Theosophy - Whence Come the Gods? and related studies by E.L.Gardner
Come the Gods?
main article was delivered as THE BLAVATSKY LECTURE
at the Annual Convention of The Theosophical
Society in England, London
Rulers of Our Universe
made by way of applied science during the last century or so have been prodigious
in number and quality. The conquest of nature by mankind progresses by leaps
and bounds ----- unprecedented. To travel to any part of the world takes but
a few days or hours; the spoken word can be heard a thousand miles away as easily
as across a lunch table. Appliances to ease labour, physically and mentally,
for the home and commerce, abound. The depths of the sea and the wide open spaces
above are threatened with invasion, and a new power is developing with the promise
of material benefit beyond our ability to estimate. Is there any limit to man’s
use of natural forces?
of storm, tempest and flood, of lightning and earthquake? Are these in fact
under any secure control and direction, or are they a display of irresponsible
natural energies --- the energies of a nature which is admittedly ‘destitute
of goodness or malice’ [The Mahatma Letters to A.P.
Sinnett, page 56]—or do they merely await mastery?
Obviously now it would be rash to predict any limit to the powers of man, active
of the universe, above and around us, as revealed by astronomical science, yields
abundant testimony to its dynamism and also to its orderliness, [This
Dynamic Universe and This Ordered Universe, by The Theosophical Research
Centre, London.] Such orderliness implies control of some type,
purpose, directive intelligence, which is puzzling the scientific mind of our
day. The Secret Doctrine [The Secret Doctrine,
by H.P.Blavatsky. The Adyar Edition of six volumes is used in the following
references, unless otherwise stated.] advances a solution of
the mystery by admitting a vast array of administrative posts --- from those
directing island universes to those guiding solar systems and planetary chains
--- all necessarily filled by highly trained and skilled officials, far beyond
the level of present-day mundane humanity, yet ---- according to the Teachings
--- all filled by Man, though of varied degrees of development and graded in
hierarchical relationships throughout.
to these Rulers are found in all ancient scriptures, the title given them being
Lords ---- or Gods, in the plural, as it should be in the first chapter of Genesis
if this were translated correctly: ‘In the beginning the Gods (Elohim)
created. . . .’ The Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ is plural. This error
has let to countless misunderstandings.
do these Great Ones come from? Where is their birthplace, their school and training
ground? In short ---- Whence come the Gods?
Evidence East and West
of us have found, in the study of Theosophy, that much has to be unlearned of
previous teachings and concepts. I remember beginning this painful experience
in my youth when a high Oxford dignitary stated publicly that the many phrases
in the biblical records, which I had accepted with implicit faith, asserting
“Thus saith the Lord’, ‘God spake and said’, ‘This
is what the Lord hath said’, [Exodus xvi, etc.]
were merely the customary idiom of tribal chiefs and leaders. However much to
the point, and maybe wise, they preceded the speaker’s own views and no
other. Very similar claims may often be heard from the pulpits of today: ‘God
wishes you . . . desires you . . . condemns . . .’ all of which merely
mean ‘ If I were God I should wish . . .desire . . .condemn . . .’
Such phrases are still frequently employed in religious exhortation.
connection, too, it is useful to probe the meaning of such scriptural statements
am the lord, there is none else. There is no God beside me. I form the light
and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.’
[Isaiah xiv ; 5, 6]
am the gambling of the cheat and the splendour of splendid things.’ [Bhagavad
- gitâ, X.]
evil? Who makes peace? Who gambles and cheats? The answer obviously is - Man
In the Ancient Teachings it will be found that there is none else! Under many
and widely varying conditions, on planets and solar systems beyond our present
ken, graduates from the human school perform the function of Creative Agent.
It will indeed be found as this study proceeds that Man, in one or another of
his many forms, is the one Creative Agent, although his Divine activities
are cloaked for many cycles under the guise of myth and symbol.
here clearly consider what is meant by the term ‘man, the one creative
agent’. In The Secret Doctrine and many other occult scripts of
the East, the image of man that is presented is of a being possessed of a mind
by means of which he can understand the world in which he lives and, eventually,
can extend such understanding until it spans the universe. This concept soars
far and away beyond the current limitations of biological man -- a creature
of flesh and blood energised by a brain - yet it is not incompatible with modern
scientific speculation. [‘Man is the agent of the evolutionary
process on the planet. This is so whether he knows it or not, whether he wants
it or not; but he will do the job better if he does know it and does consciously
want to do it.’ The Destiny of Man, by Sir Julian Huxley, 1959.]
of which a physical body may be built is not confined to that with which we
research that has resulted in the marvels of radio, of electronic brains, of
devices of automation that are self-corrective and ingenious, suggest a future
that may be immeasurable. The exploration of space by rockets and artificial
satellites makes some aspects of space-fiction a sober reality. It is today
a plausible and popular conception that on other planets and in other conditions
intelligent beings live and thrive. In occultism we find that the term ‘man’
extends to inhabitants of other solar systems - indeed covers the widest range
conceivable. Moreover in myth, legend and allegory, man appears repeatedly as
hero, master of his realm - a king - and often a Divine Being such as Krishna,
who proclaims “There is no end of My Divine Powers’. [Bhagavad-gîtâ,
X.] The vast majority of us - present-day humanity - are
still in an early grade of the human ‘school’.
between an allegorical story and the teaching that lies within it corresponds
to the distinction between the lower and the higher mind. A proverb, a parable,
an allegory is registered by the lower mind much as a view is imprinted on the
retina of the eye: if that be all, then it will be regarded quite literally.
