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Fundamentals of

the Esoteric Philosophy

G. de Purucker




23036 Gilmore Street, West Hills, CA 91307

© 1996 by Eldon B. Tucker. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that new copies bear this notice and the full citation.

All rights reserved. Published 1996.

Published in the United States of America

99 98 97 96 5 4 3 2 1


(This book is based upon the original edition, first published in 1932 by Rider & Co., London, and reprinted in 1947 by Theosophical University Press, Covina, California. Terminology has been standardized, footnotes merged into the text, and illustrations redone for the electronic edition. To aid in citations, the end of pages in the print edition are denoted by page numbers in braces. [57], for instance, denotes the end of page 57 in the original edition.)

A print copy of the first edition, with supplemental chapters, may be ordered from Point Loma Publications, P.O. Box 6507, San Diego CA 92166, USA, (619)222-9609 (voice/fax) for $20 (US funds) prepaid. (590 pages, ISBN 0-913004-70-7 [cloth])

The second edition of the book may be ordered from Theosophical University Press, Post Office Box C, Pasadena CA 91109 (818)798-3378 (voice), (818)798-4749 (fax),, for $20 (US funds) plus $2 shipping & handling. (669 pages, ISBN 0-911500-63-4 [cloth], 0-911500-64-2 [paper]).

Note that prices are as of December, 1996, and are subject to change without notice.


Dr. de Purucker, the present Leader of The Theosophical Society, which has its International Headquarters at Point Loma, California, delivered the lectures contained in this volume to members of the Esoteric Section during the years 1924-27. They were given under the direction of Katherine Tingley, then Leader of The Theosophical Society, in fulfillment of a long cherished plan to give to the world a work which would serve not only as a commentary upon The Secret Doctrine of H.P. Blavatsky, but at the same time would be the means of giving out certain esoteric keys, which would enable students to unlock for themselves the treasure of knowledge therein contained. Many are the educated men and women who have been forced to lay aside The Secret Doctrine as too abstruse and difficult, because they had no instruction and therefore no understanding of the fundamental conceptions upon which the Esoteric Philosophy is based.

To those who hunger for truth and spiritual knowledge, and who bring an open mind to the study of this book, it is not too much to say that in asking they will receive, and in seeking they will find.

The original stenographic report of these lectures was corrected by the Author, but he has not had the time to read the proofs, the responsibility for which he left to the Editor. The book owes much to the collaboration of Dr. J.H. Fussell who, in addition to doing some of the preliminary work of preparing the manuscript for publication, undertook the selection of the quotations which appear at the head of each chapter. It should be mentioned that all references to The Secret Doctrine are to the original Edition (1888) of that work.

A certain amount of criticism was aroused among students of Theosophy by the announcement that Dr. de Purucker had given in these pages teaching which is not contained in the works of H.P. Blavatsky. Moreover, these critics appear to base their objections upon isolated quotations from Madame Blavatsky, in an endeavor to show that it is impossible at this time that further genuine teaching can be given, and ipso facto anything that is given must be false. But students will recognize that anything in the nature of dogmatism is contrary to the spirit of the Esoteric Philosophy, and for that reason should be avoided. Inevitable [v] child of crystallized thought, it begins its lethal work by laying a shadow on the mind, and ends by producing a sect.

The tendency of the dogmatist is to read only those parts of the teaching which suit his own peculiar purpose, and the rest of the Teacher's writings are pushed into the background and thus prevented from doing their beneficent work. Shall we not see for ourselves how H.P. Blavatsky regarded the problem? In her Five Messages to the American Theosophists, she wrote:

Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable. It is diversity of opinion, within certain limits, that keeps the Theosophical Society a living and a healthy body, its many other ugly features notwithstanding. Were it not, also, for the existence of a large amount of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, such healthy divergence would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of the living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever-growing Knowledge.

According as people are prepared to receive it, so will new Theosophical teaching be given. But no more will be given than the world, on its present level of spirituality, can profit by. It depends on the spread of Theosophy - the assimilation of what has been already given - how much more will be revealed and how soon.

Again in the Introductory to The Secret Doctrine she wrote:

In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found.

These statements are quite enough to show that Madame Blavatsky never meant it to be understood that under no circumstances would additional teaching be given. On the contrary she clearly indicated that although the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine contained all that could be given to the world in the nineteenth century, the giving of further teaching would depend necessarily upon the readiness of people to receive it.

So far from claiming that her writings contain the whole of Theosophy she pointed out in her Introductory to The Secret Doctrine that she had raised "but a small corner of the dark veil" and "after long millenniums of silence and secrecy" had given but an "outline of a few fundamental truths ¼ because that which must remain unsaid could not be contained in a hundred such volumes". The Esoteric Doctrine in its totality has always existed in the keeping of The Adepts in The Sacred [vi] Science, and it is therefore a complete system of thought which does not evolve or change. But the whole of it never has and never will be given out publicly, and therefore since from time to time additional teaching is given, this does constitute for the public a further unfolding or evolution of the age-old Doctrine. In other words Theosophy - the Wisdom of the Gods - is eternal in Nature, but our understanding of it grows, and as "those who have ears to hear" become fit and ready to receive more teaching, more will be given. This fact is dearly brought out also by William Q. Judge:

If any persons regard H.P.B.'s writings as the infallible oracles of Theosophy, they go directly against her own words and the works themselves; they must be people who do not indulge in original thinking and cannot make much impression on the times.

As for the Theosophical Society, the moment it makes a hard and fast definition of Theosophy it will mark the first hour of its decay.

Inasmuch as Theosophy is the whole body of truth about man and nature, either known now or hereafter to be discovered, it has the "power of growth, progress and advancement," since every new truth makes it clearer. But among the truths will not be reckoned at any time the definitions, dogmas, creeds or beliefs laid down by man.

None the less it is a fact, paradoxical though it may seem to some, that no teaching calling itself Theosophical will bear the test of a thoroughly impartial investigation, unless it is consistent with the teaching of H.P. Blavatsky; and this precisely because her writings bear the stamp of consistency with the recorded teachings of all the great Sages and Seers of Antiquity.

Herein lies the strength of Dr. de Purucker, not only in this work but in his other writings. True to the lines laid down by Madame Blavatsky, he makes no appeal to dogmatic authority, but claims his right to an impartial hearing on the ground that his teaching "closely adheres to Nature, and follows the laws of uniformity and analogy". "Proof," he defines, "as the preponderance of evidence bringing conviction to the mind," and goes on to show that if Knowledge is to grow in us then it is necessary to check any tendency to crystallization of thought, i.e., to limit the understanding by closing the doors of the mind to further light upon any particular subject of study. The truth is that in the search for the Great Knowledge, progress is seen to be as endless as boundless Infinitude - inwards and upwards forever - towards the Unutterable. Herein perhaps also is the secret of humility.

The meaning of any part of this book is not to be understood by merely dipping into it here and there. A particular doctrine is touched upon in one chapter, outlined in another, then dealt [vii] with in fuller detail until in some later chapter the key thought to the whole subject is revealed if the preceding ideas have been grasped. Thus the mind of the reader is opened gradually to receive teaching which becomes ever deeper with each succeeding chapter, unfolding before the inner eye a vision of the age-old Path that leads at last from darkness into Light.

- A. Trevor Barker

70 Queen's Gate,

London, S.W. 7,

December 28, 1931 [viii]


We sometimes lock ourselves in little boxes of opinion, and will not be free for fear. But still Sun shines, winds blow, waves "boom and blanche on the precipices"; and the winds and Sun of the spirit, the waves of time. While some are busy proving that no Teacher can come, one has appeared among us who Teaches.

The spirit will not be confined by rules that the petty mind dictates to it, and we can impose no Thou shalt nots upon inspiration. There are certain marks by which we may know what comes from the heights: a light to illumine life and the hidden things; a sublimity to enlarge the Soul. Do you not see that what is ever-living cannot be cribbed and cabined within what was spoken in this year or that, even by Speakers with Authority; because words are finite things: of value as carriers of the messages of the Spirit; harmful and tyrannous when we bow our souls to them, and would make their finiteness an absolute?

H.P. Blavatsky came not to shackle us with new creeds, but to bring greatness and freedom to our minds. She pointed the way to sublimity of life and thought: her keynote is sublimity. She never said, there is a place where evolution stops, or where knowledge stops. Because some have given out ridiculousness in place of her sublime, it does not mean that the great Lodge and its powers and wisdom are exhausted, or that there must be no advance in knowledge.

As I understand the book, it makes this appeal: Turn your eyes to the mountaintops of being; feed your souls on the grandeur of Truth. Who has H.P. Blavatsky as a living power in his thought is not coffined in a creed, but judges each new idea that comes to him by its power to illumine life.

- Kenneth Morris

Llwynypia, November 22, 1931 [ix]

Chapter I


¼ neither the collective Host (Demiurges), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honors or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a coworker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart - invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls, making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 280

Fellow-Students of the Ancient Wisdom:

We stand on holy ground. The Leader's call seems like the clarion voice of the Law, of the Ancient Wisdom, which, echoing down the ages, rings in our hearts at a moment like this, and seems to tell us in accents that we may interpret if we have the heart and the soul so to do: "Fideles, sursum corda: Up hearts, ye faithful ones!" And may we not answer in the same spirit which the Leader has shown, has manifested to us this evening: "Yea, verily, in the name of Truth, we lift our hearts to the shining god within each one of us"?

We are here this evening in the presence of the agent and the representative of the Exalted Men who form the Guardian Body of the Esoteric Philosophy. We must feel called. The hour is a solemn one. It is time for us to rise above personality and, face to face with ourselves, search our hearts, and endeavor so to speak the words which we have learned that, as the Teacher has told us, others who have had less chance than ourselves may in their turn pass on these truths of the inner life.

In our last two meetings we studied the Three Fundamental [1] Postulates or Principles in H.P. Blavatsky's wonderful work, The Secret Doctrine! remember in particular the Teacher's words in comment after the meeting had ended. They struck me as very beautiful, profoundly suggestive. She said:

Thinking towards the unthinkable is a wonderful, spiritualizing force; one cannot think toward it without a disposition either to think more or feel more - without opening up the inner consciousness of man. And when that inner consciousness is awakened, the soul finds itself closer to the infinite laws, closer to THAT, or that Great Center that no words can express.

We have endeavored to reach two planes, which we have to compare, to reach, by the appeal to the Inmost within ourselves. We are taught that there exists in man a link with the Unutterable, a cord, a communication, that extends from It to the inner consciousness; and that link - such is the teaching as it has come down to us - is the very Heart of Being. It arises in that super-sensory Principle, that Unutterable Mystery which H.P. Blavatsky defines in the first of the Three Fundamental Propositions as above human mind. Becoming one with that link, we can transcend the powers of ordinary human intellect, and reach (even if it be by striving out, upward, towards) that Unutterable, which is - though it is beyond human power to express it in words, or beyond human thought - which is, we know, the Concealed of the Concealed, the Life of Life, Truth of Truth, the ALL.

Here is the thought, it seems to me, which illustrates so well the Teacher's words; striving toward this inwards, towards the Inmost, we can attain to some conception, if not understanding, of the Infinite Principle of all that is. From It, in the course of endless duration, there spring into manifestation - so the teaching runs - at the end of the great Universal or Cosmic Pralaya, the beginnings of things. These beginnings eventuate in the forms of life and being that H.P. Blavatsky describes in the Second and Third Fundamental Propositions.

This inmost link with the Unutterable was called in ancient India by the term SELF, which has been often mistranslated 'Soul'. The Sanskrit word is Atman, and applies, in psychology, to the human entity. The upper end of the link, so to speak, to use human terms, was called Paramatman, or the 'Self Beyond', the permanent SELF - words which describe neatly and clearly to those who have studied this wonderful philosophy, somewhat of the nature and essence of the thing which man is, and the source from which, in that beginningless and endless duration, he sprang. Child of earth and child of heaven, he contains both in himself.

We pass now from considering the First Proposition to the [2] Second and the Third. And in order that we may understand what we mean when we use certain words, it will be useful to illustrate our usages of such words. Let us take up the very interesting and remarkably well translated book entitled The Song Celestial, the work of Sir Edwin Arnold. It is a translation into English verse of the Bhagavad-Gita. That work is an episode or an interlude in the Mahabharata, the greater of the two great Hindu epics. It is found in the sixth book of the Mahabharata, i.e., the 'Great Bharata'; and in the style of the Hindu writings it comprises a dissertation on religious, philosophical, and mystical subjects. It has been several times translated, more or less successfully. Possibly the best has been that of our second Teacher, William Quan Judge. His work is a recension, rather, of a translation by Wilkins, modified by Cockburn, and in turn corrected, according to the Esoteric Philosophy, by Mr. Judge. Sir Edwin's Song Celestial, in book the second, has the following:

¼ The soul which is not moved,

The soul that with a strong and constant calm

Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently,

Lives in the life undying! That which is

Can never cease to be; that which is not

Will not exist. To see this truth of both

Is theirs who part essence from accident,

Substance from shadow. Indestructible,

Learn thou! the Life is, spreading life through all;

It cannot anywhere, by any means,

Be any wise diminished, stayed, or changed.

But for these fleeting frames which it informs

With spirit deathless, endless, infinite,

They perish ¼

Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;

Never was time it was not, End and Beginning are dreams!

Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever;

Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!

Now these words are exquisitely beautiful. They nevertheless contain a mistranslation, a misrendering of the text of this wonderful little work. In the first place, Sir Edwin translates the Sanskrit word TAT, which we explained in our last study, first by the word soul and next by the word spirit. Of course, analogically, it has a reference to the Soul and the Spirit of Man; but the Sanskrit of it does not point particularly to the Soul of Man. I will read a translation in prose, of these same verses, made with no attempt at poetic thought, no attempt to use beautiful language, but simply to express the thought:

The man whom these do not lead astray, O Bull among men! who is the same in pain and pleasure, and of steady soul, he partakes of immortality. [3]

There is no existence for the unreal; there is no non-existence for the Real. Moreover, the ultimate characteristic of both these is seen by those who perceive true principles.

Know THAT to be indestructible by which this whole Universe was woven.

The Sanskrit word for That is TAT; and by that word the Vedic Sages described this Unutterable Principle, from which all sprang. The figure is that of the weaving of a web.

The destruction of this Imperishable, none is able to bring about.

These mortal bodies are said to be of the embodied Eternal, Indestructible, Immeasurable One ¼

He who knows It as the slayer, and he who thinks It to be the slain: both of them understand not. It slays not, nor is it slain.

It is not born, nor does it ever die; It was not produced, nor shall it ever be produced.

It is unborn, constant, everlasting, primeval. It is unhurt when the body is slain.

The application that the writer in the Bhagavad-Gita makes, is to the link which we have spoken of, the deathless, undying principle within us; and he describes it by the word THAT, and contrasts it with the manifested Universe, which, following the Ancient Teachings of India, was invariably spoken of as THIS: the Sanskrit word is IDAM.

The Sages of Olden Times left on record the inner teaching of the religions of the peoples among whom they lived. This inner teaching was the Esoteric Philosophy, the Theosophy of the period. In Hindustan this Theosophy is found in the Upanishads, a part of the Vedic literary cycle. The word itself implies 'Secret Doctrine' or 'Secret Teachings'. From the Upanishads and from other parts of the wonderful Vedic literature, the ancient sages of India produced what is called today the Vedanta - a compound Sanskrit word meaning 'the End (or Completion) of the Veda' - that is to say, instruction in the final and most perfect exposition of the meaning of the Vedic tenets.

In Ancient Greece there were various Schools and various Mysteries; and the Theosophy of Ancient Greece was held very secret; it was taught in the Mysteries and it was taught by different teachers to select bodies of their disciples. One of such great teachers was Pythagoras; another was Plato; and this Theosophy was more or less clearly outlined and embodied, after the fall of the so-called Pagan religions, in what is today called the Neo-Platonic philosophy. It represents actually the inner teachings of Pythagoras, Plato, and the inner sense of those mystical doctrines which passed current in Greece under the name of the Orphic poems.

Of the Theosophy of Egypt we have but scanty remains [4] such as exist in what is called 'The Book of the Dead'. Of the Theosophy of ancient America, of the Inca, the Mayan, empires we have next to nothing. The Theosophy of ancient Europe has passed away. All that remains to us is a certain number of mystical writings such as the Scandinavian Edda, and the Germanic books, which are represented, for instance, in the Sagas found written in the old High German and in the Anglo-Saxon tongues.

A study which anyone can make of the doctrines contained in the Upanishads, in 'The Book of the Dead', in the Neo-Platonic philosophy, in the Scandinavian Edda, and elsewhere, shows that they had one common basis, one foundation, one common truth. Various men in various ages at various times taught the same truth, using different words and different tropes, different figures, different metaphors; but underneath always was the Ancient Doctrine, the Secret Wisdom.

The Theosophy of the Jews was embodied in what was later called the Qabbalah, from a Hebrew word meaning 'to receive'; that is to say, it was the traditional doctrine handed down, or received (according to the statements of the Qabbalah itself) through the prophets and the sages of Jewry; and was said to have been first taught by "God Almighty to a select company of angels in Heaven".

We must understand, when we approach the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, that the ancient teachers spoke and thought and taught anthropocentrically; that is, that they all insisted on following the psychological laws of the human mind, and therefore taught in human figures of speech, oft using quaint metaphors, very odd, and yet so instinctive as figures of speech. How wise that was! because they were able to carry on the Ancient Teachings, and did so in such fashion that least of all did this anthropocentric system encourage the dogmatic rulings that have most truly blasted all that was best in the teachings of the Christian Church. These tropes, these metaphors, were so quaint that the mind understood almost instantly that they were but the vehicle embodying the Truth. Let us remember this, and our work becomes immensely more easy.

Now let us take the Qabbalah as a sample of the manner in which one Theosophy - the Jewish - approaches the mystery of how the Unmanifest produces the Manifest, how from that which is endless and beginningless duration, sprang forth matter, space in the sense of material extension, and time. But first let me quote from another Sanskrit work, one of the Upanishads, the Kena-Upanishad. Speaking of this Unutterable Mystery, it says:

The eye reacheth it not, language reacheth it not, nor does thought [5] reach to it at all; verily, we know not nor can we say how one should teach it; it is different from the known, it is beyond the unknown. Thus have we heard from the men of olden times, for they taught it to us.

The great Sankaracharya, perhaps the most famous of Indian commentators on the Upanishads and the marvelously beautiful system of philosophy drawn from them called the Vedanta, says, commenting on the Aitareya-Upanishad:

There is the One, sole, alone, apart from all duality, in which there appear not the multitudinous illusory presentments of unreal bodies and conditions of this universe of merely apparent reality; passionless, unmoving, pure, in utter peace; knowable only by the lack of every adjective epithet; unreachable by word or by thought.

The Qabbalah is the traditionary teaching of the sages among the Jews. It is a wonderful teaching; it contains in outline or in epitome every fundamental tenet or teaching that our own Secret Doctrine contains. The teachings of the Qabbalah are often couched in very quaint and sometimes amusing language; sometimes its language rises to the height of sublimity. What does the Zohar, the second of the great books that remain of the Jewish Qabbalah (the word 'Zohar' itself meaning 'Splendor'), have to say of the manner in which the Jewish religious books should be studied? It says this (iii, 152 a):

Woe be to the son of man who says that the Torah [the Hebrew Bible, especially the Pentateuch, or rather the first four books of the Bible excluding Deuteronomy, the fifth] contains common sayings and ordinary narratives. If this were the case we might in the present day compose a code of doctrines from profane writings which would excite greater respect. If the Law contains ordinary matter, then there are nobler sentiments in profane codes. Let us go and make a selection from them and we shall be able to compile a far superior code. No! Every word of the Law has a sublime sense and a heavenly mystery ¼ As the spiritual angels had to put on earthly garments when they descended to this earth, and as they could neither have remained nor be understood on the earth without putting on such a garment, so it is with the Law. When it descended on earth, the Law had to put on an earthly garment, in order to be understood by us, and the narratives are its garment ¼ Those who have understanding do not look at the garment but at the body [the esoteric meaning] beneath; whilst the wisest, the servants of the heavenly King, those who dwell on Mount Sinai, look at nothing but the soul -

i.e., at the ultimate Secret Doctrine or sacred wisdom hid under the 'body', under the exoteric narratives or stories of the Bible.

In these days, when Modernists and Fundamentalists quarrel - quarrel unnecessarily, quarrel about exoteric superficialities, quarrel about things which arise out of the egoism of men, quarrel [6] about the dogmatic teachings of the Christian Church, every one of them probably based on ancient Pagan Esoteric Philosophy - it is an immense pity that they do not know and understand that this teaching of the Qabbalah as expressed in the Zohar is a true one; it is the teaching of our three Leaders and Teachers; for under every garment is the life. As Jesus taught in parables, so the Bible was written in tropes, in figures of speech, in metaphors. [7]

Chapter II


The fundamental Law in that system [i.e., the Esoteric Philosophy], the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon which is hung the philosophy of the rest, is the One homogeneous divine SUBSTANCE-PRINCIPLE, the one radical cause.

¼ Some few, whose lamps shone brighter, have been led,

From cause to cause to nature's secret head,

And found that one first Principle must be ¼

It is called "Substance-Principle," for it becomes "substance" on the plane of the manifested Universe, an illusion, while it remains a "principle" in the beginningless and endless abstract, visible and invisible SPACE. It is the omnipresent Reality: impersonal, because it contains all and everything. Its impersonality is the fundamental conception of the System. It is latent in every atom in the Universe, and is the Universe itself.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 273

It is the True. It is the Self, and thou art It.

- Chhanadogya-Upanishad

The Tao which can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao; the name which can be uttered is not its eternal name. Without a name, it is the Beginning of Heaven and Earth; with a name, it is the Mother of all things. Only one who is eternally free from earthly passions can apprehend its spiritual essence; he who is ever clogged by passions can see no more than its outer form. These two things, the spiritual and the material, though we call them by different names, in their origin are one and the same. This sameness is a mystery - the mystery of mysteries. It is the gate of all spirituality.

- Sayings of Lao-tse

We open Volume I of H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine this evening at page 13, and we read the second paragraph, which is as follows:

The reader has to bear in mind that the Stanzas given treat only of the Cosmogony of our own planetary System and what is visible around it, after a Solar Pralaya. The secret teachings with regard to the Evolution of the Universal Kosmos cannot be given, since they could not be understood by the highest minds in this age, and there seem to be very few Initiates, even among the greatest, who are allowed to speculate upon this subject. Moreover the Teachers say openly that not even the highest Dhyani-Chohans have ever penetrated the mysteries beyond those boundaries that separate the milliards of Solar systems from the "Central Sun," as it is called. Therefore, that which is given relates only to our visible Kosmos, after a "Night of Brahm_." [8]

We choose this as the general text of our study this evening. Following the Teacher's instructions, as we understand them, it seems not only appropriate but necessary to open our study of the more secret matters of which The Secret Doctrine treats, by asking in what manner or by what method do we obtain an understanding and a realization of these doctrines? Do they come to us as dogmatic teachings, or are they derived, following the definition that Webster gives of Theosophy in his dictionary, by inner spiritual communion with 'God'? There is something in Webster's definition which is true. The Theosophist does believe that he has within himself the faculty of approaching divine things, of raising the inner man so that he can thereby obtain a more accurate mental representation of things as they are, or of Reality.

But on the other hand, if everyone did this, without proper and capable guidance and leading and teaching, extreme vanity and human conceit as well as many other forces in the human economy, would inevitably lead to an immense diversity of opinions and teachings and doctrines, each man believing that he had the truth and he only, and hence that those who followed him and preached his views should form with him a special 'church' or 'sect' of their own. The words themselves would probably be avoided, but it would amount to that.

Therefore, here we find the use, the benefit, the appositeness, of the Theosophical doctrines which our Teachers have given to us, to the effect that these teachings have come down to us from immemorial antiquity - transmitted from one Teacher to another - and that originally they were communicated to the nascent human race, when once it became self-conscious, by Beings from a higher sphere - Beings who themselves were of divine origin; and further, that this communication or emanation of their spiritual and higher intellectual selves into us, gave us our own higher principles. For the Teachers have told us that these doctrines have been checked or proved age after age, generation after generation, by innumerable spiritual seers, to use Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's own words - checked in every respect, checked as to fact, checked as to origin, checked as to operation on the human mind.

Now then, as the older students of this School - many of whom are here present - know well, the faculties by which man can attain a knowledge of truth, of the Real, can be called upon or evoked at any moment in any place, provided the right conditions are made, so that the striving soul may thus reach successfully upward or inward, and know. Sometimes, in the most simple teachings are found the most divine truths. And why? Because the simple teachings are the fundamental ones. [9]

Consider for a moment, therefore, the seven principles of man, in their connection with the seven principles of the universe. The seven principles of man are a likeness or copy of the seven cosmic principles. They are actually the offspring of the seven cosmic principles, limited in their action in us by the workings of the Law of Karma, but running in their origin back into That which is beyond: into that which is the Essence of the universe or the Universal; in, beyond, within, to the Unmanifest, to the Unmanifestable, to that first Principle which Helena Petrovna Blavatsky enunciates as the leading thought of the Wisdom-Philosophy of The Secret Doctrine.

These principles of man are reckoned as seven in the philosophy by which the human, spiritual, and psychical economy has been explained to us in the present age. In other ages these principles, or parts, of man were differently reckoned - the Christian reckons them as Body, Soul, and Spirit, and does not know the difference between the soul and the spirit: he thinks there must be a difference but does not know what it is; and many say that the soul and spirit are the same.

Some of the Indian thinkers divided man into a basic fourfold entity, others into a fivefold. The Jewish philosophy, as found in the Qabbalah which is the esoteric tradition of the Jews, teaches that man is divided into four parts:

1. The highest and most spiritual of all, that principle or part which is to us a mere breath of being, they called Neshamah.

2. The second principle was called Ruahh or Spiritual Soul, spelled sometimes Ruach according to another method of transliteration.

3. The Astral Soul (or Vital Soul) was called Nefesh, the third next lower, which man has in common with the brutes.

4. Then comes the Guf or physical vehicle, the house in which all these others dwell.

Over all, and higher than all, higher than the Neshamah - which is not an emanation of this Highest, not a creation, not an evolution, but of which it was the production in a sense which we shall later have to explain - there is the Ineffable, the Boundless, called Ain Suf.

The Sanskrit terms which have been given by our Teachers to the seven principles of man in our own Theosophical Philosophy, are as follows, and we can get much help from explaining the original Sanskrit meanings of them, and illustrating the sense in which those words were used, and why they were chosen.

1. Sthula means coarse, gross, not refined, heavy, bulky, fat in the sense of bigness. Sharira comes from a root which can best be translated by saying that it is that which is easily dissolved, easily worn away; the idea being something transitory, foam-like, full [10] of holes, as it were. Note the meaning hid in this: it is very important.

2. The second principle let us call the Linga-sharira. Linga is a Sanskrit word which means characteristic mark; hence model, pattern. It, as we all know, forms the model or pattern on which the physical body is built - this physical body, composed mostly of porosity, if the expression be pardoned; the most unreal thing we know, full of holes, foamy as it were. We will revert to this thought later.

3. The third principle, commonly called the Life-Principle, is Prana. Now this word is used here by our Philosophy in a general sense. There are, as a matter of fact, a number of life-currents, vital fluids. They have several names. One system gives the number as three; another as five, which is the commonly accepted number; another as seven; another twelve, as is found in some Upanishads; and one old writer even gives them as thirteen.

4. Then there is the Kama-principle; the word kama means desire. It is the driving or impelling force in the human economy; colorless, neither good nor bad, only such as the mind and soul direct its use.

5. Then comes Manas; the Sanskrit root of this word means to think, to cogitate, to reflect mental activity, in short.

6. Then comes Buddhi, or the Spiritual Soul, the vehicle or carrier of the highest principle of all, the Atman. Now Buddhi comes from a Sanskrit root budh. This root is commonly translated, to enlighten, but a better translation is to awaken and, hence, to understand; Buddha, the past participle of this root is applied to one who is spiritually awakened, no longer living a living death, but awakened to the spiritual influence from within or from 'above'. Buddhi is the principle in us which gives us spiritual consciousness, and is the vehicle of the most high part of man. This highest part is the Atman.

7. This principle (Atman) is a universal one; but during incarnations its lowest parts, if we can so express it, take on attributes, because it is linked with the Buddhi as the Buddhi is linked with the Manas, as the Manas is linked to the Kama, and so on down the scale.

Atman is also sometimes used of the Universal Self or Spirit which is called in the Sanskrit writings Brahman (neuter), and the Brahman or Universal Spirit is also called the Paramatman, a compound Sanskrit term meaning the highest or most universal Atman. The root of Atman is hardly known. Its origin is uncertain, but the general meaning is that of self.

Beyond Brahman is the Para-brahman. Para is a Sanskrit word meaning beyond. Note the deep philosophical meaning of this; there is no attempt here to limit the Illimitable, the [11] Ineffable, by adjectives; it simply means beyond the Brahman. In the Sanskrit Vedas and in the works deriving therefrom and belonging to the Vedic literary cycle, this beyond is called That, as this world of manifestation is called This. Other very expressive terms are Sat, the Real; and Asat, the Unreal or the manifested universe; in another sense Asat means 'not Sat', i.e., even beyond (higher than) Sat.

Now this Para-brahman is intimately connected with Mula-prakriti - a word we shall explain in a moment. Their interaction and intermingling cause the first nebulous thrilling, if the words will pass, of the Universal Life when spiritual desire first arose in it in the beginnings of things. Such is the old teaching, employing of necessity the old anthropocentric tropes, clearly understood to be only human metaphors, human similes; for the conceptions of the Seers of ancient times, their teachings, their doctrines, had to be told in human language to the human mind.

Now then, a man can reach inward, going 'upward' step by step, climbing higher as his spiritual force and power wax greater and more subtle, until he reaches beyond his normal faculties, and steps beyond the 'Ring Pass Not', as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky calls it in her Secret Doctrine. Where and what is this 'Ring Pass Not'? It is, at any period of man's consciousness, the utmost reach that his spirit can attain. There he stops, and looks into the Beyond - into the Unmanifested from which we came. The Unmanifest is in us; it is the Inmost of the inmost in our souls, in our spirits, in our essential beings. We can reach towards it. We can actually reach it never.

Now, where is Reality? Is the Real, is the True, to be found in these lower ventures of materiality? Or is it to be found in the State of Being from which everything came?

The ancient Stoics in their really wonderful philosophy taught, and the same teaching originated in the esoteric philosophy of Hellas or Greece - as found later in the Neo-Platonic teachings - these ancient Stoics taught that Truth can be known; that the most real thing, the greatest thing, was to be found in ever-receding vistas, as the Spirit of man strived inward, and beyond, veil after veil falling away as the Wise Man (their technical term) advances in the evolution of his soul. They taught that the material universe was illusory precisely as our Teachers tell us of the Maya; and the Stoic understood (and this teaching is our own) that this apparently dense, gross, heavy, material universe is phenomenally unreal, mostly built up of holes, so to say - a teaching which is beginning to be reechoed even today in the writings and thoughts of the more intuitional of our scientists.

The Stoics taught that the ether was denser than the most dense material thing, fuller than the most full material thing - using [12] human words, of course. To us, with our human eyes, trained only to see objects of illusion, it appears to be the most diaphanous, the thinnest, the most ethereal. What was the Reality, the Real, behind this All? The real thing? They said it was God, Life of Life, Truth of Truth, Root of Matter, Root of Soul, Root of Spirit. When the Stoic was asked: What is God? he nobly answered: What is God not?

Turning now to the Ancient Wisdom of Hindustan, to the Upanishads, let us take from the Chhanadogya-Upanishad, mainly in the sixth lecture, a conversation between a father and his son. Hearken to the Ancient Wisdom, going back far beyond the time when the ancient Brahmanical teachings and the Brahmanas became what they are today - to the time when real men taught real things. The son asks:

If a man who has slept in his own house, rises and goes to another village, he knows that he has come from his own house. Why then do people not know that they have come from the Sat? [A Sanskrit word meaning the Real, the Ineffable of which we have spoken.]

And the father teaches his son as follows:

These rivers, my son, run, the eastern towards the east, the western towards the west. They go from sea to sea. They become indeed sea. And as those rivers, when they are in the sea, do not know, I am this or that river,

In the same manner, my son, all these creatures, when they have come from the True [that is the Real] know not that they have come from the True [on account of the Maya]. Whatever these creatures are here, whether a lion, or a wolf, or a boar, or a worm, or a midge, or a gnat, or a mosquito, that they become again and again.

Now listen:

"That which is that subtle essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the True, It is the Self, and thou, O Svetaketu, art it." "Please, Sir, inform me still more," said the son. "Be it so, my child," the father replied.

Now the son is supposed to ask, "How is it that living beings, when in sleep or death they are merged again in the Sat [that is, the Real], are not destroyed? Waves, foam, and bubbles arise from the water, and when they merge again in the water, they are gone."

"If someone were to strike at the root of this large tree, here," says the father, "it would bleed, but live. If he were to strike at its stem, it would bleed, but live. If he were to strike at its top, it would bleed, but live. Pervaded by the living Self that tree stands firm, drinking in its nourishment and rejoicing;" [13]

"But if the life (the living Self) leaves one of its branches, that branch withers; if it leaves a second, that branch withers; if it leaves a third, that branch withers. If it leaves the whole tree, the whole tree withers. In exactly the same manner, my son, know this."

Thus he spoke:

"This (body) indeed withers and dies when the living self has left it; the living Self dies not. That which is that subtle essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self, and thou, O Svetaketu, art it."

"Please, Sir, inform me still more," said the son. "Be it so, my child!" the father replied. "Fetch me from thence a fruit of the Nyagrodha tree." "Here is one, Sir." "Break it." "It is broken Sir." "What do you see there?" "These seeds, almost infinitesimal." "Break one of them." "It is broken, Sir." "What do you see there?" "Not anything, Sir." The father said: "My son, that subtle essence which you do not perceive there, of that very essence this great Nyagrodha tree exists. Believe it, my son. That which is the subtle essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self, and thou, O Svetaketu, art it." "Please, Sir, inform me still more," said the son. "Be it so, my child," the father replied.

"Place this salt in water, and then wait on me in the morning." The son did as he was commanded. The father said to him: "Bring me the salt, which you placed in the water last night." The son having looked for it, found it not, for, of course, it was melted. The father said: "Taste it from the surface of the water. How is it?" The son replied: "It is salt." "Taste it from the middle. How is it?" The son replied: "It is salt." "Taste it from the bottom, how is it?" The son replied: "It is salt." The father said: "Throw it away and then wait on me." He did so; but salt exists forever. Then the father said: "Here also, in this body, forsooth, you do not perceive the True [Sat], my son; but there indeed it is."

"That which is the subtle essence [that is, the saltiness of the salt], in it all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self, and thou, O Svetaketu, art it." "Please Sir, inform me still more," said the son. "Be it so, my child," the father replied. (Translation by Max Muller).

Let us turn to another part of this Upanishad, to the eighth lecture. And we read as follows: "Harih, Om." Hari is the name of several Deities - of Shiva, and Vishnu - but here, apparently, it is used for Shiva, which, as our first Teacher has taught us, is preeminently the divine protector of the mystic occultist. 'Om' is a word considered very holy in the Brahmanical literature. It is a syllable of invocation, and its general usage, as elucidated in the literature treating of it, which is rather voluminous, for this word 'Om' has attained to almost divinity, is that it should never be uttered aloud, or in the presence of an outsider, a foreigner, or a non-Initiate, but it should be uttered in the silence of one's heart, in the intimacy of one's inner closet. [14] We also have reason to believe, however, that it was uttered, and uttered aloud in a monotone by the disciples in the presence of their Teacher. This word is always placed at the beginning of any scripture that is considered of unusual sanctity.

The teaching is, that prolonging the uttering of this word, both of the O and the M, with the mouth closed (precisely as the Teacher has taught us to do it in this School), it reechoes in and arouses vibration in the skull, and affects, if the aspirations be pure, the different nervous centers of the body for great good.

The Brahmanas say that it is an unholy thing to utter this word in any place which is unholy. I now read:

There is this city of Brahman [that is, the heart and the body], and in it the palace, the small lotus (of the heart), and in it that small ether.

The Sanskrit word which Muller, the translator, has not given here for 'small ether', doubtless because he knew not how to translate it, is antarakasa, a compound Sanskrit word meaning within the Akasa. He called it 'small ether', doubtless because he knew not how to translate it - too difficult. I read again:

Now what exists within that small ether, that it is to be sought for, that is to be understood. And if they should say to him: "Now with regard to that city of Brahman, and the palace in it, i.e., the small lotus of the heart, and the small ether within the heart, what is there within it that deserves to be sought for, or that is to be understood?"

Then he should say: "As large as this ether (all space) is, so large is that ether within the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained within it, both fire and air, both Sun and Moon, both lightning and stars; and whatever there is of him (the Self) here in the world, and whatever is not [i.e., 'whatever has been or will be' says Max Muller], all that is contained within it."

And if they should say to him: "If everything that exists is contained in that city of Brahman, all beings and all desires (whatever can be imagined or desired), then what is left of it, when old age reaches it and scatters it, or when it falls to pieces?"

Then he should say: "By the old age of the body, that (the ether, or Brahman within it) does not age; by the death of the body, that (the ether, or the Brahman within it) is not killed. That (the Brahman) is the true Brahma-city (not the body). In it all [true] desires are contained. It is the Self, free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine. Now as here on earth people follow as they are commanded, and depend on the object which they are attached to, be it a country or a piece of land,"

"And, as here on earth, whatever has been acquired by exertion, perishes, so perishes whatever is acquired for the next world by [15] sacrifices and other good actions performed on earth. Those who depart from hence without having discovered the Self and those true desires, for them there is no freedom in all the worlds. But those who depart from hence, after having discovered the Self and those true desires, for them there is freedom in all the worlds." [16]

Chapter III


Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition. To the untrained eye of the savage, a painting is at first an unmeaning confusion of streaks and daubs of color, while an educated eye sees instantly a face or a landscape. Nothing is permanent except the one hidden absolute existence which contains in itself the noumena of all realities. The existences belonging to every plane of being, up to the highest Dhyani-Chohans, are, in degree, of the nature of shadows cast by a magic lantern on a colorless screen; but all things are relatively real, for the cogniser is also a reflection, and the things cognised are therefore as real to him as himself. Whatever reality things possess must be looked for in them before or after they have passed like a flash through the material world; but we cannot cognise any such existence directly, so long as we have sense-instruments which bring only material existence into the field of our consciousness. Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities. As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached "reality"; but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 39, 40

The Universe is called, with everything in it, MAYA, because all is temporary therein, from the ephemeral life of a firefly to that of the Sun. Compared to the eternal immutability of the One, and the changelessness of that Principle, the Universe, with its evanescent ever-changing forms, must be necessarily, in the mind of a philosopher, no better than a will-o'-the-wisp. Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious beings in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 274

In taking up again this evening our study of The Secret Doctrine at the point we reached a fortnight ago, I open Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's book, the first volume, at page 17, and read the third fundamental postulate - at least a portion of it:

The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul - a spark of the former - though the Cycle of Incarnation (or "Necessity") in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle - or the OVER-SOUL - has (a) passed through [17] every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-buddha).

Paul, the Apostle of the Christians "to the Gentiles", as they call him, according to the Christian Gospels in Acts, xvii, verses 23-28, spoke to an assembly of the Athenians on Mars Hill, commonly called the Areopagus, and he said the following (the translation being ours):

For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription: "To the Unknowable God." For in It we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, "For we are also of Its line."

The poets of whom Paul speaks were probably Cleanthes the Stoic, and Aratus. It is perhaps well to mention that the sense of 'Unknowable', as used in connection with this word Agnostos, is that employed by Homer, by Plato, and by Aristotle. This Greek word Agnostos also permits the translation 'unknown', but merely because the Unknown in this connection is the Unknowable.

The Athenians had raised an altar to the Ineffable, and with the true spirit of religious devotion they left it without further qualification; and Paul, passing by and seeing it, thought he saw an excellent chance to 'make hay while the sun shone', so to say, and claimed the Unknowable to which this altar had been raised, as the Jewish God, Jehovah.

A fortnight ago, following the Teacher's instructions, we stated how it was that man could form some conception of that Ineffable Principle of which Helena Petrovna Blavatsky speaks on pages 14-19 of her Secret Doctrine, as being the first of the three fundamental postulates, necessary in order to understand the true teachings of the Esoteric Wisdom; and we saw that man has in himself, as was then said, a faculty transcending the ordinary human intellectual power - something in him by which he can raise himself upwards or, perhaps better, inwards, towards the Inmost Center of his own being, which in very truth is that Ineffable: from It we came, back to It we are journeying through the aeons of time.

All the ancient philosophers taught the truth concerning this same fundamental principle, each in his own way, each with different terms, each in the language of the country where it was promulgated, but always there was taught the central truth: that in the inmost being of man there lives a divinity, and this [18] divinity is the offspring of the Highest, and that man can become a God in the flesh or he can sink - as the Teacher's words have told us this evening - lower even than the common average of humanity, so that he becomes at first obsessed or beset, and finally possessed by the daemons of his own lower nature and by those of the lower sphere; and by these particular daemons we mean the elemental forces of life, of chaotic life, or of the material sphere of being.

Again, how is it that man cannot see these truths intimately and immediately? We all know the answer is, on account of the illusion under which his mind labors, the illusion which is a part of himself, not cast upon him from the outside: he sees, for instance, and his mind reacts to the vision, and the reaction is conducted along the lines of the illusion, which, taking the ancient Sanskrit word, our first Teacher has called Maya.

This is a technical term in the ancient Brahmanical philosophy. Let us examine its root. What does the word Maya come from? It comes from a Sanskrit root ma; the meaning of ma is to measure, and by a trope of speech - that is by a figure of speech - it comes to mean to effect, or to form, and hence to limit. There is an English word mete, meaning to measure out, from the same Indo-European root. It is found in the Anglo-Saxon as the root met, it is found in the Greek as med, and it is found in the Latin also in the same form.

Now Maya, as a technical term, has come to mean - ages ago in the wonderful Brahmanical philosophy it was understood very differently from what it is now usually understood to be - the fabrication by man's mind of ideas derived from interior and exterior impressions, and hence the illusory aspect of man's thoughts as he considers and tries to interpret and understand life and his surroundings - and thence was derived the sense which it technically bears, illusion. It does not mean that the exterior world is non-existent; if it were, it obviously could not be illusory; it exists, but is not. It is 'measured out' or it stands out to the human spirit as a mirage. In other words, we do not see clearly and plainly and in their reality the vision and the visions which our mind and senses present to the inner life and eye.

The familiar illustrations of Maya in the Vedanta, which is the highest form that the Brahmanical teachings have taken, and which is so near to our own teaching in many respects, were such as follows: A man at eventide sees a coiled rope on the ground, and springs aside, thinking it a serpent. The rope is there, but no serpent.

Another illustration is what is called the 'horns of the hare'. Now the animal called the hare has no horns, but when it also [19] is seen at eventide its long ears seem to project from its head in such fashion that it appears even to the seeing eye as being a creature with horns. The hare has no horns, but there is then in the mind an illusory belief that an animal with horns exists there.

That is what Maya means: not that a thing seen does not exist, but that we are blinded and our mind perverted by our own thoughts and our own imperfections, and do not as yet arrive at the real interpretation and meaning of the world, of the universe around us. By ascending inwardly, by rising up, by inner aspiration, by an elevation of soul, we can reach upwards or rather inwards toward that plane where Truth abides in fullness.

Bernard of Clairvaux, the French mystic of the Middle Ages, said that one way of doing this, and he spoke truly, was by 'emptying the mind', pouring out the trashy stuff it contains, the illusory beliefs, the false views, the hatreds, suspicions, carelessness, etc., and that by emptying out all this trash, the temple within is cleansed, and the light from the God within streams forth into the soul - a wonderful figure of thought for a Christian Mystic, but a true one.

It may be asked: What relationship has our wonderful philosophy to the many so-called idealistic systems of Europe, particularly in Germany, and represented by Bishop Berkeley in Britain? The answer is that there are points of contact, naturally, because the men who evolved these systems of philosophy were earnest men, and no man can earnestly think and strive upwards without arriving at some visions of truth, some faint perceptions of the inner life - but none of the systems of idealism which they taught is exactly the idealism; which Theosophy is. Theosophy is not an absolute idealism, it does not teach that the external universe is absolutely non-existent and that all external phenomena merely exist in the mind.

Theosophy is not exactly either the idealism of Kant nor the wonderful pessimistic idealism of Schopenhauer - wonderful as this great thinker was, and wonderful precisely because he derived his knowledge (and confessed it openly) from the Orient. The idealism of Theosophy is nearest to the philosophy of the German philosopher, von Schelling, who taught (principally) that truth was to be perceived by receding inwards and taking it from the Spirit, and that the outward world is 'dead mind' or perhaps rather inert mind - not the mind of the thinker obviously, but the mind of the Deity. Now this is called 'objective idealism' because it recognizes the external object as having existence; it is not non-existent, as absolute idealism would put it. Schelling's ideas come nearest but by no means equal the grandiose [20] teaching which our great Teachers have taught us is the Truth.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky says on page 631 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine:

Esoteric philosophy, teaching an objective Idealism - though it regards the objective Universe and all in it as Maya, temporary illusion - draws a practical distinction between collective illusion, Mahamaya, from the purely metaphysical standpoint, and the objective relations in it between various conscious Egos so long as this illusion lasts.

The teaching, as all older students of the Esoteric School know - and I believe that many of them are here present this evening - is that Maya is thus called from the action of Mula-prakriti, or root-nature, the coordinate principle of that other line of coactive consciousness which we call Para-brahman. We remember that we discussed these questions at our former meeting, and we say that from the moment when manifestation begins, it acts dualistically, that is to say, that everything in Nature from that point onwards is crossed by pairs of opposites, such as long and short, high and low, night and day, good and evil, consciousness and non-consciousness, etc. - and that all these things are essentially mayavic or illusory - real while they last, but the lasting is not eternal. It is through and by these pairs of opposites that the self-conscious soul learns Truth.

What is the basis of morals? This is the most important question that can be asked of any system of thought. Is morality based on the dicta of man? Is morality based on the conviction in most men's hearts that for human safety it is necessary to have certain abstract rules which it is merely convenient to follow? Are we mere opportunists? or is morality, ethics, based on Truth, which it is not merely expedient for man to follow, but needful, necessary? Surely upon the latter!

And in the third Fundamental Postulate which we read at the opening of our study this evening, we find, as was before said, the very elements, the very fundamentals, of a system of morality greater than which, profounder than which, more persuasive than which, perhaps, it would be impossible to imagine anything.

On what, then, is morality based? And by morality I mean not merely the opinion which some pseudo-philosophers have, that morality is more or less that which is 'good for the community', based on the mere meaning of the Latin word mores, 'good customs', as opposed to bad. No! morality is that instinctive hunger of the human heart to do righteousness, to do good to every man because it is good and satisfying and ennobling to do so.

When man realizes that he is one with all that is, inwards and outwards, high and low; that he is one with them, not merely [21] as members of a community are one, not merely as individuals of an army are one, but like the molecules of our own flesh, like the atoms of the molecule, like the electrons of the atom, composing one unity - not a mere union but a spiritual unity - then he sees Truth.

Everyone of us belongs to, and is an inhering part of, that Sublime and Ineffable Mystery - the ALL - which contains and is individual and spiritual unity.

We have all of us one inward universal Self, and each one has also his individual ego. The ego springs from the Self and the Self is the Ineffable, the Inmost of the Inmost, one in all of us - giving each one of us that sense of selfhood; although by extension of meaning we also speak, and properly speak, of the 'lower self', because this is a tiny ray from the Highest. Even the evil man, as our present great Teacher has taught us, has in himself not merely the spark of the divine, but the very ray of divinity itself: he is both the selfish ego and the Universal Self.

Why then are we taught that when we attain selflessness, we attain the Divine? Precisely because selflessness is the attribute of the Paramatman, the Universal Self, where all personality vanishes. Paramatman is a Sanskrit compound, meaning highest or supreme self.

If we examine our own spirits, if we reach inwards, if we stretch ourselves inwards, as it were, towards the Inmost, every one of us may know that as he goes farther, farther, farther in, the self becomes selfless, the light becomes pure glory.

What a thought, that in the heart of each one of us there dwells, there lives, the Ever-Unfolding, the Constant, the Eternal, the Changeless, knowing no death, knowing no sorrow, the very divinity of all! How it dignifies human life! What courage does it give to us! How does it clear away all of the old moldy superstitions! What unspeakable visions of Reality, of the Truth, do we obtain when we go inwards, after having emptied the mind, as Bernard says, of all the mental trash that encumbers it!

These are the doctrines of our Teachers; our present Outer Head is telling us it daily, hinting at it in this way and in that way, using these words and those words, taking the opportunity on every occasion that presents itself to awaken us, to instill these eternal truths into us.

When man has reached the state where he realizes this and has so 'emptied his mind' that it is filled only with the Self Itself, with the selfless selfhood of the Eternal - what did the ancients call this state? What did they call such a man himself? They called the state, 'Bodhi'; and they called the human, 'Buddha'; and the organ in and by which it was manifested, 'Buddhi'. All these words came from a Sanskrit root, meaning to awaken. [22] When man has awakened from the living death in which we live, when he has cast off the toils of mind and flesh and, to use the old Christian term, has put on the 'garments of eternity', then he has awakened, he is a Buddha. And the ancient Brahmanical teachings, found today even in the Vedanta, state that he has become one with - not 'absorbed' as is constantly translated - but has become one with the Self of selves, with the Paramatman, the Supreme Self.

Hearken a moment to the wisdom of the ancient Orient, not the voice of modern Brahmanism (excepting the Vedanta) but to a book which was ancient before our ancestors knew anything higher than the quasi-barbaric ideas which Europe had two thousand years ago.

We read from the Chhanadogya-Upanishad, one of the most important of the 108 or more Upanishads. The very word 'Upanishad' signifies 'Esoteric treatise'. We read from the eighth lecture, seventh, eighth, and ninth sections. They contain such truth that the Teacher has permitted us to take up our time in reading it.

"Prajapati said" - we interrupt by saying that Prajapati is a Sanskrit word meaning governor or lord or master of progeny. The word is applied to many of the Vedic gods, but in particular to Brahm_ - that is to say the third step from Para-brahman - the evolver-creator, the first and most recondite figure of the triad consisting of Brahm_, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahm_ is the Emanator or Evolver, Vishnu the Sustainer or Preserver, and Shiva, which may be translated euphemistically perhaps as 'beneficent', the Regenerator. This name is very obscure. However:

Prajapati said: "The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires."

We interrupt to ask why? Because this Self of selves, this Inmost, is all worlds: it is All, it is Everything. Now to quote:

The Devas [gods] and Asuras [demons] both heard these words, and said: "Well, let us search for that Self by which, if one has searched it out, all worlds and all desires are obtained."

Thus saying Indra went from the Devas, Virochana from the Asuras, and both, without having communicated with each other, approached Prajapati, holding fuel in their hands, as is the custom for pupils approaching their master.

They dwelt there as pupils for thirty-two years. Then Prajapati asked them: "For what purpose have you dwelt here?" [23]

They replied: "A saying of yours is being repeated, viz. 'the Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.' Now we both have dwelt here because we wish is for that Self."

Prajapati said to them: "The person that is seen in the eye, that is the Self. This is what I have said. This is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman."

Interrupting: the Self that is seen in the eye is a figure of speech not infrequently found in the ancient Sanskrit writings; it signifies that sense of an indwelling presence that one sees when he looks into the eyes of another.

They asked: "Sir, he who is perceived in the water, and he who is perceived in a mirror, who is he?"

He replied: "He himself indeed is seen in all these."

(Eighth Section) "Look at your Self in a pan of water, and whatever you do not understand of your Self, come and tell me."

They looked in the water-pan. Then Prajapati said to them:

"What do you see?"

They said: "We both see the self thus altogether, a picture even to the very hairs and nails."

Prajapati said to them: "After you have adorned yourselves, look again into the water-pan."

They, after having adorned themselves, having put on their best clothes and cleaned themselves, looked into the water-pan.

Prajapati said: "What do you see?"

They said: "Just as we are, well adorned, with our best clothes and clean, thus we are both there, Sir, well adorned, with our best clothes and clean."

Prajapati said "That is the Self, this is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman."

Then both went away satisfied in their hearts.

And Prajapati, looking after them, said: "They both go away without having perceived and without having known the Self, and whoever of these two, whether Devas or Asuras, will follow this doctrine will perish."

Interrupting: they saw Maya and not the Self.

Now Virochana, satisfied in his heart, went to the Asuras and preached that doctrine to them, that the self (the body) alone is to be worshiped, that the self (the body) alone is to be served, and that he who worships the self, and serves the self, gains both worlds, this and the next.

Therefore they call even now a man who does not give alms here, who has no faith, and offers no sacrifices, an Asura, for this is the doctrine of Asuras. They deck out the body of the dead with perfumes, [24] flowers, and fine raiment by way of ornament, and think they will thus conquer that world.

(Ninth Section) But Indra, before he had returned to the Devas, saw this difficulty.

Interrupting: the difficulty now comes which Indra saw.

As this self (the shadow in the water) is well adorned, when the body is well adorned, well dressed, when the body is well dressed, well cleaned, if the body is well cleaned, that self will also be blind, if the body is blind, lame, if the body is lame, crippled if the body is crippled, and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes. Therefore I see no good in this (doctrine).

Taking fuel in his hand he came again as a pupil to Prajapati. Prajapati said to him: "Maghavat [Indra], as you went away with Virochana, satisfied in your heart, for what purpose did you come back?"

He said: "Sir, as this self (the shadow) is well adorned, when the body is well adorned, well dressed, when the body is well dressed, well cleaned, if the body is well cleaned, that self will also be blind, if the body is blind, lame if the body is lame, crippled if the body is crippled, and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes. Therefore I see no good in this (doctrine)."

"So it is indeed, Maghavat," replied Prajapati; "but I shall explain him (the true Self) further to you. Live with me another thirty-two years."

Indra was able to see beyond the maya of the personal self, and therefore was searching for the Real, for the True, the Self Itself.

The translation is Max Muller's. It may be well to add in conclusion that all translations which have been made and may hereafter be made are made by ourself, from any one of the ancient languages, and if any quotation is taken from another translator, his name will be given. [25]

Chapter IV


The Scintillas are the "Souls," and these Souls appear in the threefold form of Monads (units), atoms, and gods - according to our teaching. "Every atom becomes a visible complex unit (a molecule), and once attracted into the sphere of terrestrial activity, the Monadic Essence, passing through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, becomes man." (Esoteric Catechism.) Again, "God, Monad, and Atom are the correspondences of Spirit, Mind, and Body (Atma, Manas, and Sthula-sharira) in man." In their septenary aggregation they are the "Heavenly Man" (see Kabala for the latter term); thus, terrestrial man is the provisional reflection of the Heavenly ¼ "The Monads (Jivas) are the Souls of the Atoms, both are a fabric in which the Chohans (Dhyanis, gods) clothe themselves when a form is needed." (Esoteric Catechism.)

- Secret Doctrine, I, 619

Para-brahman (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol. But once that we pass in thought from this (to us) Absolute Negation, duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object.

Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Para-brahman) which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.


Hence it will be apparent that the contrast of these two aspects of the Absolute is essential to the existence of the "Manifested Universe." Apart from Cosmic Substance, Cosmic Ideation could not manifest as individual consciousness, since it is only through a vehicle of matter that consciousness wells up as "I am I," a physical basis being necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity. Again, apart from Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance would remain an empty abstraction, and no emergence of consciousness could ensue.

The "Manifested Universe," therefore, is pervaded by duality, which is, as it were, the very essence of its EX-istence as "manifestation." But just as the opposite poles of subject and object, spirit and matter, are but aspects of the One Unity in which they are synthesized, so, in the manifested Universe, there is "that" which links spirit to matter, subject to object.

This something, at present unknown to Western speculation, is called by the occultists Fohat. It is the "bridge" by which the "Ideas" existing in the "Divine Thought" are impressed on Cosmic substance as the "laws of Nature."

- Secret Doctrine, I, 15, 16

Before we open our study of The Secret Doctrine this evening, it should be said that the Teacher has asked me to repeat what was before stated with reference to the nature of these studies, that is, that they are a simplification of The Secret Doctrine in the sense of an explanation and unfolding of the meaning of the teachings that the book contains; and in order to achieve these ends, it will be of course necessary to bring to bear upon these doctrines for comparison and in order to show analogy or identity, lines of thought from [26] the great religions of the world and from the great minds of ancient times; because these, in their essence, have sprung from the central source of men's thought and religion which we today call Theosophy.

Yet before we can really embark upon the study of The Secret Doctrine itself, as a book, it will be necessary during the course of our studies to clear from our path certain stumbling-blocks which are in the way of each of us; certain ideas and so-called principles of thought which have been instilled into our minds from childhood, and which, on account of the psychological effect they have on our minds, really prevent us from grasping the truths of Being that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky has so masterly given us in The Secret Doctrine.

In addition, it will be necessary to investigate certain very ancient principles of thought, and to penetrate more deeply into the real meaning of the ancient religions and philosophies than has ever been done in any modern books, because those books have been written by men who know nothing about the Esoteric Philosophy, men who were mostly rebels against the barren ecclesiasticism of the Christian Church; who, in order to gain freedom from those chains of ecclesiasticism, actually went too far the other way, and saw nothing but priestcraft and evil-doing in these old religions, and in the acts and teachings of the men who taught them, priests, philosophers, or scientists.

We really, also, cannot understand The Secret Doctrine unless we have made these preliminary studies. We may read it as a book, as we would take down a book from the shelf in the public library and read it, but in doing so we do not get the essence, the heart, the core of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's meaning.

Another point always to keep in mind is, that we are, as the Teacher has told us more than once in these meetings, actually assembled here as fellow-students and members of the Inner School - we are undertaking the study of the very doctrines which formed the core of the heart of the teachings of the Mysteries of ancient days. These Mysteries were divided into two general parts, the Lesser Mysteries and the Greater.

The Lesser Mysteries were very largely composed of dramatic rites or ceremonies, with some teaching; the Greater Mysteries were composed of, or conducted almost entirely on the ground of, study, and later were proved by personal experience in initiation. In the latter was explained - among other things - the secret meaning of the mythologies of the old religions, as for instance the Greek.

The active and nimble mind of the Greeks produced a mythology which for grace and beauty is perhaps without equal, but it nevertheless is very difficult to explain; the Mysteries of Samothrace [27] and of Eleusis - the greater ones - explained among other things what these myths meant. These myths formed the basis of the exoteric religions; but note well that exotericism does not mean that the thing which is taught exoterically is in itself false, but merely that it is a teaching given without the key to it: such teaching is symbolic, illusory, touching on the truth: the truth is there, but without the key to it - which is the esoteric meaning - it yields no proper sense.

We open our study of The Secret Doctrine, this evening, by reading from Volume I, page 43, second and third paragraphs:

The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. Our "Universe" is only one of an infinite number of Universes, all of them "Sons of Necessity," because links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards its predecessor, and being a cause as regards its successor.

The appearance and disappearance of the Universe are pictured as an outbreathing and inbreathing of "the Great Breath," which is eternal, and which, being Motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute - Abstract Space and Duration being the other two. When "the Great Breath" is projected, it is called the Divine Breath, and is regarded as the breathing of the Unknowable Deity - the One Existence - which breathes out a thought, as it were, which becomes the Kosmos. (See Isis Unveiled.) So also it is when the Divine Breath is inspired again the Universe disappears into the bosom of "the Great Mother," who then sleeps, "wrapped in her invisible robes."

A fortnight ago we were studying the question of Maya and the relationship of the inner being of man to the Ineffable Essence; it remains for us briefly to study how man, who has a personal element in him, sprang forth from the very essence of impersonality, if one may so call it. We can say at once that the Infinite and Impersonal never becomes finite and personal. How, then, does the spirit of man (already the first film over the face of the Absolute, as it were) come into being? Let us remember that the manifestation of worlds, and, deductively, of the beings who inhabit those worlds, took place in the extension of matter popularly called 'space'. A center, first, is 'localized' - a very poor word to use! - and is, de facto, not infinite, not eternal; if it were, it could neither manifest nor come into outward existence, for this is limitation. The Eternal, the Ineffable, the Infinite, does not ever manifest at all, either partially or in toto. Words themselves are misleading in treating of these subjects; but what can we say? We must use human expressions in order to convey our Meaning.

How then arose manifestation? The Ancient Wisdom tells [28] us the following: In the seeds of life remaining in space from a planet which had previously run its Manvantara and had passed into latency or Prakriti Pralaya - there came (when the hour struck for manifestation to begin again) into being in these seeds of life the activity called in Sanskrit trishna (thirst, if you like, desire for manifestation), thus forming the center around which was to gather a new universe. It had by karmic necessity its particular place in space and was to produce its particular kind of progeny: gods, monads, atoms, men, and the three elementary - or elemental - kingdoms of the world as we see it around us: from the karmic seeds which were brought over and which were lying latent from the preceding Manvantara.

The Universe reembodies itself (it does not 'reincarnate', which means coming into flesh), following precisely the analogical lines, mutatis mutandis, that the soul of man does in reincarnating, making the necessary allowances for varying conditions. As man is the product of his former life, or rather of his lives, so is a universe, a solar system, a planet, an animal, an atom - the very great as well as the so-called infinitesimal - the fruitage, the flower, of what went before. Each of these bears its load of karma precisely as the soul of man does.

The teachings relating to the evolving of the inner planes of Being, which precede and produce the outer planes, are very esoteric, as our Teachers have told us, and belong to a study higher than we venture to approach at the present time, but we can form some general idea of how it is done, as has already been said, by analogy and by comparison with the life of man.

When manifestation begins, what is called 'duality' supervenes. It would seem to be a procession something like this, were we to symbolize it by the diagram shown.

Consider this uppermost straight line a hypothetical plane: it may be, humanly speaking, immeasurable miles in depth or in extension, but mere extension has nothing to do with the general concept. Above it stretches the infinitude of the Boundless, and below the diagram is the Boundless, and inwards through it is the Boundless, interpenetrating everywhere; but for purposes of our present illustration we will say that it is 'above'.

Let us place anywhere we may please a point A, another one A¢ here, and a third A² there. We have now reached, after a long period of latency or Pralaya has passed, a period of manifestation or Manvantara; such a point as A, or A¢ or A², we will call the Primordial Point, the first breaking-through into the cosmic plane below; the spirit-force above arising into activity in the seeds of being and forcing its way down into the lower life of manifestation - not pushed nor moved by anything outside of itself - is driven into manifestation by the karmic life of its own essential [29] [30] being, by the thirst of desire or blossoming forth, like a fresh upspringing in early summer of a flower, in which the tendency in manifestation is outward. This first appearance is conceived of in philosophy as the First or Primordial Point; this is the name given to it in the Jewish Theosophy called the Qabbalah.

From the moment that the Point, as it were the seed of life, the germ of being - all these are but names for the one thing, the spiritual atom, the spiritual monad, call it what you will - from the moment that it bursts through into the lower life as it were, differentiation or duality sets in and continues thenceforward to the end of the Great Cycle, forming the two side-lines of the diagrammatic triangle. We may call one A-B the Brahm_ (masculine), and the other A-C the Prakriti or Nature (feminine). Brahm_ is frequently also called Purusha, a Sanskrit word meaning Man, the Ideal Man, like the Qabbalistic Adam Qadmon, the primordial entity of space, containing in Prakriti or Nature all the septenary scales of manifested being.

At all times, from the very first instant when duality sets in, there is an unceasing attraction between these two lines or poles, and they join. Remember that this symbol is merely a paradigm, that it is merely a paradigmatic scheme or representation. Absolutely, it would be absurd to say that life and beings proceed into manifestation as geometric triangles only; but we can represent it symbolically to our minds in this fashion. When these two join, the Father and the Mother, spirit (or Reality) and illusion (or maya), Brahm_ (or Purusha) and Prakriti (or Nature), their union produces the Son. In the Christian scheme they give the spiritual or primordial Son the name of Christos; in the Egyptian scheme Osiris and Isis (or her twin sister Nephthys - which is merely the more recondite side of Isis) produce their son Horus, the spiritual Sun, physically the Sun or the Light-Bringer; and so similarly in the different schemes that the ancient world has handed down to us.

From the interaction of these three, by interpolar action, by the spiritual forces working in and out, two other lines fall downwards - according to the mystical way in which this scheme of emanation is taught - and they also join and form the square - or the manifested Kosmos.

Now from the Central or Primordial Point is born or proceeds the Sun of Life. By It and through It is our union with the Ineffable. Man may be down here a physical being on earth, or anywhere else a luminous, ethereal entity: but it matters not where he is or what his body: for once the seven principles of his being are in action, man the thinking entity, is produced, linked by his seventh principle, and his sixth, with that Sun of Life. [31]

To every 'man' of the unnamable multitudes of self-conscious beings belonging to this Kosmos or Universe, there extend respectively upwards or downwards, two natures: one of which is a ray of spirit connecting him with the divine of the Divinest, and from that extending upwards in all directions and linking us in every sense of the word with the Ineffable, the Boundless, which is, therefore, the core of our being, the center of our essence.

The appearance and evolution of man as a human being on this planet Terra, follow the same line of Nature's wonderful analogical working that a planet does in space, or a Sun does with its brothers of a solar system, the planets. Man, thus being in very truth a child of Infinity, the offspring of the Ineffable, has latent within himself the capacity of the Universe.

And on this fact depends what we have so often been told of the getting of 'powers'. The very method by which we do not get them, the very way of missing and losing them, is to run after them, strange as it may sound, because this is the impulse of vanity and selfishness. If we, then, selfishly seek them, what do we get? We get the action of the lower powers upon us; it is a growing thirst for sensation which we do get, and this leads us towards and into the nether abyss of Matter, the opposite pole of the Boundless, if it is followed.

But in the great Soul who has passed by and thrown off this thirst for personal acquisition, in whom the grasping spirit for self is no longer dominant, who feels his Oneness with everything that is, who feels that every human being, yea the very pismire that laboriously crawls up a sand-knob only to tumble down again, is himself - no metaphor but an actuality: a different body, but the same life, the same essence, the same things latent in it as in him - in him indeed lies the power of ascending the ladder of Being, drawn by the link with the Highest in his innermost nature. He and they are both filled full of latent powers and forces, and he and they may become in time very Gods, blazing, as it were, with power like the Sun; and the only way is utter selflessness, because selflessness, paradoxical as it may sound, is the only way to the Self, the Self Universal. The personal self shuts the door before us.

Of course we cannot crush out of our being the sense of selfhood, nor is that desirable; but in the lowest aspect it takes upon itself the forms of all selfishness, until the being of the man who follows the 'left-hand path', as they call it, or the path downwards, ends in what the early Christians - stealing from the Greeks - called Tartarus, the place of disintegration.

When man ascends beyond the reach of matter, he has cast off the bondage of Maya, or illusion. Let us remember that when [32] manifestation opens, Prakriti becomes or rather is Maya; and Brahm_, the Father, is the spirit of the consciousness, or the Individuality. These two are really one, yet they are also the two aspects of the one Life-ray acting and reacting upon itself, much as a man himself can say, "I am I". He has the faculty of self-analysis, or self-division; all of us know it, we can feel it in ourselves; one side of us, in our thoughts, can be called the Prakriti or the material element, or the Mayavi element, or the element of illusion; and the other, the spirit, the individuality, the God within.

Yet as man sees life, as he runs his eye down the scale of beings, he sees it through Maya; in fact, he is the child of Maya on one side, as he is of the Spirit on the other. Both are in him. His lesson is to learn that the two are one and that they are not separate; then he no longer is deceived. His lesson is to understand that Maya, the great Deluder, is the famous snake or serpent of antiquity, which leads us out from the 'Garden of Eden' (employing a Biblical metaphor), through experience and suffering to learn what illusion is - and is not.

Also matter, which is the mayavi manifestation of Prakriti on this plane (and I mean here physical matter), itself is not substantial. The most dense and rigid things we can think of, perhaps, are the metals, and actually they are, perhaps, the most porous, the most foamlike, the most evanescent, as seen from the other or higher side of being, from the other side of the plane. So well is this now beginning to be understood that even our more intuitive scientists are telling us that 'space', which seems to us so thin, and tenuous, is in reality more rigid than the hardest steel. Why is it that electricity prefers metals as a path, to common wood, or cotton-wool, or some other such thing?

Before we go farther, it would seem necessary to study a little what we mean by the words Manvantara and Pralaya. Let us take Manvantara first. This word is a Sanskrit compound, and as such means nothing more than 'between two Manus'; more literally, 'Manu - between'. 'Manu', or 'Dhyani-Chohan,' in the Esoteric System, is the entities collectively which appear first at the beginning of manifestation and from which, like a cosmic tree, everything is derived or born. Manu actually is the (spiritual) tree of life of any Planetary Chain, of manifested being. Manu is thus (in one sense) the third logos; as the second is the Father-Mother, the Brahm_ and Prakriti; and the first is what we call the Unmanifest Logos, or Brahman (neuter) and its cosmic veil Pradhana.

Pradhana is also a Sanskrit compound, meaning that which is 'placed before'; and from this, it has become a technical term in philosophy, and means what we would call the first [33] filmy appearance of root-matter, 'placed before', or rather around, Brahman, as a Veil. Root-matter is mula-prakriti, root-nature, and corresponding to it as the other or active pole, is Brahman (neuter). That from which the First or Unmanifest Logos proceeds is called Para-brahman, and Mula-prakriti is Its Kosmic Veil. Para-brahman is another Sanskrit compound, meaning 'beyond Brahman'. Mula-prakriti, again, as said above, is a Sanskrit compound meaning mula-root, prakriti-nature.

First, then, the Boundless, symbolized by the ¡; then Para-brahman, and Mula-prakriti its other pole; then lower, Brahman and its Veil Pradhana; then Brahm_-prakriti or Purusha-prakriti (Prakriti being also maya); the manifested Universe appearing through and by this last: Brahm_-prakriti, Father-Mother. In other words, the second logos, Father-Mother, is the producing cause of manifestation through their son, which in a Planetary Chain is Manu. A Manvantara, therefore, is the period of activity between any two Manus, on any plane, since in any such period there is a root-Menu at the beginning of Evolution, and a seed-Menu at its close, preceding a Pralaya.

Pralaya: this is also a Sanskrit compound, formed of laya, from a Sanskrit root li, and the prefix pra. What does li mean? It means to dissolve, to melt away, to liquefy, as when one pours water upon a cube of salt or of sugar. The cube of salt or of sugar vanishes in the water; it dissolves, changes its form; and this may be taken as a figure, as a symbol, of what Pralaya is: a crumbling away, a vanishing away of matter into something else which is yet in it, and surrounds it, and interpenetrates it. That is Pralaya, usually translated as the state of latency, state of rest, state of repose, between two Manvantaras or lifecycles. If we remember distinctly the meaning of the Sanskrit word, our minds take a new bent in direction, follow a new thought; we get new ideas; we penetrate into the arcanum of the thing that takes place.

Now there are many kinds of Manvantaras; also many kinds of Pralayas. There are, for instance, the Universal Manvantara and the Universal Pralaya, and these are called Prakritika, because it is the Pralaya or vanishing away, melting away, of Prakriti or Nature. Then there is the Solar Pralaya. Sun in Sanskrit is Surya, and the adjective from this is Saurya; hence, the Saurya Pralaya, Saurya Pralaya, the Pralaya of the solar system. Then, thirdly, there is the terrestrial or Planetary Pralaya. The Sanskrit word for earth is Bhumi, and the adjective corresponding to this is Bhaumika: hence, the Bhaumika Pralaya. Then we can say that there is the Pralaya or death of the individual man. Man is purusha; the corresponding adjective is paurusha: hence, the Paurusha Pralaya, or death of man. So, then, we have given examples of [34] various pralayas: first of the Prakritika, or dissolution of Nature; next the Solar Pralaya, the Saurya; next the Bhaumika or the passing away of the earth; and then the Paurusha, or the death of man. And these adjectives apply equally well to the several kinds of Manvantaras, or lifecycles.

There is another kind of Pralaya which is called Nitya. In its general sense, it means 'constant' or 'continuous', and can be exemplified by the constant or continuous change - life and death - of the cells of our bodies - it is a state in which the entity, the indwelling and dominating entity, remains, but its different principles and rupas undergo continuous change. Hence it is called Nitya. It applies to the body of man, to the outer sphere of earth, to the earth itself, to the solar system, and to all Nature.

It is likewise represented by a symbol that our first great Teacher, H.P. Blavatsky, has given us from the Oriental Wisdom, the out-breathing and in-breathing of Brahm_. This symbol, by the way, is not solely Indian. It is found in the ancient Egyptian texts, where one or another of the Gods, Khnumu, for instance, breathes forth from his mouth the cosmic egg. It is also found alluded to in the Orphic Hymns, where the cosmic serpent breathes forth as an egg the things which are to be, or the future universe. Everywhere, especially where ancient religion or philosophy has longest retained its hold, there do we find the symbol of the cosmic egg. Religions of less age and of less influence do not so often employ it. The cosmic egg was found as a symbol in Egypt; it was found in Hindustan; it was found in Peru, where the 'Mighty Man', the Sanskrit Purusha, the Ideal Man, the Paradigmatic Man, was called Manco Capac, and his wife and sister was called Mama Oello, which means 'Mother-egg'; these brought the universe into being, becoming later the Sun and the Moon respectively.

Why did the Ancients symbolize the beginning of manifestation under the form of an egg? Let us ask: Is it not a fine symbol? As the egg producing the chick contains the germ of life (laid by its mother, the hen, and fructified by the other pole of being) so the cosmic egg, which is the Primordial Point of which we spoke in the early part of our study this evening, also contains the germ of life. The egg itself also can be called the germ of life, and the germ of life within the egg can be called the inner germ - that more subtle point which receives those impulses of which we have spoken before, coming down from the highest center of communication between the outward world and the inner, the lines of inner magnetic action and reaction. And when the chick within the egg is formed, it bursts its shell and comes forth into the light of day, precisely as we saw was the case with the Primordial Point. When the karmic hour had struck, it burst forth, as it were, into [35] other spheres of manifestation and activity. The Ancients, carrying the figure still farther, even spoke of Heaven as a domelike affair, as the upper part of an egg-shell.

Let us think more deeply of these ancient symbols. The Ancients were not fools. There is a deep meaning in these olden figures of speech. Why did Homer speak of his Olympus, the abode of Zeus and the Gods, as being brazen, like brass, one of the hardest and most intractable things that the Greeks knew? Why did Hesiod speak of the same as made of iron? Because they realized that the life here in matter and of matter, was based upon an evanescent substratum, and that the lower world of matter is, as has been so often said, evanescent, foamy, full of holes, as it were, and unreal. [36]

Chapter V


To make of Science an integral whole necessitates, indeed, the study of spiritual and psychic, as well as physical, Nature. Otherwise it will ever be like the anatomy of man, discussed of old by the profane from the point of view of his shell-side and in ignorance of the interior work ¼

¼ The duty of the Occultist lies with the Soul and Spirit of Cosmic Space, not merely with its illusive appearance and behavior. That of official physical science is to analyze and study its shell - the Ultima Thule of the Universe and man, in the opinion of Materialism.

With the latter, Occultism has nought to do. It is only with the theories of such men of learning as Kepler, Kant, Oersted, and Sir W. Herschel, who believed in a Spiritual world, that Occult Cosmogony might treat, and attempt a satisfactory compromise. But the views of those physicists differed vastly from the latest modern speculations. Kant and Herschel had in their mind's eye speculations upon the origin and the final destiny, as well as the present aspect, of the Universe, from a far more philosophical and psychic standpoint; whereas modern Cosmology and Astronomy now repudiate anything like research into the mysteries of being. The result is what might be expected: complete failure and inextricable contradictions in the thousand and one varieties of so-called scientific theories, and in this theory as in all others.

The nebular hypothesis, involving the theory of the existence of a primeval matter, diffused in a nebulous condition, is of no modern date in astronomy as everyone knows. Anaximenes, of the Ionian school, had already taught that the sidereal bodies were formed through the progressive condensation of a primordial pregenetic matter, which had almost a negative weight, and was spread out through Space in an extremely sublimated condition.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 588-590

With the Teacher's permission there are three points which it would seem necessary to touch upon slightly, before we begin our evening's study.

The first is with regard to the question of morals, that is to say, right conduct based upon right views, right thinking. We have touched upon this matter at nearly every meeting of this Lodge, because the line, the path, of duty - of right conduct based upon right views - is the Path of all who would tread onward to the Ancient Wisdom and to the Ancient Mysteries. Our Teachers have told us this again and again, and the great thinkers, philosophers, and religious men, of all ages, have told us the same thing.

These meetings, as our present Teacher has told us so often, are not for purposes of intellectual study only, nor to amuse ourselves with abstruse and mystic knowledge; but mainly, firstly, principally, for the purpose of gaining a right foundation for right views, which shall govern human conduct. When we have this [37] foundation we have the beginnings of all laws; we can affect the world not only by our own views and by our own acts, but by those of other members who will come in and swell our number; and, further, we shall be able in time to affect for good even the governments of the world, not directly and immediately perhaps, but at least indirectly and in the course of time. All the horrible things that perplex and confuse and distress mankind today arise wholly, almost, out of a lack of right views, and hence, a lack of right conduct. We have the testimony of the Greek and Roman initiates and thinkers that the Ancient Mysteries of Greece taught men, above everything else, to live rightly and to have a noble hope for the life after death.

Next, the second point: in our last meeting we touched upon the Ancient Mysteries in the ancient Mystery Schools, and we took as examples those of Greece, from which the Romans derived their own Mysteries - but we touched upon one point only, the mythological aspect; and this mythological aspect comprises only a portion - a relatively small portion - of what was taught in the Mystery Schools, principally at Samothrace and at Eleusis. At Samothrace was taught the same Mystery Teaching that was current elsewhere in Greece, but here it was more developed and recondite; and the foundation of these Mystery Teachings was morals. The noblest and greatest men of ancient times in Greece were initiates in the Mysteries of these two seats of esoteric knowledge.

In other countries farther to the east they had other Mystery Schools or "colleges", and this word "college" by no means necessarily meant a mere temple or building; it meant "association", as in our modern word colleague, "associate". The Teutonic tribes of northern Europe, the Germanic tribes - which included Scandinavia - had their Mystery-colleges also; and teacher and neophytes stood on the bosom of Mother-Earth, under Father-Ether, the boundless sky, or in subterranean receptacles, and taught and learned. We state here at once that the core, the heart, the center, of the Ancient Mysteries was the abstruse problems dealing with Death. These teachings we still have, and when the Teacher says that it is time to give them out, they will be forthcoming; she is the judge as to when this shall be.

The third point is with regard to the paradigms or diagrams which we may find necessary to use from time to time in order to illustrate certain teachings. Remember that these paradigms are relative and changeable; they are not hard and fast or absolute things; this fact must be kept always clear in the mind, and around these diagrams or paradigms the mind should never be allowed to crystallize. Why? Because any paradigm, any particular combination of geometrical lines, can illustrate different [38] thoughts or things, as, for instance, the paradigm of the triangle from which hangs the square (as used at our last meeting) can apply equally as well to the highest combined principle in man, the spiritual-mental monad, as to the lower principles into which the monad falls at the beginning of incarnation or manifestation, and from which it will resurrect when the first chimes of the pralayic bells are heard in the Akasic spaces.

We will now resume our study. We take up, as our general theme, the same two paragraphs on p. 43 of Volume I of The Secret Doctrine, which we read at our last meeting: paragraphs one and two:

The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. Our "Universe" is only one of an infinite number of Universes, all of them "Sons of Necessity," because links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards its predecessor, and being a cause as regards its successor.

The appearance and disappearance of the Universe are pictured as an outbreathing and inbreathing of "the Great Breath," which is eternal, and which, being Motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute - Abstract Space and Duration being the other two. When the "Great Breath" is projected, it is called the Divine Breath and is regarded as the breathing of the Unknowable Deity - the One Existence - which breathes out a thought, as it were, which becomes the Kosmos. (See Isis Unveiled.) So also is it when the Divine Breath is inspired again the Universe disappears into the bosom of "the Great Mother," who then sleeps "wrapped in her invisible robes."

It was the intention to take up this evening the dawn of manifestation as it is found in the "Hebrew Book of Beginnings", called Genesis, and to study this and to show its similarity and likeness, and the fundamental identity of truth on which it is based, as compared with the other religions of the world. But in view of the fact that we were obliged at our last study to touch upon the first coming-into-being of the veil cast over the face of the Ineffable, it would seem best this evening to undertake, if we have time, a short sketch of what in science is called the Nebular Theory, how far the esoteric teachings run with it, and where and when they part from it.

The Nebular Theory, as originally taught in science by the Frenchman Laplace - but derived by him from the great German thinker and philosopher, Immanuel Kant - stated that the space which is now occupied by the planets of the solar system, was originally filled with a very tenuous form of matter, in a highly incandescent (or burning) state. Let us say just here that this particular theory of Laplace as regards incandescence, has never [39] been proved, that it is not subject in all respects to mathematical demonstration, and cannot be, and that it itself, if taken as a whole, forms one of the greatest proofs against the truth of the nebular theory as it was then stated, and as it has since been modified in some degree by modern thinkers.

Laplace further stated that this nebula was in a condition of slow rotation, or circular moving, in the same direction in which the planets now move around in their orbits, and in the same direction in which the planets and the Sun now move around their axes. In other words, the present orbital revolution and rotation of the planets are derived from this mechanical, original, circular motion of the primal nebula.

Laplace further stated that this hot, immense object cooled, and as it cooled it shrank, according to a certain law of heat, and this shrinking, according to a law of dynamics, increased the velocity of rotation, and the momentum of any point on its surface. Now, as everyone knows, the parts of a wheel which are nearest the periphery, the circumference, move with the greatest momentum, and the greatest speed, though no faster, in another sense, than do the particles at the hub. This increase of rapidity in whirling around grew so great that a time came when the centrifugal force overcame the centripetal or cohesive force, and then this whirling nebula threw off a ring, and this ring also continued going around, and condensing, and finally formed a sphere or ball which became the outmost planet, Neptune. And so progressively the other planets came into being, the core of the nebula remaining as our Sun. In brief, as the nebular body contracted and condensed its matter, the same phenomenon occurred again in the same way, and thus the second outermost planet, Uranus, was thrown off, and so on until all the planets had come into being as spheres. Now some of these tenuous, still nebulous planets, by contracting and thus increasing their rotational velocity, themselves evolved rings around themselves, which in their turn were thrown off from their parent-planets, and following the same course as their parent-planets, became spheres, which thus became the satellites, the moons of the respective planets; while the center of the original nebula condensed into the (supposedly) incandescent or fiery ball which is the Sun.

When H.P. Blavatsky first brought the Theosophical teachings to the Western world, questions of cosmogony, or the beginning and primal development of the universe, came much to the fore, and she was asked, and her Teachers were also asked through her, in what respect the nebular theory ran side by side with and "corroborated" the exposition of the theory of the occultists, the esoteric theory; and the answer then given was called "an evasive answer". It aroused criticism and some angry language. [40] Why, it was asked, if the Teachers know these wonderful truths, had not they illuminated the world with the splendor of their teachings? Why did they keep them and other things hid? No teaching can be bad for man, if it is true, it was argued. Which was a very foolish argument, indeed, so far as it goes, because many teachings are true, and are yet utterly unfit for the average man to have. However, we are going to investigate that question to-night.

The nebular theory, the Teachers said, was, in its main outlines, and in certain respects only, fairly representative of what the esoteric teaching was, but it yet, for all that, had vital defects; and these defects they did not entirely specify nor did they fully outline them; but they gave clear hints where the defects lay and what they were; and they also gave a clear, logical, and concise reason for their reticence, which was obligatory and unavoidable.

Now the main defect in the theory of Laplace was - as probably the older students who are assembled here this evening know well enough - that it was a purely mechanical, purely mechanistic, purely materialistic hypothesis, in some respects uncorroborable even by mathematics, and based upon nothing but the fact that in the vast abysses of space, astronomers, investigating wastes of stellar light, found nebulae and nebulosities, and, adopting Kant's idea, argued dogmatically upon it. But, nevertheless, there was truth in the nebular theory - there was some truth. Now what is that truth? And what was the most vital defect? The most vital defect, first, was the fact - as hinted above - that it (the theory) omitted all action of spiritual beings in the universe as the drivers, the agents, the mechanics (or mechanicians) of the mechanism which undoubtedly exists. We are taught that the Esoteric Philosophy does not deny mechanical action in the Universe, but declares that where there is mechanical action there is government, or, specifically, mechanicians at work, producing the movements of the mechanism, in accordance with Karma. There must be lawgivers or law-makers or law-impulsors, if the expression may be used; and behind these there must be the Universal Life. In other words, the vital defect was that this nebular theory omitted the first truth of all Being - that the Gods were behind the Kosmos, spiritual Beings, spiritual Entities - the name matters nothing. Not God, but Gods. "Nature" is imperfect, hence of necessity makes "mistakes", because its action derives from hosts of Entities at work. What we see around us all the time is proof of it. "Nature" is not perfect. If it had sprung from the "hands of the Immutable Deity", hence perfect and immutable like its Parent, knowing no change, it would be a Perfect Work. It is much to the contrary, as we know, and its imperfections or "mistakes" arise from the fact [41] that the beings existing in and working in and controlling and making nature extend in endless hierarchies from the Inmost of the Inmost, from the Highest of the Highest, downwards forever, upwards forever, in all degrees of imperfection and of perfection, which is precisely what we see in the scenes of manifestation surrounding us. Our intuition tells us the truth concerning this, and we should trust it.

