every race to its surroundings. The first Root-Race was as [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 46] ethereal as ours is material". No Darwinian would object to this, but he would begin at the third race, regarding the previous ones as metaphysical speculations.
"The Oriental genealogies embrace a period of three and a half Rounds; they speak of pre-human periods, and explain the descent into generation of each Monad, or manifested spark of the One Unity. They show each of these human sparks dividing into and multiplying by, first the Pitris or human ancestors, and then by human Races. These sparks or Monads are born from the latent condition of gods into the land of works, as men, because that is the way to final liberation". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 322] What this final liberation really means is difficult to understand. It cannot signify merely release from the obligation to re-incarnate, because we are here told that incarnation is the way taken by the Monads to obtain final liberation. We can only say it has some deep meaning that at present is beyond our understanding. [Page 8]
Occultism continues: " However countless in our conceptions may be the number of incarnating Monads, still there must be a limit. Karma-Nemesis, whose bond-maid is Nature, adjusts everything in the most harmonious manner, therefore the fresh pouring in of Monads ceased as soon as Humanity had reached its final development. No fresh Monads have incarnated since the middle point of the Atlanteans.[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 302] Hence, excepting in the case of young children and of individuals cut off by some accident, no spiritual entity can re-incarnate before a period of many centuries has elapsed. Moreover, a reasonable time must be given to other animals for their evolutionary progress". "The animal Monad does not re-incarnate in the same but in a higher species." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 196 ]
The order of progression is thus stated:
" While the human Monad has passed on the seven globes in the first Round, through the mineral, the vegetable and the animal kingdoms; in this (the fourth) Round every mammal has sprung from Man, if the semi-ethereal, many-shaped creature with the human Monad in it who appeared in the first two Races can be regarded as Man." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 635 ]
Now if on any globe and in any Round both Man and animals are descended from "a semi-ethereal many-shaped creature with the human Monad in it", clearly Darwin was in accordance with H.P.B. when he claimed for them a common ancestor. The following still further corroborates this contention.
"The rough mould that was developed for the use of Man in the preceding Round was a gigantic ape-like creature. Nor was Man what he is now during the first two and a half Root Races of this Round. That he reached only eighteen million years ago. Then, according to tradition and Occult teaching, he was 'a god on earth who had fallen into matter, i.e., generation'.
"The transformations through which Man has passed are on the descending arc. This is centrifugal for spirit and centripetal for matter. The transformation he now prepares to go through on his ascending path will reverse the direction of the two forces. Matter will become centrifugal and spirit centripetal.[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 261 ]
"All such transformations are next in store for such anthropoid apes also as have reached the remove next to Man in this Round.
"These (apes) will be the men of the fifth Round, as present men inhabited ape-like forms in the third, the preceding Round."
Could any words more plainly state that apes have developed into men in the past and that they will continue to do so in the future? This is asserting more than Darwin even conjectured. He only claimed that apes and men had a common ancestor. H. P. Blavatsky teaches that actual apes develop into actual men. In her Glossary too, she defines evolution [Page 9] as "the development of higher orders of animals from lower", and she further tells us that with the ancient sages" evolution began from pure Spirit which, descending lower and lower down, assumed at last a visible and comprehensible form and became matter. Arrived at this point they speculated in the Darwinian method, but on a far more large and comprehensive 'basis". Still we are warned it must not be forgotten "that primeval man was man only in external form, he was mindless and soulless at the time he begot with a female animal monster the forefather of a series of apes". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 189] In other words, the common ancestor made a misalliance, and the result was an unsatisfactory progeny, whose mental evolution has not been so rapid as that of his legitimate offspring.