This was well known to the ancients. The Stoics expressed it and taught it in their magnificent philosophy. The Stoics of Rome and of Greece originally expressed it by what they called Theocracy. Theocracy has a compound meaning - Theos, a god, divine being, and krasis, meaning an intermingling - an intermingling of everything in the universe, intermingling with everything else, nothing possibly separable from the rest, the Whole. It is the cardinal heresy of the Oriental religions today, notably in that of the Buddhists, if a man thinks that he is separate or separable from the universe. This is their cardinal heresy, the most fundamental error that man can make. The early Christians called it the "sin against the Holy Ghost". If we look around us and if we look within, we realize that we are one entity, as it were, one great human host, one living tree of human life, woven inseparably into and from Nature, the ALL.

The next defect of the nebular theory was that the nebula was declared to be in its earliest stages incandescent, burning. The esoteric teaching is that it is indeed glowing, but glowing with a cold light, the same as, or similar to, that of the firefly, if you like. There is no more heat in a nebula than there is in the light of the firefly. This light in the nebula, this luminosity, is not from combustion of any kind; but, then, what is it from? It is from the indwelling Daivi--prakriti, "divine nature or light", in its manifestation on that plane, the same light which in sentient beings manifests in a higher form as consciousness in all its degrees, running from dull physical consciousness up through the soul and the ego: through the self up into the Selfless Self of the Paramatman, or the "Supreme Self" - a mere expression of convenience as meaning the acme or summit of a Hierarchy, because really there is no Supreme Self, which would mean a limit, hence finiteness. If there were, there would be a lowest self. Self is boundless, endless, the very heart of being, the foundation and dimensionless core of all that is.

Next, the third vital defect: The planets and the Sun were not evolved or born in the manner stated by the nebular theory. How are the Sun and the planets born?

(Let me say here by way of parenthesis, that this subject should come much later in our study, but there is a reason for referring to it now.)

Every solar or planetary body, the Sun and planets in our solar system, and [42] analogically (that is, by analogy), everywhere else, is the child or rather the result or reembodiment of a former cosmic entity, which, upon entering into its Pralaya, its Prakritika Pralaya - the dissolution of its lower principles - at the end of its long lifecycle, exists in space in the higher activity of its spiritual principles, and in the dispersion of its lowest principles, which latter latently exist in space as Skandhas, in what our Teachers have taught us is called in Sanskrit a laya-condition, from the root li, referred to in our last meeting, meaning to dissolve or to vanish away; hence, a laya-center is a "point of disappearance" - which is the Sanskrit meaning, and even the dictionary meaning; a laya-center is the mystical point where a thing disappears from one plane, if you like, and passes onwards to reappear on another plane.

To repeat an illustration which we used in our last meeting: pour water on a cube of sugar or salt, and watch it dissolve - vanish as a cube or discrete entity. It has entered its laya-state as a cube or entity of sugar or salt. The form of it has gone, and itself - the sugar or salt - has entered into something else. When the higher principles of a cosmic body enter into something else, what is that something else into which they enter? They enter into the highest cosmic aether, first, and in due course go still higher into the intense activity of the spiritual planes; there long aeons are passed in states and conditions to us almost unimaginable. In due course of time, they begin their downward course into matter again, or reembodiment, and finally, by attraction, recollect their old skandhas hitherto lying latent, and thus form for themselves a new body, by passing into manifestation through and by the laya-center where those skahdhas were waiting.

Those lower principles were meanwhile in Nirvana, what we would call Devachan after the death of man, for Devachan as a state applies not to the highest or heavenly or divine monad, but only to the middle principles of man, to the personal ego, or the personal soul, in man. Applied to us this condition is the state of Devachan - the "land of the gods", if you like; but applied to a cosmic body it is the state of Nirvana. Nirvana is a Sanskrit compound, nir, out, and vana the past-participle passive of the root va, blow, i.e., literally "blown out".

So badly has the meaning of the ancient Indian thought (and even its language, the Sanskrit) been understood, that for many years very erudite European scholars were discussing whether being "blown out" meant actual entitative annihilation or not. I remember once talking with a Chinese savant - he happened to be a Chinese Buddhist - and he told me that the state of man after death was "like this" - and he took up a lighted candle which was on the table and blew upon it, and the light went out. And he said, "That way". He was right, because he was referring to the [43] lower principles in man. They (not we, our monadic or entitative essence), they are merely the vehicle in which we live; and when we die, our physical body is "blown out", breaks up, enters into its Pralaya or dissolution, and its molecules, its particles, go into the laya-state, and pass a certain time there until Nature calls them forth again: or, to put it more accurately in another way, until the indwelling impulse in each physical monadic particle through the thirst for active being, rises forth into manifestation again, and it reenters some body of appropriate kind and of similar evolutional degree.

This is one - and only one - facet of the secret of the much misunderstood doctrine of transmigration into animals. The lower elements, the astral body and the astral dregs of the animal or physical man, become the principles - not the latent higher, but the intermediate principles - of the beast world. They are human dregs cast off by man.

Now, the cosmic dust resulting from the dissolution of a former world rests in a laya-center; while the highest principles of that world or Planetary Chain are in their Para-nirvana, and remain there until the divine thirst for active life on the highest plane of descent, which rearises in the cosmic monad of a planet or Sun, pulls, pushes, or urges, or impels, that monad to the spiritual frontiers of manifestation; and when it arrives at those frontiers, it bursts through them as it were, or breaks through, or goes through, or cycles downward through, into the plane below it, and thus again and again through many planes, till finally the cycling monad reaches and touches or lightens all those lower elements which are remaining in the laya-center: awakens them, reawakens them, revivifies them, recalls them into being, reilluminates them from within; and this produces the luminosity or nebulosity seen in so many parts of interstellar space. Therefore, it is, actually, Daivi-prakriti, "divine Nature", "divine light", in one of its lowest forms - the seventh, counting downwards - and this same light, or force, on this our plane (our Teachers have told us) in one of its very lowest forms, is electricity and magnetism. Our Teachers have also told us that the physical universe here in which we live - the stones, metals, trees, etc. - is corporealized light. They are all formed of atoms, and these atoms, so to speak, are the mystic atoms of this light, the corpuscular part of light, because light is corpuscular: it is not a mere "mode of motion" or a wave or something else. Light (our light) is a body, as much a body as electricity - one of its forms - is a body, i.e., material, or subtle matter.

Now, then, when this nebula of which we have been speaking - let us give it the scientific name - has attained the point of development or evolution downwards into manifestation where the [44] reembodying principles of the former world or cosmos, or Sun, or planet, as the case may be, have sufficiently entered into it, it begins to rotate by a characteristic energy, similar to electromagnetism, inherent in itself. Plato tells us that circular motion is one of the first signs of entitative, free, existence - a saying which is often laughed at by our young savants of science, and quondam bigwigs of a transitory era of dogmatic thinking. Plato defines being as a "body which is capable of acting and being acted upon". It is a good definition to remember, for it implies both passive and active existence - or manifestation: and he said that, with reference to the highest essence of the cosmos - the Primal Principle of which our first great Teacher speaks as the Ineffable That, as the Sanskritists call it - it is not "a" being, hence limited, possessing bounds, because neither does it act nor is it acted upon. It is All, eternally, endlessly All.

So this cosmic nebula drifts from the place where it first was evolved, the guiding impulse of Karma directing here and directing there, this luminous nebulosity moving circularly, and contracting, passing through other phases of nebular evolution, such as the spiral stage and the annular; until it becomes spherical, or rather a nebular series of concentric spheres. The nebula in space, as just said, takes often a spiral form, and from the core, the center, there stream forth branches, spiral branches, and they look like whirling wheels within wheels, and they whirl during many ages. When the time has come - when the whirling has developed pari passu with the indwelling lives and intelligences within the cosmic nebula - then the annular form appears, a form like a ring or concentric rings, with a heart in the center, and after long aeons, the central heart becomes the Sun or central body of the new solar system, and the rings the planets. These rings condense into other bodies, and these other bodies are the planets circulating around their elder brother, the Sun; elder, because he was the first to condense into a sphere.

The idea of modern scientists that the nebular Sun threw off the planets, and that the earth after partial solidification threw off the Moon, and that the other planets having moons did likewise, is not the teaching of the Esoteric Philosophy. It has never been proved, and it is criticized daily by men as eminent as those who propounded these theories. The nebular theory as propounded and modified from time to time, Science has never proved; scientists have never been able to prove why so much heat could develop and be retained in so tenuous, so diaphanous an object. Why, if the luminosity arises from combustion of gaseous matter, does it not burn itself out? It had billions of years, countless ages, in which to burn out, and the sky is dotted with nebulae which have not burned out yet; and similarly with regard to the [45] Sun. The Sun is formed of the same matter as the nebulae, later becoming cometary matter. The Sun does not burn; it has no more heat in it than has a pane of glass which transmits the solar ray.

The Sun is not in combustion: it is the generator and storehouse of the mighty ocean of force and forces which feed our entire solar system. Matter is corporealized or crystallized Force; Force, inversely, may be called subtle Mater - or matter in its fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh states, for Force and Matter are One. The Sun is a storehouse and generator of Forces, and is itself Force in its first and second states - i.e., matter in its sixth and seventh states, counting upward. We shall study this subject more fully in a later lecture.

These are a bare outline of the teachings that we have received on the subjects treated of. The Moon comprises another subject, which will merit in due time very particular study, indeed.

First a nebula; then a comet; then a planet; but the above sketch outlines the state of a solar system in the first era of the Solar Manvantara. Now let us take any one planet and shortly, briefly, touch upon the nature of a Planetary Manvantara. The Sun, of course, remains throughout the Solar Manvantara. It began with it, and when the solar system comes to an end, its (the Sun's) Pralaya will also come. But the planets are different in certain respects. They have their Manvantara also, each one of them, lasting usually many billions of years; and when a Planetary Chain or body has reached its term, when its hour strikes for going into rest, or into Pralaya or dissolution, the Manvantara ends, and Pralaya begins, but in this case it is not a Prakritika Pralaya, which, you remember, we alluded to in our last meeting - it signifies or means the dissolution of Nature. The planetary body remains dead, as is now the Moon itself, but it sends its principles (precisely as the former solar system did - which we were studying) into a laya-center in space, and they remain there for "innumerable ages". Meanwhile the other planets of that solar system go through their cycles; but the planet which we have picked out for illustration, when its time comes again to descend into Manvantara, follows its line of development in precisely the same way as outlined before. It descends again into manifestation through the inner divine planetary thirst for active life and is directed to the same solar system, and to the same spot, relatively speaking, that its predecessor (its former self) had, attracted thither by magnetic and other forces on the lower planes. It forms, in the beginning of its course, or journey, downwards, a planetary nebula; after many aeons, it becomes a comet, following ultimately an elliptic orbit, around the Sun of our solar system, thus being "captured", as our scientists wrongly say, [46] by the Sun; and finally condenses into a planet in its earliest physical condition. The comets of short periodic time are on their way to rebecoming planets in our solar system, provided they successfully elude the many dangers that beset such ethereal bodies before condensation and hardening of their matter shield them from destruction. [47]

Chapter VI


(a) The hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve great Orders, recorded in the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the seven of the manifesting scale being connected, moreover, with the Seven Planets. All this is subdivided into numberless groups of divine Spiritual, semi-Spiritual, and ethereal Beings.

The Chief Hierarchies among these are hinted at in the great Quaternary, or the "four bodies and the three faculties" of Brahm_ exoterically, and the Panchasyam, the five Brahm_s, or the five Dhyani-buddhas in the Buddhist system.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 213

¼ The refusal to admit in the whole Solar system of any other reasonable and intellectual beings on the human plane, than ourselves, is the greatest conceit of our age. All that science has a right to affirm is that there are no invisible Intelligences living under the same conditions as we do. It cannot deny point-blank the possibility of there being worlds within worlds, under totally different conditions to those that constitute the nature of our world; nor can it deny that there may be a certain limited communication between some of those worlds and our own. To the highest, we are taught, belong the seven orders of the purely divine Spirits, to the six lower ones belong hierarchies that can occasionally be seen and heard by men, and who do communicate with their progeny of the Earth, which progeny is indissolubly linked with them, each principle in man having its direct source in the nature of those great Beings who furnish us with the respective invisible elements in us.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 133

We open our study this evening by reading from H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 258, the second paragraph:

"Whatsoever quits the Laya State, becomes active life, it is drawn into the vortex of MOTION (the alchemical solvent of Life); Spirit and Matter are the two States of the ONE which is neither Spirit nor Matter, both being the absolute life, latent." (Book of Dzyan, Commentary, iii, par. 18) "¼ Spirit is the first differentiation of (and in) SPACE: and Matter the first differentiation of Spirit. That, which is neither Spirit nor Matter - that is IT - the Causeless CAUSE of Spirit and Matter, which are the Cause of Kosmos. And THAT we call the ONE LIFE or the Intra-Cosmic Breath.

In our study of a week ago, we embarked upon a brief discussion, or rather a short excursus, with regard to certain astronomical factors which enter very largely into the occult or [48] Esoteric teaching which leads to a proper comprehension of Cosmogony or World-Building, and also of Theogony or the Genesis of the Gods or Divine Intelligences who initiate and direct Cosmogony, as these are outlined in The Secret Doctrine. Within the time at our disposal we shortly reviewed the Esoteric formulae in which the ancient wisdom is embodied, and the effectual agencies which act at the Dawn of Manifestation; and this evening we shall undertake briefly to review the causal agencies or aspects of the same subject.

The dawn of manifestation, as The Secret Doctrine tells us, begins in and with the awakening of a laya-center. The Sanskrit word laya, as we saw before, signifies in Esotericism that point or spot - any point or any spot - in space, which, owing to karmic law, suddenly becomes the center of active life, first on a higher plane and later descending into manifestation through and by the lower planes. In one sense it (such a laya-center) may be conceived of as a canal, a channel, through which the vitality of the superior spheres is pouring down into, and inspiring, inbreathing into, the lower planes or states of matter, or rather of substance. But behind all this vitality there is a driving force, as was before remarked. There are mechanics in the universe, mechanics of many degrees of consciousness and power. But behind the pure mechanic stands the spiritual mechanician.

It would seem absolutely necessary first to soak our minds through and through with the thought that everything in our cosmical universe, i.e., the stellar universe, is alive, is directed by will and governed by intelligence. Behind every cosmic body that we see, there is a directing intelligence and a guiding will.

If Theosophy has one natural enemy against which it has fought and will always fight it is the materialistic view of life, the view that nothing exists except dead unconscious matter, and that the phenomena of life and thought and consciousness spring from it. This is not merely unnatural and therefore impossible; it is absurd as a hypothesis.

On the contrary, as we may read in The Secret Doctrine, the main, fundamental, and basic postulate of being is that the universe is driven by will and consciousness, guided by will and consciousness, and is spiritually purposive. When a laya-center is fired into action by the touch of these two on their downward way, becoming the embodying life of a solar system, or of a planet of a solar system, the center manifests first on its highest plane The Skandhas (which, as it will be remembered, we described in a former study) are awakened into life one after another: first the highest ones, next the intermediate ones, and lastly the inferior ones, cosmically and qualitatively speaking. [49]

In such laya-centers the embodying life shows itself first to our physical human eyes as a luminous nebula - matter, which we may describe as being of course on the fourth plane of Nature or Prakriti, but nevertheless in the second (counting downwards) of the seven principles or states of the material universe. It is a manifestation in that universe of Daivi-prakriti, i.e., "shining" Prakriti, or "divine" Prakriti. As the aeons pass, this laya-center now manifesting as a nebula, remains in space steadily though slowly developing and condensing (following the impulses of the forces that have awakened it into action on this plane) - as the aeons pass, I say, it is drawn towards that part or locality in space - if we are speaking of a solar system - or towards that Sun, if we are describing the coming into being of a planet, with which it has karmic - skandhic - affinities, or magnetic attraction, and eventually manifests in the latter case as a comet, the matter of which, by the way, is entirely different from the matter we have any knowledge of on earth, and which it is impossible to reproduce under any physical conditions in our laboratories, because this matter, while on the fourth plane of manifestation (otherwise we should not sense it with our fourth-plane eyes), is matter in another state than any known to us - probably in the sixth state, counting from below, or the second state counting from above.

Of such matter is the Sun, or rather the solar body, in its outward form, composed. It is physical matter in the sixth state, counting upwards, or in the second state counting downwards or outward; and its nucleus, which, as H.P. Blavatsky tells us in The Secret Doctrine, is a particle or a solar atom of primal matter-stuff, or spirit-stuff, is matter in the seventh state counting upwards, or the first or highest, counting downwards.

This comet in time, if it succeed in pursuing its way towards becoming what it is destined to be, becomes finally a planet; it so becomes unless it meet with some disaster, as when it is swallowed up by one or another of the suns which it may pass in its far-flung orbit. Some comets have already, in our solar system, so nearly reached the planetary state in its first stages, on the way to becoming a full-grown planet of the solar system, that their orbits lie within the confines or limits of this system. Such, for instance, is Encke's comet, having an elliptical orbit, and moving around the Sun in a closed curve in the space of two and a half or three years. Another one is Biela's, which, I believe, has not been seen again, after it appeared to break into two, I think in the 'fifties of last century. Another one was Faye's, having the largest orbit of all these three. Two others are de Vico's and Brorsen's.

It would seem as if all those comets which are drawn into [50] elliptical orbits around our Sun, were so drawn because they were karmically destined ultimately to become planets of our system; but others, again, suffer another fate. They perish, absorbed or torn to pieces by the inexpressibly active influences which surround not merely our own but all other suns, because each sun, while being the center of its own system of planets, and their life giver, from another aspect is a cosmical vampire.

There is much more on this subject that must be said, but it is very doubtful whether, at the present stage of our study, it would be wise to embark upon a wider exposition now; and also because we know not whether the Teacher would approve of our going into the matter more fully at present.

If possible, we desire this evening to return to the point where we were, before embarking upon this excursus, and to take up again the same thread of thought then interrupted, continuing it this evening with a study of the beginning of things as outlined in the Jewish book of Genesis, or "Beginning", and as illustrated more particularly by the Jewish Theosophy called the Qabbalah. If the time allotted to us be insufficient to do so this evening, we hope to begin that study at our next meeting.

Nothing in the universe is separate from any other thing. All things hang together not merely sympathetically and magnetically but because all beings are fundamentally one. We have one self, one Self of selves, manifesting in the inmost of the Inmost being of all. But we have many egos, and the study of the ego in that branch of our thought which is embraced under the head of psychology, is one of the most inherently necessary and one of the most interesting and important that can be undertaken.

Around the ego center, so far as we humans are concerned, some of the most important teachings of the Esoteric Wisdom. Without going into this study at some length, it is impossible for us to understand certain of the teachings in The Secret Doctrine. The ancient Stoics (the very wonderful philosophy originating with some of the Greek philosophers, and which became so deservedly popular among the deeper thinkers of Rome) taught that everything in the universe is intermingled, or interwoven, not by fundamentally distinct essences or entities interpenetrating each other, nor in what we theosophists today call "planes of being", merely, but by various aspects or differentiations of one common substance, the Root of all, and they expressed the principle through the three Greek words, Krasis di'holou, a mingling through everything, an intermingling of all the essences in the Cosmos, arising out of, and differentiated from, the Root-substance common to all. This is also the teaching of our own Esoteric Wisdom. It is the manifestation, in other words, of all beings, of all thinking, unthinking, and senseless [51] beings, and of all the gods giving direction and purpose to the complex universe, which we see around us today; and in this varied life was placed the primal cause of all the beauty, the concord as well as the strife and discord that do exist in Nature, and which is the cause of the so-called mistakes that Nature makes. The origin, in other words, of what some people and some Christians call the "insolvable riddle" of the "Origin of evil". What is the "origin of evil"? The Ancient Wisdom says that it is merely the conflict of wills of evolving beings - an inevitable and necessary phase of evolution.

Properly to understand this Intermingling involves another important subject of study which we shall take up at a later date, and this is the doctrine of Hierarchies. Hierarchy, of course, merely means that a scheme or system or state of delegated directive power and authority exists in a self-contained body, directed, guided, and taught by one having supreme authority, called the Hierarch. The name is used by us, by extension of meaning, as signifying the innumerable degrees, grades, and steps of evolving entities in the Kosmos, and as applying to all parts of the universe; and rightly so, because every different part of the universe - and their number is simply countless - is under the vital governance of a Divine Being, of a God, of a Spiritual Essence, and all material manifestations are simply the appearances on our plane of the workings and actions of these Spiritual Beings behind it. The series of Hierarchies extends infinitely in both directions. Man may, if he so choose, for purposes of thought, consider himself at the middle point, from which extends above him an unending series of steps upon steps of higher beings of all grades - growing constantly less material and more spiritual, and greater in all senses - towards an ineffable point, and there the imagination stops; not because the series itself stops, but because our thought can reach no farther out nor in. And similar to this series, an infinitely great series of beings and states of beings descends downwards (to use human terms) - downwards and downwards, until there again the imagination stops merely because our thought can go no farther.

The eternal action and interaction - or what the Stoics also called the intermingling - of these beings produce eternally the various so-called "planes of being", and the action of the will of these beings on matter or substances is the manifestation of what we call the "laws of Nature". This is a very inaccurate and misleading phrase; but it seems justifiable in a metaphorical sense, because as a human legislator or a human lawgiver will set forth or set down certain rules of conduct, certain schemes of action, which are to be obeyed, so the Intelligences behind the actions of Nature do the same thing, not in a legislative way, but [52] by the action of their own spiritual economy. So man himself, in similar fashion, lays down the "laws" for the less lives which compose his essences - the principles under the center which he governs - and which comprise even the physical body, and the lives building it. Each one of these lives, as was said before, is a microcosmic universe or cosmos, that is to say, an ordered entity, an entity ruled by inescapable or ineluctable habit, which the scientists of our own race, applying the rule to universal cosmical action, call the "laws" of Nature.

And they in turn, these less lives, have similar universes under them. It is unthinkable that the series can stop or have an end, because if it did, we should have an infinity that ends, an unthinkable proposition. It is merely the paucity of our ideas and the feebleness of our imagination which make us to suppose that there may be a stop at certain points; and it is this feebleness of thought which has given birth to and promoted the rise of the different religious systems; in one case the monotheism of the Christian Church, and in another case the monotheism of the Mohammedan peoples, and in another case still the monotheism of the Jewish people. Of these three, the Jews have had the longest history and the wisest history, for the Jews originally were never a monotheistic people. In their early history they were convinced polytheists - using the term in the philosophical sense, lest people imagine when they hear of Polytheism that it means our absurd modern Western misconception of what we think the cultured Romans and Greeks thought about their gods and goddesses, or what we think they ought to have believed, which is conceited nonsense.

The popular mythology of the Greeks and Romans, as also that of ancient Egypt or of Babylonia, and that of the Germanic or Celtic tribes of Europe, was understood in a different way from our gross misconception of it; and conceived of in a different way by the wise men in those days, who understood perfectly well all the usual symbols and allegories by which the esoteric teachings were outlined and taught in the popular mythologies. And we must remember that "exoteric" does not necessarily mean false. It means only that in exoteric teachings the keys to the esoteric teachings have not been given out.

We often hear the claim made by monotheistic believers, that the great "prophets" of Israel, the so-called wise men of that people, knew better than their ancient predecessors what their people ought to know and believe. They - these prophets - taught monotheism, we are assured, and redirected the thoughts of the people away from the ancient beliefs - indeed, the multiplicity of beliefs - towards one tribal God whom they called Jehovah, a word, by the way, which the later orthodox Jewish [53] religionists held - and still hold - so sacred that they would not even pronounce it aloud, but in reading aloud substituted for it another word, when this word "Jehovah" occurred in a sentence in the Jewish Bible. Now this substitute word is "Adonai", and means "my Lords" - in itself a true confession of polytheistic thought. Judaism is replete in its Law, or Bible, at least, with polytheism; and so prone is the human heart to follow the instincts of its spirit, that when the Christian Church in its blindness overthrew philosophical Polytheism, as an error in religion, the reaction, fully to be expected as a consequence, finally - and, indeed, very soon - set in, and that Church answered the cry of the human heart by substituting "saints" for the injured and banished Gods and Goddesses, thus inaugurating a cultural adoration of dead men and women for Powers, Intelligences, in Nature! They had to give them saints in order to supply the places of the forgotten Deities; and even gave to these saints more or less the same powers that the ancient gods and goddesses were reputed to have exercised and to have had. They had a saint as a patron or protector of city, state, or country - St. George for England, St. James for Spain, St. Denis for France, and so on. The same thought, the same function, the same desire satisfied - the instincts of the human heart cannot be ignored or violated with impunity. But how greatly different was the initiate view of the Wise Men in "Pagan" times!

Now when the Ancients spoke of the multiplicity of Gods they did so with wisdom, understanding, and reverence. Is it conceivable that the great men of the ancient days who then discovered and established the canons of belief followed by us - usually ignorant of our great debt to them - even today in all our lines of thought, and which we value like little children and have valued since the rebirth of literature in our Western world - is it conceivable, I say, that they had no conception of cosmical or of divine unity, something which even the average man of intelligence today will come to? How absurd! No! They could think and they knew as well as we do, but they also knew, yea, even the degenerated thinkers in the early ages of the Christian era, that if "God" made the world, being a perfect and infinite Being, his work (or Its work) could be only a perfect and infinite work, worthy of its perfect and infinite Maker, free from vanity, free from limitations, free from sin, free from decrepitude and ceaseless, gnawing change. Yet, as we see and consider the things around us, as we know that the world, being an exemplar of change and hence of limitations and decay, therefore cannot be and is not infinite, we know - the instincts of our being tell us - that it is the work of less beings, of minor and limited [54] Powers, however exalted spiritually; and as we penetrate into our own thoughts and study the life of the beings and of the nature around us, we see also that there is life within life, wheel within wheel, purpose within purpose, and that behind the outward manifestations or action (the "laws of Nature") of the so-called Gods, there are still more subtle Powers, still more exalted Intelligences at work: verily, wheels within wheels, lives within lives, and so on forever: an unending and boundless Unity in Multiplicity, and Multiplicity limitless and unbounded in Unity. So, as said before, when we speak of the unity of Life, or of the "divine unity", we merely mean that here our penetrating spirit has reached the limit of its present powers, a point at which human thought can go no farther. It has run to its utmost limits, and from the feebleness of it, we are bound in truth to say, Here is as far as our thought can go. It is our present "Ring called 'Pass Not!'" But this honest confession of human limitation does not mean that there is "nothing" beyond. On the contrary, it is a proof that Life and space are endless.

Now the Neo-Platonists who first came into prominence in the early centuries of the Christian era - and who, with the Stoics, provided Christianity with all that it had that was philosophically good and spiritual and true - taught that the summit, the acme, the flower, the highest point (that they called the "hyparxis") of any series of animate and "inanimate" beings, whether we enumerate the stages or degrees of the series as seven or ten or twelve (according to whichever system we follow), was the "divine unity" for that series or Hierarchy, and that this hyparxis or flower or summit or beginning or highest being was again in its turn the lowest being of the Hierarchy above it, and so extending onwards forever.

Change within change, wheel within wheel, each Hierarchy manifesting one facet, as it were, of the divine cosmic Life, each Hierarchy showing forth one thought, as it were, of the divine thinkers. Good and evil are relative, and rigidly offset and equilibrate each other. There is no absolute good, there is no absolute evil; these are mere human terms, only. "Evil" in any sphere of life, is imperfection, for it. "Good" in any sphere of life, is perfection, for it. But the good of one is the evil of another, because the latter is the shadow of something higher above it.

Just as "light" and "darkness" are not absolute but relative things. What is "darkness"? Darkness is absence of light, and the light that we know is itself the manifestation of life in matter - hence a material phenomenon. Each is (physically) a form of vibration, each is, therefore, a form of life.

Various names were given to these Hierarchies considered as [55] series of beings. For instance, let us take the standard and generalized Greek Hierarchy as shown by writers in periods preceding the rise of Christianity, though the Neo-Platonists, as we have seen, had their own Hierarchies, and gave the stages or degrees thereof special names. It is often asserted by those people who know everything - I mean the bigwigs of the modern day, who even believe that they know better what the ancients believed than the ancients did themselves - that Neo-Platonism was evolved merely to oppose and overthrow, and to take the place of the wonderful, soul-saving, spiritual doctrines of Christianity, forgetting that from Neo-Platonism and Neo-Pythagoreanism, and Stoicism, early Christianity drew nearly everything of religious and philosophic good that it had in it. But the Neo-Platonic doctrine was, in sober fact, actually the setting forth to a certain degree only of the esoteric doctrine of the Platonic school, and was, in its esoteric reach, the teaching which Plato and the early Pythagoreans taught secretly to their disciples.

We now resume our thread. The hyparxis, as we showed, means the summit or beginning of a Hierarchy. The scheme started with the divine, the highest point of the series or its Divinity:

(1) Divine. (2) Gods, or the spiritual. (3) Demigods, sometimes called divine heroes, involving a very mystical doctrine. (4) Heroes proper. (5) Men. (6) Beasts or animals. (7) Vegetable world. (8) Mineral world. (9) Elemental world, or what was called the realm of Hades. As said, the Divinity (or aggregate Divine Lives) itself was the hyparxis of this series of Hierarchies, because each of these nine stages was itself a subordinate Hierarchy. The names mean little, you may give them other names; the name itself matters not much; the important thing is to get the thought. Now, as said before, remember that this Esoteric Wisdom taught that this (or any other) Hierarchy of nine, hangs like a pendant jewel from the lowest Hierarchy above it, which made the tenth counting upwards, which we can call, if you like, the Super-Divine, the Hyper-Heavenly, and that this tenth was the lowest stage (or the ninth, counting downwards) of still another Hierarchy extending upwards; and so on, indefinitely.

Now when the Christians finally overthrew the ancient religion; when the karmic cycle had brought about an era of what Plato called spiritual barrenness - and we remember to divide the work of evolution into two parts, epochs of barrenness and epochs of fertility - when the Christian religion came in as part of an epoch of barrenness, the Christians took over very much of this ancient thought, as was only to be expected: history merely repeated itself. And they derived it, as was said [56] before, mainly from the Stoics and the Neo-Pythagoreans and the Neo-Platonists, but mostly from the Neo-Platonists. This was done in very large part, at Alexandria, the great center of Greek or Hellenistic culture at that time; the chiefest thinkers of the Neo-Platonists also lived in Alexandria. This Neo-Platonic stream of beautiful thought in the Christian religion, entered into it with special force around the fifth century, through the writings of a man who was called Dionysius the Areopagite, from the "Hill of Ares", or Mars, at Athens. The Christian legend runs that when Paul preached at Athens, he did so on Mars Hill, or the Areopagus, and that one of his first converts was a Greek called Dionysius; and Christian tradition goes on to say that he was, later, the first Christian Bishop of Athens. Now this may all be fable. However, the Christians claimed it as a fact.

Now in the fifth or sixth century, five hundred years more or less after Paul is supposed to have preached in Athens, there appeared in the Greek world a work calling itself the writings of Dionysius, the Areopagite - claiming authorship from this same man. It is evidently the work of a Neo-Platonist Christian. That is to say, of a Christian, who for reasons of his own, perhaps policy (social or financial), remained within the Christian Church, but was more or less a Greek pagan, a Neo-Platonist at heart. This work, by coming out under the name of the first (alleged) Bishop of Athens, Dionysius, almost immediately began to have immense vogue in the Christian Church; and it remains to this day, not indeed one of the canonical works, but one of the works which the Christians consider among the greatest they have on mystical lines, and perhaps their most spiritual work; it very deeply affected Christian theological thought from the time of its appearance.

One of the works comprised in this book, attributed by the Christians themselves to Dionysius, Paul's first convert in Athens, is a treatise on the Divine Hierarchies, in which the teaching is that God is infinite and therefore did the work of creation through less abstract and spiritual beings; and a scheme of Hierarchies is here set forth, one lower than another, one derived from the other; which is exactly the teaching in the Qabbalah, the Theosophy of the Jews; which also is exactly the teaching of the Neo-Platonists and essentially that of the Stoics, and of the old Greek mythology It is a "pagan" teaching throughout, and merely became Christianized because adapted to the new religion, and because Christian names are used: and, instead of saying and enumerating gods, divine heroes, demigods or heroes, men, animals, etc., the names are God, Archangels, Thrones, Powers, etc. But the schematic or essential thought is the same: [57] and, furthermore, there are actually passages in the works of this Dionysius which are taken word for word - wholesale - from the writings of the Neo-Platonist Plotinus, who lived and flourished and wrote voluminously on Neo-Platonic subjects in the third century.

Now this work, particularly in the field of dogmatic ecclesiastical thought, formed the basis of much of the theology of the Greek and Roman Churches; we may even say that on it their medieval theology was actually based. It formed the main source of the studies and writings of the Italian Thomas Aquinas (13th century), one of the greatest medieval doctors of the Christian religion, and of Johannes Scotus, called Erigena, an Irishman (9th century), and probably of Duns Scotus (13th century), a remarkable Scot; and of many more. Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, to speak only of English literature, are full of the spirit of these writings. They provided much of the mystical thought of the Dark Ages, and ultimately in a degenerate form helped to give rise to the hair-splitting and quibbling and squabbles of the quasi-religious writers known as the Schoolmen. But these men had lost the inner sense or heart of the thing through the ecclesiastical growth and political power of the Christian Church, and they began to argue about things of no spiritual consequence whatever; such as the query, "Which came first: the hen or the egg?" or, "How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?" or, "If an irresistible force meets an immovable obstacle, what then happens?" These most pragmatical and useful diversions and intellectual vagaries lasted for a certain time, and then, with the renaissance of thought in Europe, due largely to the labors of the devotees of Science and natural Philosophy, the European world gradually began to pull out of this mental slough, and brought in an era, which is now in full and strong current, and which has inaugurated and continued, for good or for ill (perhaps both), the streams of human thinking as we see it today. Do we Theosophists presume vainly to interpret the lessons of universal history when we say that we are the forerunners and the makers of the new era - a far nobler and more spiritual cycle - which is to come, and is even now dawning, albeit coming to being in no little sorrow and tribulation of both soul and intellect?

In conclusion, we may call attention to the fact that just about the time when the first 5000 years of the Hindu cycle called the Kali-yuga (lasting 432,000) came to an end, there also came to an end a certain "Messianic" cycle of twenty-one hundred years - (actually, if we come to exact figures, 2160), which is, note well, just one half of the Hindu-Babylonian root-cycle of 4320 years. [58]

In our next evening of study we hope to take up, with the Teacher's permission, the outline of Cosmogony and Theogony from the Polytheistic standpoint, as found in the Book of Genesis, the first of the Jewish Bible.

Chapter VII


Theophilosophy proceeds on broader lines. From the very beginning of Aeons - in time and space in our Round and Globe - the Mysteries of Nature (at any rate, those which it is lawful for our races to know) were recorded by the pupils of those same now invisible "heavenly men," in geometrical figures and symbols. The keys thereto passed from one generation of "wise men" to the other. Some of the symbols, thus passed from the east to the west, were brought therefrom by Pythagoras, who was not the inventor of his famous "Triangle." The latter figure, along with the plane cube and circle, are more eloquent and scientific descriptions of the order of the evolution of the Universe, spiritual and psychic, as well as physical, than volumes of descriptive Cosmogonies and revealed "Geneses." The ten points inscribed within that "Pythagorean triangle" are worth all the theogonies and angelologies ever emanated from the theological brain. For he who interprets them - on their very face, and in the order given - will find in these seventeen points (the seven Mathematical Points hidden) the uninterrupted series of the genealogies from the first Heavenly to terrestrial man. And, as they give the order of Beings, so they reveal the order in which were evolved the Kosmos, our earth, and the primordial elements by which the latter was generated. Begotten in the invisible Depths, and in the womb of the same "Mother" as its fellow-globes - he who will master the mysteries of our Earth will have mastered those of all others.

-Secret Doctrine, I, 612-3

It is that LIGHT which condenses into the forms of the 'Lords of Being' - the first and the highest of which are, collectively, JIVATMA, or Pratyagatma (said figuratively to issue from Paramatma. It is the Logos of the Greek philosophers - appearing at the beginning of every new Manvantara). From these downwards - formed from the ever-consolidating waves of that light, which becomes on the objective plane gross matter - proceed the numerous hierarchies of the Creative Forces, some formless, others having their own distinctive form, others, again, the lowest (elementals), having no form of their own, but assuming every form according to the surrounding conditions.

- Secret Doctrine, II, 33-4

We open our study this evening by reading from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 274:

The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who - whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyani-Chohans or Angels - are "messengers" in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of the earthly alloy "which time is wont to prey upon" is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, [60] or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara).

When we ended our study last week, because of the short time that the Teacher has set for us in which to speak, we left unmentioned a number of very important things, which we shall have to take up this evening before we can proceed to the particular study that was to follow in proper course the excursus which we embarked upon three weeks ago.

First a few words more concerning the Nebular Theory or Hypothesis and the Planetary Theory deriving from it, as considered from the Theosophical standpoint, and consequently a further explanation or rather development of the doctrine of Hierarchies, which will lead us to the study towards which we have aimed, that is to say, the consideration of Cosmogony or the beginning of worlds as outlined in the Jewish Book of Genesis or "Beginnings".

About one hundred years ago, more or less within a few years of each other, there died three remarkable men, namely Kant, perhaps the greatest philosopher that Europe has produced; Sir William Herschel, the astronomer; and the Marquis de Laplace; the first a German, the second a German-Englishman, or an Anglo-German, and the third a Frenchman. All these three men in some degree were responsible for the enunciation and the development of the theory of world-beginning which eventuated in the Nebular Hypothesis of Laplace. It is interesting also to note that all three men were of humble birth, and by the force of their own intelligence and character became, all three of them, remarkable men. Kant was, I believe, the son of a saddler; Sir William Herschel was also of humble origin, and was in youth an oboist in the Hanoverian Guards; and Pierre Simon Laplace was the son of a farmer; Laplace was ennobled, and upon him was conferred the nobiliary title of Marquis.

Now the Nebular Theory really originated with Kant; he it was who laid down the basic lines, the fundamental ground, as it were, upon which the Nebular Theory was later developed mathematically by Laplace. Coincident with Kant's work and writings was the astronomical work of Herschel in England, and those two men were responsible for the fundamentals of the Nebular Theory. Laplace took it up after they had more or less laid down the main lines, developed it into what is called the "Nebular hypothesis or theory of Laplace", and on account of its explaining in mathematical form the mechanism of the universe, that is to say, of the solar system and the planets, and their satellites, it has been called a "magnificently audacious" hypothesis. It was Laplace who carried the theory a good deal farther than the work of Kant and Herschel - than the point [61] where Kant and Herschel had left it; and, in a sense, Laplace materialized it. As H.P. Blavatsky tells us, if the nebular theory had remained at the point where Kant and Herschel had left it, there would be little for the Theosophical writers and thinkers to do except to develop it and explain it in accordance with the Esoteric Philosophy.

It is very interesting to note that another great man, Swedenborg in Sweden, also worked upon the same theory and apparently had very nearly the same ideas that Kant and Herschel had as regards a nebular genesis of cosmical systems. Now these two latter men had a spiritual idea back of the theory which they enunciated, and it was the abandonment of that spiritual idea by Laplace, and the substitution by him of a mechanico-mathematical theory in its place, which furnished those influences which directed the nebular hypothesis away from the line and thought and teachings as laid down in the Esoteric Philosophy, as taught by the ancient Teachers.

The nebular hypothesis has in some respects been much changed since the day of Laplace; scientists have thought more about it, a fact which was also true in 1887 or 1888 when H.P. Blavatsky wrote The Secret Doctrine. There has been an attempt by later astronomers of our own day, Sir Norman Lockyer, and the American astronomer and mathematician See, to replace a nebular origin of cosmical bodies - at least in part - with what has been called a planetesimal hypothesis or a planetesimal origin - that is to say, that the bodies of the solar system have been built up of and by cosmic dust and tiny planets drawn together by the force of gravitation. Now this theory is, philosophically speaking, at an immense distance from the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, although this Philosophy does admit and teach that at a later stage in the evolution of cosmical bodies, collection and concretion of stellar dust is, actually, one of the phases in the growth of worlds.

Theosophy admits that a planet or a solar system, in the course of its formation, does gather to itself "stardust" and vagrant bodies dispersed in space; but this factor in its growth is not its origin. The origin of a sun, of a solar system and of the planets in it, and consequently of the entire universe within the encircling zone of the Milky Way, has a spiritual background, has spiritual essences or gods behind it, who form such a system, and direct it, and are the mechanicians in it and of it. Their work is carried on (more or less) along the main lines of the nebular theory as enunciated by Kant and Herschel: that is to say, space is eternally filled with matter in a certain state or condition of being, and when this matter, as Kant and Herschel would have said, receives the divine impulse, it is concreted and becomes luminous, [62] and this concretion is further (and later) strengthened by its drawing into itself, from the immense special expanse in which it is, material "stardust" and larger bodies.

Now, when we look up at the sky we see material bodies, fourth-plane bodies seen with our fourth-plane eyes, but behind these fourth-plane bodies there are spiritual intelligences, which are called in the Esoteric Philosophy, Dhyani-Chohans, or "Lords of Meditation". As the Ancients put it, every celestial body is an "animal". Now the word animal comes from the Latin, and means a living being. Commonly, in speech, we speak of "animals" when we should say "beasts" or "brutes"; that is to say, a "brute" is an entity which has not yet been raised to the level of a self-conscious entity; it is brute in the original Latin sense, i.e., "heavy", "gross", hence irrational and incomplete; it is not yet finished. But an animal really means a living being, and in that sense the word applies to men; also, in the view of the Ancients, it applies to the stellar, solar, and planetary bodies - they are "animals" in the sense of being living things, with a physical corpus or body, but nevertheless animate or ensouled: in the mystical teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy they are ensouled things, as indeed every atom is, every tiny universe, or tiny cosmos.

Now this ensouling is done by (or is the action of) what is commonly called Hierarchies. There is not for every individual entity in Kosmos, whether atom, beast, man, god, planet, or Sun, one concreted soul, as it were, derived from the universal World-Soul, with nothing - no connecting links - above it and nothing below it - not at all. There are no true vacancies in Nature, physical, astral, or spiritual: there are no vacuums. Everything is linked on to everything else, by literally countless bonds of union, which is another master key to the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy. As in man, so in every other unit of being, in every other entity, the universal life manifests through a Hierarchy; the multiform and varied qualities of beings are but the life-rays of a Hierarchy, that is to say, grades or steps of consciousness and matter, ascending from below upward, or if you like, coming downwards from above, through all of which the center of consciousness - call it soul or ego for the moment - must pass in its evolution towards godhood.

Now this teaching of Hierarchies is fundamental. It is one of the present-day "lost keys" of the Esoteric Philosophy. Nothing can be understood adequately without a clear comprehension of it. As man is in our ordinary psychology considered to be a triad, or a triform entity - body, soul, and spirit - so he may be considered from another point of view as a fourfold entity, or as a fivefold, or a sixfold, or a sevenfold, or (the most esoteric [63] of all) as a tenfold entity. Why ten? Because ten, the Teachers have told us, is the key-number which explains the compound fabric of the universe. The universe is built on a denary scale, that is, on a scale counting by tens. In a few moments we shall develop in outline the philosophical import of seven and ten. Let us say now that man is septenary in our view only because we reckon in as principles, two elements of his being which are not, strictly speaking, human principles; one the physical body which really is not a "principle" at all: it is merely a house, his "carrier" in another sense, and no more belongs to man - except that he has excreted it, thrown it out from himself - this physical body, we say, is no more himself than is the house in which his body lives. He is a complete human being without it.

The second strictly non-human principle is the highest of all the seven, the Higher Self, the Atman, the seventh - non-human because it is universal. The Self no more belongs to me than to you or to anyone else. Selfhood is the same in all beings. But beyond the Atman, there is the Paramatman, which we have briefly studied before, the Supreme Self. The Atman is, as it were, the star of our own self-issue, the Root of our selfhood, the point where we cling, as it were, to the "Highest". If we can conceive of an ocean of super-spiritual ether, so to speak, and in that ocean - call it consciousness - a vortex, a laya-center, a point, a Primordial Point, whence the six principles below it flow forth into concrete manifestation through its vehicles - the souls or egos - we obtain a very crude conception of the Root of our being. It is the Atman, the channel or spiritual point where the super-spiritual breaks, as it were, from and through a barrier downwards into individualized life. This process we shall more fully explain later, and shall then illustrate it by diagram.

Now this matter of Hierarchies is dealt with in the different World Religions virtually in the same manner but under different names and in different paradigmatic schemes. For instance, you can think of the ten parts or grades or steps of a Hierarchy as one under the other, like the floors in a house, or like the flats in an apartment-house, a very gross simile, it is true, but having the advantage of suggesting steps or planes, and of suggesting high and low. We can think of a Hierarchy in another, more subtle, manner, as consisting in triads of spheres, or living centers, three triads hanging from the tenth or highest point; and that highest center is, as already explained, the point beyond which our thought and imagination can soar no higher, and we merely say that this center is the highest that the human intellect can reach. But we know that beyond it, this tenth which is our highest, [64] there is also the lowest center or plane of another Hierarchy still higher from which our Hierarchy hangs as a pendant; and so on endlessly. We cannot say of Infinity, that the Infinite begins here and ends there: if this were so, it would not be infinite, it would not be boundless. Our doctrine of Universal Life, of Universal Consciousness, of one Universal "Law" working everywhere, means that that "Law" manifests in every atom, and in every part of Universal Being, and in all directions, and for all duration, and in the same manner everywhere; because it cannot manifest in radically diverse ways; if so, it would be many fundamental "laws" and not one "Law".

For instance - as regards Hierarchies - in our last study we considered the Hierarchy of the Neo-Platonic philosophy, which is really the esoteric teaching of ancient Greece in the form that Plato gave to it. And there were nine stages, nine degrees, hanging, as it were, from the topmost, the spiritual Sun or the central Sun. We can conceive of these Hierarchies as seven concentric circles around and deriving from a central point, the Highest Triad, which we can call the infinite or the Primordial Point; or, again, we can call this primordial point the Atman or Self of the thinking entity, man, and then the other spheres or circles of being around him, will stand for his six other principles, somewhat in the fashion shown.

This is one way of representing a human individual Hierarchy, the different spheres or concentric circles, six of them, all flowing forth from the center, or seventh element, the Self. All Hierarchies are divided into seven, nine, or ten. The reason for this is a question that we shall have to go into by and by. There is no need to represent all these methods or paradigmatic schemes, but the idea is the same in all. Another way of representing a [65] Hierarchy by paradigm is, as said before, by like lines, ten of them, in the way shown, or by representing the nine stages or spheres as three triads on three planes, and the tenth on its own fourth plane.

We have studied the system of the Neo-Platonic Hierarchies in brief outline; and, if we have time, we shall take up this evening two other paradigmatic schemes by which Hierarchies are variously represented. Let us call earnest attention here to the important fact, before going farther, that these schemes, these paradigmatic representations on a flat surface, do not mean that the grades or steps or planes of being are either flat surfaces, or are like "nests" of boxes; they merely show by analogy, by hints, the relations and the functions of the grades among themselves.

It is obvious to any thinking man that the Hierarchies of being do not rise one above another like the floors of a house; it is perhaps true that all over the world they are so represented by different systems; but this is merely to show that there is a high and a low, a series of conditions or states of spirit and matter. Just as we would teach children, so the ancient Teachers taught us, in simple ways. Nor are we to imagine that the Hierarchies actually extend somewhere in space in the form of triangles or circles. We represent them in this way in order to show their [66] intermingling relations and their interpenetrating functions among each other. Why, however, do we separate the grades into triads? Because certain ones of these grades or planes are more nearly related, intermingle more easily, function more easily together, since their conditions or states are more closely akin. (1) The first triad, the highest; (2) the intermediate; (3) the lowest triad; and all overshadowing the corpus, the physical body. Or we can take another scheme, and have the three lowest centers forming the bottom triad; the three intermediate centers next; and then the three highest; all the three triads hanging from a point, the Primordial Point, "God", if you like.

Now let us consider the question: "Have the Christians a Hierarchy in their theology?" They have; and by this I mean that the Christians had one, apparently from the earliest times, till the natural resiliency of the human mind began to exert itself in rebellion against the dogmatism and materialization of the Christian teaching which reached its climax in the epoch preceding the Renaissance of thought, when the discoveries of science freed the human mind from its dogmatic shackles. Nevertheless, up till that time this teaching of Hierarchies controlling living beings flourished in the Christian Church, and it originated in the form it then had, as we pointed out in our last study, in the writings of Dionysius, "the Areopagite". One of his works was called On the Celestial Hierarchy, and it showed how all spiritual being was divided into a Hierarchy of ten degrees or stages, the tenth or highest being God. This mystic writer followed this work with another called On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, and he claimed as a good Christian, or in order to please his good Christian friends - there is every reason to believe that he copied the hierarchical scheme of the Neo-Platonic philosophy, which was purely pagan, of course - that on earth the celestial Hierarchy was reenacted or reflected or repeated in an ecclesiastical Hierarchy, which was the Christian Church, topped by Jesus as the highest representative thereof and as the "Logos of God"!

Now what were the names that Dionysius gave to the grades or stages of his Hierarchy? First, God, as the summit, the Divine Spirit; then came the Seraphim; then the Cherubim; then the Thrones, forming the first triad. Then Dominations, Virtues, Powers, forming the second triad. Then Principalities, then Archangels, then Angels, the third triad counting downward.

It is interesting to note that this Hierarchy is syncretistic, that is, composite, taken from different sources, and built up into a unity. Seraphim and Cherubim are from the Hebrew. This [67] plural word Seraphim comes from a Hebrew root meaning to "burn with fire", hence, to be inflamed with love. Cherubim is a curious word, but scholars generally think that it means "forms". The Seraphim are mystically believed to be red in color, and the Cherubim dark blue. The Thrones, the Dominations, the Virtues, the Powers, the Principalities, are all taken from the Christian teachings of Paul in the Epistles, Ephesians i, 21, and Colossians i, 16, and are distinctly mystic. The two last, the archangels and the angels, are not at all Christian in their origin, but are derived in indirect and tortuous descent from the ancient Greek and Asiatic - especially old Persian - system of thought which recognized messengers or ministers or transmitters between man and the spiritual world; the Greek word angel originally meant "messenger", and the highest type of these were called archangels, or angels of the highest degree.

Now the fault, or rather inadequacy, of this Christian system is that its highest point reached no higher than this god here, a modification on Greek lines of the Jewish Jehovah; and it went no farther below in reach or extent than man himself. The Ineffable, Unthinkable, on the one hand, and the immeasurable spheres of beings below man, on the other hand, are ignored. It was merely a chapter torn out of the Ancient Wisdom and taken over into Christianity; but small and imperfect as it was, it provided Christianity with all the mysticism and spiritualizing thought that saved it from utter materialism in religion during the Middle Ages.

Let us now take up another Hierarchy, the Jewish scheme of the Qabbalah. You see that there are nine degrees here, nine degrees all pendant from the Supreme Self or God. Now the Jewish Qabbalistic Hierarchy, or Hierarchies, or system of Hierarchies, is an outgrowth of the teachings and thinkings of the Jewish doctors or Rabbis, from a time very far back, and is actually a reflection of esoteric Babylonian teachings.

As the Book of Genesis (the first few chapters of it at least) is very largely taken from the Babylonians, so the Jews derived their Angelology, or system of angels or angelical Hierarchies, from that same source. Now this teaching found its finest expression in the Jewish Theosophy, called the Qabbalah (this word, as said before, meaning to receive - i.e., traditionary lore handed down from teacher to teacher), and the teaching of the Hierarchies in the Qabbalah is fundamental, the whole system being based on it: it implies the intermingling and the interchange of all life and all beings, between low and high, in this regard exactly as in our own teaching. Hence the Qabbalah is so far as it goes, a faithful reflection of the Esoteric Philosophy. The Qabbalah, as outlined in the book Zohar - a word meaning [68] splendor; this book is often called the "Bible of the Qabbalists" - is in large part exoteric from the Theosophical viewpoint, because all our teachings, with regard to certain things, are in the Zohar, but not all the explanations are there, and this fact makes the book exoteric, in so far as the keys are lacking.

Now the teaching in the Qabbalah with regard to the Hierarchies and the Ladder of Life, is, that from the Boundless, or Ain Suph, down to infinity below, the Ladder of Life consists of steps, or degrees, or grades, of consciousness and of consciousnesses, and of being and of beings, and that there is a constant interchange, an interflow of communication, between these innumerable grades of the various Hierarchies or worlds. Precisely our teaching - naturally! The Qabbalistic Hierarchy consists of, or more accurately is typified by, nine grades or planes or spheres hanging from a tenth (or a first, if you like), all together making ten. They bore the following names. The first is called the Crown, the Primordial Point, the first and highest of the Sefiroth (sometimes spelt Sephiroth) or the grades, steps, planes, spheres, before spoken of. The next Sephira is called Wisdom.

(We have no time now to give the Hebrew words here; they may be found in any book on the Qabbalah. See Isis Unveiled, II, 213, and Theosophical Glossary.)

The next, the third, is called Understanding, or, perhaps better, Intelligence. These form the head and two shoulders of the Adam Qadmon, or Archetypal Man, or Ideal Man. According to the thinking of the Qabbalists, as these Hierarchies are particularly and sympathetically related to certain respective parts of the human body, so these three just spoken of have each its respective relation: certain parts about the crown of the head, or in the head, or from the head, or belonging to the head, for the first Sephira; the right shoulder to Wisdom; the left to Understanding. The right arm is called Greatness, or sometimes Love; the left arm is called Power, or sometimes Justice, and is considered a feminine quality; the breast or region of the chest or heart is called Beauty. The right leg (remember I am speaking generally of the Archetypal Man) is called Subtleity; the left leg is called Majesty, and is considered a feminine quality. The generative organs are called Foundation.

Now these make nine. Each of these grades is assumed to emanate from the one above it. First the Crown; from the Crown, Wisdom; from the Crown and Wisdom, Understanding; from the three - Crown, Wisdom, and Understanding - comes the fourth; from the four all together comes the fifth; from the five all together comes the sixth; and so on down to the ninth; and [69] the ninth, with all the forces and qualities of the others behind it, produces this round being, an egg-shaped container or "carrier", or vehicle, an auric egg, and this auric egg, as the tenth, is called Kingdom, or sometimes Dwelling-Place, because it is the fruit or result or emanation, or field of action of all the others, manifesting through these different planes of being.

Now why should the Hierarchies sometimes be numbered or reckoned as seven, and sometimes as ten? Because ten is the most sacred fundamental number in occultism. It is that upon which the universe is built. The fabric of being is built along the lines of the decad or ten. The Pythagoreans, members of one of the most mystic of the ancient Greek schools of thinking, had what they called the sacred Tetractys, a word referring to the number four; and how did they represent this Tetractys? In this fashion: First a point above and alone, the Monad; then two points below that, or the Duad; then three points below these. or the Triad; and then four points below these, or the Tetrad - ten points altogether. They had an oath which they considered the most sacred adjuration of the Pythagorean School, which they uttered when they swore by the "Holy Tetractys". What is this oath? It is worth remembering: "Yea, by the Tetraktys, which has supplied to our soul the fountain containing the roots of everflowing nature". This is just full of profound thought. Finally, the tetraktys emblematized (among other things) the procession of beings into manifestation. First the Primordial point, then the line, then the superficies, then the cube - 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10.

Now what, finally, is the difference between the system of seven and that of ten? The seven is the fundamental number of the manifested universe; but over the seven hovers eternally the infinite and immortal Triad, the Unmanifest. This is the key. Some religions specialize in sevens; but all religions have the ten, also, in their various numerical schemes.

As H.P. Blavatsky says - we have not time to read her words in full tonight, although I had intended to read, after finishing this explanation, her own words on this very subject from her esoteric Instructions number one (we must remember that this is an esoteric gathering) and also from The Secret Doctrine - the number ten is the secret or sephirical principle of the universe, because on and through this denary system the universe is [70] formed and built. Man (as a whole) is tenfold, the universe (as a whole) is tenfold, but both are septenary in manifestation. Every atom, every living being, and every universe is a complete Hierarchy of ten degrees: three highest considered as the Root, and seven lower in active manifestation. This Root, or Highest Triad, is a Mystery Teaching, concerning which very little open explanation is to be found even in the ancient literatures.

In The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 98, H.P. Blavatsky first enumerates certain things which you can see for yourself in the Stanza there printed, to wit: - "The Voice of the Word, Swabhavat, the Numbers, for he is One and Nine"; to which she joins the following as a footnote:

Which makes ten, or the perfect number applied to the "Creator," the name given to the totality of the Creators blended by the Monotheists into One, as the "Elohim," Adam Kadmon or Sephira - the Crown - are the androgyne synthesis of the 10 Sephiroth, who stand for the symbol of the manifested Universe in the popularized Qabbalah. The esoteric Qabbalists, however, following the Eastern Occultists, divide the upper Sephiroth triangle from the rest (or Sephira, Chochmah and Binah [that is, the Crown, Wisdom and Understanding]) which leaves seven Sephiroth ¼

Then on page 360 (very unfortunately we did not have time to refer to this at our last meeting) she says here in relation to other matters: "The 10, being the sacred number of the universe, was secret and esoteric ¼"; and on page 362: "¼ the whole astronomical and geometrical portion of the secret sacerdotal language was built upon the number 10 ¼"

It may be interesting and well worthwhile to point out here, that these quotations give the reason why the numerical computations of the Esoteric Philosophy have not yet been satisfactorily solved by students with a mathematical turn of mind - because they will persist in working with the number seven, alone, in spite of Madame Blavatsky's open hints to the contrary, for she says openly that the number seven must be used in calculations in a manner hitherto unknown to Western mathematics. The hint ought to be sufficient in itself alone, because the seven, considered as a basis for computation, is a very unwieldy and awkward number with which to calculate. The subject is alluded to in veiled manner in Instructions number one, page nine, in speaking of Padmapani, or the "Lotus-handed" - one of the names in Tibetan mysticism of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. H.P. Blavatsky says, after narrating a legend concerning this character:

He vowed to perform the feat before the end of the Kalpa, adding that in case of failure he wished that his head would split into numberless [71] fragments. The Kalpa closed; but Humanity felt him not within its cold, evil heart. Then Padmapani's head split and was shattered into a thousand fragments. Moved with compassion, the Deity reformed the pieces into ten heads, three white and seven of various colors. And since that day man has become a perfect number, or Ten.

In this allegory the potency of SOUND, COLOR, AND NUMBER is so ingeniously introduced as to veil the real esoteric meaning. To the outsider it reads like one of the many meaningless fairy tales of creation; but it is pregnant with spiritual and divine, physical and magical, meaning. From Amitabha - no color or the white glory - are born the seven differentiated colors of the prism. These each emit a corresponding sound, forming the seven of the musical scale. As Geometry among the Mathematical Sciences is specially related to Architecture, and also - proceeding to Universals - to Cosmogony, so the ten Jods of the Pythagorean Tetrad, or Tetraktys, being made to symbolize the Macrocosm, the Microcosm, or man, its image, had also to be divided into ten points. For this Nature herself has provided, as will be seen.

One more citation, in order to finish the subject. On page 15, H.P. Blavatsky writes shortly as follows:

As the Universe, the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, are ten, why should we divide Man into seven "principles"? This is the reason why the perfect number ten is divided into two, a reason which cannot be given out publicly: In their completeness, i.e., super-spiritually and physically, the forces are TEN: to wit, three on the subjective and inconceivable, and seven on the objective plane. Bear in mind that I am now giving you the description of the two opposite poles: (a) the primordial triangle, which as soon as it has reflected itself in the "Heavenly Man," the highest of the lower seven - disappears, returning into "Silence and Darkness"; and (b) the astral paradigmatic man, whose Monad (Atma) is also represented by a triangle, as it has to become a ternary in conscious Devachanic interludes. [72]

Chapter VIII


The oldest religions of the world - exoterically, for the esoteric root or foundation is one - are the Indian, the Mazdean, and the Egyptian. Then comes the Chaldean, the outcome of these - entirely lost to the world now, except in its disfigured Sabaeanism as at present rendered by the archaeologists; then, passing over a number of religions that will be mentioned later, comes the Jewish, esoterically, as in the Qabbalah, following in the line of Babylonian Magism; exoterically, as in Genesis and the Pentateuch, a collection of allegorical legends. Read by the light of the Zohar, the initial four chapters of Genesis are the fragment of a highly philosophical page in the World's Cosmogony.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 10

The first lesson taught in Esoteric philosophy is, that the incognisable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits periodically different aspects of itself to the perception of finite Minds. Now the collective Mind - the Universal - composed of various and numberless Hosts of Creative Powers, however infinite in manifested Time, is still finite when contrasted with the unborn and undecaying Space in its supreme essential aspect. That which is finite cannot be perfect ¼

The Hebrew Elohim, called in the translations "God," and who create "light," are identical with the Aryan Asuras. They are also referred to as the "Sons of Darkness" as a philosophical and logical contrast to light immutable and eternal ¼ The Zoroastrian Amshaspends create the world in six days or periods also, and rest on the Seventh; whereas that Seventh is the first period or "day," in esoteric philosophy (Primary creation in the Aryan cosmogony). It is that intermediate Aeon which is the Prologue to creation, and which stands on the borderland between the uncreated eternal Causation and the produced finite effects; a state of nascent activity and energy as the first aspect of the eternal immutable Quiescence. In Genesis, on which no metaphysical energy has been spent, but only an extraordinary acuteness and ingenuity to veil the esoteric Truth, "Creation" begins at the third stage of manifestation. "God" or the Elohim are the "Seven Regents" of Pymander. They are identical with all the other Creators.

- Secret Doctrine, II, 487-8

This evening we open our study with the following citation from the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, page 224:

Mankind in its first prototypal, shadowy form, is the offspring of the Elohim of Life (or Pitris); in its qualitative and physical aspect it is the direct progeny of the "Ancestors," the lowest Dhyanis, or Spirits of the Earth; for its moral, psychic, and spiritual nature, it is indebted to a group of divine Beings, the name and characteristics of which will be given in Book II. Collectively, men are the handiwork of hosts of various spirits; distributively, the tabernacles of those hosts; and occasionally and singly, the vehicles of some of them.

And on page 225, second paragraph:

Man is not, nor could he ever be, the complete product of the "Lord God"; but he is the child of the Elohim, so arbitrarily changed into [73] the singular masculine gender. The first Dhyanis, commissioned to "create" man in their image, could only throw off their shadows, like a delicate model for the Nature Spirits of matter to work upon. (See Book II.) Man is, beyond any doubt, formed physically out of the dust of the Earth, but his creators and fashioners were many.

In opening our study this evening it seems advisable first to speak of two things, a less thing and a greater thing; we take the less thing first. As has been seen from the beginning of our studies, as outlined by the Teacher, we have been bringing forward for our consideration at every one of our meetings, teachings found in the great religions of the world, mostly of the past, which are similar to or identical with our own. This has been done in order to join all these teachings, as found in the old religions, with the teachings as given by H.P. Blavatsky today, that is, with Theosophy. This shows the universality of thought in religions and thereby induces a spirit of kindliness and brotherhood, and leads to the accentuation of the moral sense which so greatly lacks in the comparative religious study of the doctrines of the predominant ancient religions by the mass of scholars in the Occident today. It does away at one sweep with the egoistic opinion that "we are more perfect and morally better than you are", with the idea that we Occidentals are a superior people, and with the idea that a certain race and a certain religion are, by the fiat of the Deity, the chosen receptacles or vehicles for the only truth: that all the other religions are false, and that those who professed them in ancient times were merely brands prepared for the burning!

The second thing and the greater, is this. We have constantly been bringing forward certain religious or philosophical analogies and certain points of view thereupon which are veritable doctrinal touchstones; our aim being that those who may read these studies, as outlined by the Teacher, shall be enabled to have at hand, and - through the thoughts therein expressed - to have clear-set in their own minds, keys by which to test the truth and reality of the essential or fundamental doctrines of these ancient religions; because all these doctrines in their essence and in their inner meaning, in those old religions, are true. In this sense Brahmanism is true, in this sense Buddhism is true, likewise Confucianism, and the doctrines of Lao-tse called Taoism. They are all true in that sense.

But all of them have been, in greater or less degree, subject to the influences of certain creations of human fancy; and for one who has not been trained in these studies, it is often difficult to separate the merely human fancies from the Nature-true teachings of the ancient Wisdom-Religion. All the ancient religions sprang from that same source - Theosophy, as it is called today. But [74] it is, as said before, sometimes difficult to know what is the original teaching and what the merely human accretion or creation. These creations of human fantasy and irreligious fear are very evident in the two modern monotheistic religions, which have sprung from Judaism, that is to say in Christianity and in Islam. In these two the human accretions of phantasm are very marked; but in both of them there exists a solid substratum of mystical thought based on the ancient teachings of the Wisdom-Religion.

In Christianity it is particularly in the Neo-Pythagorean and the Neo-Platonic forms, as Christianized somewhat and as manifested in the teachings of Dionysius, called "the Areopagite"; and in the later Mohammedan religion it is manifested somewhat more distantly in the borrowings from Greek thought mainly, though also from other sources, as we find them outlined by the Mohammedan doctors and thinkers, such as Ibn Sina, commonly called Avicenna in Europe, a Persian, who lived and wrote at the end of the tenth century; by Averroes in Cordova, Spain, properly called Roshd, who flourished during the twelfth century; and by another eminent Mohammedan scholar (mentioning these three out of many) Al Farabi, of the tenth century, by descent a Turk. The Ancient Wisdom also affected the teachings of Mohammed in a highly mystical form, though greatly changed, as shown in the Sufi doctrines, which are particularly and manifestly of Persian origin, owing their rise to that spiritual-minded and subtle people, the Persians. These doctrines are a very welcome contrast with the hard and mechanical religious beliefs which arose out of the egoism of the crude Arabian tribes of that period.

Now the main theme of our study this evening is the consideration of the opening verses of the "Book of Beginnings", called Genesis - the first book in the Law of the Jews. We shall first read the English translation of these verses as found in the so-called "authorized version", and of the same chapters we shall make a translation for ourselves, in which you will be enabled to see the difference from the former; and we will explain what the difference is, and how it comes to be, and for this purpose we shall have to go into a brief exposition of certain peculiarities of the ancient Hebrew tongue.

In the "authorized version" of the English Bible, called the version of King James, the Book of Genesis opens as follows, Chapter I, verse I:

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. [75]

3. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.

4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Verse 26:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Now, in the first place, Hebrew is a Semitic tongue, one of the company of languages of which Arabic and Ethiopic and Aramaean (or Aramaic) and Phoenician and Assyrian are other members. The Hebrew in which the Bible is written is called the Biblical Hebrew. It is ancient Hebrew. The language spoken in Palestine at the time when Jesus is supposed to have lived upon the earth in Jerusalem and around that district, was Aramaean, and not Hebrew, which was then extinct as a spoken language, and of course when he spoke to his disciples he spoke to them in Aramaean.

The Hebrew language as found in the ancient manuscripts of the Bible - none earlier, probably, than the ninth century of the Christian era - is written with "points", taking the place of vowels, because Hebrew writing is a consonantal system - its alphabet is wholly consonantal. It has the alef, or "a", which is nevertheless reckoned as a consonant. It has the waw, or "w", and it also is reckoned as a consonant; and it has the yod, or "y", also reckoned as a consonant, but it has no vowel-signs proper.

Thus, the language is written without true vowels. Furthermore, in the most ancient manuscripts - and certainly it was so in the original or pre-Christian era texts - the letters are all "run together", following one after another, without separation of [76] words. There were some marks possibly, by which certain things in the text were pointed out as of particular importance; but the letters followed one another interminably, with no separation into words, and without vowels. So, you see, there is an open field for many kinds of speculation, even for very able Hebrew scholars, as to what any certain combination of letters found in this endless stream may have originally meant. This way of writing was universal, practically, in ancient times; the earliest Greek and Latin manuscripts of the New Testament are written in this fashion, which merely followed the ancient custom, as may still be seen on the ruins of public buildings in Greece and Rome. Obviously, interpretation, or correct reading, was often dubious: the reader might be very doubtful of the original sense of a passage in a manuscript so written.

So much was this the case that there arose in Palestine at an undetermined date - but we know that it may go back to about the time of the fall of Jerusalem before Titus, or, say, about the beginning of the Christian era - a school of interpreters, who interpreted by what they were pleased to call "tradition", Masorah, that is to say, "traditional" knowledge, how the Hebrew Bible should be read, how these streams of consonants should be divided up in reading into words, and what vowel points should be put there in order to fix the pronunciation in accordance therewith. This system of "points" was probably not introduced into the text till the seventh century. This school was called the School of the Masorah, and its expounders and followers were called Massoretes.

This school of the Masorah reached its fullest development and completion probably in the ninth century of the Christian era. But while this school depended upon what it called "tradition", there is no certainty of proof that their interpretations of their own combinations of letters into words were always correct. They seemed to have got, however, and to have passed down to posterity, some knowledge of the general original sense.

In order to illustrate this matter, let us take the first five English words of Genesis: we drop all the vowels, retaining only the consonants, and we have this: Nthbgnnnggdcrtd. You could here insert vowels almost ad libitum, in seeking a meaning. "In the beginning God created", and now imagine endless lines of such consonants!

Add to it the fact that Hebrew writing begins at the right hand and runs to the left. Furthermore, it begins at what we would call the end of the book, and runs to the front, as writings in other Semitic tongues do. This fashion of writing was not uncommon with other peoples in ancient days. Greek and Latin writing in ancient times sometimes followed this system, but [77] later, as you can see today if you have been in Greece or in Rome, in the old inscriptions on the temples and elsewhere, it usually began at the left and went to the right, usually with no breaks for words. In the very old Greek writings (and elsewhere too) they also had what they called boustrophedon, from two Greek words meaning ox-turning, taken from the path followed by the plowing ox: when it starts, let us say, from one end of a field it goes to the other end and then turns and goes back and over it, in the opposite direction, but aside and parallel with the other line, in plowing its furrows. This method is not followed in the Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible that we possess.

Now, in beginning our translation of the first verses of Genesis, we are met, in the very first two words, by a difficulty. These words can be translated in two or three different ways. The translation as given in the European Bibles, and as found in the "authorized" English version, is a fairly correct rendering so far as mere words go; but anyone who has undertaken translations from a foreign tongue and particularly from a dead tongue, and more especially again from a tongue which is a religious tongue and evidently written more or less in cipher, can realize the difficulties there lie in picking out the various meanings which any one word may have, in choosing which is the word that is best for the translation, which word carries the meaning nearest to the intention of the writer. The first two words as usually read are "be" and "reshith"; and so divided, their meanings are as here follow: Be means in, reshith means beginning, this second word being a feminine form, and coming originally from the masculine word Resh, or Rosh, meaning (among several other things) head, chief part, first part. Hence we may translate Be reshith as "In first part", or "In highest part", etc.

But this same combination of letters - Brashith - could also be translated (by dividing differently) as Bore, one word, a verb, and shith, another word, a noun; meaning Bore, or "forming", and shith, an "institution", "establishment", "arrangement". "Forming the establishment (or arrangement)" - of what? The text goes on to say what is arranged or established - By arranging "formed the Elohim Heaven and Earth."

Furthermore, the word resh, or rosh, above selected, may also mean "head" as before said, signifying "wisdom", or "knowledge ": hence, "In wisdom the Elohim formed Heavens and Earth". Remember, it is permissible to put in vowels almost at choice, because vowels do not exist in the original text of the book, in the Bible, itself; hence the opening for more than merely one interpretation.

Resh, or rosh, then, also means "head"; it also means "wisdom"; it also means "host" or "multitude". So here [78] we may select still another - a translation: Beresh, "in multitude", or "by multitude". Yithbare would then be the next word, "formed Elohim". Here comes again another remarkable change in meaning - and I am making these remarks in order to point out how the Hebrew text of the Bible may bear many translations. Supposing then that we divide the first fourteen Hebrew letters of the text into the following word-combinations: Be-resh yithbare Elohim, we get (by using yithbare, which is one of the forms of the Hebrew verb, called the reflexive form, meaning action upon oneself) the following translation: "By multitude", "Through multitude, the Gods formed themselves". What follows in the text? "into the heavens and the earth". That is: "In a host (or multitude) the gods formed (made) themselves into the Heavens and the Earth". See the vast difference in meaning from the "authorized version". This last translation we believe is the best; it shows at once the identity of thought with all other ancient cosmogonic systems.

" By multitude formed" (or "evolved": this word Bara means to "fatten", to "shape", to "become heavy or gross", to "cut", to "form", to "be born", to "evolve") - "by (or in) multitude" or "through (or in) multitude evolved Elohim themselves into the heavens and the earth".

Now the fourth word, Elohim. This is a very curious word. The first part of it alone is el, meaning God, divinity, from which comes the second, a feminine form, eloh, Goddess. Im is merely the masculine plural. So, if we translate every element in this single word, it would mean, "God, Goddess, plural" - showing the androgynous essence of the divinities, as it were: the polar opposites of the Hierarchy; the essential duality in life.

Verse 2. "And the earth became ethereal". Now the second word - a verb - in the Hebrew text of the second verse answers to two Latin verbs: esse, to be, and fieri, to become; but almost always its original sense is fieri, to become, like the Greek gignomai, meaning to become, to grow into a new state of something. "And the earth became" or "grew into ethereality". The two next words (" tohu" and "bohu") of the text, which we here translate "ethereality", are very difficult words rightly to interpret. They both mean "emptiness", "waste", "Immateriality", hence "dissolution"; the fundamental idea means something unsubstantial, not materially gross. We continue our translation: "And darkness upon the face of the ethers. And the Ruahh (the spirit-soul) of the Gods (of Elohim) (fluttered, hovered) brooding." The word we translate "brooded" is derived from and means the action of a hen which flutters, and hovers, and broods over the eggs in its nest. How graphic, how significant is this figure of speech! [79]

You see the same thought here that you see in practically all the ancient teachings; the figure or symbol of the cosmic soul brooding over the waters of space, preparing the world-egg: that of the cosmic egg and the divine bird laying the cosmic egg. "And the spirit-soul of Elohim brooding upon the face of the waters", says the Hebrew text. Now "waters", as we have shown before, was a common expression or symbol for space, the ethereal expansion, as it were. We continue our translation: "And said (the) Elohim (The Gods) - Light, come-into-being! and Light came-into-being. And saw (the) Gods the light, that (it was) good. And divided Elohim between the light and between the darkness. And called Elohim the light day, and the darkness called they night. And (there) came-into-being eve, and (there) came-into-being morn. Day one. And said Elohim (let there) come-into-being an expanse in (the) midst of the waters, and let it be a separator (divider) between waters and waters. And made Elohim (or the Gods) the expanse, and they separated between the waters which (were) below the expanse, and between the waters which (were) above the expanse, and (it) came-to-be so. And called Elohim (the Gods) the expanse heavens, and (there) came-into-being eve, and (there) came-into-being morn. Day second. And said Elohim (the Gods) "(let there) be-gathered-together (i.e., solidified, condensed) the waters above the heavens into one place, and (let there) be-seen the dry-part (the solidified or manifested part)" (the word means "dry", in opposition to humidity. Humidity means water, standing for space. It means, therefore, the collected matter of a planet to be, of a solar system to be, or a universe to be), "and (it) came-to-be so. And called the Gods the dry-part earth, and the solidification (gathering-together) of the waters called they seas. And saw Elohim (the Gods) that (it was) good."

Now turn to verses 26, 27, 28 of the same, the first, chapter. "And said (the Gods) Elohim, Let us make humanity (the word is Adam) in our shadowy image (in our shadow, in our phantom. The word is tselem), according to our pattern (or model). And let them descend into the fish of the sea and into the flying creatures of the heavens, and into the beast, and into all the earth, and into all moving creatures which move upon the earth. And formed (or shaped or evolved, the same verb as above, Bara) Elohim (the Gods) humanity in their phantom, in the shadowy image of Elohim, formed (or evolved) they him."

Now come two very interesting words, usually translated "male and female", which are two of the meanings respectively found in the dictionaries; but the root-meanings of these words are the following: "thinker and receiver" (or receptacle): "thinker and receptacle evolved they them. And blessed them [80] the Elohim", that is, the Elohim blessed them, "and said to them the Elohim, 'be fruitful, increase, and fill the earth'," and so forth.

You see, therefore, that here, merely by using other words than those usually chosen by Christian translators, or later Jewish translators, and yet recognized dictionary words, and by forcing no meanings, we have found the identical meanings of the Esoteric teachings as outlined in The Secret Doctrine when treating of these subjects. First the Hierarchy and its manifested divinities evolving the universe or Kosmos out of themselves, using the reflexive form of the Hebrew verb bara, as shown above. Furthermore, a study of the first verse of Genesis will show us that the evolution treated in it has no relation solely and especially to the creation of this earth or of any other particular earth, but is a general doctrine having reference rather to the first manifestation of material being in ethereal space, and that the fowls of the air and the fish of the sea and the beasts, which are spoken of, do not necessarily refer (although they could) to the particular animals which we know under those names on earth, but do also refer (in accord with a well known fact of ancient mythology) to the "animals of the heavens" of which we spoke in our last study, i.e., to every globe of the starry spheres, to every nebula and to every comet, all such being considered in the ancient teachings to be a living being, an "animal" having its physical corpus or body, and having behind it its Director, or Governor, or Divine Essence, or Spirit.

Furthermore, we see that the Elohim evolved Man, Humanity, out of themselves, and told them to become, then to enter into and inform these other creatures. Indeed, these sons of the Elohim are, in our teachings, the children of light, the sons of light, which are we ourselves, and yet different from ourselves, because higher, yet they are our own very selves inwardly; for, in fact, the Elohim became, evolved into, their own offspring, remaining in a sense still always the inspiring Light, within - or rather above - according to the interpretation authorized by the very words chosen from the dictionary - and flaunting no rule of Hebrew grammar. For, following the ancient teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, and strengthened by exactly similar thought in the Babylonian religious teachings from which these Hebrew teachings originally came, we see that the Elohim projected themselves into the nascent forms of the then "humanity", which thenceforward were "men," however imperfect their development still was.

What were these Elohim, these divinities, these Gods? In the hierarchical system of the Qabbalah they are the sixth in derivation from above, from the first or the Crown, and thus are by no means the highest. They were, cosmogonically, the manifested [81] Formers, or Weavers, of the Web of the Universe. Jehovah, spoken of in the second chapter of Genesis, is the third angelic potency, counting downwards from the Crown - the summit of the Hierarchy of the Qabbalah.

In chapter five of Genesis, verses 1 and 2, there is an interesting expression. We translate: "This (the) book of the generations of humanity (Adam). In the day of Elohim (of the Gods) evolving humanity, in the pattern (or model) of the Elohim, made they him. Thinker-and-receptacle made they them, and blessed them and called their name humanity (or Adam) in the day of their making." Evidently, it is not here question of a single human pair, of a man and a woman in our sense, but of nascent androgynous humanity, and they had one name, Adam, and their attributes were thinker and casket (or receptacle): ethereal beings - children of the Elohim - who are themselves - capable of thinking and of receiving and understanding and developing under the lessons which were to follow from their incarnations in the lower fleshly beings they themselves evolved, and signified under the terms as set forth here - the "fowls" of the "air", and the "fish" of the "sea", and every living thing which moveth upon the face of the earth.

These ancient writings have more than one mystical or esoteric application, or, as H.P. Blavatsky says, they have more than one key. But, again, what or who were these Elohim? They were our theosophical monads. It is curious, by the way, that Leibnitz, the great Slavic-German philosopher, evolved a theory of monadic evolution which is singularly like our own in some respects. For him, the universe was replete with progressing entities, which he called "monads", spiritual beings which evolved through the forces innate in themselves, yet acting and reacting upon each other - a faithful echo, in so far as it goes, of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion.

Again, what do we mean when we speak respectively of emanation, evolution, and creation? Emanation and evolution are closely similar in meaning. Emanation is from a Latin word meaning "flowing out", and in all the ancient teachings of importance the idea was that the Gods actively, transitively, "flowed out" from themselves their offspring or children. Evolution is also a Latin word and means "rolling out", "unfolding", something which is unfolded; and obviously a thing which is "flowed out", using the words "flowed out" transitively, is also unrolled out, unfolded out.

Now creation originally in its Latin sense meant practically the same as does this Hebrew word Bara. It meant "making", "shaping", "carving", "cutting" - of course out of preexisting material or matter, and the Christian theory (which was [82] more or less that of the Jews in their later days) that God made the world "out of nothing", is preposterous, absurd, both historically and linguistically. It is founded on no ancient teaching whatever, and it arose naturally enough, in a sense, from the monotheistic mania, which endeavored to make God extra-cosmic, apart from the universe, and above it, a pure spirit, having no relation of ineluctable union with his creatures, God the "Father and Maker" of them, and yet an absolute personal non-entity - having no "body, parts, or passions", yet a Person withall! Of course the two concepts are contradictory and mutually destructive, and had we the time it would be easy to dilate further the preposterous absurdity of which we speak.

We can see, therefore, in closing our study this evening, that it is very difficult to say which of these three: Emanation, Evolution, Creation, is first in the order of procession. Was it emanation, followed by evolution, followed by creation; or was it evolution, followed by emanation, followed by creation? Certainly, creation - in its original sense of shaping, forming - comes the last of the three, as is easily shown. The difficulty lies in the fact that in every cosmic act of emanation we immediately perceive an act of evolution or unfolding; and in every act of evolution we immediately perceive an act of emanation. Every monad pari passu passes from one into the other, just as all mankind evolved pari passu from one into the other. We should, probably, say that emanation, evolution, creation, work simultaneously and coordinately, during manifestation.

But taking the question from a purely philosophical standpoint, it is probably accurate and best to say that the first step from what we call the Unmanifest into the Manifest is emanation, a flowing out from its source of a monad or rather a host of monads, which, as they in turn follow the pattern set for them by their source and their Karmic past, grow darker, and more material, proportionately as they recede from their central fount of life; and, again, as they emanate, they also evolve, bringing out from within that which they innately are or have, and they do this in accordance with the karmic lines or patterns upon which we have faintly touched in previous studies, when speaking of the Skandhas, because every act of emanation and of evolution begins a new lifecycle following the Pralaya or rest period of a former life-period or Manvantara. Then finally, when the period of self-consciousness is reached in the cyclical progression of evolution, comes a period of will, conscious choice, when man begins to "create" or fashion voluntarily; that is, through the exercise of his will and his intuition and his intellect, he carves his own destiny and likewise affects the world creationally which exists around him. [83]

Chapter IX


Can one fail to recognize in Creuzer great powers of intuition, when, being almost unacquainted with the Aryan Hindu philosophies, little known in his day, ho wrote:

We modern Europeans fed surprised when hearing talk of the Spirits of the Sun, Moon, etc. But we repeat again, the natural good sense and the upright judgement of the ancient peoples, quite foreign to our entirely material ideas upon celestial mechanics and physical sciences ¼ could not see in the stars and planets only that which we see: namely, simple masses of light, or opaque bodies moving in circuits in sidereal space, merely according to the laws of attraction or repulsion; but they saw in them living bodies, animated by spirits as they saw the same in every kingdom of nature ¼ This doctrine of spirits, so consistent and conformable to nature, from which it was derived, formed a grand and unique conception, wherein the physical, the moral, and the political aspects were all blended together ¼ (Egypte, 450-55)

It is such a conception only that can lead man to form a correct conclusion about his origin and the genesis of everything in the universe - of Heaven and Earth, between which he is a living link. Without such a psychological link, and the feeling of its presence, no science can ever progress, and the realm of knowledge must be limited to the analysis of physical matter only.

- Secret Doctrine, II, 369-70

We open our study tonight by reading once again from page 224 and page 225, of The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, as follows:

Mankind in its first prototypal, shadowy form, is the offspring of the Elohim of Life (or Pitris); in its qualitative and physical aspect it is the direct progeny of the "Ancestors," the lowest Dhyanis, or Spirits of the Earth; for its moral, psychic, and spiritual nature it is indebted to a group of divine Beings, the name and characteristics of which will be given in Book II. Collectively, men are the handiwork of hosts of various spirits; distributively, the tabernacles of those hosts; and occasionally and singly, the vehicles of some of them.

And the second paragraph on page 225:

Man is not, nor could he ever be, the complete product of the "Lord God"; but he is the child of the Elohim, so arbitrarily changed into the singular masculine gender. The first Dhyanis, commissioned to "create" man in their image, could only throw off their shadows, like a delicate model, for the Nature Spirits of matter to work upon. (See Book II.) Man is, beyond any doubt, formed physically out of the dust of the Earth, but his creators and fashioners were many.

In our last study we called attention to the first chapter of [84] the Hebrew Book of Gcnesis, and translated verses 1 to 10, and verses 25, 26, and 27 thereof. The intention was to show that the Ancient Wisdom was outlined even in the Jewish Book of Beginnings, even as it is elsewhere found in the scriptures of the other great World Religions. Of course, in all meetings where the time at one's disposal is limited, such as it is in these meetings, it is impossible adequately to treat every point of interest, and to deal with every phase of the subject at once; for this reason the Teacher has instructed me first to sketch an outline of a subject under discussion, and in later studies to return to the details.

Now in continuation of our study of the esoteric sense underlying this first chapter of Genesis, we must point out that this chapter does not deal with man as we now know him. The "man" spoken of in this first chapter is the spiritual being which descended into matter in the First Round of this Manvantara, as a spiritual, or rather ethereal, being; and consequently, when in verse 27 we translated the peculiar phrase, "Thinker and receiver formed (or evolved) they him", we must understand that this allusion does not refer to sexual man and woman of the present time. These words, thinker and receiver, refer to the spiritual nature of the then ethereal vehicles of humanity, not to our present day man or woman; and the word receiver can also be translated receptacle, the vehicle or house of the higher nature. Also, at the period dealt with in this verse 27 of the first chapter of Genesis, man in the general sense - humanity - was of double sex, or androgyne; hence, obviously, there was no "woman" then. This first chapter practically ignores the first, purely sexless, state of ethereal Adam; and enters upon its description of "man" when the latter was already sinking into material existence as a semi-self-conscious ethereal androgyne. In other words, the first chapter does not detail the separation of the sexes, which occurred far later. This general statement is plainly shown by even the exoteric rendering of the teaching - but let us read from another chapter of Genesis, verse 5 of Chapter II:

And every plant of the field BEFORE IT WAS IN THE EARTH, and every herb of the field BEFORE IT GREW: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there WAS NOT A MAN to till the ground.

"Man" had not yet come. Let me preface future explanations by saying that this second chapter of Genesis deals with the Third and the Fourth Rounds of our Manvantara, the latter or fourth being our present Round; and more particularly with the Third Root Race of our Fourth Round; whereas chapter first is a highly generalized and succinct Jewish epitome of early cosmogony, and ends with a similarly brief allusion to Rounds first and second. [85]

And in verses 19, 20, 21, and 22, we find the following:

19. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helpmate for him.

21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

As in verse 5 above, I use here the ordinary English translation of the so-called "Authorized Version", although, as a matter of fact, a very luminously different translation could be made of these verses. It would lead us too far from our main point to do so now.

Now, in the first place, this second chapter records a different method from that recorded in Chapter I, and a change as regards the evolving of the ethereal being from the Elohim, having reference to the making of physical humanity, or "man", from the "dust of the ground" (verse 7). In the second place, this English word rib of verses 21 and 22 should be translated side, the allusion being to the separation of the androgyne or dual-sexed humanity of Race the Third of our Fourth Round into sexed humanity as now existent.

Now Plato in his Banquet, page 189, alludes to this same historical physiological fact of prehistory, and says that (one of) the early races of mankind was bisexually formed; that they had great and terrible powers, and that their wickedness and ambition waxed very great, so that Zeus grew angry at their wickedness, and decided to cut them in two, as one would divide an egg with a hair. This Zeus did; and bade Apollo to render the two halves more shapely, etc. Apollo so did, and he closed up the flesh of the two halves. Since then all mankind was man and woman. A typically Platonic tale, embodying actual facts of forgotten history.

This deals with the earliest portion of the Fourth Root Race, and much more especially with the middle period of the Third Root Race of the Fourth - or present - Round on this planet. Up to the present time we have not had the need to set forth the teaching regarding the Rounds and Races; but we are fast approaching the time when we shall have to develop that subject.

We will now leave, for the present, with a few more words of explanation, the outline of emanation and evolution as found in [86] the Jewish Bible and as outlined by us at our last study and thus far this evening; and therefore first, before leaving it, it will be well to say a few words on the question of the Elohim, a subject upon which we touched last week.

Elohim is a word frequently found in the Jewish Bible, and is, as stated in our last preceding lecture, in itself an evidence of the polytheistic bias, teachings, and beliefs of the ancient Jewish people. The Bible itself shows it. Usually this word - a plural common noun - is to be translated as "Gods". But in most places where it occurs in the Hebrew text it is translated in the English "Authorized Version" as God. There is no true or solid reason for such a translation; the proper rendering is Gods; but the monotheistic and Christian tendencies of the translators made them set the translation for what they considered to be the best interests of the Christian Church, and their God Almighty; so they translated it in various places by various names, as for instance, it is translated as "Judges" in Exodus xxi, 6; xxii, 8, 9; and in many other places; but the essential, intrinsic meaning is always Gods, or beings having divine standing.

We now approach in our studies very difficult and, indeed, highly esoteric matters. In the first place, let us never forget that the Eolhim, the Gods, who are spoken of under various names in the various religions of the ancient world as the creators or rather evolvers or parents of mankind, are spiritual beings - who are ourselves. And the key to this apparent riddle is found in the doctrine and exposition of the Hierarchies of individualized life, as outlined in a former study.

A Hierarchy can be considered as an aggregate unit, as a collective entity in the same sense that an army is; nevertheless, an army is composed of units; and yet, again, this army of beings in any one Hierarchy is indeed from another aspect more than a mere collective entity, because it is united in its apex, in what is actually the fount of that Hierarchy. This fount is the hyparxis or spiritual Sun from which all the other nine planes or classes of the Hierarchy emanate and evolve down to the lowest, thence beginning a new Hierarchy; even as the hyparxis of any one Hierarchy is the lowest class or plane of a superior Hierarchy, and so practically ad infinitum.

Man is a spiritual being throughout, through and through and through. Matter itself is but one manifestation of spirit. We live in a universe of spirit, and although matter exists it exists as Maya, illusion; not as a mere illusionary nothing, but as something, as a modality, so to say, of spirit; but as we grow higher into the upper planes of the hierarchical scale, the maya, for the sphere of life embraced by that Hierarchy, fades away from [87] before our eyes, and we see truth in greater degree and progressively more widely the higher we go.

With regard to the descent into matter, or falling into matter, of mankind, that is to say the descent into manifested being of the spiritual entities, the spiritual hierarchy which man actually and properly is, we must remember that we cannot understand this profound subject very well without undertaking an outline or sketch, more or less complete, of what are the Rounds and Races; yet before doing this, we must clear away from our minds certain scientific conceptions, or rather misconceptions, which have been implanted in us by intensive teaching from childhood, and which have for that reason become a part of our mental life.

Two main pillars of our modern science are the following: first, the doctrine of the Conservation of Energy: that is to say, that the amount of force or of energy in the universe is constant, and no increase can be created to add unto it, and no amount can be taken away from it; the second great pillar is the doctrine of the Correlation, or the Convertibility, of Forces: that is to say, that any force can, at least theoretically, be converted into some other force, as mechanical motion into electrical and electrical into mechanical, and so forth as regards the other forces working in matter.

Now these two theories or doctrines of science do make an approach in certain respects to the esoteric conception of the wonderful element back of and causative of all the changes in Nature, but nevertheless the conception of the Esoteric Philosophy, as our Teachers have shown it to us, cannot accept either of these two doctrine pillars of science as thus conceived. First, the doctrine of the Conservation of Energy. It is perfectly true that no "new" force can be "created", and it is likewise perfectly true that no energy or force can ever be utterly lost. Forces are not converted or transformed, as the twin doctrine of science has it, it is possible, however, for a force to pass from one plane of being into another - to come into one plane from a higher, or, indeed, from a lower. In other words, it is possible for a force- or energy-element outside of some plane to enter into being and manifestation upon it. Hence, the materialistic doctrine of a universe of dead, lifeless, non-vital matter - nothing above it or beyond it or below it or through it - cannot be accepted by the students of the Esoteric Philosophy.

As regards the correlation or Convertibility of Energy. It is true, in one sense, that all the forces in the universe are correlated. It is a fundamental axiom of Theosophy that the Universe, our Universe, any Universe, is a living organism, and hence that its energies or forces, and all of them, are correlated; but this does not mean that one force can become another. The idea offends the [88] very essence, the very foundation of the Esoteric teaching with regard to manifestation, its Hierarchies, and individual lives - all offspring of the ONE LIFE. What happens is rather this: That one force is not turned into or converted into another, but evokes or calls forth or arouses into active life or manifestation a "force" which was not "latent" - a curious contradiction of sense - but which was in equilibrium. When the modern scientist speaks of latent or potential energy, it is to the Occultist a consummate logical absurdity, the very name energy or force meaning activity, and to talk about a "latent force" is like talking about "latent activity" or "dead life", or a square triangle, or a flat sphere. It is impossible as long as we base our conception on the scientific postulates. But - and note this well, please: a Theosophist, an Occultist, could use this phrase "latent force", because in his mouth the phrase has a meaning and sense.

For instance, a spiritual - hence latent or non-material - force is not "converted" into matter; a material force is not "converted" into spirit. Why? Because spirit and matter, or force and matter, are not two, but fundamentally and essentially ONE. Throughout the long period of manvantaric time there is a gradual evolution of one thing into another, but this procession of life is not accomplished along the lines or by the methods of the scientific theories which apply in the doctrine called the Convertibility of material Energy. The latter is a dream to us: it does not exist.

This is, in fact, a subject which we shall have to develop more fully at a later period of our study, but we come now to the question of the descent of spiritual and then ethereal man into matter, down the ten steps of the Hierarchical scale. We saw in a former study that this descent was begun by the entrance through a laya-center of the spiritual entities seeking manifestation on lower planes, the time having struck for them to open their great Maha-manvantara or the world-period which was to follow. As soon as the spiritual essences touched the highest degree of the lower plane, our fourth-matter plane, it stirred the particular laya-center therein to which they were directed by karmic energy, into corresponding activity or sympathetic life. This first manifestation thereof as seen from the same plane was the nebula, a cloudy nebula; the second stage, aeons later, was a spiral nebula; and the third, aeons still later, was an annular nucleated nebula, like a ring with a globe in the center; the latest stage, before the evolving body settled into life as a planet, was a comet, directed or drawn to that particular solar system or Sun to which it was karmically related in the former Planetary Manvantara.

Now the lifecycle, or Manvantara, of a planet, consists [89] objectively of seven Rounds, or smaller Manvantaras, around seven globes; but this is preceded by three elemental cycles - ten in all. The first three stages or cycles, call them the three elemental Rounds, if you will, are on the three archetypal planes above the seven; this period is not yet really ethereal manifestation: it is the first descent of the Arupa (or bodiless) beings, of spiritual nature, into sub-spiritual manifestation; but when the third or lowest of the three archetypal planes has been traversed, by that time the life-wave or life-essence has consolidated sufficiently in ethereal matter to form an airy shape or ethereal globe. This globe thence starts on the manvantaric cycle down into matter, a cycle which proceeds in several stages, actually seven, and upon and in seven globes, as already stated.

During the First Round, upon the first globe, the life-wave has to complete a Ring consisting of seven Root Races on that globe; after, or rather at, the end of the evolution of each Root Race, respectively, its (the Root Race's) surplus energy is thereupon exploded or protruded into the sphere lower and there forms the first, second, third, etc., element of the second globe of the First Round; the life-energy or life-wave has to run a ring of seven Root Races in and upon that second globe, and when each such Root Race has reached its end there, its surplus energy is thereupon exploded or protruded exactly as before into a magnetic center below it, and the seven there, after all have arrived, form the third globe, and so on till the seven globes are formed. This is the First Round. Beginning with the Second Round on the seven globes, the process is altered in important particulars, because all the seven globes are already formed, as globes.

At the end of the First Round there is a planetary Obscuration or rest period, when the entities leave the last globe, the seventh, and enter into a (lower) nirvanic period of manvantaric repose, answering to the devachanic or between-life states of the human entity between its respective lives. And so also at the end of the Second Round, and of the third, when we reach the fourth, which is our present Round.

As the life-wave cycles down into matter, it grows with every Yuga (or Age) grosser, and more material, until the middle of the Fourth Round (ours), when it begins to ascend. Every Round is grosser than its preceding one until the present, our fourth, the most material, is reached. This descent is called the "Shadowy Arc", or "Cycle of Darkness". We have, already, passed the lowest or middle period of the Fourth Round, and in consequence now have begun the Ascending Arc, or the "Luminous Arc"; we have three and a half more Rounds to run before we reach the end of the Kalpa, or Planetary Manvantara, when the great [90] Nirvana or Para-nirvana of the entire septenary Planetary Chain of the seven globes takes place.

Now as regards the geometrical outline of the course followed by this descent into matter, we may consider it to be in the form of an epicycloid. Let me try to explain diagramatically what is here meant by an epicycloid. An epicycloid is formed when a point on a small circle, which runs around and upon the convex side of the circumference of a larger circle, traces a curve which touches the circumference of the larger circle at the beginning and end of each revolution of the smaller circle thereupon, as at A and B in the figure. The curve A-B is the epicycloid. For instance, this figure shows the two circles: we will say that the point on the smaller circle begins its curve at A, rolling upwards to the left; at B, the point on the smaller circle has completed a full revolution; the curve A-B is the epicycloid.

Any point on this smaller circle as the latter rolls along the outside of the circumference of the larger circle will describe or generate a curve, which is an epicycloid; and as there is a geometrical relation between the commensurable radii of any two circles: for instance, if the radius of this smaller circle is one and the radius of the larger circle is seven, the proportion being 1:7, the rolling point will describe or generate seven arcs or cusps around and upon the circumference of the larger circle.

Now each one of these seven arcs represents here, geometrically, a globe of a Round. (Equally well does it represent geometrically one of the seven Root Races on each globe during any Round.)

In the First Round, the life-wave, starting from the seventh or highest plane, after its third full elemental cycle of and in the arupa world, begins to form the rupa or form world; and as the smaller circle rolls along the circumference of the greatest cycle, so to say, the life-wave (or globe) progressively grows more material, each one of these arcs which the cycling smaller circle makes on the circumference of the greater, representing a sphere of being, and also geometrically represents the life-wave of the planet beginning the evolution of material existence, "rising upward" (or increasing in material density) until it reaches its maximum of materiality, and then "descending" or decreasing in materiality until it again touches the plane of departure, the circumference of the greater circle (or cycle).

The process by which the spirit descends into matter is called in Sanskrit Pravritti (which we may paraphrase into English as [91] "earth-birth", or "earth-day "), practically the same word as evolution or emanation, in our modern tongues; the process of entering upon or ascending along the "Luminous Arc", ultimately to find itself home again in the spiritual world, is called Nivritti. Both words are from the Sanskrit root vrit, meaning to revolve, or to roll. The prefix pra answers to the preposition forth or forward, and the prefix ni to the prepositional phrases "out of", "away from", hence backwards, or reverse action. Pravritti is therefore used to mean the evolution or emanation of matter, which is equivalent to the involution of spirit; Nivritti, the evolution of spirit - the reverse process.

What are the durations of the time periods during which the life-wave manifests in the Manvantara of seven Rounds, and in the seven respective planets of each Round? As our first great Teacher, H.P. Blavatsky, has told us, the doctrines concerning the time periods have been from immemorial time considered too esoteric to be given to the outward world in anything at all approaching fullness of teaching or detail, but throughout the teachings that have been openly given there are many hints of immense value. For instance, the time required for one Round - that is the cycle from globe A to the last globe of the seven (we will call it Z), starting from the Root-Manu or collective "humanity" of globe A and ending with the Seed-Manu or collective "humanity" of globe Z - is called a Round Manvantara, and its period is 306,720,000 years. It is called "Manvantara" because it is the "reign of one Manu" - say a certain quality of Humanity. Now this word "Manvantara" is Sanskrit and means between Manus, i.e., between a Root-Manu on globe A and the Seed-Manu on globe Z, for a Round Manvantara. Now to this period of 306,720,000 years must be added the length of the Sandhi, meaning "connection", or "junction", or interval, according to a certain method of calculation, necessary in order fully to complete the evolution of the planet for the Round; this sandhi is of the length of a Krita-yuga, or 1,728,000 years, which brings the complete period or term of a Round Manvantara to 308,448,000 years of mortals.

As has already been stated, there is, after the end of every Round, an obscuration which also lasts for a certain period which we do not here specify; but this can be found by any reader of these studies who cares to give the subject thought, and to be guided by the teachings already given.

But how long a period do the seven Rounds take for their course? What is the period of a Maha-manvantara, or great Manvantara, sometimes called a Kalpa, after which the globes no longer go into mere obscuration or repose, but die utterly? The period of the Maha-manvantara or Kalpa is also called a [92] "Day of Brahm_", and its length is 4,320,000,000; and the "Night of Brahm_", the planetary rest period, which is also called the para-nirvanic period, is of equal length. Seven Rounds, as said, form a Day of Brahm_.

These figures are the Brahmanical figures, and they are also the figures of esoteric Buddhism (for we insist that Buddhism has an esoteric doctrine); the root-number 432, as any student knows, is also found in the chronological doctrines of ancient Babylonia; it is likewise the real meaning in the chronological line of the Pythagorean Tetraktys, 1-2-3-4, the 432 springing from the unity or monad, a subject of which we spoke in our last study.

We are also told that the duration of a planet's life, i.e., of a Planetary Chain of seven globes, is one of 360 divine days, corresponding to a divine year, and that Brahm_'s life (or the life of the universal system) is one hundred of those divine years - expressed in 15 figures of years of mortals. A Planetary Manvantara is also related to the duration of life of a solar system; a Planetary Manvantara (or seven Rounds) is a "day" of Brahm_, as already said; each of these days lasting 4,320,000,000 years of mortals, which really means the lifetime of a planet during its seven Rounds, and corresponding to one incarnation of a human life on earth.

How long, then, does Brahm_ live in any one of his manifested universes, which we know are called the "out-breathings of the Self-Existent"? We can calculate it - 4,320,000,000 times 100, times 360, or in other words, 36,000, lives has any planet to live before the Prakritika Pralaya (or the Elemental Pralaya) sets in, the end of that life (or pravritti) of the Universal system.

What happens when comes the end of a solar system? At a former meeting we spoke of the "bells of Pralaya". It was with no intention of attempting to be rhetorical, or of employing oratorical phraseology that we used this phrase. We have no such ambition. We chose the words because the teachings are that when the great (or Maha-) Pralaya comes upon the planets of any system, and their Sun, then strange noises of various kinds are heard in the air of a planet belonging to such a solar system; and these noises are repeated in miniature, so to say, not only at the end of the Planetary Manvantara (or the lifetime of the planet), but also in still smaller miniature at the end of every Round. These phenomena are likewise alluded to in other religions than the Indian, as for instance in the Christian and Jewish: in Revelation, vi, 14; and in Isaiah, xxxiv, 4. The Christian writers speak of the time, 2 Peter, iii, 10, 12, when the "elements shall melt with the fervent heat", and "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise", but they "look for new heavens and a new earth" - or a new Planetary Manvantara - and allude to [93] Pralayas as the time when "the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together", etc. These allusions to pralayic disintegration are figurative to a certain extent, but are sufficiently along the lines of the ancient Eastern thought to show us whence they came - from the archaic Wisdom-Religion (Theosophy) of the Orient. We are told that some of the strange Noises that will occur towards the end of the Prakritika Manvantara, before the cosmic or Prakritika Pralaya sets in, are strange hollow booming sounds, strange crackling as of musketry-fire, strange bell-like ringing as of the snapping of immense metallic belts.

Now the Sun is both the heart and the brain of our solar system, and sends seven-faceted life into every atom of its universe, the solar universe of which we and our planet Terra are a part. The Sun itself is in some respects a vampire, but it is also preeminently and essentially a life giver; it is, cosmogonically, our Elder Brother, and not at all our physical parent as modern scientific wiseacres would have it; it is also in a vital sense our Father-Mother, because through it, from planes superior to our own, come down the life-streams from worlds (systems) above ours - yet our planet - as all the other planets - also in a relative degree receives these life-streams, as every individual atom and every human being, in the smallest miniature thereof, receives the same individually from the Inmost of the Inmost within itself or himself. This is, as you will remember was stated in former studies, the same spiritual life; but cosmically, that is to say, with regard to the universe, the Sun is the brain and heart of our system, vitalizing and informing the endless hosts of beings under its systemic sway.

We do not see the (true) Sun. The Sun is not burning, or incandescent. Heat exists around the Sun, but it is not from burning gases or incandescence. We see the Sun's robes, or reflection, but we do not see the Sun itself. It is, in very truth, a spiritual thing, and we think we receive our entire supply of heat and light from it because the forces flowing from the Sun act in conjunction and reactively with the forces on our own earth - forces working in the universal nature around us. If most of our light is due to the Sun, this is not the case with 75 percent of the heat which we receive, which comes - most of it - from our own globe and its forces, and especially from the immensely thick clouds of cosmic dust which fills all space. The electromagnetic forces at work between this cosmic dust and our earth furnish most of the terrestrial heat.

I wish this evening, before closing, to call your attention to the fact that the ancient initiate-astronomers,when speaking of the seven sacred spheres of our universe, the seven or nine in which the bodies of the solar system and the stars were set - beyond [94] which was the Empyrean or the fiery sphere - desired to convey a meaning which is now lost - for the masses. There was a meaning of deep and wide significance also in their geocentric teachings. They knew as well as do we (and we have proofs of it), that the earth and the other planets whirl around the Sun in elliptical orbits, but they had a reason for teaching the geocentric doctrines in public, and some day we shall have need to go into an analysis and proof of this assertion.

Let us close our evening's study in calling attention to the fact that Theosophy is a doctrine of hope; it is a doctrine of spirituality; it is a doctrine which refines and elevates man; it is a doctrine in which there is room for the humblest to understand something and for the brightest and highest and most spiritual of us to put their feet on the lowest steps of that spiritual stair along which they may climb in hierarchical ascending up to the highest, not only in our own planet, hand in hand with the great Buddhas of former times, and of the times to come, but beyond our planet and beyond our own solar system into those illimitable spiritual spheres in which the solar system now exists, and through which we derive our life - spiritual, mental, psychical, pranic, and physical. [95]

Chapter X


The MONAD emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two palnes - too near the ABSOLUTE to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane - it gets direct into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every "form," from the "mineral" monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter - two polar antitheses - as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality.

-Secret Doctrine, I, 175

¼ In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle - or the OVER-SOUL - has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.

- Secret Doctrine, I, 17

The general text of our study this evening is found in The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 83, stanza 3, verse 10:


(a) In the Mandukya (Mundaka) Upanishad it is written, "As a spider throws out and retracts its web, as herbs spring up in the ground ¼ so is the Universe derived from the undecaying one" (I, 1, 7). Brahm_, as "the germ of unknown Darkness," is the material from which all evolves and develops "as the web from the spider, as foam from the water," etc. This is only graphic and true, if Brahm_ the "Creator" is, as a term, derived from the root brih, to increase or expand. Brahm_ "expands" and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance. [96]

The same idea has been beautifully expressed by Goethe, who says:

Thus at the roaring loom of Time I ply,

And weave for God the garment thou see'st Him by.

In the course of our studies we have been advancing stage by stage, step by step, from general principles, and our course has been always towards that point of emanation and evolution which finds itself at the dawn of manifestation, or the opening of Manvantara. We have touched upon many subjects but lightly, because the intricacy of the theme did not at the time permit us to go into and to follow side-avenues of thought, however attractive and important they might be; but these avenues we shall have to explore as time and opportunity bring once more before us, in the course of our study, the portals which we have passed and perhaps have merely glanced into.

As the Teacher has directed, we have brought to the attention of those who will read these studies certain fundamental natural principles, as fundamental and important in their respective bearings as the two foundation-stones of popular Theosophy today, called Reincarnation and Karma. One of these principles is the doctrine of Hierarchies, upon which much more could and should be said than has hitherto been said, and it will be said in due time.

Another such fundamental principle or doctrine - a true key opening the very heart of being, and, besides other things, reaching into the root-meaning of the so-called "origin of evil" and of the inner urge towards right and righteousness, which man calls his moral sense - is that which flows forth from the philosophical conceptions behind the word Swabhava, meaning, generally, the essential characteristic of anything; the medieval scholastics spoke of this essentiality of things as their Quidditas, or Quiddity - the whatness of anything: that which is its heart, its essential nature, its characteristic essentiality. The word Swabhava (a noun) itself is derived from the Sanskrit root Bhu, meaning "to become", or "to be", and the prefix of the word, the three preceding letters, sva, is also of course Sanskrit and means "self." The word thus translated means "self-becomingness", a technical term, a keyword, in which philosophical conceptions of immense and wide-reaching import inhere. We shall develop some of these more fully as we proceed with our studies.

In the quotation from the stanzas which we have read this evening, you will have noticed the word Swabhavat, from the same elements as is Swabhava, from the same Sanskrit root. Swabhavat is the present participle of the verb bhu, meaning that which becomes itself, or develops from within outwardly its [97] essential self by emanation, evolution; in other words, that which by self-urge develops the potencies latent in its nature, in its self, in its Being of being. We have often spoken of the "Inmost of the Inmost", as implying that "inmost" link or root by which we (and all other things) flow forth from the very essence of the heart of things, which is our UTTER SELF, and we have spoken of it sometimes with the hand placed upon the breast; but we must be exceedingly careful not to think that this Inmost of the Inmost is in the physical body. Let me explain just what I mean. The Qabbalists divide the planes of nature into which the ten Sephiroth became - queer English, this, but very accurately and correctly expressing the thought - into four during manifestation, and they were called the four 'Olam, a word having originally the meaning of "concealed" or "hid" or "secret", but also used for time, likewise used almost exactly in the sense of the Gnostic teaching of "Aions", (aeons) as spheres, Lokas in Sanskrit. The highest of the Qabbalistic 'Olams, or spheres, was 'Olam Atsiloth, meaning the "aeon" or "age" or the "Loka" of "condensation." The second was called 'Olam Hab-Beriah, meaning the aeon or age or Loka of "creation". The third in descent and increasing materiality was called 'Olam Ha-Yetsirah or Loka of Form. The fourth, last, most material and grossest, was called 'Olam Ha-'A siah, meaning the aeon or world of "action" or "causes". This last plane or sphere or world is the lowest of the four, and is sometimes called the world of Matter, or, again, of "shells", man (and other physical entities) sometimes being considered a shell in the sense of being the garment or the vehicle or "shell" or corpus of the indwelling spirit.

Now psychologically these four spheres were considered as being copied, or reflected, or as having a locus (place) in the human body; and, in order to correspond with the four basic principles into which the Jewish Qabbalistic philosophers divided man, Neshamah (or spirit) was supposed to have its locus in the head, or rather hovering thereover; the second, Ruahh (or Soul), was supposed to have its locus or center in the breast or chest; the third, the lowest of the active principles, called Nefesh (or the animal-astral soul), was supposed to have its locus or center in the abdomen. The fourth vehicle was Guf, or the inclosing shell of the physical body. The Neshamah, the highest of all, from which the others emanated stage by stage - the Ruahh from the Neshamah, the Nefesh from the Ruahh, and the Guf from the Nefesh (the Guf actually is the Linga-sharira, esoterically, and secretes the human physical body) - should not be considered so much in the head as overshadowing as it were the head and body It may be likened to a solar ray, or to an electric ray, or again to the so-called "golden chain" of the great Greek poet Homer [98] and the far later Neo-Platonic philosophers, which connects Zeus and all lower entities; or to the chain of beings in a Hierarchy linked by their hyparxis with the lowest plane of the next higher Hierarchy.

Now this "Inmost of the Inmost" is in that part of us which overshadows us, which is above us physically, rather than in us. And it really is our spiritual Monad. Therefore, before we can know what we mean by the Swabhava, and the wonderful doctrine fundamentally emanating therefrom, we must understand what we mean by Monad and the sense in which the word Monad is used. Those who were students of H.P. Blavatsky while she was alive with us, and who have studied under our two other Teachers, W.Q. Judge, and the present one, Katherine Tingley, will realize the necessity of making our sense clear by choosing words which shall convey clearly and sensibly, and without possibility of misconception, the thoughts which lie behind the words. In European philosophy, monad, as a philosophical word, seems to have been first employed by the great Italian philosopher, the noted Giordano Bruno, in thought a Neo-Platonist, who derived his inspiration from the philosophy of Greece, now called Neo-Platonism; a more modern use of the word monad, in a spiritual-philosophical sense, was that of the Slavic-German philosopher, Leibnitz. Monadism formed the heart of all his teachings, and he said that the universe was composed, built up, of monads: that is to say, he conceived them to be spiritual centers having no extension, but having an inner and inherent energy of development, the respective hosts of monads being of various degrees and each one achieving its own development by an innate characteristic nature (or Swabhava). The essential meaning of this, as it is at once seen, is characteristic Individuality, which is Self, pursuing its own unfoldment and growing by stages higher and higher through self-unfolding or self-becoming (or Swabhava). Leibnitz taught that these monads were connected, spiritually, psychically, and physically, by a "law of harmony", as he expressed it, which is our Swabhavat - the Self-Existent, developing during manifestation into the Hosts of monads, or monadic centers.

Now Leibnitz seems to have taken (at least in part) the main philosophical conception, as regards his monads, as developed in his philosophy - in his Monadologie - from the Flemish-Netherlandish mystic, Van Helmont. This man Van Helmont, however, took it from Bruno, or, perhaps, directly, as Bruno did, from the Neo-Platonic philosophers. As far as the basic ideas of Bruno, Van Helmont, and Leibnitz go, they very much resemble each other; they resemble also the teaching on this subject of the Esoteric Wisdom, Esoteric Theosophy, but only in so far as we [99] consider manifestation, because the monads themselves, in their ultimate, enter into the "silence and darkness", as Pythagoras would have put it, when the great Maha-pralaya or cosmical Dissolution begins. A monad in the ancient teachings now called Theosophy - remember that "Theosophy" really means the Wisdom which the Gods or divine beings study, a truly divine thing - means a spiritual atom - we are compelled here to use popular language; and a spiritual atom is equivalent to saying pure Individuality, the selfness of the Self, the essential nature or characteristic or Swabhavic core of every spiritual being, the self of itself. This Esoteric Wisdom derives this Self - not its ego, which is an entirely different and lower and inferior thing - it derives this divine Monad, it derives this divine Substance-consciousness, from the Paramatman (which we have studied before), the so-called "Supreme" Self, not that this Supreme Self is God in the curiously contradictory Christian sense, not supreme in that sense, but supreme in the sense of absolute, unconditioned, and all-pervading universality for and in a single cosmical aggregation of Hierarchies, for it is the summit, acme, pinnacle, and Source thereof.

Now, if we remember what we have studied in our former meetings in this connection, and the conceptions that we figurated on the blackboard by means of paradigmatic schemes, or diagrams, we shall recollect that we represented the highest that we could intellectually conceive of as a triangle, figuring it thus in our minds - not that this highest actually is a triangle, which would be ludicrous, but representing it diagrammatically to ourselves in that fashion; and the highest sphere - in the mathematical sense of being without physical extension as we conceive of such - from which all the succeeding ten steps, planes, degrees of any Hierarchy radiated, we called the Boundless, the Without Bounds - the Ain Suph as the Qabbalists said: and that the two aspects of the Boundless formed, so to speak, the two sides of this divine triangle, one of these two aspects being Para-brahman ("beyond Brahman"), and the other being Mula-prakriti (or "root-nature"). It must be remembered, in this connection, that any diagrammatic representation may and often does figurate different conceptions when the premises differ. And next, that from this divine triangle there was a reflection, as it were, an emanation, into the lower shadow, into the substance or matter below, the rays of the upper Sun shining into the lower atmosphere, so to say, and illuminating it, and that this lower illuminated atmosphere or substance was called the lower monad, and the upper was called the higher monad; and that, as the energy or life-waves swept downwards through the second monad or the lower monad, the square or manifested nature came into being as the third stage of [100] evolution. With the premises before stated, therefore, this upper triangle, which may be considered as one, or a trinity in unity, is the upper monad, or the Inmost of the Inmost, the self of the Self; and the lower triangle is its emanation, its three lines representing Father, Mother, and Son. The Father, again, may be considered as the Primal Point of the second or lower triangle, that is to say the point forming the apex of the triangle, which is a laya-center through which stream down into our sphere the manifesting forces which themselves become the universe.

And herein we may see an example of the philosophical value of the hierarchical system considered as a representation of Nature's symmetrical architecture, because each stage of the downward progress, each step or plane downwards, is informed, ensouled, by the upper parts which remain above; while the lower planes or parts are spiritually and ethereally and physically secreted and excreted step by step, plane after plane, and cast forth like foam on the substratal waves of life. The physical nature as we see it even on this our own plane, is, so to speak, concreted divinity, and it actually is concreted light, because light is ethereal matter or substance.

Some day we shall have to study this question of spirit and substance, force and matter, and their relations and interactions, [101] more thoroughly than we have been able to do thus far in our lectures.

Now, from the highest of the highest, from what is to us the unknown of the unknown, the inmost of the Inmost, through all these planes, there streams down, as it were, the Divine Ray, passing from one Hierarchy to another Hierarchy below it, and then to another still lower, and then to a third yet more material, and so on till the limit of the cosmical aggregate is reached, when it begins to ascend along the stupendous Round, returning towards its primal Source. Note carefully that as it descends it evolves these various Hierarchies from itself; and on its ascending Round, draws them back into itself again. Surrounding this immense spiritual aggregate, we are taught to conceive an aura as it were, taking the shape of an egg, which we can call, if you like, following the example of the Qabbalists, the Shechinah, a Hebrew word meaning dwelling or vehicle, or what the Esoteric Philosophy calls the Auric Egg in the case of man, and representing in this paradigmatic scheme the universe which we see around us in its highest aspects, for this aura is the very outgrowth of Mula-prakriti; while this mystical line which we draw in the figure as running down through all the various grades of the Hierarchy, is the stream of the Self, the Unconditioned Consciousness, welling up in the inmost of everything.

Now to come back to the word Swabhavat, the "self-becoming", the "self-Existing". It is, in the super-spiritual, following the above paradigmatic scheme, the second Divine Monad or second Divine Logos; or, looking at it in another and lower way, it is the first cosmic Monad, the reflection of the primeval or primal Divine Monad above it, and is the first manifestation or quiver of cosmic life when the end of Universal Pralaya having come, the cry goes forth, so to say, on the watch-tower of eternity, "Let there be manifestation and light!"

The Elohim in a former stage were Monads; and you remember that we translated verses 25, 26, and 27 of the first chapter of Genesis, a translation radically different from that given in any European translation, and we saw that these Elohim said, "Let us make man in our own shadow, (or phantom) (that is, in our own shadow-selves or matter-selves), and in our own pattern", in other words, they made man by becoming him; in other words again, Humanity is the lower principles of the Elohim themselves as Monads.

So the monad is the inmost of ourselves, not as a soul, as a "gift of God", but as the highest part of ourselves; and our very bodies are concreted spirit, which is on this plane the lowest, the shadowy end, the matter-end, of the self-Hierarchy which each one of us is. [102]

Let us remember again that each Hierarchy has its Swabhava, or specific characteristic. To exemplify it by colors, one Hierarchy is predominantly blue, another is predominantly red, another green, another yellow or golden, and so on; but each one has its own forty-nine roots or divisions, forty-nine aspects of the one underlying Root-Substance common to all, so that of necessity each one of these forty-nine in its turn develops one of the other colors. So that, if we could perceive it spiritually, we should see all nature around us everywhere flashing and coruscating in a most marvelous interplay of colors - a wonderful picture! This is sheer fact, not a metaphor. And, furthermore, there is for every Kosmos a cosmic Hierarchy which includes all the lesser Hierarchies thereof, and each Hierarchy, large or small, is linked on, above and below, (or outward and inward) to other Hierarchies, higher and lower, and each separate, individual Hierarchy consists of nine (or ten) planes or degrees. Seven of these are, throughout, on the manifesting planes. Hence, a Hierarchy, strictly speaking, consists of ten planes housing ten states of matter and ten forces; but seven thereof are manifesting forces; the seven in manifestation run from the arupa (or formless) to the rupa (or form) worlds; and they are all linked together, coordinated together, combined together, beyond present human conception or understanding.

It is along these lines of spiritual thought that the dogmatic religious or scientific system quarrels, if we may use this expression, with the Esoteric Philosophy, because that system is based - at least as regards the scientific view - upon purely mechanical and materialistic hypotheses, invented by the scientists of the last century concerning the nature and action of what is called "matter" and "force", as if there could in reason be a true definition or explanation of these two on a basis of fortuitous mechanicalism arising out of utterly lifeless "matter".

Let us say now, although it is departing a little from our main theme, that force is simply matter on a higher plane - ethereal matter, if you will; and that physical matter is simply force on our plane: matter actually is naught but concreted force; or, to reverse the idea, force is nothing but sublimated or etherealized matter, because the two, matter and spirit, are one. It is best and truest to say that matter is concreted or compacted force; just as Nature (matter as we know it) is equilibrated spirit.

Now we may once more return to this wonderful teaching of Swabhava, after this rather long but necessary explanation or introduction. The Monad is our inmost Self; each man has his own - or rather is his own - Monad; each being of whatever degree or kind has its particular characteristic nature - not merely the outer or vehicular characteristics that change from [103] incarnation to incarnation, and from Manvantara to Manvantara - but every entity, high or low, has, so to say, a keynote of its being, and this is its Swabhava: the selfhood of the Self, essential characteristic of the Self, by the urge of which the Self becomes the many selves, producing and manifesting the hosts of varied qualities and types and degrees. Now note carefully: The urge behind evolution or development is not external to the evolving entity but within itself; and the future results to be achieved in evolution - that which the evolving entity becomes - lie in germ or seed in itself; both this urge and this germ or seed, arise out of one thing, and THIS IS ITS SWABHAVA.

Remember what we said in our former study about the nature and evolution of the universe. What is a - or any - universe? It is a self-contained and self-sustained and self-sufficient entity in manifestation, but is merely one of countless hosts of other universes, all children of the Boundless; there is, for instance, an atomic universe, and a terrestrial or planetary universe, and a man or human universe, and a solar universe, and so on indefinitely; yet all hang together, interpenetrate each other, and form any cosmical aggregate. And how and why? Because each universe, great or small, is a Hierarchy, and each Hierarchy represents and is the development of and is a part of the spiritual urge and evolving germ arising out of the Self, thereof, of the Self of each, each developing and evolving its own particular essential characteristic; and all these forces taken together are the Swabhava of any entity. Swabhava, in short, may be called the essential Individuality of any monad, expressing its own characteristics, qualities, and type, by self-urged evolution.

We should note also in passing, that perhaps the most mystic school in Buddhism, which H.P. Blavatsky says has practically kept most faithfully to this one of the esoteric teachings of Gautama Buddha, is a school still extant in Nepal, which is called the Swabhavika school, a Sanskrit adjective derived from the noun Swabhava; this school comprises those who follow the doctrine of Swabhava, or the doctrine which teaches the becoming or unfolding of the Self by inner impulse - the Self-becoming. We do not, according to it, become "through the grace of a God", we become whatever we are or are to be through our own selves; we make ourselves; derive ourselves from ourselves; become our own children; have always done so, and will forever do so. This applies not only to man, but to all beings everywhere. Herein we see the root, the force, the meaning, of morals. Responsible for every act we do, for every thought we think, responsible to the uttermost farthing, never anything "forgiven", never anything "wiped out," except when we ourselves turn the evil we have done into good. We shall have to discuss more fully, some time, the question [104] of the "origin of evil" which is involved herein. We may note in passing that this school is called "atheistic" and "materialistic", simply because of two reasons: first, the profound thought of this doctrine is misinterpreted by Occidental scholars; second, many of its followers have, in fact, degenerated.

You see immediately the ethical force of such a doctrine as this of the Swabhava, when it is properly understood. We become, what we are in germ in our inmost essence; we also follow and make a part of (likewise) the type and the course of evolution of the particular Planetary Chain to which we belong by affinity, of which we spoke briefly in our last meeting. We first follow along the Shadowy Arc down into matter, and when we have reached the lowest point of that arc, then, through the inner impulses of our nature, through what our present Teacher Katherine Tingley calls "self-directed evolution" - which is the very heart of this doctrine of Swabhava, one of the most fundamental doctrines in the esoteric philosophy - when we have reached the bottom, I repeat, then the same inner impulse carries us (provided that we have passed the danger point of being attracted into the lower sphere of matter) up the Luminous Arc, up and back into the higher spiritual spheres, but beyond the point of departure whence we first started downward on our cyclical journey into material experience for that Manvantara.

We make our own bodies, we make our own lives, we make our own destinies, and we are responsible for it all, spiritually, morally, intellectually, psychically, and even physically. It is a manly doctrine; there is no room in it for moral cowardice; no room in it for casting our responsibility upon the shoulders of another - God, angel, man, or demon. We can become Gods, because we are gods in the germ even now, inwardly. We start upon our evolutionary journey as an unselfconscious God-spark, and we return to our primal source of being, following the great cycle of the Maha-manvantara, a self-conscious God.

Let us say here that we have come at this point to what is a great puzzle for most of our Occidental Orientalists. They cannot understand the distinctions that the wonderful old philosophers of the Orient make as regards the various classes of the Devas. They say, in substance: "What funny contradictions there are in these teachings, which in many respects are profound and seem so wonderful. Some of these Devas (or divine beings) are said to be less than man; some of these writings even say that a good man is nobler than any god. And yet other parts of these teachings declare that there are gods higher even than the Devas, and yet are called Devas. What does this mean?"

The Devas or divine beings, one class of them, are the unselfconscious sparks of Divinity, cycling down into matter in order [105] to bring out from within themselves and to unfold or evolve self-consciousness, the Swabhava of Divinity within. They begin their reascent always on the Luminous Arc, which never ends, in a sense; and they are Gods, self-conscious Gods, henceforth, taking a definite and divine part in the "great work", as the Mystics have said, of being builders, evolvers, leaders, of Hierarchies; in other words, they are monads which have become their own innermost selves; which have passed the "Ring Pass-Not", separating the spiritual from the divine. Remember and reflect upon these old sayings in our books; every one of them is pregnant with meaning, full of thought.

Now this, therefore, is the doctrine of Swabhava: the doctrine of inner development, of bringing out that particular essential characteristic, or Individuality, which is within, of self-directed evolution; and you must perforce see the immense reach that it has in the moral world, in the theological world, in the philosophical world, yea, even in the scientific world as regards the knotty problems of evolution, such as the "evolution of species", inheritance, development of root-types, and many more.

We shall one day have to study more carefully, than the mere sketch we have given here, these divine, very divine, doctrines, especially in their bearing on questions of human psychology; for upon these doctrines depends the further (and a better) comprehension of the very tenets which we have outlined this evening and at former meetings. We cannot understand the universe nor the working and interplay of the forces therein until we have mastered at least to some degree, and followed out, the injunction of the Delphic Oracle, "Man, Know Thyself!" A man who knows himself truly, knows all, because he is, fundamentally, all. He is every Hierarchy; he is gods and demons and worlds and spheres and forces, and matter and consciousness and spirit - everything is in him. He is in one sense built of the roots of everything, and he is the fruit of everything; he has endless time behind him and endless time before him. What a gospel of hope, what a gospel of wonder, is this; how it raises the human soul; how the inmost part of us aspires when we reflect upon this teaching! No wonder that it is called the "teaching (or Wisdom) of the Gods", Theosophia - that is to say, the teaching which the Gods themselves study. How does a man become a Mahatma or Great Self? Through self-directed evolution, through becoming that which he is in himself, in his innermost. This is the doctrine of Swabhava.

And here we should at least allude to the mystery of individuality. Remember that personality is the mask (persona, as the Latins said) or reflection in matter of the individuality; but being a material thing it can lead us downward, although it is in essence [106] a reflection of the highest. It is an old saying that those things are most dangerous which have reality or truth in them; not those things which are truly unreal or false, because they of themselves fall to pieces and vanish away in time.

Monads, psychologically (we have the four monads, the divine, intellectual, psychical, and astral, corresponding to the four basic planes of matter, but all four Monads deriving from the highest) from the standpoint of generalization, are spiritual atoms, Buddhic atoms, being universal principles so far as are concerned the planes below, the Buddhi being perhaps the most mysterious of the seven principles of man, and, from our present viewpoint, the most important. But the human monad (as contrasted with the divine monad above it), the potentially immortal man, comprises the three principles, Atman, Buddhi, and the higher Manas. These three principles are required in order to make a self-conscious God. Atman and Buddhi alone cannot make a self-conscious God; they are a god-spark, an undeveloped or unevolved God-spark. We have to use in this connection human terms; we have not the proper terms in English nor in any other European language properly to express these subtle thoughts.

In conclusion, let us remember that while each man has the "Christ" within himself, and can be "saved" only by that "Christ", he can be saved by that inner "Christ" only when he chooses to save himself; the initiative must come from below, from himself. And while some people, through misunderstanding of this wonderful doctrine of Swabhava, may speak of "fatalism", we can do no more this evening than to say emphatically that this doctrine is not fatalism; it is absolutely the contrary of the fatalistic hypothesis, which asserts that there is a blind or unknown or conscious or unconscious force outside of man, directing him, driving him, in his choice, acts, and evolution, to annihilation or heaven or hell. That is not the doctrine of Swabhava and it is not taught in the Esoteric Philosophy. [107]

Chapter XI


Unveil, O Thou that givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceeds, to whom all must return, the face of the True Sun, now hidden by a vase of Golden Light, that we may see the Truth and do our whole duty on our journey towards thy Sacred Seat.

- Paraphrase of The Gayatri, one of the most

sacred verses of the Hindu Scriptures.

On page 605 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine we find the following:

But one has to understand the phraseology of Occultism before criticizing what it asserts. For example, the Doctrine refuses (as Science does, in one sense) to use the words "above" and "below," "higher" and "lower," in reference to invisible spheres, as being without meaning. Even the terms "East" and "West" are merely conventional, necessary only to aid our human perceptions. For, though the Earth has its two fixed points in the poles, North and South, yet both East and West are variable relatively to our own position on the Earth's surface, and in consequence of its rotation from West to East. Hence, when "other worlds" are mentioned - whether better or worse, more spiritual or still more material, though both invisible - the Occultist does not locate these spheres either outside or inside our Earth, as the theologians and the poets do; for their location is nowhere in the space known to, and conceived by, the profane. They are, as it were, blended with our world - interpenetrating it and interpenetrated by it. There are millions and millions of worlds and firmaments visible to us; there are still greater numbers beyond those visible to the telescopes, and many of the latter kind do not belong to our objective sphere of existence. Although as invisible as if they were millions of miles beyond our solar system, they are yet with us, near us, within our own world, as objective and material to their respective inhabitants as ours is to us. But, again, the relation of these worlds to ours is not that of a series of egg-shaped boxes enclosed one within the other, like the toys called Chinese nests; each is entirely under its own special laws and conditions, having no direct relation to our sphere. The inhabitants of these, as already said, may be, for all we know, or feel, passing through and around us as if through empty space, their very habitations and countries being interblended with ours, though not disturbing our vision, because we have not yet the faculties necessary for discerning them.

This seems to be a very appropriate general text for us to choose in closing our sketch of the Hierarchies; and more [108] particularly this evening our development of the doctrine of Swabhava, upon which we touched in our last meeting - the doctrine of the characteristic nature, of the individuality, or type-essentiality, of each individual monad, growing and manifesting and becoming itself in the manifested world in which it is itself the seed of its own individuality. The bearing of this concept on the doctrine of evolution - "rolling out or unfolding of what is within" - and especially on the mooted and knotty problem of the so-called "origin of species", is simply immense, for it is the key thereof.

We can use the word individuality for the meaning of Swabhava, provided we do not use it in contradistinction with personality. It is individuality in the sense of signifying the being and the unfolding of that particular quality or essential characteristic which distinguishes one monad, one human entity, one cosmos, one atom, from another of the same kind. Fundamental as is the doctrine of Hierarchies, and illuminating as is the light that it throws upon other problems, it itself cannot be properly understood without its complementary doctrine of Swabhava; and, vice versa, we cannot properly understand the doctrine of Swabhava without understanding the doctrine of Hierarchies.

We hope this evening to develop the true meaning of Swabhava, and thus to finish this part of our study, having now reached the frontiers, as it were, of cosmical manifestation; and in beginning our study of it in detail, we are obliged to touch upon a very essential aspect of the Doctrine, another aspect of it which is fundamental for the proper understanding of this portion of the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom; it is a portion which pertains to psychology. Indeed, this doctrine of Hierarchies and this its complementary doctrine of Swabhava, are both in a very large measure fundamentally psychological.

Swabhava is a Sanskrit term, a noun derived from the root Bhu, meaning "to become", and hence "to be", a psychological concord which is found also in several other languages, as in both Greek and English for instance. In Greek the word is gignomai; and in English it is be. In old Anglo-Saxon we have this word with the essential future sense completely retained and psychologically distinctly felt; to wit: ic beo, thu bist or byst, he bith or biath etc., meaning "I, thou, he will be", in the future sense of become. It is obvious that the psychological force of this means that being is essentially a becoming - a growth or evolution or unfolding of inner faculty.

English, as a matter of fact, had originally and still has only the two natural grammatical tenses - the imperfect tense, or the tense of imperfect or incomplete action, commonly called the [109] "present"; and the perfect tense of perfected or completed action, or the past.

Now what constitutes one Hierarchy, as different in essence - or Swabhava - from another Hierarchy? It is its Swabhava, or the seed of individuality which is it and is in it. It is that seed, which developing, makes a Hierarchy, and that seed in developing, follows the laws (or rather nature) of its own essential being, and this is its Swabhava. In The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky often speaks of one particular quality or plane of Universal Being, which she calls Swabhavat, the neuter present participle of the same root Bhu (spoken of a moment agone) and used as a noun. Like Swabhava, it is derived from the same root, with the same prefix, and means that particular thing which exists and becomes of and in its own essential essence; call it the "Self-Existent", if you like; it is, though a Sanskrit word, a Buddhist term, and its Brahmanical equivalent in the Vedanta would probably be the cosmical side of Paramatman - "Supreme Self", the individualized aspect of Paramatman-Mula-prakriti - Super-Spirit-Root-matter.

Swabhavat is the spiritual essence, the fundamental root or Spirit-Substance, the Father-Mother of the beginning of manifestation, and from it grow or become all things. It can be conceived of as Spinoza did - the Netherlandish Jewish philosopher, the absolute idealist - as God, as the one Underlying Being or Substance; though in our studies we have eschewed most sedulously the use of the term "God", for a reason hereinafter to be set forth. Or it can be conceived of as Leibnitz did, as a collective Unity of an infinitude of emanated monads or "entelechies", to use Aristotle's term. Spinoza was an absolute idealist, while Leibnitz was an "objective idealist", which we also are, by the way. Swabhava is the characteristic nature, the type-essence, the individuality, of Swabhavat - of any Swabhavat, each such Swabhavat having its own Swabhava.

Now the main and essential meaning of the doctrine of Swabhava is the following - and it is so fundamental, so important in order properly to understand what follows, that we are going emphatically to urge it upon the attention of everyone. When cosmical manifestation begins or opens, it does not open helter-skelter, in disordered confusion, or by chance; it begins in conformity with the characteristic seeds of life, called, commonly, "laws", which have been in latent existence through the period of the Maha-pralaya preceding the beginning of the new Manvantara, and these "laws" - we use the term under strong protest - are really the intrinsic and ineluctable karmic habits of nature to be this or that, its Swabhavas, in short its hosts of innumerable entities or essential natures; and these "laws" [110] are actually impressed, stamped, upon ethereal and physical matter by the monadic essences or the monads. The Swabhavas of the monads give their Swabhavic natures to Nature! The monads are individuals, and conceiving them as collected together in a unity and forming a body of a still greater Monad, Leibnitz gave to this greatest Monad the Latin term Monas Monadum - the "Monad of monads". This Monad is, in short, our Hierarchical summit, of which we have several times spoken before. But where is there any need to call this "Monad of monads", this Hierarchical apex or summit, "God"? We can conceive of something still higher, and so forth almost at will. To stop at any point and call it "God" would simply be creating a deity - a "God" man-made, truly!

However, a man must pause somewhere in thought. So we begin with Swabhava, which, being an abstract term, is not a limit or boundary in itself. It is pure Individuality working in spirit-matter of which it is the highest part, or summit. Now this essential nature (or Swabhava) of a monad develops and becomes in matter a Hierarchy, whether that Hierarchy be an atom, a man, a planet, a Sun, a solar system, or a cosmical universe (or a universal cosmos) such as we find within the encircling zone of the Milky Way. The monad does so following the driving essential urge of its own inner essence, its individuality, its Swabhava. Hence it is that as the monads are individuals, so are the resultant Hierarchies individualized. And generalizing, as the monad grows into or becomes the Hierarchy, descending the "Shadowy Arc" - that is, descending into matter - as it becomes matter in its lower parts - the upper portion of the monad remaining always in its own pure unadulterated state - it reaches a certain point which is the end of its cyclical development for that period of evolution (or Manvantara), and then it begins cycling upward and back again, and this part of its journey is called the "Luminous Arc", because its tendency is towards "light", or spirit, following the phraseology of the ancient sages.

We studied some time ago in the Hebrew Bible, Chapter I, verses 25 and 26, how the Elohim (in the translation that we made) said: "Let us make 'man' in our own shadowy image (in our own shadow), and in our archetypal pattern". These Elohim who so "spoke" were monads, together forming a Hierarchy, each one of them, again, a Hierarchy by itself. As each individual man is a subordinate Hierarchy of the greater Hierarchy of Humanity, so Humanity is a subordinate Hierarchy of the still greater Hierarchy of the planet, and the planet Terra a subordinate Hierarchy of the still greater Hierarchy of the solar system; and so forth, as long as you care to follow the [111] thought. Man is himself composed of less beings; he himself is a microcosm, or little universe; he to these less beings is as a God - he to them is the Monas monadum, the Monad of monads. We shall later see reasons of great force why we have sedulously eschewed using this word "God". It is a colored word, spoiled with the thoughts which have been tacked on to it, attached to it; colored by them all, and it is for these reasons a dangerous word to use, because both misleading and inadequate.

As this monad in the beginning of manifestation in cosmos breaks through the laya-center, which you will remember we have studied before - that is to say through the neutral point, the vanishing point where spirit becomes matter, or vice versa (you can call it the Atman of the six lower degrees or principles which are to follow in sequential evolution) - as the descending monad breaks through the encircling matter of the cosmos around it, it follows in its course its own inner urge, or, rather, is driven thereby; it is self-expressive, but still self-unconscious; but when any particular "atomic" part of this cosmic monad reaches self-consciousness, and becomes a man, the path that its evolution follows thenceforward is consciously self-directed, as our present Teacher has so constantly taught us. Up to the time of the entrance of the self-conscious mind into man (a matter which we will explain in a few moments), the evolving entity is under the impulse, the propulsion, of dire and implacable necessity, which, however, is most emphatically not fate; and this is because, up to this critical point in evolution, the evolving entity is an imperfect being still: it is not a self-conscious thing, but an unselfconscious god-spark. It cannot as yet direct its own destiny on the planes of manifestation, but automatically follows the course of the Hierarchy to which it belongs. This spiritual-mental impotency ceases when the self-conscious state has been reached, which is in man; from this moment, in growing degree, man becomes himself a creator - a creator, self-consciously, of himself; he reaches upward or inward or outward - the adverb matters not - and becomes that which he essentially is within, continually aspiring toward the Inmost of the Inmost; and he finally reaches the point, at the end of this Day of Brahm_ - after seven Planetary Rounds - where he blossoms forth into a self-conscious god, not yet "God", or the summit of the Hierarchy to which he belongs by karmic descent, but a god. No longer is he a non-self-conscious monad, but a self-conscious monad, a planetary spirit, a Dhyani-Chohan, to use a beautiful Buddhist term, a "Lord of Meditation", one of that Wondrous Host of spiritual beings who are the full-blown Flowers of former World-Periods or Manvantaras. This Wondrous Host are the Perfect Men of those former World-Periods; and they guide the [112] evolution of this planet in its present Manvantara. They are our own spiritual Lords, Leaders, and Saviors. They supervise us now in our evolution here, and we follow the path of the general evolution outlined by them in our own present cyclic pilgrimage. When we first started on this pilgrimage as unselfconscious god-sparks, destined to become self-conscious men in this our Manvantara, it was these Dhyani-Chohans - Flowers of the former Manvantara - who opened the path for us, who guided our uncertain steps as we became Men, incarnations of our higher selves. But when we became self-conscious entities or Men, we began to guide ourselves; and to work consciously with them according to our evolution, to "work with nature", as H.P. Blavatsky nobly expressed it, is our highest duty and our brightest hope. It is our future destiny to become such godlike beings ourselves, thereafter, in our turn, to inform, inspire, and guide less evolved entities in future Manvantaras, as we have been informed, inspired, and guided by them; and finally, after many kalpas, after many Days of Brahm_ - each one of such "Days" a period of seven Planetary Rounds - we shall become a conscious part of the Cosmical Logos, the Brahmic Logos, using the phrase Brahmic Logos as meaning the highest conscious entitative intelligence of the solar system; thence upward and upward forever.

We return to our main theme. Now when the monad has reached the first point of cosmic manifestation, it has already descended through the first three of the ten planes or degrees or steps, i.e., through the three planes or degrees or steps forming the upper triangle or triad of the ten planes, in and on which the universe is built. It now begins definitely to cycle downward, and its entrance into cosmic manifestation, as already said, is the laya-center which is the Atman or universal spirit, no more belonging to any particular entity or man than does the Atman of any entity or man in any other planet of any other solar system. Atman is ourselves merely because it is the link which connects us with the Higher. As a matter of fact, the human being or man consists of five principles, because the Atman is not his except as a "plank of salvation"; and his gross physical body is not really a principle at all. This matter of component principles in man we shall have to go into more fully when we take up our study of human psychological composition.

Now the upper triangle of the ten above alluded to, actually is extended or developed out from the monad itself, as the petals and leaves of a flower are extended or evolved out of its seed: it draws its life and being from within itself. It is the elemental world, spiritually speaking; as the three worlds below our mineral kingdom are the elemental worlds of ourselves, materially [113] speaking, forming an elemental world, "spiritually" speaking, of Hierarchy below our own.

This inner urge driving the monad to express itself in manifestation and form, is the will of higher beings, working through itself, of which higher beings it forms an integral part: just as our brain, or our body, follows the implacable, dire law of necessity, which we impose upon brain or body by our thoughts and our will, yet both brain and body are parts of ourselves in matter. The monad must reach self-consciousness in order to "free" itself and thus become a self-conscious, self-directed god.

These things are so important for properly understanding our future study that we feel necessitated again and again to return to them. They are basically fundamental, lying at the very root of all our teaching. Understand clearly and well that this is not fatalism. That doctrine runs directly contrary to the doctrine of Swabhava, the doctrine of self-expressoin.

As an egg unfolds within itself the germ which is to become the future chick; or the human egg, the ovum, unfolds the germ within it which is to become the future child of man, similarly does the universe develop, similarly does an atom develop, thus also does a monad develop. It is unfolded within the auric egg. The human ovum, the seed of the plant, each is nothing but an egg. The shape may differ, the life form may differ, but this has nothing to do with the principle of unfoldment of which we are speaking. The encasement within the auric egg envelops the germ of individuality - or Swabhava - which is destined to follow its course along its own characteristic line of unfoldment: what is in the egg or seed comes out, each species according to its own kind, and this is its Swabhava. The Greek Stoic School taught the existence - both cosmically and infinitesimally - of spermatic logoi, "seed-logoi", each such spermatic logos producing creatures after its kind and according to its own essence - like the Hebrew Biblical Elohim - and this is again Swabhava.

We saw in our study of the Qabbalah - I think it was last week, or the week before - how the highest world unfolded itself and from itself emanated or evolved the second world, thus actually becoming the second world: being thus both parent and child. The second world was thus the child of the first; the third was the child of the first and the second; and the fourth, the "world of shells" - or of beings living in gross bodies, or "shells" - was the child of the first, the second, and the third, all working together in order to produce this fourth. Note well, however, that each superior sphere or world remains intact on its own plane, though evolving from itself the next succeeding inferior world.

The Stoics had a doctrine of development which in its essence [114] is the pure teaching of our own philosophy, though expressed in different form and under different names. They expressed it in this wise, following the mechanical mode so agreeable and dear to the Greek mind. It is curious, by the way, that the Oriental mind has always preferred to follow the psychological and spiritual lines of thought, rather than the mechanical, or, as we would now say, the "scientific". But the Stoics taught in Greece, and later in Rome, that the mechanism of the Essential Nature of the Deity - and this essential nature is our Swabhava, what we would call "Father-Mother" - was tension, and slackening of this tension, this slackening of tension being the first act of World-Building. They took as an analogy in illustration of the idea the well known fact that when a metal grows hot it then expands, and finally is vaporized; and using this simple matter-of-fact analogy they said that the "natural" state of Pneuma ("Spirit", the Deity) is fire - not physical fire, but the seed of that cosmic element from which physical fire springs. The slackening of this tension produced the first differentiation of the Primal Substance - or Pneuma, "God" - and this differentiation then awoke to active life the life-seeds, slumbering or latent, which came over from the previous period of manifested life; the life-seeds, or seed-lives - their spermatic logoi, alluded to before by us - thus awaking, proceeded to build and guide the forthcoming World Period and all the entities in it, each such seed life bringing forth from itself its essential species, or characteristic essence - our Swabhava. This is the teaching, in miniature, but as the Stoics gave it, of the Esoteric Philosophy.

Now when the universe was to come forth from its own being, taught the Stoics, the "tension" of the Primal Substance or Divine Fire slackened, or contracted as it were, and this contraction, by condensation, gave birth to the aether; next, as the tension slackened in the aether, this gave birth to "air"; and it, next, to "water"; and it, finally, to "earth". We are not speaking of the material fire, air, water, earth, that we see around us, but we refer to the Elements or "seeds" of these, the earth and the water and the air and the fire that we see around us being merely material samples or the last progeny, as it were, of the elemental seeds from which these respectively sprang. "Fire" gave birth to the "aether", the latter being its shadow, the shadow of itself. The "aether" gave birth to its shadow, or "air", its encasement or body; and the "air" to "water"; and the "water" to "earth". The Stoics taught further that all these things can be respectively transformed one into the other - the dream of the alchemist, and also the dream, psychologically, of initiates in our own School, who aim and strive to transform the base into the pure, the material into the spiritual. [115]

Returning once more to our main theme, it is to be noted that naturally, as the Monad - the root or the individuality of a Hierarchy of any kind - cycles down into matter, it produces from itself, it expands outwardly from itself its own shadows (or lower vehicles) which grow constantly more dense in direct proportion to the greater descent of the Monad. In this connection the question arises, that as there are certainly worlds of happiness, worlds of peace, in the higher spheres, how about those nether worlds: how about those lowest states of being of which H.P. Blavatsky speaks as the avichi? All our Teachers have told us, and our present Teacher emphasizes it constantly, that there is no hell in the Christian sense. Such a "hell" is a vague bogey of the imagination; but there are, in very truth, lower spheres; just as there are higher, so there must be lower. There cannot be good without evil, for the one is the shadow of the other and balances it in nature. These lowest spheres have a well defined part to play in the great Cosmic Drama. They are the Cleansing Houses, so to say, of the souls of those who persist in evil-doing. Like attracts like. These lower spheres are necessarily entered into by those who willfully, through a prolonged series of incarnations, refuse to follow the spiritual light within themselves. Like attracts like, we repeat it. As a matter of fact, such souls, so stained and weighted with evil, are actually pursuing their own cyclical pilgrimage, drawn by attraction to like spheres and dwellings. As our Teachers have said, during the cyclic pilgrimage of the atom-souls down into matter many millions and millions have failed to pass the danger point and, instead of thereupon beginning their journey "homeward" up the "Luminous Arc", are swept into the terrible maelstrom of the current that goes downward farther into matter! Therefore, into relatively greater suffering. These must wait until their time comes again in the next Manvantara, and another chance in the future kalpa of the earth. For this Day of Brahm_, for this Manvantara of seven Rounds, all is ended for them as regards their conscious journey back to their divine source.

These are doctrines (such as that of the Avichi-nirvana, just hinted at and alluded to in the preceding few sentences) which were taught in the ancient esoteric schools. From them, by misunderstanding and corruption of them, have been derived the bogey doctrines of a fiery, material Hell in which are, for eternity, to burn the ethereal souls of willful sinners! These souls are said to be of an asbestos-like nature, forever burning fiercely yet never consumed, like pitch burning for utter eternity in utterly endless fire! What frightful nightmares of a gross and materialistic "religious" teaching! It is amazing how the mind of man will invent things to torture itself with. But it [116] also shows that back of all these fearful, nightmare doctrines and dogmas there is some fundamental fact which the untaught mind sees through thick clouds darkly and falsely, and distorts; some element of truth which needs only proper explanation for understanding.

And how the human heart must melt in pity! Do we realize how real these doctrines were to our ancestors of only a few score years ago? And that in some backward-looking churches today these same horrible doctrines are still taught as actualities, though more or less secretly as if in utter shame, and that there are misguided and unhappy men who believe them, and on their death-beds suffer in anticipation the tortures of the damned, tortures worse, certainly, than any which nature has prepared for them as guerdon for their mistakes and sins? Think of the horror of it! Think of the duty that we owe to our fellow man to teach them the proper explanation and meaning of these distorted and tortured doctrines in all their sanity, in all their beautiful hope! There is a moral element involved in it for us. People sometimes ask what is the use of studying The Secret Doctrine? What is the use of spending so much time in studying the Rounds and Races? Here is one of the uses. Essentially you cannot change men until you have changed their minds. Teach men properly and nobly to think, and you teach them properly and nobly to live, and properly and nobly to die. There is nothing like a noble thought to lift a man. It is sheer folly and egoism that says, "What is the use of these so-called noble thoughts? My thoughts are good enough for me".

After all that has previously been said, nevertheless, we have just begun our exposition of Swabhava. We shall not have this evening the time and opportunity to touch upon the very important psychological aspects of it which we had hoped to do. We have still a few moments of time, however. Let us then try to illustrate more clearly this doctrine of Swabhava on the line of it chosen before. Imagine, then, an individual monad sending its ray, or descending, through that sphere which becomes the spiritual-atomic plane of the six planes below it. It (this ray) forms it itself into respective principles and planes as time passes, and it gathers and gleans the experiences of each separate plane. Leaving that spiritual-atomic or Atmic plane, it evolves out of itself its shadow, which is like an encasement, an aura, thus forming its auric egg there, and this second plane or principle we call our Buddhi, and as the monadic life or ray passes still farther down into that shadowy life, this buddhic plane and principle become to it the Real and the True. As cycles of time pass on, the descending monadic ray (or seed) evolves another shadow, another encasement, another subtle body, another aura, another [117] auric egg, out of itself, and this is our Manas. Each of these three principles - as indeed have all the seven - has seven degrees, seven stages, from the "atomic" of any one of the three down to its lowest, which is its "corpus" or "body". And so on with the remaining four lower planes and principles of man. Each one of these principles is "fully" developed on our globe in the respective and similar one of the Rounds of the seven of the Day of Brahm_. Further, on each one of the seven globes of the Planetary Chain, one of the seven principles especially is developed. Again, as just shown, at the end of each Round, one plane and one principle of the seven is developed, preparatory to evolving the succeeding one in another Round. It takes fully two Rounds, for instance, to bring out two planes and two principles in full: but during the First and the Second Rounds, for example, the other planes and principles have been coming up by degrees, evolving little by little, developing step by step. The chick does not grow in a day: the child does not become a man in a week; his soul does not develop within him in a fortnight. If a man lived the life he should, he would be at his best and noblest at the time when he thinks it is time for him to draw up his legs in bed and die. The physical body may be then ready to die, but the man within, that which is the real being, should be growing greater and nobler and grander. It is for this that we really live.

And so runs the course of evolution to the end of the seven Rounds, each Round bringing out one principle and one plane, as said; in each Round, each one of the remaining principles is brought out or evolved in less degree, there being thus - to use Ezekiel's figure - "wheels within wheels". At the midpoint of the Fourth Round, which is the middle Round, there comes a time when the monadic ray reaches the very acme of materiality - when the life-wave reaches a point where it branches both downward and upward, and then, in the words of Ezekiel, chapter 18, "the soul that sinneth, it shall surely die", meaning that the monadic ray courses downward, and loses all chance for ascent back homeward along the "Luminous Arc", for that Manvantara. It follows the downward path. But those others that can and do follow on, they indeed pass the danger point. I have spoken of this twice already this evening, because it will probably be the matter of our next study.

A Day of Brahm_ is composed of seven Rounds, a period of 4320 million solar or rather terrestrial years. Seven of these Days, again, are required to make a Solar Manvantara, which is a term used in the Esoteric Philosophy in a peculiar sense, because seven times seven Rounds are needed in order to bring out to their fullest, each of the seven principles and seven planes of [118] which the manifesting Hierarchy is composed. Of the life of Brahm_, we are told one-half is already passed, one-half of 311,040,000,000,000 plus some few more billions of our years! I refer to the Surya-Siddhanta, an ancient Sanskrit cosmogonical and astronomical work, which, from the statements and facts given within it, claims an age of somewhat more than two million years, according to popular interpretation. I think our modern Orientalists in their great wisdom give its origin as occurring more or less around the beginning of the Christian era, or later, simply on the one ground that the Greeks brought to northwestern India certain forms of computation, which are found in the Surya-Siddhanta, a theory which is purely arbitrary, and based upon no certainly ascertained fact except the self-evolved or "Swabhavic" theories of the Orientalists themselves! [119]

Chapter XII


Stoop not down, for a precipice lies below the earth,

Drawing under a descent of seven steps, beneath which

Is the throne of dire necessity.

-Psellus, 6, Plet. 2; (Cory, Chaldean Oracles)

Devilish (asurya) are those worlds called,

With blind darkness (tames) covered o'er!

Unto them, on deceasing, go

Whatever folk are slayers of the Self.

- Isa-Upanishad, 3. (R. E. Hume's translation, 362)

In opening our study of the Holy Science which we are privileged here again tonight to investigate, let us begin by reading from H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, Volume I, the last paragraph on page 272:

(1) The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages ¼

Next page, second paragraph:

(2) The fundamental Law in that system, the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon which is hung the philosophy of the rest, is the One homogeneous divine SUBSTANCE-PRINCIPLE, the one radical cause.

Last paragraph:

(3) The Universe is the periodical manifestation of this unknown Absolute Essence.

Next page, second paragraph:

(4) The Universe is called, with everything in it, MAYA, because all is temporary therein, from the ephemeral life of a firefly to that of the Sun.

Last paragraph:

(6) The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man - the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm - is the living witness to this Universal Law and to the mode of its action. We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man's external body can take place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three functions [120] named, so with external or manifested Universe. The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who - whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyani-Chohans or Angels - are "Messengers" in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of the earthly alloy "which time is wont to prey upon" is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are perfected, when not incipient, men; and differ morally from the terrestrial human beings on their higher (less material) spheres, only in that they are devoid of the feeling of personality and of the human emotional nature - two purely earthly characteristics.

And on pages 21 and 22, beginning in the middle of the sentence:

¼ the differentiation of the "germ" of the Universe into the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Powers, who are the active manifestations of the One Supreme Energy. They are the framers, shapers, and ultimately the creators of all the manifested Universe, in the only sense in which the name "Creator" is intelligible; they inform and guide it; they are the intelligent Beings who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the ONE LAW, which we know as "The Laws of Nature".

Resuming our thought from our last study of two weeks ago, we shall take up this evening an outline of the psychological nature of man, because, as mentioned before, if man understands himself, he understands that from which he came, and which he is - he understands the universe proportionately with his own development of spirit and of mind and of the percipient faculties that go with the development of spirit and of mind in man. In order to enable us more easily to understand, and more clearly to set forth, the essential characteristics of man's psychological economy, we shall endeavor to show how closely these are related to two fundamental theorems, or principles, or doctrines, of the Wisdom-Religion; and these two are (1) the Law, or rather the fact of Hierarchies; and (2) the Law (we use the term again under strong protest) of the Essential Nature of things, called Swabhava; as said before, the latter is a Sanskrit term meaning self-evolution, self-formation, self-development, self-becoming. In it inheres the foundation of the law of morals. As is obvious, Man is responsible to himself, and because man is a part of other things, he is therefore responsible to other things also. Likewise, as a corollary of the foregoing, after death man does not "meet his Creator", but verily he has to meet and to [121] reckon with his creature, that which he has built up in himself during his life - his astral self.

What makes a rose bring forth a rose always? Why does the seed of an apple invariably bring forth apples? Why does it not bring forth thistles, or daisies, or pansies? The answer is very simple; very profound, however. It is because of the Swabhava, the essential nature in and of the seed. Its Swabhava can bring forth only that which itself is, its essential characteristic, its own inner nature. The Stoics of Greece and Rome expressed this fact of evolution by saying that in the opening of a period of Manifestation, it is the Pneuma - "Spirit" - which relaxes its tension, condensation or concretion thereupon ensuing of the said Pneuma or Spirit, and evolution begins, emanation and evolution both begin, following the causes set up and active in the preceding period of Manifestation. There spring into life coordinately with the opening of the new period the "spermatic logoi", the "seed-logoi", an expression translated from the Greek spermatikoi logoi), spermatic reasons, seed-reasons, "Logos" meaning "reason", hence "cause", among other things. It was these seed-logoi, or spermatic logoi, which were the fruits or results, the karmas, as we would say, of former periods of activity. Having attained a certain stage of evolution or development, or quality, or characteristic, or individuality in the preceding Manvantara; when the next period of evolution came, they could produce nothing else but that which they were themselves, their own inner natures, as seeds do. The seed can produce nothing but what it itself is, what is in it; and this is the heart and essence of the doctrine of Swabhava. The philosophical, scientific, and religious reach of this Doctrine is simply immense; it is of the first importance.

The habit, or, if you like the word, the "law" (we use this word again under protest), of Swabhava can work only in that which is itself, because only its own vehicle, its own self, is appropriate for the manifestation of itself - obviously! Hence, the manner of evolution and emanation, and the progress of the Hierarchies, are as set forth before; that is, that from the highest, evolution and emanation proceed downward into the more material; and so on down the line of the "Shadowy Arc" into matter, until the turning point of the descent is attained; whereupon begins the ascent along the "Luminous Arc".

We must note well, however, that the higher does not leave its own sphere in this process; the higher does not wholly become the lower, and the lower wholly become the still lower, leaving a vacuum or an emptiness above. The higher spheres remain always. It is like the flame of a candle laid at the wick of another candle; and from that one candle, as our first great Teacher has [122] said, you can light all the candles of the universe, without diminution of its energy or of its force or of its characteristic essence. The highest remains always the highest; it is that part of itself, as it were, that is the developing energy acting from within; its Skandhas it is - which you will remember we have studied before - which produce, as the Stoics would have said, this "relaxation of tension", this condensation or concretion of parts of itself. A perfect analogy is found in the introuterine development of man, and his descent into incarnation. His spiritual nature does not come down and become his actual body; it remains always his spiritual nature; but from it it throws out parts of itself, its lower aspects or principles, if we may so put the idea; and these, as the manvantaric cycle proceeds, in their turn, each one in its turn, secretes, protrudes, and excretes something lower. So that the physical man, the body, is in very truth the "Temple of the living God", which is itself the Glory thereof, hence a part of the Temple; the Temple, verily, is the lowest manifestation of the living God within.

Now Swabhava works through the Hierarchies. We have returned to these two capital matters time after time, because it is all-important from the philosophic, from the spiritual, and from the ethical aspects, that these things should be as clear as possible in our minds. Take, for instance, the cosmogonical relation. We are not created by an extra-cosmic God; Karma, on the other hand, is not an extra-cosmic entity which said, "I create", and the world sprang into being. The highest essence, the inmost of the essence of every Hierarchy, of the practical infinitudes of Hierarchies, interlocked and corelated and working together and forming the universal cosmos in which we live - the highest part of each one of these Hierarchies is a super-divine monad, which we can call Para-brahman-Mula-prakriti. And its first manifestation or downward-looking energy, its first breaking-forth into the plane below, is Brahman acting in turn through its cosmic veil, Pradhana, as you will remember we have before studied; and then comes Brahm_-prakriti, otherwise called Purusha-prakriti, which is the cosmic soul or individual, and the nature or the vehicle in which it manifests; the logos and its universe; the monad, and its sheaths, and so on.

Having these things clearly in mind, we can now take up directly and more easily, more comprehensibly, the study of what we mean by the psychology of man. The word is ordinarily used to signify in our days and in the seats of learning in the Occident a study more or less cloudy, mostly beclouded with doubts and hypotheses, actual guesswork, meaning little more than a kind of mental physiology, practically nothing more than the working of the brain-mind in the lowest astral-psychical apparatus of the [123] human mind. But in our philosophy, as we all know, the word psychology is used to mean something very different, and of a nobler character: we might call it pneumatology, or the science or the study of spirit, because all the inner faculties and powers of man ultimately spring from his spirit. But as this word "pneumatology" is an unusual one and might cause confusion, let us retain the word "psychology". We mean by it the study of the inner economy of man, the interconnection of his principles, so to speak, or centers of energy or force - what the man really is inwardly.

Man, like everything else in the universe, is founded upon the dekadic skeleton or numerical framework of being - the number ten. Three of these ten Elements or planes or principles belong to the arupa or formless world, and seven belong to the world of manifestation and form. These seven latter principles produce each other on a downward scale in the process of manifestation, exactly as the Hierarchies do, each one emanating or evolving a lower, and this lower evolving or emanating a still lower one, and so down to the seventh or lowest.

Man can be considered as a being composed of three essential bases; the Sanskrit term is Upadhi. The meaning of the word is that which stands forth following a model or pattern, as a canvas, so to say, upon which the light from a projecting lantern plays. It is a play of shadow and form, compared with the ultimate Reality. These three bases or upadhis are, first, the Monadic or spiritual; second, that which is supplied by the Lords of Light, the so-called Manasa-Dhyanis, meaning the intellectual and intuitive side of man, the element-principle that makes man Man; and the third basis or Upadhi we can call the vital-astral-physical, if you please.

Now these three bases spring from three different lines of evolution, from three different and separate Hierarchies of being. Remember that each Hierarchy possesses in itself in embryo everything that the entire universe is and has, the least as the greatest, if we can say "least" and "greatest" of that which is endless - at any rate the least and greatest of any period of manifestation. This is the reason why man is composite. He is not one sole and unmixed entity; he is a composite entity, he is a thing built up of various Elements, and hence his principles are, to a certain extent, separable. Any one of these three bases can be temporarily separated from the two others, without bringing about the death of the man physically. But the Elements, so to say, that go to form any one of these bases, cannot be separated without bringing about physical dissolution or inner dissolution.

Now these three lines of evolution, these three aspects or [124] qualities of man, as said, come from three different Hierarchies, or states, often spoken of as three different planes of being. The lowest comes from the earth; ultimately from the Moon, our cosmogonic mother. The middle, the manasic or intellectual-intuitional, from the Sun. The monadic from the Monad of monads, the supreme flower, or acme, or rather the supreme seed of the Universal Hierarchy which forms our Cosmical Universe or Universal Cosmos.

It depends upon a correct understanding of the general interconnection or the interworking of these three separate parts of the economy of the inner man, whether we shall obtain a proper grasp of our future studies. We meet, as we have seen, at every step - if we have followed our studies properly - new ideas, new thoughts; new links with the universe of light and being around us, and of which we also are children. How terrible it would be if we were to reach the limit of all that it was possible to know! On the contrary, endless vistas of growing knowledge are always before us, and we cannot attain them otherwise than by mounting the steps of knowledge one by one.

We have heard it said by our Teachers that immortality is conditional. This is a certain Truth. Immortality is not unconditional, and why? For the reasons just pointed out. Man is a composite being, and, as the Buddha said in the closing words of his life, "Brothers, all that is, is composite and transitory. Therefore work out your own salvation". This contains the core of the whole philosophy of evolution, and occultly designates ultimate immortality or annihilation for any one Manvantara, for man as a thinking entity.

Immortality is assured if the central principles which compose the intellectual-intuitional man, have succeeded in rising to the monadic plane where they become one with the monad, shining upon them as a spiritual Sun. And the loss of a soul for the Manvantara is assured if its Swabhava, its essential, characteristic, energies, are directed downwards into brute matter.

The Teachers have told us, however, that the loss of the soul cannot ensue as long as even one sole, single, spiritual aspiration remains functionally active. Only when the unhappy entity has arrived at the point where it can say, "Evil, be thou my God!" when not one single, quivering aspiration spiritward remains, is it "lost" for the Manvantara, when its essence, as it were, is inverted, and its tendency is downwards, downward into the avichi, where, as the Teachers have told us, circumstances may bring about an almost immediate annihilation of it, or, perhaps, a Manvantara of Avichi-nirvana, a fearful state indeed, contrasted with the wondrous Nirvana of the Dhyani-Chohans, or Lords of Meditation. [125]

On the one hand we may raise ourselves to become a God, yea, even while dwelling in the flesh. On the other hand we may allow ourselves to sink to the eighth sphere, where we pass into the yawning portals of the "Planet of Death". Has it ever occurred to any one of us to ask, Why are we here? Why, having had an infinity in which to evolve, are we not higher than we are now? Has it ever occurred to any one of us to ask whether we may not be the "fallen angels", those very spiritual "athletes" who in a former great Manvantara failed to win onwards to the goal, failed to rise, failed to make the goal intended for them, and were "cast down" to work our weary way upward again?

Again, what do we mean by "soul" as contrasted with "spirit"? We speak of the human soul and the spiritual soul, and we speak of the astral soul, and we speak of the animal soul. But we do not use those terms in connection with the word "spirit". It is our Teachers who first have used those expressions in the connections noted above. Does it not teach us that the meaning of soul is that of a vehicle, an upadhi, in general; that vehicle, or any vehicle, in which the monad, in any sphere of manifestation, is working out its destiny? But these vehicles are conscious vehicles, they are living and sentient vehicles having each one its own consciousness and its own thinking faculty; even these gross physical bodies of ours are not merely insensible stocks. The physical body has its avenues of dull consciousness and life; it can feel, and, after its own poor dull manner, it can think.

So, then, the loss of the soul is the loss of that which we, through interminable ages, very, very laboriously have built up as our inner temple, our home, in which we should rise to meet the Gods, to become one with them; and more - it is the vehicle through which we should carry up with us entities below us at present, but through us approaching our own dignity of humanity - entities of which the soul is actually composed, even as the atoms in our physical bodies are infant-souls, physical entities, embryonic things which we are informing and inspiring, if, indeed, we are not sentencing them to a cycle of woe.

With Knowledge comes responsibility. The moral law will not be thwarted. It cannot be played with. At every step, with every morn, at every turn, at every choice, we face the right- or the left-hand path, and we are forced to choose; we must see to it, every time, whether our feet are to be set upon the "Luminous Arc", or upon the "path of shadows" leading us downwards. [126]

Chapter XIII


¼ Nothing in nature springs into existence suddenly, all being subjected to the same law of gradual evolution. Realize but once the process of the maha cycle, of one sphere, and you have realized them all. One man is born like another man, one race evolves, develops and declines like another and all other races. Nature follows the same groove from the "creation" of a universe down to that of a mosquito. In studying esoteric cosmogony, keep a spiritual eye upon the physiological process of human birth; proceed from cause to effect establishing ¼ analogies between the ¼ man and that of a world ¼ Cosmology is the physiology of the universe spiritualized, for there is but one law.

- Mahatma Letters, 70-1

We open our study of The Secret Doctrine this evening by reading from page 178, and a small portion from page 179, of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, as follows:

Now the Monadic, or rather Cosmic, Essence (if such a term be permitted) in the mineral, vegetable, and animal, though the same throughout the series of cycles from the lowest elemental up to the Deva Kingdom, yet differs in the scale of progression. It would be very misleading to imagine a Monad as a separate Entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower Kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transformations flowering into a human being; in short, that the Monad of a Humboldt dates back to the Monad of an atom of horneblende. Instead of saying a "Mineral Monad," the more correct phraseology in physical Science, which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it "the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the Mineral Kingdom."

As the Monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation, which properly constitutes the Monad - not the atomic aggregation, which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and the higher degrees of intelligence.

Now, in resuming this evening our study from last week, it will perhaps be well to preface it by reminding ourselves of the two general desires which the Teacher had in mind, in inaugurating our studies; first, the elucidation of the teachings contained in H.P. Blavatsky's wonderful work; and secondly, the providing of tests, doctrinal tests, as it were, not tests in a dogmatic sense, but doctrinal or mental tests which each one of us may have in [127] mind to remember and to apply when he takes up some book treating of the ancient religions of the world, or of the modern theories concerning those religions as given out by some modern thinker.

The world at the present day is simply overwhelmed with books of various sorts treating of quasi-spiritual, and of so-called psychic and quasi-psychic matters, and to one who does not know the key doctrines of Theosophy, who has not, as H.P. Blavatsky had, at his mental elbow, so to say, the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion by which all these various matters may be tested and proved, there is place for much mental confusion, indecision, and doubt as to what the real sense or meaning thereof may be, because many of these books are written very ably; but ability in writing well is no sign or proof that an author understands properly the ancient thought; such ability is merely the capacity of presenting certain thoughts - the writer's own views - clearly and often very praiseworthily; but merely praiseworthy writing is certainly no proof that a writer possesses an adequate and sufficient criterion of the ancient truth itself.

Having therefore these doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion (Theosophy) in mind, and properly understanding them, we have tests by which we may prove to ourselves whether such and such a doctrine of any religion, ancient or modern, or such and such a teaching of any thinker, ancient or modern, is in accord with that primeval spiritual and natural revelation granted to the first members of the first human and truly thinking race by the spiritual beings from whom we likewise derived our inner essence and life, and who are, really, our own present spiritual selves. Not being tests in a dogmatic religious sense at all, they are not "necessary to salvation". Heavens and hells do not depend for their reality upon their acceptance or rejection by men, for instance; but we mean that Theosophy provides us with tests which are tests in the same way as are the facts which an expert in mathematics or in chemistry or in any other branch of science or natural philosophy is enabled to employ in order to ascertain when something new comes under his eye, or under his hand, whether this new thing agrees with the truths already established by himself and his collaborators in work.

At our last meeting we treated perforce only vaguely, and in a mere sketch, of the difference existing between the spirit and the soul. The spirit is the immortal element in us, the deathless flame within us which dies never, which never was born, and which retains throughout the entire Maha-manvantara its own quality, essence, and life, sending down into our own being and into our various planes, certain of its rays or garments or souls which we are; and furthermore, that these rays, in descending, [128] constituted the life-essences of a Hierarchy, whether we treat of our own selves as individual human begins, or whether we think of the atom, or of the solar system, or of the universal cosmos.

We have this evening to consider more particularly the nature and differences of Self and ego; and if we have time we shall have need to remark at some length upon a doctrine which is very strange to Western ears, and yet which contains in itself the core, the very heart of what emanational evolution is, and which also shows to us what our destiny is. It is that destiny which leads us both downwards and then upwards, back to our spiritual source, but possessing - rather being - something more than we possessed - or rather were - when we began our great evolutionary pilgrimage.

Now, before we start upon a sketch of the nature of, and the difference between, self and ego, let us undertake very briefly an analysis of what we mean when we speak of karma, for it is necessary here. As we all know, karma is a Sanskrit word, and it is derived from the Sanskrit root kri, a verb meaning to make or to do. By adding the suffix ma to the root kri or the stem kar, which comes, through one of the rules of the Sanskrit grammar, from the root kri, we have the abstract noun, Karma. Literally it means doing, making, hence action. It is a technical term, that is, a term from which hangs a whole series of philosophical doctrines.