The Zohar says “the real man is the soul and his material frame is no part of him. Man became the living and animal unit from which the cast-off clothes determined the shape of every life and animal in this Round. That is, the Divine Idea evolved in consecutive stages, each order of monads assuming the form abandoned by its immediate predecessor, and therefore in this sense man may be said to have created insects, reptiles, birds, and animals”. [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 290]
It is then, perfectly clear that up to a certain point we can claim modern scientists as brother Theosophists. Like us they have, devoted themselves to fearless truth seeking. With exemplary patience they have observed phenomena, compared incidents, and drawn inferences. From time to time, they have formulated theories and defended their conclusions with the best evidence they could adduce. In no case have they retained those theories when fuller knowledge or intelligent criticism has proved them to be unsound. But they are not unstable weathercocks to be twisted hither and thither by the crude fancies of illusionists. They rightly demand that our theories shall be stated in intelligible language; that our assertions shall be substantiated and that both shall be submitted to the same test that their theories and their assertions are required to resist.
If we are not prepared to do this, we certainty shall not advance the cause of Truth by shrewish scoldings that betray our irascibility, or by vain vaunts of superior intelligence that only demonstrate our stupidity.
And now, having said this in vindication of Western philosophy, I shall endeavour to show how far Occultism supplements it. " For", as H. P. Blavatsky says, “Esoteric Philosophy only fills up the gaps made by science and corrects her false premises". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 196]
Herbert Spencer describes evolution as "an integration of matter
and concomitant, dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity
to a definite coherent heterogeneity; during which process the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation". Like
Occultism, therefore, science postulates motion as necessary [Page 10] to Being,
and both systems ascribe all phenomena to the various modes of motion.
Expounding the Oriental theory, H.P.B. says, "that worlds and men were in turn formed and destroyed under the law of evolution and from pre-existing material until both the planets and their men became what they now are in the present cycle; opposite polar forces, an equilibrised compound of Spirit and Matter, of the positive and negative, of the male and female. Before man could become male and female, physically, his prototype, the creating Elohim, had to arrange his form on this sexual plane astrally. That is to say, the atoms and the organic forces descending into the plane of the given differentiation had to be marshalled in the order intended by Nature." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 84 ] We are also told that "physical Nature when left to herself in the creation of animal and man is shown to have failed. She can produce the first two and the lower animal kingdoms, but when it comes to the turn of spiritual man, independent and intelligent powers are required for his creation besides the 'coats of skin' (or fleshy bodies) and the breath of animal life. The human Monads of preceding Rounds need something higher than purely physical materials to build their personalities with, under the penalty of remaining even below any Frankenstein animal" [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 56 ] What happens is said to be this. "The most developed Monads, the Lunar Pitris, pass in the first Round through the whole triple cycle, the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, in ethereal, filmy and rudimentary forms, in order to clothe themselves in and assimilate the nature of the newly-formed chain. They are the first to reach the human form on globe A in the first Round. It is they therefore who lead and represent the human element during the second and third Rounds. These are the first class of the Monadic Host. The second are those Monads that are the first to reach the human stage during the first three and a half Rounds. The third class are the Monads which, by reason of Karmic impediments, will not reach the human stage at all during this Manvantara."[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page175 ] That is, those who do not pass beyond the anthropoid status.
"The Pitris, we are told, left their own physical bodies and incarnated in the 'empty form'." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 340 ]
"These beings appear first as ' Gods' and Creators, then they merge in nascent man, to finally emerge as divine Kings and Rulers." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 366]
While therefore Darwinism limits its conception of individuality to one transient physical being, and regards only the race as perfecting, Occultism maintains that each Monad incarnates over and over again until, matured by the Atmic Ray and enriched by the experience of countless lives, it is transplanted to another garden of the Lord, and there begins a still higher course of evolution, under improved mental and physical conditions. In [Page 11] the one case there is a failure to attain an adequate end; in the other there is an unbroken persistence and an eternal progression which satisfies our aspirations and can be accepted by our reason.