We can consider it best from the standpoint of translating it by the word results, because this word "results", or "fruits", seems to be its most general application in the technical sense of the Esoteric Philosophy. Now Karma is not a law; no God made it. A human law, let us remember, is a maxim of conduct or order of right, laid down by a lawgiver, forbidding what is wrong and inculcating and commanding what is right. Karma is not that. Karma is the habit of universal and eternal Nature, a habit inveterate, primordial, which so works that an act is necessarily, by destiny, followed by an ineluctable result, a reaction from the Nature in which we live. It was called by Mr. A.P. Sinnett, one of H.P. Blavatsky's early helpers, the "law of ethical causation", an inadequate and misleading term, because, first, Karma is more than ethical, it is both spiritual and material and all between. It has its application on the spiritual, mental, psychical, and physical planes. To call it the "law of cause and effect" is much better, because more general, but even this does not describe it adequately at all. The very essence of the meaning of this doctrine is, that when anything acts in any state of embodied consciousness, it sets up an immediate chain of causation, acting on every plane to which that chain of causation reaches, to which the force extends. [129]

Human karma is born within man himself. We are its creators and generators, and also do we suffer from it or are clarified through it, by our own previous actions. But what is this habit in itself, das Ding an sich, as Kant would have said, this inveterate, primordial habit of nature, which makes it react to an arousing cause! That is a question which we shall, at some future time, have to go into more fully than we can do it this evening; but we may say this much: that it is the will of the spiritual beings who have preceded us in bygone kalpas or great Manvantaras, and who now stand as Gods, and whose will and thought direct and protect the mechanism and the type and quality of the universe in which we live. These great beings were once men in some former great Manvantara. It is our destiny ultimately to become like unto them, and to be of their number, if we run the race of kalpic evolution successfully.

Man, as our first great Teacher has set it forth, weaves around himself from birth to death a web of action and of thought - each one of them producing results, some immediately, some later. Each act is a seed. And that seed inevitably, by the doctrine of Swabhava, which we have been studying, will produce the results which belong to it, and none other.

Swabhava, as we remember, is the doctrine of the essential characteristic of anything, that is, that which makes it what it is, and not something else: that which makes the lily a lily, and not a rose or a violet; that which makes one being a horse, and another a fly, and another a blade of grass, and so on - its essential nature.

Now in our study of the Hierarchies in former meetings, we remember that we noticed that each Hierarchy proceeded from its own seed, its own seed-logos or the highest part of it, its crown or pinnacle; and that everything rolled down from it, rolled out from the seed into being. So the human body grows from a microscopic seed, as it were, into the man we know, partaking of the nature around it, because it is a composite being. All composite things are temporary and transitory. If they were not composite, they could not manifest in any manner whatever. It is the compositeness, the compound nature of them which enables them to learn and to mingle with, and to be one in the manifested sense with all the manifested universe around us.

You doubtless remember what we mentioned in former studies of the wonderful doctrine of the ancient Stoics of Greece and Rome, called the Krasis di' holou, the mingling through everything, the intermingling of all; when this doctrine was applied to the Gods, the ancient Stoics called it Theocrasy, not theocracy, which means something else entirely. Theocrasy means the intermingling of the Gods, even as human thoughts mingle on earth. [130]

Now the Self remains eternally itself on its own plane, but in manifestation it intermingles, if we may use that term, with the spheres of matter by raying itself, as does the Sun; by communicating itself as the divine ray; it shoots down into the spiritual world, and thence into the intellectual world, and thence into the psychic world, and thence into the astral world, and thence into the physical. It creates at each one of these stages, at each plane of the Hierarchy, a vehicle, a sheath, a clothing, a garment, and these, just expressed by various names, on the higher plane are called "souls", and on the lower plane, "bodies", and it is the destiny of these souls - "garments" or "vehicles" or "sheaths" of the spirit - ultimately to be raised upwards to divinity.

There is an immense difference - which is the strange doctrine alluded to a short while ago and which we shall have to study this evening - between purely unconscious spirit life, and fully self-developed, self-conscious spirituality. The monad starts out on its cyclic journey, as was said before, as unselfconscious god-spark, and ends it as a self-conscious God, but it does this through assimilation of manifested life and by carrying up with itself the various souls which it has created in its cyclic pilgrimage, in them developing its inner essence and through them understanding and coming into relation with other monads and other soul-selves. It is the raising of the soul (or rather the souls) through the Self, to divinity, that constitutes the process of evolution, the unfolding of the potentialities and capacities of the divine Seed.

We may now ask: What is the difference between the Self and the ego? The individual Self, we know, is a spiritual or rather monadic "Atom". It is that which in all things says "I am", and hence is pure consciousness, direct consciousness, not reflected consciousness. The ego is that which says "I am I" - indirect or reflected consciousness, consciousness reflected back upon itself as it were, recognizing its own mayavi existence as a "separate" entity. See how marvelous these teachings are, for if we understand this doctrine aright, it means spiritual salvation for us; and if we understand it wrongly, it means our going downwards! For instance, intensity of egoism is the understanding of it wrongly; and, paradox of paradoxes, impersonality is the understanding of it rightly. As Jesus said in the first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, voicing one of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, "He who saves his life shall lose it, but he who gives up his life for my sake, shall find it."

Here we have the real meaning embodied in a "dark saying" of a matter that we studied somewhat at our last meeting: the doctrine of the "loss of the soul", which we cannot touch upon more at length this evening. We shall do so, however, at some future meeting; but there, in words ascribed to Jesus and thrice [131] repeated, we have the inner meaning of this mystery: the because, the why, and the how of it.

We return to the strange doctrine mentioned before, strange to Western ears, strange to Western thought. You will remember that H.P. Blavatsky frequently describes the processes of evolution and of development, as the starting out of the spiritual essence down the "Shadowy Arc" into matter, and its growing more and more dense, compact, and heavy the deeper it goes into the ocean of the material world, until it passes a certain point - the turning point of the forces which arising in itself urge it forward in that Maha-manvantara; and that then it begins to rise again along the upward cycle, the "Luminous Arc", back towards the divinity from which it emanated as a Ray or Rays. This monadic essence, this monadic stream, passing into evolution, is, like an army or host, composed of a quasi-infinitude of individual monads. We may call them spiritual "Atoms", unselfconscious God-sparks. They gather to themselves as they descend into matter - which is eternally there from the infinitude of evolving beings in all stages of development which had preceded them - or, rather, they derive reflected or indirect consciousness (self-consciousness) from that contact and intermingling. They begin to have more than the mere feeling or rather simple cognition of "I am", or pure consciousness; they begin to feel themselves self-consciously at one with all that is. The unselfconscious God-spark is beginning self-consciously to recognize its own essential and inherent divinity. It is developing self-consciousness, and this self-consciousness is what we call the "ego", the recognition that "I am I", a part or ray of the ALL recognizing that wondrous truth.

Now consider the Hierarchy of the human being growing from the Self as its Seed - ten stages, three on the arupa or immaterial plane; and seven (or perhaps better, six) on the plane of matter or manifestation. On each one of these seven planes (or six planes), the Self or Paramatman develops a sheath or garment, the upper ones spun of spirit, or light if you will; and the lower ones spun of shadow or matter; and each such sheath or garment is a soul; and between the Self and a soul - any soul - is the ego. First in order is the Self, the divine entity or thing, or monad, behind all; and growing from within it, like a Sun developing from within its own essence, along the karmic lines or paths of the memories or "results" or "fruits" brought over from the preceding great Manvantara, thus developing strictly according to the Skandhas in its own nature, is the ego, contacting and intermingling with matter and the other hosts of intelligences of this Maha-manvantara. The ego throws out from itself - as the seed will throw out its green blade, developing into the tree with its [132] branches and its twigs and its numberless leaves - it throws out from itself its garment or sheath or vehicle spun of light or spun of shadow, according to the plane or point upon which it is; and this ethereal or spiritual or astral garment of the ego is the soul - that is, any soul.

There are many souls in man. There are likewise many egos in man; but back of them all, both egos and souls, is the deathless flame, the Self. Remember that the ancient Egyptians also taught of the various souls of man, of the manifold selves of man, of the several egos of man. We have not spoken often as yet of the ancient Egyptian teachings, because they are exceedingly difficult on account of being enwrapped in complicate symbol and allegory; they are the most hid, perhaps, the most enshrouded with tropes and figures of speech of any ancient system. But the old truths are there; they are the same age-old teachings.

Now evolution is the unfolding, the developing, the bringing out from the divine Seed within of all its latent capacities, its Swabhava in short: its individual characteristics or the essence of its being. The whole effort of evolution, however, is not merely to bring out that which is within each individual Seed; but also that each individual monad, and each ego, and each soul, shall gather up from the matter in which it works, other less progressed entities which become parts of itself, and shall carry them along with it on the arc of the evolutionary journey upwards.

Each one of us is therefore a potential Christ, a potential Christos, because while we are, each one of us, a Christos within, intrinsically, each one of us is, or should be, a "savior" of his fellow man likewise, and of all the lower beings under him, under his guidance and sway. If a man or woman ill-treats or treats nobly the atoms of his or her body, he or she is held responsible at the hands of karma, so to say, before the Divine Tribunal of his own Self; yea, to the very last farthing, he shall be held to a strict accounting. Look at the dignity with which this noble teaching endows and crowns our human species! What a sublime meaning do the doctrines of our Teachers have in this light! Man is responsible; because when he has achieved self-consciousness even in minor degree he becomes a creator thereby, and becomes therefore responsible to a coordinate extent. He becomes a collaborator and coworker with the Gods whom he is destined to join as one of themselves.

If the life-stream, if the stream of monads, if any individual monad has passed the lowest point of its manvantaric cycles safely, has safely swung past the path leading downward at the midpoint of the Fourth Round, and successfully starts out on the upward way, along the "Luminous Arc", it is safe to a certain extent, but not yet wholly so, because that same test comes [133] again at the midpoint in each Round. But the midpoint of the Fourth Round is the most critical. We all know what a Round is, and the seven through which we must pass before we complete our evolutionary pilgrimage on this planet. But if the monadic spark passes safely through each of the three Rounds to come, then in the last Round, on the last or seventh globe, in the last race of that globe, he shall blossom out as a Dhyani-Chohan, a "Lord of Meditation". Already almost a God. And those of us who shall have made the race successfully, shall, after the long Nirvana that awaits us after the seven Rounds are completed, which Nirvana is a period of unspeakable bliss corresponding to the devachan between two earth-lives; those of us, I say, who shall have become these Lords of Meditation, shall become the forerunners, the makers, the developers, the Gods of the future planet which shall be the child of this, as this globe, Terra, was the child of our mother, the Moon; and so on forever, but always advancing higher and higher up the rungs of the wondrous Ladder of Cosmic Life.

Now this is the strange and wonderful doctrine, strange and wonderful to Western ears. Endless are the ramifications of thought which spring from it. Think of the destiny before us! Yes: and it is also wise, as our Teachers have often told us, to look at the other side. Let us turn our faces from the morning sunlight occasionally, and look in the other direction. Remember that we have innate and ineluctable moral responsibilities where ethical problems are involved. We have, to a certain extent, knowledge; hence power, hence responsibility. Behind us, trailing upwards, are infinitudes of beings who are less than we. Each one of them is on the same path whereon we have trodden, ourselves; each one of them having to go over that same path, stained with the blood from our own feet. And shall they fail for lack of our help? They shall have to pass the danger point, even as we have done; because the teaching is that at the middle point of every evolution there is a downward path, leading into spheres of being grosser and more material than ours.

When our planet first started, or rather first was started, on its course of emanational evolution, the propelling agents in that were the Dhyani-Chohans from the lunar chain, i.e., those who had run the evolutionary race successfully there; and behind them, trailing after them, we came, seven classes of us, the most evolved, the less, the less, the less, the less, the animals, the vegetables, and the minerals.

Our time is drawing to a close this evening, but there is one point which it seems incumbent upon us to touch upon at least slightly. When Leibnitz, the great German philosopher, spoke of the inherent urge in every monad propelling it into manifestation, [134] he spoke from the ancient books, from the Pythagorean and the Neo-Platonic teachings, of which he was a student, and he meant what we do when we speak of the Swabhava, the essential nature of a thing. There is, however, one point of his teaching to which we must allude, where he says in substance that our world is the best possible world in the universe. Those of you who are acquainted with the great French philosopher, Voltaire, may remember his book, Candide, or "Optimism", in which Voltaire evidently is tilting at the optimistic theories of Leibnitz, and in which two of his characters are the inveterately irrational optimist, Dr. Pangloss, and the young man, Candide, Dr. Pangloss's pupil, a young philosopher, a thorough-going selfish optimist, who accepted all the rebuffs of life with great indifference and calmness, and with a smile at human misery. And Voltaire has a passage commenting upon these two characters (Candide, Chapter VI), where he says, with all that pungent, aphoristic point, which is so great an ornament of the French genius, "Si c'est ici le meilleur des mondes possibles, que vent donc les autres?" That is, "If this is the best of all possible worlds, how about the others"? A very comprehensive remark indeed, and a very true one. It is not the best possible of all worlds. Far from it. It were indeed a weary and hopeless outlook for our human kind, if it were! Yet the great German philosopher was right in this sense, that it is the best possible world which the world's karma has enabled it to be or to produce; and if it is not better, we ourselves are largely responsible for it.

We see in this amusing reference to the theories of Leibnitz and Voltaire, the true meaning of the word optimism. Our own majestic philosophy gives us a far wider vision, a more penetrating insight into things; a profounder understanding of the so-called Riddle of Life. Everything is relative, one of the greatest teachings of the Esoteric philosophy. There are no absolutes (in the usual European sense of that word) anywhere. Everything is relative, because everything is interlinked and intermingles with every other thing. If there were an absolute, in the European sense, there could be nothing but the barren silence and immutability of complete and utter perfection, which is impossible, for there would be in such case, there could be, no growth, no future growth, no past development, spiritually, mentally, or in any other wise.

We now close. At our next meeting, upon the Teacher's direction, we shall take up the study of the so-called Hells and Heavens, for this branch of our investigation is a very necessary part of the psychological side of our study which we began at our last meeting; and we say this evening only this, that, as before often remarked, all the doctrines and dogmas and teachings and [135] tenets of the great World Religions, are based fundamentally upon some more or less obscure truth: usually very much obscured by ignorance or fanaticism, or by both; and, in conclusion, let us note well that there are no hells, and there are no heavens, as these are commonly supposed to be; but spheres of life and experience corresponding to each class of the myriad degrees of entities in being. As Jesus is said to have stated in the Christian Gospels: "In my Father's house are many mansions". There are in the endless Kosmos innumerable appropriate places of retributive bliss or retributive woe for all grades of souls, and in these karmically appropriate places, the countless hosts of evolving entities of all classes find their properly and exactly adjusted places. [136]

Chapter XIV


The devachan ['heaven'] merges from its highest into its lowest degree - by insensible gradations; while from the last step of devachan [downwards] the Ego will often find itself in Avichi's ['hell's'] faintest state, which, towards the end of the "spiritual selection" of events may become a bona fide "Avichi."

- Mahatma Letters, 188

From Kama-loka then ¼ the newly translated "Souls" go all (but the shells) according to their attractions, either to Devachan or Avichi.

-Mahatma Letters, 199

Ye suffer from yourselves, none else compels ¼

- Light of Asia (Arnold)

We open our study this evening by reading from The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, page 273, the following:

For the evolution of Spirit into matter could never have been achieved; nor would it have received its first impulse, had not the bright spirits sacrificed their own respective super-ethereal essences to animate the man of clay, by endowing each of his inner principles with a portion, or rather, a reflection of that essence. The Dhyanis of the Seven Heavens (the seven planes of Being) are the NOUMENOI of the actual and the future Elements, just as the Angels of the Seven Powers of nature - the grosser effects of which are perceived by us in what Science is pleased to call the "modes of motion" - the imponderable forces and what not - are the still higher noumenoi of still higher Hierarchies.

This is an exceedingly interesting paragraph. It contains, in small compass, the entire outline of the studies that we have been pursuing for some weeks past.

In taking up this evening the study of the so-called "heavens" and "hells", it may be well first of all to repeat what was said in the conclusion of our last study: that there are no heavens and there are no hells, as these are outlined in the exoteric religions. Those conceptions are based, however, upon teachings which actually came from the Mystery Doctrines, and, as we have before said, they contain in themselves the outline of a truth, indeed, of a great truth, when properly understood. But while we do not accept the Christian heaven and the Christian hell, nor the Mohammedan heavens nor the Mohammedan hells, nor the literal exoteric teachings concerning them as found among the [137] Buddhists and the ancient Greeks and the Romans, nevertheless there actually are in Nature certain spheres of being in which those portions of man's constitution which survive the death of the physical body, find appropriate dwelling-places; they are, in fact, retributive realms or spheres of being, to which are magnetically attracted those parts of his constitution which in him are of similar or identical quality.

Jesus, in the Gospel "according to John", 14th Chapter, the second verse, says the following: "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you". He said this in the long final address which he gave to his disciples before his arrest and appearance before the authorities, according to the Christian legends.

Now there is no great religion of the ancient time which does not teach in more or less clear and definite form the existence of certain forces of "reward" or of retribution, acting after man's death in appropriate spheres in which the so-called soul of man meets with retribution, or, as some say, "punishment" or "reward", after physical death. Those spheres in which the soul shall receive appropriate retributive purgation, or "punishment", are called hells, in the English tongue; and those in which the soul shall receive appropriate retributive repose and reward are commonly called heavens; and because these words are familiar to Europeans, and represent with fair accuracy the general idea of post mortem retribution prevalent in all great religions, it may be best for us to use them. But we must positively clear out of our minds, wash our minds clean of, all ideas that have been put into them by the miseducation of the dogmatic theologies, if we are to gain a correct idea of what the Esoteric Philosophy teaches on these lines.

We must remember that we are studying the occultism of the archaic ages. Now this word "occultism" meant originally only the science of things hid; even in the Middle Ages of Europe, those philosophers who were the forerunners of the modern scientists, those who then studied physical nature, called their science "occultism", and their studies "occult", meaning the things that were hid, or not known to the common run of mankind. Such a medieval philosopher was Albertus Magnus, a German; and so also was Roger Bacon, an Englishman; both of the thirteenth century of the Christian Era.

Therefore, "occultism" as we use the term, and as it should be used, means the study of the hid things of being, the science of life or universal Nature; in one sense this word can be used to mean the study of unusual "phenomena", which meaning it usually has today among people who do not think, or who will not think, of the vastly larger field of causes which "Occultism", [138] properly speaking, investigates. Doubtless mere "phenomena" have their place in study, but they are on the frontier, as it were, on the outskirts - and they are the superficialities - of occultism. In studying true occultism we must penetrate deep into the causal mysteries of being; and, in very truth, we have been doing this since the Teacher inaugurated these studies: step by step, have we been going deeper into the realm of causes.

Now, in order fully to comprehend the destiny of the soul, post mortem, and before its next rebirth in a physical body on this plane, it is incumbent upon us first to say that there is a vast field of teachings with regard to death upon which we do not feel at present privileged to roam. This is a matter which rests entirely with the Teacher's discretion, and only upon her explicit instructions will anything be said regarding that field in these studies. Yet there are certain things which we can touch upon. The reason for our necessary reticence and silence with regard to the forbidden field mentioned, is this, that, as remarked in one of our former studies, the teachings with regard to the deeper mysteries of death give keys to mysteries of still greater magnitude and scope, and in ancient days were communicated only to a chosen few, at any time. Any one of you who chooses to look into the religious mystical literatures of the world, can prove this fact for himself.

In former studies we have traced the peregrination of the monad from the state of latency into manifestation, as viewed from below. Now the monad is a spiritual "atom", so to say; let us call it this evening a spiritual radical (radicle), using this word "radical" in precisely the double sense in which H.P. Blavatsky used the word "radical" when she spoke of comets as "those long-haired sidereal radicals" - with a touch of real humor in one sense, but also hinting, by the use of the word, at a great truth of the Esoteric Philosophy with regard to comets in calling them "radicals". You know what radical originally meant. It meant a (little) root, from the Latin radix, hence its application to a comet as the root or the germ of a future world. So, also, a monad is a radical, a radical in both the senses in which she used them, an "aggressive" (in the sense of self-acting, self-developing) entity, and also a root, a germ of a future God.

Now this radical, in order to attain self-consciousness, and conscious self-consciousness, must pass down the "arc of shadows" until it reaches the turning point of the great Cycle in that Manvantara, and as an integral part of and belonging to the Hierarchy evolving in that Manvantara. By that time, if its Karma is so, it has reached conscious self-consciousness, and is manifesting on our plane as a man. Thereupon it starts upwards along the "Luminous Arc", or the arc of ascension, and if it is successful [139] in its cyclic pilgrimage, it finally blossoms forth into a God. We must remember this general outline if we wish to understand clearly what we mean by "heavens" and "hells".

The whole aim of evolution, the entire destiny of the spiritual radical, is the elevating of the consciously personal into the consciously impersonal - so important a thought that we are obliged to say that it lies as the very first conception and as the root of the whole Esoteric Philosophy. A self-conscious God can be such only because it has a vehicle of self to work through; and this is what the spiritual radical lacks when it starts out on its cyclic pilgrimage. Manhood must be raised to Godhood.

Now we may begin to see here the meaning of what our first Teacher spoke of as the "loss of the soul". At every step downward, as its self-consciousness is slowly and gradually evolved in any Manvantara, the monad fabricates into itself, or secretes from itself, and excretes from itself, vehicles proper for its cognizing the forces and matter on the various planes through which it passes, and in which it manifests. Those on the higher planes are egos, and each ego secretes its own appropriate vehicle, called a soul. Consequently, there is an ego and a soul for each step downward: a dual vehicle for manifesting the monadic essence on every plane. Through the whole, as a golden cord, runs the Self, the innermost consciousness, the spiritual "I am". The ego-soul gives to the monad the consciousness "I am I". The Self, however, is the same in all of us. "I am I" is the quality only of the ego. Therefore the important thing is to "save" the ego. The higher egos are saved because of previous salvation gained in former Manvantaras. But the lower egos and their souls are built up out of the matter and consciousness of this Manvantara, and they must be "saved". The state of human consciousness in which we - mankind - now live in this epoch and in this Manvantara, is called in the individual the human soul, the human ego; and this human soul and this human ego must be "saved", because our self-consciousness is centered therein. We use the word "saved", because none better occurs to us: at least the word is familiar. This "saving" means that the ego-soul must be rescued from the magnetic attraction of matter.

But what happens if its education is incomplete when at the bottom of the arc, before beginning the ascent along the "Luminous Arc", and it becomes unable to run the race and fails? Suppose that the pull of matter is too strong and that its attraction is downward. Slowly, in that case, the links with the higher Self are broken, the golden chain is ruptured, and the whole effort of the monad in that Manvantara is lost. The entity cycling downward is what is called a "lost soul".

Now a "lost soul" has naught to do with the "heavens" and [140] the "hells". The state of Nirvana, again, has nothing to do with the "heavens" and the "hells". The "heavens" and the "hells" concern only the truly human entity: that is, the human ego and the human soul; only this grade of consciousness, for to it belong those consciousnesses which can partake of the conception of, and can experience, felicity or misery. Nirvana is beyond felicity; it is, of course, beyond misery; its opposite pole is Nirvana-avichi, a subject which we shall have to discuss, if we have time for it, either this evening or at our next study. Nirvana-avichi the utter contrast of Nirvana, it is the lowest point, the nether pole of conscious being.

Now when the body breaks up at physical death the astral Elements remain in the "shadow world" with the same conscious center, as in life, clinging within them, still vitalizing them; and certain processes there go on of which our Teachers have more or less fully told us; and consequently there is no need for us to take time this evening in discussing what Kama-loka is or Devachan is, particularly. But when the "second death", after that of the physical body, takes place - and there are many deaths, that is to say many changes of the vehicles of the ego - when the second death takes place, what becomes of the human center, the truly human entity? We have been told that the higher part of it withdraws into itself all that aspires towards it, and takes that "all" with it into the devachan; and that the Atman, with the Buddhi, and with the higher part of the Manas - which is the so-called human soul; or the mind - becomes thereupon the spiritual monad of man. Strictly speaking, this is the divine monad within its vehicle - Atman and Buddhi - combined with the human ego in its higher manasic element; but they are joined into one after death, and are hence spoken of as the spiritual monad.

The human monad "goes" to Devachan. Devachan is a Tibetan word and may be translated as God-land, God-country, God-region. There are many degrees in Devachan: the highest, the intermediate, and the lowest. What becomes of the entity, on the other hand, the lower human soul, that is so befouled with earth-thought and the lower instincts that it cannot rise? There may be enough in it of the spirit-nature to hold it together as an entity and enable it to become a reincarnating entity, but it is foul, it is heavy; its tendency is consequently downwards. Can it therefore rise into a heavenly felicity? Can it go even into the lower realms of Devachan and there enjoy its modicum of the beatitude, bliss, of everything that is noble and beautiful? No. There is an appropriate sphere, a sphere appropriate for every degree of development of the ego-soul, and it gravitates to that sphere and remains there until it is thoroughly purged, until the sin has been washed out, so to say. [141]

These are the so-called "hells", beneath even the lowest parts of Devachan; and the "arupa heavens" are the highest parts of the Devachan. Nirvana is a very different thing from the "heavens". Nirvana is a state of utter bliss and complete, untrammeled consciousness, a state of absorption in pure Being, and is the wondrous destiny of those who have reached superhuman knowledge and purity and spiritual illumination. It really is personal absorption into or identification with the Self - the Highest SELF. It is also the state of the monadic entities in the period that intervenes between minor Manvantaras, or Rounds, of a Planetary Chain; and more fully so between each seven-Round Period, or Day of Brahm_, and the succeeding Day or new Kalpa of a Planetary Chain. At these last times, starting forth from the seventh sphere in the Seventh Round, the monadic entities have passed far beyond even the highest state of Devachan. Too pure and too far advanced even for such a condition as the devachanic felicity, they go to their appropriate sphere and condition, which latter is the Nirvana following the end of the Seventh Round.

Now what do the Ancients say in their exoteric religions, about these so-called "heavens" and "hells"? Every such ancient religion taught that the so-called heavens are divided into steps or grades of ascending bliss and purity; and the so-called hells into steps or grades of increasing purgation or suffering. Now the Esoteric Doctrine, our Occultism, teaches that the one is not a "punishment", nor is the other, strictly speaking, a reward. The teaching is, simply, that each entity after physical death is drawn to the appropriate sphere to which the karmic destiny of the entity magnetically attracts it. As a man works, as a man sows, in his life, that and that only shall he reap after death. Good seed produces good fruit; bad seed, tares - and perhaps even nothing of value or of spiritual use follows a negative and colorless life. There is no "law" of karma; we repeat, there is no "law" of karma. There are no "laws" of nature; we repeat, there are no "laws" of nature. What is a natural "law"? Is a natural "law" a God? Is it a being? Is it an entity? Is it a Force? Is it an energy? If so, what God produces it? The word "law", however, is convenient enough provided we understand what we mean by it. Perhaps no better word, in our day, could be found for ordinary usage in writing popularly or in conversation. But do not let us make the mistake of taking abstractions for realities. In this study of the marvelous doctrines of our Occultism we shall never move a step forward towards a proper understanding of Nature, if we do make this mistake. We must wash our minds clean of occidental scientific and theological miseducation. The so-called "laws of nature" and the "law of Karma" are simply [142] the various workings of consciousnesses in Nature: truly and actually, they are Habits, habits of beings. We replace the abstractions of occidental science and theology with the action and the ineluctable results thereof of consciousnesses and wills in the spheres of being of the Hierarchies of Life. We are simply abusing our intelligence, stultifying our intellects, when we go around and around the vicious circles of materialistic theory and think we have satisfied our inquiring minds by replacing the work of endless Hosts of Beings in and of Nature with an abstraction called "law" or "laws". Think of it! Do we realize that not one single great thinker of the ancients, until the Christian era, ever talked about "laws of Nature", as if these "laws" were living beings; as if these abstractions were actual entities which did things? Did the "laws of navigation" ever navigate a ship? Does the "law of gravity" pull the planets together? Does it unite or pull the atoms together? Nonsense. This word "law" is simply an abstraction, an expression for the action of entities in Nature. The word "law", as said before, is perhaps a convenient term, and if we understand what we mean when we use it, then all right. But we must understand it. The ancients put realities, living beings, in the place of "laws", which, as we use the term, are only abstractions; they did not cheat themselves so easily with words. They called them Gods. Very good; call them, then, Gods. They called them spiritual entities. Very good, then. Call them so. Call them Dhyanis, or by any other name you please. But pin your faith, direct your intellects, to actual, living beings, to realities, not to nothingnesses, not to abstractions, which have no reality except as modes of speech.

Let us take for example the ancient Brahmanical teachings. There, we find many divisions of "heavens" and "hells"; but the common one is the division into seven lower spheres, or Lokas, or "hells", or infernal halls; and the seven superior Lokas, which we may call "heavens". The Buddhist teaching usually gives the number as 21 hells, for which the common word is Narakas; and the Buddhists also used the word Lokas for the higher spheres; but note well that in all ancient systems, these higher and lower spheres or grades were in ascending and descending steps. There was the highest, and all the others which followed, decreasing in felicity and purity by degrees, each one growing more material and less happy with each step downward, until they passed insensibly into the higher hells, and here again still further increasing in materiality downward until the end of the Hierarchy of these stages was reached.

Now among the very lowest of these hells, the Buddhists placed Avichi; this is a Sanskrit word, and its general meaning is "waveless", having no waves, or movement, suggesting the stagnation [143] of life and being in immobility; it also means "without happiness"; or "without repose"; and below that another Hierarchy begins, a new world! What endless realms for speculation open to us here!

We can here but sketch - our remaining time this evening is so short - an outline of the doctrines concerning the "heavens" and the "hells". In beginning with a general outline, we are pursuing the general plan of study as it has been authorized by the Teacher. First, we try to give the general sketch, the general view, later filling in the necessary details as we pursue our subject, although frequently alluding to another teaching connected with it, purposely doing so; and in this way we are following the ancient system or method of teaching these different subjects. In our modern Occidental institutions of learning, it is customary, perhaps a rigorous requirement, that the lecturer shall pursue to the end all details of a subject embarked upon: opening one line of investigation and not deviating from it until everything in theory and practice, or supposed to be there, is known, or thought to be known; and when that one line of study is fully exhausted, and when the intellect is completely crystallized in that form, and weary, then opening a new line of investigation. This method is positively contrary to Nature. Neither child nor adult learns life's lessons in such artificial fashion. The ancients knew better the psychology of teaching and learning. They built up, first, the general view, such as has a man on a mountaintop with the general topographical view before his vision, whence he constructs a topographical survey which he retains in his mind; and when he goes down into the valley, he is enabled easily to fill in all necessary details. This is Nature's method, if we may so speak of it; and it is what is called the Platonic method: first the general, then the particular. In logic, this is called the deductive system, as opposed to the Aristotelian or inductive method, on which modern Western teaching is based.

Now the Egyptians, as we know from their papyri, taught the existence of many spheres after death, the many planes of felicity and beatitude and the many planes of suffering or purgation, spheres which the defunct entity had to pass through before it reached one or the other of the goals of post mortem life: "heaven" or "hell". The teachers of ancient times had a way, an allegorical way, of expressing the course of life after death, and in this manner kept the intuition alive and active without touching upon forbidden matters, secrets or mysteries of the sanctuaries. Let us take in this connection, as illustration, the teaching of the Mithraic religion, which came very close, at one time, to ousting completely the Christian doctrine. The Mithraists taught the existence of seven (and nine) heavens, each one preceded and [144] followed by another one, inferior or superior, respectively; and each one was to be attained by a "ladder", which was only a graphic, a neat, way of speaking. Of course they meant only that the "ladder" was a representation of the steps, grades, or degrees, which the soul had to climb, in order to attain the goal; and the "ladder" was likewise a figure of the degrees of the hierarchy - the steps, the planes, the spheres, of which it is composed. They had also their seven degrees of initiation, based upon the rising scale existent in Nature; and two other degrees which were considered as too sacred to speak of openly; and this makes nine degrees in all.

How about the ancient Scandinavians? Take the case of their Niflheim, a word meaning "cloudy (or misty) dwelling-place", "home", or "mansion". This nebulous region was the ninth, the lowest, in their system, and itself was composed of nine minor worlds or spheres. Very careful indeed were the writers of the Eddas in the way they taught; but they give us enough to show us the same identical teachings as found elsewhere over the world. I am speaking here more particularly of the Prose Edda, which is more open in its esoteric allusions than is the poetic Edda, the Edda of verse. Now the Prose Edda tells us that on one side, the northern, of the cosmic space, were cold and gloom, and it gives to this sphere the name Nifl ("nebulous region"), which is a generalizing of the meaning of the name; Nifl had nine divisions or degrees; but more particularly Nifl was the name of the lowest of the nine; still, the Edda gave that name to the entire series of nine spheres, on the north. A middle region was the Ginnungagap, an Old Norse word which can be translated perhaps as yawning abyss, or abyss (or Gap) of abysses; this was the middle or intermediate sphere; and then came Muspellheim, to the south, a place of fire and flame and warmth, not necessarily anything like the Christian hell, for, as a matter of fact, it was nearer like a heaven than a hell; elemental or divine beings lived there, a natural thought to the cold-enduring Scandinavians. Their hell was cold; and the hells of Southrons were hot; these words being merely appropriate ways of expressing things to be easily apprehended by the people.

What did the early Christians or the medieval Christians believe as regards "heaven" and "hell"? Let us choose the descriptions of Dante, the great Italian poet, for instance; for he echoes the ancient pagan teaching remarkably in some ways; always in a distorted manner, it is true; but you can see the ancient truth under all that he wrote. How significant it is that he made Vergil, the great Latin poet, his conductor through his Infernos, or hells, and through his Purgatory; but in due deference to his Christian teachers and the Christian age in which he lived, when he came to [145] the heavens, which he describes, he has a Christian guide, his Beatrice, and of course he had to follow his Christian doctrines. Dante divides his hells into nine circles. He divides his Purgatory into seven circles, preceded by the Ante-purgatory, and followed by the Terrestrial Paradise, which make again nine. In each of these hells, and in each of these divisions of Purgatory - places of purification - he shows the lowest as the most terrible; the second above it is not quite so fearful, and the third less so than the second; and so on up through the eighteen circles or degrees of Hells and Purgatory to the topmost one of the Purgatory, which is scarcely, if at all, unpleasant. Finally, Dante divides his heavens into nine, and these are topped by the Empyrean, the dwelling-place of God and his Angels!! Thus, there are nine hells; seven divisions of Purgatory, with the Ante-purgatory and the Terrestrial Paradise - again nine; nine heavens; the Empyrean: 9 + 9 + 9 + 1 = 28, divisions of non-physical life, each one appropriated to punish certain vices or reward certain virtues after death. A curiously faithful, curiously distorted, and often grotesque, parody of the archaic doctrine. [146]

Chapter XV


Containing all things in the one summit of his own hyparxis, he himself subsists wholly beyond.

- Proclus: The Theology of Plato, 212 (Cory)

You will not understand it, as when understanding some particular thing.

- Damascius (Cory)

Things divine are not attainable by mortals who understand body,

But only as many as are lightly armed arrive at the summit.

- Proclus: Commentary on the Cratylus of Plato. (Cory)

In opening our study this evening we read first from The

Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 570, the first paragraph:

While the Christian is taught that the human soul is a breath of God - being created by him for sempiternal existence, i.e., having a beginning, but no end (and therefore never to be called eternal) - the Occult teaching says, "Nothing is created, but is only transformed. Nothing can manifest itself in this universe - from a globe down to a vague, rapid thought - that was not in the universe already; everything on the subjective plane is an eternal IS: as everything on the objective plane is an ever becoming - because transitory."

Now, in resuming our study this evening, you will remember that at our last meeting, on account of the lack of time, we were obliged to confine ourselves to a short review of the subject of the Heavens and Hells as doctrinally held by various exoteric religions; and in considering several theological or philosophical or mythological teachings about them, we had reached the viewpoint of the medieval Christian theology, as represented in the Divina Commedia of the great Italian poet, Dante; and we found in that really noble poem that Dante wrote of nine Circles comprised in his Inferno or Hell; seven belonging properly to his Purgatory, but preceded by the Ante-purgatory, and the seventh Circle of the Purgatory followed by his Terrestrial Paradise, thus forming nine Circles or Departments in that division. Then he speaks of the nine Heavens, topped finally by the Empyrean, in which last sits God surrounded by the holy Angels and the spirits of the Just. So that we find here once again, as we found in the other systems that we have mentioned, the wonderful number nine as the root-number of division. [147]

We also touched briefly upon the ancient Scandinavian beliefs in regard to this subject as found in the Younger or Prose Edda, and merely vaguely alluded to the teachings therein contained. We also spoke of the beliefs of the Greek and Latin Stoics; and we might also have pointed out that in an important so-called "Hermetic" work, supposed to have had its origin in Egypt, but which has been greatly altered by later Christian hands - the work I refer to being called The Divine Poemandres - there are seven spheres or stages of being spoken of, as also vague allusions to an eighth, while a ninth is merely hinted at also.

Now turning to ancient Greece again, we find that the great Greek poet Homer, in the Eighth Book of the Iliad, makes his Zeus speak, in addressing the gods and goddesses, of the "Golden Chain". Zeus tells the other divinities in very masterful language of his supreme power, and that if they all, the gods and goddesses of high Olympus, were to drag downward at one end of that Chain, and he were to hold the other, he Zeus himself, alone, could drag it upwards with all the gods and goddesses, all the seas and the earths, and hang that Golden Chain, with them all at the nether end, to one of the pinnacles of heaven. What is the meaning of this curious tale? The following:

This Golden Chain represents the concatenation of the living Hierarchies which we have studied before. The Golden Chain of all Being, inward and outward. In the same address to the assembly of the Divinities of Olympus, Zeus speaks as follows: "Any one of you who despises my words and will, I shall cast down into gloomy Tartarus ¼ which is as far below Hades as Earth is below Olympus". This shows us somewhat of Homer's representation of the framework of Kosmos, which was somewhat as follows: Earth, or rather the Universe, was represented as a sphere: Olympus was placed at the upper or northern side or pole; what was called "Earth" was the next part below; below Earth was Hades; and at the nether pole from Olympus was placed Tartarus. Homer, through his Zeus, tells us that as far below Olympus as Earth is, so far below Hades is Tartarus.

The Greek poet Hesiod, in his Theogony, beginning with Verse 721, also tells us that if a brazen anvil were allowed to fall from Olympus to Earth it would take nine days to fall, and would reach the Earth on the tenth; and if that same brazen anvil, in continuing its course, were to fall from Earth to Tartarus, it would again take nine days to fall, and would reach Tartarus on the tenth. So the Latin poet Vergil, Aeneid, vi, 577-9, has the same general idea.

We see therefore in Greek and Latin mystical thought the same principle of Hierarchies and scales of nines and tens that we have met with before. The theory calls for a continuous succession [148] of planes or spheres of being, ranging from higher to lower; repeated uninterruptedly throughout the range of any general hierarchical system of worlds. For instance here, beginning at Tartarus, there follows a new Sub-Hierarchy, a new sphere, a new Egg, of Being; just as the Olympus of any one such system is the nether pole of a still higher Hierarchy than itself. And so on throughout the Universe.

Now this "nine days' falling" of Hesiod's "brazen anvil", and any other similar figure, is simply the well known mythological way of speaking, rendering in an easily understood form for the general public, with their sleeping minds, the esoteric doctrines, the doctrines of Occultism, that is to say, the facts of Inner Being, as those are found in all the mystical teachings of all the ancient nations.

Now this subject of the Hells and Heavens, as was pointed out in our last study, rests upon several fundamental esoteric factors which we have been studying continuously since the Teacher inaugurated these meetings last January. As said at our last meeting, there are in very truth no "Hells" and no "Heavens", in the ordinary Christian sense, at all. But there are Spheres of Retribution, Spheres of Probation, which are particular spheres of being; and some of these hells, as described for instance in the Brahmanical and in the Buddhist religions, are actually spheres of near-pleasure, rather agreeable than otherwise; they are described as really very pleasant and interesting places! But they are still lower than the heavens, so-called.

We might consider the description of some of the so-called Heavens, on the other hand, as not so exceedingly pleasant; the idea being that just as are the conditions among men on earth, so it is among appropriate spheres of retribution or probation or purgatorial cleansing: when the compass of man's life on earth has been brought to its end, everything then moves according to strict analogy and according to strict gravitational attraction. Nothing can go to any sphere or go into any state for which it is unfit. Everything finds its exactly appropriate and similar goal, or home, or sphere.

These heavens and hells are states, of course; so is earth life a state. But if a thing is a state it is also the state of a thing; and if it is a thing, it must have place, or position, or locality, That is obvious. So, therefore, while these heavens and hells are states, they are likewise localities, places. The Ancient Wisdom speaks of them in general, refers to them in general, by the Sanskrit word meaning "The three worlds" - Tri-bhuvana, i.e., meaning three briefly generalized abodes or mansions or dwelling-places; as Jesus says in the Christian scriptures: "In my Father's house are many mansions". As the Teacher has just [149] pointed out, they are states of mind for the entities who dwell therein, and it is through these states of mind that the purgatorial cleansing of the soul-nature is accomplished.

Why does a man go to hell? Because he wants to go to hell. Why does a man go to heaven? Because he desires to go to heaven. A man goes wherever he wills to go. If during his life he has lived an evil existence, it is because the impulses and attractions of his being were such; and can such a soul, enwrapped with earthly attractions, ascend into spiritual spheres? Can the operations of spiritual beings, of the so-called higher "laws of nature", attract a man whose soul is absorbed in heavenly aspirations into one of the lower and pain-racked spheres of purgation? Never. Think of the meaning involved in this thought. We must therefore take warning therefrom, and live in accordance therewith. Let us hearken to these doctrines, sublime in their grandeur. Every word of them is pregnant with profound meanings.

Now let us go a little farther. You may remember that some months ago we pointed out that in the Ancient Wisdom, in the ancient Occultism, there was a teaching which actually had originated a modern scientific doctrine, born nevertheless in a distorted form of materialism, regarding the operations of nature, the so-called "conservation of energy", which is one of the great pillars of modern materialistic science; and also its twin dogma, the so-called "correlation of forces". Those two scientific doctrines were born of the supposition that there is nothing in existence but inert, lifeless, soulless matter, impelled by strange and unknown and perhaps undiscoverable impulses, which were called "forces", springing forth in some unknown and perhaps undiscoverable way. Science is changing its viewpoints in many directions, it is quite true, but yet some materialistic ideas still remain. Now, in our time, everything is supposed to be fundamentally force; matter itself is supposed to be force. The ideas, as you readily see, still are the same; the words alone are changing. It is, however, a step ahead, but we should not let ourselves be carried away by mere words, providing the thought behind the words is the same and as fully materialistic as ever.

But there are signs that other changes also are rapidly taking place in scientific realms. Within three weeks, the present speaker read the report of an address by an eminent English physicist, an honor and credit to his country, intuitional in some ways, who tells us what the latest discoveries are demonstrating to the scientists of the time. What is this new light? Just what we pointed out some months ago as a fundamental teaching of the ancient Occultism, that Force is simply Matter in an ethereal state; or, to put it in another and a truer way, Matter is simply [150] crystallized Force, so to say, Force and Matter being in essence one. This scientist further tells us that modern thinkers are now beginning to believe that Matter is not eternal. Of course, we also believe that, provided that by "Matter" we mean merely physical matter, the basic maya - or "illusion" - of physical being. But if we mean by "Matter" the substratum, the essential substance of being, we differ instantly, for indeed That is eternal. IT is Mula-prakriti, root-substance, the Garment of Para-brahman.

Now again, what do we mean when we speak of Para-brahman and Mula-prakriti, Essential Consciousness, and Essential Nature - or Essential Substance or "Matter"? We mean this: that Para-brahman-Mula-prakriti can be for any human intellect merely the absolute state of the Hierarchy, the highest portion, its Flower, its Principle, its Root, its Seed - That from which the rest evolves, or goes out and becomes the manifested universe we live in and know and are a part of. As Paul says in the Christian Gospels, "In him [that is, in It - the Greek allows this translation] we live and move and have our being", i.e., we are It, in other words; that is, in the sense of being essentially a part of the Flower of our Hierarchy, the highest to us, for IT is the Root of Consciousness of and in our Kosmical Universe or Universal Kosmos, which latter is all that is comprehended within the zone of the Milky Way, that is, the Universal Kosmos that we know of. The Summit of it, is this Root from which all these numberless inferior worlds or universes inside it have come forth, have evolved forth; its children the solar systems, the suns, the stars, the planets: all the living beings, all the atoms, all the worlds or universes; in short, the Kosmos; all come forth from IT. It is the Summit, the Flower, the Acme, as also the Seed; it is the Absolute Paramatman, Supreme Self, which you will remember we have studied before, as we have more or less all the teachings that we are now passing briefly in review, because this is, as the Teacher has told us this evening, the last of our present studies until her return from Europe.

Now what do we mean by the word "Absolute"? Do we mean "God"? If you like that word. If you really wish to call it "God". But do you know anything about "God"? Don't we see that the instant in which we stultify our intellects, cripple our intuition, limit the soaring of our interior faculties by speaking of bounds, whether inferred in thought or word, then we reach ends and halt? Now, remember always in this connection, that beyond and beyond and beyond the Kosmical Universe, beyond our ken, beyond our imagination, there is always endless life, endless being, for there is no end anywhere; and this thought is what was meant in the ancient Occultism when its teachers [151] spoke of that "circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere", the "Boundless", the "Without Bounds". This Latin word "Absolute", misused as it is in modern philosophy and even among our own selves, is the exact translation of the Sanskrit Mukti, or Moksha, which I will allude to in a moment. "Absolute" is the modern English form of the past participle passive of the Latin word absolvere, meaning "to loosen", "to set free", "to release", and hence "perfected". Not utter, limitless perfection like the immortal gods in some religions were supposed to have, which is always impossible. But the relative perfection, the Summit, the Acme, the Flower, the Root, the Seed, of any Hierarchy; and particularly for us of that Hierarchy which is for us the highest - our Kosmical Universe, of which we have spoken.

Now the Sanskrit words Mukti or Moksha: the former comes from the Sanskrit root much, meaning "to release", "to set free", as said. Moksha from the Sanskrit Moksh, with an almost identical meaning, and probably a derivative of the same root much. The meaning is that when a spirit, a monad, or a spiritual radical, has so grown in manifestation that it has first become a man, and is set free interiorly, inwardly, and from a man has become a Planetary Spirit or Dhyani-Chohan, or Lord of Meditation, and has gone still higher, to become interiorly a Brahman, and from a Brahman the Para-brahman for its Hierarchy, then it is absolutely perfected, free, released: perfected for that great period of time which to us seems almost an eternity, so long is it, virtually incomputable by the human intellect. Now this is the "Absolute"; limited in comparison with things still more immense, still more sublime; but so far as we can think of it, "released" or "freed" from the chains or bonds of material existence.

When the great period of the Universal Kosmic Pralaya occurs, and the universe is indrawn (following the Oriental metaphor) into the bosom of Para-brahman, what then happens? The spiritual entities then enter into their Para-nirvana, which means exactly for them what is meant for us when we speak of the death of the human being. They are drawn by their spiritual gravitational attractions into still higher Hierarchies of being, into still higher spiritual realms, therein still higher rising and growing and learning and living; while the lower Elements of the Kosmos, the body of the universe (even as does our physical body when the change called death comes - Death, the "Twin Sister of Life", to follow our Teacher's beautiful metaphor, her beautiful trope of speech), follow their own particular gravitational attractions: the physical body to dust; the vital breath to the vital breath of the Kosmos; dust to dust, breath to [152] breath: so with the other Kosmic principles, as with man's principles at his decease: the kama of our nature to the universal reservoir of the kamic organism; our manas into its Dhyani-Chohanic rest; our monads into their own higher life. Then when the clock of eternity points once again for the Kosmos to the hour of "coming forth into light" - which is "death" for the spiritual being, as death for us is life for the inner man - when the Manvantara of material life comes around again (the period of spiritual death for the Kosmos is the material life of manifestation) then in the distant abysms of space and time the Kosmic Life Centers are aroused into activity once more: first the stage of the nebular fiery cloud; then the whirling nebula; then the spiral nebula; then the ringed nebula; then the Sun and the planets, and finally the human and other beings that grow on the last; each one of these planets having its seven Rounds to fulfill in the forthcoming Planetary Periods, time after time, during endless life. Endless hope and experience lie in this marvelous scheme; but always at every step on the Path there is a dividing of the ways for those Entities which have attained moral responsibility, an up and a down, for the "moment of choice" is really continuous.

At the present period (for our great Maha-manvantara we have lived somewhat more than half of the maha-manvantaric cycle) we are, for the Maha-manvantara of our Kosmical Solar System, at the point where matter has already reached its ultimate degree of development in our Hierarchy. We have lived, according to the ancient numerical teaching, one hundred and fifty-five trillion, five hundred and twenty odd billion solar years. One-half of our Maha-manvantara is gone; and there still remain nearly one hundred and fifty-five trillion, five hundred and twenty billion solar years. More accurately, we have slowly passed the actual lowest point of the great Universal Kosmical Cycle. That lowest point, where matter reached its greatest degree of physical manifestation for us, for our great Wave of Life,was when the Moon had reached the middle point of its Fourth Round, which was ages and aeons before it became our physical satellite. The ancient teachings are that as the great Para-brahman of our hierarchical System has one hundred (Divine) Years of life to live, each year having three hundred and sixty Days, and each Year being divided into twelve months, and as Fifty Divine Years have passed, therefore on this planet Terra, on this Earth, we have attained to or reached the first (Divine) Day of the first Divine Month of the ascending cycle of the second Period of Fifty Divine Years. We have, then, come down the cycles for the last one hundred fifty-five trillion, five hundred twenty odd billion years, cycling down, in and through our Hierarchy, to the [153] lowest point of it in the Moon; and have, since that point was reached ages agone, slowly and painfully begun our climb upwards again towards the Ineffable, the Summit of our hierarchical System, our "Absolute". Please remember very carefully that we use this word "Absolute" only in the sense and meaning herein before explained.

How did the "Absolute" become the "Absolute"? By chance? There is no "chance". There is nothing but endless life and endless consciousness and endless duration, working according to the Principles and Elements of inherent nature, which is called Swabhava in our Sanskrit works. The root meaning of this word Swabhava is "self-generation", "self-becoming". We generate ourselves throughout all times: give ourselves our own bodies; climb our own ladders, step by step; seek our own hells and find our own heavens. And, the whole purpose, the whole effort, of universal evolution, according to the teaching of this Ancient Wisdom, is this: raising personality into Individuality; substance into divinity; matter into spirit; grossness into purity.

Whence then came the "Absolute", the "supreme self", or "spirit" or Paramatman, of which we are sparks? By growth from within outwards; and from without inwards. It was once in incalculable aeons gone by, a Man. Think of the sublimity involved in this teaching; consider the almost endless aeons of the past; and that what in its far, far-away origin was a spark of divinity, a spark of another and former "Absolute", is now our "God", our Paramatman, our "Supreme Self", of which we are verily the children, and "in which we move and live and have our being". What is the main lesson that we may draw from this? What was the psychological mystery hinted at by us in our last meeting, and to which allusion was then but slightly made, because the Teacher had to close our evening's study before we had ended our theme? It is this - and we touch but lightly upon it here, because it belongs to a higher degree than this present one. Our human souls are gods in embryo; our human souls were formerly animal souls; our present animal souls will in a future Manvantara become human souls. Our human souls in a future Manvantara will become Monads. Man, if he make the manvantaric race successfully, is destined to be the composite Logos of a forthcoming Hierarchy; as he now in fact is, in the inferior Hierarchy of himself, the Logos of the quasi-infinitude of less beings composing his personal nature. Reflect long over this mystery, wonderful, sublime!

Are these teachings not thought-compelling and wonderful? No wonder we have held them secret and sacred in the Ancient Wisdom. Why? For many reasons. First, because they [154] could not be understood without the necessary spiritual and intellectual training; and yet it is remarkable, it is truly astonishing, how often and how, in so many ways, we see allusions to them in the ancient exoteric teachings of the various religions. Remember that "exoteric", in the ancient religions, does not mean "false". The word merely means those teachings for which the key has not been openly given.

I have noticed and read in some of the translations from the Welsh made for us by our own Theosophical Welsh scholar, Professor Kenneth Morris, teachings that I believe to be taken from the ancient Welsh books, which have caused me to gasp in amazement, that these teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, so sacred and occult, should have been so boldly put forth by the ancient bards in open language. But I looked again, and I saw how a Master hand had worked, disguising and hiding while openly teaching. The arrangement, the very beauty, of the imagery used, misled the too inquiring and the too clever mind. But for him who has the key, as we students have, it is easy to follow. Likewise have I found the same method not only in the wonderful Celtic teachings, but also in the teachings of ancient Egypt, and of other countries.

The Teacher has told me that at a former meeting I touched too slightly upon the "much vexed question", as some people call it, of good and evil. That is a subject which properly comes at the close of the studies concerning "Purgatory", "Hells and Heavens", which end this evening, and which we shall now briefly treat of. Christian thinkers have found it impossible to solve this problem satisfactorily to any thinking and reflective mind. But though it is to them and others a "much vexed question", to a student of the Ancient Wisdom it is really very simple. How can a Christian who believes that his God, that his Creator of all that is, One who therefore must be likewise the creator of evil - how can he reconcile this necessary conclusion with his other teachings concerning his Deity, for instance that God is all good, and from Him proceeds necessarily therefore nothing but good? Is evil then the work of the Devil? What child would not then ask, Whence then the Devil and the evil proceeding from him? From God? But is God not all good? Hence the inevitable deduction that God is either not all-good or not all-powerful. Evil would not be, could not be, by their theory, unless a fruit of God's wisdom, because if the case were otherwise, it would exist without the divine permission, i.e., contrary to God's will, which ex hypothesi is impossible, since God is all-powerful. The logical difficulty under their theory is complete and unanswerable by it.

Now what then really is the origin of what is called "good" [155] and "evil"? The explanation lies in the teaching we have spoken of more clearly this evening than previously. Good and evil arise out of the conflicting action of the multi-myriad wills in manifestation. Good is relative; there is no absolute good. Evil is relative; there is no absolute evil. If good were absolute, its opposite, its shadow, or nether pole evil, must also be absolute. Both, however, are relative things. They offset and balance in Nature the one the other, like all other "pairs of opposites", such as heat and cold, high and low, day and night, north and south, etc. They arise, as just said, out of the conflict of wills, conscious and unconscious. All the innumerable, multitudinous beings in manifestation, are, each one of them, more or less "selfish", more or less seeking its own, hungering and thirsting for sensation of various kinds. Even spiritual evil exists; and there are high agents of "spiritual wickedness", of which the Christian Apostle Paul has spoken, forming the opposite agencies to the high agents of good. The latter ones, agents of spiritual wickedness, are called by us the "Brothers of the Shadow", and the others are called by us the "Brothers of the Light". The Brothers of the Shadow work in and with matter, for material and selfish purposes. The Brothers of the Light work in and with Nature for spirit, for impersonal purposes. They contrast one with another.

These two bodies represent two fundamental Paths in Nature, the one the Right-Hand Path, the other the Left, and are so-called in the Ancient Occultism. The Sanskrit name for one, the "Left-Hand Path", is Pratyeka-Yana. Yana means "Path" or "Road", and also "Vehicle"; and we can translate Pratyeka in this connection by the paraphrase "every one for himself". Our first Teacher, H.P. Blavatsky, as you will well remember, has spoken of the Pratyeka-buddhas, high and in one sense holy beings indeed, but craving spiritual wisdom, spiritual enlightenment, for themselves alone, selfishly, in indifference to the sorrow and pain of the world, yet so pure withal that they are actually Buddhas of a kind.

The other body follow the Path which in Sanskrit is called Amrita-Yana, the Immortal Vehicle or Path of Immortality.

The one, the former, is the path of the personality; the other, the latter, is the path of the individuality; the one is the path of matter; the other is the path of spirit; the one leads downward, the other Path loses itself in the ineffable glories of conscious immortality in "eternity".

Now these are the two bodies of entities representing the two sides of Nature, and the conflicts or oppositions of these two sides of Nature, together with the battles of will with will, of the hosts of beings in manifested existence, produce the so-called evil [156] in the world, arising out of the selfish activities of the inferior or less developed or evolved entities. Selfishness, therefore, is the root of all evil. The old teaching is true, and that is all there is to it. On the highest planes of being, there is neither good nor evil; there is neither life in our sense, nor death; there is neither beginning nor end of personal action of any kind. But there is what is called in the wonderful ancient Brahmanical teachings, Sat, Chit, Ananda; Sat meaning "pure being"; Chit, "pure thought"; Ananda, "bliss"; and this is the state of what one may call the "Absolute".

In closing our study this evening, let us remember that the Kosmic work of the Monad, the spiritual radical, is so important that we refer to it again here. It itself can evolve only by raising inferior souls and psychological vehicles into self-conscious entities, which thus in turn themselves become Monads. THIS IS THE GENERALIZED AND ENTIRE PLAN OF EVOLUTION ON ALL PLANES. This is our Great Work. This is our high destiny. Our Supreme Self, our Paramatman, our Supreme Monad, our Highest Self, the Summit of our Hierarchy, is doing that work consciously; we as self-conscious humans are doing it in our smaller way; and this is the whole plan of manifested being, the generalized outline of kosmic evolution, as said just now. No man can live unto himself alone; no man can rise to spirit alone. It is of the very essence of Nature, that he must, willy nilly, carry with him, up or down, innumerable other entities and inferior selves, along the upward or the downward path.

Now a few words more on a very important subject. The Ancient Wisdom tells us that there are seven doctrinal Keys to Wisdom and future Initiations. With the Teacher's instruction and permission, during the studies which we began last January, of those seven Keys we have briefly alluded to five. What are they? These seven keys, the ancients called the Sapta-Ratnani, the "Seven Jewels" or "Gems", or "Treasures", and they are as follows. First, that operation of Nature - using Nature in the sense of the absolute, total aggregation of all that is: inside and outside, backwards and forwards, up and down, right and left, everything, everywhere - that is, that operation of Nature which in Man manifests as Reembodiment, or Reincarnation, and which can be briefly expressed as the change of his vehicle or body when his inner state or condition changes; for by the operations of Nature he is finally called to gravitate towards, or must go to, another state or condition and place. This is called death, but it is another form of life. There is the first Key. Apply it to our teachings in its many and various reaches.

The second Key is the doctrine of Action and Reaction, called Karma. These first two Keys we have but briefly touched upon [157] in these preparatory studies. In future studies we shall find it necessary to go into them more in detail.

The third Key is the doctrine of interpenetrating Beings or Existences, otherwise called the doctrine of Hierarchies, which are also inseparable and universally interpenetrating Planes or Spheres. EVERYTHING EXISTS IN EVERYTHING ELSE. There are, in strict truth, no absolute divisions, anywhere, neither high nor low, neither within nor without, neither right nor wrong, nor up nor down. Fundamentally, there is naught but an eternal IS and an eternal NOW. As the ancient Stoics said so finely, Everything interpenetrates everything else. The very atmosphere we breathe, for instance, is vibrant and living with the multitudinous Lives; they are in the air we breathe; the monadic essences or lives are in the air we breathe, in our bones, in our blood, in our flesh, in everything. Think of it, then; let your thought go free, release yourself inwardly. Let your imagination carry you into the wonders that these Keys open up to our minds. Conscientious study of the Ancient Wisdom and a pure and unselfish life will be your unfailing guides.

The fourth Key is the doctrine of Swabhava, the doctrine of the essential characteristic of any entity, of any spiritual radical; the doctrine also of self-generation or self-becoming, in manifestation, thus affirming one's responsibility in and for oneself. This is the most abstruse, the most mystic, of the four Keys, hitherto mentioned, for actually it is the Key to the other three Keys!

The fifth is the key to self-conscious Being and Existence, a subject to which we have alluded this evening and also in our last study; for the entire aim, method, and operation of Universal Being is the raising of the inferior to the Superior; and this Great Work cannot ever be achieved by following the "Path for Oneself", the Pratyeka-Yana, but by following the Amrita-Yana, the Immortal Vehicle, or the Path of self-consciousness in Immortality. Make your thought free, I repeat; let it go out released!

As regards the other two Keys, I ought to say, perhaps, that they belong to high degrees of Initiation. I know but very little of the seventh. The Teacher has told me almost nothing; and my studies have taught me very little about it, so closely is it hid. I know this, however, that understanding and use of this seventh Key can be reached by very few men on this earth. As regards the sixth Key, we are taught that it can be reached by great effort in the higher degrees of Initiation, the lower degrees of which we all have the opportunity of undergoing in the Teacher's presence.

This evening closes the last of our preparatory studies. We shall go to higher themes in the future. [158]

Chapter XVI


Thus, therefore, the doctrine of the Egyptians concerning principles, proceeding from on high as far as to the last of things, begins from one principle and descends to a multitude which is governed by this one; and everywhere an indefinite nature is under the dominion of a certain definite measure, and of the supreme unical cause of all things.

- Iamblichus, on The Mysteries, Section viii, 3 (Thomas Taylor)

¼ But at the close of the minor cycle, after the completion of all the seven Rounds, there awaits us no other mercy but the cup of good deeds, of merit, outweighing that of evil deeds and demerit in the scales of Retributive Justice. Bad, irretrievably bad must be that Ego that yields no mite from its fifth Principle, and has to be annihilated, to disappear in the Eighth Sphere. A mite, as I say, collected from the Personal Ego suffices to save him from the dreary Fate. Not so after the completion of the great cycle: ether a long Nirvana of Bliss (unconscious though it be in the, and according to, your crude conceptions); after which - life as a Dhyani-Chohan for a whole Manvantara, or else "Avichi-nirvana" and a Manvantara of misery and horror as a - you must not hear the word, nor I pronounce or write it. But "those" have nought to do with the mortals who pass through the seven spheres. The collective Karma of a future Planetary is as lovely as the collective Karma of a -- is terrible. Enough. I have said too much already.

- Mahatma Letters, 171

We open our evening studies, taking them up tonight at the point where we left them last summer, by reading extracts from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, pages 206-8.

There are four grades of initiation mentioned in exoteric works ¼ Three further higher grades have to be conquered by the Arhans who would reach the apex of the ladder of Arhatship ¼ The Arhats of the "fire-mist" of the seventh rung are but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy - the highest on Earth, and our Terrestrial chain. This "Root-Base" has a name which can only be translated by several compound words into English - "the Ever-living Human Banyan." This "Wondrous Being" descended from a "high region," they say, in the early part of the Third Age, before the separation of the sexes of the Third Race.

¼ It was not a Race, this progeny. It was at first a wondrous Being, called the "Initiator," and after him a group of semi-divine and semi-human beings. "Set apart" in Archaic genesis for certain purposes, they are those in whom are said to have incarnated the highest Dhyanis ¼ to form the nursery for future human adepts, on this earth and during the present cycle. These "Sons of Will and [159] Yoga" born, so to speak, in an immaculate way, remained, it is explained, entirely apart from the rest of mankind.

The "BEING" just referred to, which has to remain nameless, is the Tree from which, in subsequent ages, all the great historically known Sages and Hierophants ¼ have branched off. As objective man, he is the mysterious (to the profane - the ever invisible) yet ever-present Personage about whom legends are rife in the East, especially among the Occultists and the students of the Sacred Science. It is he who changes form, yet remains ever the same. And it is he again who holds spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts throughout the whole world. He is, as said, the "Nameless One" who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the "Initiator", called the "GREAT SACRIFICE". For, sitting at the threshold of LIGHT, he looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he will not cross; nor will he quit his post till the last day of this lifecycle. Why does the solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the fountain of primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, as he has naught to learn which he does not know - aye, neither on this Earth, nor in its heaven? Because the lonely, sore-footed pilgrims on their way back to their home are never sure to the last moment of not losing their way in this limitless desert of illusion and matter called Earth Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, though but a few Elect may profit by the GREAT SACRIFICE.

We have here read one of the most sublime passages in this wonderful book; and the beautiful words that we have heard read from our Teacher's manuscript, lead up to them in a manner which is appropriate and which opens the way for what we have to say this evening.

It is hoped to comment upon and illustrate, if possible, the matters spoken of in what we have just read from The Secret Doctrine. We cannot do this altogether directly; the subject is too profound and no sufficient preparatory study has been made; but we can do so indirectly to some extent. It is necessary to do so to some degree because this sublime subject is the seventh of the seven Jewels (counting upwards) which, you will remember, we spoke of in one of our late meetings. You will remember that these seven Jewels or Gems or Treasures were given as follows, counting from below upwards: The first or lowest is Rebirth, or rather Reembodiment, better still, perhaps, Regeneration. In Sanskrit it is called Punarjanman; and in Greek it is called Palingenesis; both words representing practically the same thought: the first element in each word meaning "again" or "anew", and the second element in each meaning "generation" or "birth" - "coming into being". [160]

The second Jewel, counting upwards, is the doctrine or fact in Nature called Karma, the doctrine of "Results". The third Jewel, counting again upwards, is the doctrine of "Hierarchies", of which the Sanskrit term is Lokas. The fourth, again upwards, is the doctrine of "Swabhava", which we have studied somewhat, as you will remember, in former meetings, this Sanskrit word having two general philosophical meanings: first, self-begetting, self-generation, self-becoming, the general idea being that there is no merely mechanical or soulless activity of Nature in bringing us into being for we brought ourselves forth, in and through and by Nature, of which we are a part of the conscious forces, and are our own children.

The second meaning is that each and every entity that exists is the result of what he actually is in his own higher nature; he brings forth that which he is in himself interiorly, nothing else. A particular Race, for instance, remains and is that Race as long as the particular Race-swabhava remains in the racial Seed and manifests thus; and so forth. Likewise is the case the same with a man, a tree, a star, a god - what not!

The fifth Jewel, counting still upwards, is the doctrine of "Evolution", which we have already very briefly studied in the Theosophical sense. This esoteric teaching is not the doctrine of transformism, which is, properly speaking, the correct name for the materialistic doctrine of Darwin, and of the Frenchman Lamarck from whom, doubtless, he drew the idea; but the theosophical idea of unfolding, or unwrapping; a doctrine - with its corollary, "Involution" - expressed by two words, these Sanskrit words being first, Pravritti, meaning the unfolding-forth of the spirit-entity into matter, or of matter-lives into spirit-entities, as the case may be; and the other word is Nivritti, meaning the infolding of spirit-entities into matter, or of matter-lives into spirit-entities, as the case may be.

Now the sixth and the seventh Treasures, or Jewels, were touched upon very slightly at one of our recent meetings. We venture now to add a few more ideas to what was said before. The sixth Jewel is the doctrine expressed here also by two compound words of contrasted sense: first Amrita-Yana, a Sanskrit word meaning "Immortality-vehicle", "carriage" or "bearer", or rather "Path", of Immortality, and referring to the individual man; and the other word is Pratyeka-Yana, a Sanskrit word meaning (in paraphrase) the "Path of each one for himself". It is impossible to translate this latter compound word into English by a single word. Both the idea and the vocable do not exist in English. It may perhaps be approached by the Theosophic idea latent in the word personality; and the mysterious relation of Individuality to personality is included in these two compound [161] "catchwords" or technical terms; and therefrom hangs an entire doctrine or department of thought of the wonderful philosophy of Occultism, the Esoteric Doctrine. With it - as also with the seventh Jewel - are connected closely the doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom relating to the Monads of the various classes: Whence they came, How they came, yes, and Why they came.

We are touching upon all these profound subjects very lightly at present, because they will all recur again and again in future studies, and will in due course be more fully illustrated and explained more clearly - as far as we may go in this Group.

Now, the last or the seventh Jewel, counting upwards, is called Atma-Vidya, literally meaning the "Knowledge of the Self"; this compound is only a catchword as are the others; but it embodies and hides a doctrine which is truly sublime. You will remember that the present speaker, in connection with this seventh Jewel, stated that he knew little, or almost nothing, of it. This phrase was badly chosen, and perhaps produced a misleading impression. It was not the intention, if so, to give that impression. It is well understood that any earnest and devoted student of this Esoteric School can understand at least appropriate parts of this mysterious doctrine - something at least - the degree of his apprehension thereof depending upon his inner state of enlightenment, his fidelity to his Teachers, his loyalty to the principles of the Esoteric School, and his ability in understanding and penetrating somewhat into the depth of the teachings of this School.

But while this is the case with the students, each one according to his capacity, others higher than we are can understand more of it; naturally, the Teachers understand more of it than we do. Probably, however, there are not ten men today on earth who can understand this doctrine in its fullness. It is a Wonder Teaching that even our Masters have probably not solved utterly. The Masters of the Masters know more of it than the latter do, i.e., the Chohans, as they are called - "Chohans", a Tibetan word meaning "Lord", used in the sense of Preceptor, or Teacher. But the main and essential meaning of this wondrous doctrine, running all through it, is this, which is its keynote: HOW THE ONE BECOMES THE MANY: and this is the most difficult problem that the human spirit has ever attempted to solve!

Take as an analogy, for instance, the Monad. To speak of the Monad as "descending" into matter, is to speak wrongly, though constantly this phrase is used, because it is a convenient method of expression; and if this fact is understood, it is probably permissible as a phrase. But actually, when we come to study the facts, very soon we see and we know that the Monad does not "descend" into matter. Similarly, the One, though it is appropriate [162] and convenient to speak of it as "becoming the Many", never becomes many, remains eternally itself, the Summit of the Hierarchy, its Root-Base, which is this Wondrous Being, the Supreme Initiator, on whatever plane it may be placed. Yet the Many flow forth from It; and It is their Supreme Self, their Paramatman.

This, then, is the general theme of our discourse this evening; but because we have no time now to make a complete resume of our studies during the course of last Spring and Winter, the Teacher has permitted me this evening to go over very shortly a few doctrines which were touched upon in former studies, for the sake of brushing up our recollection of them. The first one that we turn back to, then, is the doctrine of Swabhava, as contrasted in meaning with the ideas involved in the kin-expression, Swabhavat. This difference in meaning, which is very great, is not generally understood, and the two words often have been sadly confused by students. They are very different in meaning, though both come from the same Sanskrit root Bhu: Swabhava; Swabhavat. Let me tell you here that the Sanskrit sound represented in English as "a", is pronounced like the "u" in but or tub; but when the "a" is written as "_", with the macron accent, it is pronounced ah, as in father. This difference of pronunciation is very important.

Now Swabhava means what has before been explained, this evening and also at former meetings. As just said, these two words are both nouns derived from the same Sanskrit word Bhu, meaning "to become" - not "to be" in the passive sense so much, but "to become", to "grow into" something. The quasi-pronominal prefix Swa, means "self"; hence the noun means "self-becoming", "self-generation", "self-growing" into something. Yet the essential or fundamental or integral Self, as said before, does not do so. Like the monads, like the One, the Self Fundamental sends down a Ray from itself, as the Sun sends a ray from itself into the darkness of matter; and it is this spiritual Ray which "descends" into matter; self-generating or self-becoming a self-conscious entity in its turn; the solar light, the Sun itself, remaining ever in its own integrity or ens, never descending, never commingling integrally as an entity, with the multitudinous hosts of matter-lives, its own children!

Now, Swabhavat is called by H.P. Blavatsky, "Father-Mother". It is a state or condition of Kosmic consciousness-substance, where spirit and matter, which you know are fundamentally one, no longer are dual as in manifestation, but one: that which is neither manifested matter, nor manifested spirit, alone, but both are the primeval Unity; spiritual Akasa; where matter merges into spirit, and both now being really one, are called [163] "Father-Mother", the spiritualization, so to say, of spirit-substance. See how we have to hunt for adequately expressive words in our wretchedly imperfect European languages! The Sanskrit word expresses the idea, if you understand it, instantly.

These two nouns, then, as you see, are from the same root, and the two words are closely connected in origin, but they are not the same in meaning at all Swabhava is the self-generation of anything, of any entity, of any monad. Swabhavat is the Father-Mother, the kalpic akasic Spirit-Substance, never descending from its own state or condition, or from its own plane, but the quasi-infinite reservoir of being, of consciousness, of light, of life, and the source of what science, in our day, so ridiculously calls the "Forces" of Nature Universal.

These deeply mystical and very profound themes we shall have to go into more fully in the future; but for the present it will suffice to remember that Swabhavat is Kosmical Spirit-Substance, the Reservoir of Being and of Beings. The northern Buddhists call it Swabhavat, more mystically Adi-buddhi - "Primeval Buddhi"; the Brahmanical scriptures call it "Akasa"; and the Hebrew Old Testament refers to it as the Kosmic "Waters".

Now the next subject which needed a little illustration, was the very solemn question of "lost souls", as contrasted with "soulless" beings. It may be well to say that these three or four subjects are briefly again touched upon this evening because it has come to attention that these matters have been mistaken by some of our hearers. There is an immense difference between "lost souls" and "soulless" beings. A "lost soul" is one in whom the "golden thread" uniting the lower thinking entity with its Higher Self is completely ruptured, broken off from its higher essence or root, its true Self. The case here is hopeless, virtually; there can be no more union for that lower self, which, at the moment of final rupture, commences sinking immediately into the "Eighth Sphere", the so-called "Planet of Death". A "soulless" being, a "soulless" man, is one in whom the thread has been worn, so to speak, very thin; or, rather, where the spiritual and impersonal aspirations in this life and in other lives have been so few, the attempts to unite with the higher part of the self have been so weak, that slowly the spiritual ray has been withdrawing itself from the lower part; but it is not yet ruptured completely. It still remains; and even one single holy and impersonal aspiration may cause reunion. It is not a "lost soul"; but so far as the human entity is practically concerned, it is properly called a "soulless" being, for the entity lives almost wholly in his lower principles. "Soulless" beings furnish those cases which are popularly spoken of among men as [164] "men and women without conscience". They seem to have no moral sense, although their mental and psychical faculties may still be strong and keen.

These are the worst cases of "soulless" human beings. Other cases are those of men and women who merely do not seem to care for anything that is good and beautiful and true, noble and high and lofty; their desires are of the earth, earthly; their passions are strong and their intuitions are weak. These cases are very common indeed; so much so that our first great Teacher, H.P. Blavatsky, says in her Isis Unveiled that we "shoulder soulless men" every day of our lives. Look into the faces of the men and the women whom you see on the streets. Remember that our present Teacher has been telling us for years about the men and women whom she sees or has met and talked with in her functions as Teacher and philanthropist. Go to town; go anywhere; go into the streets of a great city. Look even into the eyes of those of your own fireside, perhaps; I do not allude, necessarily, to any one here; but I am speaking generally. The situation actually is a terrible one. There is a full possibility that a weak-soured human being, perhaps beginning merely in giving way to the lusts of the will, and to the passions of the mind, and to the instincts of the lower nature, may, little by little, but inevitably and surely, starve out, or wear away by attrition, all the attachments of the higher Ray which bind it into the lower nature, and which, if they were fully strong and active, would make the man (or woman) a walking god among us; verily, a god in the flesh. Instead of this, in the worst cases of the "soulless" being, you would have before you little more than a human shell (alive, but spiritually almost dead) in the man or the woman, as the case may be. A "soulless" being was once an ensouled man or woman; who, before the former state, had the same chance successfully to run the race that we all have. This is indeed a solemn verity, and one which our first Teacher has told us should be taught and reiterated in our teaching, because it is truly helpful as a warning. Not one of us is absolutely safe at this midway stage of our evolutionary journey; for not one of us knows what he is capable of, either for good or ill. I have listened to our Teacher speaking, hinting at these truths, and I have read her words in print and in manuscript, and I have wondered sometimes how many have caught the thought - her warning.

There is the truth; and it is no trifling matter. Is there any reason for wonder that all our teachers have told us repeatedly that every teaching that is given in our School is founded upon what men commonly call "ethical principles of conduct", and must be studied in that light? It is the only thing that, put into [165] sincere practice, will save us surely; for these principles come first and in the middle and at the end of our studies.

Now, in future studies we shall have to trace to the end the destiny of these two classes of beings; but it may be well to say a few words now of the fate of the "lost soul". There are two general classes of these: the lower, but not the worse; and the higher, the worse. In order to make the meaning of this very difficult subject more clear, I shall have to go into a new but collateral thought, which is the key. MAN IS A COMPOSITE BEING. On this fact of human nature reposes a most wonderful truth which is at the foundation of the marvelous psychological doctrines of the Lord Gautama Buddha. It is as follows, a corollary of the immediately preceding statement. There is no abiding principle whatsoever in "man". Fix this like steel into the core of your minds. It will save you from myriad dangers if rightly understood. "Man" is not his higher nature; "man" is that which is called the "human nature". Do you realize how greatly men and women live in what the Hebrews call the Nefesh, i.e., live in their astral souls? We do so realize it, as students of this School, probably every one of us. To a certain extent such unison with our lower principles is necessary; but to follow the beautiful old simile of the ancient philosophers, the astral soul should be our vehicle, our "bearer"; so to say it should be made a "horse" to carry us on our journey; or, to change the figure, a chariot in which we should ride; a "horse" which we must drive. We, the inner Self, should govern and drive our astral steed; but should never allow it to control us.

In order to make this more clear, examine the diagram on page 182. You will notice that man's seven Principles and Elements are divided into three separate parts: a lowest triad, purely mortal and perishable; an intermediate duad, psychical, composite, and mostly mortal: Kama-manas, the "man" proper, or "human nature"; and a Higher Duad, Atma-Buddhi; immortal, imperishable; the Monad. At the death of the human being, this Higher Duad carries away with it all the spiritual essence, the aroma, of the lower or intermediate duad; and then the Higher Duad is the Higher Self, the Reincarnating Individuality, or Egoic Monad. Man's ordinary consciousness in life at this stage of evolution is almost wholly in the lower or intermediate duad; when he raises his consciousness to become one with the Higher Duad, he becomes a Mahatma, a Master.

Now this lower part of the nature is composite. There is nothing permanent per se in it whatever; as an entity, nothing abides. It is ordinary "man" as he is today, and in him there is no abiding self-principle whatsoever. If you fasten your thoughts and your affections to the things of the lower nature, [166] you will de facto, of necessity, follow it, and become it, as outlined and shown in and by the doctrine of Swabhava. As a man thinks, so is is he! Now the Hebrew words in this old saying, which is taken from Proverbs, Chapter 23, verse 7, are translated: "As he thinketh in his heart (Nefesh), so is he", but the Hebrew word nefesh used here really means "As he thinks in his lower nature, that he is (becomes)". A Sanskrit commentator, Yaska (Nirukta, X, 17), in his glossary on a certain Vedic text, has the following remark, exactly to the point on the same subject: Yad yad

rupam kamayate devata, tat tad devata bhavati, that is: Whatever body (or form, or shape) a divine being (divinity) longs for (that is, wants, desires, i.e., gives himself up to), that very thing the divine being becomes. Here is the secret of the whole thing. We are what we make ourselves, our own children. Nothing but that. And, if our thoughts are upwards, we come finally into the companionship of the divinities; and, before reaching them, come into the companionship of the Holy Teachers, because we make ourselves such, we become like them; and they, in turn, answer the call.

But if, on the contrary, our thoughts are running downwards, [167] and we wear away the "silver thread" or the "golden thread" which binds us to our Higher Nature, we then naturally gravitate or go downwards: down, down, down; until at last the final rupture of the Golden Chain or Thread comes, and the soul becomes the "lost soul", a lost astral soul; and its destiny is as follows There are two classes of this kind of soul, as remarked before. The first class is the lower but not the worse; the first class, then, consists of those human beings on this planet (or on any other planet which possesses a humanity similar to ours) who through native weaknesses of soul and from lack of spiritual attraction upwards, go to pieces after a certain interval of time, long or short as the case may be: the lower part of the nature being composite and impermanent and non-enduring, following "natural laws" finally simply breaks up and vanishes much as the human body dies and decays. That is the end of it; it is finally annihilated.

The monad of such a soul, meanwhile, there being nothing, no "aroma" of aspiration or yearning upwards, to take away from that life or from those lives - because, mind you, it is perfectly true that "lost souls" as well as soul-beings can reincarnate. They can indeed. There are children born "lost souls"; as a fact it is very rare, perhaps; but the fact can and does take place - the Monad, I say, of such a "lost soul", in due course of time "reincarnates" again; and the "lost soul" episode is like a blank page in its "book of Lives".

Now the second class, and the worse by far, are those in which the soul is vitally strong. They are those who are spiritually evil, paradoxical as it may sound; those which the Christian teachers have spoken of in the New Testament as beings of spiritual wickedness and iniquity. One may wonder how it can come to pass that a being which has ruptured the Golden Thread can still have spiritual qualities or parts. That is one of the dark and solemn mysteries which we may have to go into in more detail later. We have no time this evening to do so, beyond pointing out that the explanation lies in an understanding of esoteric psychology, and of the nature of high astral matter. But let me point out this: if a soul can receive an impress, can receive an impulse, and it most certainly does, that impress or impulse will carry it on until its initial strength is exhausted, until the impulse no longer exists, until the impulse has worked itself out. Now, through many, many, lives of spiritual evil-doing, these beings who have eventuated as "lost souls" have built up through the intensity of their will a bank account, so to speak, of certain forces of nature, impulses of evil, of pure matter, running hot and strong. And when I say "hot" I do not mean in the ordinary emotional sense, as when one speaks of the "heat of passion". [168] All such passion is dead. Nay. But running hot like the fires of hell: revenge, hatred, and antagonism to anything that is highly good or nobly beautiful, and all such things. These impulses here exist, and they have a spiritual source, for they are degraded spiritual energies, spirit fallen and crystallized into matter, so to speak. Very difficult to explain, indeed, is this abstruse subject; but this is the gist of it. Lastly, I might add that these beings can (and do), under certain conditions, go far lower: they enter the Lower Path, and go still farther down: and if the evil be strong enough in certain rare cases, their terrible destiny is what our Teachers have called an Avichi-nirvana (avichi being a generalized term for what is popularly called "hell"), aeons of unspeakable misery, self-imposed, until final dissolution ensues - and Nature knows them no more.

Of course you remember that we have studied the subject of Hells and Heavens before, but as yet we have had no time to go into this matter at length. Avichi is a generalized term for places of evil realizations, but not of "punishment" in the Christian sense; where the will for evil, and the unsatisfied evil longings for pure selfishness, find their chance for expansion - and final extinction of the entity itself. Avichi has many degrees, or grades. Nature has all things in her; if she has Heavens where good men and true men find rest and peace and bliss, so has she other spheres and states, where go or gravitate those who must find an outlet for the evil passions burning within. They, at the end of their Avichi-nirvana, go to pieces and are ground over and over, and vanish away finally like a shadow before the sunlight in the air - ground over in Nature's laboratory.

Now, you remember that we spoke in other studies of the so-called "laws of Nature", and it was pointed out that in our esoteric teachings there are no "laws of Nature", and this for two reasons: first, because there is no such thing as "Nature". Nature is not an entity; it is an abstraction. Nature is not a goddess or a god; it is not a being or a planet; it is not a sphere or a universe. Nature is the abstract aggregate, so to speak, the immense aggregate, of all beings and things, interblending and acting and interacting upon each other: spiritual, intermediate, and lower; and their interblending and interconnection produce what we call "Nature". The beings here referred to, of course, are of all grades, from the most material, the most degraded, up to the highest, of any Hierarchy. And the second reason is that these aggregated beings that we call very conveniently by the term of Nature, are not "ruled" by "law". Who or what makes any laws that Nature shall or must follow or does follow? No one, neither devil nor god. But the query may and ought to arise: Does not Nature follow certain courses, and when the [169] circumstances and conditions are identical, are not those courses always the same, which are what we call laws? Of course, yes; nobody denies a fact. We deny the explanation. Explanations are important. If a man comes to you and says something to you and you find that he is merely talking, giving you words when you want the bread of life, are you going to take what he says for truth? Are you going to take the words only, and be satisfied with husks? Or are you going to think, and say: "My dear Sir, I have looked into what you tell me; what you say is merely words; nobody denies the facts that are; but I want an explanation of those words and of those facts. I want something that will feed my soul". Do you get any food for your soul when you hear mere talk about mechanical, incomprehensible "laws of Nature"? Do you realize that no great thinker in antiquity at anytime ever used such empty language as "laws of Nature" with the concomitant ideas - or lack of ideas? Never. The expression containing the notion "laws of Nature" is a modern product derived from two sources: first from the Christian religion; and second from modern scientific materialism. Men, during all the ages, have been fully aware that "Nature" pursued certain very regular courses, modernly called "laws", and always followed the same courses; but our forebears had other and wiser explanations of these regular courses in natural phenomena, for they knew more of the inner mysteries of being, because they had true Religion behind and within themselves; they had a universal philosophy; and last but not least they had what were called Initiates, who personally could go behind and into Nature, enter into her and know her at first hand.

Now what causes Nature to act as she does? The modern scientist will tell you that he means by the "laws of Nature" those sequences of events which always happen in the same way when the circumstances and conditions are the same; the regular order of phenomena and forces. The Christian theologian tells you what he means by the "laws of Nature" probably somewhat as follows:

Well, brother, it is probably the Will of God Almighty, who, it is true, has not vouchsafed to us a full explanation of these difficult problems; but it is fundamentally the Divine Will which has once and for all time created the machine of Nature and has set it in running.

About two or three or four or five or six hundred years ago these gentlemen had another explanation, somewhat different from the above, because modern science had not yet begun to be aggressively vocal with views or a view of its own; and this other theological explanation was that it was God Almighty Himself who personally and actively guided and ordered these things which "Nature" produces.

"He sent his rain upon the just and the unjust; he caused the [170] Sun to shine, and the rain to fall", and much more to the same tune. But then came along certain skeptical thinkers and they said,

Ha, ha, God the Creator! Then He created diseases; He creates the evils in men's hearts. It must be so, not otherwise, because He created man and all things else, and, being all-wise, He must have known what He was doing. Therefore, why punish a man for doing what he cannot avoid doing, because God created man and his mind and his heart and his will?