"The Secret Doctrine also claims to have postulated three new
propositions. It teaches (a) the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions
of our globe; (b) the birth of the astral before the physical body, the former being the model for the latter;
and (c) that man in this Round preceded every mammalian — the anthropoids included —
in the animal kingdom". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 1 ]
As regards the first and third propositions, anthropologists will be delighted if such hypotheses can be demonstrated, and they will readily consider any evidence that can be produced in their favour. But the laws of science forbid them to accept any statement on the bare word of an unknown assertor however persistent may be his claims to superior knowledge. In these cases then a verdict of "not proven" must be recorded, and the theories must remain in nubibus till sufficient evidence is forthcoming to substantiate them.
The second proposition is incapable of sentient demonstration. I will therefore endeavour to formulate the occult teaching, and then leave each of you to draw such conclusions as may seem logical to you.
In my previous paper (published in Theosophical Siftings) I tried to show that, on every plane, consciousness was identical with Akasa, the first film on the boundless expanse of Jiva, and that abstract divine consciousness evolved differentiated or individualised divine consciousness. Now we have been told that the Unconscious or Absolute evolved the conscious or Finite in the hope of attaining clear self-consciousness, i.e.,of becoming man.
Man, then, being the aspiration of the Absolute, it is first of all encumbent on us clearly to understand what is the true occult signification of this term.
Philologically the primary meaning of man is. "to think". Its secondary signification is "a thinker". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 91 ] " In esoteric language it is not the form of flesh, blood and bones which is referred to as man, but the inner divine Monad with its manifold principles or aspects".[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 635. ] "An intelligence that has reached the appropriate equilibrium between spirit and matter". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 106] "The divine Monad, not the thinking Entity" . [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 186] We must therefore look beyond the mere philological signification. Dvivedi tells us " that man is the equivalent of to be conscious of; also of that which cognises or becomes conscious of", [Monism and Advaitism, Page 82] and as thinking is active consciousness, and an intelligence is a vehicle of consciousness, this definition maybe accepted.
Now if individualised consciousness and man are identical, whatever is individually conscious is man; consequently a conscious deity and a [Page 12] conscious dust-speck are equally man on their respective planes of being.
When, therefore, Occultism speaks of man in a general way, it does
not mean a divine, spiritual, animal, vegetable or mineral Monad; but simply the Unconscious become conscious
in some form or other.
Now search where you will, test what you please, nothing that exists is or can be without its degree of consciousness. Does not the tiniest dust- speck recognise its chemical affinity and will to unite with it, so is it not in that aspect a humble correspondent of the Yogin who wills his union with his affinity, the infinite Brahm ?
This conscious deity, or man, is omnipresent, and by tracing the evolution
of consciousness we shall perhaps obtain the key to every evolution that ever has been or ever can be, and
so may obtain some perception of the "beautiful
order" in the Universe: the Law that men call God.
Sir William Hamilton defines consciousness as (a) "the knowledge of sensations and mental operations, or of what passes in one's own mind; the act of the mind which makes known an internal object; (b) immediate knowledge of any object whatever". Consciousness, therefore, is identified with knowledge, and knowledge, according to Locke, “consists in the perception of the truth of affirmative or negative propositions".
These definitions are very good so far as they go, but no one can pretend that they are exhaustive.
I certainly am conscious of the "not I" through mental operations, or, as modern scientists maintain, through muscular vibrations culminating in molecular changes in the grey coating of the brain. But both mind and brain are my properties, not the "I" who knows, while what I ask is how external things, be they physical objects or scientific propositions, are assimilated by my consciousness, and so become a part of my inner Being? That this is so is undeniable. My earth-life is a succession of states of consciousness, and, to me, I am each state so long as it lasts. To myself, therefore, my knowledge is my Being. I am that which I know. My physical and mental forms are what I seem to others, i.e., the outward manifestations of my inner man. The same reasoning applies to everything, even to those which have but one state of consciousness, and clearly each must be before it can become manifest to others.
But there is another thing which requires consideration. When we speak of a state of consciousness, we distinguish between that state and consciousness itself; therefore we still have to answer the question "What is it which passes through these various states of consciousness and which is ever unchanged through millions of personal mutations ?"
H. P. Blavatsky says: "The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddha,
but the higher Manas; the intellectual fruition and the efflorescence [Page 13] of
the intellectual self-conscious Egotism, in the higher spiritual sense."[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2,
Page 79] " The
ancestral heart, the re-incarnating principle." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 220] "Self;
the consciousness "in
man, ' I am I'. " [H.P.B.'s Glossary]
In The Voice of Silence [Page 84] the Ego is said to be "spiritually a ray of a planetary spirit." In Esoteric Buddhism [Page 37] it is called "A consciousness of the potential attributes of a human entity, a unity progressing through various spheres or states of being, undergoing change, growth, and purification all through the course of its evolutions — that it is a consciousness seated in this or that or the other of the potential attributes of a human entity". While Rama Prasad [Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, Page 5 and 20] tells us that " the Ego is the reflected image of the Logos in Karana Sarira, or 'Man's Individuality'”. It is also called '"The subjective individual consciousness", [Raja Yoga] and we are told "Beyond this is the highest Ego which is divine and impersonal." H.P.B.
Thus, however deeply we search, there is ever something beyond our conception. That which we can only intuit as a Being to whom our Egos are a vehicle of manifestation, while even this Being, too vast for comprehension or definition, appears in our subjective consciousness as a still diviner vehicle by which a Be-ness, infinite and inscrutable, manifests to its own-consciousness.
This consciousness, as I endeavoured to show in my previous paper, is what the Hindus term Akasa, and it is here that we find the true start-point of evolution.
Now, "consciousness", we are told, "implies limitations
and qualifications, something to be conscious of and someone to be conscious of it, while absolute
consciousness contains the cogniser, the thing to be cognised and the cognition." [The Secret Doctrine,
Volume 1, Page 56]
H. P. Blavatsky tells us " the visible universe of spirit and matter is [Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 342] but the concrete image of the ideal abstraction". " It was built upon the model of the first divine idea"[Raja Yoga, Page 13] , while an idea is defined as "a necessary truth" [Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 250] "The connecting medium between body and spirit". [Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 399]
First, then, we get a divine idea limiting divine consciousness. This primordial idea we call being, which, as a differentiation, is, necessarily, limited no-thing or be-ness.
Now the idea “being" dualises as infinite and finite. The first remains unchangeable; the second divides into spiritual and material, each of which can be divided and subdivided ad infinitum.
Thus each differentiation or sub-differentiation is the manifestation of an idea or sub-idea in universal consciousness; an Akasa by which a fresh evolution of being begins in universal life or be-ness. Whether this Akasa evolves a Kosmos or a dust-speck is immaterial. Either is an aspect of the Absolute, and neither can be more.
H. P. Blavatsky says: ''The cycles of septenary evolution in septennial [Page 14] Nature proceed thus: —(I) the Spiritual or Divine; (2) the Psychic or Semi-Divine; (3) the Intellectual; (4) the Rational; (5) the Instinctual or Cognitional; (6) the Semi-Corporeal; (7) the purely Material or Physical Natures. All these evolve and progress cyclically, passing from one into another in a double centrifugal and centripetal way. One in their ultimate essence, seven in their aspects." [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 267]
She also tells us that even gods have to pass through states which are referred to as “Inmetalization, Inherbation, Inzoonization, and finally Incarnation". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 88]
From this, however, we must not infer that gods are ever metals herbs, or zooids such as we know on earth, but only that they manifest the divine idea of these forms on their own plane of being. Consequently, a Yogin of today may possibly attain the development that will fit his Ego to become the soul of a dust-speck in some higher sphere, where, passing through the various stages of evolution, he may ultimately reach Brahmâ-Loka, and henceforth be a god to the humanity of our earth.
It is only by recognising in everything the manifestation of a divine idea, and regarding all ideas as perfecting by differentiation and each differentiation as progressing by sub-differentiation, that we can understand what is meant when H. P. Blavatsky says, while the Monad is cycling downwards into matter, the Pitris are evolving parri passu with it on a higher and more spiritual plane; descending also relatively into matter on their own plane of consciousness. Having reached a certain point they meet the incarnating senseless Monad encased in the lowest matter and, blending the two potencies, spirit and matter, the union produces the perfect Man, the terrestrial symbol of the Heavenly Man in Space". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 246 ] What is this but a correspondent of the Unconscious becoming Conscious by differentiation of itself ?