So the theologians' later idea, apparently, was that God manufactured the world with His own Almighty Hand, and set it to spinning, and set the various elements thereof each to running in its own way, and let it go forth with a primal impress of the Divine Intelligence upon it.

I think that I am quoting correctly the early modern theological idea.

Now the Initiates, knowing Nature's arcane, had words fitted to express exactly what they desired to say; words which are impressive and which are not mere abstractions; although when convenient they too used abstractions; they used such words as "Principles" and "Elements" of Nature. It is quite true that such words are catchwords, technical words; but they knew precisely what they meant by them. They also spoke mystically and theologically of the "gods". It is one of the most lamentable things for scholars today, that owing to the deliberate and willful suppression by the Christian Church of so many of the truths of antiquity, the average scholar or student has no more idea of what the ancients meant by the "gods" and their actions, than he has of what is taking place at this moment on the star Sirius. Yet, when understood and properly explained, Polytheism is seen to be a wonderful and a sublime teaching. It does not mean, for instance, that each god is as great and as single as, or omnipotent and omniscient like, the Christian theological notion of their God. Not at all. The gods, i.e., spiritual entities, are the higher inhabitants of Nature. They are an intrinsic part of Nature itself, for they are its informing Principles; they are as much subject to the wills of still higher Beings - call these wills the "laws" of higher beings, if you will - as we are, and as are the animals below us. We are gods to the beings composing our bodies. The atoms in our body are, in their way, conscious, and we are like gods to them. And what they might call the "laws of Nature" are what we think and what we will. Nature is conscious from beginning to end, in varying degrees; although in reality there is no "beginning" and no "end", which are vain dreams.

Furthermore, Nature has two aspects, a positive aspect and a negative aspect. Please understand that I am using the word [171] "Nature", with the meaning pointed out before, because the ordinary expression is convenient, the term is understood; if a speaker has to spend some three minutes or more in order to explain each time anew an already explained use of a word, he will never arrive at the end of what he wishes to say; so, once having made an explanation of what we mean by "Nature" and "laws", we may use these or other common words because they are convenient. Our Teachers also have used these words constantly; and H.P. Blavatsky constantly speaks of the "laws of Nature", and the "fundamental law of Karma"; so again does our present Teacher, Katherine Tingley, constantly speak of the "Higher Law". Who has not heard highly educated people say that the Sun "rises in the east"? Of course they and we know that the Sun does not "rise in the east". Men very frequently find it useful and convenient to use ordinary language in order intelligently to voice a thought. But this does not mean that they should be held to rigid literal account for what every sane man should know perfectly well is merely a convenient mode of expression. The so-called "laws of Nature", therefore, are the action and interaction and interplay of consciousnesses and wills - in the Kosmos - not so much considered as personalized consciousnesses and wills, but by us those words are used more as abstractions, meaning the combined and aggregate action-results of all consciousnesses and wills in the Kosmos. Yet actually, when traced to causes, to their sources, these "laws" are the consciousnesses and wills in action of the multi-myriad hosts of beings that compose and are "Nature" itself, working through, in, and by, "matter", their vehicles - abstractly called "Nature". "Nature" has these two poles or sides: the positive pole or side and the negative pole or side. Examine yourself closely, and you will find that even your mind is dual, like everything else, for it mirrors Nature. It has its passive side, its "unconscious reflexes", just as the body has, just as Nature has. It has also its positive or active side. There is a great difference between the conscious will and the unconscious will. Take the body as an instance of what I am trying to say; e.g., the beating of the heart, the automatic winking of the eyes, the processes of digestion. These are unconsciously performed acts, under the control of unconscious or semi-conscious elemental entities; when normally functioning, man's will has nothing self-consciously to do with them. They represent the passive side of his will as expressed through those elemental minds. But he also has an active or positive side in which he wills and thinks, and acts accordingly, and for these latter things he is held responsible, he incurs karmic responsibility.

So is it exactly the same, in Nature; as is illustrated by this [172] example of the passive and active wills in man's own mind and body. The "laws of physical nature" are the action-results of the passive side of the beings and consciousnesses who and which compose what is called "Nature"; and the higher those beings are, the less is their active or positive side manifest on the lower planes.

Work therefore with Nature, and not against her; violate none of her laws, if you desire health and happiness. Remember what H.P. Blavatsky says in The Voice of the Silence : Let us paraphrase it: Work with nature and follow her; become one with her, and she will make obeisance unto you as an active, self-conscious Coworker - a Master. Happiness can be found only in obedience to this fundamental truth of inseparable unity. There is no happiness in unbrotherhood, in acting solely for yourself, in trying to impose your personal will on others. It is by giving, that life is found in all its beauty, by giving the self to the ALL. There is no happiness like it; there is no way for inner development to come so quickly and so surely and so safely to the student as that which lies in giving up the personal self to nobly impersonal aims. It is the Way to Peace and Power.

The Teacher whispers to me to continue for a few moments longer - and we have as yet not even begun our evening's study! Let us, then, occupy the few more minutes of time that the Teacher has given us, in referring to an interesting phenomenon of Nature that took place during this last summer. I refer to the near approach of the planet Mars to Earth; and I speak of this with intent, because it is going to illustrate a point in the substance of our theme.

You will doubtless have heard how our scientists have concluded - they say that their theory is true, but it is absolutely false according to Theosophy - that the planet Mars is older than the Earth; and the sole reason for their saying this is because when they examine what they can see of the surface of Mars through their telescopes, they see no sign, certain and convincing to all, of even vegetable life. Apparently, they see no particular organic activity of any kind on that ruddy sphere; and they at once jump to the conclusion, like a lot of thoughtless fellows, that Mars is dead, in a state something like that of the Moon, and that therefore it is very much older than our planet Earth. Now, in the first place, to the student of the Ancient Wisdom, the "age" of a planet may be of two kinds. Does it mean older in spiritual experience - because, remember, a planet is an "animal" in the Greco-Latin sense, and "animal" means "living being", for it is a hierarchy of lives - or does it merely mean that the physical sphere is older than ours?

Now the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom is that Mars is [173] younger than the Earth. Its body, its physical sphere, is younger; but, at the present time, it is in a state of "obscuration". It is what we may call asleep; it is more than merely asleep, actually, for the vastly larger part of its hosts of lives, of its living entities, have left it in order to go to higher spheres or globes of the Martian Planetary Chain. But this again does not mean - one has to be very careful in the use of expressions in our studies - that there is no life on Mars. When our own physical body is asleep, does it mean that it is in decay, that it is dead? Are there no vital processes going on in the sleeping human body? Of course there are, many: recuperation; reinforcing of the bonds of the inner nature. Not of the inner nature itself; but there is the strengthening of the bonds connecting the vital astral entity with it.

Now there are - and this will illustrate another point - there are on the planet Mars in its present state of obscuration certain beings left there by the receding life-wave of Mars when that planet went into obscuration; and these beings are called in the Sanskrit language sishtas, meaning "remainders", or "remains", i.e., those whose duty it is to keep the Seeds of Life on that planet until the incoming flow of the returning life-wave in the new Manvantara to come, shall find these bodies ready for them and in all ways appropriate. Now these sishtas are of seven kinds: three elemental; the mineral; the "plant"; the "beast"-type there, which represented the human on Mars; and one other. There are certain ones of these sishtas which are not at all of the lower types; they must have been higher than the average of its humanity when that planet went into obscuration, in order to provide for the more evolved humanity coming down on its succeeding Round, fit and appropriate vehicles for the new lifecycle, or Manvantara, there. Generally, then, the sishtas are those superior classes - each of its own kind and kingdom - left behind on a planet when it goes into obscuration, in order to serve as the seeds of life for the inflow of the next incoming life-wave when the dawn of the new Manvantara takes place on that planet.

Venus, on the contrary, is now actively engaged in its last Round. The planet Mercury, on the other hand, is just beginning its last Round. Both these planets are far older than the Earth. Mars is younger - I am not here talking of the spiritual age; I am talking only of the age of the physical body, the sphere. You will find it generally the "law" - and I am using this term "law", remember, because it is convenient - you will find it, generally speaking, a physical fact of Nature in our Solar System that the farther a sphere (or planet) is from the Sun, the physically younger it is. Mars, as a matter of fact, has ended its Third [174] Round. We of the Earth are in our Fourth; Venus is in its Seventh and last; and Mercury is just beginning its Seventh.

I have brought up this matter, because there are some who have misunderstood H.P. Blavatsky's teaching in The Secret Doctrine regarding the six companion globes of the Planetary Earth Chain, saying that we came to Earth from the planet Mars which is thus made one of the globes of the Planetary Earth Chain; that we are now on Earth; and that we shall in the future (next) Manvantara go to Mercury, which is also made one of the Planetary Earth Chain.

This is utterly wrong. Now, as we have just said, Mercury is in its Seventh Round; we are in our Fourth, and our next Round will be our Fifth. It is true that Mars has ended its Third Round; but while the planets farther from the Sun generally are the younger, physically, than those nearer it, this does not mean that they are necessarily the younger spiritually. For instance, you may take the planet Saturn. The planet Saturn, spiritually, is farther advanced than is the planet Mars, or than is our planet Terra.

If you take up a book of astronomy and compare the varying density of the planets as there given in the tables, you will have a rough-and-ready, and very generally accurate, rule by which to go in order to find out which of the physical planets are physically older than others. But then this does not refer to spiritual age or evolution; and this fact shows the complexity that confronts the student in his study of these doctrines, which really are very simple, but seem complex to us because our minds are matter-minds and not spirit-minds. It is difficult to think about such things with the minds we have, because they are matter-built. They go to pieces at our death; and these subjects are based on spiritual facts. Hence the confusion under which Mr. Sinnett, and others who followed his lead, have labored - even to the extent of denying their own teachers!

The planet Saturn is surrounded with belts and - I am in very deep water here and I wish to speak slowly so as not to give a mistaken impression. I did at the last meeting, when I said that the present speaker knew little or nothing of the Seventh "Jewel." It was not my intent to give that idea. My intent was to say that he knew little or nothing of the higher teachings regarding that Seventh "Jewel" - the planet Saturn is the last, counting outwards from the Sun, of the "Seven Sacred Planets" of the ancients. As regards our Solar System, Uranus and Neptune, certainly not the latter, really do not belong to it. Actually, physically, they do, because they are under that system's influence, somewhat like visitors entertained in a home; but they do not belong to or form a part of the septenary of the "seven sacred [175] planets" of antiquity of which you all doubtless have read. Those "seven sacred planets" provisionally may be named as follows: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon. I say above "provisionally," because there is much more behind this matter of the "Seven Sacred Planets" than appears openly. For instance, the Sun and the Moon are reckoned in the above list as two substitutes for the two real planets; and Mars - to a certain extent - is in the same category. We can say no more of this here.

Now shall we say that the Sun and Moon represent two other planets? Let us take provisionally the list as usually given, including the Sun and the Moon; each one of these seven globes is a body like our own earth in that each is a septenary Chain, sevenfold in composition: six other superior globes of finer matter above the physical sphere or globe; just as we humans have our six principles above this "bearer" or "carrier" miscalled a "principle," which we call our body. This does not apply in toto to the Moon, because the Moon is dead; yet even the Moon has its six companion-globes. The mysteries concerning the Moon, I may remark in passing, are more than interesting, and if the Teacher permits it, we shall sometime go into them as far as we can properly do so; but excepting the moons, all the other globes and planets of the Solar System have, each one, six companion-globes of finer matter, all fully alive; unless in "obscuration"; and in the planetary life these form a peculiar analogy with man's seven principles; for if we could see our own principles, could see what the plan of each principle is, we should find that it is an actual rupa or form. Yet let me here enter a caveat: the six companion-globes of any planet or other sidereal body are not, really, the six principles of such a body, for each one of these seven globes forming part of a Chain, has its own individual seven principles and Elements. So each planet or sidereal body has its six companion-globes, forming together a Planetary Chain; and only those globes which are on the same Kosmic Plane of nature or being, are physically visible to each other. For instance, we can see only the fourth (planetary) plane globes of each of the other Planetary or Sidereal Chains, because we are on the fourth planetary Plane, as they are. If we were on the Kosmic Plane above us, we should see two Jupiters, two Saturns, and so forth.

The Sun also is septenary, as said just now. A wonderful teaching lies here in that connection. The Moon, dead as it is, has also six companion-globes; and when we leave this earth in "obscuration" at the close of this Earth Round, and go to the globe above this, we shall see then the two lunar bodies belonging to that plane, and also two Suns. [176]

We now close our evening's study; and express the hope that at the next meeting which the Teacher may call, we shall have more opportunity and a clearer field to go at some length into the truly sublime subject which H.P. Blavatsky has set down for us in The Secret Doctrine in the extracts first read this evening. [177]

Chapter XVII


¼ For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of imperishable rocks, a giant's Tower of INFINITE THOUGHT, wherein the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of mankind to cooperate with him and help in his turn enlighten superstitious man. And we will go on in that periodical work of ours; we will not allow ourselves to be baffled in our philanthropic attempts until that day when the foundations of a new continent of thought are so firmly built that no amount of opposition and ignorant malice guided by the Brethren of the Shadow will be found to prevail.

But until that day of final triumph someone has to be sacrificed - though we accept but voluntary victims. The ungrateful task did lay her [H.P.B.] low and desolate in the ruins of misery, misapprehension, and isolation: but she will have her reward in the hereafter for we never were ungrateful. As regards the Adept - not one of my kind, good friend, but far higher - you might have closed your book with those lines of Tennyson's "Wakeful Dreamer" - you knew him not -

How could ye know him? Ye were yet within

The narrower circle; he had well nigh reached

The last, which, with a region of white flame,

Pure without heat into a larger air

Up-burning, and an ether of black blue,

Invests and ingirds all other lives ¼

- Mahatma Letters, 51

We open our study this evening by reading a part of the passages of The Secret Doctrine that were read at our last meeting, that is to say from Volume I, pages 207 and 208. Page 207 first:

The Arhats of the "fire-mist" of the seventh rung are but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy - the highest on Earth, and our Terrestrial chain. This "Root-Base" has a name which can only be translated by several compound words into English - "the Ever-living Human Banyan." This "Wondrous Being" descended from a "high region," they say, in the early part of the Third Age, before the separation of the sexes of the Third Race.

And then we pass over without reading it again, the paragraph at the bottom of that page, beginning "The 'BEING' just referred to", and ending with "but a few Elect may profit by the GREAT SACRIFICE", on page 208, and read now the last paragraph on that page:

It is under the direct, silent guidance of this MAHA [which means "great"] GURU [which means "Teacher"] that all the other less divine Teachers and instructors of mankind became, from the first awakening of human consciousness, the guides of early Humanity. It is through [178] these "Sons of God" that infant humanity got its first notions of all the arts and sciences, as well as of spiritual knowledge; and it is they who have laid the first foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations that puzzle so sorely our modern generation of students and scholars.

As we noted at our last meeting, we are approaching a part of our studies where, to use the words of the old thinkers, we feel almost that we should remove our foot-gear, because we stand on holy ground. The sublime passages which were read at our last meeting and now again at this one, contain, in fact, the outline of the meaning of the seventh of the seven Jewels or Treasures of Wisdom, which has the catchword or technical name of Atma-Vidya. This phrase literally signifies "self-knowledge".

Now this Sanskrit word Atman is exceedingly difficult to translate, but the English word "self" seems to come nearest to an adequate rendering of it. Atma-Vidya means much more than ordinarily we might understand by the words "Knowledge of the self"; yet, were we to know the Self in its fullness, we should know all knowledge that it is possible for man to know; hence, that title or technical name is given to it as descriptive of the entire branch of the Esoteric Philosophy which this seventh Jewel contains. As it is, we can know only parts of this branch of the Esoteric Philosophy. We are told that it is hinted in the ancient writings, particularly in the Sanskrit, that even the most spiritual beings on earth in this our age know not fully all that is contained in this Treasure. There are possibly not a dozen thinking beings on earth today, who of course would comprise the very highest and holiest men that the earth has brought forth up to the present period of evolution, who can in any sense fully understand it. But we can have and understand appropriate parts of this sublime Wisdom-mystery; and it is these that we are going to attempt to try to elucidate, to the best of our capacity, this evening.

Now we stated at our last meeting that this seventh Treasure or Jewel can be considered as a study of the problem of how the One becomes the Many; but it was also said that, as a matter of fact, the One essentially never becomes the many. One might as well say that the Sun which gives us our light comes down to earth in order to do it; but it does not; it sends out its rays, emanations from itself, which illuminate, vitalize, and quicken our world of matter; and similarly is the case with the One.

Further, what do we mean by "the One"? Obviously, we do not mean the personal God of any exoteric theology. No matter how great, how vast in compass spiritually, we may consider this One to be, it is still a unity, a being, and therefore it is finite. Therefore, in order to elucidate our problem, we turn to another [179] one of these seven Treasures, and we find an illustration of this particular branch of our problem in the Lokas - a technical word for the Hierarchies, as is also Brahmanda, or "Egg of Brahm_" - of which the One is the Root-Base if we consider it as the origin of all the beings and things in that Hierarchy; or the Flower or Summit or Acme, if we consider it as the aim and end of our evolution. This, therefore, is the One. But there are other Ones, Ones innumerable, in the Kosmical Universe; some higher than our highest, or lower than our lowest degree.

You doubtless remember that in studying the Doctrine of Hierarchies we showed that these Hierarchies are endless in number. They themselves, each one of them, can be considered as a unit; and there are many above us and many below us: innumerable ones above us and innumerable ones below us, innumerable ones within and innumerable ones without our Kosmical Hierarchy. They are endless in number in all direction. From this One of our hierarchy, however, and we mean in this instance the Universal Kosmos or the Kosmical Universe, comes all our life, all our being, all that we are without and within. It is the Source and Origin of everything that we can be and know, working in and upon that background of the Boundless which comprises the limitless aggregate of all other Hierarchies whatsoever.

The most extended, the vastest, and the most immense Hierarchy of our unfettered imagination is but as a mote of dust, as a single Atom, in comparison with the Boundless. The Boundless cannot ever nor in any sense be considered as one, as a mere unity. One implies the finite, the beginning of computation, or enumeration; and we must think of the Boundless as a zero, signifying endless and limitless infinitude, with no qualifications whatsoever that belong to all that is manifested or limited; and, on the other side of the illustration, signifying the all-encompassing, endless, boundless, Fullness of the ALL. This is SPACE; which is either the unlimited Fullness of the ALL, or the unlimited Emptiness of the All, according as we view it. The latter view is the profoundly spiritual sunyata of the Buddhist philosopher.

Let us turn for a moment to another kindred subject. Have you ever thought - doubtless you have; but I remember that, as the Teacher has asked me to point out, these studies are pursued not so much for ourselves as for those students not resident here who have not the chance that we here have, and who will read them - have we ever considered and pondered over the meaning of the word immutable when people use it as sometimes happens when speaking of such subjects as Space, the Boundless, etc.? Has it ever occurred to us to try to realize that if the Boundless were "immutable" even for the minutest fraction of a second, [180] the entire fabric of universal kosmical being would vanish away in the twinkling of an eye, like a shadow on a wall! All that we can know or mentally figurate of so limitlessly vast a subject as the Boundless, is such thoughts as we vaguely express in words or phrases like "Boundless Life", etc., which is Motion: endless and beginningless Activity. "Immutability" is a phantom of the imagination; a mere reflection in our minds of finite pause. There is ceaseless Motion, ceaseless and endless and beginningless Life in the horizonless Fields of the Boundless.

But when we consider the One, the Summit, or the Root-Base of our own Hierarchy - or of any other Hierarchy - we can by spiritual intuitions grasp the Truth concerning It; but if we go beyond that Hierarchy, going up step by step from lower to higher spheres, we shall always, we must always, reach a point where our understanding and imagination fall powerless before the immensity of the (to us) non-understandable; because we can in nowise encompass or comprehend it; only can we see that in IT and from IT is the Infinite Life, which in its ceaseless unending motion is "immutably" the same always. Only in this paradoxical sense is the word "immutable" permissible. So much, then, for the Boundless. But as regards the One, it is analogically "immutable" only for its own period of activity as Source of a Hierarchy, and only for those below it; and hence you will find our Teacher occasionally speaking of the "immutable law", that which for the "seven eternities" during which our period of manifestation endures, "varies not, and knows no shadow of turning". And why? Because that highest Summit, that One, is the Supreme Silent Watcher, the Supreme Life Giver, the Great Supreme Sacrifice, to use H.P. Blavatsky's terms, of our own great Kosmic Hierarchy, which is the highest that our imagination can attain to. But do not confuse this Supreme Silent Watcher with the Silent Watcher of the less Hierarchy of the Teachers.

When our Hierarchy goes into Pralaya - which means the release of its entirety of lives and life for higher and spiritual things of greater value and of nobler compass than those we now have or can even conceive of - when that happens, I say, it is but as the passing, as it were, of a cloud hitherto over the "face of the Boundless", and hosts of other universes are then coming equally into manifested life as ours will then be passing out of it for its pralayic rest. Try and form some simple concept of the meaning of endless and beginningless Eternity and of the Boundless, and drop it there: unceasing life, endless activity, never-ending life and consciousness in unceasing motion everywhere. It is only "parts" - which, as compared with the Totality which is the Boundless, are as nothing - only such "parts", so to say, this, that, or another, "part", which in its maya of manifested life and [181] unmanifested repose, alternately is active or passive; which passes away and then returns again. The wise ancients never bothered their heads much about any foolish attempt to fathom the Boundless or the limitless Eternal. They recognized the Reality of Being, and let it go at that, knowing well that an ever-growing knowledge of the Universal Life was and is all that human intelligence could ever attain to, by an ever-expanding Consciousness.

This alternate appearing and disappearing of worlds or Hierarchies, is the teaching embodied in the first of the seven Jewels or Treasures of Wisdom. As the human spirit sends down its ray and reincarnates by means of that ray into a human being of astral matter and of mind-matter and of flesh, so similarly, when the time comes for a Hierarchy to reembody itself, to undertake its task anew of Palingenesis or repeated self-generation, the same relative course is run. Never let us forget the ancient axiom of the Esoteric Wisdom which the Hermetists so beautifully expressed: As above so below. What happens in heaven is mirrored on earth, mutatis mutandis. Man's palingenesis, as a microcosm, is but a faithful copy of the palingenesis of worlds; of his own kosmic Hierarchy as the Macrocosm.

Let us now turn to our main theme for tonight, after the preliminary observations first made. As the Summit of our Hierarchy is One, the Root of our ens, in which we "move and live and have our being", as the Christian Apostle Paul puts it; so similarly in the spiritual-psychological Hierarchy there is a One in whom we are all rooted, in whom psychologically and mystically and religiously, yea and aspirationally, we live. This One is the Great Initiator, the Great Sacrifice, the Wondrous Being referred to by H.P. Blavatsky; the Supreme Head of the Hierarchy of the Teachers. From it originally come our noblest impulses through our own Higher Selves; from it come the life and aspiration we feel, stirring oft in our minds and hearts; from it, through our higher natures, come the urge to betterment, the sense of loyalty and troth, all the things which make life holy and bright and high and well worth living.

It was during the Third Race of Humanity of this Fourth Round on this globe, when the incarnate ray in each of the units of the then mankind had evolved forth its vehicle (by generating from within itself this vehicle, fit for the expression of itself, of the divine spirit within); and then that vehicle, or soul, was become self-conscious. Then, as time passed, there came a period when an Interpreter, a Guide, a Teacher, of the Race of mankind, was needed, because the race was rapidly sinking with every sub-cycle of the Great Age more totally into matter and consequent illusion and spiritual defilement, for such is produced by the [182] evolving of matter. The Dhyani-Chohans, the "Lords of Meditation", who were men from a former great Period of Activity of our Planet Terra, beings from a former Manvantara, were then leaving or withdrawing from this earth; they had already done their cyclical work, done all they could, in informing, inspiring, and illuminating the then Mankind; but they now needed successors more like the sinking Men of the period. By reason of a Mystery which we cannot elucidate here, the noblest representatives of the then humanity became the direct and willing vehicles of self-conscious Rays from these Dhyani-Chohans, "Lords of Meditation". It was not exactly what is called in Brahmanism an Avatara - a "descent" which means the overshadowing incarnation of a portion of a high spirit in a high human being; but it was the actual indwelling (fully conscious on both sides, and relatively complete) of a portion of the essence of a Dhyani-Chohan in a fully conscious, willing, and utterly self-sacrificing, Man of high degree. Now, please mark well: the highest one of these incarnations, the noblest Man-fruit of human evolution produced up to that time, became the head of this spiritual-psychological Hierarchy literally, and in very truth, in his case, was a Man enfilled with a Dhyani-Chohan: what might actually be called an incarnate god. This was - and still Is - the Silent Watcher, the Initiator, the Wondrous Being, the Great Sacrifice - "sacrifice" for a reason which I explain elsewhere.

Pause a moment. Let us think away for a moment from the thread of our theme. Let us consider the immense hope, the profound intellectual splendor, and the spiritual beauty which we find in these teachings. They are well worth thinking over, indeed! If anything, Theosophy, the Esoteric Wisdom, is a vast doctrine of hope, not of mere "optimism" as the word is ordinarily understood; but a doctrine of vitalizing hope and interior illumination. Ah, there, in these Wonder Teachings, is the Path along which we may ascend. More particularly, it depends on ourselves whether our ascent along the stairway of that Ray which is living and working in each one of us is achieved or not; and - pray listen carefully - whether or not we ascend by our being consciously linked through that Being with the Highest. That Being, that Wondrous Being, does not "come down" and "descend" into us; because for It this would be pollution of a sort not to be tolerated; yet we are linked with It by and through the Ray within us. As the Sun sends forth innumerable rays, yet remains ever the Sun; so through this Being pours, as the Root-Base of our spiritual-psychological Hierarchy, a Ray which is instinct and alive in every normal child that comes into the world.

Now it depends upon us whether we follow along that Ray upwards or, as pointed out at our last meeting, abandon our [183] divine birthright, and follow the lure of Chaos and the Pit - respond to the exhalations from "hell." There are people, perhaps, who may not have understood the meaning of the word "annihilation" as we use it. Let us understand that annihilation, strictly speaking, exemplifies what our present Teacher Katherine Tingley calls the "infinite mercy of the Higher Law". There is no such nightmare as "eternal suffering". Those human beings who have forfeited their divine birthright, go to pieces; they lose their personal entity; but when that has happened, there remains but an empty psychic shell. When we lay our body down at death and it goes to pieces and its atoms are returned to the earth which gave it birth, is there anything very dreadful in that? Take the same rule and apply it to the case of the "lost souls", of which we were speaking at former meeting.

If anyone desires to get a masterly outline of this subject, let him turn to The Key to Theosophy, pages 77 and 92 and 93, and he will there find what H.P. Blavatsky tells her readers of "annihilation", and more particularly in connection with the Buddhist teaching as taught by the Lord Gautama the Buddha. Why I say the "Lord" Buddha, will be explained in a moment.

This Wondrous Being is the Chief, the Master Initiate, the Head and Leader of the spiritual-psychological Hierarchy of which our Masters form a part. He is the "Ever-living Human Banyan" Tree from which they hang as leaves and fruits, spiritually speaking. So also do we, spiritually speaking. On every globe, on every man-bearing planet of every Sun in the infinitudes of Space, we are taught that as far as great spiritual seers know, the same thing exists there. There is over each one a Master Teacher, and in each case he merits the term which H.P. Blavatsky gives him, taking it from her own Teachers, of The Great Sacrifice. Why is he so-called? Because, from boundless compassion for those lower in the scale of Evolution than he is, he has renounced all hope and opportunity in this Manvantara of himself going higher, out of this sorrow-laden world, and remains behind among us as our Great Inspirer and Teacher; he himself can learn nothing more of this Hierarchy, for all knowledge pertaining to it or possible in it is his already. He has sacrificed himself for all below him.

Now there are some people who talk of sacrifice of that sort as if it were something gruesome or evil! Why, is there anything more sublimely beautiful than the giving of self in noble service to others - to all? Is there anything which actually can lead man higher? Is there anything which opens the heart more? Is there anything which opens more the doors of inspiration? And, on the other hand, is there anything which more quickly closes these doors, or more fully belittles man, which more quickly shrivels the [184] self, than does its opposite: personality, selfishness, egoism? Aye, there is a joy, an unspeakable joy, in self-sacrifice of this high kind. The Wondrous Being is technically called "The Great Sacrifice" because, having reached the pinnacle of evolution in this our Hierarchy, he can learn nothing more in or from that Hierarchy. He has deliberately renounced further progress for himself in our Manvantara; and this truly is the greatest of sacrifices; and he has renounced it in order to live for those less beings who are weary, and who stumble on the Upward Way; following the dictates inherent in that noble cry: "How can I live in heaven when one single being on earth must suffer?" You are reminded of the old story of the Scotsman who, when told by his Dominie that his dog could not go to heaven with him, answered instantly: "Oh, Dominie, if my dog cannot go to heaven with me, then shall I stay here on earth with my faithful dog; for he never would abandon me!" That is a touch of the same spirit of devotion.

In the great Indian Epic, The Mahabharata, we find a closely similar tale of one of the great heroes of that work, who, having met with severe trials of many kinds, on his way to Swarga or Heaven, successfully passed them all; but when he finally reached the confines of Heaven he was met by the Devas, who told him: "Brother, your faithful dog enters not here". And he said: "Oh, then shall I go back with my dog, my faithful companion who loved me and who has followed me everywhere. Shall I abandon him and leave him outside?" And the Devas, according to the beautiful legend, then opened wide the gates of Heaven, and the heavenly choristers began to sing a paean of welcome and praise to the faithful hero-heart, who would have renounced his own unspeakable bliss for the sake of a loving and faithful creature less evolved than he.

This is the spirit of renunciation of self for others, as exemplified in legend and story. Is there anything more beautiful than it?

Now let us go a step farther. Let us leave our theme for a few moments and take up again a matter which we feel was not fully understood, perhaps, due to our insufficient exposition of it at our last meeting. We spoke then of there being two classes of "lost souls". That is quite correct. But we must also point out that there are likewise two subdivisions, in the second of these two classes, and these two subdivisions of the second class are those who fully merit the old Christian term "workers of spiritual iniquity". The first subdivision comprise those who are commonly called conscious sorcerers; and the second comprise the same type of beings but include those who have reached such a point of inner power, yea, of evil spiritual strength, that they are able even to defeat Nature's call to dissolution for the entire term [185] of the Manvantara. They merit truly the old mystic saying, "workers of spiritual evil".

In order to make this difficult subject somewhat clearer, consult and reflect over the subjoined diagram, giving a brief outline of the various consciousnesses in a Hierarchy:


The "Awakened" of various degrees




Good Men

Soulless Men

The "Living Dead" (very numerous)

Class One

Men Thoroughly Evil (very few)

Lost Souls, actual or to-be; destined for annihilation (class two are extremely few)

Class Two

Spiritual Sorcerers (subdivision one)

Chohans of Conscious Evil (subdivision two)

The entire system hangs like a Chain from the Primeval Seed, the Root-Base of the Hierarchy.

The first subdivision comprises those who are annihilated when this globe goes into its "obscuration"; but to the second subdivision belong they who are almost human incarnations of what the Tibetans called the Lhamayin; or sometimes they may even be overshadowed by the Mamo-Chohans, which preside at the Pralayas. These last, however, are not exactly "devils" or evil entities, but rather beings whose destiny it is for the time in view to carry on the work of destruction, of desolation. As regards the higher spiritual sorcerers and workers of evil, the second subdivision, their final destiny is truly terrible, for there awaits them at the close of the Manvantara the Avichi-nirvana, the absolute contrast and nether pole of the Nirvana of spirit, and then a Manvantara of unparalleled misery. They are the polar opposites of the Dhyani-Chohans. Final and utter annihilation is their end. Nature is bipolar; and as is the action, so is the reaction.

Now annihilation, as it is used in the Esoteric Philosophy, and as it is commonly understood by educated thinkers of our School, does not mean what people commonly imagine it to be. It means the breaking up, the dissolution, of a personal entity, but never of the immortal Individuality, which is impossible. We speak, and speak correctly, of the dissolution or the annihilation of an army, or of the annihilation of a flock of sheep. When the separate entities are gone, killed, or whatever it may be, the flock of sheep is no more, the flock is dissolved. It is annihilated as a flock, as an [186] entity. And similarly, annihilation in its psychological sense, does not mean that it is the immortal spirit which is annihilated. That idea is perfectly ludicrous. An immortal spirit cannot be annihilated. Its residence, its dwelling-place, is infinite space; and its time is eternity. But as our body dissolves, is annihilated as a body, is resolved and dissolved into its component elements; so with the "lost soul" which is at first a mere psychic shell, when the impulses which came to it in the time when it was linked with an incarnate spirit, have spent their force; then its term comes, it is dissolved, it is annihilated, it ceases, it passes out of being. There is nothing left of it, for like a dead physical body, it is resolved into its component elements. But in the first stages, it becomes spiritually dead, though mentally alive. It is a psychic corpse, from which the immortal element has fled. That is what a "lost soul" is.

We students of the Esoteric Philosophy, of this School, know what happens to the kama-rupa of a man after the death of the physical body. It is finally dissolved, or annihilated. It is in nature's course that it must be so. I tell you that when we spoke at our last meeting of the ancient wisdom-teachings of the Lord Buddha, to the effect that there is "no abiding principle in man", using the words of Rhys Davids, the eminent Welsh scholar, who is a bright literary honor to his country despite the mistakes that he makes in misunderstanding much of the inner sense of the Buddhist teaching, we mean simply this, and you all know it: that the only abiding thing in man's nature is from and in his Higher Self, his higher nature. His body; his vital force; his astral double, the Linga-sharira; the kamic principle; the manas; all these pass away at death. Nothing of an abiding principle in the combination of these five. Yet while these five component parts of man's psychology hang together in physical life, they form the "man". Is there any one of you so egoistic as to think that this poor being of clay now speaking before you is the immortal spirit? Or the life which informs it? Or this poor mind of matter, which I am using as an instrument wherewith to speak to you? No!

The thought just expressed is commonly supposed - and rightly supposed - to be a Buddhist teaching; it is also the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom; it was likewise the teaching of the Stoics, and also of Plato. Why, it is likewise the teaching of the scriptures of Judaism and of Christianity. You doubt it? Turn to the Book of Ecclesiastes, one of the so-called sacred canonical works of the latter two religions. We have made our own translation of the following passages, for we trust not the translation of the theological scribes. They are too harsh on the one hand, and insufficiently clear on the other. We find, then, in this Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses 18 to 21, the following; and please [187] remember that this book is supposed to have been written by the so-called "wisest man in the world", Solomon. Whatever we may think of that notion, those who accept this book believe it. It is old-fashioned and popular theology.

Said I in my heart, concerning the nature of the sons of man (Adam) (it is) that the Elohim may form them, and to show that they are beasts, they themselves. For the destiny of the sons of man (Adam) and the destiny of the beast is one destiny to them: as dies the one, so dies the other; and the thinking faculty [the Hebrew word is Ruahh, very extraordinary indeed!] is one for all; and the superiority of man over the beast is nothing, because all are illusion. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all return to the dust.

But now listen to the following, showing that the writer of this, although he certainly was not that mythical figure "Solomon", was nevertheless a man who knew. Listen!

Who knows the thinking faculty of the sons of man which, herself, ascends above; and the thinking faculty of the beast which, herself, descends under the earth?

There we have the age-old teaching regarding psychology, and when properly understood, it will easily be seen that every word of it is true. And when the Key-Wisdom behind this brief exposition is understood, it will be seen to be unutterably beautiful. What vain illusions did those misguided men of the early sects of Christendom foist upon the early western European world; what irreligious folly, to teach that the physical body of man is such a permanent and necessary thing, that it will be resurrected, and, if the life of the indwelling soul was good, shall sit with multitudes on the "right hand of God Almighty". What unbelievably crass materialism! More spiritual harm was done to the European races by teachings such as this than anything, perhaps, that history records. Like many other teachings of early Christianity, this one was a horribly mistaken and distorted tenet of the Ancient Wisdom concerning the Regeneration of the Personality into an immortal Individuality - one of the ancient Mystery Doctrines which we explain briefly elsewhere. But, on the other hand, it is necessary to teach a man of his dual nature, a subject which our present Teacher calls to our attention almost daily, begging us to think about it and to try to understand it. Teach him that he is in his higher nature really an essential spirit, verily, an incarnate god, and that he can become consciously that god in the flesh if he will. And teach him that if he chooses to follow the beast-nature he becomes as a beast, for the inner Self tolerates not this latter course. The silver thread (which is golden above) is in that case broken; and instead of the man we have the man-beast, for from the man-beast the Soul departs, Nature's merciful liberation of the self-conscious indwelling Individuality. [188]

There is no "endless torture" or punishment anywhere.

Now, my time for this evening is drawing to a close. I have not said one-tenth part of what the Teacher has instructed me to say concerning this subject of the seventh Treasure in its connection with the "Wondrous Being"; yet I wish to add a few more words tonight before ending. First, as to my reason for using the term "The Lord Buddha". This is the reason. This Wondrous Being overshadowed about twenty-five hundred years ago, a pure and noble-minded youth born in the north of India. The vehicle, this youth, was in all ways receptive, and the Wisdom-teaching coming from him was given to the world. This chosen vehicle was called Siddhartha as his personal name; his clan-name was Gautama; and he was later given the title "Sakyamuni" - meaning the Sakya "sage"; he was also later called by the title of the "Buddha". This word Buddha is a title meaning the "Awakened", just as the word Christos or Christ, is a title meaning the "Anointed". The Wondrous Being overshadowed, yea, and partly entered into, this young man who had come strictly in accordance with the law of cycles, at the cyclically appointed time in the World's course; for an Awakened One, a full Christ, that is to say a Buddha, was cyclically destined to come at that time. He was in the line of the successively-coming Buddhas, and he was the noblest, he was the highest, of the Mystic Hierarchy of his period, as also he was then the nearest to this Wondrous Initiator, of any of our race. We know that our Teachers themselves speak of the Lord Buddha as their Teacher. That young man, we are taught, came directly from the Lodge: not his body; but the Holy Entity enfilling it. He was one of their greater ones. Concerning all these profound and wonderful doctrines there is vastly more that simply cannot be uttered here, for obvious reasons; there is an entire department of the Esoteric Philosophy involved which treats of some of the most carefully guarded secrets of Nature and Being. We merely, then, hint, and pass on.

H.P. Blavatsky herself, you may remember, took Pansil, a Pali word meaning the Five Qualities or Vows (in Sanskrit, Pancha-sila), and thereby became a formal Buddhist. Why? Because, as the Messenger from the Lodge, she knew perfectly well that back of the outward teachings, behind the exoteric doctrines of Gautama Buddha, there is the Inner Truth, there is the Esoteric Buddhism, as well as the Esoteric Budhism: the former word spelled with two d's, meaning the teachings of Gautama the Buddha; and the other word spelled with one d, and meaning Wisdom. And they are truly one when "Buddhism" is properly explained and understood. She knew exactly what she was about. Look, for instance, at the way in which she writes of the Buddha. [189]

But, while all the above is strict and accurate truth, I must enter here another caveat. Are we Buddhists? No. Not more so than we are Christians, except perhaps in this sense, that the religious philosophy of the Buddha Sakyamuni is incomparably nearer to the Ancient Wisdom, the Esoteric Philosophy. Its main fault today is that its later teachers carried its doctrines too far along merely formal or exoteric lines; and yet with all that, and to this day, it remains the purest and holiest of the exoteric religions on earth, and its teachings even exoterically are true. They need but the esoteric key in interpretation of them. As a matter of fact, the same may be said of all the great ancient World Religions. Christianity, Brahmanism, and others, all have the same esoteric Wisdom behind the outward veil of the exoteric formal faith.

You will remember that H.P. Blavatsky says somewhere that of the two branches of Buddhism, i.e., the Southern and the Northern, the Southern still retains the teachings of the "Buddha's brain", the "Eye Doctrine", that is to say his outer philosophy for the general world; and that the Northern still retains his "Heart Doctrine".

Now understand those two expressions. They are Buddhist terms: "Eye Doctrine" and "Heart Doctrine" are real Buddhist terms. They are also Esoteric Wisdom terms. The "Eye Doctrine" is that which is seen; it may be false and it may be true; but in the technical sense it is a true exotericism lacking only the key. The "Eye Doctrine" is sometimes called the doctrine of forms and ceremonies, that is, the formal outward presentation. Whereas the "Heart Doctrine" is that which is hid, but which is the inner life, the heart blood, of the religion. As the eye is seen and also sees; so, conversely, the heart is unseen, but is the life giver, and applied to religion the expression means the doctrine of the inner heart of the Teaching. As a secondary thought, it also gives the idea that it contains the nobler part of human conduct, what people call kindliness, humanity, compassion, pity.

We hope to resume our studies concerning this Wondrous Being when the Leader calls us together again. It depends upon ourselves as to how long our studies are to last. It is for the Teacher to judge of this, and I think that we all of us - I know I so feel - should bow our heart in gratitude to the Masters' representative here among us for giving us this chance to purify our souls with the thoughts which come to us not merely from ancient times, but from those high Souls who stand back of her, and who, if they do not actually "guide" this movement, at least, we are told, they "watch over it and protect it", providing always that we in our turn do our full duty by her who sits among us, their representative. [190]

Chapter XVIII


Then the Blessed One spake, and said;

Know, Vasettha, that (from time to time) a Tathagata is born into the world, a fully Enlightened One, blessed and worthy, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the world, unsurpassed as a guide to erring mortals, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face to face this universe - the world below with all its spirits, and the worlds above, of Mara and of Brahm_ - and all creatures. Samanas and Brahmans, gods and men, and he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth cloth he proclaim both in its letter and in its spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all it 'perfeceness.'

- Sacred Books of the East, Tevigga Sutta, 186-7

Our study this evening begins with reading once more a part of the matter from the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, which was read at our last meeting, three weeks ago, I believe; namely, on page 207, the end of the first paragraph:

The Arhats of the "fire-mist" of the seventh rung are but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy - the highest on Earth, and our Terrestrial chain. This "Root-Base" has a name which can only be translated by several compound words into English - "the Ever-living Human Banyan." This "Wondrous Being" descended from a "high region," they say, in the early part of the Third Age, before the separation of the sexes of the Third Race.

This evening we are going to make a step forward, in some respects, far and away beyond any distance that we have traveled on a similar occasion. Our preceding two studies have been for the purpose, mainly, of illustrating some of the preliminary ideas connected with this wonderful doctrine of the "Wondrous Being".

First, then, let us note that the keyword of this teaching is the word "Banyan". Doubtless you all know what a banyan tree is, a well-known tree in India, and called the Ficus bengalensis, the "Bengal Fig", because it is a relative of the fig tree. It grows rapidly, and soon attains to very respectable dimensions. From its branches there hang down tendrils, which, when they reach the soil, strike into the ground and become roots there. And the tendril which grew down and rooted itself in the ground becomes [191] another tree trunk, in its turn sending forth branches, these branches anew sending forth other tendrils, becoming in their turn new roots, which again become new trunks, sending forth other branches, developing in their turn new tendrils, and so on. It is a wonderful figure of speech to have been chosen for this subject.

Now this "Wondrous Being" is a spiritual Banyan. To say that it is "our Higher Self", would be using a misleading phrase; it would be doing violence to the facts. Notwithstanding this, however, in one sense it is our Higher Self, our Paramatman. From it we spiritually spring; and when, in the course of the cycles, the life-wave shall have run its Rounds on this Planetary Chain, into the Hierarchical Banyan again we shall be withdrawn. It is in very truth, so far as this planet is concerned, and so far as its thinking entities more particularly are concerned, our "Father in Heaven". The "Wondrous Being" referred to here must not be confused with its lower copy, the Supreme Initiator, the Great Sacrifice, the Head of the Spiritual-psychological Hierarchy of Adepts, the more immediate subject of our present study.

You will remember that in our former studies we pointed out that the course of the evolution of man, more particularly of his psychological nature, was a copy in miniature of the development not merely of worlds of the Macrocosmic Scale, but also of various high Spiritual Beings who form the directing Intelligences of the Kosmos, and of their Vehicles in the universe. First, when the time comes for manifestation, for the sending forth of a life-wave, it begins, rounds out, and then completes its evolutionary course on the first "plane" of its downward and forward journey. Then, passing from that "plane", to use the ordinary term, and going to a lower one, it leaves on the plane or sphere to and into which it had first penetrated, vehicles of various sorts, remaining more or less active, though the main vigor of the life-wave has passed on. And so through and in all of the seven planes or spheres of manifestation. First in the spiritual world; then in the psychical; then in the astral; and lastly in the physical; thus reaching the limit which the active impulse or force of the Evolutionary Wave attains in that particular Manvantara, which is what we call "absolute matter" for that particular life-wave: four planes from its beginning, counting downwards. Three more planes upwards round out the manvantaric cycle.

Remember here that our Teaching allows of no such things as "Absolutes" in the ordinary sense, for actually all "Absolutes" are relative. The Absolute Self, our "Father in Heaven", is but the "Absolute" of our Hierarchy, its crown, its summit, its glory; or, considering it as the beginning of manifested beings, the Root or the Seed thereof. And, as all nature works in bipolar phases, "absolute matter", therefore, is the ultimate depth to which a [192] spiritual impulse can reach in that particular manvantaric cycle. Below it are other complete Hierarchies; while above our hierarchical (not individual) "Father in Heaven" is the lowest plane of another but superior Hierarchy, one of innumerable multitudes of Hierarchies, which in their aggregate comprise the Universal Kosmos.

In our last study we spoke of the care that we should have when we speak of the "One"; the reason is that there are infinite multitudes of such "Ones", a necessary implication of what we have said this evening and elsewhere.

Now, as the Monad descends into matter, or rather as its Ray - one of other innumerable Rays proceeding from it - is propelled into matter, it secretes from itself and then excretes on each one of the seven planes through which it passes its various vehicles, all overshadowed by the Self, the same Self in you and in me, in plants and in animals, in fact in all that is and belongs to that Hierarchy. It is the One Self, the Supreme Self or Paramatman of the Hierarchy. It illumines and follows each individual Monad and all the latter's hosts of Rays. Each such Monad is a Spiritual Seed from the previous Manvantara, which manifests as a Monad in this Manvantara; and this Monad through its Rays throws out from itself by secretion and then excretion all its vehicles; and these vehicles are, first, the Spiritual Ego, the reflection or copy in miniature of the Monad itself, but individualized through the manvantaric evolution, "bearing" or "carrying" as a vehicle the Monadic Ray. The latter cannot directly contact the lower planes, because it is the monadic essence itself, the latter a still higher Ray of the infinite Boundless composed of infinite multiplicity in unity.

The next vehicle is the spiritual soul, the "bearer" of the Spiritual Ego. On its own higher plane, this vehicle is, as it were, a sheaf or pillar of light. Similarly with the various Egos and their related vehicle-souls on the inferior planes, all growing constantly more dense, as the planes of matter gradually thicken downwards and become more dense, into which the monadic Ray penetrates until the final "soul". The "final soul" is the physical body, the general vehicle or "bearer" or "carrier" of them all. "Soul", as the term is here used, is seen to be a general expression for any "bearer" or "carrier" of an egoic center, or "ego".

When we call this Hierarchical Wondrous Being our "Highest Self", we mean that it is the Primeval or Originating Seed from which we grow and develop into composite entities, the immortal divine part of our nature and being. We can consider it, in one aspect, as a sheaf of Divine Light separating into innumerable individuals or entities (Monads and Monadic Rays) in a Manvantara; [193] and when the Pralaya comes, again withdrawing and drawn back into Itself, enriched and ennobled, however, through its countless Hosts of Manifested Monads and Monadic Rays, with the individualizing experience that these latter have gained; because, though at first unconscious "god-sparks", they are now self-conscious divinities. The innumerably various individual consciousnesses increase in power and glory and self-cognition by means of the life and lives through which It (and they) have passed. Hence the Wonder Teaching flowing forth from this. Listen carefully:

Last spring, it will be remembered, by the Teacher's instructions, we pointed out that the one end and aim of all manvantaric evolution is the raising of the mortal into Immortality; and we mentioned as an illustration of the idea the beautiful Invocation of Katherine Tingley, our present Teacher, "that from the corruptible I may become Incorruptible; that from darkness I may go forth in Light". That, indeed, is the aim and end of Kosmic evolution. Have we reached as yet such a state, you and I? We have not; and our immortality as men is nonexistent or rather conditional, and will so be until we have "raised the corruptible into Incorruptibility".

In order to make things more clear, please note the following:

No Student or Hearer of these Studies should feel discouraged at what may seem to him to be the "confusion" caused by using such words as "spiritual", "divine", "Wondrous Being", "the One", "hierarchy", and many more, in various places which seem different from other places or conditions. The fact is, that such usage is really unavoidable. No European language has evolved terms or expressions suitable to these majestic and often (to us) complex doctrines; and hence a speaker is obliged to do the best he can in this respect. But please mark this well: There need be no confusion whatsoever, and in time there will be none, if the student or reader will constantly bear in mind the following facts. The entire framework of Kosmos, or Nature, is builded throughout in scalar fashion, and on "correspondences" and "repetitives"; so that, actually, the same descriptive words are properly applied to any theme of a repetitive character; for the reason that there are no "absolutes" anywhere, and everything is strictly "relative" to everything else. The only differences are those of evolutionary development; and the relative and varying greater or less degree in which "spirit" or "matter" is evolved or manifesting. The "divine" of one Hierarchy is actually "grossest matter" to another far superior Hierarchy; but within one and the other the "repetitive" rules apply very strictly; because Kosmos or Nature follows one GENERAL COURSE and ONE "LAW", and has one general and throughout [194] repeated course of action, which applies as strictly and fully to a Kosmos as to the less kosmos, the Atom.

Hence, the "Wondrous Being" of our own Planetary Spiritual-Psychological Hierarchy of Adepts, etc., is a correspondence in small of the Kosmical One of the Universal Kosmical Hierarchy of the Solar System, etc.

Bearing this rule ever in mind, confusion will gradually fade away into dazzling light of Illumination. It is well worth trying!

Some perhaps may think it a remarkable thing that in our last two studies we contrasted the case of the "lost soul" with the case of the Children of this Wondrous Being - the Buddhas. Naturally the former are the other or nether pole of the Buddhas; as these "lost souls" are, like the Buddhas, cases of extreme rarity of occurrence. In our present state of evolution, in which these "lost souls" occur, equally rare is the other occurrence: the raising of the mortal into Immortality, of the corruptible into Incorruptibility.

Let us go into this a little farther. What is it that is "lost"? It is the "soul". Now what is "soul"? As I have explained before, by our use it is a vehicle on the higher planes manifesting as a sheaf or pillar of light; and on the lower planes, depending upon the spirituality of the plane, or its materiality, a more or less physically corporeal body. These "souls" in all cases are living, more (or less) conscious, sentient entities; living beings; composite; each one of them composed of innumerable multitudes of less (inferior) entities, as our body itself is composed of quasi-infinite numbers of atomic cosmoi, tiny cosmoses, minute universes.

Now such a soul becomes "lost", annihilated truly, when it has lost its touch or rather union with that which gives it immortality - or the promise of it. For, if and when, the impulse, all impulses or aspirations, towards the indwelling divinity, towards its closer union therewith, have faded out or ceased completely, then there is nothing left in it to hold it together, for it is wholly a compounded thing, as said before, and it then disintegrates, falls to pieces, as the physical body will disintegrate in the fire, or in the earth. What then happens to the immortal Monad which had informed it? Its career in that vehicle is violently checked. The course of nature, of destiny, in that particular instance, has been violated and interrupted. Yet all the previous spiritual gleanings from the former lives of that Monad in other former vehicles, still remain; and, after a certain period, it (the Monad) shoots forth another Ray, another Ego; although the page of the "lost soul" remains blank, so to say - it is, as it were, non-existent, completely wiped out. Immortality has no record of it. It is truly a terrible thing, not only spiritually, but [195] for the higher soul, the spiritual ego, itself. (See the diagram on page 221.) I cannot say more of this at present.

On the contrary, on the other side, when once in many, many generations the Flower of Spirituality blooms full in a Soul, and mortality is raised into Immortality, we have the opposite case: a Master is born, consciously immortal, linked forever with his Higher Individual Self. As the one case is one pole, so is the other case the other pole of Nature's course.

But when the former soul is "lost", there is then for it no more pain, no more sorrow; it is wiped out, and vanishes, even as a shadow which passes along a wall and is gone.

Now listen! Modern science tells us in its hypotheses built upon its new recent discoveries, that every physical atom is composed first, of a central nucleus which is called a "proton"; and, second, that around it go circling, cycling, revolving - precisely as the planets and many comets in the solar system do around the Sun - other corpuscular bodies called "electrons". We will use these facts as illustrative of our theme because the conception is so closely similar in outline to that of the Ancient Wisdom. The next idea to grasp is that mere bulk, mere magnitude, is no proof or criterion of greatness, either in spiritual grandeur or in physical power. The fact is that every atom in the manifested universe is a "bearer" and a "carrier" of lives. Our bodies are actually composed and builded up of innumerable hosts of such atoms, every one a miniature cosmos or solar system, every one of them carrying its hosts of astral-psychic and even spiritual infinitesimals. Over all, through all, permeating all, controlling all, giving connected and inhering life to all, are the predominant life, power, and characteristic of our own personality, of our own personal ego as man; the Paramatman, the spiritual Self, the "Father in Heaven" of these infinitesimal beings. We are not necessarily greater in essence than any one unit of these innumerable hosts of infinitesimals which live, and move, and have their being, in one or another or another or another atom of our body. There may be entities among them very much farther advanced than we are, paradoxical as the statement may sound; and therefore I repeat: "Break the molds of your minds; let in the light!" Because a thing may be strange to the mind and because it may sound new, is it therefore necessarily untrue? How dare you or I or anyone say: "This or that is the only truth, the only thing that can be?" What is the criterion of truth here? What, indeed, is truth, as judged by such standards?

Let us go a step farther. In our body, or, for instance, in its organs: the heart, the liver, the brain, and others, each one receiving from the predominant personal ego of the man certain [196] particular rays of force, and each one a kosmical universe or a universal kosmos for the hosts of atomic infinitesimals composing it; in this connection, I say, has it ever struck you, has it ever occurred to you, that our solar system is such an atomic infinitesimal as compared with the Universal Kosmos; formed of its proton the Sun, and of its electrons the planets, each planet bearing its hosts of lives, and forming a part of the vehicle or body, if you will, of some immense Titanic Entity, utterly beyond our sphere of comprehension? "God"? But why "God"? What assurance have we that such a Titanic Entity is better than you or I, as "God" is supposed to be? Mere magnitude or bulk, mere material magnitude, is absolutely no criterion of anything. Our picture may or it may not be true. But the point to get here is this, that as our body is held together by the forces driving through it, and coming from us, secreted and excreted by you and by me; so does the One of the Universal Kosmos - or of any inferior Hierarchy to it - send forth and control the many. Thus, then, the Universal Kosmical "Wondrous Being" is our Highest Self; which in no way whatever contradicts or interferes with the other fact, that each one of us has his own monadic Higher Self, a Spark thereof, destined in its turn to become in future Manvantaras, the Highest Self of a Kosmos! Profound, sublime thought! And the Wondrous Being of inferior scope and splendor, who is the Root-Base of our own Planetary Spiritual-Psychological Hierarchy of Adepts, a miniature as it were of the Kosmical, is the one spoken of in the passage of The Secret Doctrine which forms our present theme.

Promises made on the Teacher's instructions, in our School, are sacred. Following those instructions, it was promised in the spring of last year that it would be our duty, if these meetings were continued, to simplify and if possible to explain and illustrate to the best of our ability - and no man can do more - the Esoteric Wisdom as it was secretly taught in the ancient sanctuaries, universally over the archaic world, and as it is taught today, as far as we know it, by our own Masters and their representatives, for that Wisdom is one, the same ages ago as now; the same on another planet as here. There cannot be two Truths in the universe. That promise has been carried out, up to the present time, under great difficulties, not the least of which is that the Teacher's instructions were that these studies should be conducted in such fashion that when the time came for their publication, no one reading them shall comprehend or shall receive the full key, excepting only those who have been initiated in this group, or who are members of this School. "Initiated" means those who have begun a study, as you and I are "beginners", who have begun this sublime study; and our older students here [197] know it well, for doubtless they have the key to understand it. They have received their esoteric instructions, which enable them to follow the threads of our difficult themes; but one "outside" could not do so. And this may be said, that upon looking over the stenographic reports of such of our studies as we have been enabled to obtain and correct, very few changes were required to render the thought closed to outsiders, at least in part. Those changes which are required are simply in order better to illustrate meanings, or changes of the phrasing, or the choice of a more appropriate and clearer word. So far, then, our task has been successful.

Now, the Hierarchical Wondrous Being has been deliberately spoken of in our last two studies and also in this our present study, as an Entity, because, generalizing the conception, it is an Entity. But there are three forms in which, or planes upon which, this Entity manifests; and for the sake of perspicuity and convenience, just here, we are going to use the Buddhist phraseology, the phraseology of Buddhism and Tibet, as expressed in the Sanskrit language. The highest aspect, or the highest subentity of the Wondrous Being is called Adi-buddha, adi meaning primeval (or the highest). This Adi-buddha is in the Dharma-kaya state - you all know what this word means: a Sanskrit compound of two words meaning the "Continuance Body", sometimes translated equally well - or ill - the "Body of the Law", both very inadequate expressions, for the difficulty in translating these extremely mystical terms is very great; a mere "correct" dictionary translation misses the esoteric meaning entirely; and just there is where Occidental scholars make such ludicrous errors at times. The first word comes from the root Dhri, meaning to support, to sustain, to carry, to bear; hence to continue; also human laws are the agencies supposed to carry, support, sustain, civilization; the second element, kaya, means "body"; the noun thus formed may be rendered the "body of the Law", but this phrase does not give the idea at all. It is that spiritual body or state of a high spiritual being in which the sense of soulship and egoity has vanished into a universal (hierarchical) sense, and remains only in the seed, i.e., latent - if even so much. It is pure consciousness, pure bliss, pure intelligence, freed from all personalizing thought.

The second aspect or subentity is called the Dhyani-buddha, "Contemplation-buddha", a great descent from the former, so far as mere impersonal spirituality goes. This is carried by the Sambhoga-kaya, two Sanskrit words meaning "Enjoyment Body", or rather "Participation Body", because the Buddha in the Sambhoga-kaya state still participates in, still retains, its consciousness as an individual, its egoship and its soul, though it is [198] still too far above material or personal concerns to care about or to meddle with them; and therefore it would be powerless here on our material earth. As H.P. Blavatsky once said, a god from the spheres celestial, living solely in its own nature, and without a material body to manifest in material spheres, would be utterly powerless there.

The third, and lowest, yet in one sense the highest aspect or subentity (highest on account of the immense, willing, self-sacrifice involved in its incarnation in human flesh) is the Manusha Buddha, meaning "human Buddha", because born in a human body for compassionate work among men. The Manusha Buddha at will or need, lives and works in the Nirmana-kaya, "Form Body", about which a very wonderful doctrine exists, to be explained later.

Now, the Dhyani-buddhas are one of the ten classes of beings which came to our globe from the preceding Planetary Manvantara. Shortly, we will recite them, as follows: three Elemental Kingdoms, the lowest; the Mineral Kingdom; the Plant Kingdom; the Beast Kingdom. I pause a moment in order to make a remark. Please do not say "animal" in this connection. We must have precision here. "Animal" means any being which has an anima, or vital soul. Man is an "animal" in that sense, but he is not a "beast". His vital-astral-physical body is a "beast", and he works in and with a human soul through a beast- or vital-soul, enlightened by a spiritual Soul. We hope to have time later to illustrate this point more fully this evening.

Then another Kingdom after the Beast Kingdom: the Manusha Kingdom or Human Kingdom. So far, then, we have three Elemental Kingdoms, 3; then the mineral, 4; plant, 5; beast, 6; human, 7. Then begin the Dhyani-Chohans of three classes. Man in his higher nature is an embryo Dhyani-Chohan, an embryo "Lord of Meditation". It is his destiny, if he run the race successfully, to blossom forth at the end of the Seventh Round, as a "Lord of Meditation"; if you like, as a spiritual Planetary, or a Planetary Spirit, when this planetary manvantaric kalpa is ended, this Day of Brahm_, which are the Seven Rounds in seven stages each. But there are three classes of Dhyani-Chohans, as said; these three classes in their turn are each divided into seven, as you know. Now of these three the lowest class being divided into seven, of these seven the fourth is that Dhyani-Chohan who is our "God in Heaven", for this Fourth Round. Its spiritual Primary is the Adi-buddha of the Fourth Round. It itself is a Dhyani-buddha. Let us try to make this clearer. On each planet or globe of the seven globes forming the Planetary Chain, as the life-wave touches it in a Round - and similarly through all the seven Rounds - there is evolved, or [199] rather appears, a Buddha, it might be better to say a Maha-buddha; one at the commencement of a globe's awakening to life again; and another Maha-buddha when the life-wave leaves the planet after completing its Round there. Likewise, for each Race during such a Globe Round there appears another Buddha, who, so to say, is a Ray from the Maha-buddha of the planet, and is called the Race Buddha; and he in his turn, at the middle of the Race, or when the central point of the race is nearing, overshadows a chosen human vessel of purity and nobility, or spiritual grandeur, this last becoming the Buddha preparing the spiritual way for the great Race Buddha of the succeeding Root Race, who appears shortly before the close of the preceding Root Race. Such a one (as this last) was the Lord Sakyamuni, Gautama Buddha, of whom we spoke during our last study, who is now living on earth, as the Teachers tell us, a Nirmana-kaya. A Nirmana-kaya is the lowest of the three mystical vehicles, as we explained a little while ago. It exists in seven degrees or kinds, the lowest being the case where the entity, the spiritual entity, retains all his human principles except the physical body. All. He is a man in every respect, except for the physical body, which he has discarded.

Now all these Buddhas - and we have no time this evening to illustrate the wonderful mysteries connected with this doctrine, no time this evening, at least - all these Buddhas of a Round derive from the Dhyani-buddha of that Round. They form part of the spiritual-psychological Hierarchy of that Round. It is this Dhyani-buddha, of our Fourth Round, our "Father in Heaven", who is the "Wondrous Being", the Great Initiator, the Sacrifice, spoken of before. The name and titles are sometimes likewise applied to that spiritual Entity, the Race Buddha, who comes shortly before or at the beginning of a Root Race; and who at certain epochs during the course of that Race, chooses a fit human vehicle, usually one of the Great Lodge, overshadows this chosen vessel or incarnates in it, as the case may be - depending upon the materiality of the Race and Round and many other factors - and so overshadowed the Chosen Vessel becomes the Manusha - or human Buddha. Strictly speaking, the Race Buddha himself is a Manusha, or human Buddha, also. As remarked before, probably none of these titles or names are hard and fast as limited to one sole entity; they are often applied, mutatis mutandis, to more than one sole Entity or class. This is extremely suggestive.

It is in this manner that this subject of the "Wondrous Being", which seems so intricate, but which is actually so simple, is explained. It seems intricate on account of its subtlety, but it is very simple indeed. It is our brain-minds of matter which [200] prevent us from seeing it easily and clearly. The Ray running through all our individual being, from which we draw our spiritual life and spiritual sustenance, comes direct to us from this Hierarchical Wondrous Being in whom we all are rooted. He to us, psychologically and spiritually, holds exactly the same place that the human ego, the man-ego, holds to the innumerable multitudes of Elemental entities which compose his body- atomic infinitesimals, before referred to, are not meant here. But listen:

The analogy is correct also in this respect, that if we made it universal, kosmic, we would say that that Inexpressible ONE, which is the Utmost of the Utmost, and the Inmost of the Inmost, of our Kosmical Universe, comprising the greatest boundaries of the Milky Way: corresponds to all within the Milky Way as our human ego corresponds to the infinitesimal atomic universes which compose its own physical body. The symbology is there; the correspondence is there; and it is by the correspondence that we are striving to explain somewhat of the Mystery, how the One becomes the Many; not because the One "descends into matter" or becomes "many" materially and literally. Not at all. But in the same way that the Sun is an immense and exhaustless reservoir of vital, psychic, and spiritual rays, sending them out through billions of years, exhaustlessly; in the same way this Hierarchical Wondrous Being of Kosmic magnitude, through Its inferior but high Wondrous Beings of various degrees, enlightens us and uplifts us and inspires us, and leads us onward and upward towards immortality, for aye doing its best, through Its own spiritual Ray within us, to illumine and lighten our material corruptibility, in order to make it incorruptible; that from Personality we may enter Individuality; "that from darkness, we may go forth in Light!" And the time will come when we shall do this Work and become incorruptible consciously, working with Nature and becoming one with her; for, just as this Wondrous Being is the foundation force back and behind of all that we call Nature, so that same Wondrous Being in far-gone former Manvantaras was then a Man, even as you and I now are. Such we shall also become, if we run the Kosmic race successfully! Wonderful, inspiring thought!

Now, I wish to read a citation from our present Teacher, Katherine Tingley, taken from one of her recent lectures, because it is so appropriate to our present studies on this point, that if we come here with pure hearts and a sincere motive, learning from each other in the spirit of true comradeship and brotherly love, we shall all get something high and fine, something to urge us upward and onward. It will be a holy thing, a benediction. I [201] tell you, the opening of these studies by our Teacher has a deeper meaning than appears on the surface. She has told you herself that the time had not before come when we could study together, and that each one takes from these meetings what he wills to take. Listen:

A man gets what he works for, and if he does not work for it, he does not get it. But when one wants truth so much that he is actually hungry for it, he gets it. It is the wine of life, so to speak, the revelation of the book of life. No language can describe it.

And again:

Those who desire the truth, those who have the courage to enter the new life, those who have the desire to be reborn in a sense, must throw overboard everything that has held them down in their limitations, in their doubts, in their fears, their dislikes, and their passions. Man is a majestic being if he knows his own spiritual nature, and works assiduously to become that which he was intended to be.

We are cutting brief our lecture tonight; it is already very long; we have still more to say, and our time for closing is drawing near.

Another thought that must be hinted at tonight is, that our wonderful book here, H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, is both an exoteric book and an esoteric book. It contains doctrines which were esoteric before this book was printed. Now they are "exoteric". But if anyone thinks - I never did, thank the immortal Gods! - if anyone thinks that he knows The Secret Doctrine by reading it once or even a dozen times, or a score of times, he mistakes greatly the situation. It must be read not only between the lines, but within the words. I have found the value of the following rule: never take a single statement in it and allow your mind to mold itself around it, never let a single idea crystallize; break the molds, let in the light. It is an excellent rule. As soon as a man says: "I have the truth. I do not agree with such a one of our teachers: I think such and such a teacher was wrong", look out for him, for he is probably blind. The molds of his mind are crystallized, and he cannot see the light.

I have learned these lessons, and I speak as a witness. Every evening, before I go to sleep, I go over the events of the day, and I try to find one or more things in which I have allowed my mind to crystallize around a thought or a fact; and I am merciless to myself if I catch it or them. Not for a minute do I temporize. When I find molds of mind, I break them, for I know too well what they mean.

These things, these thoughts that we study, are serious, there is no playing with them; it means going up or going down; and you have the choice of paths daily, momentarily, instantly. Forgive me for seeming a bit personal. I do not mean that as a preachment. [202] I speak from my heart, for I have found the truth of what I say, and its great value.

Now to illustrate by a diagram or paradigm this question of souls and egos alluded to this evening:

Please note here what is intended to be an egg-shaped design. It is not a graphic representation, that is, a picture; it is a paradigm. A paradigm is a graphic symbol, but not a picture of a thing.

Let the three parallel lines drawn above the egg represent, if you will, the Arupa world, the formless world; and the seven planes comprised within the Egg, the Rupa world, seven being the number of the principles always in manifestation, held in union as an individual by the Higher Triad, the arupa-triad, its Root above.

Now, the three higher of the seven within the Egg are also called Arupa, "formless", but only relatively so. Please remember one of the first lessons of our Esoteric Wisdom: There are no [203] absolutes. We speak indeed of "absolutes", but only as relative "absolutes". The popular, ordinary sense of this word as "limitless or endless completions", is utterly inadmissible, for there are no absolutes, of that kind, for every thing is relative in quality and space and time to something else, and it must be so unless we cast logic and common sense to the winds.

Just think of it: if any thing were "Absolute" in the old popular sense, it would be everything, and there could be nothing but that in manifestation, hence no change for betterment, no progress, no evolution. Relativity - which means universally occurring relationships in space and time - is the very heart of the conception of the Kosmos as an aggregate of evolving entities, the offspring of infinite Motion, infinite Life, infinite Progress always.

To continue our discussion of the paradigm: Now, through this egg-shaped paradigm falls the Ray, from the Arupa world, represented by this vertical line signifying the Self, universally manifesting in every atom it touches in this Kosmos - and it permeates them all - as the self individual, the self egoic, the human self, the astral self, etc. These three highest divisions, the Arupa-Triad, collectively are also called the Paramatman, a Sanskrit word meaning the "Supreme Self", the Summit or Flower of the Hierarchy, the Root-Base or Source of that Self. Please always keep in mind that there is another Hierarchy above our highest division, this division beginning with the lowest, the "absolute matter", of that higher Hierarchy. Everything is relative. "Absolute matter" even of our own Hierarchy would be intangible, invisible, to us. Why? Because our present physical senses do not belong to its plane, and therefore have not been trained by evolution to take cognizance of it; our senses, eyesight, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching, can cognise only those things, and all those things, which they have been built to cognise through experience in and through ourselves. We have not descended in this Manvantara into the "absolute matter" of any other Hierarchy than our own; we have gone down only as far as the stages of this Hierarchy would let us go. I do not here mean our Kosmical Hierarchy. I do mean our Planetary Hierarchy. Do not be absolute in the application of terminology, for the reasons already set forth. We must, when we hear a "Hierarchy" spoken of, immediately question which one. When we hear the "Self" spoken of, we must immediately question which one. When we hear the "soul" spoken of, let us immediately ask ourselves which soul. This is a safe rule and guide to follow in interpretation of any and all passages.

Now, as just said, these three highest planes represented by these three horizontal lines paradigmatically represent the Paramatman or Supreme Self of the Hierarchy, in the Archetypal [204] World. If you please, let this topmost circle inside the Egg represent the Monadic Envelope or the Divine Soul, which is called, from another standpoint, the Atman or Divine Ego. The circle on the horizontal plane below the Monadic Envelope let us call the Spiritual Soul or the Individual Monad. The Self corresponding to it is the Jivatma. Next comes the third circle in this Egg, and corresponding to it is the higher Human Soul, composed of the lower Buddhi and the higher Manas; and the Self corresponding to it is the Bhutatman, meaning the "Self of that which has been", or the Reincarnating Ego. The fourth still lower, is the lower Human Soul or Man, Manas and Kama; and the self corresponding to it is Pranatman, or Personal Ego. The next circle, still lower - growing progressively darker like all the others, which I have attempted to illustrate by increasing the shading - is the Beast-Soul, Kama-Prana. And the self corresponding to it may be simply called the Beast-Ego. Finally, the lowest "soul" of all, is the physical body or "soul." Remember that the word "soul", in our ancient Wisdom, means "vehicle"; and, of course, this lowest vehicle, the physical body, also comprehends the Prana, and the Linga-sharira or model body which is its background and seed and root. These three are inseparable.

Now please notice in this diagram the role played by the Self, represented roughly by the line dropped from the highest and running through and permeating all the planes below its Archetypal Origin. I wish to call to your attention the fact that not merely Plato, but the entire Greek school of mystic philosophies, spoke of the Self as immanent in Kosmos, and as a Sacrifice, which Christian mystics call sometimes the "Christ crucified in matter"; and, if we care to make the application to the exoteric Christian religion of the doctrine of the Wondrous Being which we have been studying, we shall discover that the whole Christian mythos or story was actually drawn from it, the entire thing, and distortedly called the "incarnation of the Logos". In old Greek philosophy, the word "logos" was used in many ways, which the Christians sadly misunderstood. The Dhyani-Chohan, of which we have spoken this evening, is our spiritual logos, the Planetary Logos, so far as this Fourth Round is concerned. The spiritual entity behind the Sun is the Solar Logos of our Solar System. Small or great as every Solar System may be, each has its own Logos, the Source or Fountainhead of almost innumerable logoi of less degree in that system. Every man has his own spiritual logos; every atom has its own logos; every atom has its own Paramatman and Mula-prakriti, for every entity everywhere has its own highest. These things and the words which express them are relative. Bulk and magnitude have nothing whatsoever to do with it; it is quality, spiritual quality, which is the true [205] criterion. This is a great and useful thing to remember. I have found inestimable help in that one rule.

We have only a few minutes more of time this evening. I have been asked by the Teacher, briefly to speak of another matter, and that is in connection with the recurring cycles of the year, and especially as regards the New Year. H.P. Blavatsky somewhere, I think it was in an old issue of her magazine Lucifer at the beginning of the New Year of 1890, says, among other things in a very interesting article, that Theosophists and Esotericists particularly should hold the fourth day of January as the beginning of the New Year. Now that is an extremely interesting statement; and in general connection with it, I wish to call your attention to one very important fact, which is that our Esoteric Wisdom is based entirely on Nature and her fundamental operations. Nature, as we understand that word, does not mean only the physical, visible universe. That is merely the shell or body of Nature the Real. Nature, with us, as has been often stated before, means the entire aggregate of everything that is, inwards and outwards, of all planes in all spheres throughout the Boundless.

Now the significance of this in the present connection is that the esoteric method of reckoning time is a natural method - based wholly on recondite operations of Nature. It is not an artificial method. You will find that none of the real anniversaries in our School is based on man-made ideas or on chance, such as the artificial scheme used by the French during the French Revolution, for instance; or dating from the founding of a city, like Rome, for instance; or from the death of some great man, like Jesus, for instance. Such methods, as a matter of fact, are unknown in the Esoteric Chronology; though parallels do exist, but are based on natural cycles. The Ancient Wisdom bases all its chronological reckonings upon the kosmic clock which Nature gives us, and which is majestic, infallible, and a perfect timekeeper. That clock is the heavenly vault; and the Sun, the Moon, the seven planets (as the ancients reckoned them), and the stars, are the "hands" marking time cycles. The year mostly used in reckoning time, by the ancients, is what astronomers call the "tropical year", so-called from the change of the seasons. Winter, spring, summer, autumn; winter, spring, summer, autumn; recurring regularly; and recurring regularly because based on the movement of the earth around the Sun, like a hand on the dial of the kosmical clock. The so-called anomalistic year and the sidereal year were both known to ancient astronomy, but were not used except for purely astronomical (not astrological) calculations, or only rarely for astrological reckoning.

Mark the difference between astrology and astronomy. Astronomy is the science of the movements, and the relations to [206] each other, of the stars and planets. That is all. It simply tells us what they are made of, where they move, and when they move, and how long it takes them to move along certain orbits or paths, and is purely exoteric. But "astrology", mind you, which means the science of the stars (while "astronomy" proudly calls itself the "Law of the Stars"), just as "geology" means the science of the earth: ancient astrology, mind you - not the pasteboard-science which passes under that name today, but the ancient spiritual-astral astrology, a true and profound wisdom about the evolution of divinity into and through matter, and about the human soul and the human spirit - taught the science of the relations of the parts of Kosmic Nature among themselves, and more particularly as that science applied to man and his destiny as timed by the celestial orbs. From that great and noble science sprang up, as said, an exoteric pseudo-science, derived from the Mediterranean and Asian practice, eventuating in the modern schemes of so-called "astrology" - a poor, degraded, and worn-out remnant of Ancient Wisdom.

Now, all nations had ways of reckoning the year and fixing the beginning of the year. Not all nations put the opening of the year at the same date; some nations reckoned from the winter solstice, that is when the Sun has attained its southernmost point, before beginning its slow course northwards again. I am speaking as an inhabitant of the northern hemisphere of the earth. Of course, in South America and in lands below the equator, the conditions are reversed. But now we are speaking of the northern hemisphere. Other nations reckoned the beginning of the year at the summer solstice, about June 21 or 22; while the winter solstice takes place on or about December 21. Other nations again reckoned the opening of the year at the spring equinox, March 21 or 22. Other nations began the reckoning of the year at the autumnal equinox, six months later, on September 21 or 22. The Jews, for instance, had two years: a civil year, beginning in September, at the autumnal equinox, and a religious year, beginning with the spring equinox. The ancient Germanic nations of northern Europe before the time of Caesar, began the year at the winter solstice, on December 21; the ancient Greeks began their year at different times of the annual cycle, but most often, probably, in the autumn; and the ancient Romans began it in the spring. The ancient Egyptians began it in the summer; and the ancient Persians, and the Syrians, and other nations, had each its own period for opening the year.

The Mediterranean civilizations were already on the downward path for many centuries before what in Europe is popularly called the year "1 AD". They were slowly losing a great deal of the [207] Ancient Wisdom, and an understanding of its great secrets, and it was shown not merely in the manner in which the Eleusinia Mysteries were modified and changed, but also in the constant shifting and remodeling of their calendars, and in their methods of computing time, of calculating chronological periods, the beginnings and ends of various cycles, etc. The Romans were particularly blameworthy in this regard. They were perhaps worse in that respect than any other nation known to us. If some dictator or political chieftain wished to have a few days more of power, or to prevent or to postpone an election, he would begin to meddle with the Calendar, a course of conduct carried on with the connivance or through the ignorance or negligence of the Pontiffs. And so finally it came about that, on account of the disorder of the Calendar, at the time of Julius Caesar - to be exact in the year 46-47 BC - the calends of January, that is the first day of January, fell on the day of the season which now corresponds to the 13th of October; and if the confusion had continued indefinitely, the first of January would in due course have taken place in all the months of the year, wandering through them, and finally completing its course around the year somewhere in March, having completed the cycle. It should be added that the old standard Roman year was lunar, consisting of about 354 days.

Julius Caesar deserves credit for having stopped this confusion by his reformation of the Roman Calendar. I do not mean to say that Caesar did it all himself; he did not; for though he was a clever man and an amateur astronomer, yet he had the services of an Egyptian - or Alexandrian Greek - astronomer, a man of great ability, called Sosigenes; and in the year 47 BC, when, as I say, the calends of January, the first day of January, fell on what would now be the 13th of October - just exactly as if our own "first of January" this year had occurred two or three months before in the late autumn, on the season-day properly belonging to the 13th of October - these two eminent gentlemen - or perhaps three, if we include M. Flavius - put their heads together and shuffled the Calendar into conformity with the seasons again. Caesar was Pontifex Maximus at that time, and it was his duty to take charge of or oversee the correct computing of chronological periods, etc. This he did, inserting two extra months (one to have 33 days and the second 34 days) between November and December of that year, 47, and adding an intercalary period or "month" of 23 days to the preceding February, making an addition of 90 days to that year in order to harmonize the Calendar with the seasons. That year, then, was 445 days long; and because it was such a long year, and ordinary people were so puzzled as to the way in which business, etc., was going to [208] be done, it was called the "Year of Confusion", but Macrobius neatly calls it the "last year of confusion"! Then Caesar fixed the new Calendar to have a mean year of 365 1/4 days, with a leap year each fourth year of 366 days; an arrangement that has lasted to our own time in Europe, but slightly modified. This arrangement of the Calendar, of course, abolished the old Roman lunar year. But, instead of beginning the year as he should have done, according to the ancient reckonings, the old reckoning of the Ancient Wisdom, at the beginning of one of the four seasons of the year, and when the Moon was new; at the winter solstice, or, if you please, at the spring equinox, or the autumnal, or the summer solstice - if he had taken the old beginning of the year of his own people, the Romans, as it had been before in the early days, that is to say, on December 21, or 22, at the winter solstice; or at the spring equinox in March, of Numa; everything would have been "all right". But now mark what happened. Watch carefully. He had Sosigenes whispering in his ear, and Sosigenes knew more than Caesar, but he forgot one little thing. He said, "Brother Caesar, Imperator!" - This is an imaginary conversation, but something like it, I think, must have taken place -

Brother Caesar, Imperator! According to the old way, the way of our noble ancestors, the year ought to begin not merely at the winter solstice but also at new moon. Now the new moon this year does not fall on the day when the winter solstice takes place, but it falls seven days later, for the solstice this year falls on December 24.

"That is right", said Caesar. "We will begin the year seven days later than the solstice. We will call that day the calends of January", or, as we should say, the first of January. Caesar made December to have 30 days; later changed to 31 days. And that is how our habit of putting the beginning of the year on the first of January instead of on the day of the solstice, December 21, arose. Had Caesar (he had it in his power to do so as Pontifex Maximus) proclaimed in his Edict that the Calendar as reformed by him would commence running on the first occasion when the winter solstice and a new moon coincided; or at one of the other three beginnings of a Season which coincided with a new moon, it would have been exactly right, according to the Ancient Wisdom; because, mark you, all these ancient methods of chronological reckoning were not based merely on the fact of somebody founding a city, or on the fact of somebody happening to die on a certain day, but on coordinated astronomical and terrestrial events. The ancient methods were based on the timedial of the Kosmos. Caesar should have waited till a new moon coincided with one of the two solstices, or with one of the two equinoxes, beginning the New Year at the moment the Moon was new on that night. [209] Evidently, Caesar felt that he could not wait; or, perhaps, did not desire to wait; or did not know.

Now, then, as time went on and Christianity in later years came into vogue, people naturally kept the beginning of the year as on January first, the month-day established in the Julian Calendar; but finally the Christians began to think that they ought to have their own day for beginning the new year in a religious sense, connected with the supposed birth of Jesus; and so, early in the history of Christianity, eastern Christians took the 12th day after December 25, the sixth of January, in celebration of the mystical epiphany and birth (and baptism) of Jesus. It was, in a religious sense, the beginning of their year. The English call this festival "Twelfth Day", as being the twelfth day after December 25. What a curiously confused mess of ancient ideas and new dogmas! His "birthday" was later transferred to December 25.

Now why was the sixth of January chosen, instead of the fourth? For this reason. The winter solstice, when Caesar and Sosigenes made their corrections of the Calendar, according to their corrections was made to fall on the 24th of December. The next new moon fell, then, on the first of January, which was why Caesar said the new year was to begin on that day, the "calends of January". Then, many years later, 14 days after the day which the Christians thought the solstice, in their time, December 23-24, December then having 31 days and not 30 days, as arranged by Caesar, was the sixth of January, which the Christians called the "Epiphany", copying an ancient pagan word and idea. "Epiphany" is a Christian word which originally belonged to the Mysteries of the old pagan Greek religion, and to the Ancient Wisdom; it means, "appearance" of a god, and was adopted and adapted to the Christos-mythos.

Now let us return to H.P. Blavatsky and her article in Lucifer, mentioned before. We see that calendars can be changed; that calendars can be made by men; that the Roman Calendar was also changed and was made by men; and that the Julian Calendar, with modifications, has come down to us, and is the one used in Europe and America today. It is no proper calendar for Theosophists and especially for Esotericists to use, in order to compute the esoteric cycles or the beginning of the true esoteric year.

Why did H.P. Blavatsky choose the fourth of January of the current Calendar for the beginning of the esoteric year? Listen, Comrades. The true Esoteric Year should begin on the 14th day after the winter solstice, provided that the winter solstice coincide with a new moon. The 14th day thereafter, would, of course, be a full moon day. The day of the winter solstice could be used as [210] a beginning of the civil year, if so desired; and the 14th day thereafter as the beginning of the Esoteric Year. Caesar, had he wished, or, rather, had he known more, could have so arranged his Calendar to fit, either for the new moon at a winter solstice or a summer one, or at one of the equinoxes. But H.P. Blavatsky chose January 4, because it was the 14th day after the winter solstice - not because it was the "fourth" - or any other month-day.

Now January 4 is 14 days after the winter solstice on December 21, and when coinciding with a full moon, it is an astrological date. It is not a man-made date. It does not depend upon a man-made calendar. It falls fourteen days after the festival of the true winter solstice; and when the winter solstice also coincides with a new moon, a secret cycle opens. Put the winter solstice where it belongs, and ten days will bring you to the first of January by our present Calendar. Notice the number ten. H.P. Blavatsky also says in her article that the celebration of the new year by Esotericists, should be in connection with the Budha-wisdom, a word coming from the same root from which Buddha, the Lord Gautama's title, was taken, the root meaning "to awaken". Now, again, what is Budha, from the same root? Budha is the Sanskrit name for the planet Mercury, which the Greeks called Hermes, and the Latins Mercurius, and which many European peoples, adopting the Latin name, call Mercury. Hermes has always been the particular overseer of Mystics in many, perhaps all, nations. In ancient Greece, he was given the titles of "Psychagog" and "Psychopomp", meaning "Conductor of Souls" to the "Nether World", likewise the Mysteries. No matter what form the interpretation of the Ancient Wisdom may have taken in ancient times, one invariably finds the planet Hermes, or Mercury, associated closely with the teachings of the Mysteries dealing with the Afterword. In India, Hermes was named Budha, as just said; and he was called the Son of Soma, or the Moon.

For instance, in Homer's Odyssey, you read how Hermes led the souls of the dead suitors, "gibbering like bats", to the "meads of asphodel". Book XXIV. This allusion to the work of Hermes the Psychopomp, the "Helper," is a "mystery" which was taken directly from the Eleusinian Mysteries, or, perhaps, from still earlier Mysteries.