If anyone asks, how can these things be ? let him study the evolution of ideas in his own consciousness.
The first idea which he finds in himself is Ahamkara, " The conception of Egoship".[The Key to Theosophy, Page 136 ] . "The I-creating faculty" which, for each of us, differentiates be-ness into I and not-I. Now the " I " is possessed of 'Kriyasakti'. . the mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external perceptible phenomenal results by its own inherent energy".[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 293] "The divine power latent in the will of every man". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page ]
Therefore, when the " I " has become conscious of unconsciousness, it naturally desires to know what that other mode of being really is. Just as "Adi-Buddha wished from One to become many", [Language and Religion of Nepal, Page 42] so it is with us.
Presently an idea is intuited, and the connecting link between body and spirit is formed. "A necessary truth" [Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 399 ] is conceived by the consciousness, and creative thought begins the evolution of it by bisecting this primal cell of spiritual life. A nucleus, a nucelolus and a nucleolinus are [Page 15] formed in each half; then each is elongated, constricted and finally divides just as the parent cell divided. This process is repeated over and over again, the organism becoming ever more and more complex, and, as needs arise; so do cells adapt and aggregate themselves to satisfy those needs. As it is with the spiritual man, so is it with the physical, both proceed, step answering to step, on their respective planes.
As Professor Virchow [ Royal Society Lecture March 1893 ] says, "The cell is the seat and carrier of individual life; in it resides the vita propria. Since the cellular constitution of plants and animals has been proved, and since cells have become recognised as the essential living elements, the new science of biology has sprung up. It has not brought us the solution of the ultimate riddle of life, but it has provided concrete material, anatomical objects for investigation, the properties, the actions and the passions of which we can analyse".
Clearly then scientists claim no finality for their theories, and if we can offer them a logical solution of the riddle of life they are quite prepared to accept it. But this solution must not be the mere ipse dixit of anyone. That they will not and ought not to accept.
What we have to offer is something of this sort: —
When the Idea of Motion arises, Thought stirs consciousness, and every plane of it responds in its own way. If the Idea is defined as the using of a hand, muscular contractility transmits the impulse to that hand. Should the Idea be further specialised, say, as piano-playing, the fingers will move along the key-board, and their structure will be modified to perfect the performance. That is, every one of the millions of lives, or cells, which constitute the body will receive an impulse that will modify its motion, and this modification is the measure of its consciousness, while the sum of all the modifications in the organism will be recorded by the molecules of the fingers and other organs specialised for such work as is now demanded by the Will.
Looking at it in another aspect we say the intuition of music is embodied in thought: that thought is embodied in muscular motion and the result is such a modification of a physical form that motions are imparted, to ethereal vibrations, which convey a consciousness of melody to those whose organs of hearing are fitted to receive and transmit the modified motions of the universal ethereal medium proper to our earth-life.
Here we get a definite intuition, definite thought, definite muscular motion, definite physical modifications, definite ethereal modifications and definite consciousness, all correlated and each differing from everything else on its own plane.
We notice too that the series begins with consciousness and ends with consciousness; while motion is the one essential throughout. Now motion is protean, and in its varying forms we find the cause of all differences. [Page 16] But what is the cause of that cause ? To this materialism has no reply.
Occultism takes us from the Individual to the Universal and answers thus. There is but one life, endless and homogeneous. To us this life is manifested as motion, but essentially it is ever at rest. Each Being is a mode of motion embodying an Idea. That Idea was an innate possibility which, responding to universal Will, manifested in Universal consciousness and became an effect whose scope and duration are limited by the Will which called them into Being. When the "Infinite" ceases to be conscious of it, each being immediately will cease to be, just as, to us, music is silenced the moment we become unconscious of it. If, then, the consciousness of the "Infinite" be eternal, so must they be who abide in it. Differentiation, therefore, is the multiplication of Ideas, or modes of motion, each being a specialised divine consciousness, and the opposition of these motions constitutes what we term Egoity, while their harmony is Law, their unison Nirvana.
Now just as an Idea acquires force when it is logically demonstrated, and as motion becomes impervious in proportion to its speed, so does consciousness acquire solidity as its Egoity grows intense. The subjective becomes objective and the objective tangible till at last consciousness can apprehend it not only by cogitation but also by the specialised organs which have been evolved in obedience to the law of necessity. Thus, as we are told, "everything is Divine Thought", [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 340] whatever are its modes of manifestation.
This theory by no means implies a supernatural or personal Creator. The omnipresence of one intelligent Be-ness, whose being is "eternal becoming", answers every logical requirement. True, our consciousness evolves an Idea of that Be-ness which to us, is a god-like image and which, we may rightly seek to be, but to claim universal adoration for a finite conception of the Infinite is a presumption repugnant alike to reason and propriety.
What Occultists hold is that this intelligent Be-ness preceded every form of matter which physicists can experimentalise
upon, and that only through the consciousness of this Be-ness can any of its manifestations have Being or become
conscious. Evidently, without this consciousness, there would be no needs and therefore no evolution, consequently
there would be no philosophers to speculate upon it.
In answer to the question "How does man differ from other animals?" we are told that the Agnishwatta incarnated in the Third Race and so made man perfect. And in another place," that by incarnating in the still witless man of the Third Race, the Râkshasas made him consciously immortal". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 164] Now the Râkshasas or Adversaries are only the other aspect of [Page 17] the 'Agnishwatta, so they are really identical. As H. P. B. italicizes consciously, she apparently wishes us to understand that a consciousness of immortality was the real gift then bestowed on Man.
Agnishwatta are said to be "Pitris; Kumaras; the seven mystics ages; the solar deities who fashion the inner-Man"; [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 87 ] they are also called " Manasa Dhyanis, the givers of intelligence and consciousness to Man".[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 181 ] They are said to be chaste youths, too divine and pure to have creative passions. Having no astral body they were unable to create physical Man, yet they alone could complete Man. In their past births they failed to maintain their domestic fires and to offer burnt sacrifices, so they have lost their right to have oblations of fire presented to them". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 78] They are "Independent free Intelligences who remained behind instead of going with the other Pitris to create Man on earth. The true esoteric meaning of this is that most of them were destined to incarnate as the Egos of the next crop of Mankind". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 79 ]
All this is very poetical but at the same time very puzzling. It is quite possible that human Egos have now developed into superior Beings who incarnate from time to time in order that Humanity may receive a new and necessary impulse. But how was it in the very genesis of humanity ? If " everything in Nature was, is, or will be Man", who incarnated in the third Race of the first Round of the first globe of the first Maha-Kalpa ?
Then, according to Occult teaching, what we know as Nature was too ethereal to be cognised even by our spiritual senses and existed only as a subjective possibility. Either therefore there was no incarnation in a third Race, in which case the Order of Being is not immutable and everlasting, or else supernatural Beings did manufacture man, and we are only substituting seven personal creators for the orthodox one anthropomorphic mechanic— a change that would not seem very material to serious Truth-seekers.
If, however, we treat the whole as allegorical, we obtain a much more
satisfactory result. Perhaps the key to it is this. The Agnishwatta are called Deities, and Deities in Occultism
are "the universal creative
Laws" . [The Secret Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 595]
Now as you proceed in Occultism you find more and more stress is laid upon what is called the "central Spiritual Sun", while our "God of Day" is degraded to a mere physical "Life-giver" of male potency which has its proper correspondent on every earthly plane. The "chaste youths" therefore cannot reasonably be associated with our solar orb.