Mark then, that our new year should begin 14 days after the winter solstice, provided that day is a Mercury-day. Now how are we going to know whether it is a Mercury-day or not? "There is the rub". Have you any idea how the days of the week came to be named in the order that they now have, and have had for ages, in many parts of the world widely separated from each other? Why one day is called Sun's Day, and another Moon's [211] Day, and another Tuesday - Tiw's (Mars's) Day? Do you know the old Anglo-Saxon names for these, by the way? Wodnesdaeg, Wednesday, for Mercury-day; and Frigedaeg, Friday, or Venus-Day; Thunresdaeg, Thursday, or Jupiter-day; Saeternesdaeg, Saturday for Saturn's day, and so forth. The system was as follows: The first hour of a day beginning when the central point of the Sun is on the eastern horizon of that day, according to the ancient system, it was said to be under the direct rule of one of the seven sacred planets. Now if the planet Mercury, for instance, was the one in control of that first hour, the whole day which followed that first hour was called Mercury-day. Every succeeding hour of that same day was said to be under the control of one or the other of the seven planets, following each other in a certain order, as follows: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon - the Sun and the Moon, however, being substitutes for two secret planets. The day has 24 hours; beginning with Mercury, for instance, and counting the seven planets in the order just given through all the 24 hours, would bring the 25th hour, which is the first hour of the next day, in with Jupiter in control, and that day would then be Thursday; and so on throughout till we come to Mercury again - one week of seven days. You can easily prove this for yourself. As regards the real esoteric Budha-day, or Wednesday, or Mercury-day, I say here only this: If the winter solstice is coincident with a new moon, plus something else, that day is a real astrological Budha-day; and, of course, 14 days later, or two weeks, is likewise a Budha-day, but at full moon. Verb. sap!

Now let us go another step farther. The fourth of January, 1890, fell on a Saturday, although H.P. Blavatsky, in that article, had been speaking of Hermes. But that was merely because she of necessity used the week-names and month-days of the current Calendar, spoiled and ungeared as it is. So it is perfectly obvious that the year she is alluding to was the esoteric astrological year, and not the popular one of the current Calendar. This manner, above given, of computing cycles of time, following the hour of the Kosmical Clock, is the one that was always followed in the Ancient Wisdom. They rejected any other way, because it is the method or the way in which Nature herself works in the Rounds, in the Races, in the Kalpas, etc.

Our time is ended for this evening. We shall resume at our next meeting the study of the Wondrous Being, which we have done our best further to illustrate this evening by taking the further step forward that was promised. [212]

Chapter XIX


These Portals lead the aspirant across the waters on "to the other shore." Each Portal hath a golden key that openeth its gate; and these keys are:

1. DANA, the key of charity and love immortal.

2. SILA, the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action.

3. KSHANTI, patience sweet, that nought can ruffle.

4. VIRAGA, indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth along perceived.

5. VIRYA, the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal Truth, out of the mire of lies terrestrial.

6. DHYANA, whose golden gate once opened leads the Naljor toward the realm of Sat eternal and its ceaseless contemplation.

7. PRAJNA, the key to which makes of a man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva, son of the Dhyanis.

Such to the Portals are the golden keys.

- Voice of the Silence

We resume our studies this evening from the point at which we left them last week, and the main text that we shall have to consider is that which was before chosen, namely, on page 207 of Volume I of The Secret Doctrine, which has already been read twice, the part, to wit, dealing with the "Ever-living Human Banyan."

As our studies this evening will also include a paragraph on page 424 of the same volume, this latter I shall read. It is Section XII, called "The Theogony of the Creative Gods":

To thoroughly comprehend the idea underlying every ancient cosmology necessitates the study, in a comparative analysis, of all the great religions of antiquity; as it is only by this method that the root-idea will be made plain. Exact science - could the latter soar so high, while tracing the operations of nature to their ultimate and original sources - would call this idea the hierarchy of Forces. The original, transcendental and philosophical conception was one. But as systems began to reflect with every age more and more the idiosyncrasies of nations; and as the latter, after separating, settled into distinct groups, each evolving along its own national or tribal groove, the main idea gradually became veiled with the overgrowth of human fancy. While in some countries the FORCES, or rather the intelligent Powers of nature, received divine honors they were hardly entitled to, in others - as now in Europe and the civilized lands - the very thought of any such Force being endowed with intelligence seems absurd, and is proclaimed unscientific. [213]

As preliminary to our observations tonight, it seems a bounden duty to make one remark to the effect that the Teacher has told me that I am over-cautious, over-conscientious, and therefore too apologetic in the manner in which I have spoken. I recognize that the admonition is well-founded and perhaps needed. I am, likewise, very grateful for the opening that it gives me for somewhat plainer and more direct speech. So hereafter, instead of speaking in a manner so detached as to give the impression that anything said could be considered by anyone as "apologetic", we shall pursue a different tactic, follow a different tactic, and declare, affirm; and, if necessary, speak with the authority of our School behind us.

Now then, first, has it ever occurred to us to consider, to ask, why the doctrines which we have been studying for the past months have always been held so secret? There are three general reasons for this, two rather; the third being a corollary of the second. The first is that these teachings have from time immemorial been considered the noble reward, the sublime reward, for those who give themselves heart and soul and irretrievably to the Teachers and to the Terrestrial-Celestial Body that they represent. That is the less reason for the silence. The greater is the following, that these doctrines from their very nature being so abstruse, so subtle that our poor minds of matter find difficulty in comprehending them, would almost of necessity be misunderstood without a preliminary training and education. It requires literally years of study and training to bring the mind into such a state that it can receive these glorious teachings, these sublime doctrines that we have been studying, with some modicum at least of intelligent comprehension. If they were given out to the world indiscriminately, what would be the consequence? Intuitive but otherwise untrained minds would worship our Teachers, Masters, as gods; or the stupid heads in the multitudes would persecute them and try to do them to death as "devils", were they to appear publicly and openly live among ordinary men. And a third party of the public, the skeptics, would deride, would mock, not only the Teachers themselves but their holy Message.

These rules of secrecy are based on natural "law", and on a keen understanding of the workings of the human mind. These doctrines, Fellow-students, were formulated in the dawn of time by giant intellects, and by god-like minds. He indeed must be blind and perverse of will who can look upon them after study and close examination as speculations or as mere theorizing. What a compliment was paid to H.P. Blavatsky by those who in their blind ignorance, said that she had invented them! Think of what that means, what a wonderful woman, according to them, [214] she must have been! And obviously, the truth is the direct contrary. Did she ever claim that they were originated and formulated by her? No; from the beginning she said: "I am but a voice speaking for Those who sent me."

These reservations of secrecy, caution, and prudence, are not the singular and otherwise unknown rule of the Trans-Himalayan School to which we belong. They were the invariable rule of all the great Mystery Schools of past times. Why, even in the latest of the exoteric faiths, in the Christian religion - a poor, tattered, faded fragment of the Ancient Wisdom - you find the same thing, and conceived in words, by the way, which are as unkind as it is possible to put them in - almost cruel in the haughty reserve that they signify. Yet they are not so when properly understood. I refer to certain words of the so-called Jesus in the "Sermon on the Mount". You remember them? But let us read them. These warnings were uttered by the mythical Jesus in the "Sermon on the Mount"; and remember, that Sermon is prefaced by the words of explanation that he went up onto a hill in order to escape from the crowds thronging and pressing him, when he then called his disciples unto him and delivered unto them, his disciples, the so-called "Sermon on the Mount", evidently a Mystery Teaching. More of this hid meaning we shall point out to you this evening. But here are the warnings:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

- Found in the so-called Gospel of Matthew,

Chapter vii, verses 6-9

Our Esoteric School never used language of that kind. It is extremely doubtful if the real Jesus, the center around which were collected the legends of the mystery figure Jesus, ever used them; but they represent the spirit of esotericism and are a true echo of the esoteric methods of the Near East, leaving the framework of the words aside. They show the immense prudence and caution that always surrounded the giving out of any part of the ancient Mystery Teachings. From immemorial time was it always so.

And, another thing. The penalty for betrayal of the Mysteries, in later times, was death. Now, before we can pursue our study this evening, we must explain that statement. Never in any circumstances has the power or the force of the Lodge, has the [215] hand of a Teacher, been raised in violence or in hatred against a betrayer, against the unfaithful, no matter how grave the crime might have been. Their punishment was in this: they were left strictly to themselves; and the inner penalty was the withdrawal of the Deathless Watcher, the Higher Self within, which had been consciously and successfully invoked upon entrance into the Mysteries, and, in the higher degrees of initiation had been faced, literally face to face. The early and automatic penalty was inner death by the soul-loss. The betrayer lost his soul. Let me tell you further, in passing, that practically all the civil institutions of ancient times, punishments among others, were based upon what took place in the Mystery Schools. Such, for instance, was the crucifiction of the Romans, taken direct from one of the ceremonies of initiation, the "Mystic Death"; taken from it, stolen from it; and made an instrument of legal murder by the State, in later, degenerate times. Another instance, also taken from the ceremony of the "Mystic Death", was the "Cup", in India the Somadraft; in Greece we find Socrates punished by drinking from the Cup of Hemlock; and we are reminded of Jesus, praying that the "cup" might pass from him. Numerous other very different instances could be cited.

And similarly in Egypt and in other countries, when the periods of "spiritual barrenness" of which Plato tells us, had succeeded to the period of "spiritual fertility"; when those periods came upon the world, the State then undertook to punish in its own name the betrayal of the Mysteries, which by those times had become merely a State-institution, and nothing much else, merely a part of the religious establishment. Two or three instances have come down to us so far as Athens in Greece alone is concerned. One was Socrates, fourth to fifth century BC, who unwittingly betrayed some of the secrets of the Mysteries; and despite his innocence of conscious wrong-doing, they unwillingly killed that great man. Another was the philosopher-poet Diagoras, fifth century BC, who was accused of impiety, of so-called "atheism", and who fled from Athens. A third was the dramatist-poet Aeschylus, fifth century BC, who had to flee to Italy in order to escape death. He was accused on the same grounds, of what was called profanation or impiety.

Another instance which we might mention, of a quite different type, is that of the wearing of a crown, or a diadem, by civil rulers, formally enacted in the "coronation" of a king - a ceremony adopted from the Mysteries. Some of the earliest crowns which they wore had outstanding spikes, reminding one of the "crown of thorns" of Jesus; or it may have been in the form of the Greek diadem, representing, in Greece, the crown of the central and west and north-west part of Europe. As just [216] hinted, this also was a symbol of one of the ceremonies of one of the stages of initiations, a ceremony signifying what occurred when the one undergoing trial was in a state of samadhi, as the Hindus say, and his head was surrounded with a glory or aura radiating from the brain like the spikes of the early crown; in which state, also, a nimbus or aura surrounded the body as well as the head, but far less strongly.

Now these are the things that it seemed necessary to speak of tonight, as part of an introduction to our studies.

Now we embark more particularly upon our main theme. It will be recalled, as has been already suggested several times, that we have been studying from the time the Teacher inaugurated these meetings last year, or about a year ago now, the so-called Seven Treasures or Jewels which we have enumerated before; and we are now studying certain aspects of the Seventh or highest, more especially in its relation to the Wondrous Being, called the Great Initiator, the Lonely Watcher, the Silent Witness, and by other such names. And we called attention last week to certain of the analogies which our own human life bore to the Kosmic Wondrous Being - for instance, particularly the analogy of the infinitesimals, the lives infinitesimal, living in and upon the kosmoi or universes comprised in our own physical body, the atomic infinitesimals, and how our personal self was the Supreme Self of that host of those almost innumerable atoms. That it was the self which held that infinitesimally immense Kosmos together, and permeated all in it, and reached through all in it, like a mystic Fire. And we also pointed out how, nevertheless, each one of those atoms, being a universe in itself, had its own entire hierarchy, its own series of ten degrees or stages, counting from its own supreme, its own Para-brahman and Mula-prakriti, down to its own "absolute matter".

Similarly, our own Universal Kosmos can be considered as an embodied soul or rather Self, made up of almost innumerable Kosmic Atoms or solar and planetary bodies, living with numberless Companions on the face of the Boundless. We began to have some intelligent comprehension from this study of the Self, how, in a sense, the "One" might become the Many, yet remaining forever the "One", merely calling it the "One", because it is the Summit or SELF of that Most Great Hierarchy which our imaginations can attain to. But beyond its boundaries there are innumerable other such Ones; and beyond all such Ones, there are innumerable hosts of infinitely greater ONES: and so ad infinitum! The best way by which to represent the Boundless, in which they all move and live and have their being, is by the age-old symbol of the Zero - Limitless Boundlessness.

That symbol is remarkable also in another respect, that it so [217] clearly and beautifully exemplifies the teaching of the Void, the Emptiness, called in Buddhism Sunyata, meaning the "empty", the "void". It is really extraordinary how our Western scholars will misunderstand and therefore misrepresent these things. They are such literalists that they will take a word and drive that word to literal death. They take the form of the thought, the body, and see little or nothing of the Soul behind it. They seem to have no realization of the mystic meaning behind this wondrous thought, the Void, the Emptiness. Do you remember that in a former study we spoke of a medieval mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux in France I think it was, who said that the state a student of mysticism should aspire to was that of emptying himself, utterly casting out everything that was personal or limiting, everything that was bound and finite? This is a remarkable thought for a Christian; but quite Oriental. Such a state of mind lets the free winds of Infinity blow through one, as it were!

Let us pause a moment over this. The Void is a symbol of the Boundless; hence, it is everything because it is no thing. "Nothing" if you like. Not "nothing" in the Christian theological sense, but no Thing, no manifestation. It is not a consciousness, because it is all consciousness, which is unconsciousness in every personal and limited sense; "consciousness" is a human term. Yet it is not "unconsciousness", because it is all "unconsciousness" of any personal or limited sense, and "unconsciousness" is a human term. It is both the limited and the illimitable time, and eternity; everything and therefore no thing. Call it by anything and you limit it. It is that which IS and WAS and in the utter eternity ever shall BE. And because it is nothing finite, because it is not a thing, because it is not one, or two, or three, but beyond all numeration; because it is beyond all human thought and similitude and comparison and expression, it is called that, which the human mind reaches when it opens to its utmost for an abstraction, the VOID, which is likewise utter FULLNESS.

Our study this evening calls to us to move forward. Each one of our studies lately has been dealing with very difficult subjects; and each one, if properly understood, means a great stride forward for us along the Esoteric Path. Tonight, let us be more particular in our remarks. At our meeting of last week we generalized our theme, as was necessary, in trying to give the general view. Tonight we shall particularize.

These seven Treasures, then, represent in doctrinal form the seven stages of initiation. Now we are told that there are ten stages or degrees of initiation; which means that there are three more than the above named seven of these Treasures. But we need not consider these three others. They are utterly beyond [218] our capacity. They belong, we are told, to Beings who have advanced so far beyond us that they can no longer truly be called human entities, although they do belong to our Planetary Chain by reason of past evolutionary karma.

Each stage or degree of initiation after the third of the seven, we are taught, is marked by something more than teaching. The first three initiations, or stages or degrees in initiation, we are taught, are composed of teachings. With the fourth degree, there begins another method. What is this method?

It is one of the fundamental teachings of Occultism and of our Esoteric School, that nothing can be truly known which is not experienced, lived through. As a matter of fact, we all know this, as it is common experience. One of the so-called laws of our being, one of the fundamental conditions of our human nature is this, that thoroughly to know a thing, thoroughly to enter into it, thoroughly to understand it, you must be it, you must become it. You cannot tread the Path until you become and are that Path. Thus, therefore, the different stages or degrees of initiation are really a kind of "forcing-process", for certain chosen spirits, certain chosen souls, who have proved themselves worthy: a "forcing" or developing process enabling them through actual experience, individual experience, to pass through and realize the hid secrets of being which the slow processes of evolutionary development would have brought to them as the ages rolled by. It is, in fact, a quickening or awakening of the man to inner knowledge and power. These different stages or degrees of initiation are marked by preparatory purifications, first. Then came the "death", a mystic death. The body and lower principles, so to say, are paralyzed, and the soul is temporarily freed. And, to a certain extent, it (the freed inner man) is guided and directed and helped by the initiators while it passes into other spheres and to other planes and learns the nature of these by becoming them, which is the only way by which knowledge thereof roots itself into the soul, i.e., into the ego: by becoming the thing.

The "initiant" is one undergoing initiation - and remember that "initiation" means "beginning"; an "initiant" is a "beginner," while a person initiated, an initiate, is one who has begun an undertaking. Please also note that "adept" means one who is "skilled"; hence, even in our ordinary life, a chemist, a physician, a theologian, a mechanic, an engineer, a teacher of languages, an astronomer, are all "adepts", persons who are "skilled", each in his own profession. Those two words have, generally speaking, the same meaning also in the Esoteric School: an "Adept" is one who is skilled in the esoteric Wisdom, in the teachings of life; and an "initiant" is one who is beginning to learn them. To say that you and I are "beginners", i.e., [219] "initiants", is merely stating the obvious truth. It is likewise a convenient word, for it tells you nothing definite as to degree or stage; it is a generalization. Hence one could properly ask: "Beginning where and what?" I may be at the bottom rung of the ladder of initiation; and you may be at the top; yet each one of us is beginning, for progress is endless.

Let us then closely examine all these or any other similar statements, for our own sakes. We are taught strictly to examine, strictly to search into, everything that is told us. Our Teacher here now, Katherine Tingley, herself works night and day in order to awaken us to the realization of things, trying to have us live the life, to be it, to become it; for such is the old teaching of uncounted ages gone by.

Now, the passage from The Secret Doctrine to which we have alluded this evening, which we also read last week, and again at our meeting before that, and which forms our main theme at present, in which H.P. Blavatsky speaks of the "Ever-living Human Banyan", refers also to the Arhats (a Sanskrit word meaning "worthies") who belong to the seventh rung of the spiritual-psychological Hierarchy, being only one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy, which is the Wondrous Being of our present study, therefore on the eighth plane of the ten composing that Hierarchy. There is a still greater and more Wondrous Being on the ninth plane; the highest of all, the Summit of all, is on the tenth.

Let us make a step still farther forward. We are taught that at the fifth initiation, part of the wonderful experience that the initiant of that Degree must go through, is that after due and sufficient preparation and purification of the lower self and of the soul within, the one under trial in the Mystic Path, meets his Higher Self, his own inner god, face to face for "a passing moment". Woe unto him if there be anything in him which cannot support the trial! The warnings given to us in this respect are solemn indeed. The Deathless Watcher knows all, and accepts no excuses. Those who fail, have indeed another chance in another life, or in other lives; but no base metal either now or then can be accepted in this Dread Test. The inner nature must be pure gold tried in the fire, nothing counterfeit, nothing that is weak and will break or fail when the test comes upon it. You must then be fully ready to take your place in the Guardian Wall; no weakling can stand there.

We are further told that in the sixth Degree, instead of one's own Higher Self, the initiant meets another One, a matter which we will tonight pass over in silence. And in the seventh Degree, the same proceeding takes place as part of the Mystic Death, and the aspirant - can we say "meets face to face"? No, he becomes [220] for a passing moment the Wondrous Watcher himself; and either returns among men as a --, or vanishes and is seen no more. In the former case, he knows, because he has become!

We have spoken tonight of the Christian mythos. We deliberately have chosen this term, for truly it is a mythos. The entire story of Jesus as it is given in the so-called Gospels is a Mystery Story. No such man or being as the Jesus of the Gospels ever lived. Remember what a mythos is. It is a tale or allegory embodying some secret truth. In this case, it is the story of the Mysteries partly told in symbol and allegory, partly told with some degree of later ignorant embroidery; but, as a whole, representing almost, as it were picturing, what took place in the Mysteries of Asia Minor. The manner and style of narrative, in all such cases, depended upon the national custom of celebrating them, and on the cast of minds of the peoples among whom such or another scheme or system of initiation prevailed. But the Jesus of the Gospels is a mystery figure only: a composite figure based on mystical teaching. Undoubtedly there did exist a young Syrian initiate of that time, around whom were grouped these various tales and stories taken more or less bodily from the Mystery Schools of Asia Minor and especially of Alexandria; because Alexandrian mysticism is the main origin of theological Christianity, for in that city it had its rise theologically. This Syrian initiate, probably a young Jewish rabbi, was possibly actually called Yeshua, Iesous in Greek, Jesus in Latin. The Hebrew word Yeshua itself, means "savior", and the later Christians of course seized upon this name - or later conferred it upon their supposed founder - and wove a mystical tale about his name, thus symbolizing his mission on earth as a "savior". We all know the Christian tale. But from the very beginning of it as the "Gospels" give it: from the story of the Magi following the star, to the mystical death by crucifiction, and the rising again on the third day from the tomb, it is nothing but a copy, more or less denatured and faded and poorly woven together, of great actual Mysteries, the Mysteries of some of the ceremonies of initiation, of which the earliest Christians certainly had some knowledge; see Origen and Clement of Alexandria, for instance. But the story in its various imperfections shows clearly that it is only a feebly constructed allegory, or mythos, of actual initiatory occurrences.

Apollonius of Tyana, the Greek, was probably as noble a character as was the Syrian Yeshua, or "Jesus". "Jesus" is merely the Roman form of the name. We read of the marvels of Apollonius of Tyana, of his works and life, in the mystic "Life" written by Philostratus. But Apollonius is a historical character, and "Jesus" is not. The story of Apollonius is an interesting [221] one. We read of his "vanishing away" before Domitian, when he was on trial before that eccentric and severe monarch; and much more. Why was it that Jesus was said to have been "crucified"? But he was not actually crucified. It is a Mystery Story, as I have said; and not necessarily a Jewish Mystery Story, nor a Greek Mystery Story. Each nation had its own Mysteries, greatly resembling one another, but varying in detail; but in all, there was always the "Mystical Death". There was always the "descent into Hades" or "Hell"; there was always the "Resurrection", the Rising, usually after "three days", and the "Glorification" at the end of the Trial.

Very many of the things that occurred in the Mysteries were taken over into civil functions of the State, and they thus formed the types of many institutions in civil life in ancient times. The King and his Ministers or Servants, as officers or functionaries of the State, were taken over from the ancient Mysteries, as copies of the Teacher and his disciples or officials. This is one reason (of two reasons) why the ancients wrote of their "Divine Dynasties" of primeval times; and on this also was originally founded the idea of the "divine right of kings" - in later ages so greatly misunderstood and abused. Why, the very calendars of the ancient nations were based upon the same thing: they were derived, taken over, from the Mysteries. Originally, they were based on actual astrological truths, real knowledge of time periods, and later were misunderstood and misapplied. For instance, have you realized that the Christian commemorative holy days of Good Friday, and Easter three days later, are practically the samething as the Winter Solstice of December 21-22, and Christmas, December 25, three days later? Both are based on the same original idea of the "mystic death", and the "birth", or "resurrection", three days later, of the "unconquered Sun," exemplified in the "death" and "resurrection" of the successful neophyte in the mysteries, three days later! Why was it, I ask you, that the Christians adopted both the ancient pagan festival of the winter solstice, and the ancient pagan "Resurrection"-mythos, and made an Easter out of the latter? One being the alleged anniversary of their Jesus's birth (Christmas), and the latter the anniversary of his "Resurrection"! Because they wanted very much to connect and bind together their newfangled religion with the personality of the great Jewish prophet or initiate later called Jesus; and, at the same time, to connect him with the archaic Mystery Teachings of the School of Wisdom. Now, as the Jewish or rather Syrian festival took place in the month of the spring equinox, or rather on the day of the full moon following the spring equinox, they copied the ancient Mysteries again here, as follows: They, as it were, severed the symbol into two parts, [222] and called one "Christmas", commemorating the birth of the physical body of their supposed Jesus; and the other part they called Resurrection, or Easter, commemorating the "birth" of the Transcending Christos. It was a curious tour de force, as the French say, a curious feat of "mystical gymnastics", as the Teacher so neatly puts it. But, and please mark this, these two dates were actually in very truth closely connected in the ancient Mysteries, and very much in the line the Christians followed! What copyists!

Now, if you take the mystic calendar that guardedly we spoke of last week, it is remarkable how it fits in with the Mystery Teachings connected with this Wondrous Being, the Great Initiator. As to the article in Lucifer, January 1890, referred to last week by us, in which H.P. Blavatsky speaks of the date which the Esotericists should call the New Year, i.e., January 4 - does anyone really think that she meant that "January 4" per se has any especially magical or mystical properties or influences? No; she did not. Our calendar-day for January 4 is a date of a purely mechanical Calendar, with nothing mystical or hid in it at all. If we were to fall into a period of universal ignorance such as the Mediterranean nations fell into after Christianity became powerful, we should forget even how to take care of our merely mechanical Calendar, and find ourselves unable to make it conform to the changing seasons. We should then be in the same troubled case as the European peoples were in, in the sixteenth century, when Pope Gregory XIII, had certain contemporary mathematicians reform the old Julian Calendar because of the disorder it had fallen into through the pure ignorance of Gregory's predecessors. They did not know how to intercalate the necessary days at the proper time, and in February 1582, when the Julian Calendar was reformed by Papal Bull or Edict, they were eleven to twelve days behind the true year. Similar was the case when Julius Caesar reformed the Calendar in the year 47 BC, only much worse, for owing to political machinations, doubtless, of the different Pontifices Maximi, the Calendar of the Romans, as I remarked last week, had fallen so far behind the natural year of the seasons that the Calendar "January the first", fell on what was really October 13, according to nature; and the Calendar "winter solstice", December 21 or 22, fell on October 3, or thereabouts; and if Caesar had not corrected the growing disorder and confusion, the constant loss of the days through wrong or omitted intercalations would have let the Calendar-year fall continually backwards all through the natural year, perhaps. So you see that when speaking of H.P. Blavatsky and the astrological Calendar, most certainly we do not mean merely the mechanical [223] Calendar of common use; nor did H.P. Blavatsky mean it. But she meant a date depending upon real astrological facts; and we adverted briefly to what she really did mean in our study of last week.

Remember that astronomy is merely the mechanical aspect of true, ancient astrology, and for that reason, astronomy deals only with the positions, movements, and physical conceptions of planetary and solar and stellar bodies. It is in real fact, merely one branch of the ancient Astrology, a sublime "Science of the Celestial Bodies", and we do not mean what modern writers miscall "astrology" - a "paper-science" at best. We have spoken sufficiently strongly against such a misconception at other meetings.

Now our real year, our Mystic Year, is quite a different one from the civil, or ordinary chronological year. The civil chronological year could begin on the true date of the winter solstice, that is to say on the day and moment when the Sun is farthest south, and just as it begins its journey northwards again. That is one of the natural periods of time and season division; and it is also an astrological time period, if we wish to form a time cycle; but with one important change. Now what would be that astrological cycle? We could start our Civil Year at the winter solstice when the moon is new - just why new, is something I am not authorized here and now to say. But fourteen days after the true solstice, or on what is now January 4, according to our present Calendar, the moon is full; and that day opens under the control of the planet Mercury or Hermes, the particular leader, guide, and director, of initiations and the Teachers. This is the case, mark well, when that planet is in "inferior conjunction" at sunrise; or more particularly when Sun, Mercury, Earth, and Moon are all in "syzygy": all along a straight line; Mercury being between Sun and Earth, and the Moon full. The planet Mercury then controls the first hour of the 14th day after the winter solstice; but that solstice must concur with the new moon, and Mercury on that 14th day afterwards must be in inferior conjunction at sunrise. The 14th day (January 4) is then a true "Wednesday", or Mercury-day. Thus opens the cycle. How long that cycle lasts, I have not had opportunity to investigate. Our astronomers here can work it out. But thus we should have two years: one for what we may call the Civil Year (fundamentally an astrological year) for the purposes of civil chronology, by which ordinary time would be reckoned; and the Buddhic-Cycle Year. The civil year would then begin with the day of the winter solstice, let us say December 21-22, in the night between December 21 and 22. The next day therefore would be the first day of the first month of the new civil year; but our Mystic [224] Year, our Buddhic Year, would begin fourteen days after that at full moon, on a true Wednesday, or Budha-day.

We turn now to another matter, which, because it is of real importance, the Leader has authorized me to take a few more minutes this evening for the purpose of attempting more fully to explain it. I refer to the diagram which was discussed somewhat at our last meeting, and which we then had no time to explain in detail.

This paradigm, this symbol, can refer either to man, or mutatis mutandis to the universe of any full Hierarchy, it matters not which Hierarchy. Note then, first, that we have at the top of the diagram, the Archetypal World, which is the Root or Seed, if we look upon it as the origin or commencement of things, as the locus of the initiation of Kosmic evolution and progress; or which is the Flower, the End, the Consummation of things, if we look upon it as the full-blown Flower of the Kosmic Evolutionary Cycle. It may be divided into three "planes", so to say, forming the Highest Triad or Divine Triad; the second of these "planes" [225] is called the Paramatman or Supreme Self. The first "plane" represents the Para-brahman, with its field of Mula-prakriti; this Highest Triad, as represented, applies to any Hierarchy: this Hierarchy, that Hierarchy, any Hierarchy; as this paradigm is representative of all. The Paramatman likewise represents the first or Unmanifested Logos. The third "plane", or lowest of the Triad, represents the third or Manifested Logos, or Brahm_-Purusha-prakriti. Then, following the diagram downwards, we reach the seven Principles and Elements in manifestation, formed of the three quasi-arupa or "formless" planes, and of the four rupa-planes, or planes of form. The egg-shaped envelope of the Hierarchy is divided into these seven planes, if you please, and six centers of consciousness, with their inseparable six vehicles- or "souls". The vertical line running up and down through the Egg, represents the indwelling Self: that Self which in you and me and in all, is One; that which in all of us says "I am". It does not differ in you nor in me, for it is One, the Universal Self of the Hierarchy. But what is it in you and me or in any one which says "I am I, not you"? - that which is self-consciousness? That, is the ego; the "I", but not the Self; for the Self is beyond and outside of all such limitation of consciousness. It recognises no distinction between Thee and Me. You remember the beautiful Sufi legend, how the Soul, wandering in search of Truth, came finally to the House of God and knocked at the portal. Then in answer to the knock, thunder reverberated through the spaces of Heaven, and God called out, "Who art thou?" And the Soul replied: "I". And God answered: "I know not I". Then the Soul wandered again for many ages in tribulation and sorrow; and finally it came anew, and once more knocked at the portal of the House of God. And the voice of God called out and said: "Who art thou?" And the Soul replied, and said: "Thou". And the voice of God then answered and said: "Enter into thine own, for we are One". No distinction there of I and Thou - a beautiful legend embodying one of the profoundest concepts of the Ancient Wisdom.

Further, we have attempted to represent paradigmatically the decreasing consciousness, understanding, power, potency, force, expansion, comprehension, by the six circles gradually decreasing in size downwards, along the central line representing the Self. It is impossible to represent adequately on a flat surface a purely metaphysical subject; but our wish in so doing is to show that the higher the circle or sphere is, the more spiritual the sphere or center is; the larger and the more comprehending it is in both quality and potency, not necessarily in magnitude. Further, we have attempted to show the increasing materiality in these centers or spheres as they go farther downwards, by thicker and [226] thicker shading of these centers in the diagram. The highest center is the Divine Soul or Monadic Envelope. It is the first or highest vehicle of the Atman; and as an egoic center it is the Divine Ego. The next one downwards is the Spiritual Soul or the Individual Monad. This, and the one above it, combined, are the Inner Christ; and corresponding to the Spiritual Soul or Individual Monad is the Jivatma or Spiritual Ego. It is that portion of our spiritual economy which is deathless as an individualized Ego; deathless until the end of the Maha-manvantara of the Solar System. When the Solar Pralaya arrives in the grand fullness of Time, there comes a moment, a final instant which is the utter completion or consummation of all things in that system; and in the twinkling of an eye, literally, and instantly, all the planets and the Sun itself are "blown out", as it were. The last one of all manifested beings has at that instant gone to higher planes; and there being nothing whatsoever left to hold physical matter together anywhere within the Solar System, that System immediately falls to pieces and vanishes away (as I have said before) like an instantaneous shadow passing over a wall.

The second center is comprised of Buddhi, both the fruit and the Seed of Manas. This is the center or seed or root or base of the Reincarnating Ego. Then below it comes in our diagram the Higher Human Soul, composed of the lower Buddhi, and the Higher Manas: with the Self permeating it, as said above. Corresponding to it as egoic center is the Bhutatman, explained at our last meeting, otherwise the Human Ego. Next comes the Human Soul or Man. This is formed of Manas, Kama, Prana; and the egoic center corresponding to it is the Pranatman, or the personal ego, which is mortal.

There is no abiding principle from and including this, downwards; no abiding principle in "man" whatsoever. The next below is the Beast-Soul, or the Vital-Astral Soul, the Kama-Prana; its quasi-egoic center being the Beast-ego, if you like: that elementary principle of egoship in the beast which holds it together during its existence.

Our teachings do give to every animate thing a soul; not a "human soul" or a "divine soul" or a "spiritual soul"; but a soul corresponding to its type. What it is, what its type is, comes from its soul; hence we properly may speak of the different beasts as having, one or the other, a "duck-soul", an "ostrich-soul", a "bull-" or a "cow-soul", a "chicken-soul", or a "nightingale-soul", and so on. The lower entities, considered as a Kingdom, are differentiated into these different families of animate beings by the different "souls" within each; and of course behind the soul from which it springs, there are in each individual entity all the other principles that likewise inform Man; but all the higher principles are latent in the [227] beast. That is why man belongs to another - the Human Kingdom, for there is in him the Buddhi-principle more or less active. Manas springs forth from the Buddhi as the fruit from the flower; but manas itself is mortal, goes to pieces at death. All of it that lives after death, is only what is spiritual in it, and that can be squeezed out of it, so to say. H.P.B. calls it the "aroma" of the manas; much as the chemist takes from the rose the Attar or Essence of Roses.

The last is the physical "soul" or body, the Sthula-sharira, the gross body, prana, and the Linga-sharira.

We have spoken before of the "lost soul" as being at one pole, and of the Master at the other pole, of consciousness. It is between the higher human soul, and the human soul (or man proper) that lies the psychological frontier over which one must pass forwards or upwards; backwards or downwards; into regeneration or degeneration. If you go "upwards" and continue to go "upwards" or rather "inwards" - please remember that we are obliged to use human language in all such descriptions; we actually do not go "up" in space; it is quality that we are speaking of, the refining of the quality of the human ego; the penetrating, the breaking into, as it were, of the final sheaths of our inner being that makes the distinction - if we continue to go "upwards" or "inwards", we attain finally to Masterhood. But, contrariwise, if we go "downwards", if our egoic soul-quality wholly deteriorates, then at last we lose the ego center, the soul center, which divorced from its upper life-thread, is dissipated, and, as said, is at last annihilated. There is the case of a "lost soul" at one pole of consciousness; and of the Master at the other pole. When mortality becomes Immortality; when the corruptible becomes the Incorruptible, then do we attain to full and complete conscious Masterhood - a Lord of Life.

As said before, when the conscious center which we now are is given over to full attraction or gravitation towards matter, the momentum increases with time and use, and, through attrition as it were, that part of us where our egoic consciousness then resides, called "soul", is worn away and finally vanishes. It is wiped out, annihilated; nothing is left of it. It sinks into the "Eighth Sphere", the "Planet of Death", where it meets finally its fearful fate. As to the monadic (the spiritual) essence of our being, it then has to evolve a new conscious center or egoic vehicle, for future reincarnations. That is where the seriousness of this thing comes in. It has to develop or evolve the new soul center, the new egoic center, in order to take up again the link in the series of lives; and it may be that in certain circumstances ages upon ages may pass before the newly evolved vehicle of monadic consciousness is able to make up the lost time and [228] opportunities. In the meanwhile, the racial life-wave has swept far along the Pathway of Destiny; leaving the "failures" far in the rear.

At our next study, we will continue the same general theme that we have been studying. [229]

Chapter XX


Truly, "for the salvation of the good and the destruction of wickedness," the personalities known as Gautama, Shankara, Jesus and a few others were born each in his age as declared - "I am born in every Yuga" - and they were all born through the same Power.

There is a great mystery in such incarnations and they are outside and beyond the cycle of general rebirths. Rebirths may be divided into three classes: the divine incarnations called Avataras; those of Adepts who give up Nirvana for the sake of helping on humanity - the Nirmana-kayas; and the natural succession of rebirths for all - the common law. The Avatara is an appearance, one which may be termed a special illusion within the natural illusion that reigns on the planes under the sway of that power, Maya; the Adept is reborn consciously, at his will and pleasure; the units of the common herd unconsciously follow the great law of dual evolution.

(A genuine initiated Adept will retain his Adeptship, though there may be for our world of illusion numberless incarnations of him. The propelling power that lies at the root of a series of such incarnations is not Karma, as ordinarily understood, but a still more inscrutable power. During the period of his lives the Adept does not lose his Adeptship, though he cannot rise in it to a higher degree.)

What is an Avatara? for the term before being used ought to be well understood. It is a descent of the manifested Deity - whether under the specific name of Shiva, Vishnu, or Adi-buddha - into an illusive form of individuality, an appearance which to men on this illusive lane is objective, but it is not so in sober fact. That illusive form, having neither past nor future, because it had nether previous incarnation nor will have subsequent rebirths, has naught to do with Karma, which has therefore no hold on it.

- "The Doctrine of Avataras," Secret Doctrine, III, 364

Plunging directly into our subject this evening. it will be remembered that we have been studying the nature of the "Wondrous Being" of whom H. P Blavatsky writes in the first volume of The Secret Doctrine on pages 207 and 208; and it will be remembered that the keywords by which we may gain some appreciation of the way this Wondrous Being works in humanity, and more particularly in the psychological Hierarchy, through the cycles of the Mysteries and of initiation - these keywords were the "human Banyan".

Also we read on page 424 of the same volume, under section the twelfth, "The Theogony of the Creative Gods", H.P. Blavatsky's words concerning the Hierarchy of Forces, where she points out how these Forces were originally understood in their proper sense, as Intelligences and Consciousnesses working in Nature; but that each nation, as the cycles of time passed by, understood [230] these Forces and Intelligences in the same way indeed, but gave to them different names, and developed a philosophical understanding of the machinery, so to say, of the Kosmos in slightly differing manners or forms, and that these different philosophical forms were the various Schools of the Mysteries; for instance, in Samothrace and in Eleusis, in Greece, and similar schools in other countries.

Now up to the present time we have been talking in more or less generalizing terms regarding this Wondrous Being; but tonight, within the time that our Teacher has set for us, we are going to try to particularize, asking ourselves definitely who and what this Wondrous Being is.

Now to do that, we are undertaking, as was pointed out before, an extremely difficult task, on account of the subtle nature of the subjects which in their entirety expose the truth about this Wondrous Being. We cannot understand who and what this Wondrous Being is without understanding something of the initiations of the Mystery Schools; and to understand those we must understand something of the higher aspect of human psychology; and, again, to understand that, we must understand the other doctrines which we have been studying, such as the Hierarchies, and the doctrine of the Swabhava, and so forth.

Please understand that these seven Jewels, these seven Treasuries of Wisdom, comprehend in small compass all possible human knowledge during this Kalpa; that is to say, the key teachings which form those seven Treasuries. They comprise everything that man has known, that humanity now knows, and that humanity can know, in this Kalpa. They are, really, a short synopsis in the form of philosophical principles - these seven Jewels - of all possible human knowledge; and it depends upon each one of us how much of that knowledge we can understand.

You probably also have noticed that not one of these Jewels can be fully understood if considered alone. They complement each other and explain each other. Every one of them is explained by the other six. Each one of them explains the other six and complements them. Please do not imagine for a moment that they are separate and distinct compartments of knowledge in the materialistic sense. There is but one Knowledge, one Truth, as there is but one Life, and one ultimate Being; but these various Jewels, these seven Jewels, are different facets, so to say, of that Truth; different pillars, to change the figure, in the Temple of Divine Wisdom.

It will be remembered that at our last study we spoke of two main reasons why the Teachers have kept these and other doctrines so secret, and why the penalties for betrayal of this knowledge were so great. First, because these teachings that we have [231] been studying, and many others, derivatives from them, are the sublime reward of those who have proved themselves worthy of them, and of going farther in behind the veil of life. But the greater reason is that they could not be understood by the untrained mind even were they told; they simply could not be understood. Great minds would understand more than would little minds, of course; but on account of the imperfect spiritual development of men's minds so far in this Fourth Round, men simply cannot understand them without at least some training, and the result of unlawful exposure of them would be degradation of the teachings, which originally were given to men by the gods in the early ages of the human race.

This statement is no vain remark; these teachings have been betrayed in some degree at different times, and they have always resulted in what we call "black magic", the natural result of a misunderstanding and of a misapplication of them, and of the principles of truth which are in them. Even today we find men, and women too, although they know nothing whatever of these secret doctrines, going up and down the land, charging for their teachings on what they call spiritual realities, and professing to know everything in heaven and on earth. Note well that no true spiritual Teacher ever charges money, or any fee for spiritual truths.

Now we all know what H.P. Blavatsky said about such action. "I would liever starve in the gutter than take a penny for teaching spiritual truths". That is the test by which one may know, one of the tests at least, the true Teacher from the false. That is one way in which a teaching may be degraded. Our Teachers have no desire to have these glorious doctrines misunderstood and degraded, and, perhaps, human souls in relatively large numbers misled and their feet set upon the path which leads downward.

Now in Greece - we will take this case first as an example - in Greece there were two bodies of the Mysteries, the Less and the Greater. The Less, in Attica, were celebrated in the springtime; and the Greater were celebrated at about the period of the autumnal equinox, in September, at Eleusis. The Less consisted, first, of purifications of the soul and mind outwards and inwards, mostly inwards, for that is the real purification; and, second, of dramatizations of that which was to take place in actuality later in the Greater Mysteries. They represented in dramatic, pictorial form, that which the Greater Mysteries were to bring to the candidates.

The Mysteries of Samothrace, also a Greek institution, and like those of Attica a state-institution in the later days, were probably the oldest in Greece. But these two schools of the Mysteries, [232] while teaching the same fundamental verities, and the same ultimate truths, did not teach the same things. For instance, the Mysteries of Samothrace were what we today would rather call scientific. They dealt with the nature and operations of the Kabeiroi, who belonged to the class of spiritual entities called the "Builders", the lower Septenary; whereas at Eleusis - and this name Eleusis means the "Advent" or the "Coming", and the Eleusinia "Things that Are to Come" - at Eleusis were taught the more theological and mystical doctrines, more particularly that which will happen to man after death. Hence the name of the place, Eleusis, where they were celebrated, and the name of the Mysteries themselves, the Eleusinia, i.e., the things which shall be, or shall come.

Each country had its own mystical jargon or dialect or manner of speaking of and in the various Mysteries; and with regard to the Mysteries in Greece and in Syria and in Palestine, these jargons or technical words nearly resembled each other. For instance, in Syria, outsiders were called "swine" and "dogs"; betrayers were called "wolves". Those of you who remember your New Testament will probably remember the instances in which "swine" and "dogs" and, I think, also "wolves" are spoken of. "Foxes" was a term for those who tried to enter the Mysteries unlawfully. All these terms are taken from the attributes of certain animals, which man in unlawful action copied; the fox on account of its cunning; the wolf on account of its bold cruelty and lack of conscience - that is the reputation it has, at least; swine and dogs on account of the reputation that these beasts have always had in the Orient.

But while these terms were a part of the jargon of the Mysteries of those countries in those days, as was pointed out at our last meeting, it is not the jargon or the dialect or the language used in our School. I do not believe, as was said at our last meeting, that Jesus ever called those who were not initiates in the Mysteries of his time "swine and dogs". If he did this, the presumption becomes a certainty that he did not belong to our School; but as he did so belong, we must conclude that such language came from his disciples living probably in Alexandria, where the Gospels were almost certainly composed and written in the form in which we now have them.

Next - and now we turn to the direct subject of our study, to our main theme, our main thought. Open wide your hearts; cast out for a short time from your minds all thoughts which are personal and unworthy of the atmosphere into which we are now entering. At our last study we took four technical words in order to explain somewhat by them our present great subject, talking around it rather than talking of it, four words used in [233] the Trans-Himalayan Buddhism, because, first, they are the words which H.P. Blavatsky used; secondly, because they are the words which are in the esoteric books of the East belonging to our School. Three of these are, Adi-buddha, the primal Wisdom; as a Greek would say, it is the Logos; then the Dhyani-buddha, or Buddha of Meditation or Contemplation, of which Buddhas there are seven; then the Manusha, the human Buddha. But these three are all connected: the Adi-buddha as the Logos, the Dhyani-buddha as the Causal Buddha, the Manusha-buddha as the Agent on our plane of the Celestial Hierarchy. These Buddhas belong to the Celestial Hierarchy, as contrasted with the Kosmic Hierarchy or Builders. The fourth word is Bodhisattva.

At former meetings we have spoken of the Planetary Spirits, using this term in a general sense as equivalent to Dhyani-Chohans or Lords of Meditation. Now this evening we go a step farther. The Planetaries are the Builders of the astral-material world, and they draw their plan, and they draw their higher life, and they draw their wisdom (outside of that which they themselves have won) from the Celestial Hierarchy, the upper Septenary; and this Celestial Hierarchy originates in Adi-buddha, primordial Buddha, or the Logos.

Now for each Round of our Septenary Planetary Cycle (that is of this Kalpa, or Day of Brahm_ comprising all the seven Rounds) there is a presiding Dhyani-buddha, a Buddha of Contemplation, a Causal Buddha; and all the events of all the seven globes of our Planetary Chain are under the overseeing or supervision of the particular Dhyani-Chohan of that Round. Our present Round, being the Fourth, is under the supervision of the Dhyani-buddha belonging to the fourth degree of the Celestial Hierarchy For each globe of the Planetary Chain there is what the Buddhists call a Bodhisattva, a Sanskrit word meaning "He whose essence is Wisdom".

Now this Bodhisattva is a mind-born son, so to say, of the Dhyani-buddha of that Round. There is a Dhyani-Bodhisattva for this globe, and also one for each one of the three globes which precede this globe on the Downward Arc, and likewise a Bodhisattva for each of the three globes which follow this globe on the Upward Arc - one Bodhisattva for each. This Dhyani-Bodhisattva is the spiritual head of the Spiritual-psychological Hierarchy of each globe. Take our globe, for instance. Our Dhyani-Bodhisattva is the Wondrous Being, the Great Initiator, the Silent Watcher of our globe; in one sense an emanation from the Dhyani-buddha overseeing all the Round, but not merely an exudation or prolongation, so to say, of the Dhyani-buddha. Each Bodhisattva is an entity in himself. He is, so to say, as a ray of that Dhyani-buddha. [234]

Next, during evolution on our earth (and on the other six globes correspondentially) the life-wave runs through seven stages called Root Races. Each one of these Root Races is ushered in by a Manusha-buddha, a human Buddha, who is the "son" of the globe-Bodhisattva in the same way as the globe-Bodhisattva is a "son" of the Dhyani-buddha of the Round. Each one of these seven Root Races is furthermore divided at its middle point, so to speak. When half of its cycle is run, then the racial cataclysm ensues, for that is the way in which nature operates; and preceding that cataclysm there is another human Buddha, or Manusha-buddha, of less degree.

Now, is this Wondrous Being a man? He is. Is he more than a man? He is. Is he a septenary entity? He is. How is the influence of this Wondrous Being communicated to his agents, the human Buddhas and the human Bodhisattvas?

Let us study for a moment an allied subject, a psychological one, before we go farther. We cannot understand what comes to our theme farther on until we have at least sketched out this psychological subject. Man, as you know, is sevenfold. Man may be divided in a triform way: a spiritual man, an intermediate or highly ethereal man, and an astral-physical man. In other words and in "psychological" terms: (1) Divine man, (2) spiritual man, (3) personal man. Now, then, what is an Avatara? An Avatara, as commonly supposed, is the descent of a god into a human form. That idea is exoteric. It is not false, but simply put in that way and with nothing more added in explanation, it is very misleading.

You remember what Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita: "I incarnate in period after period in order to destroy wickedness and reestablish righteousness." Now Krishna there represents the Logos, or rather, perhaps, the Logoic Ray; and the Logos - or its Ray or Influence - on our plane would be utterly helpless, inactive, and have no possible means of communication with us and our sphere, because that Logoic Ray lacks an intermediate and fully conscious vehicle or carrier, i.e., it lacks the intermediate or highly ethereal mechanism, the spiritual-human in us, which in ordinary man is but slightly active. An Avatara takes place when a direct Ray from the Logos enters into, fully inspires, and illuminates, a human being, through the intermediary of a Bodhisattva who has incarnated in that human being, thereby supplying the fit, ready, and fully conscious intermediate vehicle or carrier. This "human being" has no karmic ego of its own. The egoity, the ego, the intermediate part, the highly ethereal and fully conscious intermediary, the spiritual-human element, is supplied by the incarnating Bodhisattva; that is to say, the highly evolved personal principles of a Buddha, otherwise a Nirmana-kaya - not [235] the highest element of that Buddha, which is in Nirvana; but the spiritual-personal element of the Buddha, glorious, pure, and great, the spiritual-personal ego - enters into the body of that utterly pure human being before or shortly after its birth, and thus supplies the intermediate vehicle appropriate for the incarnation of the Logoic Ray. That is an Avatara.

For instance, a child is born. That child has an inner psycho-astral nature of transparent purity and beauty and it attracts magnetically, if you like, but spiritually, actually, a Ray from the Logos. Its own Higher Self is fully active, of course, and the Logoic Ray - which is Itself - manifests in It. Furthermore, a Bodhisattva, under the conditions which prevail when an Avatara is required on earth, enters that body also, thus supplying the egoic element. So, then, we have this marvelous thing, a pure human body with its prana and astral model body; but with no true karmic ego incarnating, a Bodhisattva supplying that egoic element of still greater purity than possible to ordinary men, and evolved to the degree required for the incarnation of the Logoic or Atmic Ray, that Logoic Ray and the Higher Self of the born child really being One. But this mystery in life is a very exceptional circumstance.

Now let us turn to another facet of the same psychological subject. Take the case of the Lord Buddha. Please notice that we here speak of the "Lord Buddha", although we speak of the great Man as Siddhartha, his personal name, and of the Sage Gautama, or Gautama Sakyamuni. Gautama was his family name; Sakya, his Clan-name; the title of "Sakyamuni" the Sakya Sage - was the title given to him in later life and after. When Sakyamuni entered Nirvana during life, he is then exoterically said to have "died", at the age of eighty years; but our teachings show him actually to have lived to one hundred years before he gave up his physical body and remained on earth as a Nirmana-kaya. Now we all know what a Nirmana-kaya is; it is a complete man minus the physical body only. But is that all there is of this wondrous Mystery? It is not. The higher portions of the Buddha were in Nirvana; yet the spiritual-personal ego remained on earth, active, an active entity, a force for spiritual good as a Nirmana-kaya, overshadowed by the Nirvanic element, and this Nirmana-kaya was, please note carefully, a human Bodhisattva. It is the teaching that this Bodhisattva, the egoic element of the Buddha Gautama, as was the case with previous Buddhas, was a spiritual-human Ray from the globe Dhyani-Bodhisattva.

You perceive the difficulty, the extreme difficulty, in making these subtle and highly spiritual subjects clear to minds untrained in our metaphysics. Actually they require years of deep thought. [236] Let us look at it from another aspect again. Who was Jesus? What was Jesus? Who was Apollonius of Tyana? What was he? The teaching is that both were incarnations of a Nirmana-kaya, and both had the same mysterious connection with the Bodhisattva of the Buddha Gautama. Please understand that Apollonius was not an Avatara, though Jesus was. There are close psychological similarities between these two wonder cases of history; but they are not identically the same mystery. I merely note here in passing that mystically a Buddha stands higher than an Avatara, for reasons which will be explained in due course of our study.

Let us go a step farther. You all have read of the incarnations of the Buddhas in Tibet. We are now speaking in exoteric language, such as you will read in Sven Hedin or various others of the European explorers. Some of them have seen these so-called incarnations of the Buddha. Please understand once for all that our School is not Lamaism; our School is representative of the Archaic, Esoteric, Wisdom of the World, although it is true on the other hand that the esoteric side of Tibetan Lamaism, properly understood, is the nearest doctrinal approach to the doctrines, in large degree, of our School; with all the faults that the Tibetans may have, with all the various drawbacks, that we Westerners may consider them as having, in one way or another, nevertheless the esoteric teaching in Tibet is nearer to that of our School than any other.

But how did this very curious and interesting doctrine of the continued reincarnations of the Buddha in the Tibetan Tashi Lama and the Dalai Lama, and in various others of the Buddhist hierarchy in various monasteries in Tibet, originate? It originated in the mother doctrine that we are now studying. You will remember that H.P. Blavatsky speaks in the passage in The Secret Doctrine that we are now studying, of an event that happened before the separation of the sexes in the Third Root Race, when a certain "spiritual being" incarnated in men; and she says that this was not a race, but, after this Wondrous Being, became a succession of great spiritual entities. It is actually, Comrades, the passing on of the inner self, the ego if you like, the ethereal man, of that original Wondrous Being that came to humankind from superior spheres in order to enlighten and to save mankind, beginning with the Third Root Race - passing on down through the ages thereafter in vehicles of human flesh and mentality even to our present time. You will remember how she speaks of this Wondrous Being as a man, and yet not a man, one concerning whom legends are rife in the Orient. In all ages there have been mysterious allusions to the Master Initiate, to the Great One, to the Head of all Teachers, to the Silent Watcher, to [237] the Great Initiator, and so forth and so forth. Tibetan Lamaism drew this teaching of the continued reincarnations of the Buddha from that fact. This is an interesting question, and perhaps some day, if the Teacher permits, we shall investigate it more fully, but we cannot touch upon Tibetan Lamaism at greater length this evening.

It is necessary, however, to understand that the difference between the transmission of an egoic element as in the Buddhaic line in Tibet, and those exceptional incarnations called the Avataras, is in one sense great; and in another sense they are very much alike. They are very much alike in this, that in both cases the Upadhi (or vehicle) chosen for the manifestation of the superior entity is a human being. Also in both cases the psycho-ethereal Upadhi is a Bodhisattva; that is to say, in the case of an Avatara, the Bodhisattva is the glorified personal man of a Buddha, of a Manusha Buddha; the lamaic succession is also boddhisattvic, but of inferior intensity, so to say - a bodhisattvic influence rather than a full incarnation of a Bodhisattva, as in the case of an Avatara.

The doctrines that students of Buddhism set forth in the books which they publish on Buddhism, in the West, are of course those which they derive from the Buddhist books themselves, usually with very inadequate understanding of the subtle points of that most spiritual of all religions; and unquestionably these scholars strive to understand and truthfully and honestly to set forth that which they believe to be the real meaning of Buddhist teachings. But it is an amazing thing that they do not succeed better; and the reason is that they come to their study with materialistic Western minds, materialistic Western preconceptions and prejudices. They come to their study in an attitude of mind which they themselves do not recognize as existing, and hence talk sagely - when they fail to grasp meanings - of the "superstitious extravagances of Oriental imagery", etc. etc. Now how is it possible to understand the real nature or the real essence of anything if you begin your study with the prepossessing idea that you know better and more than did the persons who wrote the things which you are studying? Such egoism destroys sympathy and obscures true vision; and if your study be of religious subjects, all statements made or doctrines formulated inevitably you will look upon as "monkish vagaries". But, as was pointed out in other studies, there is no exoteric doctrine belonging to the great ancient World Religions which is intrinsically false. The fact is that the exoteric teaching is the truth, but it needs a key in order to explain it; and without the key it actually can be, and usually is, misunderstood and misinterpreted, and degraded in a manner very similar to that of which we spoke upon opening our study this evening. [238]

Let us now turn to another subject connected with this, collateral, and showing another facet of the Jewel. They tell us that the human Buddha, the Manusha Buddha Gautama Sakyamuni, was born 643 years before the first year of the accepted beginning of the Christian era. Our doctrine tells us further that a human Racial Buddha comes at the beginning of, and a minor one preceding the middle point of, a Root Race. I call your attention to the fact that we are now approaching the middle point of our Fifth Root Race. We are in the fourth Sub-Race of that Fifth Root Race, not in the fifth Sub-Race thereof. Please get this point clear in your minds. It will be between sixteen thousand and twenty thousand years yet before the Racial Cataclysm will ensue which will cut our Fifth Root Race in two, exactly as happened to the Fourth-Race Atlanteans and to the Third-Race Lemurians who preceded them; and as it will happen to the two Root Races which will follow ours, the Sixth and Seventh.

Now the reason why some of our former students supposed that racially we are now in the fifth Sub-Race, is on account of a misinterpretation, very pardonable it is true, because we all know that the subject of cycles and numbers is always closely veiled; this misinterpretation or misconception appears to have arisen from what H.P. Blavatsky writes in Volume II of The Secret Doctrine on pages 435 and 445; and I desire to call your attention to the fact that one of the commonest "blinds" that a Teacher is obligated to make when writing of esoteric matters in a public work is using the same word in varying senses. There is an esoteric obligation to do so when it is necessary, in order to tell the truth for those who can and who may read, and yet to hide it from the "dogs" and "swine" and "foxes", if you will forgive my use here of the New Testament or Syrian "jargon". I call your attention in the above connection to The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page XLIII. This I will read now: "Each Round being composed of the Yugas [that is, the Ages] of the seven periods [Root Races] of Humanity; four of which are now passed in our life cycle, the middle point of the fifth being nearly reached". I call your attention also to page 610 of the same volume of The Secret Doctrine where H.P. Blavatsky says: "But as we are in the midpoint of our Sub-Race of the fifth Root Race - the acme of materiality in each - therefore the animal propensities though more refined", etc. The "acme of materiality in each" means only one thing: the middle point of the fourth of any cyclic series: for instance, the fourth Primary Sub Race; the fourth Sub-Race of the Fourth Primary Sub-Race of the Fifth Root Race, and so forth.

Suppose that for convenience sake we divide the Races in the following way - "Root"-Race really meaning the first or root- or [239] originating Primary Sub-Race, but commonly applied to all the seven successive Primary Sub-Races of a "Root"-Race and all the many other smaller sub-races included in those seven. The first "Root"-Race then is the First Primary Sub-Race of which Primary Sub-Races there are seven in the great Racial Cycle, then the Secondary Sub-Race, seven of them in each Primary Sub-Race; then seven Family-Races in each Secondary Sub-Race; then seven National Races in each Family-Race. We need go no farther. A few steps more in the series and you will come to the unit-entity, or individual man. But please also examine page 147 and page 710 of Volume II, for they will well repay your close study of them.

In another part of The Secret Doctrine you will remember that H.P. Blavatsky, in speaking of the Precessional Cycle of 25,920 years, here giving the ancient figures, calls it the cycle of a Family Race, that is to say, the Race including seven National Races. Our European Race is a Family-Race; and hence when she speaks of the lifetime of our Family-Race she says it has about 16,000 more years to run. So you see that from our ordinary human viewpoint we are not yet very near the great Racial Cataclysm; but from the standpoint of the cycles of the age of a Root Race so short a period as 16,000 years is like saying "tomorrow", or even the "next hour". A short period of 16,000 or 20,000 years is insignificant in duration in the drama of the soul.

And H.P. Blavatsky somewhere - I think it was in her magazine Lucifer in 1887, or 1888 - alludes very graphically to the earthquakes then reported in the newspapers as occurring, and she calls them the forerunners of that which is going to happen to us as a Race. But is America the home to be of the "Sixth Sub-Race"? Yes. Which Sub-Race? "Sub-Race" is vague enough! Is it to be a sixth Family-Race? But if America is then to be in about 16,000 years, or the latter part of a precessional cycle of 25,920 years from now, the home of the Sixth Family-Race, H.P. Blavatsky goes on immediately, in a masterly way, just as any initiate would, to lead the mind on, and she says that America is also to be the seed land, the nursery, of the sixth Root Race, a statement also true, but including a vast period of years between the two points! When that latter far-distant day dawns America will then no longer be. Much of the land of the Americas that is now above the waters will then be under them and new land, now forming the sea-bottom, will have arisen above its surface. For all we know, North and South America may be more widely united. New land (as the Teacher here present calls to me to say) will rise out of the present Pacific, thus raising the old Lemurian beds again, to be joined to us here on our Western coasts. [240]

So when we read of "sub-races" let us beware, let us be careful, lest the molds of our minds, misleading us, lead us astray after mere words which are "blinds". Break the molds of your minds at all costs! Free your minds, keep them plastic! Refuse to take as the sole truth any isolated statement whatsoever, wherever you may find it. Take it, but not alone; contrast it, compare it, study it and analyze it if you want the truth. Especially is this necessary when it is a question of cycles, and of the words dealing with cycles. Watch carefully when you see the word "sub-race", watch carefully when you read of the "Buddha". Which Buddha? Or of the "Bodhisattva" - which one?

So we postpone for a later and more extended study the subjects which we have attempted this evening to outline. Much more should, and with our Teacher's permission will, be said about this Wondrous Being. But, in conclusion, I beg two things, first that my words be not misunderstood. We feel deeply the heavy responsibility that the Teacher has laid upon us in our studies here. I think it a wonderful thing to come here and look at the faces of my comrades in the Teacher's presence, and to realize the beautiful spirit of fraternal unity that is here; to realize that each one to the best of his or her power is in fullest sympathy with all the other comrades. It is a blessing, and personally I feel it is as a benediction. But, in closing, do not misconstrue my words about this Wondrous Being. Remember the series. First the Logos, the Adi-buddha; then the seven Dhyanis, each one of the seven inspiring and overseeing one of the seven Rounds, who is the Causal Buddha, the Sun if you like, emanating out innumerable inferior beings. Then the Dhyani-Bodhisattvas, for each globe of the Planetary Chain, seven of them; and seven Manusha Buddhas, one such for each one of the seven Root Races on each globe during each Round. There are probably almost numberless cases where a Bodhisattva, a Buddhic ray, as the cycles of time pass, reaches out from the Lodge of our Masters, where the Great Initiator, the Highest One, is, the Man-Emanation of the Wondrous Being, and inspires and instills the Ancient Wisdom into the soul of some great and pure human being, such as was Jesus of Nazareth, and Apollonius of Tyana, and many, many others whose names are not familiar to us Westerners.

And in the initiations - and we recollect this only at the present moment, and it must be said before finishing - in the initiations there are three things that take place. They are directly connected with the subject of the Wondrous Being and the Bodhisattvas. Remember that initiation is the quickening or enlivening of the soul of one who is prepared. It is a quickening process of evolution, for producing a more rapid evolving of the inner man, which otherwise an ordinary man would achieve only after many [241] ages. In these initiations, and in the fifth, to particularize, there occurs what is called the Theophany. The Christians use that word and also Epiphany, which is a minor form of the same thing, and they say it should be celebrated on the fourth-sixth of January, the matter having direct relation with the calendar of the solar year of which we spoke in our last study, but which we have no time to go into tonight. Theophany originally meant the appearance of a god. It actually is the following mystery: in the fifth initiation, the human being under trial, the chela under trial, meets his own god-self face to face, and for a longer or shorter time becomes one with it. He then knows truth; you will remember that the only way of really understanding a thing, is to become that thing. And that is the real meaning of what takes place in the true, real initiations, and the Epiphany is a minor manifestation of the Theophany. It is a Greek word meaning shining upon, or illuminating; whereas Theophany means the shining forth visibly of a god - the man's own inner Higher Self.

If the Theophany is more or less complete upon the ending of the initiation or the trial, the chela then has Theopneusty, meaning divine inspiration. He is consciously united with his inner god, his Higher Self. Literally, the inner god of the candidate breathes down into him, for a longer or shorter time, depending upon his advancement, the wisdom and the knowledge of all the universe, so to say, in degree greater or less, depending upon the candidate's advancement and receptivity.

The highest of all the ancient initiation-achievements, in Greece was called the Theopathy, meaning "suffering a god", not a god who suffers, but one who suffers the conscious entrance into him of a god. This is not, of course, an Avatara, which is something else entirely, as we have shown above; but it means that at initiation and for a less or greater time afterwards, according to the spiritual power and receptivity of the initiate, he becomes, through that holy presence in him, a walking, living god, his own Inner Self. Finally, our Teachers tell us that in some rare cases the Theophany, the Theopneusty, and the Theopathy last as long as does the life on earth of the Initiate. [242]

Chapter XXI


As to the Philosophy, by whose assistance the Mysteries were developed (and which, we may say, they were designed to teach), it is coeval with the Universe itself, and, however its continuity may be broken by opposing systems, it will make its appearance at different periods of time, as long as the Sun himself shall continue to illuminate the world. It has, indeed, and may hereafter be violently assailed by delusive opinions; but the opposition will be just as imbecile as that of the waves of the sea against a temple built on a rock, which majestically pours them back, broken and vanquished, foaming to the main. However it may be involved in oblivion in barbarous and derided in impious ages, it will again flourish - through all the infinite revolutions of time.

- Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, by Thomas Taylor

Hence in the Smaragdine Tablet, disfigured by Christian hands:

"The Superior agrees with the Inferior; and the Inferior with the Superior; to effect that one truly wonderful Work" - which is MAN. For the secret work of Chiram, or King Hiram in the Qabbalah, "one in Essence, but three in Aspect," is the Universal Agent or Lapis Philosophorum. The culmination of the Secret Work is Spiritual Perfect Man, at one end of the line; the union of the three Elements is the Occult Solvent in the "Soul of the World," the Cosmic Soul or Astral Light, at the other ¼

- Secret Doctrine, II, 113

The intention of all mystic ceremonies is to conjoin us with the world of the Gods.

- Sallust

The design of the Mysteries is to lead us back to the perfection from which, as a Principle, we first made our descent.

- Plato

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God [i.e., their own Inner God].

- Jesus (in the Sermon on the Mount)

I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee.

- Job (a Story of Initiation)

We continue our study of the subjects which we have been treating of for some weeks past; but this evening we are going to speak of another matter collateral with our main theme yet very important; and at our next meeting we shall endeavor to take up the scattered threads which we have unloosened, both in generalization and in particular, and gather them together and weave them into a consistent whole, making as nearly as possible a clearer picture for our brain-minds of what we can understand at present [243] of the Seventh Treasury of Wisdom. Also, if we have time this evening, we shall endeavor very briefly to treat of a matter left incomplete at our last meeting, that is to say, the question of the seven Root Races of mankind through which the human wave of life passes during the present Fourth Round on our globe.

We open our study this evening in reading from Volume I of The Secret Doctrine, page 424, the extract which we have read before, but it is convenient to read it again this evening:

To thoroughly comprehend the idea underlying every ancient cosmology necessitates the study, in a comparative analysis, of all the great religions of antiquity; as it is only by this method that the root idea will be made plain. Exact science - could the latter soar so high, while tracing the operations of nature to their ultimate and original sources - would call this idea the hierarchy of Forces. The original, transcendental and philosophical conception was one. But as systems began to reflect with every age more and more the idiosyncrasies of nations; and as the latter, after separating, settled into distinct groups, each evolving along its own national or tribal groove, the main idea gradually became veiled with the overgrowth of human fancy. While in some countries the FORCES, or rather the intelligent Powers of nature, received divine honors they were hardly entitled to, in others - as now in Europe and the civilized lands - the very thought of any such Force being endowed with intelligence seems absurd, and is proclaimed unscientific.

Note the calm but trenchant irony in this extract. I merely call attention to it before passing on. Now this extract, though dealing with the various aspects which the ancient religions took as the ages passed, leading to their differentiations into the so-called great religions of the world, nevertheless fits in very well by analogy and by comparison with the subject which we are going to treat in particular, although briefly, this evening, that is to say the question of initiations and the ancient Mysteries, and also a much misunderstood fact in nature closely connected with the ancient Mysteries, which was evolved into a doctrine by the ancients and called by them the Succession of Teachers - guruparampara in Sanskrit, and distortedly and faintly reflected in the "Apostolical Succession" in the Christian scheme.

The Christian Church very early took over that doctrine of the Succession of Teachers, with much other theological timber, from the old religions of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea; and the doctrine which it took over became for that Church the so-called "Apostolic Succession" of the Church of Rome, the popes succeeding one another and claiming to be the "successors" of the fisherman-apostle of Galilee, Simon Peter. We do not care to go into this aspect of the matter, for it is useless for our present purpose, and no benefit can be gained by it; but [244] wherever we look and whatever line of human social or religious activity we may choose to take for our study, we shall always find that there is a passing on of authority or a passing on of teachings, or of both. The various heads of even our political bodies succeed one another, and usually carry on a political tradition. "Big businesses" succeed one another, and usually pass on, from man to man, a tradition of commercial policy and expansion; and so forth, and so forth. It is simply an exemplification in ordinary practical life of a rule of nature; that is to say, that man, being a mortal being, having to die, but being an entity of thought and of heart, does not want to see that which he feels to be good, or which he believes to be good, lost; and so he transfers either authority or teaching, or both, to another whom he considers fit and capable to carry on his teaching or authority, or both.

It is in the religious field of human activity that this system is most marked, and where the feeling is the strongest. A succession of "prophets" succeeding each other in the ancient Mysteries; a succession of Hierophants succeeding each other therein, is a fact well known to us, even ordinary knowledge such as you may find in an encyclopedia or in schoolbooks.

In Greece, for instance, in taking the Eleusinian Mysteries as an example, we know that the Hierophants were drawn from one family, the Eumolpidae, living in Athens, and the Torchbearers were drawn from another family, the Lycomidae, living in Athens; and we have reason to believe that the Mysteries of Samothrace, the seat of an older rite, and which were, like the Mysteries of Eleusis, a state-function, were also conducted in the same manner by the passing on of the tradition held sacred and incommunicable to outsiders; and the bond of union between the initiates of these so-called Mysteries, was considered indissoluble, impossible of dissolution, for death merely strengthened the tie.

Now outside of the fact that men like to pass on what they think and believe to be good, whence arose throughout the various countries of the world of which we have some knowledge, the remarkable mystic similarities we know of, whence came to them all the closely similar knowledge and authority which were passed on from one Head to another? It must have come from somewhere. Men no longer believe in the empty philosophico-scientific theory or fallacy of fifty years ago, to the effect that, for instance, six men, living in six different isles, will inevitably and infallibly tread six more or less identical paths of mental and physical thought and ceremony. It was once a scientific heresy to doubt that theory. It was called a "fact", though there were no facts to prove it; it was a theory merely, having no other foundation than imagination overworked in order to [245] find an explanation of similarities and identities such as the above.

Let us say here that a Theosophist looks with respect and reverence upon the discoveries of the many great and noble-minded men who have given us brighter views into the shell of nature, the outward physical shell, and whose lives often are models of self-sacrifice; but while we recognize that every new light shed into our minds, showing us new views into the heart of nature, is good for us, and furthermore will tend finally to prove our own doctrines, nevertheless every thinking Theosophist, and particularly every Esotericist, every Occultist, every member of this School, draws a sharp line of distinction between Science, the noble knowledge of classified truth, and the theories of scientists. We accept a theory if it is good, but only as a theory; and it must be corroborated by Nature herself before any Theosophist will accept it as a fact, as a part of Science per se.

So, then, we receive the following bit of knowledge from our Teachers - our Masters have told us - that this particular doctrine which in the Church of Rome is called the "Apostolic Succession", and in the ancient Mysteries was called the Passing of the Word, the Passing of the Knowledge, the Passing of the Authority, or by some similar expression, originated in this our own Order, but obviously not in our lifetime. We are merely a generation, one of many, carrying on the tradition of the Knowledge which originated in the final ages of that vanished continent, Lemuria, and was more particularly developed in Atlantis, where were first established the Ancient Mysteries of which we are today the ultimate and outward sign of the inward and spiritual truth.

As in the highest of our Lodges, we are taught, the Truth is passed from the great Master Initiator to his successor to the Truth and the Authority, so in the inferior Lodges, the same system is followed; and we in our Work merely carry on the same tradition. It is saddening to see how learned ignoramuses with high-sounding names, or possibly with an alphabetical string of academic titles after their names, sometimes talk about the Mysteries of which they can really know nothing outside of the scattered data found embodied in old literature. They are mere bookmen, readers, and not understanders; it is also truly pathetic to hear some folk talk about the non-necessity of having a leader, because they believe that one man is as good as another, and that no man can be very much better than another, and to see their opinion that all this talk about spiritual, inner light and illumination passed on from Initiate to Initiate is just thingumbobbery!

Are they wise? But ask them for proof of their theory, and [246] they can give you none. No proof whatsoever; it is pure speculation. On the contrary, point out to them even such facts as we know, or the things of which history has left certain records in her annals, where invariably you will find the same old tradition coming down the ages of the passing down of the knowledge and of the authority and of the doctrine.

Now when we speak of Mysteries and initiations we use those words in a sense which to us is sacred, and with no wish or desire, far less with any attempt, to create a false and mischievous atmosphere of emotionalism. We speak of facts. You know that every member of our School is more or less a scientist, i.e., a knower and researcher. We are taught to use our brains and our minds and our wills first of all for self-conquest, and then to analyze properly ourselves and the world we live in. Has not our present Teacher told us again and again that we must consult our consciences before we accept anything? In order to do that, we have to think; we also know that even if in doing so we should, through our own blindness, or incapacity, reject a truth offered to us, we shall nevertheless have done aright, because we have been faithful to ourselves, to our consciences, and also faithful to our Teacher, and that the karma of that rejection will be merely temporary, because the inner man understands, and the truth in time will dawn in faithful hearts. After all, how greatly preferable it is to do so in all honesty and purity of soul, than to be like some who have entered this sacred body from improper motives, and with envy and jealousy in their hearts and perhaps honeyed words on their lips. Heaven help them!

We are taught that the Mysteries - we take those of Greece for an example - divided into two parts. Let us particularize: take those of Eleusis. You will remember, as was pointed out at our last meeting, that Eleusis as a word means Advent, The Coming, that which is coming, the promise. As the Mysteries of Samothrace were rather what we would call scientific, dealing more with the operations of Nature, and the origin of those operations and the method of controlling them, and teaching what they led to - in other words what we would today call science; so the teachings at Eleusis were rather those religious and philosophic doctrines of exotericism giving to men what the great Roman orator, Cicero, called a brighter view of life and a livelier hope as regarded death, because they taught of the things which are to be, more particularly the so-called, and thoughtlessly so-called, "dark mysteries of death". These Eleusinia were divided into two parts, as said above, the Less Mysteries and the Greater Mysteries. The Less Mysteries were celebrated in the early springtime, more or less about the time of the Anthesteria, the Flower-Festival, and the celebrations took place at a small town [247] called Agrae. Those Mysteries were mainly dramatic in form, with this one object in view: to prepare him or her who was initiated into these Less Mysteries, better to understand, more quickly to apprehend, and more easily to seize with the mind, that which he was to go through in the Greater Mysteries of Eleusis, providing that in the interim and during the time of trial he proved himself true and fit and clean.

Even in the days when early Christianity had superseded the degenerate and corrupt religions of the Mediterranean countries, even then, fallen as the Eleusinia were from their former high state, yet they were considered so highly that initiations still took place in them. They were actually finally stopped on the initiative of the Pagans themselves, the school closed by an order of the Christian Emperor Justinian in Constantinople, but closed on the petition of the better of the so-called Pagans themselves. The truth is that the Mysteries were not overcome by Christianity, but fell because of intrinsic degeneracy. Can we imagine what those men must have felt in the day when they saw that which was dearer to them than life closed and ended by their own will, invaded and degraded by degenerate rites and beliefs, and, doubtless, also by the Christian fanatics?

Now the dramatizations in the Less Mysteries were not what we would call "plays", exactly; they were "plays" in one sense because they were dramas. But they were enacted in the form of spectacles in which the would-be disciple, the initiant or the one to be initiated, had to take the main part himself or herself. Let us give a concrete example, which at least will be interesting, and perhaps illuminating, remembering that there were various kinds of styles of initiations and of Mysteries existing in the different countries; but fundamentally they were all one and still today are one in the great secret sodalities; but in each country the initiations and Mysteries took on different aspects, as it were; as for instance in Hindustan as compared with Greece. The initiator and the neophyte might use a different language, and wear different clothing, etc., and perhaps go through a different rite, and so on and so on. But fundamentally the idea was the same the world over. It must be remembered that the Smaller Mysteries were preparations for the Greater. In the former, the candidate was taught, and enacted as a drama what he would have to experience psychically and spiritually in the Greater Initiations.

Now one of these rites was the drama, or the trial rather, that the neophyte would have to pass through in actuality later, in the Greater Initiation, and it was the meeting with his Inner Self, his own Inner Self, not in the vague and abstract way in which we today speak of a man as having "found his true self"; but in [248] the Less Initiation the neophyte was actually put through training and purification in order to fit him to undergo the real Test, in which he met his own Inner Self face to face, as another individual apparently, at first, but at a still higher Initiation to be blended with that other Self, his own Self, his Higher Self.

Now this rite is one of the Smaller Mysteries, those of purification and training, and was enacted at the town of Agrae, not far from Athens, where the Less Mysteries were held, and it was enacted dramatically. The neophyte was then and there taught to anticipate and understand what was coming to him if he was successful later in the Greater Rite. He was frankly and openly told at the last what he was there to meet if he desired to go to the end of the path. And similarly with the other stages or degrees of initiation.

Now it is not certainly known how many degrees or secret stages there were of the Eleusinia, but we know that there were several; and we know that to the very end, before they were finally closed on account of their degeneration, they were so carefully guarded, so faithfully kept hid, that to this day scholars are mentally running around in bewilderment, in an endeavor to find out what really was taught in the Eleusinia, in these Mysteries which aroused the admiration of the greatest men of antiquity; in those of Samothrace likewise the circumstances of secrecy and degree were very similar.

Take Egypt. The Pyramids, we are taught, were simply - the Great Pyramid especially - majestic Initiation Temples. There too the Mysteries and the initiations were most sacredly guarded and kept secret. They were kept only for those who had proved themselves worthy, not by talk but by act, and who had been tried and tested in many different ways. And why? Because it was a dangerous matter for unprepared minds. Our Teachers tell us plainly that there were three results of an initiation: one success; another failure, which often meant death; and the third (a partial failure) often meant madness. But success meant glory unspeakable. Why was it that madness and death sometimes ensued? Through any outward punishment? No. The results were wholly from within the candidates themselves. They were plainly told, these neophytes: "Come with a clean heart, and glory unspeakable and knowledge of the gods shall be yours; but come with a perverse and wicked heart, with your mind untrained and with your will unset, and you will never be able to face that which you will have to meet in the other world". Because that is what the Greater Mysteries were, a passing behind the veil of this physical shell. No wonder that the training was severe, arduous! Those ancient men had high hearts in their bodies and wise old minds. [249]

Now those Mysteries are not dead today. We are taught distinctly that the same ancient truths, the same entrance into glory, the same beautiful realization of the highest hopes that man bears in the secret recesses of his heart, the same surpassing knowledge of life and being: all can be had by him who wills and who dares and who knows how to keep silent: and we are told that the true Esoteric Pathway is here, in this our own Holy Order. That is what the Masters have taught us through their representatives, the third one of whom, in our age, sits among us this evening. They also have taught us another great truth, that it is not a sine qua non for success to have a mighty brain-mind, for they have told us plainly that even some of their own Brothers, some of the Masters themselves, are such by virtue of their spiritual grandeur, and not by virtue of any brain-mind eminence alone nor of any particular mental power; and they have told us further that such of the Masters, spiritual sons of glory, may stand high even among themselves. We are further taught that this brain-mind of ours is very often a hindrance to us; it is indeed a most useful servant if we keep it a servant, but it is a master which will inevitably put our feet upon the left-hand path unless illumined and guided by the spiritual nature, because all its thoughts are thoughts of self, and all its thinking is for gratification of its own desires; its horizons are limited, and its outlook is short; its self-born inspirations are few and far between; and it is mortal and dies with the body. It depends upon ourselves as to which side of our nature, the higher or the lower, we shall, as William Quan Judge used to say, nail our faith, pin it there and keep it there.

The other matter mentioned at the beginning of our study this evening we shall have to treat very briefly. It is that of the Races through which mankind, as a life-wave, passes in its journey from the beginning of evolution on this globe to its end. You will remember that there are seven such Root Races which form the evolutionary Cycle, in this Fourth Round, which is what we call one Globe Round; and we are at the present time, as said before, in the fourth Sub-Race of our present Fifth Root Race. There is confusion about these Races in the minds of some students, because our first Teacher, H.P. Blavatsky, as was pointed out at our last meeting, was under the necessity when she wrote, of keeping quiet, or rather hid, certain teachings which she was not then empowered publicly to give out. Had there been the proper appeal from her students, perhaps she would have done so then. At any rate, our present Teacher, Katherine Tingley, has permitted us to give a short outline, which we shall use in an attempt to illustrate this rather difficult subject. Let each line of the following diagram represent a Root Race. [250]

There are seven lines (or Root Races), and you will notice that the junction-line, beginning one Root Race out of the preceding Root Race, is at the middle point of the former, that is, at the fourth Sub-Race of the preceding or Mother-Race. It is so in all the lines (or Root Races). Now we are at present in the Fifth Root Race, two races short of the completion of our globe-cycle or Globe Round, and our present Fifth Root Race is almost at the point, the middle of our Fifth Root Race, where the Sixth Root Race to come will branch off. Each Root Race, each of the seven, is divided in our teachings into seven minor Races as follows. Notice the recurrence of the number seven:

One Root Race


Primary Sub-race

= 7 Secondary Sub-races


Secondary Sub-race

= 7 Family Races


Family Race

= 7 National Races


National Race

= 7 Tribal Races


Tribal Race

= 7 Tribal Generations


Tribal Generation

= 7 Individual Lives


Individual Man

= about 72 years

We say 72 years, because the average man, barring accidents and malignant diseases which may carry him off before his time, usually lives about 72 years. Some human beings live much longer, of course. If we took count of all human deaths: of the [251] babies who die in such numbers in infancy, and of all who die in shipwreck, and of all the men killed in wars, and of all the murders and of all the diseases, and of the train and of the automobile wrecks, and of all such accidents, probably the average length of human life today would not be more than 15 or 20 years; but those cases, after all, are exceptional. Man lives today, on a natural average, about 72 years, barring all accidents, etc., as above suggested.

The following is an interesting calculation, offered only as a suggestive thing. Suppose that you desire to calculate the length of time of a Root Race, and please understand that what we are saying now is only a rough approximation. Take then 72 years, the famous three score years and ten in the Bible - a mystery figure, a round number for 72 - and multiply it by seven: we get one Tribal Generation; multiply it by seven again, we get one Tribal Race; multiply that by seven and we get one National Race, and your figure will come to about 25,920 years, the length of the Precessional Cycle; multiply that by seven again, and you get one Family Race; multiply that again by seven and you get a Secondary Sub-Race; and multiply that by seven once more and you get a figure which is really the entire time period of a Root Race. This calculation is very rough numerically, and is so intended to be; but it is suggestive.

You see we do not count the Root Race as one of the seven here, but make it the all-inclusive one, and why? Because if we did so count it, we should be counting the Primary Sub-Race twice. A "Root" Race really ought to mean the race which originates a thing, or is its "root". It is therefore, strictly speaking, from the first Primary Sub-Race that all the others of the series grow, exactly as the root of a tree sends up its trunk, and the trunk its branches, the branches their smaller branchlets, the smaller branchlets still smaller branchings, they the twigs, which bear the leaves. Therefore, according to the above series, it is the Primary Sub-Race which really is the "Root" Race.

Now there are seven (please mark again, seven) Root Races in one Globe Round, that is to say a Planetary Round as it passes through our Globe. Seven Globe Rounds equal one Planetary Round; seven Planetary Rounds equal one Kalpa or Manvantara or Day of Brahm_, and seven Kalpas plus seven Planetary Pralayas (or seven periods of planetary rest) equal one Solar Kalpa.

7 Root Races

= 1 Globe Round

7 Globe Rounds

= 1 Planetary Round

7 Planetary Rounds

= 1 Kalpa (4,320,000 of our years plus several more ciphers)

7 Kalpas + 7 Planetary Pralayas

= 1 Solar Kalpa [252]

Now these figures are given because they are fundamental. They are accurate as far as they go. We shall have to deal with them in future studies.

Please note in conclusion that the drawing on page 274 above, illustrating the birth of Root Races from each other at the middle point of each, equally well can represent a Primary Sub-Race or a Secondary Sub-Race, or a National Race, or a Tribal Race, etc., and the reason is obvious, because there are no perfectly unique and singular things in Nature anywhere. Nature does nothing but repeat itself, and the man who said that Nature never repeats itself uttered a titanic fallacy. Nature does nothing but repeat itself. Did you ever see a thing perfectly unique - utterly different in all respects from everything else? On the contrary, you see everything everywhere repeating itself: the seasons year in and year out: day and night year in and year out: the planets circling around the Sun continually; their satellites circling around their primaries in more or less the same way; and so forth. There is constant repetition everywhere. A tree in putting forth its foliage, puts forth its own leaves; it does not put forth something unique and unheard of - pumpkin-pies or chairs or temples or houses; it puts forth that which belongs to it, as all trees do.

Cycles can be found in every branch of life; for instance, children are born on the average at the end of ten lunar months or nine solar months. A child can live and be perfectly healthy and successful, if born at seven months after conception, but it is a child of great sensitiveness, high-strung, of nervous temperament, and it needs the most anxious and loving care, because it has to finish its growth in the cold outside, and Nature takes two other months to do it normally.

Now, as said before, we shall endeavor at our next study to link together into one consistent and more easily understood whole, the various threads of thought which we have gathered up out of our teachings, both in generalization and in particular, and to weave them into a whole so consistent, so coherent, that even our brain-minds can grasp at least some message, some notion, of what the sublime theme that we have been studying within the last few weeks treats of. [253]

Chapter XXII


Know that the stream of superhuman knowledge and the Deva-Wisdom thou hast won must from thyself, the channel of Alaya, be poured forth into another bed.

Know, O Naljor, thou of the Secret Path, its pure fresh waters must be used to sweeter make the Ocean's bitter waves - that mighty sea of sorrow formed of the tears of men ¼

Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva - Compassion speaks and saith: "Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?"

- Voice of the Silence , "The Seven Portals", 70-1, 76. Chosen Fragments from the Book of the Golden Precepts. For the daily use of Lanoos (disciples). Translated and annotated by H.P. Blavatsky.