The true Sun is called "The centre of rest to which all motion is ultimately to be referred. Round this central Sun, we are told, the first systematic sun revolves on a polar plane; the second on an equatorial plane; while the third is our sun, the only one visible to us.[The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 240 ] These four solar bodies are the organs on whose action depends the evolution of life on [Page 18] the planet Earth". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 241] Spiritually the central Sun is " That which in conjunction with the polar Sun radiates on Man his Atma". [Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 342 ] "The Soul, animating the purely spiritual Universe; the highest Deity".
If we turn to symbology we find that the Sun or fire stands for the Divine Spirit: the Moon or water for the Divine Soul, these again standing for the Father and Mother of the Human Soul on our plane.
Then, according to Occultism, the human Races are not special creations; "they are born one from the other, grow, develop, become old and die. Their sub-races and nations follow the same rule, while each Root and sub-race adds to its own characteristics the senses evolved by proceeding Races". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 443 ]
"Siva, the destroyer, is only evolution and progress personified. He destroys things under one form but to recall them to life under another more perfect type". He is ruthless, then, only to the personality, while he is most beneficent to the individuality.
Is it then unreasonable to conclude that the real meaning of our allegory is this ?
Ideas or differentiations of motion are ever intuiting in the universal consciousness and manifest on the lower planes as soon as they have evolved fitting vehicles on those planes. The first principle which issues from the Divine Mind is Ahamkara or Egoism. This when differentiated and sub-differentiated acquires force by the law of evolution. While it was the Sole Principle on the physical plane its countless specialisations occupied all consciousness and made it almost impervious by any other Idea; incapable of any other motion. Still, being a manifestation of Deity, as divine cognition proceeded so did Egoism progress and slowly evolved a consciousness of the correlation of each Ego with all other Egos on the same plane of Being. Then came an intuition from which was evolved a consciousness of the unity in which countless worlds are one Kosmos governed by one Universal Law. Egoism was now blended with Altruism and in the One evolved a consciousness of its amenability to All.
It was not, however, till the advent of what Occultism calls the third Race that the Human Ego was able to intuit an origin higher and purer than that of the animal form which incarnated it. Consequently solar or phallic worship prevailed. But in the third Race the idea of a divine Indweller was intuited and that revolutionised Man's conception of the Universe. As this Idea evolved, the meanings of many mysteries were revealed to Man, till at last he knew that beyond the world, and the forces he had hitherto regarded as the creators of it, is an omnipresent Be-ness of which his Being is the highest and truest manifestation. That though born in the flesh he is not of the flesh but is a One-ness of the divine essence in which are the potencies of all things. [Page 19]
I think, too, we must admit that at any rate some scientists are not very far from the truth when we find Professor Drummond [Lowell Lectures]regarding evolution "as a living power working its way through endless transformations” . If that is not Occultism what is ? for we are expressly told the Monad is " the evolutionary force imprisoned in a vegetable or animal body." Besides H.P.B. says [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 110 ] "the living, active and potential matter which culminates in physical man is pregnant per se with that animal consciousness of a superior kind, such as is found in the ant and the beaver, which produces the long series of physiological differentiations". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 120 ] Surely she and Professor Drummond are not irreconcilable.
"No spiritual and psychic evolution is possible on earth for one who on that plane is inherently perfect and cannot accumulate either merit or demerit". [The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 243]
Finally, if the conclusions of modern science are so often confirmations of the old philosophy, is not that
philosophy worthy of our respect, even if we cannot yet prove everything that it teaches us ?
S.D.— Secret Doctrine.
I.U.— Isis Unveiled.
K.T.— Key to Theosophy.
H.P.B.— Madame Blavatsky's Glossary.
R.Y.— Raja Yoga.
E.B.— Esoteric Buddhism.
M.— Monism and Advaitism.
V.— Voice of Silence.
F.F.— Nature's Finer Forces.
B.L.T.— Blavatsky Lodge Transactions.
N.B.G.— Notes on The Bhagavad Gita.
L.R.N. — Language and Religion of Nepal.
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