In opening our study this evening let us read from The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, pages 281-2:

As the "coats of skin" of men thickened, and they fell more and more into physical sin, the intercourse between physical and ethereal divine man was stopped. The veil of matter between the two planes became too dense for even the inner man to penetrate. The mysteries of Heaven and Earth, revealed to the Third Race by their celestial teachers in the days of their purity, became a great focus of light, the rays from which became necessarily weakened as they were diffused and shed upon an uncongenial, because too material soil. With the masses they degenerated into Sorcery, taking later on the shape of exoteric religions, of idolatry full of superstitions, and man-, or hero-worship. Alone a handful of primitive men - in whom the spark of divine Wisdom burnt bright, and only strengthened in its intensity as it got dimmer and dimmer with every age in those who turned it to bad purposes - remained the elect custodians of the Mysteries revealed to mankind by the divine Teachers ¼ and tradition whispers, what the secret teachings affirm, namely, that these Elect were the germ of a Hierarchy which never died since that period:

The inner man of the first ¼ only changes his body from time to time; he is ever the same, knowing neither rest nor Nirvana, spurning Devachan and remaining constantly on Earth for the salvation of mankind ¼

Out of the seven virgin-men (Kumara) four sacrificed themselves for the sins of the world and the instruction of the ignorant, to remain till the end of the present Manvantara. Though unseen, they are ever present. When people say of one of them, "He is dead"; behold, he [254] is alive and under another form. These are the Head, the Heart, the Soul, and the Seed of undying knowledge ¼

¼ Higher than the "Four" is only ONE on Earth as in Heavens - that still more mysterious and solitary Being described in Book I.

- the Wondrous Being of whom we have spoken before.

Would that I had our Teacher's profound and capacious mind and her capacity for exposition, because tonight we are going to do our best to illustrate in as simple terms as possible the sublime subjects that we have been studying for some weeks past, gathering up the stray threads of thought and trying to weave them into a consistent and logical whole.

Plunging then directly into our study, let us first ask ourselves one question. Whither are we as a Race, as men, as thinking entities, traveling, in what direction? The Ancient Wisdom tells us that we are traveling inwards, not "up", not "down", not to "right" nor to "left", not "forward" nor "backward", but inwards, leaving the realms of matter, taking them with us in fact by spiritualizing the inferior coatings: traveling inwards on that Path which began with our "descent" (if you like the term) into matter, into manifestation, and henceforth raising matter towards spirit, its real source or root, following the path which we ourselves inwardly are, and marching inwards, ever more inwardly, until at the consummation of all things we shall attain a goal, an end, even more supernal than that which we left in commencing our peregrination downwards into experience.

The next thought that occurs is, Are our Higher natures separate from ourselves, paradoxical as it may sound? Are they ourselves? What are they? We all know, as students, the teachings concerning the seven principles of man; but when we stop to ask ourselves what are these seven principles really: do they form a unity, or is each one of them an entity in itself, then we enter upon very difficult subjects indeed. Let us say first that the four lower principles are borrowed or rather, perhaps, evolved out of ourselves in combination with Elements drawn from the common storehouse of Nature, as man takes into his body for his nutrition his food formed of atoms, yet each one of those atoms in itself is the vehicle of a monad, manifesting in that sphere or plane of life. But our three higher principles are each one a separate entity but conjoined into an inseparable unity during the manvantaric cycle. And we see the reason why this is so in studying the seventh of the seven Treasuries of Wisdom, which seventh is the supreme Key of all the other six.

We begin to form some conception of what lies before us in this study: how unity becomes multiplicity and how multiplicity resolves itself back into unity. Note first the difference between [255] one, unity, and union, Union is an assemblage of things straightly united together; Unity is an assemblage of things but with a common head or source, the summit of a hierarchy for instance; whereas one is a monad, an individual, and therefore indivisible. Now we are a union in our four lower principles; we are a unity in our three higher principles, our "upper triad"; and we are one in the three highest, the "highest triad", so-called for easy comprehension.

Now the three principles forming the "upper triad" exist each on its own plane, and we feel their influence, because we are in spiritual rapport with them. Nevertheless each one exists on its own plane in consciousness and power; we know of each only what we have so far evolved; all we know, for instance, of the third principle (counting from the top), the Manas, is what we have so far assimilated of it in this Fourth Round. It, as you know, will not be fully developed until the end of the next Round. What we call our "Manas" is a generalizing term for the reincarnating ego - I am now speaking of the higher Manas.

Now turning a moment to a collateral subject, we must realize that all our consciousness, i.e., the consciousness of the ordinary man, pertains to this our present plane, but that there are innumerable other planes of the Kosmos surrounding us, interpenetrating us, and of these other planes each has its own entities, its own beings, thinking and unthinking, as our plane has, each class appropriate to its own sphere or plane, and that our very earth interpenetrates them as they interpenetrate us, and that the reason we do not see their habitations and them, and their dwellings, and the lower creatures living there, is because our senses are not yet fitted to cognise them, have not been evolved or trained to know them or see them, for our physical senses have but a very limited perception of things. But there indeed they are! Some of these planes belong to our own Hierarchy, and some do not. Those which do not, belong to other Hierarchies each having its own series of planes or worlds. As in a chord of music each note may be distinctly heard, each being separate from the other, but together they form a chord, a musical harmony, so it is with these planes. It is, if you like, all a matter of differing vibrations, this word being used here in its scientific sense. If the vibrations are such that our senses can cognise them, we see them then, or hear them, or touch them, or taste them, or smell them, as sense perceptions; and if our senses are incognisant of them, we know nothing of them. Yet they are there!

Similarly with our three higher principles, the "upper triad". The ego exists with its own consciousness, and its own forces, and its own dwelling which is a "soul", and we feel its effects, we feel its flux, which to us is an influx; and similarly with the Buddhic [256] principle, and with the Atmic ray. We say that the Atman is universal, and so it is; but it belongs (so far as we are concerned in our present stage in evolution) to the fourth Kosmic plane, though it is our seventh principle.

What I am trying to say is that the destiny of man is to raise his focus of consciousness from the lower to the higher; and with each step that he makes "upwards", or more properly inwards, he finds a new world, with its own inhabitants, as said above, with its own conditions and "laws", with the "habitations" of its inhabitants; and following the ancient axiom of the Hermetists, "As above, so below", we can see the perfect truth, the perfect fidelity to fact, in stating that these various planes or rather Worlds - some of which are immensely higher than ours, some only a little higher, some immensely lower than ours, some only a little lower - each one of these planes or Worlds, I repeat, has its own life and thinking beings, its own trees, and its own stones, and its own storms, and its own fire, its own inhabitants, and its own animals, and all the rest of the manifold and various things and entities, similar to but not identical with the beings we see around us on our plane. Think of the vastness of the spaces of consciousness and being which this thought brings home to us, the illimitability of life, its utter and perfect endlessness, promising endless evolution before us, as there have been endless experiences and evolution behind us! The reflection is an ennobling one.

Now, the summit of every Hierarchy, as so often said, is one: and may be considered as one in three or three in one, a philosophical conception of the ancients whence the Christians got their dogma of their Trinity. This is the Uppermost Triad. Next comes a unity of what we call our Upper Triad, three separate principles per se, yet bound together in a compact unity in the seventh or highest principle, the Atman, which is the Self, the "universal selfhood", not our ego, but that feeling or consciousness of selfhood which is the same in you and in me and in every human being, and even in all the inferior beings of the Hierarchy, yea, even in those of the beast kingdom under us, and dimly perceptible even in the plant world, and which is latent even in the minerals. This is the pure cognition, the abstract idea of Self. It differs not at all throughout the Hierarchy, except in degree of self-recognition. When you say self, you mean the same thing that I do; but when you say myself, I am I and not another, that is the consciousness of your ego, and it is not the same as when I say I am I. When this ego is raised from the lower planes to the higher, it comes naturally in touch with higher things. From the inferior consciousness we become by evolution conscious of ourselves as a man, or self-conscious; and from the man we become a Buddha or a Christ, reaching full expanded self-consciousness. And there are [257] thereafter other planes still higher than this, of which we now say no more. Finally, the four lowest principles form a union, non-permanent, transitory, and dissoluble at death.

Remember that these planes or Worlds extend as such in both directions: inwards and outwards - one reaching ever into greater superiority to us, from our standpoint; and the other direction going, as we expressed it, downwards, or, as it is sometimes expressed, along the Path of the Left Hand.

Now let us read here another extract, as our next subject, from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 572:

Esoterically the teaching differs: The divine, purely Adi-buddhic monad manifests as the universal Buddhi (the Maha-buddhi or Mahat in Hindu philosophies) the spiritual, omniscient and omnipotent root of divine intelligence, the highest anima mundi [or soul of the world] or the Logos. This descends "like a flame spreading from the eternal Fire, immovable, without increase or decrease, ever the same to the end" of the cycle of existence, and becomes universal life on the Mundane Plane. From this Plane of conscious Life shoot out, like seven fiery tongues, the Sons of Light (the logoi of Life); then the Dhyani-buddhas of contemplation: the concrete forms of their formless Fathers - the Seven Sons of Light, still themselves, to whom may be applied the Brahmanical mystic phrase: "Thou art 'THAT' - Brahm." It is from these Dhyani-buddhas that emanate their chhayas (Shadows) the Bodhisattvas of the celestial realms, the prototypes of the super-terrestrial Bodhisattvas, and of the terrestrial Buddhas, and finally of men. The "Seven Sons of Light" are also called "Stars."

Oh, sublime beyond ordinary human comprehension are the truths of life and the mysteries of being! We are taught that there exists a Hierarchy of Compassion, which H.P. Blavatsky sometimes called the Hierarchy of Mercy or of Pity. This is the Light Side of nature as contrasted with its Matter Side or Shadow Side, its Night Side. It is from this Hierarchy of Compassion that came those semi-divine entities about the middle period of the third Root Race of this Round, and incarnated in the semi-conscious, quasi-senseless men of that period, those advanced entities otherwise known as the Solar Lhas, as the Tibetans call them, the solar spirits, who were the men of a former kalpa who during the third Root Race thus sacrificed themselves in order to give us intellectual light; incarnating in those senseless psycho-physical shells in order to awaken into a divine flame of egoity and self-consciousness the sleeping egos which we then were. They are ourselves because belonging to the same spirit-ray that we do; yet we, more strictly speaking, were those half-unconscious, half-awakened egos whom they touched with the divine fire of their own being. This our "awakening" was called by H.P. Blavatsky, the incarnation of the Manasaputras, or the Sons of Mind, or Light. Had that [258] incarnation not taken place, we indeed should have continued our evolution by merely "natural" causes, but it would have been slow almost beyond comprehension, almost interminable; but that act of self-sacrifice, through their immense pity, their immense love, though, indeed, acting under Karmic impulse, awakened the divine fire in our own selves, gave us light and comprehension and understanding; so from that time we ourselves became the "Sons of the Gods"; the faculty of self-consciousness in us was awakened, our eyes were opened, responsibility became ours; and our feet were set then definitely upon the path, that inner path, quiet, leading inwards back to our spiritual home.

In speaking of initiations at our last meeting, you remember it was pointed out by our Teachers that initiation is in fact a quickening process, but it is also something else; it is a copy, an endeavor to copy, what was done by the incarnation of those Lords of Understanding, Sons of Light. It is an attempt to stimulate, to awaken into activity, the inner spiritual Self, to enliven us more quickly, to enable us to see and understand, saving those who successfully pass through the tests aeons and aeons of suffering and strife, and, noblest of all, enabling those whose minds have become enlightened, themselves to do the same for their brothers who are less progressed than they.

Why is it that our Teachers from the very beginning, all our Teachers who have appeared among men, as also our three latest, H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, and Katherine Tingley: why is it, I say, that they continually teach us the duty as well as the need of self-control, and of pity and of compassion and of spiritual understanding? Why? Because these things verily are the keys, these are the "Open Sesames", these are the things which unlock the portals, not merely to let in the Light, but when the light is seen, to give it again to others, for who is the man who would not follow it?

Let us write down the following names, cited in the above extract from The Secret Doctrine, and reduce them to hierarchical form so that they will more easily remain in the memory.





Mahat, the First Logos, adopting the Greek method of nomenclature


Universal Light

Life, called in the Sanskrit Daivi-prakriti, divine matter or divine nature; the Second Logos


Sons of Light

the Logoi of Life, the Third Logos



Buddhas of Contemplation or Meditation [259]


Celestial Bodhisattvas

a Sanskrit word meaning "he whose nature is essentially Celestial Wisdom or Bodhi"


Super-terrestrial Bodhisattvas

Superhuman Bodhisattvas


Manushya Buddhas

Human Buddhas



This is the Hierarchy of Compassion, emanating or evolving from the supernal regions, and they are the flowers of the evolutionary course; and these regions themselves form the first (or the tenth) or the root, if you like, of the Hierarchy of Compassion, counting upwards or downwards.

Now the essential aim of this Hierarchy: the whole purpose and strife, if you like the word, of evolution, is to raise the corruptible into Incorruptibility, to raise imperfection to Perfection, to raise the mortal so that it shall put on Immortality, or, in other words, to raise the personal man to be the individual man, to make of the human a divine being. The average man has of course not yet reached that sublime stage, and hence, as was pointed out before, there is no abiding principle whatsoever in personal man, because he is composed only of the five lower principles; and when we say "personal" man we mean the man of this period, of this epoch, the evolving entity of the present time, the person. But, "overshadowing" this person, incarnating in this person (if we can use the term incarnating) there is the Divine Flame, there is the Divine Seed, there is the constant impulse from the God within, telling us always "Come up higher, come to me. Be the Path and walk it. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" - in the "heart" of each one of us. It is there; and as soon as the personal man consciously allies himself with this Divine Spark, he becomes thereby impersonal and immortal in his inner consciousness and therefore incorruptible, at least until the end of this Maha-Kalpa; and then his sublime destiny is to enter into that ineffable Nirvana where he will remain in indescribable bliss and universal understanding until the next Kalpa begins, whence he starts out anew but on a far more elevated plane. He starts out as a Leader of that new humanity. He then finds it his turn to become one of that band or company or body of Sons of Mind or Light, himself in his turn to endow with self-consciousness and future spiritual immortality the semi-conscious beings of that cycle to come.

Bodhisattva: this is a keyword. You will remember that it was pointed out at a former study that the Dhyani-buddhas, who are fifth in the enumeration of this Hierarchy of Compassion, of these Lords of Contemplation, are seven in number, and each one of them has governance or rather has the overseeing of one of our Rounds. Remember that there are seven Rounds in a Kalpa. He [260] is its head, the constant stimulator behind, that force in Nature which we feel always within us. That "force" is the divine urge, as philosophers might call it. It is not, however, yet truly divine; because noble, great, as these spiritual beings truly are, they have not yet reached the summit of their own Hierarchy; but their great Work is what we may call the divine urge, the push, behind the evolutionary process. Further, each of these Dhyani-buddhas in himself is a Hierarchy, just as we pointed out that every atom is a hierarchy, every man is a hierarchy, and, indeed, every entity is a hierarchy of greater or of inferior degree, because everything that is composite is necessarily divisible into degrees of spiritual and intellectual excellence.

How else could the evolving beings learn? If man existed in nothing but the pristine purity of his divine essence, what would there be for him to learn, how could he learn? Each one of these Dhyanis has, or gives birth to, so to say, or emanates or evolves from himself, seven "sons", called Celestial Bodhisattvas, and each Celestial Bodhisattva has charge of one of the globes of our Planetary Chain, so that not only each Planetary Round, but each globe also has its spiritual Head. It is a hierarchy in that sense again, as well.

Furthermore, let us take our earth, the fourth globe, as a further example. The Celestial Bodhisattva of our globe in his turn gives birth to seven superhuman Bodhisattvas, and these superhuman Bodhisattvas or super-terrestrial Bodhisattvas has, each one, charge of one Race of the seven Root Races in each Round, and gives birth by a wonderful process which we shall shortly describe, to seven human Buddhas - each one, each superhuman Bodhisattva, to a Race Buddha. A Bodhisattva, as explained exoterically, means one who in another incarnation or in a few more incarnations will become a Buddha. That is true, but it is an exoteric teaching, that is to say, it is incomplete, and therefore misleading. A Bodhisattva from the standpoint of our Occult teachings, our esoteric teachings, is more than that. When a man, a human being, has reached the point where his ego becomes conscious, fully so, of its inner divinity: becomes clothed with the Buddhic Ray; where, so to say, the personal man has put on the garments of inner immortality in actuality, on this earth, here and now, that man is a Bodhisattva. His higher principles have nearly reached Nirvana. When they do so finally, such a man is a Buddha, a human Buddha, a Manushya-buddha. Obviously, if such a Bodhisattva were to reincarnate, in the next incarnation or in a very few future incarnations thereafter, he would be a Manushya-buddha. A Buddha, in the esoteric teaching, is one whose higher principles can learn nothing more; they have reached Nirvana and remain there; but the spiritually awakened personal [261] man, the Bodhisattva, the person made semidivine, to use popular language, instead of choosing his reward in the Nirvana of a less degree, remains on earth out of pity and compassion for inferior beings, and becomes what is called a Nirmana-kaya. A Nirmana-kaya is a Bodhisattva, a personal man made semidivine. He clothes himself in a nirmanakayic vesture. The Nirmana-kaya, you will remember, is one who is a complete, thinking, spiritual entity, minus the physical body only.

Let us take an example of how this works. Remember, please, apropos of our subject, that we are studying the nature of the "Wondrous Being" only incidentally at present, as being an illustration truly sublime of the seventh Treasury of Wisdom, the Atma-Vidya, the Knowledge of Self. Now let us take our illustration. Some time after Gautama Buddha died, there was born in the south of India a man who made a great mark in the Indian world thereafter. His name was Sankaracharya. Acharya is a Sanskrit word meaning Teacher or Master; and the name of the man himself was Sankara; the two words joined together make Sankaracharya, "Sankara the Teacher", as the Hindu Vedantists of the Adwaita or non-dualistic school put it. He was born in Southern India as already stated. Now here again is a very interesting thing, briefly alluded to before. Sankaracharya was an Avatara, which means an incarnation of a "God", and yet he stood less high than the Buddha (Gautama) who had preceded him, although the latter was a man. How shall we explain that wonder? Easily. The Buddha Gautama became a Buddha through his own efforts, throughout innumerable ages; whereas Sankaracharya was in one mystical sense what may truly be called an illusion from the standpoint of esoteric manhood. Sankara was a man, there was a physical body, there was the great spiritual essence within; but there had been no previous Sankaracharya. Sankaracharya per se, spiritually, was a divine ray. The Atman and the Buddhi, born in the body of this Brahmana, were there, also the kama, the prana, the astral model body, and the physical body - but no illuminated personal ego; and in order that that Avatara at that time in history might do its work, the Bodhisattva of the Buddha entered into that body and gave it light, provided the illuminating ego, thus repeating the aeon-old mystery of self-sacrifice, taking on the "sins" (or Karmic heritage from parents) such as they may have been, if any, of that body, thus giving the chance for that divine ray, that Avatara, to work in the world: providing the vehicle through which it, the divine ray, might manifest to and in the world of man. That is the secret of an Avatara; but not every Bodhisattva is necessarily the vehicle of an Avatara, for the Avataras come at particular and specified periods. Buddhas also come at particular and specified periods, [262] but leave behind them a Bodhisattva, their ego, their illuminated thinking part, the Nirmana-kaya, devoted to the work of saving the race, for of such is the conscious part of the Hierarchy of Compassion on our globe.

This was one of the ancient Mystery Teachings in the old Mystery Schools.

But that is not all there is to this true and wondrous mystery. This same Bodhisattva, we are taught, also provided some centuries later the conscious vehicle, the egoic power, in the person called Jesus, in Palestine. These are subjects, however, which we cannot go into more deeply tonight. They are only an illustration how this Hierarchy of Compassion works on earth in its sublime overseeing and protective work of and for the human race.

We turn now to some questions which have been handed in to us, and which we shall call "hypothetical questions", four of them in number, which, before we close this evening, we shall read and do our best to answer, with the Teacher's permission. I mention this now before continuing our subject, because the very theme upon which we have touched in connection with the Buddha Gautama and Jesus, is mentioned in these questions, questions which all of us probably have asked ourselves, and have hunted for answers to them.

We have now gained some idea of what we mean by self-knowledge, of our unity with all, of how our individuality was born, as it were, of heaven and of earth: the inner divine ray and the lower personal man, the latter raised upwards until he becomes one with that divine ray, thus becoming a fit and purified vehicle for it. We have also seen that the study of the "Wondrous Being" is a most sublime illustration of the exalted spiritual state to which we should attain, and shall attain, run we successfully the race.

Now let us go a little farther in our thought in connection with this "Wondrous Being". We have seen that He, or It, is both - as H.P. Blavatsky said, using popular language - of heaven and of earth. His roots are the Dhyani-buddha of this Round, and the ray reaches him as a man through the Celestial Bodhisattva emanated by the Dhyani-buddha, and also through the super-terrestrial or superhuman Bodhisattva in ultimate charge of our Root Race. The "Wondrous Being" is here considered in his (or its) racial aspect. Note well, however, that there is also a "Wondrous Being" for our globe; also one for the entire Planetary Chain, etc.

There is a tradition, and our Teachers tell us that it is a tradition founded on truth, that even unto this day, there exists in Central Asia a certain mystical and mysterious land, or district if you like. It is called Shambala. This is a word known in Sanskrit literature, but because the sayings and legends regarding it are connected [263] with what our self-sufficient European Sanskritists and Orientalists call "pagan superstition" and the "love of the Orientals for imagery" and so forth, our European scholars say that it is a "myth". Blind men! It is an actual district on earth, in a certain part of Tibetan territory, and has been for ages the subject of much mystical speculation, and remains so to this day. It is the "home" of our exalted Teachers. It is likewise the "home" of the "Wondrous Being" considered as man, or in his racial aspect. This "Wondrous Being" incarnates himself from age to age at will and at pleasure, but never leaves the duty he has taken upon himself, nor will he ever drop it until his Work is done. He is the spiritual bond and link of the various Bodhisattvas and Buddhas of the Hierarchy of Compassion that we have mentioned, with superior worlds and with us and the lower beings of our Round. This land of Shambala is described as a place of great beauty, surrounded by a high range of mountains. It is said that no human eye will ever see it unless permitted to see it. It is said that to this land of Shambala go those who are "called" there, sometimes to return and sometimes to remain; and that there, supreme over all the Masters, reigns the human aspect of this "Wondrous Being", the great Initiator, the great Sacrifice.

These are the teachings; and it is further said that from this land, spiritually, continually, and also in actual physical shape at cyclical critical periods, go forth Masters into the world. Can any thoughtful and spiritual mind read H.P. Blavatsky's story and history, what she says and what she did, without reading between the lines and behind the words? Have we ever taken it into our hearts how much it meant for her, and to her, when she spoke of her "going home"? Have we ever considered what might have been incarnate in that woman body? The Saviors take up bodies, sometimes, in this manner, as they please from age to age, and sex itself matters little, though usually man-bodies are selected. Such physical body-instruments as are most appropriate for the work to be accomplished are the ones chosen.

We are further told, that these four Kumaras of whom we have read this evening - "higher than the Four is only ONE" - are spiritually and originally the four Celestial Bodhisattvas of the four Globes of our Round, and by correspondence of the four completed Root Races of our earth, higher than who there is none on earth except this ONE. Oh! Let us take these wonderful teachings into our hearts and make them a part of us. There is infinite beauty in them, hope unspeakable; there is spiritual life, there is intellectual health. What is the matter with men's minds? Does not every one of us know that the average human being won't take truth when he sees it, unless it accord with his preconceptions? And why? Because his mind is so full of [264] and so confused with his own brain-mind ideas, with his own opinions, which he thinks are so much superior to anything that comes to him from any other source, especially if from an impersonal source. We are all in the same mental condition; we are all cursed with these molds of mind which blind us. Every one of us, in different degrees, doubtless, some less than others; but we are all cursed with it by our own will, and all we need to do is to exercise our will as our Teachers tell us to do, and break these molds of mind, in order to let in the light, and the spiritual life, and the understanding, yea, and holy compassion. What keeps all these out of our minds and hearts as an active force except these molds of mind? "Give up your life if ye would find it!"

Sometimes men may accuse you and say that you are "atheists" because you do not believe in a "personal God". Let me read just here what a great Greek thinker said on that subject when he was accused of "atheism". And let me say, before reading: "atheist" meant among the Greeks one who did not accept the gods of the multitude, the mythological gods of the State. It was no such term of opprobrium and hatred as it has become under the Christian theological dispensation. It meant rather "You are a radical!" - not much if anything more. But the Christians have turned that perfectly legitimate word - which meant one who accepted not the gods of the State - into an expression of hatred, signifying moral degradation. Remember that the Christians themselves were called "atheists" by the "Pagans", simply because they did not accept the mythological gods of the State; and the Christians, when they became powerful, retaliated in kind, and called the "Pagans" "atheists", because they refused to accept the Jewish-Christian God, Jehovah.

But what said Epicurus, called by later ages than his own an atheist, and a sensationalist, and possibly by every other evil-sounding epithet which men in hatred can heap upon one whom they dislike? "The Gods are, yet they are not what the multitude imagine them to be. The man who denies the existence of the gods worshiped by the multitude is neither an infidel nor an atheist; but he who thinks the gods are what the multitude hold, is an atheist and impious."

Now, our time for this evening is drawing to a close. We take up, with the Teacher's suggestion and permission, the four "hypothetical questions" above spoken of. These questions may have occurred, doubtless have occurred, to each one of us; and perhaps we have searched for answers. I will give them as if they had been asked from the floor here.

I understood you to say in the Thursday meeting, one week ago, that Jesus and Apollonius were Nirmana-kayas: in Isis Unveiled, Volume II, page 159, H.P.B. says that while Jesus and others were [265] united to their spirits permanently, Apollonius and others of his class were so united only at intervals. I should think a Nirmana-kaya would be permanently united to his spirit, when working on this earth.

This question has been largely answered by what we have already explained to be the meaning of a Bodhisattva. A Nirmana-kaya is a state assumed by or entered into by a Bodhisattva. When that state is ended the Nirmana-kaya ends. Kaya means "body", "vehicle". Therefore, Sankaracharya, Krishna, Lao-tse, Jesus, were Avataras in differing degrees. There was a divine ray which came at the cyclic time of each such incarnation, and the connecting link, the flame of mind, was provided in each such case by a member of the Hierarchy of Compassion. But these Avataras were not all equally great. Apollonius, while not an Avatara, was a Nirmana-kaya - a Bodhisattva; as said before, the Bodhisattva stands actually, in the Hierarchy of Compassion, higher than an Avatara, in the same way as a man who has gained divinity through his own efforts, and remains behind in the world of men out of compassion for it, and in order to help it spiritually, really stands higher than the devas or gods in their crystallized cold purity.

Jesus, and others such as Krishna and Lao-tse, were united to their spirits permanently: obviously this means not the physical bodies of those great men; but that the particular Atma-buddhic ray which was called on earth Jesus, or Krishna, or Lao-tse, informed men who naturally were always united to their spirits, though each manifested through a Bodhisattva-Nirmana-kaya. They could be nothing else. They could not be an Avatara through a being inferior to a Bodhisattva. Apollonius and the Bodhisattva-Gautama and others of his noble type, were not permanently allied to their spirits, or rather were not merely, solely, Atma-buddhic rays, because they were men made perfect through experience: personal men become semi-divine, and actually, as said, such a being stands far higher than a spiritual Ray or Monad per se, because such as the Bodhisattvas are the Fine Flowers of evolution.

Next question:

At one Thursday evening meeting, it was declared that the words of The Sermon on the Mount were not the words of Jesus, but gatherings of Ancient Wisdom compiled by some later writer. I don't understand just how in Katherine Tingley's addresses, etc., this Sermon and Jesus are always placed together as one being the author of the other. I got the impression at this meeting that Jesus was merely an Initiate Jew, but not nearly of such grand stature as to command the adoration of all Christians. However, perhaps I did not hear correctly. [266]

Now our hypothetical question is here framed in a most careful manner. In the first place, then, it is not to be said, and it was not said, that the Sermon on the Mount was not the logia or words of Jesus. What was said, inadequately doubtless on account of the shortness of time, was that the Sermon on the Mount, as we now have it in the New Testament, was doubtless in all probability composed in much the same manner as the four canonical Gospels were composed. Doubtless it is based on the logia and sayings of the Master, Jesus. Unquestionably a man, Jesus, lived. Unquestionably he had a School. Unquestionably he had his disciples. Unquestionably he taught them and his sayings were treasured by his disciples; but as time went on, much was forgotten, and they were revised and edited, and we now have them in the form in which they appear in the New Testament. This was rendered easy enough by the fact that a good deal in those writings was on matters of more or less common philosophical, or even esoteric, knowledge; more or less current in the thought of the day; and it required but little skill to weave together these ideas into a more or less logical whole. The very fact that the well known contradictions and incongruities in the four Gospels when compared, prove various redactions by different writers, shows that they were compiled from differing bases of theory. For the Theosophist, certain expressions used therein show him that the esotericism of Syria played a large part in their compilation, as was natural enough. Jesus taught our own universal truths; his half-instructed followers misunderstood much. Those expressions and terms were used in the Mystery Schools of the eastern Mediterranean world of that period, but do not belong to our School; and as Jesus certainly belonged to our School, the presumption is, as said, that his sayings had been "touched up" and with extraneous matter formed into the four Gospels. Somebody or rather somebodies doubtless thought the scattered Sayings of the Teacher could be improved upon - made "more clear and easy". Such has occurred even in our own Society.

Such seems to be the fate of nearly all great teachings. There is absolutely no preventive of it except the faithful hearts of men and women who stand to the death for the pure teachings of the one who gave them light and an awakened inner life. That is what this our own School is for. Let us never forget it!

Our questioner was correct in the impression he received that Jesus was stated to be an Initiate Syrian - a Jew if you like. We speak now of Jesus the man; but I do not think that we ever said that he should command, in any circumstances, the "adoration" of the Christians or of anybody else, because such worship is a thing precisely forbidden to all followers of the Truth - [267] Impersonal and Ineffable. That idea is a misunderstanding of our meaning by our questioner.

Here is another hypothetical question:

Another perplexing thing to me is the many different ways in which the 7, 9, and 10 principles of man and the Universe are enumerated. [I must say that our questioner has brains!] In Instructions Numbers I and II, by H.P. Blavatsky, it is said that Atman is not really a principle of man at all, but that the Auric Envelope makes up the seventh. But yet in our esoteric meetings, Atman is often spoken of as belonging to man. The esoteric and exoteric enumeration of these principles differ, and often Manas is called but one principle, then again divided into two and the Lower Manas joined with the Kama principle, etc.

These well-taken points, of course, are something that each one must solve for himself, by studying the literature which we already have, so ably written by our older students. Of necessity the seven principles are subject to different methods of enumeration, because each method of enumeration or presentation in diagrammatic or paradigmatic form, merely shows another vista of the truth, shows another facet or way of looking at the one Jewel. So a man, if he were in India, who desired to study that wonderful monument of beauty, the Taj Mahal, would not merely look at it from the front and then go away, but would go inside of it, and study it in detail; and go to the back of it; and to the right and to the left, thus seeing all sides of it, meanwhile gathering all information possible from authorities. In much the same way the seven principles, or the ten, are subject to different methods of presentation. As a matter of fact, Atman is put as the seventh principle, because it is the permanent root of our being; but if we knew the Kama-principle were that root, then it should be called the seventh, or rather the first or highest, as being the root of our being; or the Manas, under similar conditions, should be called the seventh. The Atman is put as the first or highest because the seven principles of man are considered in a generalizing way, and the Atman or Self being the root or the highest element of being is considered as one of the seven principles, though in reality it is a universal principle.

Our third hypothetical question shows how deeply our questioner has thought:

The doctrine of cycles, and the exact number of years the human race will take in one Manvantara or a Day and Night of Brahm_ to reach the Seventh Race and Seventh Round, taken in conjunction with the doctrine of free will, always somewhat puzzles me; why does not man's free will and failures continually keep upsetting the exact number of years it takes him to reach to certain future Rounds and Races? In [268] Theosophy, The Path of the Mystic, Katherine Tingley says that Humanity has passed the worst point, the crucial point, in its evolution, and that no powers in heaven and hell can stay its progress, but yet she keeps on talking to Humanity as if it were on the brink of destruction.

Certainly our questioner is a thinker, and that is an excellent thing. In the first place, in the large sweep of things, taking the seven Rounds as a Kalpa or as a whole, and even more strongly so as regards the Solar Kalpa, that is, the cycle of the Solar System, the exact number of years of even a human's many incarnations is definite and set, in much the same way as the number of turns (or days and nights) which our globe, the Earth, makes in one year, or one revolution around the Sun. In other words, the number of days is set and determined in a year, or the number of days in a lunar cycle or month. But while that is so in the general sweep of things, the doctrine of free will which man has, is a very real truth, and man's failures or successes do work to retard or to hasten the number of a human being's incarnations, for instance, which briefly covers the question our questioner has asked.

The total number is set; but just as the bodies of the solar system, the planets, as is known to astronomers, sometimes due to their perturbations are occasionally a little behind or a little ahead in time, nevertheless in the long run they "arrive on time", as if they were endowed with consciousness, and had to arrive at the goal at the time when the hour is set therefore. So man's free will can alter the course or time periods of his incarnations but not their number. In any Round, in any Root Race, he can change them in that respect, but he will have to pay for it by Karmic retribution, for a reaction sets in; and there will be an adverse current running the other way. Shall we say, finally, that man has no free will because he is bound to a globe which he cannot voluntarily leave? Of course not, although he is, nolens volens, carried around the Sun by our globe's annual course. There is much more that might be said to clarify this point; but it is too strictly esoteric to speak of here.

As regards our Teacher's words, permit me to point out that our questioner has quoted the Teacher exactly, as far as the sense goes. It is a fact that we have passed the worst point, the crucial point, in our evolution. It was the middle of the Fourth Race of this Fourth Round. Things could not have been worse from the spiritual viewpoint, in our entire Manvantara. It was the midmost or lowest point of several cycles. We, as a racial body, passed through it successfully, but many, many entities fell and took the "downward path", of which we have so often spoken. "But yet she keeps on talking to Humanity as if we were on the [269] brink of destruction". Do not you know that even in this Fifth Root Race, as was pointed out in the last two or three meetings, we have not yet reached the middle point of the Fourth Primary Sub-race thereof - its middle and therefore dangerous point? And that the great racial catastrophe due for our Fifth Root Race has therefore not yet come upon us? As H.P. Blavatsky pointed out in 1887 or 1888, the great tidal waves and earthquakes occurring in the last few thousand years seem to be premonitions of what a few more thousands of years will bring upon us with augmented force.

The last question is:

The names given to the Absolute in its different manifestations are confusing to me (or perhaps just hard to remember). [Our questioner has justice on his side. They are not only confusing, but hard to remember. The more reason for us to study them.]

In Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms man's higher Self is called Iswara, in the Bhagavad-Gita, Purusha; again it is often called Atman. In Chapter VIII of the Bhagavad-Gita the names Adhy-atman, Adhy-bhuta, Ahy-daivata, Adhy-yajna, Brahman, and so forth, are all used with very subtle differences of meanings.

They are; but the meanings are also explained in the first part of Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter VIII. We may here point out that even as in the arrangements of the seven principles in the various books, these names are attempts to show other or different news of the one thing.

In conclusion, we will translate these five Sanskrit names, which you will find in Chapter VIII of the Gita. Adhyatman means the Original Atman or Self, equivalent to Paramatman, or Supreme Atman, the highest of the Hierarchy. Ahi-bhuta means that supreme thing, or the higher egoic principle or original element, in us coming over from other Manvantaras; it is, so to say, the incarnating essence of the element. Adhidaivata means more divine, the highest part of all from the serial standpoint, the hierarchical standpoint, considering various stages. Adhiyajna means the greater, the superior, sacrifice. Krishna in the high spiritual sense was the greater Sacrifice, the Primal Sacrifice, the first Initiator on the part of the Hierarchy of Compassion, a sacrifice through pure love and compassion, than which, in men, there is nothing more sublime, because it makes us as one of the gods.

And, finally, Brahman, the last word, is, as we all know, a Sanskrit word of which the essential root means expansion; it is that part of the celestial economy which first initiates manifestation, the expansion of the one into the many. [270]

Chapter XXIII


The most mystic of discourses inform us, that the wholeness of him (the Sun) is in the super mundane orders: for there a solar world and a total light subsist, as the oracles of the Chaldeans affirm.

Unwearied nature rules over the worlds and works,

That heaven drawing downward might run an eternal course,

And that the other periods of the Sun, Moon, seasons, night, and day, might be accomplished.

- Proclus: Commentary on the Timaeus of Plato 264, 4 and 323 (Cory).

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, pages 279 and 280:

Whatever may be the destiny of these actual writings in a remote future, we hope to have proven so far the following facts:

(1) The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism, except in the Hindu sense of the word nastika, or the rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. In this sense every Occultist is a Nastika.

(2) It admits a Logos or a collective "Creator" of the Universe; a Demiurgos - in the sense implied when one speaks of an "Architect" as the "Creator" of an edifice, whereas that Architect has never touched one stone of it, but, while furnishing the plan, left all the manual labor to the masons; in our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labor was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no personal deity - i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god - but only the aggregate of the Dhyani-Chohans and the other forces.

As to the latter:

(3) They are dual in their character; being composed of (a) the irrational brute energy, inherent in matter, and (b) the intelligent soul or cosmic consciousness which directs and guides that energy, and which is the Dhyani-Chohanic thought reflecting the Ideation of the Universal mind. This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on Earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures - therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honors or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however, and man ought to be ever [271] striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a coworker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart - invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.

We proceed to gather up this evening more of the scattered threads left over from our former studies. First, let us look a little more closely into what is meant by a Bodhisattva. It will be remembered that a Bodhisattva was spoken of as the personal man relatively perfected; the case where the personal entity had become an impersonal entity, as said before; where mortality had put upon itself the vesture of Immortality; in other words, a case where the personal man has become an Awakened One or a Buddha short of Buddahood complete by only one stage; or, to use the Christian (early Christian-Greek) mystical expression, a Christ on earth.

Now, a Bodhisattva, being such, practically means what we might call the Higher Manas, the Higher Self (not the Highest Self, but the Higher Self) fully developed and in the full radiance of the dual monad Atma-Buddhi, and thus forms a fit vehicle, a fit medium, between the divine and the lower selves of man; and thus provides an appropriate channel of communication in cases where an Avatara is due for manifestation on earth. There could be no such thing as an Avatara among men were it not for this medium supplying the necessary psycho-spiritual link. Pure spirit, in endeavoring to act upon earth, can have neither effect upon, nor chance of communication with, men, because it is the actual divine essence, so to say, of the Kosmos and needs the two spiritual qualities or vehicles Buddhi and Manas-taijasa, in order so to manifest, and the Bodhisattva, in supplying the spiritual egoic quality, the intermediate quality, furnishes that necessary medium or vehicle. The Bodhisattva, furthermore, if, instead of following its own natural karmic higher course in the Nirvanic state, chooses by virtue of the compassion inherent in itself, to remain on earth, as a Helper of mankind, in that case becomes a Nirmana-kaya, a fully conscious thinking entity upon this our human plane, minus only the physical body. It is stated in the Esoteric Philosophy that Gautama the Buddha made that sublime choice, and furnished the intermediate principle for the Hindu Avatara Sankaracharya, of whom we spoke at our last [272] meeting. There is a tradition and a record among us likewise that the same Bodhisattva furnished the intermediate principle of the Avataric manifestation called Jesus, as also in two other cases which we here leave unnamed, the reason being that each race and each sub-race, as well as every smaller racial cycle of importance, as we know, is under the particular guidance of a Buddha, or of minor incarnations or overshadowing by him.

Now Gautama the Buddha was himself an Avatara plus, i.e., in a larger sense; that is to say, instead of furnishing an intermediate vehicle from himself, in a minor cycle, he was that intermediate vehicle himself in his psycho-spiritual totality, inspired by his own divine nature, and with his own physical body as the "temple" thereof, differing in that respect from an Avatara per se, in which the intermediate vehicle is furnished by the Bodhisattva-Nirmana-kaya of the Buddha under whose governance or rather overseeing the particular race in which the Avatara appears, runs its course as a minor cycle of the Greater Racial Cycle of that Buddha himself. An Avatara, therefore, requires the Bodhisattva of the Racial Buddha as a vehicle in order to manifest upon earth at the time he is due to appear. A Buddha does not, because, although an Avatara in the sense of being under the direct and fully actual illumination of his own Divine Self (which is a Super-terrestrial Bodhisattva, studied at our last meeting), he has Karma behind him. It is the direct and actual reincarnation of a Divine Man, which an Avatara is not. An Avatara is, in a sense, an illusion or maya, because the intermediate or egoic quality - the offspring metaphysically of Karma - is lacking there and has to be furnished by the Bodhisattva quality or vehicle.

An Avatara, formally only, stands higher than a Bodhisattva, but it is a higher stage merely of form of and in a hierarchy, and not from the evolutionary viewpoint. A Buddha becomes such by self-directed evolution, the great truth that our Teacher Katherine Tingley so often tells us of. An Avatara comes by karmic racial necessity at certain epochs in the world's history; a Buddha does so likewise, but also by personal choice out of an immense compassion for his inferior fellow beings still involved in the toils of material existence. There is the difference, and a very important one it is to remember for our future studies.

We might say in passing that (as our Teacher, I believe, once said here) these our studies are doing more for us in a spiritual and intellectual sense in these present meetings than has been done for any similar body of students for thousands of years in the immediate past. We can see at least one reason for it. That reason is as follows. At about our present period, what is called a "Messianic cycle" is ending, and, naturally, a new one is [273] opening - a Messianic cycle running 2160 years, in definite, exact figures. These cycles succeed one another continuously. So if we choose to count backwards, we can say, if we like, that the European Messianic cycle which is ending, or out of which we are emerging, is that inaugurated for Europe by Jesus, the Avatara. Interesting thoughts come up in this connection which we may safely leave for consideration at another time.

So much for those threads.

Please remember that evolution comprises two lines of action, as it were, two forces running collaterally, that is to say the spirit or the developed side of existence, on the one hand, and that of the undeveloped side on the other hand: otherwise darkness and light, or the selfish and the compassionate, which, you will remember, is a subject that we alluded to somewhat in studying the fifth of the seven Treasuries of Wisdom of the Hierarchy of Compassion which is the unselfish or immortal side of existence, which we studied more or less fully at our last meeting last week.

Now the action and interaction of these two lines of energy supply the motive forces behind evolution, behind progress; and the course which evolution takes, really arises in, springs out from, and is inaugurated by, the impulses at the opening of the manvantaric cycle given to the dark or matter side of existence by the Dhyani-Chohans, I mean by the higher parts or Entities of this Hierarchy of Compassion studied at our last meeting. It is the keynotes furnished by them, the primal and original impulses depending of course upon destiny (or karma) which give the originating plan and the driving power behind everything that happens in that Manvantara throughout its cycle of evolution until its close; and while free will exists in man as soon as he has learned to obey the spiritual statutes of self-consciousness, this free will itself, being a divine energy and in a sense springing itself from the general Dhyani-Chohanic impulse, can in no circumstances militate against, be contrary to, or adversely affect, the general evolutionary current which bears the manifold hosts of entities of manifestation always towards the ultimate goal, signalized by H.P. Blavatsky in the ancient saying, "The Day Be With Us" - the end of a Manvantara or the opening of Pralaya.

Thus, then, these two lines of energy are eternally coactive - using the word "eternally" in the sense of lasting throughout the Solar Kalpa: on one side, the "dark", undeveloped forces of matter; and on the other side, the Hierarchy of Compassion with its innumerable units urging the hosts of evolving beings forward in one direction, the whole effort of the Hierarchy of Compassion being to raise other less developed beings or units from the matter side up into the "light side". The entities of [274] the Hierarchy of Compassion in past Manvantaras were themselves thus so raised by other Hierarchies of Compassion, now by this time far, far ahead of us in evolution; and it is our sublime destiny in the future Kalpa ourselves so to guide the entities behind us now, a process called the "Passing on of the Light", as the Greek and Latin poets put it.

Furthermore, as briefly alluded to at our last study, please remember that the ancient initiations, and the Mystery Schools in which those initiations took place, were established solely for the purpose of "forcing" or quickening the evolution of fit and proper candidates. They were established from the same motives of Compassion that presided over the acts of the Great Actors of the Primal Drama, the opening acts of our Manvantara. They copied, as it were in miniature, what took place in those primordial times, and what took place in actual life in the Hierarchy of Compassion on our earth, or that section, rather, of the Hierarchy of Compassion, which we call the Great White Lodge.

Now, let us turn a moment from these loose threads of thought which we have here gathered up and woven more neatly into our theme, to another collateral and very important matter upon which we have touched but lightly, because the questions involved are so profound that it was impossible in treating of one subject, adequately to make the meaning clear without temporarily dropping our main theme; but it is likewise necessary not to go too far ahead and leave these loose threads behind: we must gather them in also and weave them into the fabric, into the picture, which we are endeavoring to make.

We refer more particularly to the role which the Sun and the planets of our Solar System play in the evolutionary drama. There are great mysteries connected with this, and we are told very plainly that not merely the ultimate Word but even specifying explanations in no circumstances are given out except to those who have pledged themselves irretrievably and irrevocably to the Lodge; and even then they are given out only with "mouth to ear", and "at low breath". And, furthermore, only to those, says H.P. Blavatsky, who have passed successfully their fourth initiation, which consists very largely in the personal and individual experiencing of the teachings given in the three preceding stages - three stages of preliminary teaching and training, leading to actual personal experience thereof in the fourth initiation, in which, we are told, the candidate must leave the body of flesh, yea, even the brain-mind, behind, and become that of which he was taught; because only by being can he know. But nevertheless a great deal has been openly said that is, to the student, very illuminating as regards these subjects.

First, at various times we have spoken of the Sun, of our solar [275] orb, as the central locus of our Solar System. So it is, not merely physically but also in other ways. The Sun, paradoxically but truly, supplies most of our material, vital powers; and it is interesting to note that the nearer the planets are to the Sun, as a general rule, the more dense they are. Mark well that Mercury, the planet of Bodha and of Wisdom, the particular guardian and initiator in the Mysteries, is the nearest to the Sun (but one) of our seven planets, i.e., the seven Mystery Planets. Note the words "but one". You will remember that the ancients spoke of seven "Mystery Planets", Saturn, Jupiter, Mars - I give them in the old order - Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon. This matter we shall develop somewhat in diagrammatic form later this evening if we have the time.

The intra-mercurial planet, as it is called, according to our teaching became practically invisible to the physical eye during the Third Root Race, after the fall of man into physical generation. On March 26, 1859, a body was seen crossing the solar disk, making what astronomers call a transit. That body has not been seen again; but there are other reasons which have induced some astronomers to believe that there actually is an intra-mercurial planet (although they cannot find it again despite the search for it), such as the perturbations of Mercury. An attempt at explanation of these perturbations has been recently made, based on the relativity doctrines of Einstein, and that explanation is now in fashion; nevertheless our teachers say that there is an intra-mercurial planet; we may call it "Vulcan", as the astronomers so-called it.

Now, even if Vulcan became invisible during the Third Root Race, it could yet become visible in transit, that is in crossing the Sun's disk, as this body was actually in 1859 seen to do, because although invisible to our unaided sight, yet through the lens of a telescope when turned upon the unsurpassed illumination of the Sun's disk, its body could probably be seen against the great brilliance of the solar orb. The immensely great illumination provided by the Sun would readily throw into shadow, or make appear as a shadow, any body of less brilliance, or any body normally too ethereal to be seen otherwise.

The seventh planet, our teaching is, is a planet which under proper conditions is sometimes seen apparently near the Moon. It is said that it has a retrograde motion, and that it is slowly dying. It has reached the end of its cycle. I think it erroneous to say that the Moon "hides" it. That may be a good way, perhaps, of expressing a certain appearance, but I think it is a misleading one. Let us keep the facts just as they were given us, that it is sometimes "seen apparently near the Moon", that it has a retrograde motion, and that it is slowly dying. [276]

Now Vulcan is in one mystic sense the highest of the seven sacred planets; perhaps not the least dense, but in one sense the highest psychologically; and we have reason to believe that the other planet sometimes seen apparently near the Moon is perhaps the lowest of the seven sacred planets. This does not mean that our teaching limits the number of the planets of the solar system to seven. On the contrary, we are taught that there are many more planets in the solar system than are known to astronomers, some perfectly invisible, because they are on planes both higher and lower than our plane. There are planets in our system higher than ours, higher than any planet visible to us; there are also planets in our system much lower than ours, much lower than any planet visible to us.

These seven especial planets were called "sacred" for a reason most difficult openly to explain; but we may say this, that the seven planets which we on earth (please note the qualification) call sacred, are those planets (and the earth is not one of them) which are the Upadhis, a Sanskrit word meaning "bearers" or "carriers" (to us) of the seven Solar Forces. They are all "higher" in that sense, or from that point of view, than is the earth; and they are all intimately connected with this earth, and provide this earth - not with its principles but - with spiritual and intellectual and psychical and astral and vital powers, so to say. These seven sacred planets, moreover, are our "Makers", and oversee our destiny.

Now this is a bit of the genuine ancient astrology. It is not merely to the physical body of the seven planets that we allude; doubtless each physical planet or rather globe has its own astronomical forces, such as gravitation and magnetism, and so forth; but we are here speaking of the inner or occult action of them. Each of the globes of our Planetary Chain, moreover, each of the seven globes thereof, is under the particular watchfulness or care of one of these seven Mystery Planets. Furthermore, each Round is under the particular overseeing of one of these seven sacred planets. Furthermore, each race on any one of the globes, is under the particular care and overseeing of one of these seven sacred planets. For these reasons, as well as for others still more important and intimate on account of their strait connection with our Planetary Chain, were they called the seven "sacred planets".

The Sun and Moon are not two of the seven, although for purposes of esoteric astrology they were substituted for the real two, because one is apparently near the Moon, and one is so near the Sun. Yet for all that, the Sun and Moon are both closely in interaction respectively with those two.

Now, with regard to the Sun. What is the Sun? Is the Sun a [277] physical body only? It is not. It is not really a physical body, for it is not gas, it is not gaseous. It is not solid, nor is it liquid nor gaseous. The Sun is a reflection. What do we mean when we say a "reflection"? We do not mean the word in the full, complete, and exclusive sense in which it is commonly employed, as when we speak of the reflection of an image in a mirror. We mean it in this sense, that the true Sun is a body - strange as it may seem to our present-day scientists - of energy or force. Even our modern science is beginning to understand now that force and matter are fundamentally one thing. Some years ago everything in the scientific imagination was matter. Now everything has become force to it. Marvelous, that these scientific gentlemen do not see how easily they change the bases of their thought, and how dogmatic they so often are as regards each new series of bases that they assume! But there the fact is. Even science today tells us that matter is simply force, which is true. But it is matter all the same. There is no need of running to one extreme in trying to pull ourselves out of another. No need of incurring the perils of Scylla in trying to evade those of Charybdis. Matter exists, it is, it is the upadhi or carrier of force, and force is also the intrinsic life of matter. But nevertheless matter exists; it is a maya, an illusion indeed, but it exists. Maya does not mean illusion in the exclusive and full sense of non-entity. Not at all. Maya actually implies that something exists to produce it, but that the seer of it does not know what the reality is behind; in other words, our senses do not tell us the truth about the thing behind the manifestation. That is what maya means, not that the thing itself is non-entity. That view is an absurdity.

If you examine photographs of sunspots, if you look at the Sun through a good telescope and center your gaze upon a sunspot when it is near a limb of the Sun, near an edge, you will see that as the spot crosses the solar disk, it seems to be black. Now why does it appear black? We know that it is not black in color. Our scientists have proved that fact, but the visible disk of the Sun is so intensely brilliant that the less brilliance of the part within the spot, though very brilliant itself, seems dark to our eyes.

Suppose that we were to say, that the Sun we see is simply like the glow around some electrical machines, merely a "reflection" of the electrical current as it were, a mayavi manifestation on our plane of a force so immense that we can form no proper conception of it. Suppose that we were to think of the Sun as occupying no space (or dimension) at all, and that what we see, that immense apparent body of light, were like an electrical spark, apparently a body, apparently occupying space. Suppose that we go a step [278] farther and say that the visible Sun which we see is matter in its sixth state of ethereality, and that what is behind that tremendously brilliant veil or reflection is an atom, so to say, an infinitesimal part of matter-substance, matter in its seventh state. It is easy to follow this thought. The Sun is a mass of force; as even the medieval philosophers said: "Brother, when a man tells you that he has seen the Sun, laugh at him. He has not. The Sun is invisible." The true Sun, the origin and center of these high forces, is on higher planes, and we merely see on the sixth sub-plane of our Kosmic Plane this intense brilliance covering so vast a space as the apparent Sun does.

Furthermore, while the Sun gives us our light on earth, it probably does not furnish us with 30 percent of the heat that we have, and then not by direct physical radiation, but in somewhat the same way in which the electric current furnishes us with heat, or in a similar way. In the same way would be, perhaps, too strong a manner of putting the fact. Forces emanate from the solar heart or center and reach the meteoric veils encircling the earth, and arouse electromagnetic currents, producing thus a part of the meteorological phenomena which we experience in storms and fair weather and rain and snow and ice. The earth itself produces probably 70 percent or more of the heat which we know; and such things as storms are caused mostly by electromagnetic action and reaction, if I may use that expression, between the innate prana or vital forces of the earth, and the meteoric continent which surrounds our globe like a veil. For we are encircled during our Manvantara, and every other planet of the solar system is similarly encircled during its Manvantara, with a thick veil of meteoric dust, most of it very fine, some of it of more or less large bodies.

Take Venus, for instance, or Mercury. They are surrounded each one with its own veil of meteoric or kosmic dust: each one veils her face, or his face. This meteoric veil acts in one sense as does a cushion, thus forming a protection to its planet. We do not see for that reason the real face of the planet. But Mars has no such veil. Why? Because the vital essence of that Planetary Chain has left Mars' physical globe for its other globes.

The Teacher asks me to reserve until next week the diagram which was to have been shown to you this evening, at which point of study we have now arrived. Let us briefly point out that the diagram in question is taken from the mystical Syrian thought in vogue before the Christian era, and represents the exoteric astrological ideas that the Syrians then had of the relationship of the planes of being, and necessarily therefore of the planets and the mystical positions occupied by each of them in the evolutionary drama. They put it this wise. First and highest was [279] the Milky Way, which to them was the utmost limit of this Hierarchy or Universe. Second came the Nebulae and the Comets, and they were represented in spiritual hierarchy by the Seraphim. The third grade still lower were the Fixed Stars, and they were represented by the Cherubim. Then taking a leap over the immensities of the space of our universe, these old thinkers of Babylonia, Assyria, Media, and doubtless Persia, and of course Phoenicia, and all the other countries of Asia Minor, began the inferior series with the planets of our solar system. First Saturn, the seat of the Thrones; then Jupiter, the seat of the Dominations; then Mars, the seat of the Virtues; then the Sun, the seat of the Powers; then Venus, the seat of the Principalities; then Mercury, of the Archangels; then the Moon, of the Angels; then our earth. They also enumerated five Elements - an enumeration which is exoteric, but it is the same as the esoteric as far as it goes. Our earth, as well as interplanetary space, comprises these five Elements, and when we say our "earth" we mean not merely our physical planetary body of this Element, upon which we move, but the entire sphere comprehended between the Moon and the earth. These five Elements were named Ether, Fire, Air, Water, gross matter or Earth. Outside of this Hierarchy or Universe or Kosmos, they placed the "Celestial Waters", even as the first chapter of the Hebrew book of Genesis speaks of the "Spirit of the Elohim moving over the Waters". "Celestial Waters" was a name frequently given by the ancients to what the Greeks called Chaos, undeveloped matter, or, as we today would say, "spatial deeps".

Our time of study this evening is drawing to a close. Let us, however, point out the interesting fact that this same series of the planets shows us clearly that the ancients must have understood perfectly well the mechanism of the framework of the visible Solar System, and that, if their thought was geocentric, making the earth the center of the Kosmos, it was a natural thought; and that as man is instinctively anthropocentric, he cannot naturally think from another standpoint. So, naturally, the ancient astrologers and astronomers, with their feet on earth, calculated from the earth, and saw from the earth, and placed man, looking up towards the spheres of the Solar System, on earth as the center of observation, even as we do today, not meaning at all that they knew nothing of the heliocentric system, which we know they did know.

Look then, what can this mean? This cannot mean anything but one thing, and that is, that these planets were so placed on account of and because of the relative time occupied by each in making the circuit of its orbit, to wit: Saturn, practically 30 years; Jupiter, the next "lowest", practically 12; Mars, the [280] next "lowest", practically two; the Sun (or the Mystery Planet, the Sun supplying its place), one year; Venus, the next one, seven months; Mercury, three months; the Moon, one month. We would like to point out also that the days of our own common week are based upon this series, and then we shall close for this evening.

Why, in putting the planets in the order Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, did they not make their week of seven days follow that order? Why? Because, dividing the day and night into 24 hours, each day, beginning at sunrise, opens with its first hour under the governance of some particular planet. If you calculate through the 24 hours, beginning with Saturn, (there being seven planets, seven sacred planets) during the 24 hours they go into 24 three times, with three over. Three times seven is 21 hours, with three over: 22, 23, 24, the 25th hour being the first hour of the next day. Three times seven running through the 24 hours, we find that if the first hour began with Saturn as presiding planet, the 8th hour would also be under Saturn, the 15th would be under Saturn, the 22nd would be under Saturn, the 23rd then would be under Jupiter, the 24th under Mars, and the 25th hour, the first of the next day, would be Sun or Sunday. So by taking this list and counting each fourth, beginning with the one just ended, as the first (or adding three more to the hour just ended), gives you the days of the week.









































































































































































































Thus Saturday ends with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, leaving the next hour ruled by the Sun, SUNDAY. Sunday ends with Sun, Venus, and Mercury, followed by Moon, giving MONDAY. Monday ends with Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter, followed by Mars, for TUESDAY (Mars' Day). Then Tuesday ends with Mars, Sun, and Venus, followed with Mercury, for WEDNESDAY, the Anglo-Saxon Woden, corresponding to the Latin and Greek terms. Wednesday ends with Mercury, Moon, and Saturn, followed by Jupiter, for THURSDAY (Thor's Day). Thursday ends with Jupiter, Mars, and Sun, followed by Venus, for FRIDAY. And Friday ends with Venus, Mercury, and Moon, followed by Saturn, for SATURDAY, again beginning the second or following week.

So the order and names of the days of our week are ultimately based upon a very interesting and occult reason - ancient astrology explained and given to the world only in the Mysteries as we know them. The order and names of the days of the week were the same in India and in Northern Europe, and in some parts of Asia, a matter which has never yet been satisfactorily explained by our calendarists and astronomers. The reason is found in the fundamentally identical astrological system common to the entire ancient world. [281] [282]

Chapter XXIV


Their writings also [i.e., of the Pythagoreans], and all the books which they published, most of which have been preserved even to our time [i.e., to the time of Iamblichus], were not composed by them in a popular and vulgar diction, and in a manner usual with all other writers, so as to be immediately understood, but in such a way as not to be easily apprehended by those that read them. For they adopted that taciturnity which was instituted by Pythagoras as a law, in concealing after an arcane mode, divine mysteries from the uninitiated, and obscuring their writing and conferences with each other.

- Life of Pythagoras, 56 (Iamblichus).

Philosophy, according to his (Plato's) acceptation, being not merely a set of doctrines but the perfecting of whole spiritual life.

- Plato and the Older Academy, 160 (Zeller)

It moves. It moves not.

It is far, and It is near.

It is within all this,

And It is outside of all this.

- Isa-Upanishad, 363 (Hume)

Let us open our study this evening by reading from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, pages 435-6, as follows:

Mor Isaac shows the ancient Syrians defining their world of the "Rulers" and "active gods" in the same way as the Chaldeans. The lowest world was the SUBLUNARY - our own - watched by the "Angels" of the first or lower order; the one that came next in rank, was Mercury, ruled by the "ARCHANGELS"; then came Venus, whose gods were the PRINCIPALITIES; the fourth was that of the SUN, the domain and region of the highest and mightiest gods of our system, the solar gods of all nations; the fifth was Mars, ruled by the "VIRTUES"; the sixth - that of Bel or Jupiter - was governed by the DOMINIONS; the seventh - the world of Saturn - by the THRONES. These are the worlds of form. Above came the four higher ones, making seven again, since the three highest are "unmentionable and unpronounceable." The eighth, composed of 1,122 stars, is the domain of the Cherubs; the ninth belonging to the walking and numberless stars on account of their distance, has the seraphs; as to the tenth - Kircher, quoting Mor Isaac, says that it is composed "of invisible stars that could be taken, they said, for clouds - so massed are they in the zone that we call Via Straminis, the Milky Way"; ¼ That which comes after and beyond the tenth world (our Quaternary, or the Arupa world), [285] the Syrians could not tell. "All they knew was that it is there that beings the vast and incomprehensible ocean of the infinite, the abode of the true divinity without boundary or end."

Champollion shows the same belief among the Egyptians.

We continue our study tonight from the point where we stopped last week. The main thought this evening that seems to call first for further illustration is the subject of the bipolar nature of being, that is to say, that there are two interacting energy-substance lines in the Kosmos, which together comprise the totality of all evolutionary processes: first, the lower, the Kosmokratores, or World-Builders; and second, the higher, the Intelligences impelling the former into action and overseeing their evolutionary ways. The second class is of course the higher, and comprises what we, following H.P. Blavatsky, have called the Hierarchy of Compassion.

Now these two lines of action, or classes, may also be called (a) the Left-Hand or Matter Side, and (b) the Right-Hand or Spirit Side, i.e., (a) the Builders, the Kosmokratores, who are in fact (in one sense) the lower principles of (b) the Dhyani-buddhas, who are the Right-Hand, or Spirit Side, of being, which latter are of the Inner Kosmos, as the Kosmokratores or Builders, also called Planetary Spirits or Dhyani-Chohans of a lower grade, are of the Outer or Material Kosmos, i.e., as said above, the left-hand side, the matter side, the night side, the dark side.

From the interaction of these two quasi-opposing Forces (or Elements) in Nature come into self-consciousness the innumerable monads of Inner and Outer Space, because this night side or matter side, is made up of the lower principles of the Light Side, as it were; and these lower principles are composite, formed of simply innumerable numbers of monads in almost infinitely varying degrees of development. The higher monads form the vehicles of the Dhyani-buddhas, the Hierarchy of Compassion; but there are monads, hosts of them, of intermediate and lower degrees, and of still lower and of the lowest degree; and the lowest form the material world, which we see around us. As said above, from the interaction of the indwelling force and of the vehicle in which it works, or, in other words, from the informing spiritual powers impelling and urging these monads in various states of evolution towards further progress, spring the various degrees of consciousnesses in Nature. We are some of these monads, both our Higher Egos and our personal egos. We ourselves are monads in the particular state of evolution in which we find ourselves; and we are on our way to becoming conscious coworkers with Nature: or, in other words, slowly evolving out (or into) the Dhyani-Chohans or Lords of Contemplation, the Manasaputras, of future [286] Manvantaras. We were, in former Kalpas, or Manvantaras, monads in a still lower state of evolution than that in which we are now, forming then the vehicles of Those who are still ahead of us, and who now still work through us, through our higher and our personal egos, and who thus inspire us to progress upwards, and who are, in fact, our Inner Gods: our very Selves, yet different!

The work of evolution is, in fact, as so often said in these meetings under the Teacher's explicit instructions, the raising of the personal into the Impersonal; the raising of the mortal to put on the garments of Immortality; the raising of the beast to become a man; the raising of a man to become a god; and the raising of a god to become still more largely divine. When we say "raising a beast to become a man", we do not, however, thereby mean the scientific hypothesis miscalled "evolution" and properly called transformism. The Theosophic doctrine of evolution is immensely greater, infinitely (if we can use that expression) more profound, than those scientific theories. A beast never becomes a self-conscious, thinking man according to the scientific merely mechanical doctrine of materialistic transformism, any more so than a pile of mortar and bricks self-develops into a mansion, or a rough block of marble into a noble statue. It is the inner monad, the indwelling fire, which continually urges or brings forth into action the latent lives and forces in the atoms. Each atom in itself is a sleeping soul, and this, awakened, is what evolves or develops, not the merely physical body. Remember the threefold category that H.P. Blavatsky gives us: Gods, first; Monads, second; Atoms, third: - Gods, the divine or highest triad; Monads, the upper triad of the septenary; and the Atoms, the lower quaternary of the septenary. Each one of those atoms, which are simply incalculably great in numbers, forming the lower quaternary as already said, is a sleeping god, an embryo god rather. Its inner nature must be brought out, and that bringing out is evolution, the bringing out of inner capacities, each atom-entity making, as it does so, its own vehicles. This is the doctrine of Self-directed Evolution, following the urge, the primordial impress, of the Dhyani-Chohans. All this has been set forth by us before, in other studies.

In past studies we have spoken of the Initiations (and of the doctrine of Evolution taught anciently therein) as being a "Forcing-School". We are grateful to our Teacher for reminding us that this word "forcing" is ambiguous. The word is subject to misinterpretation. Let us then put in its place the word quickening, or awakening, the word "quickening" meaning "life" in contrast with what is inert or dead; therefore, it was the quickening, the enlivening, the bringing out of that which is within. [287] This idea is the key thought of the Theosophical doctrine of evolution.

A beast no more develops mechanically into a man than do pieces of ivory, and cupfuls of polish, and pieces of wood and rolls of wire, naturally fall together and take proper form and "transform" themselves into a piano. Impossible! What makes a piano is the architect of it, the man, the thinker; so evolution is the working upon and in matter of the spiritual entity which takes and forms and urges onwards the material vehicles in which it is. This is the key of the Theosophical doctrine of Evolution.

When we speak of the incarnation of the Manasaputras, the thinking entities, the "Sons of Mind", it is of course understood that they are parts of, or entities from, the Hierarchy of Compassion, from the Light Side of Nature; and while evolution, the natural evolving (with the primordial spiritual or Dhyani-Chohanic impress behind it) of Nature into higher beings would take place and actually takes place continuously, as already pointed out, that process would be almost interminable in length of time were it not for the higher beings who give us of their light and their life, and thereby much more quickly lead us on. That is what is meant by the Manasaputras' "descent into incarnation". They are our higher natures, and, paradoxical as it is, are more largely evolved beings than we are; they were the spiritual entities who "quickened" our personal egos, which were thus evolved into self-consciousness, relatively small though that yet be. One, and yet many! As you can light an infinite number of candles from one lighted candle, so can you, from a spark of consciousness, quicken and enliven innumerable other consciousnesses, lying, so to speak, in sleep, or latent, in the atoms.

This brings us directly to another matter. We all possibly have heard of "contradictions" in The Secret Doctrine, or in our esoteric teachings. There are no contradictions there; there are apparent contradictions, if you like, but an apparent contradiction is really the figure of speech called a paradox. It is the famous old way of the ancient Schools of Occultism, to teach by paradoxes or by parables, as Jesus is said to have done. There is manifest a profound knowledge of human psychology in basing teachings on this principle. The aim is deliberately to arouse the mind, to astonish, to make the hearer think for himself. You cannot teach a child to eat or to walk by walking for it or by feeding yourself for it. It must learn to feed itself. It must itself learn to walk.

Similarly, students, neophytes, must learn to think for themselves, to stand upon their own feet. It is, I repeat, a very profound knowledge of psychology, of human thinking, which made the ancient Teachers, and makes our Masters of Wisdom [288] today, to follow the same old principles, a method which our Teacher here has instructed us to follow when these studies were begun. You will have noticed that in no case has any subject been at first openly and fully stated or followed to its ultimate, first because it is impossible; second, because it was obviously necessary to say certain things first, trying to arouse attention, trying to arouse honest objections - not merely criticisms - but honest objections in your own mind which you yourselves must solve; and then later other aspects of the subject were brought out and other sides of the teachings were given. Some of you know this fact, of course; but I am speaking more particularly of our younger and newer members. This method is a system of teaching diametrically opposite to that pursued in the Western world since the downfall of the Mediterranean civilizations. The popular method today is that of the pure brain-mind, of that mind which is mortal and goes to pieces with the death of the body. Its forte is the mere memorizing of times, places, names, dates, etc., in short, everything that can be memorized from books or daily occurrences, and stuffed into the brain; and this mind dies. That is one reason why we do not remember our past incarnations, because our minds were puny and dealt with little and evanescent things. But, Comrades, the memory of our past incarnations nevertheless inheres and remains in our higher natures, for this nature deals only with principles and generals; and some day, when we shall have passed out of and beyond our planet, we shall remember those past lives, unless indeed they be those cases of incarnations of a lost soul, in which cases there remain only blank pages, as it were, in the spiritual Volume of Life.

We are picking up stray threads of thought this evening, threads which it is necessary, as said before, to weave into the picture which the Teacher has instructed us to attempt to outline and to define. Let us illustrate some of these so-called "contradictions" by a few examples. Thus: The Moon is older than the Sun; the Sun is older than the Moon. No contradiction is here, but there is a paradox. Again: the Sun is older than any of its planets; the planets are older than their Sun. No contradiction again, but a paradox. Let us explain these paradoxes at once. Tracing the evolution of the solar system according to the Esoteric Philosophy, we point out first that the Milky Way is the storehouse of celestial bodies to be; as it were, the nursery from which seeds of future Suns go forth to begin their manvantaric courses. When the time comes for such an event to happen, a comet, in its primordial ethereal robes, starts forth to enter upon its peregrinations, and after circling around and passing through what is to us illimitable Space for long aeons of time, it, driven [289] by karma, or drawn by karma, or under the guidance of karma, if you will, reaches that particular region in Space which was actually the spot or region occupied by itself in a former embodiment as a Sun, and it settles there, and awakens and enlivens and quickens the solar dust around it (for Space is full of it), and we then have a nebula. Furthermore, it gathers around itself larger ethereal remnants of its former self, when it was also a Sun; and these accrete to themselves other particles "wandering in Space", as we can say; and in due course these other bodies, with their accretions, become the planets of the new solar system.

What is a planet? What its origin? A Sun runs through its kalpic course, its manvantaric period, which is a Solar Manvantara; and when its time comes to go into Pralaya, into its Rest, its internal force is weakened and - it dies. This is not an event of a day, but an event requiring much time; and what was its lowest principle (corresponding to our physical body) disintegrates into literally innumerable particles. Call them "atoms" if you like. Remember, please, that the Sun is neither solid - nor will it be then, when it dies - nor is it liquid, nor is it gaseous. After its death, it dissolves into innumerable "atoms" or particles, and these particles begin their long peregrinations through the fields of Space, wandering in the immense solitudes for long, long aeons; until that indwelling entity of the former Sun, which has its own inspiring inner presence, comes again under the form of a comet and reawakens what is now the solar dust of its former vehicle-self in the space where it formerly was - that dust being the remnants of its own former body. And these particles of the Sun that was, are attracted to it again, and form its suite of planets. Thus, in a sense, the planets of a Sun are its "moons".

So, you see, as an entity, the Sun is older than any one of its planetary system, remnants of its former body; but the planets are older than the Sun that now is, because they actually are particles of the former Sun that was of this plane. Where is the contradiction? A paradox, truly, which we had to solve; for the solving quickens our intuition, and that is one of the main aims and purposes of this system of teaching, the quickening of the intuition. Our brain-mind is a most admirable servant when under direction, but it should never be our master. It is not even a good servant; it has no self-respect. It has no discrimination, judgment, intuition, nor understanding.

And similar to the above is the paradox concerning the Moon. Perhaps at some future study we may have time to explain it. Also similar is the case of the planetoids, or the so-called asteroids, of which there are so many between the planets Jupiter and Mars. They are remnants of a former Solar Manvantara.

Further, all the planets not in "obscuration" or sleeping (as [290] Mars is) are surrounded with thick and often greatly condensed clouds of the kosmic dust which they have accreted unto themselves; it actually is the former solar dust of now disintegrated moons and planets. For over our own heads and over and around every one of the non-sleeping planets of our solar system, there is a continent, literally a continent, of this kosmic dust, so thick is that solar dust and so numerous are the bodies or particles of various sizes which compose it. It acts as a veil protecting us from the terrific energy of the Sun, acting not merely as a veil of protection against his rays alone, but also against other accidents that might happen to us, were there no such protecting veil surrounding our globe in thick folds.

Mars has at present none or very little of such a protecting veil, simply because its life-energies have gone to another globe of the Martian planetary system - the Martian Planetary Chain - and the attractive magnetic force which holds together such a veil therefore is largely absent. But Venus and Mercury, for instance, have, as we have, such a protecting veil, although much thinner in Mercury's case than in that of Venus, because Mercury is just emerging from "obscuration", and it is what the astronomers see when they look at those planets through their telescopes, when they see the "clouds", and note that they cannot see the face of the planet itself. They really see the veil. We are not conscious of the veil protecting us. Somewhat like a man in a room with one of those white net curtains over his window - he can see outwards, and discern what passes in the street beyond; but the man in the street cannot easily see him.

As a final example this evening of the use of the paradox in our study, I take the following. At a former study we said that Nature never repeats herself. We repeat it this evening: Nature never repeats herself. In a later study we stated that Nature does nothing but repeat herself. We repeat it this evening: Nature does nothing but repeat herself. Contradiction? No. Paradox? Yes. Let us see if we can make this apparent contradiction a little clearer. What are cycles? Repetitions. What are hierarchies? Repetitions. What are the main repetitions of a general type? Principles, forces, planets, Suns, orbs, atoms, monads, gods - all are manifold repetitions of primal spiritual impresses. Nature works in no other way than by repeating herself - repetitions on inferior planes of primordial principles or root-types.

Now, what mean we in saying that Nature never repeats herself? Let us here use our common sense. We are not here to amuse each other with folly. Nature likewise never repeats herself, because you will never find two principles identical, no two cycles are identical, no two men are identical, no two monads, [291] no two Suns, no two planets, no two souls, no two egos are identical. Our paradox then is solved by remembering that Nature's method's Unity in endless diversity.

We return now to our main theme. The Syrians had the following method or system of describing the stages of being which we represent in the accompanying diagram:

I, The Milky Way, or the first principle. II, Nebula and comets, or Seraphim, sphere two, counting downwards. III, The fixed stars, or Cherubim. These three were the "Formless World". Then the planets. IV, Saturn, Thrones; V, Jupiter, Dominions, VI, Mars, Virtues; VII, Sun, Powers; VIII, Venus, Principalities; IX, Mercury, Archangels. X, Moon, Angels. Earth, Men. These eight were the "World of Form"

Then we will draw, if you please, a circle which will represent a sphere, and let it be our earth; and we will divide this earth into five zones, the topmost one being that of Ether; the one underneath it being Fire; the one underneath that being Air; [292] the one underneath that being Water; and the lowest one being Earth.

Please understand also that the Syrians conceived of this World System as a sphere, as a Kosmos; hence, our design must have a circle surrounding it - a conventional figure, it is true, and not implying any particular limitations, but signifying the bounding circle of that particular Kosmos or Hierarchy. The Syrians further said that outside of this Hierarchy, of this Kosmos, there were the "Celestial Waters", meaning thereby what the Greeks called Chaos, or Kosmic Matter undeveloped for us, the Waters of Space, in other words. As regards this metaphor, "Celestial Waters", you will remember what the Hebrew Bible also says about the "spirit of the Elohim" or gods, moving on the face of the "waters".

Now, the three highest planes are what we call arupa, or formless; and the other seven (or eight) planes are rupa, or formed. They taught that in the beginning of things, i.e., when Kosmic Evolution began, the Primordial Essence evolved forth the most subtle and the most spiritual Element, and this naturally was the highest, the Milky Way, where all things begin in this system; and that the next step in evolution downwards was the comets and the nebulae; and then the "1122 fixed stars"; and then the various solar systems - our own solar system, as an example, bringing us thus to the first of the seven planetary regions. Any other solar system would have answered, but ours naturally was chosen, being ours. Each of these steps downwards represents the stage that the evolving Wave of Life had to pass through before it finally culminated in material existence as on our earth, for instance; finally passing through the last seven stages, the surrounding planes of the globe. First of these last seven was what we may call the Nameless Element; then the Super-ether; then the Ether; and then the Fire; and then the Air; and then the Water; and then the Earth; these Elements not being the material things familiar to us by those names, but, so to say, the spirits of the Elements, the primordial matter of which our "Elements" are merely the material representation.

You will notice - and we point this out in concluding our study this evening - that the Christian Apostle, Paul, speaks of several of these powers or Elements pertaining or belonging to the various planets as above described in the Syrian system, such as the Dominions, and the Virtues, the Thrones, the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels. You will also remember that in a former study we pointed out that really all Christian mysticism was founded by Dionysius, the so-called Areopagite, who also used these same names; so that in addition to the thoughts which [293] Christianity drew from Neo-Platonism, and Neo-Pythagoreanism, it also drew from (through Paul himself who was a Syrian) these ancient Mystery Teachings as exoterically expressed in the Hierarchy as shown in the diagram this evening. But behind this outward expression there was the same exposition, there was the same esoteric system and truth, that we have been studying for some months past. [294]

Chapter XXV


But upon this one of those more ancient priests (of Egypt) exclaimed, O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children, nor is there any such thing as an aged Grecian among you. But Solon when he heard this, What (says he) is the motive of your exclamation? To whom the priest: - Because all your souls are juvenile; neither containing any ancient opinion derived from remote tradition, nor any discipline hoary from its existence in former periods of time. But the reason of this is the multitude and variety of destructions of the human race, which formerly have been and again will be; the greatest of these indeed arising from fire and water; but the lesser from ten thousand other contingencies ¼

But whatever has been transacted either by us, or by you, or in any other place, beautiful or great, or containing any thing uncommon, of which we have heard the report, every thing of this kind is to be found described in our temples, and preserved to the present day.

- The Timaeus of Plato, 446, 447 (Thomas Taylor)

Let us open our study this evening by reading from the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, pages 611-2, section 15, entitled "Gods, Monads, and Atoms".

The exact extent, depth, breadth, and length of the mysteries of Nature are to be found only in Eastern esoteric sciences. So vast and so profound are these that hardly a few, a very few of the highest Initiates - those whose very existence is known but to a small number of Adepts - are capable of assimilating the knowledge. Yet it is all there, and one by one facts and processes in Nature's workshops are permitted to find their way into the exact Sciences, while mysterious help is given to rare individuals in unraveling its arcane. It is at the close of great Cycles, in connection with racial development, that such events generally take place. We are at the very close of the cycle of 5,000 years of the present Aryan Kali-yuga; and between this time and 1897, there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature, and materialistic science will receive a death-blow ¼

From the very beginning of Aeons - in time and space in our Round and Globe - the Mysteries of Nature (at any rate, those which it is lawful for our races to know) were recorded by the pupils of those same now invisible "heavenly men," in geometrical figures and symbols. The keys thereto passed from one generation of "wise men" to the other.

At our last meeting we discussed a diagram showing the Syrian views, from an exoteric standpoint, of the external and internal [295] structure of the Kosmos; and some of you, who perhaps observed carefully, will have noticed that this diagrammatic Hierarchy seemed to be represented as all on one plane. Now that is true, in a certain sense; but there is much in connection with that fact that we could not then and now cannot speak of, for the simple reason that we have not as yet laid the foundations for properly understanding it. Let it then suffice this evening to say that, as a matter of real fact, the Hierarchies interact and intermingle - cross each other in all directions, as it were.

As remarked in a former study, the direction of our evolution is "outwards" at first, and "inwards" secondly. On descending the Shadowy Arc or the Arc of Matter in the beginning of the Manvantara of this our Planetary Chain, the direction which we followed, as members of our planetary life-wave, was from within outwards, i.e., from inner planes, from inner worlds, constantly proceeding "downwards" - that is, into ever-increasing materiality; and when we reached the middle of the Fourth Round on this our Globe, which is the central or turning point of the Manvantara of this Planetary Chain, the impulse slackened and finally reached its close in what we call the Fourth Root Race, the Atlantean Race. Thereafter the reverse process began its action, and progress, advancement, development, retraced its steps, as it were, in a spiral, the direction thenceforward being from without inwards, or an ascent in ever-increasing spirituality. This process of a primal "descent" into materiality, followed by a "reascent" into spirituality, is the course followed not merely in the construction, development, and consummation of the destiny of a Planetary Chain, and of all Planetary Chains, but also is the course followed in the larger cycles of evolution, such as the Solar Kalpas, for instance, which comprise, each one, seven of the Planetary Manvantaras. Seven Planetary Manvantaras make one Solar Kalpa; in other words, seven "Days of Brahm_" or seven Planetary Cycles, each cycle consisting of seven Rounds, form one Solar Kalpa (or Manvantara).

Now, in order to assist our minds in understanding our study this evening, in order to help us in conceiving the idea, let us draw seven circles representing seven globes: three on the downward cycle or Shadowy Arc, one at the bottom or turning point, and three on the ascending or Luminous Arc or Cycle. We may number with the letters of the alphabet (on page 323).

Now, these circles represent, if you will, the globes of the Planetary Chain, and the evolution of the life-wave beginning in Globe A and running there through its appointed cycles, completing them, and then entering B; after completing its course in B, then entering C; and then, on ending its course for the Round in C, entering D, where we are now, and also in the Fourth Round. [296]

We are thus halfway around the course for our Round, the Fourth, and somewhat more, because we are the Fifth Root Race of our Globe D, on which seven Root Races must run their course.

Each of these globes, furthermore, is builded out of, and has its correspondence with, what the ancients called the "Elements", that is to say, the bases of the seven Principles of Nature. They are furthermore called "Rudiments", not in the sense of something incomplete, but in the original sense of root-things, originants. The Sanskrit word for the Principles is Tattva, meaning "a reality", not the Uttermost Reality, the Absolute of any Hierarchy, but its root-differentiations in manifestation; and the word for the Elements is Bhutas, each Element springing from its predecessor or superior and giving life and birth to another, its inferior. The ancients always reckoned four Elements, and sometimes five; our School reckons seven in all. The usual enumeration of the ancients, is as follows: "Aether", "Fire", "Air", "Water", and, lastly, "Earth". The last two Principles to be enumerated, and the last two Elements, the bases of the former two, have been given no names exoterically, because they are not yet known by our present senses. Human consciousness does not yet recognize them, but they are recognized, taught of, and named, in the Esoteric Philosophy nevertheless; and they are called, for the second, Anupapadaka-tattva, a Sanskrit word [297] very difficult to explain in English. The general meaning is that it does not proceed from anything else, i.e., "parentless". It proceeds from itself. Finally, the first of all the seven, the uppermost on the Descending Arc of nature, is called Adi-tattva or "original Tattva", for the Principle; and Adi-bhuta for the corresponding Element, because it belongs to the same plane of being of the Kosmos as the Principle Adi-tattva, but in a somewhat lower degree, being the base or vehicle of the former, the Principle.

These Elements, of course, are not the familiar things which we know under these names, "fire", "water", "air", or "earth" - but these familiar things are their correspondences on our Earth, in a mystic sense. Now, although the seven Globes of the Planetary Chain are not the seven Elements respectively, each to each, yet each Globe is builded up out of them all, and one of the seven Elements predominates, furthermore, in each one of the Globes respectively. All this will be elucidated in our future studies, when we come to study the Lokas and Talas. For instance, on Globe A: the fire-quality would not be our material earth-fire: it would there be the spirit of fire, so to say, the root of fire; because in the Esoteric Philosophy "Fire" is not merely the result of combustion, according to modern scientific ideas, but is an actual Element, a Rudiment, a Base. And similarly with "Air", proceeding from "Fire", born from "Fire". And similarly with the Element "Water", proceeding from "Air", born from it; and again "Earth" born from "Water", i.e., the Element "Water".

It is likewise the old Stoic doctrine, that the Elements give birth one to another. Manifestation begins on the spiritual plane, and as the life-impulses reach forth into grosser forms, into "matter" (to use the popular expression), the succeeding Elements (Bases, Rudiments) are born, each one from the preceding one, and from all preceding ones. For instance, "Earth" is born not merely from the Element "Water", but likewise from "Fire", and "Air". Furthermore, the seven Rounds of a Planetary Chain, the seven Globes of a Planetary Chain, and the seven Root Races of any Globe thereof, has each its predominating correspondence with one of these seven Elements. Please understand that we mean not at all the familiar things we know on our Earth by those names, but the Bases, the Originants, the "spirits" of them, as it were: the causes, the Tattvas, the Real Things which produce what we see here on our Earth.

Furthermore, the seven "sacred planets", to which we have alluded in former studies, are, each one of them, a manifestation, an incorporealization, of the powers of one of the seven Solar Logoi, or spiritual Forces of our Solar Kosmos, of which Force Elements [298] we may see a faint manifestation, or, if you will, an adumbration, in the seven colors of the solar spectrum. We reserve further clearer explanation of this for future studies.

Please note also that our own human seven "principles", correspond each one, respectively and relatively, with one of these Elements. The seven principles and Elements of man are a duplication in him of the seven Principles and Elements of the Kosmos. The seven Elements, or Bases, or Rudiments, are the seven Vehicles of the seven Principles of the Kosmos. These Elements are at the same time substance and energy or force, because energy and substance fundamentally are the same thing. Matter and force are fundamentally the same thing. It is, as it were, the upper and the lower side, the inward and outward, the impulse and its results or fruits.

And furthermore, with regard to the seven sacred planets mentioned above: when the Esoteric Science of the ancients spoke of seven sacred planets, certain ones especially were designated, because, as a matter of fact, each of the planets known to us is itself connected with seven other planets who are to it its seven sacred planets. Our earth is not one of the seven sacred planets of the ancients. Those seven sacred planets were Saturn; Jupiter; Venus; Mercury; the planet very near to the Sun, at present invisible but suspected, and called by some modern astronomers Vulcan; a sixth which we merely mention, at present; and a seventh sometimes seen near the Moon - by those who "have eyes to see "!

It will be recollected that it was remarked at a former study that the Vulcan-planet was first discovered, or supposed to be discovered, on March 26, 1859, when it was seen in transit across the solar disk, and astronomers since then have searched for it and have not been able to find it. The teaching with reference to that planet, the highest (in one sense) of our seven sacred planets, is this, that it became invisible to our physical senses at about the middle point of the third Root Race; but as we have now reached again, on the Upward Arc, the plane corresponding to the degree of plane-development of the third Root Race; in a relatively short cyclic period, it should begin again to show itself; but even today, while it might be generally invisible on account of what we may call its ethereality, if searched for by telescope it might nevertheless be seen, under favorable conditions, crossing the solar disk. And why? Because the truly indescribable brilliance of the Sun throws anything that appears before it, into visibility, so to speak, as a darker body, and it could thus be seen as such a shadowy body crossing the solar disk. At least that is one reason, probably, why astronomers have searched for this planet and have - or have not yet - found it. [299]

With regard to the seventh mentioned above, which is the "lowest" of our seven sacred planets, the one esoterically spoken of as "near the Moon", that planet is in its last or Seventh Round, and is therefore dying. The probability is that it also, to our present physical senses, is more or less ethereal, and therefore practically invisible, except in certain very favorable conditions. Before our planet shall have reached its last or Seventh Round, our Moon will have disintegrated into stellar dust, but by that time this secret or Mystery Planet "near the Moon" and now dying, will be dead, and will be to us as a moon; not a true moon in the sense of our lunar mother, but rather a satellite. It will appear to us as a moon; and, indeed, will be a "moon", because it will be a dead body.

There is a great deal that simply cannot be said - at least not yet - about these seven sacred or Mystery Planets, for the simple reason that these studies, by the Teacher's instructions, are to be published, and we understand perfectly that there are certain things that the public has no right to know. But we have pointed out before that the seven principal Dhyani-Chohans, or Lords of Meditation, are very intimately connected, each, to each, respectively, with the seven Mystery Planets or sacred planets, that is, the seven which are the sacred planets for the earth. There are many other planets in our solar system; but only seven of that number are our seven sacred planets.

Each other planet, Jupiter, let us say for instance, has its own seven sacred planets, and all belonging to our solar system, but not all of them would necessarily be our seven sacred planets. Yet each one, by the interconnection or intermingling of the Elements of Kosmic construction, each one of them, I say, is a solar locus. Here again is something that we must touch upon before we pass on farther.

Man is higher than the globe he lives on. Man is higher than the Sun. You and I sitting here, occupy a status spiritually higher than the Sun, although it is the spiritual and vital locus of the solar system. The Sun we see is not the true Sun. The Sun we see is merely the focus of the titanic forces playing on the other side, through it. And man is higher than it, and yet comes from it, from the inner side of it, so to say. Further, as pointed out in another study, do not be carried away by scientific theories, for science is absolutely no criterion of spiritual knowledge, which is, as yet, far beyond its scope or reach. Our physical bodies, i.e., the body of each one of us, is a kosmos, even, relatively speaking, a universal kosmos. Even our modern science is beginning to suspect this truth, and the scientists now speak of the atom, formed of its electrons and protons, as composing a miniature solar system. There is no particle of substance or matter which is [300] free from life, barren of intelligent life and lives; and there are beings in and on the electrons of the atoms of our body which are higher than the personal self of us is. A sublime thought to think about! We have, indeed, higher responsibilities inherent in us than we dream of. Our body, in very truth, is a Temple of Life!

It may be said by some few who think they know our views, and who do not, that we speak somewhat harshly of scientific men. We do not admit the charge, for it is false; but we have said, and we now repeat it, that we have no hesitancy in rejecting scientific theories when we honestly cannot accept them, or believe them untrue. A fact, per se, is a divine thing. We are grateful for the noble and often self-sacrificing labors of scientific workers; nobody, no people on earth today, is more grateful to science, when it means classified and ordered knowledge, than are the Theosophists. But the mere scientific theories of scientific men are another thing entirely; and we have no more patience with them when we believe them untrue, than with any other untruth; we have such degree of gratitude and of patience, on the other hand, for what we conceive that they possess of truth. No more. We attack no honest man, whatever be his private opinions. We attack no facts. Every real fact is a friend to us; and we welcome, we applaud, we laud, the magnificent efforts of the researches and researchers into nature; but to take wholesale and to swallow at a gulp something that some scientific bigwig may dangle before our eyes, merely because he attempts to foist his personal opinion or hobby upon the world, is another thing entirely.

I have received a letter from a friend which is well worth reading in this connection at this point. I cite a portion of it with an included quotation concerning the planet Vulcan:

"Seeliger has conclusively shown that there is enough of the cosmic dust which forms the Zodiacal Light to account for all the discrepancies in the movements of Mercury", and so make a "Vulcan" unnecessary.

This was written about twelve years ago, and was supposed to settle the whole difficulty of Mercury's 42 seconds per century change in perihelion position.

Note first: the perturbations in the movements of Mercury were first explained by an unknown planet called Vulcan. Well, Vulcan could not be found again, so the theorists said that it must be cosmic dust which produces these perturbations. Second theory: I quote again from the letter:

Then comes friend Einstein and starts explaining it in an entirely different way", and "cosmic dust" in its turn is scientifically made away with.

Then comes:

Professor Poor, of Columbia University and shows that Einstein's theory about Mercury upsets the positions of the other planets more than it helps Mercury - so there you are!" [301]

I admire their wonderful ingenuity in making theories for the marvels they have discovered under the limited conditions at their disposal, but we certainly must keep an open mind on the things which are subject to such various interpretations.

Very well put. It covers the ground very neatly.

We are nearing the conclusion of our study for this evening, but meanwhile there is a matter which requires some treatment before we close, and that is with regard to the Root Races of any globe of our Planetary Chain. Take the Races, for instance, of our own Globe D, of our Planetary Chain, Globe D being the lowest in the Chain, as you know. Now these Root Races occupy vastly more time in their evolution than is commonly supposed. Time runs into millions of years for any and for each Root Race. It is commonly supposed by some who have not read H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine with the attention that they should have given to it, that our Root Race, the Fifth, is only about one million years old now. That idea is not true, and H.P. Blavatsky says nothing of the sort. In Volume II, page 435, of The Secret Doctrine, she says that our Fifth Root Race is about one million years old, as a race sui generis and quite free from its parent-stem. How many more million years did it require to reach even that point, born as a Root Race at about the central point of the Mother-Race? It required millions of years for our Race to reach the central point of its career, where we are now. Our great racial catastrophe, which will come upon us as their own came in due time upon all other former Root Races, and as such a catastrophe will come upon the two Races which are to succeed our Fifth Race, i.e., the Sixth and Seventh Root Races, has not yet reached us, but it is coming. And we shall then have work to do if we are faithful to our Teachers, and to our School, during those trying epochs, aeons, periods, of the far future.

And another thing: While each Root Race is destroyed alternately by fire and by water, let us not forget that the other Elements likewise are at work at the same time; but it is fire and water more particularly which affect and cause the displacements of continents or rather their submergence; and the emergence or rising of the new lands. There is an interesting point of our doctrines in this connection, and I now briefly allude to it.

The teaching is that the First, the Third, the Fifth, and the Seventh Root Races, are what may be called aqueous; and the Second, the Fourth, and the Sixth - those with even numbers - are what we may call the terreous Races; in other words, those with uneven numbers, 1, 3, 5, and 7, flourish on our Globe at times when the oceans cover more of its surface than does the land; and the conditions are reversed in the Second, Fourth, and [302] Sixth Root Races, when there is more land than water on the Globe's surface. Fire destroyed the First Race, as it destroyed the Third Race also; water destroyed the Second and also the Fourth Race; and fire will destroy the Fifth, water the Sixth, and fire again the Seventh. Now, geologically speaking, it is this alternation in extent of land or water which brings about this cyclical condition. Let us try to make this matter a little more clear. The Third Race perished by fire, which means the action of subterrene earthquakes and of volcanoes, principally, followed by submergence. Now the Third Race was an "aqueous" Race, that is to say, there was then more water on the face of the earth than land. So today, in our Fifth Race, at about the middle period of our Race's lifecycle, there is one-fourth as much land as of water on the surface of the globe, i.e., three times as much water as land. When our Root Race shall be drawing towards its end, the coming catastrophe will be shown by immense systemic and minor seismic and volcanic disturbances, announcing the submergence of our continental system and the emergence of new lands for the following Sixth Root Race, the working of fire. When the Atlantean system fell, when the Atlantean continental system had its catastrophe which slowly overwhelmed it with flood, it was water which caused it. There was then more land than water; nature sought a readjustment, a better balance, and that great system perished by floods. The water came and submerged the land, of course also accompanied by earthquakes and the action of volcanoes. We must not imagine that when a Root Race perishes through fire or water as the chief causative agent, that there is then no aqueous or terrene-fire disturbance. On the contrary, fire and water work together, but the one or the other then predominates. The Fourth, the Atlantean, was a terreous period, and Nature followed her usual course in cases of disturbed equilibrium - "and the waters came and overwhelmed the land." Whence the "waters came", is a most fascinating subject for study, but we have no time to go into it tonight. Ours is an aqueous period; and in due course the waters will slowly tend to disappear, giving place to new lands in the future, the dwelling-places to be of the next, the Sixth Root Race.

Asks Katherine Tingley:

I would like to ask Professor de Purucker if he will make an explanation - which I think would be satisfactory to you, and which he could do much better than I - and show what will be the state of civilization, what will be the state of humanity, at the ending of these different races - when the end comes? How will evolution be marked? Will not those people who will seem to be the "victims" of the terrible catastrophe which comes at [303] the end of every race, have the knowledge of the secrets of death, and look upon rebirth as a glorious release?

I think certainly so; yes, it is so. The end of every race brings with it a perfection of what that race was striving to accomplish. And I dare say that if we could look back and know what took place when the continent of Atlantis sank, we should realize that even those comparatively few who by death left the physical body during that catastrophe, had the realization that what they had to undergo was no more and no less than merely one form of death inevitable to all men sooner or later. They knew better than we do now, although far more sunken in matter, that life is eternal, for, actually, there is nothing but life everywhere! And their physicians could have told them, and did tell them, for they knew, that every disease of our bodies comes about from an excess of life, particularly what we may call the malignant or wasting diseases. In these cases it is life running riot in the body, and that is what causes death. They knew it better than we.

Furthermore, no one should think that in these racial catastrophes, every one is swept away in a moment in a fearful confusion and chaos, and that there is no hope, and that everything is but wild despair. Not at all. These catastrophes come on slowly. The continents sink through the ages. Man migrates and leaves the sinking lands behind, and moves to higher and better ones, new ones, fresh ones, where new races are born out of what we justly may call the death of the old.

Nothing, I suppose, that I might mention, could equal the horror of the catastrophe of Lisbon years ago, when tens of thousands of people perished in an earthquake; or the fearful catastrophe at Messina, in Sicily, only a few years ago; and other earthquakes and tidal waves which you all may remember. We are in our own great cyclical catastrophe now, though it is but beginning. How much worse is the agony of heart, let us say, of one who is at the bedside of one whom he loves! Ah! There you have anguish! But sudden catastrophes, when they do occur, occur mostly on a relatively small scale. When the races near their ends, the continents sink slowly. There are much worse things than merely losing the physical body, for those whose destiny it is to be in a racial catastrophe. They will know the beautiful secrets of death. At the end of our race we shall know it far better than the Atlanteans did. But not one so perishes individually, unless it is his personal Karma. How about the tens of thousands who perish yearly in steamer, train, automobile, mine and various other accidents? Pray reflect. [304]

Chapter XXVI


"Man," says Van Helmont, "is the mirror of the universe, and his triple nature stands in relationship to all things."

-Isis Unveiled, I, 213

¼ there is but one element ¼ This element then is the - to speak metaphysically - one sub-stratum or permanent cause of all manifestations in the phenomenal universe. The ancients speak of the five cognizable Elements of ether, air, water, fire, earth, and of the one incognisable element (to the uninitiates) the sixth principle of the universe - call it Purush Sakti, while to speak of the seventh outside the sanctuary was punishable with death. But these five are but the differentiated aspects of the one. As man is a sevenfold being so is the universe - the septenary microcosm being to the septenary macrocosm but as the drop of rain water is to the cloud from whence it dropped and whither in the course of time it will return. In that one are embraced or included so many tendencies for the evolution of air, water, fire, etc. (from the purely abstract down to their concrete condition) and when those latter are called Elements it is to indicate their productive potentialities for numberless form changes or evolution of being.

- Mahatma Letters, 91

Let us open our study this evening by reading from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, section 16, pages 638-9.

In ancient Symbolism it was always the SUN (though the Spiritual, not the visible, Sun was meant), that was supposed to send forth the chief Saviors and Avataras. Hence the connecting link between the Buddhas, the Avataras, and so many other incarnations of the highest SEVEN. The closer the approach to one's Prototype, "in Heaven," the better for the mortal whose personality was chosen, by his own personal deity (the seventh principle), as its terrestrial abode. For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with that "Self-god," one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that supersedes the first, until, from ray to ray, the inner man is drawn into the one and highest beam of the Parent-SUN.

That is a superb passage. It contains in embryo the substance of our studies for some weeks past. It will be remembered that at our last meeting, the Teacher spoke of our School as being a Hierarchy. Verily it is so, because while we form the outermost circle, as it were, of the Hierarchy of Compassion, we do belong to it nevertheless, as distinguished from the bulk of humanity, whose inner fires have not been lighted, as ours have been, at least in some degree, by our Teachers. We form a body; and as our Teacher, sitting here present, is our highest link among ourselves [305] with the Masters, so one of them more particularly is our link with the spiritual Hierarchy from which we draw our inner life, spiritual and mental, the one whose duty, self-assumed, it is to light our fires, so that we in turn may quicken, enliven, and light the fires of others, who know even less of the Ancient Wisdom than we do. Our supreme chief is that wondrous Being, who, in his spiritual capacity, is the Dhyani-buddha of this Fourth Round, whose human representative is the Chief of what we commonly call the great White Lodge, he to whom our own Masters look up for quickening and enlightenment, he who lights their fires as they light and quicken ours.

How is this quickening and lighting done? How was it that the Manasaputras worked, in their incarnations in the hitherto senseless humanity, to raise man - if we can give to the humanity of that time that name - from spiritually and mentally senseless beings to self-conscious humanhood ?

Listen. Every one of the seven principles of man, as also every one of the seven Elements spoken of at our last meeting (corresponding in the Kosmos to the seven principles in man), is itself a mirror of the universe, that is, it contains in itself everything that the Boundless All contains. Everything is in the microcosm that exists in the Macrocosm; the one, the less, mirrors the other, the greater. In other words, each of the Elements, each of the principles, each of the rudiments to blossom forth later into divinity, is itself a septenary or sevenfold entity, existing on its own septenary plane, which to it is as palpably certain, real, and substantial as this our physical plane is to us as seen through our physical eyes and heard through our physical ears, or sensed by the media of the other senses, two more of which, by the way, are still to be developed.

Now each one being a septenary, each one of these Principles or Elements is a copy in miniature, if we may use that word, of the Whole. For instance, the principle of Manas is septenary. It has its own atman, its buddhi, and its manas - the Manas-manas, which is its own particular essence, or Swabhava; next, its kama or desire-principle; then its vital essence; then its garment, its Linga-sharira, or model body, so to say, that which gives it its own particular shape and conformation, according to the qualities of that plane; and finally its Sthula-sharira, or lowest portion or vehicle or carrier or bearer.

Now, these Manasaputras or "Sons of Mind", children of Mahat, are said to have quickened and enlightened the Manas-manas of the manas-septenary, because they themselves are typically manasic in their essential characteristic or Swabhava. Their own vibrations, so to say, could cause that essence of manas in ourselves to vibrate in sympathy, much as the sounding of a [306] musical note will cause sympathetic response in something like it, a similar note in other things.

Who are these Manasaputras? They are ourselves in a sense, but we are rather and more particularly those who were quickened and enlivened. They are a mystery; they are at once our higher selves - not our highest selves but - our higher selves, and yet different. We have shown in past studies that from the One springs all the manifold differentiations of a Kosmic (or any other) Hierarchy, and that there is a perfect kinship or unity of being throughout. These sublime thoughts can be very clearly understood if we awaken in ourselves that portion of our nature to which they are native and familiar. We can do it, and it depends upon us to do it. Why is it that the Masters choose, from time to time, a certain one or certain ones, and take him or them to themselves? Because they see in those so selected the inner Master already quickened, enlivened, at least to some extent. Would they take a beast? No. Why not? Because the beast is not quickened. Would they take an ordinary man? No. Why? Because the man is not quickened, he is not awakened, he is not yet conscious in himself of the inner essential Buddha, the Awakened One. There is no question of arbitrary choice about this fact. It is a selection and an election of the fit and proper ones; it is therefore just, it is therefore right.

Let us pursue this thought a little more. Let us take Nature and consider her Elements. Now this word "Element" is from the Latin and it means one of the rudiments of things, the word "rudiment" in its original sense. The Sankhya especially, one of the six accepted schools of philosophy of India, and also even the Vedanta - perhaps the noblest of the six Indian Schools - both speak of the six original "producers" or Elements of Nature as Prakritis, the six Prakritis derived from the primal Prakriti, or root-prakriti, the first and highest. The Sankhya also speaks of them and so do many students of the Vedanta, as the six Tattvas or real Elements. Now what is the difference between the six Elements or Prakritis, and the six Tattvas? The Prakriti is the vehicular or bearer or carrier side, so to say, the substantial side, and the Tattva is the analogical or force side. And these two fundamentally are one, because, please remember, matter and force, spirit and substance, are both fundamentally one. Matter can be called crystallized spirit. We have to hunt for words in any attempt to describe these things; hence this is an inadequate expression, but it perhaps conveys the meaning. Para-brahman and Mula-prakriti, or "beyond Brahman" and "root-nature" of the Vedanta and the Sankhya, represent the same thought, and these two fundamentally are one. Root-nature is the veil, as it were, of the primordial energy, the primordial consciousness; and [307] these Prakritis in the Sankhya, these six or seven Prakritis, stand for the six or seven Elements of Nature, corresponding to our human seven principles or six principles. And these are born, or issue rather, one from the other, as pointed out in our study of the seven globes in our study last week. That Prakriti which is the higher plane is the parent of the Prakriti which is the lower plane. First the primordial one gives birth to the second; Atman, let us say, gives birth to Buddhi. And Atman and Buddhi combined give birth to Manas, issuing from the two former, and containing the qualities of the preceding two as well as its own. And Atman, Buddhi, Manas then give birth to Kama, the fourth in order; and so on down to the seventh or lowest.

Similarly Globe A, the first on the Descending Arc, gives birth to Globe B, and Globe B gives birth to Globe C; but it does so with the swabhavic Tattva of Globe A also working in it. And Globe C gives birth to Globe D, our earth, but with the Tattvas or intrinsic individualities or swabhava of A and B in it also. Globe D thus has the Tattvas of Globes A, B, and C inherent in it in addition to its own individual characteristic or swabhava.

When the evolutionary impulse has reached its limit in any one Manvantara - and the limits vary in every Manvantara, because there is no absolute point or position in space, nor any one particular plane where every evolutionary manvantaric impulse in the Boundless must stop, for so many monads, so many hierarchies have so many respective evolutionary impulses and their respective ends: that is, when that out-rushing impulse that comes from above, carrying these Prakritis and principles down into greater manifestation of matter, has reached the limit possible for that particular Manvantara, it then turns, as it were, around the goal and begins the reascent.

Now we in our Planetary Chain have passed that goal or turning point of the Rounds. In each of the races on any globe of the Chain, furthermore; in each of the globes during any Round; and for each of the Rounds passing through all the seven globes; there is a midpoint in its respective evolutionary course, and that midpoint is its respective goal or turning point, where the respective cycle begins a reascent. Hence, there will then be a sudden rising of the evolving monads or entities; and correspondentially senses hitherto latent and undeveloped will be developed, and the principles in nature which we now do not cognise will then be cognised and known. Ether, for instance, of which we have a mere presentiment today at the middle point of our Fifth Race in the Fourth Round, recognized even by science and spoken of, will, during the Fifth Round become an actuality in what will then be the atmosphere, as palpable and plain to the senses as air is today to us. [308]

So, then, when speaking of the Elements or the Prakritis, we do not mean that the "earth" and "water" and "air" and "fire" spoken of by the ancients as "Elements", are the real Elemental Prakritis of Nature. That is absurd. The ancients used those words symbolically. These four (or five things, including ether) are merely manifestations - four of them so far developed - of four or five out of the seven sub-prakritis or sub-principles belonging to the lowest prakritic Element as manifest at this stage on our fourth globe, corresponding to the seventh or lowest Kosmic Plane or Prakriti.

As each Principle is itself a sub-septenary and mirrors the Boundless, so does each Element mirror all the other Elements; and from each Element can be drawn the life and nature and characteristic, in minor degree, of course, of all the other six. The above-named qualities of the matter of the seventh or lowest Prakriti of our Globe, that is to say, solidity, fluidity, air (there seems to be no corresponding adjective in English for air, or for the following one), fire, are merely the correspondences of the similar sub-prakritis of the four Kosmic Elements or Prakritis in which our Planetary Chain exists now. Ether as an "element" will come next; and in the Sixth Round will be developed the sixth element; and during the Seventh Round will be developed the seventh. None of the ancient philosophers of the Mediterranean countries, when speaking of "earth", "water", "air", "fire", "ether", nor the Hindus, when speaking, for instance of Akasa or of Adi-tattva, meant the material things which we can sense, such as earth and water. They meant the Root Elements of Nature, of which these four or five things that we sense, are, as it were, presentments or symbols.

Now, the Greeks called the Elements "Stoicheia" a plural diminutive of the word "stoichos", meaning a series, in other words a hierarchy. The singular "Stoicheion" would be an entity of a hierarchy, a part of it, one of the composite parts of the hierarchy, although modern scholars can trace no ostensible reason for giving this name to what they recognize as being the ancient conception of the Element of Nature. But our philosophy shows why, and explains that the stoicheia are the seven Prakritis of the Kosmos. Each of the globes of our Planetary Chain is an embodiment of all these Elements or seven Prakritis, but in the manner outlined above, of each Element containing in parvo all the others. Our earth, for instance, is an embodiment or representation of the lowest Prakriti, but there is water and there is air and there is fire, and we know that there is ether in development. We know four and recognize five, an exemplification of what has just been said. Nevertheless, the seven globes of our Planetary Chain are not the respective correspondences [309] of the seven Kosmic Elements. This would be a "false analogy".

Each one of the grades of initiation, of which we have spoken before, corresponds to one of these seven Kosmic Elements; and the trials through which the initiant or candidate must pass in order to prove his capacity, are regulated and governed by the nature of each one respectively of the seven Prakritis. There are, as a matter of fact, ten grades or degrees of initiation and ten Kosmic Prakritis - seven in manifestation, and three Root-prakritis or the highest; but as so often pointed out, in our studies, the uppermost three are so far beyond our utmost capacity of understanding now that we can do no more than mention the fact. Always ten - three arupa or formless (to us, please understand) and seven in manifestation; and of these seven the upper triad is, relatively speaking, also arupa.

Now let us here point out something very important - that is, that all the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom is given from our plane, so that when we say arupa or "formless", it does not mean that in themselves, an sich, per se, these higher planes or entities are formless, which would be absurd. But to us they are formless, exactly as ether is formless, because it is not yet (for us) developed. We have as yet but a mere presentiment of it in this Fourth Round, and only because we are in the Fifth Root Race, corresponding in element to that fifth element, "ether". And as a corollary to that, and it is an important deduction, as regards the beings inhabiting each element, each principle, of the universal Kosmos: their habitations, their countries, all that therein exists, to them are as real and palpable as are palpable and material things on our plane to us. Force, to us, is substance in motion. Do you realize that our most dense and rigid matter is force to beings in the hierarchy below us? Do we realize that what we call the density and the rigidity of matter are merely such to our senses, and that this very density and this rigidity show and prove that our dense and rigid matter is but a balancing of opposing forces? Why, even many modern scientists today, making a right-about-face from what was utter truth to science some fifty years ago, now say that there is no such thing as matter per se, that there is nothing but "force". Matter is therefore to it a maya, an illusion, and so it is. But so is force a maya, because it is merely matter to something higher than it. All things are relative, a statement which is one of the fundamental conceptions of the Ancient Wisdom.

So when we speak of these various Prakritis and Principles, let us recognize first that these Elements, these Tattvas or Principles, from whatever viewpoint we may look at them, are all manifestations of the one Universal Life, which is likewise [310] Universal Substance in its lower aspect. Spirit and substance are fundamentally one, two sides to the same thing. Force and matter are fundamentally one, two sides to the same thing.

This, that is so important, we fain would dwell upon much longer and give illustrations of its application to our studies. Let us make a final application tonight. What is the difference between a Master, and me and you? The former has his higher principles awakened and lives in them. And we do not. From the scientific standpoint, that is all there is to it; from the philosophic standpoint, we may say that a Master has become, as far as he can be, more at one with the Universal Life; and from the religious standpoint or the spiritual standpoint, we may say that a Master has developed an individual consciousness, or recognition, of his oneness with the Boundless. This is the very foundation of the ethics without which there is nothing worthy of the Ancient Wisdom and of our School. No man can misconduct himself without injecting inharmony, disharmony, into the human hierarchy of which he is a part, and for this he shall pay, yea, to the uttermost farthing. But this is no "vengeance", no punishment, by Nature, which merely readjusts the disturbed equilibrium, or disharmony. It arose out of the exercise of free will. And the Masters have learned to govern their wills and to cooperate with Nature as a whole; thence they grow in strength of soul, and live in unity with the Divine. That is the difference between them and us: they live "at one" with the spiritual summit of our hierarchy. We can do it likewise. We can do the same. It is simply a matter of opening our inner eyes, of cleansing our souls, of clearing out from our brains the trash which we eat mentally, the husks which the "swine feed upon", and letting in the pure, clear life, the "wine of life". It is only the molds of mind that impede us, nothing but the molds of mind; and when we say the "molds of mind" we do not exactly mean the molds of sub-mental matter in which the mind works. That is, I think, a wrong way to put it. We mean the crystallization of the mind itself, when mental force becomes mental matter. Therefore break these molds; no one can do it for you but yourself. The molds of man's mind are his greatest enemy, his worst foe, his strongest opponent, because these molds are living substance. Your mind is matter, but it is "living" matter; and every thought you think clings to the mind and inheres in it, and becomes what the Ancient Wisdom calls an "elemental", and it will finally turn and torture you unless you break them - i.e., transmute them. What man would do otherwise, when there are freedom and light and wisdom and peace and glory and knowledge unspeakable for the having, for the taking, providing that we do indeed "take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence"! [311]

Chapter XXVII


There are, assuredly, two forms of Brahm_: the formed and the formless. Now, that which is the formed is unreal; that which is the formless is real, is Brahm_, is light.

That light is the same as the Sun [the spiritual Sun, not our visible Sun which is only a reflection, a veil, a form].

Verily, that came to have Om as its soul (atman). He divided himself (atman) threefold. Om is three prosodial units (a+u+m). By means of these the whole world is woven, warp and woof, across Him.

- Maitri Upanishad, 6, 3, 425 (Hume)

An exuberance of power is always present with the highest causes, and at the same time that this power transcends all things, it is equally present with all with unimpeded energy. Hence, conformably to this, the first illuminate the last of things, and immaterial are present with material natures immaterially. Nor should it be considered by any one as wonderful, if we say that there is a certain pure and divine matter. For matter being generated by the father and Demiurgos of wholes, receives a perfection adapted to itself, in order to its becoming the receptacle of the Gods. At the same time nothing prevents more excellent beings from being able to impart their light to subordinate natures. Neither, therefore, is matter separated from the participation of better causes; so that such matter as is perfect, pure, and boniform, is not unadapted to the reception of the Gods. For, since it is requisite that terrestrial natures should by no means be destitute of divine communion, the earth also receives a certain divine portion from it, sufficient for the participation of the Gods.

- Iamblichus on The Mysteries, 265, 6 (Taylor).

It is nearly fifty years since our first Teacher brought Theosophy to us - nearly half a century has passed, and those of us who have had the opportunity of studying Theosophy during that period, or at least during part of it, realize the great changes that have taken place in the thought of the world, changes such that we can only ascribe them to the spiritual impulses given to the world by H.P. Blavatsky, and Those behind her.

At the close of our study this evening we shall point to a number of facts, showing how Theosophists, penetrating the secrets of the Ancient Wisdom through Theosophy, have foreshadowed, prophesied, if you like, some of the greatest of the scientific discoveries, so-called, that have been made during these last fifty years.

These are real revolutions in thought, and it is only just that we should place the merit where the merit is due, for there is no other cause of such revolutions - which are not merely still taking place, but which have hardly yet reached their maximum [312] - than the work done by the first Theosophical Leader, and the spiritual impulse which she brought into the world at that time. No other society or no other organization can show anything similar in the annals of known history.

We open our study this evening by reading once again the latter part of what we read at our last study from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 638-9, as follows:

The closer the approach to one's Prototype, "in Heaven," the better for the mortal whose personality was chosen, by his own personal deity (the seventh principle), as its terrestrial abode. For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with that "Self-god," one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that supersedes the first, until, from ray to ray, the inner man is drawn into the one and highest beam of the Parent-SUN.

Two fundamental lines of thought, we trust, have been brought out in our studies with at least sufficient clearness for present purposes. Those lines are respectively the exposition of the night side, the matter side, the vehicular side, of nature; and secondly of the light side, the spiritual side, the divine side, of nature, the latter also being in our System called the Hierarchy of Compassion. The former hierarchy which pervades and really is the space, the matter-space, or the space-matter, in which the second Hierarchy works, is composed of the Hierarchy of the Builders, the Masons of the World, the Kosmokratores or world-makers, of mystic Greek philosophy. They are the inferior Hierarchy spiritually, but have relative dominion over their sub-hierarchies from their beginning down to their lowest plane, which forms the mere elemental or nature-forces on the lowest plane of their kosmic Hierarchy. Such words as "elemental" or "lowest" are mere adjectives describing psychological mysteries. As hinted, the seven grades of them run up to the lowest of the Hierarchy of Compassion, forming the divine side. There is no break between them; actually, they interblend and interpenetrate each other. As the spirit works in the soul of man, and the soul of man works in his lower vehicle, so does the Hierarchy of Compassion work in and through the Hierarchy of the Builders.

This thought is so important for the understanding of the Ancient Wisdom, that we call attention to it again and again, because it provides the philosophical and scientific framework, the structural carpentry, not merely of the universe, but of man's own consciousness, and is the groundwork against which we must place the picture of what takes place in the processes of Kosmic evolution and in that of man, as outlined in the ancient initiations and Mystery schools. [313]

It was said at a former meeting that man is spiritually higher than the Sun. So he is; but it was not said which man - purposely not said. The Sun is the vital locus of his system, and so terrific are the forces of that same inwardly divine entity, even on our plane, that were one of us, a man, to approach within the range of those forces, he would be simply annihilated, not merely broken up and dispersed as the physical body is at death, but reduced to nothing, wiped out. Why? Because the first five (counting upwards), i.e., the five lower principles of his psychological economy, would be dissipated into their component atoms, each to each on its own plane, and drawn, sucked, into the stellar body, and only his higher part, the divine part, the spiritual part, belonging to the Hierarchy of Compassion, the Christ part, the Buddha part, would remain intact. Why? Because the latter part itself is of the same substance as the hid Sun, of which our physical Sun is merely the reflection or the manifestation on this plane of the divine being behind it. Consequently, when we said that man is greater than the Sun, we meant that his progress along the path of evolution has proceeded farther than that entity (considered as a reflection) which is the Sun. He undoubtedly is farther along the path of evolution than is his solar locus - a paradox, indeed, but true! It was the entry into the senseless "shadows" of his being, i.e., the four lowest of his seven principles, by the manas-principle, inferior to the two highest, during the middle of the Third Root Race, in this Fourth Round, that made of him the being that he now is, self-conscious; and thereby he became literally an incarnation of the divine.

It now remains with him to bring into activity those inner forces, his higher principles, which form his inner spiritual nature, and which are not indeed inert, but only sleeping, as it were. We speak of the higher principles as "sleeping" in a man, a form of speech which is perhaps correct as a manner of expression, but really it is the lower ones which are asleep spiritually and need awakening. The very root budh, from which we have Buddhi, and Buddha and Budha with one d, means "to awaken", hence derivatively "to enlighten". Our higher principles are actual entities living on their own planes, individual beings, fully conscious and thinking entities. Fix that thought firmly in your minds, if you please. Our higher parts are not inchoate, uncoordinated, undeveloped, sleeping things. They are a unity of entities, a spiritual Kosmos in miniature.

The Great Awakening of the lower elements in Third-Race Man that was accomplished by the incarnation of these Manasaputras, was repeated, partly dramatically and partly actually, as said so often before, in the ancient Mysteries and in the initiations, which were thus a copying of what still takes place in [314] nature, and took place in nature preeminently during the third Root Race. And by those Initiations the attempt was still further to stimulate, still more to awaken, still more greatly to enliven and bring forth that inner and higher nature of man. That great purpose formed the core, the heart and the meaning, of the ancient initiations. Yet, please mark, initiation and Mystery do not mean the same thing exactly. Though very closely similar in purpose and running on parallel lines, of the two, initiation meant teaching, awakening, opening the mind. The Mysteries were the dramatized forms of what took place in the higher degrees. There were three dramatizations, training and educating the neophyte for what he must be, and go through, in the four higher degrees. He was directed and helped in those higher degrees as far as was made permissible by his karma; but the very heart and essence of the trial was a test, and he had to face it alone, and himself to prove his spirit-power, to prove the soul-nature of him. If he came through the first Trial triumphant, he was granted the privilege, and he had the inner strength, to undertake the higher degrees. There could, under such conditions, be no full protection, no mollycoddling. Just the contrary of that took place. His teacher watched over his senseless body while his inner nature was out exploring the realms of space, yea, entering into the Sun, entering into the planets, and into the Moon, and into other things and beings, becoming, losing his self and becoming, that which he had to face and conquer, or fail. Glorious were the privileges of victory; and at the end, at the seventh Trial, if and when the final triumph came, he rose a glorified Buddha, a glorified Christ, truly a master of men. Then he knew, because he had been. This was no mere sensual experience, sensual in the sense of being an experience of the senses; hearing, seeing, touching, feeling, smelling, tasting - but it was being the things and beings of which he had been taught - i.e., complete knowledge of Life in this Hierarchy.

Such was the meaning of the higher initiation, of those higher degrees which went beyond the scope and meaning of the Mysteries, which latter were the dramatizations of the processes of kosmical life, the preparation for whatever it was that the candidate had to face in the four higher initiatory degrees.

In order to make the matter more clear, let us write down a symbolic outline of the two lines of growth or development of the two fundamental kosmical hierarchies, and how man is psychologically concerned with them.

On the left or matter side

On the right or divine side, the light side

Psychologically, so far as man is concerned



The Divine



The Spiritual or Human


Atoms [315]


Chaos is a Greek word, and is usually thought to mean a sort of helter-skelter treasury of original principles and seeds of beings. Well, so it verily is, in one profound sense; only it is most decidedly and emphatically not "helter-skelter". It is the Kosmic storehouse of all the latent or resting seeds of beings and things from former Manvantaras. Of course it is this, simply because it contains everything. It means space, not the highest Space, not the Para-brahma-Mula-prakriti, the Boundless - not that. But the space of any particular hierarchy descending into manifestation, i.e., what space for it is at that particular period of its beginning of development. Remember the principle of relativity. There are no utter absolutes anywhere and never have been and never will be. The directive principles in Chaos are the gods of the corresponding column.

Theos is a Greek word meaning god. Corresponding to it are the monads.

Kosmos is a Greek word meaning arrangement. Kosmos was also used for a woman's paraphernalia, decoration, and all that kind of thing: cosmetics and robes and jewelry. It meant that which was arranged and kept along the lines and rules of harmony - i.e., the arrangement of the universe; and corresponding to it in the other column are the Atoms. Note the three correspondences: Chaos, Gods or divine beings, the kosmic Architects; then Theos, for the builders, the Kosmokratores, corresponding to the Monads, the spirit-beings; then Kosmos, the universe, arranged as we see it; and the Atoms, or Vital-Astral seeds, on the divine side.

We do not speak here of chemical atoms, please understand. These belong to the Kosmos. As used in this outline, Gods, Monads, and Atoms, we mean 1, the divine; 2, the spiritual-human; and 3, those ultimate particles of substance which inflame, which inspire, which vitalize, the material kosmos. Each to each: the Gods work in the Chaos; the Monads work in and through the Theos, the Theoi, the Builders; and the Atoms as the semi-conscious, ultimate entities of matter, work through the Kosmos or the manifested universe, as prepared according to what is popularly called natural law, in other words the essential and inherent operations of Nature, deriving from the Gods and Monads.

Such an Atom, according to these parallel columns (which are H.P. Blavatsky's, of course) signifies the ultimate particle of matter, which ultimate particle is its (matter's) seventh principle, its highest principle; and for that reason the Sun is called an [316] Atom, because it is the seventh or highest degree of matter or Prakriti on this plane. Prakriti means nature or the developing power, that which has brought forth manifestation. There are seven Kosmical Prakritis, and we are in the first or lowest; the seventh as you count downwards, the first if you count upwards. Each of these again has seven sub-planes. The Sun as an entity is the highest entity of the kosmical system, the solar system. But what we see is merely its vehicle, its seventh or lowest or material Element or Principle, counting downwards. The so-called "solar flames" are not flames. The Sun is not burning; it is not in combustion; it is not hot; what we see is the aura of the Sun, the sixth sub-element or sub-principle of the first or lowest Prakriti. That aura therefore is the Sun's material buddhic aura, and looked at from the scientific standpoint it is a globe of kosmic forces. Please remember, as so often said before, that force and matter fundamentally are the same; they are simply different degrees of manifestation of spirit-substance. Matter is crystallized force; or, if you like, though it is not so good a method of describing it, spirit or force or energy is etherealized matter. Much better is it to put it the other way.

Matter on our plane is crystallized light. Light is substance-energy or energy-substance, either will do. Call it force. And light, this force, again is the matter of something still higher than it, the Prakriti above it.

Now our time has nearly expired, and we wish to call attention to what was spoken of at the beginning of our study this evening - i.e., certain very important and fundamental principles of thought, which the scientists call discoveries of our era made by them (or at least in the making by them) but which were anticipated in time by us - members of this School, and by others who were members and are now dead, anticipated and proclaimed by us, and found out from the study of our Theosophical doctrines. We have pointed out time and again our relationship to science and scientific men in such manner that it would seem impossible to misunderstand our meaning; but perhaps we have been misunderstood. Please therefore understand that we of our school, the true Theosophists, look upon science, ordered knowledge, ordered and coordinated knowledge, as the greatest friend and ally we have. But when it comes to the theories or speculations or dogmas of scientific men, we accept them or reject them exactly in proportion as we think that they contain or do not contain truth - not my truth or your truth, but as they contain (or do not contain) those fundamental principles which, by their coherency and consistency and appeal to the best in us, announce themselves as facts of being, in other words, the principles taught in our Theosophical philosophy. [317]

We have drawn up a list of a few such anticipations - a quarter of an hour's work; and doubtless any one of you could have extended the list to thrice or four times its length; but listen to this! And please let the ideas sink into your minds if they have not already occurred to you, and realize what we have done for the world outside, if nothing else. We have changed the world's thought. Practice without theory is emptiness of mind; theory without practice is folly. A man who has a beautiful theory, and does no act to carry it into operation or fact, is a drone, for he was not born to be a sloth; but on the contrary, a man who has no theory, whose ideas are not coordinated and directed by principles, is a mad-man, and acts like a fool. The noblest thing that we can do is so to change the thought of the world that men will realize their Oneness with the inner beings on the various planes of Life Universal, and govern themselves accordingly, not merely in the legislatures, but in their teachings and in their personal conduct of life, and in their care for their brothers, and in their sense of loyalty and fidelity to their teachers, those whom they know and believe to have that truth.

It indeed is a Great Work, and in doing it we are carrying out to the world that "Lost Word" of which we hear so much, and of which so little is known, for it is a phrase and even a word taken from the Ancient Mysteries - the Greek Logos, which means word, the lost logos of man's heart and brain - we are indeed bringing it back: and rightly, for we are parts, individual units, responsible members, of the Hierarchy of Compassion. Ours is a profound and heavy responsibility. Our Teachers have told us that those who take upon themselves this responsibility, but prove false and treacherous to their Pledge, better were it for them, as Jesus would say, that they were dead. But enough of this.

We have here sixteen examples. We had no time to draw up more. Here they are.

1. That simple Materialism, comprising fortuity, chance, and dead matter, producing life and consciousness, as an explanation of life and being, is unscientific, unphilosophical, and impossible, because contrary to nature and reason; therefore absurd.

2. That other planets are inhabited by intelligent beings, or are not so, as the case may be; and that this is denied not from knowledge but from ignorance only of such planets; the only planet that we do know, our earth, bearing intelligent beings. The denial therefore is irrational, purely speculative and theoretical, and based solely on supposedly true facts concerning atmosphere, cold or heat, etc., as these are known on our planet only.

3. The unreal nature of the physical universe, or sphere, i.e., that all we see and know with sensational perceptions, is its purely phenomenal appearances. [318]

4. That "Force" is etherealized "matter"; or, preferably, that "matter" is equilibrated or "crystallized" forces.

These last two have now been fully admitted by exoteric scientists.

5. That electricity and magnetism are particular, i.e., corpuscular: formed of particles or corpuscles, and therefore "matter". They are the phenomenal effects of noumenal Causes - matter or rather matters.

6. That the so-called "modes of motion", when H.P. Blavatsky first brought her message to the world, i.e. forces, of former scientists, as a definition of forces, is a childish effort to explain forces by ticketing them in a new manner which explains nothing at all; all forces being simply moving matters.

7. That all matter is radiant, i.e., "radio-active", that is, it radiates; some forms or states of matter more than others. Compare the work and discoveries of Becquerel, Rontgen, the Curies, Rutherford, and Sully, etc., and the work on similar lines of great thinkers in other countries.

8. That light is corpuscular, because a matter, or substance, that is, light is a material radiance, in fact.

9. That transmutation of matters, hence of metals, is a fact in nature, occurring hourly, momentarily, instantly; and continuously through time.

10. That the atom is a divisible body - i.e., the chemical or physical atom; it is, so to say, merely a smaller molecule.

Numbers 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 have all been admitted by science, or practically admitted in some cases in full, in other cases verging on full admission.

11. That the physical atom is a tiny "solar system"; each member of such a system being in its own turn compounded of physical infinitesimals, or of sub-atoms, or of infra-atoms. That also is admitted.

12. That the nebular hypothesis as commonly accepted was incomplete, insufficient, as a workable hypothesis, although containing certain elements of natural, that is, of occult, truth. That also is admitted.

13. That the Sun is neither burning, nor even hot, though it is glowing in one sense, superficially, i.e., on its "surface"; nor does it recuperate its heat and other forces, as alleged, by shrinkage of volume, nor does radium account for its expenditure of energy, is practically admitted.

14. That storms - rain, hail, snow, wind - and droughts; likewise most of the earth's heat, are not caused by or derived from solar energy, but result from electromagnetic interplay of forces between the earth's mass and the meteoric mass, or "veil", above our atmosphere; such phenomena or effects being accompanied, [319] partly casually, partly effectually, by periodic expansion or dilatation of the atmospheric body and by periodic contraction thereof; and that the "glacial periods", so-called, are largely due to the same causes.

A few months ago, let me interpolate, some eminent scientists in the northern part of California were investigating the upper regions of the atmosphere, and to a certain extent they have come to this conclusion, at least in part and in degree.

15. That Darwinism and Haeckelism are inadequate to explain and account for the mass of biological phenomena; and neither Darwin's "Natural Selection" nor Spencer's "Survival of the Fittest", are other than minor or secondary operations of Nature; that "transformism" as taught by the modern speculative scientist is not Evolution - which is what the Ancient Wisdom does teach - and is both uncertain as a theory because purely speculative, and unscientific because as a theory it is based on data too few; therefore it is incomplete and insufficient.

We all know what remarkable changes have taken place in the theories of the Transformists even since H.P. Blavatsky died.

And lastly:

16. That all things and operations in the Kosmos are relative, not absolute, in nature; there being no "absolutes" except in the sense of relativity of relationships; our teachings thus anticipating the fundamental concept of Dr. Albert Einstein on this point.

At our next meeting, we shall take up the study of the atom. [320]

Chapter XXVIII


The Occult Science is not one in which secrets can be communicated of a sudden, by a written or even verbal communication. If so, all the "Brothers" should have to do, would be to publish a Handbook of the art which might be taught in schools as grammar is. It is the common mistake of people that we willingly wrap ourselves and our powers in mystery - that we wish to keep our knowledge to ourselves, and of our own will refuse "wantonly and deliberately" to communicate it. The truth is that till the neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most if not all of the Secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must coma from within. Till then no hocus-pocus of incantations or mummery of appliances, no metaphysical lectures or discussions, no self-imposed penance can give it. All these are but means to an end, and all we can do is to direct the use of such means as have been empirically found by the experience of ages to conduce to the required object. And this was and has been no secret for thousands of years.

- Mahatma Letters, 282-3

Let us open our study this evening by reading an extract from Volume I of The Secret Doctrine, page 567, as follows:

As to the "elemental atoms," so-called, the Occultists refer to them by that name with a meaning analogous to that which is given by the Hindu to Brahm_ when he calls him ANU, the "Atom." Every elemental atom ¼ is ¼ a SOUL; not necessarily a disembodied soul, but a jiva, as the Hindus call it, a center of POTENTIAL VITALITY, with latent intelligence in it, and, in the case of compound Souls - an intelligent active EXISTENCE, from the highest to the lowest order, a form composed of more or less differentiations.

Majestic, sublime, are the thoughts involved in the study which we begin this evening. It ought to be said, perhaps, by way of preface, that the frequent interruptions of our studies necessitated by circumstances, have prevented us before from entering upon this new departure in our studies; and unless the Teacher, the Outer Head, so instructs us explicitly, we shall not, except by inference, embark upon our present line of thought more fully than we shall do this evening, until she informs us that our studies can be continued more definitely. And why? Because from immemorial time our School has set apart a certain portion of the year, at certain specified times, of never less than three months, in which the studies were pursued daily for hours at a time, with intervals of rest; and these were called periods of initiation. The reason for this method was that frequent interruptions, the inroad [321] or ingress into the thought of daily occupations, so distracted the mind, so tore it away from the higher nature, that it could not successfully meet and understand the things which it was then supposed to undertake and to try to comprehend.

But doing the best we can, we shall begin this evening, very shortly, to undertake a study of the atom, and of what H.P. Blavatsky calls its "adventures", by referring to collateral and almost identical subjects: the laya-centers, the Sun and planets and comets, and the soul and the monad by contrast with the above.

As we read in The Secret Doctrine this evening, an atom is a soul. A soul is an entity which is evolved by experiences; it is not a spirit, it is a vehicle of the spirit. It manifests in matter through and by being a substantial portion of the lower essence of the spirit. Touching another plane below it, or it may be above it, the point of union allowing ingress and egress to the consciousness is a laya-center. A laya-center is, therefore, a center in "homogeneous" substance. It will be remembered that in a former study, we derived this word "laya" from the Sanskrit word li, meaning to dissolve. The word "Pralaya" comes from the same root, as follows: laya is the noun-form from the root li, with a prepositional prefix pra, meaning towards, forwards, hence continuous. In other words, "Pralaya" means continuous dissolution. A laya-center is that part of an entity, of an atom, which, as said, being relatively homogeneous substance, matter "dissolved" into homogeneity, allows ingress and egress for passing consciousness and consciousnesses.

Let us take the laya-center as manifested in the Sun. The Sun at its core is a laya-center. Each planet likewise has at its central point, and is in its central point, a laya-center; each comet is in building around a laya-center, its heart or core. Dimensions or positions in space have nothing to do with it, because a laya-center is not of a physical and material nature. It is the disappearing point for all things below it, and the entering point for all things above it, for any one particular entity, be it an atom, a Sun, a planet, a human being.

The Sun, as we see it, is a reflection, as we have often before said. Suppose that we call it a veil, which is perhaps a better word, though reflection is just as good, because it actually is a reflection - the Sun we see, that is. What do we see when we look at the Sun? We see a titanic splendor. That is a reflection. The Sun itself, its core, could be held in the palm of your hand, and I mean the part of the Sun which is behind that splended reflection. That part which could be held in the palm of your hand is itself of the seventh or highest stage of the lowest prakriti-stage, a particle of matter-substance of the lowest cosmic grade, the Prakriti. The [322] splendor that we see is the aura of that laya-center, its aura or emanations, and these emanations are forces. The Sun is a body of unimaginable forces springing from, pouring down through, this laya-center, from the true Sun which is behind the outer veil. And the golden disk that we see is but the auric manifestation to our physical eyes on this plane of the true Sun, pouring through the Sun at the center of the visible orb.

So it is in a human being. There is a center in his nature through which pour the forces from above, and through which he himself ascends higher; and that center is the laya-center of his inner nature.

In speaking of the Monad, we must not confuse it with the laya-center. A laya-center is the channel, the point, the disappearing point, the neutral center, in matter or substance, through which consciousness passes - and the center of that consciousness is the monad. For the present moment we need not pause to consider on what plane the monad is acting; on any plane on which it may be acting when it passes from one plane of consciousness to another it does so through a laya-center. It will be remembered that in our last study or two we pointed out the parallelisms running in nature, such as matter and spirit consciousness. Please remember that these words are used generalizingly, not defining any particular matter or any particular spirit, but only to show, on the one hand, the mass of kosmic substance acted upon by the great forces above it, who are the beings of life, the hierarchies of universal nature; and in this kosmic body, in this kosmic substance, there are innumerable laya-centers, because they are really the "critical points", the translation-stages, by which as individuals we gain access to our Higher Self, and by which the divine and spiritual forces entering into us from above, pass. The Sun is the vital focus of its system, outside of other activities far greater still; but the physical Sun is that something which we can see with our physical eyes; and further it is a thing of matter, although it is in the sixth degree of our stage of Prakriti, counting upwards, the Buddhic stage of the lowest Prakriti. But the true Sun, the spiritual Sun, is that divine being behind the Sun, an entity, a god. The physical Sun is its body or garment. Just as in ourselves our Higher Nature is a god, a divine spark, and that divine spark is a monad. The soul in contradistinction with the monad, as pointed out in former studies, is its vehicle for manifestation on any one plane. It really means vehicle. The spirit manifests in seven vehicles, and each one of these vehicles is a soul; and that particular point through which the divine influence passes in the soul is the laya-center, and it is, so to say, the heart of the soul, or rather the summit thereof - homogeneous soul-substance, if you like. [323]

It is very necessary to have these preliminary conceptions clear and definitely outlined in our minds. The mysteries behind these words are sublime, unimaginably beautiful; but we cannot understand them properly without knowing the words which we use, and how we use them, and the implications of thought which are involved in them when we use them.

All the sectarian departures from the great foundation religions of antiquity have grown out of the lack of following that one rule. Understand your terms and use them rightly. Disputes have arisen about the meaning of terms, due perhaps to the fact that in the origin of any particular religion, those terms were not defined in such clever and appropriate manner that later dogmatists could not fasten upon them in order to misuse them.

It is actually a most difficult problem. We are always between the "devil and the deep sea". On the one hand we have the people who will insist upon literalisms, such as "Pythagoras, the Master, said so". A beautiful sense of loyalty to the Teacher in some cases, perhaps; but see how it can be misused by the would-be dogmatists, who insist on taking the letter and losing the spirit! And, on the other hand, there are those who think that the letter has no importance, which is likewise wrong; this class thinks that they have the spirit and they try to force the letter to conform to their conceptions of what the Master taught, or the Masters taught, Pythagoras or any other.

So it is necessary that we have these and other similar words clearly outlined in our minds. When we undertake the study of the atom we embark upon new and vast fields of consciousness, and pass in our minds over to other planes; and our only salvation is, as H.P. Blavatsky has told us time and time again, to cling like grim death to the fundamental principles of her teachings which are the Masters' teachings. We cannot so cling unless we know exactly to what we should cling. If we were to say that an atom is a god, we would say wrongly. If we were to say that the atom contains a god, we should speak only partly rightly. If we were to say that the atom manifests a god, we approach a step nearer to the truth.

Now comes another thought. What do we mean by atom? Do we mean a kosmical atom, an astral atom, a psychical atom, a Buddhic atom, an atmic atom? Our studies of Theosophy show us that all these atoms are variously "souls", existent on divers planes, in various degrees of consciousness; and we realize then that the atom in its essence, in its inmost of its inmost, is a monad, a divine spark, a being from former Manvantaras, which monad has "learned its lessons" so fully that it needs to learn nothing more in this Manvantara. But it is trailed by a train of Skandhas, resident in the life-atoms, and which are karmic impressions. [324] These life-atoms are inferior beings, trailing after it, making up its bodies, so to say, as certain elements make up our bodies, beings for which it is responsible because it affected them in former kalpas, former Manvantaras, former lifecycles: responsible for them because it has soiled them in some instances, and in other instances it has cleansed them from the soil.

What are these inferior things that follow in the track of a monad? They are parts of its being, thoughts of its thought, children of its soul, offspring of its heart. Sublime thought, in which we have the secret of manifestation in the universe, and also the secret of the Hierarchy of Compassion; the secret why one-half of nature is what we call matter, crystallized and so-called inert; and why the other half of nature is will and consciousness, intelligence and love, understanding and life. And these two opposites work eternally together during the Manvantaras. At every moment in Space and Time, units of this train of inferior things, themselves reach comprehension and understanding, and pass through their particular laya-center into spheres above - themselves having meanwhile developed or evolved other inferior beings trailing after them.

The processes of kosmic life and evolution are outlined in what has just been said. So that when we use H.P. Blavatsky's expression and speak of the "adventures of an atom", we obtain some glimpse of the study now before us. Do you realize (I dare say you do) that under the Teacher's instruction, in the studies which we have followed as faithfully as we have been able to do so, there has been laid down the outline, at least the skeleton-framework, of a system of philosophy entire and complete, so majestic in its reaches, so wide in its subject, having such grandeur in its possibilities, such profundity in its inmost nature, that nothing like it is known in the exoteric literature of the world today? This we have accomplished. Even the magnificent systems of exoteric philosophy of the Orient and the best efforts of European philosophy - which, by the way, are mostly mere verbiage - cannot compare with it. Their light is as a mere rushlight before the blaze of the noonday Sun, when we compare them with the Esoteric System.

And why is this so? Because we have outlined the teachings of the gods, the teachings formerly taught in the ancient Mystery Schools. Nor have they been more than hinted at. We have not said the one-thousandth part of what remains to be said, if it is the will and the intention of the Teacher for us to develop these noble themes. And mind you, what could be said in our studies to come, is not, either in extent or in scope, what could be said, if the Teacher so willed, in what we may call strictly esoteric meetings. The Teacher has told us that these studies shall some [325] day go to other students of our School. We have been obliged, not only by the Teacher's explicit orders, but by the voice of our own conscience, to tell, to set forth, to bring together, these ancient thoughts of the Mystery Schools in such fashion that you who are members can understand and follow them with comparative ease; and yet if the transcript of what is here said fell into the hands of an outsider, he would merely read what might to him be an interesting expose of philosophical thought, and perhaps no more. If the Teacher should so instruct us to speak on deeper themes - and this is not for me to say - but if the Teacher should so will it that we, or some of us, might undertake a study of what we might call the life in the heart of our teachings, we should there find keys of thought brilliantly illuminating our understanding.

Seven are the keys, our first Teacher has told us, which open wide the portals of the Ancient Wisdom. These seven keys we have touched but lightly, of necessity lightly, in our allusions to the seven Treasuries of Wisdom. In one or another of these seven Treasuries, or in one or another of these seven Jewels, lies every department of human thought, every thought that human mind can give birth to. These seven Treasuries were given and explained to the ancient races by members of the Hierarchy of Compassion, and by their pupils, and they have been passed down to us. But remember that these seven Treasuries, as we have already said very plainly, under the names they go by, are mere keywords, catchwords, reminding terms. Beautifully was it said by one or more of our Comrades, at a former meeting - and it showed at least that those Comrades had grasped the heart of our thought - these sublime ideas make a man "feel at home in any part of the universe". It warms one's heart to hear this, because all of you who have heard and understood what the Teacher has permitted us to study here together, will have felt that this is the very keynote of Occultism, the being one with the Universal Life, "at home everywhere". Occultism is the exposition of the essence of life, of the essence of being, and of the essence of living. Let us never confuse it with the so-called "occult arts", arts which are strictly forbidden to us as students of this School. The Brothers of the Shadow lead on their helpless victims with the occult arts, enticing them thereby, and their end is non-entity. But our Masters, our Teachers, have told us plainly: first learn discipline, first learn the Law. Then the powers which you may crave, you will crave only as spiritual powers, and only to give yourself and them to others. In the Path, our Path, the so-called "occult arts" drop away even from the imagination, because their deluding enticements and their allurements are clearly seen. I do not imagine for a moment that any one of us here needs to be reminded of this, but there are [326] other reasons for saying it, because, as has often been mentioned, these studies shall go out to others who know perhaps less than we do. They are our brothers and sisters in our divine mission, and they need the help which we can give them, and it is our duty to warn them.

Our present Teacher, perhaps even more than were the two preceding ones, has been insistent upon the necessity of first learning the Law - and the learning of the Law means the development of the spiritual nature; and it is the royal road, the royal union. Having it, you have everything in the universe; boundless knowledge, for instance, and the powers commensurate with it then will come naturally; but any attempt to cultivate them prematurely, any mere longing for them, will pull you down as surely as the Sun will rise over the eastern horizon tomorrow morning; because it is the personal coloring of the mind, it is the personal wish, it is desire and appetite for power and novelty that want these things. The divine-human entity, the Buddha, the member of the Hierarchy of Compassion by divine right, knows these things and wants them not, for he has passed far beyond them. The constant urge with him is to go above matter, to cleanse the heart from soil, to cast off the garments of the mortal man and to put on the robes of immortality which, in fact, inwardly are yours already, awaiting simply for each individual to recognise them, and to become, as the ancient Egyptian expressed it, a "son of the Sun", a holy initiate. [327]

Chapter XXIX


Either an ordered universe, or else a welter of confusion. Assuredly then, a world-order. Or think you that order subsisting within yourself is compatible with disorder in the All? And that too when all things, however distributed and diffused, are affected sympathetically.

- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus to Himself, IV, 27 (Rendall)

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and contexture of the web.

- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus to Himself, IV, 40 (Long)

In continuing our study this evening, the Teacher asks me once more to introduce our subject by calling attention to the fact that the teachings of Occultism are based on a foundation of ethics and morals; and, as has so often been said, there is the distinction which marks the division-line, as it were, between the Hierarchies on the one side, the ascending, or Luminous Arc, and those Hierarchies on the other side, the Shadowy Arc, or those beings and intelligences which are descending into matter for the experience needed in order to enable them to take their march on the upward rise. Morals and ethics lie at the basis of our own Order.

Ethics is not a subject which is disputable, as between men; only the forms of ethics are; but the fundamental principles of right as contrasted with wrong, of duty as contrasted with selfishness, of the joy of renunciation and self-abnegation, as contrasted with the shriveling influence of the opposite theories of being - and there are many in the world - in these lies the distinction between the Sons of Light and the Children of the Shadow.

It will be remembered that our subject in closing our last series of studies was the inauguration of an exposition, as best we could set it forth, of the teachings embodied in the word "atom". Mark first, please, that this does not mean the atom of science. The "atom of science" is a more or less clear conception of fundamental material particles which has arisen in the minds of scientists in an attempt to explain the phenomena of physical [328] nature as those phenomena have been studied during the last hundred years or so; and the scientific doctrines concerning the atom are based, furthermore, largely on misunderstood teachings of certain Greek philosophers.

But if we understand the atom as the doctrine concerning it is embodied in the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, we shall find that it is an intelligence and a living being of its kind. Let us then open our studies this evening by reading from The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, pages 107 and 106; from page 107 first:

¼ every atom in the Universe has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Leibnitz, a Universe in itself and for itself. It is an atom and an angel.

Not a Christian angel; not a being with wings, etc., but a spiritual intelligence. Then from page 106:

The doctrine teaches that, in order to become a divine, fully conscious god - aye, even the highest - the Spiritual primeval INTELLIGENCES must pass through the human stage. And when we say human, this does not apply merely to our terrestrial humanity, but to the mortals that inhabit any world, i.e., to those Intelligences that have reached the appropriate equilibrium between matter and spirit, as we have now, since the middle point of the Fourth Root Race of the Fourth Round was passed. Each Entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience.

These words "self-experience" comprise the thought which our present Teacher so frequently emphasizes in her instructions to us - self-directed evolution, a doctrine embodying the necessity of using our spiritual will and our spiritual intelligence for noble and altruistic and impersonal aims. Let us say here again that for man there is always a choice of paths: the right-hand, the Luminous Arc, upward and upward forever; and the left-hand, the Shadowy Arc, leading down into those spheres concerning which we have knowledge, of course, and of which we have already several times spoken in these our present meetings, but of which the Teacher has not as yet allowed us to say very much in our present exposition. That permission may come some day.

Further explaining our present study, be it noted that this term or word "atom" is really a "catchword". We say "atom", but we actually mean a multitude of thoughts connected with cosmogony and evolution. For instance, Gods, Monads, Souls, Atoms, are words jointly and separately involved in profound doctrines explaining cosmogonical and evolutionary processes. And connected therewith very closely is what is called in Occultism the "laya-center", to which we have briefly alluded in former studies. In Part III of this volume of The Secret Doctrine, H.P. [329] Blavatsky, in section 15, devotes one of the most beautiful parts of her great work to developing the doctrines comprised in what she called "Gods, Monads, and Atoms".

Please understand first, that in these studies, questions of spirituality, ethics, religion, are deeply involved. They go to the very foundation of our being. They are not mere questions of brain-mind disputation, nor mere mental exercises in clever speaking. These teachings lead directly to the setting of our feet on the path of the Luminous Arc; and we who belong to this Order, and have had the benefit already of three Teachers teaching the same doctrine, should have some realization, at least, that if there is one primal aim and object towards which we look, it is to become more fully, more heartfeltly, one with that glorious army of which our own Masters are the outer vanguard, as it were, and of which our present Teacher is their representative to us.

Now what do we mean by Space? Look into the dictionary and you will find the following definition, probably: "The general receptacle of things". This is a definition of Space which we reject. Scholars talk about "infinite space", and yet call Space a "receptacle" - a curious commentary upon the loose thinking of our age. Obviously, if it is a receptacle it is a finite thing: and besides that, the definition entirely misses the heart meaning of the word Space. Understand what we mean by Space, and we have a key by which to open much of the nobler teachings hid deeply in the elementary studies. Space, as understood in our own school of true Occultism, means that all that is is a fullness, perfect and continuous absolutely, endless and beginningless; not a mere receptacle, not a mere container, nothing finite; but the Boundless ALL. Further, Space IS; it is not merely on or in one plane, but on and in seven planes, the seven kosmic planes of our Universe, besides penetrating inwards infinitely, endlessly; and also outwardly endlessly. It is the infinite Pleroma of the Greeks, the Greek word Pleroma meaning Fullness.

Now, obviously, everything that is, is a part of Space. Space not being a mere container, an abstraction of the mind, or a mere receptacle, shows why H.P. Blavatsky in her teachings speaks of the only "God" we recognize as THAT - using the word of the old Vedas - i.e., Space, the Boundless ALL. This All obviously contains all things, everything that is; as shown before in our study of that wonderful doctrine of Hierarchies, which is the third of the seven "Jewels" or "Treasuries" of Wisdom, which we have briefly studied before. Space is infilled with an infinite multitude of self-contained universes, interlocking and interpenetrating each other. These universes, again, are themselves infilled with endlessly multitudinous beings of all and various kinds, the high and the low, the inner and the outer. We cannot say "the highest" [330] and "the lowest", because that form of expression would imply limits or bounds, frontiers, and Space is limitless. Only within the confines or boundaries of any one universe or Hierarchy may we use the superlative form of these adjectives, and say the highest or the lowest.

Now, take any one universe or Hierarchy as an instance of the general rule. Any universe is infilled with beings finding their origin and taking their rise in the Summit, the Acme, the Seed in another sense, which is, so to say, the god of that Hierarchy; and this god, at the beginning of any period of manifestation, this spiritual, elementary Being, casts off from itself, or throws forth from itself, evolves from itself, brings out from itself, a multitudinous series of hierarchies consisting of less or inferior beings; beings less in spirituality and dignity than itself. They are, as it were, the thoughts that the God or "Kosmic Primal Thinker" thinks. Take the instance of a thinking human being, as an analogy. He thinks thoughts. Each thought has its own life, each thought has its own essence, each has its own course to run. Each thought is based on a particular vibration, as it were, using words common to our understanding today. Each has its own particular swabhava or intrinsic essential nature, which is its individuality.

So this Summit of the Hierarchy "thinks thoughts". Now I do not mean to say that this Summit is a human being or a god-being. which thinks thoughts as we do. The figure here used is an analogy only. As a man thinks thoughts, and thus fills his atmosphere around him with these living beings, these winged messengers called thoughts, so the Primordial Elementary Being, the Summit, the Seed, the First to issue forth from the bosom of the infinite Mother, casts forth from itself these parts of itself; these monadic aggregations, these kosmic "thoughts".

And what are these first emanations? They are what the Ancient Wisdom called the gods. And these gods in their turn send forth from themselves other multitudinous series of beings, less than they - less in dignity, less in grandeur, less in understanding. And these secondary emanations or evolutions are the monads. And these monads, as they pursue their way down the Shadowy Arc, in the beginning of a Manvantara, in their turn cast forth from themselves, in identically the same way and on the same line of action, other entities, less than they, forming still more outward Hierarchies, more material intelligences; and these tertiary emanations are the souls. And the souls, as they pursue their way down, exactly as their higher progenitors did, cast forth from themselves, think forth from themselves, send forth from themselves, evolve forth from themselves, beings still less in wisdom and spirituality and dignity and power than they. And these are the atoms - but not the physical atom. Let us cast that [331] idea out of our minds instantly. The atoms of physical science are really molecular aggregations of atomic elements only, existing on the borderland of the astral plane.

The time will come when we shall set forth more clearly than we have time to do tonight, the relation of the atom to the phenomenal physical world. What we need to do this evening in the introductory study now in hand, is to show one action, one Hierarchical Intelligence, one course of operation, throughout Nature. Please remember that these operations of Nature are what the scientists and Christian theologians, in their ignorance, call the "laws of Nature". Now there are no "laws of Nature", as we have set forth and explained before. There are no mechanically acting "laws", so-called, because there are no law-givers: consequently there are no such "natural laws". But there are operations of Nature, and these operations of Nature are what our thinkers see, and from lack of understanding the Ancient Wisdom, and perhaps from lack of properly descriptive words, they follow the analogy of human operations, and say the "laws of Nature".

But they are the spiritually automatic operations of Beings in that vast aggregate of entities and intelligences, which is called the Universe, which is but one of infinite multitudes of others in Space. All that is, is one vast organism. There is no void and no emptiness anywhere - all is infilled and is one boundless fullness. If we can fix that thought in our minds, and think of ourselves as linked in a chain of beings, an endless chain - what Homer called the "golden chain" - we shall realize the force, the philosophical profundity, and the deep meaning of what our teachings set forth when they speak of "Universal Brotherhood" - the fundamental unity of all that is. Every one of us has in himself the potentiality of becoming a god, and of advancing from godhood still higher into what is now to us inexpressible spheres of divinity. But it depends upon ourselves. At each instant the choice lies before us: the path to the "right hand", and the path to the "left hand", adopting the old Buddhist nomenclature.

These two arcs, the Shadowy Arc, the Arc of Matter; and the Luminous Arc, or the Arc of Light, or of Spirit, exemplify in those two phrases the duality of nature in manifestation; and the beings on the Luminous Arc are what our own Teachers call the Dhyani-buddhas, the Buddhas of Contemplation, those who once in long past kalpas were men as we are now, human beings. The other Arc contains the hierarchies which are "descending into matter" in order to learn the lessons that we of this kalpa have learned in the past; as the Dhyani-buddhas, the Sons of Light, did, long, long aeons agone, but who now are the Summit of the Buddhic Hierarchy of which we in this Order at present form a part, if our hearts are sincere and our souls are strong. [332]

The beauty and the splendor of these teachings fill the soul with awe. It needs but the proper comprehension of them, so firmly to fix the mind and the soul to the eternal Truth that nothing will ever shake them in future. Aye, if we can but see, there lies unfolded the Great Mystery of evolution. Those who have advanced along the path have left their records behind them; and there they stand, those glorious entities, armies of them; the lowest are those just beyond us, the chelas, and then higher still are the Masters, and the Masters of the Masters; and then the Chohans; and the Maha-Chohans; and then the Dhyani-Chohans; and then the Dhyani-buddhas; and thus endlessly, on and up; for infinity is limitless and endless. And this process of hierarchical development has been going on from eternity in the past, and will continue into eternity in the future.

The reason why men, perhaps some even of our own Order, find it difficult to accept this sublime teaching is the fact that their minds are so full of other thoughts that it is difficult for them to drive in and find place and fix in their memory these sublime truths. Men will not willingly give up their prejudices; they break not willingly their mind-molds. How many of us, as the Teacher has told me, how many of us come to a meeting like this, with minds made up on what we "know to be the truth", because, forsooth, we have so read it somewhere, and our minds are crystallized in that setting. I speak of no one in particular; my mind is running back into memories of the past and of other Comrades with whom I have spoken. I know what they felt; and I know how difficult it is for each one of us, for every one of us, to keep the mind always free and plastic, always ready to accept the truth, no matter what our own prejudices, religious, philosophic, or scientific, may be. I have seen those Comrades come into a meeting in a critical spirit, forgetting that the critic is not the wise man. The critic unconsciously to himself sees his own littleness; the wise man, the man who knows, will say rather "I will think, I will examine this that the Teacher has given me, or allows me to hear. This is an opportunity; I will not reject it because it seems difficult for me to believe, or because I have read that H.P. Blavatsky at such a passage said so and so". Remember what the present speaker was authorized to say at some former meeting: pray do not take any one passage of H.P. Blavatsky's or Katherine Tingley's or William Q. Judge's, and build an iron wall of prejudice about it, because you think you have understood it. Keep the mind fluid and open and plastic; hold fast to that which your soul, your conscience, tells you is good; and, if necessary, wait! Thebes was not builded in a day; and in our Sublime Work, the noblest that ever man had to do, we, the true "Masons of the Ancient Order" if there ever was one, are building the "Guardian [333] Wall". We cannot afford to fail through prejudices, our own prejudices. Look within, know yourselves. If you fail within the ranks, the work is not merely harder for those who remain, and doubly hard for the Teacher; but there is the loss to ourselves, to each one of us.

I could tell you stories, if it were permissible - and it is not - of my own experiences, of my own life, that of the present speaker who is here but an impersonal voice; but I cannot do this: it would be importing into this meeting something which I am not authorized to do; and I merely bring it to your attention in order to show you that I at least for one realize that the Teacher was wise in asking this voice to bring it to your attention and for your consideration. Keep then your minds open: hold to that which is good; wait, and trust.

Before concluding, there is one thing to which the Teacher asks me to devote three minutes; it is a question which must have arisen in every thoughtful theosophical mind, and it has been thus phrased by a Comrade:

If every one is under the guidance of the Dhyani-Chohans, how does it happen that, as H.P. Blavatsky says in The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 412, end of the second paragraph, "cruelty, blunders, and but too-evident injustice", are to be found in Nature? And H.P. Blavatsky quotes the saying that Nature is a "comely mother but stone cold".

This question involves more than could properly be answered in three minutes, but the principles upon which this thoughtful question has been based are very simple indeed. In the first place, the Dhyani-Chohans do not "guide Nature"; not any more than man's inner Dhyani-Chohan guides the circulation of his blood, or the processes of his own digestion. Those things belong to the lower spheres of Nature. There is a Dhyani-Chohan at the head of every department of Nature; but direct interference, the old theological idea of an Almighty God interfering with the mess he has himself created, is not accepted in our teachings. The Dhyani-Chohans do not "guide" the material processes of Nature. They are the summit of the Hierarchy and form the "laws" according to which Nature works; but every entity, every monad, every atom, every soul, has the power of free will and choice, in more or less limited degree, depending upon its intelligence, and must exercise it or go down. And there is the key, the answer to the question. Man does not control by his thought the beating of his heart or the processes of his digestion, or the time it takes him to grow from babyhood to youth, from youth to manhood, and from manhood to sink into decrepitude. Those things are ruled by what are properly called the "nature-forces"; and the "laws" upon which the nature-forces work, are those superior operations which [334] represent the automatic spiritual activities of the Dhyani-Chohans; but to say that they "guide" Nature is untrue; the idea is a relic of the old theological Christian dogmas, which remains in our minds; and we must wash our intellects clean of such thoughts if we wish to understand the heart, the essence, of the ancient teachings, which show one organism, one universal life, in diversified action everywhere. And in this one organism, in this one beating heart, in this one universal life, there are these multitudinous and countless and endless and infinite series of intelligences, each working out its own destiny from inward impulses, controlled by various higher entities in which they "move, and live, and have their being". [335]

Chapter XXX


But the other medium, which is suspended from the Gods, though it is far inferior to them, is that of daemons, which is not of a primarily operative nature, but is subservient to, and follows the beneficent will of the Gods. It likewise unfolds into energy the invisible good of the Gods, being itself assimilated to it, and gives completion to its fabrications conformably to it. For it renders that which is ineffable in the good of the Gods effable, illuminates that which is formless in forms, and produces into visible reasons (or productive forms) that which in divine good is above all reason. Receiving also a connascent participation of things beautiful, it imparts and transfers it, in unenvying abundance, to the genera posterior to itself. These middle genera, therefore, give completion to the common bond of the Gods and souls, and cause the connection of them to be indissoluble. They also bind together the one continuity of things from on high as far as to the end; make the communion of wholes to be inseparable; cause all things to have the best, and a commensurate mixture; in a certain respect, equally transmit the progression from more excellent to inferior natures, and the elevation from things posterior to such as are prior; insert in more imperfect beings order and measures of the communication which descends from more excellent natures, and of that by which it is received; and make all things to be familiar and coadapted to all, supernally receiving the causes of all these from the Gods.

- Iamblichus on The Mysteries, 32-3

To "keep alive in man his spiritual intuitions", describes very well the work of the Theosophical Society in the outside world, and also in our own holy Order here. But beyond that fine thought we must go if we are to understand and fully to put the teachings, which have been given us in trust, into our lives, and thereby to develop the moral, the ethical, sense which these teachings are first and foremost meant to develop and to make living in us, if we are to carry out the purpose and aim set before us by those who have brought us together into this Order.

Our present Teacher time and again has insisted upon the fact that mere disquisitions on philosophic, religious, and scientific subjects, impart nothing of permanent worth, are fruitless, bear no fruit, unless the spirit of the Lodge is behind them; and that Lodge-spirit cannot exist without the spiritual intuitions which exist in the core, in the central part, of every human being. You will notice that the entire tendency of our studies has been to develop the higher nature of us; and you know that these studies have been strictly laid down for us first by H.P. Blavatsky, as [336] she derived them from her Teachers, and as carried on thereafter by William Quan Judge, and now by our own present beloved Teacher.

These teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, now being given to the students of this Body, have stood, and will stand the test of time and of the human heart. Here is a fact, surely, for which we may give heartfelt thanks: that here among us at least is preserved the ancient Wisdom in its purity, and that not one of us would fail to risk his life, and that which he holds dearest, in order to preserve them pure and undefiled.

Now, this evening we are approaching the end of the elementary studies which we have been briefly considering for the last two or three years; and soon it will be our duty to take up more concrete aspects of the ancient Wisdom, or Wisdom Religion; and, in fact, we have already approached these more detailed doctrines in our present subject - gods, monads, souls, atoms, and bodies. The necessity for a clear understanding of those former studies, which to some may appear somewhat abstract, is this: their reach into the realms of human thought as represented by religion, philosophy, and science, is immense; they form, as it were, the foundation-stones upon which the ancient Wisdom rests.

It will be remembered at our last study in The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 107, we read the following:

¼ every atom in the universe has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Leibnitz, a Universe in itself, and for itself. It is an atom and an angel

- that is, a spiritual being. Let us give our utmost attention to what our Teacher has authorized the saying of, this evening. We are going to speak more plainly on this present subject than we have ever spoken before, although these matters have been alluded to frequently; and the reason for it, at least one reason for it, is that the proper understanding of the doctrine of Evolution - of development and growth - rests upon a correct vision of the real meaning and interrelation of these three: gods, monads, and atoms.

First, it will be remembered that in speaking of Space, we rejected the idea that Space was merely a container. Now this is not a mere abstraction of thought; it is an absolutely important thing to understand that all Being is one immense organism, through which beats one Universal Heart, so to say. You see there immediately the basis of morals; there is no absolute emptiness, no absolute vacuum, anywhere; all beings are closely related and interchained in the strongest bonds of union: spiritual, divine, intellectual, mental, astral, physical. Nothing can exist without all other things; for the Kosmos, deprived of a single atom, would crumble into impalpable dust. No metaphor this; it is an actuality. [337]

Now a monad is often spoken of as "descending" into matter. This is a fashion of speaking, a method of speech, as once pointed out before. The monad itself does not "descend", no more than does a god drive our streetcars or blacken our boots. How, then, does the monadic influence extend itself throughout the different planes of Nature, so that in ordinary parlance, it is in fact correct to speak of the "mineral monad", of the "animal monad", of the "astral monad", of the "human monad", of the "spiritual monad", of the "divine monad"? In the following way: But first - as an interpolation - concerning the monad, let me read something that H.P. Blavatsky says (The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, pages 185-6):

The terms "mineral," "vegetable" and "animal" monad are meant to create a superficial distinction: there is no such thing as a Monad (jiva) other than divine, and consequently having been, or having to become, human. And the latter term has to remain meaningless unless the difference is well understood. The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond, or, to be correct, within the plane of primeval differentiation. It is divine in its higher and human in its lower condition - the adjectives "higher" and "lower" being used for lack of better words - and a monad it remains at all times, save in the Nirvanic state, under whatever conditions, or whatever external forms.

There you have the matter unequivocally stated.

It was pointed out at our last meeting that when the thrill of life in the Boundless All first occurs in cyclical duration, the primordial beings issue forth as what are called the "gods", and that these gods, as the ages passed, during the progressive manvantaric periods, sent forth from themselves, or cast forth from themselves, or cast out from themselves, or gave birth to, less beings, less meaning inferior, of less divinity, or less sublimity, less grandeur; and these beings are the monads. In exactly the same way the monads sent forth from themselves (or gave birth from themselves to) the souls; and, please understand, just as the monad was in the god, so was the soul in the monad. These entities remained latent in the monads as karmic fruitage from the previous Maha-manvantara. Just as the life remains in the seed when cast forth from the plant, and sends forth its green blade in the springtime; so, when the manvantaric thrill passes over these spaces, after the long pralayic rest, the gods send forth the monads, and the monads send forth the souls, and the souls send forth the atoms. And the atoms similarly send forth from themselves our vehicles, our bearers, our bodies.

Let us see if we can illustrate this by a diagram. Let us take an immense circle to represent the Boundless All, which of course is merely a representation for Space; then place a point in its center. This point represents the first germ of the kosmic life. [338] This point also has its meaning in the sense of a kosmic seed. Now it is not one point only in the Kosmos that springs into activity, but innumerable such points, such seeds. The number is limitless, practically; and each one of such points represents an individuality from the previous Maha-manvantara. But these points as represented in the diagram are symbols; and the one stands diagrammatically for all. If you please, this point in the quasi-infinitude of a hierarchy, of a universe, is the beginning of that hierarchy, and it represents the god of that hierarchy. This god itself is a synthetic aggregation of multitudinous other gods, as man's body is an aggregation, a synthesis, of multitudinous less or inferior lives.

Now this god clothes itself in its emanations, in its pranic aura, if you like; it sends forth from itself pranic or vital effluvia, and thus it clothes itself in garments, in sheaths of vitality, flowing forth from itself, and these sheaths or garments are its "clothing". Any such god naturally casts its own individuality into its sheath, into its clothing: seven degrees or states of it; its individuality is its Swabhava, which we have studied before, an important idea to which we have drawn your attention, and on which we have laid emphasis. The swabhava of an entity is its individuality, the characteristic of it, the essentiality of what it is, as contrasted with some other swabhava. In ordinary language we may call it "individuality". That which makes a rose bring forth always a rose, and not a lily; that which makes a man bring forth always a man and not some other sort of entity; that which makes a god a god and not a monad, is its swabhava. This is a Sanskrit compound meaning self-generation, self-pouring out, the pouring out of that which is within, and, therefore derivatively its individual and own characteristic. Please remember in this connection that always more within, infinitely, boundlessly, more within, are the vast states of consciousness living on the equally vast fields of the spaces of Space; the possibilities to be evolved in a man's evolution, and the eternities through which he has passed, and the lives which he has lived through in the past, are endless.

But passing on. This god sends forth its sheaths, and these sheaths consist of less (or inferior) beings. If the god is a primordial entity let us call these latter primal. As man clothes himself in physical flesh, so the god clothes itself in a garment or body, and this garment or body is composed, if you like, of atoms divine. Now these divine atoms are the monads. Compared with the god they are the mere clothing of it, just as the synthesis, the aggregation, of physical lives which compose a man's body and [339] which form his physical "coat of skin" or clothing, are, as it were, the physical monads or the atoms, of the man himself. Similarly, let us, then, advance a point farther. The germ, the seed, the point above mentioned let us now call a monad - one of the almost infinite number of monads in each god, forming the clothing of each god, the sheaths, the garments of light, that in which a god lives, which it has sent forth from itself, its outpouring of individual life.

Similarly acts the monad as did its father-god; and its sheath and its clothing are the souls, as yet latent, most of them, but some forming the more active part in which it manifests at any one particular time. The same course of action occurs with the soul. The soul clothes itself in atoms, the emanations from itself and the outpouring of its own vitality, its own prana. And then the atoms pour forth from themselves the effluvium of physical-astral life, and these vital effluvia form the physical body of man, his astral body and his physical body.

So you see just what our first great Teacher means by saying that an atom is an "atom and an angel" or a soul. Through all these hosts of beings streams the flow of the Self, entering into every one, forming in fact the very root of its being, not however the personalized entity or the ego, but the impersonal Self, that which is the same in you and in me; the same in the inhabitants of distant stellar spaces, as it is in us: the one Self, limitless, boundless, the ideation of selfhood. Remember that the ego is the sense of "I am I", not "you"; and here immediately the conception of personality enters in. But, as our Teachers have told us, it is in raising the personality into impersonality, the ego into divinity, the corruptible into the Incorruptible, that consists the whole effort and purpose and aim of the divine part of evolution; and that divine part, that particular activity, is that of the higher range of the Luminous Arc, of the Buddhic Hierarchy, of which the summit are the Dhyani-buddhas, the Buddhas of Contemplation; and the material on which they work is these other monads, souls, atoms, which form the matter side of nature, called the Shadowy Arc.

You will remember that all these things have been alluded to by us before; but tonight remember this one important point, that the monad does not "descend into matter". It casts forth from itself its life, as the Sun pours forth its vitality in rays; and its life manifests first as a monadic entity of inferior grade, as a soul; and the soul in its turn pours forth its vitality, manifesting in almost innumerable atoms. The monad itself is but one of innumerable others, emanated, cast forth, breathed forth, if you like to use an oriental metaphor, from Brahm_, the god, the summit of our Hierarchy. [340]

As said, these garments or sheaths of light are those monadic entities which must, during the course of evolutionary progress, become denser, darker, thickened, with the passage of time, until the ultimate result is the last energy, the last expenditure of the divine or monadic force as manifested in the physical body. When equilibrium between matter and spirit is finally reached, when the lowest point in that kalpa, i.e., in that Day of Brahm_, in that period of seven Rounds, has been reached, then step in upon the scene the Manasaputras, the "Sons of Mind", entities from the Buddhic Hierarchy, from the Luminous Arc of evolving Nature, those who had been men before in former kalpas, and who have watched over us, under the guidance of the Silent Watcher, their supreme Head, ever since our present kalpa or Manvantara began, aeons ago.

The monad, in one sense, may be called the active god of the Hierarchy; or, in man's especial case, man's divine Ego, sheathed in its garments of light composed of inferior monadic entities called souls: and the soul may be called an inferior monad, part of the sheaths or the garments of the monad proper. These respective garments are cast forth, somewhat as the tree puts forth its leaves, its branches, its stems, its fruits. Similarly the atoms are born from the pranic or vital essence of the souls, and they form our bodies. So we see that every man, in his inmost essence - that is, inmost for the Hierarchy to which he belongs - is a divine being, a god; and his spiritual nature is the monad; and his soul-nature is the ego, that particular entity hovering between the pit and the Sun, which must be raised from personality into impersonality, from corruptibility into Incorruptibility; because in the soul resides that particular part of the psychological processes of intellection, which makes a man self-conscious, a self-conscious being, capable of the ideation of individualized being.

Oh, what wonderful thoughts are these! How they do uplift the soul! Man feels his native divinity, his interior spiritual strength; he feels the power of divinity within his own heart, the power for goodness and truth. And how small, how insignificant, how unworthy, seem those things that lie apart from the path of duty, of right!

How many have been hungry for truth, and have searched for it, and yet have found only the husks of a pseudo-exotericism? But they also should have it. Human beings, they have a right to it; but they are not going to get it unless they "work for it", the Teacher calls out to me to say, for such is the archaic Law of our Holy Order. The case is exactly as was pointed out in a former one of our study meetings in this group: these teachings have formed the reward, the reward of those who have been [341] faithful. It is delightful to a speaker to look into the faces of our Comrades here, and see the quick flash of intelligence and of understanding that illumines those faces when such or another point has been reached in our study. It is more than gratifying; and it must be for our present Teacher encouraging beyond words to express, that it is so. For, surely, her life of self-sacrifice and labor, unremitting and unchanging, has in this its own fine reward.

I have but three minutes more for speaking, this evening, and I must soon close our study tonight. But there is one subject which for certain reasons must now be touched upon briefly. It is a subject which has been deliberately avoided by me