For example: a child on hearing the proverb ‘There’s many a slip
‘twixt the cup and the lip’ will be simply amused by an imagined
mishap. To relate it to the hazards of everyday life needs the wider view of
the probing higher mind. Familiar allegories, such as the biblical stories of
Eden, of Noah’s ark, of Babel, the narratives of Ruth, Esther, Job and
others, have been regarded for centuries as historical records - and still are
by some of the ‘multitude’. The ‘disciplined’, with
higher mental vision, interpret them at a subtler and loftier level. Preeminently
wise sages and mystics, such as the authors of the Bhagavad-gÃ®tÃ¢, the
Book of Isaiah, the Revelation of St. John, may await general
understanding for a long while yet. Their very frankness is a sufficient veil.
Contemplate, for instance, the following, while holding in mind that man, perfected
man, Krishna the Divine Man, speaks.
letters, the letter “A” I am ... of creations the beginning and
the ending . . . all-devouring death am I and the origin of all to come’
am alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last.’
[Revelation of St. John.]
the Lord, do all these things.’ [Isaiah.]
then, it may be asked, of the Almighty God of religions? The answer is - Man
is God incarnate.
indeed now familiar with this claim to the divinity of man as, for example,
the declaration in a daily paper by the Dean of St. Paul's God is within us’.
[Dr. W. R. Matthews’ column, Daily Telegraph,
July 19, 1958.] This is no atheistic denial of God. A displacement,
yet, from the unreal to the real, from a distant ‘aloft’ to the
very core of one’s being. Nor is it tenable to conceive of an impersonal
deity, for spirit and matter are inseparable at every level. It is impossible,
for example, to isolate electricity or gravity; apart from their media they
could not manifest. ‘The idea of pure spirit as a Being . . . is a chimera.
a gigantic absurdity.’ [The Mahatma Letters to A.P.
Sinnett, page 56.] It will be understood as already noted,
that by ‘man’ it is the Divine Spark, the Father in Heaven, the
Monad, that is meant - in the same sense that a new-born infant may be claimed
to be a human being. As much indeed is implied in the words attributed to Jesus:
‘Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father’.
deity of mental projection may be, probably is, of value to a young and adolescent
humanity - in much the same way as parents are ‘almighty’ to young
children. But, just as a continuance of parental authority is harmful if prolonged,
be it stern or merely possessive, so is the concept of a personal deity for
the many who have outgrown it. A continued dependence on external assistance
tends to weaken and frustrate and, moreover, it clouds and obscures a reality
of far greater worth. The silent voice of the ‘God within us’ is
more demanding and exacting than any influence ‘without us - transcending
the limited personal vision.
the sun rises the moon fades and, as the consciousness of man rises and knows
itself to be divine in origin and being, the Personal-God - the projected substitute
for man’s own latent power - fades and dissolves. In the brilliance and
warmth of truth, an incubus is lifted and dispersed. The answer to whether it
be wise or premature to advance this view now is forcefully given by the spectacle
of the two world wars of the last fifty years - with their horror and savagery!
Current religions availed very little, H.P.B sums the situation up pointedly:
is not the Ever-Present God - the Divine Plenum - that is rejected, but the
humanised God of religious dogma which man has shaped from his own brain-fabric
and forced on his fellows as a divine revelation.’ [The
Secret Doctrine. I, 73 to 81.]
language sages and mystics in all times have proclaimed the essential divinity
of man - a truth so profound and all-embracing that it tends, in quiet contemplation,
to overwhelm the understanding. Hence, parable and allegory are still valuable
pass now to the testimony of The Secret Doctrine concerning the occult
origin of man as the Monad and his identity with the Divine Essence of the Plenum
- or Space.
Plenum and The Monad
proem to The Secret Doctrine, the Senzar Occult Catechism is quoted:
is that which was, is and will be, whether there is a Universe or not, whether
there be Gods or none? The answer is SPACE.’ [ ibid.,
I: 73 to 81.]
statement that the Eternal Parent is space, that the Divine Plenum is
the One Life of the whole universe, may seem to many at first strange and somewhat
disconcerting. But our everyday familiar views of space are limited to little
more than one-half of a single plane, the physical. Now that the unit of physical
matter itself is known to be an expression of energy, difficulty should vanish.
also used in the Stanzas is the Great Breath, then implying that manifestation
is about to begin. The Breath, being of the Plenum, is also absolute, and neuter,
hence in perfect equilibrium, neither conscious nor unconscious, neither benevolent
nor malevolent, in absolute poise - and therefore ‘knows itself not’.
[Stanzas of Dzyan, II.]
knowledge, the Breath becomes centred first in Adi and then , as ‘a spark
of the Flame’, is prepared to ‘journey through the worlds’.
The Monad journeys forth sharing the absoluteness of the Plenum.
art myself, my image and my shadow! I have clothed myself in thee." [ibid.,
is a unit of and within the Plenum. Sheathed in a tenuous vesture of the first
plane - Adi - it is still undifferentiated and hence is called ‘parentless’.
The Monad therefore possesses all the attributes of the Plenum - as a drop of
water may be said to possess the attributes of an ocean. As a unit of the Plenum
‘the Monad is neither spirit nor matter, it is a Breath of the Absolute’.
[The Secret Doctrine, I: 292]
I and my Father are one.’ [The Mystery Drama cited
in St. John x., 30]
on the nature of the Monad, therefore, that the claim to human divinity is founded;
but, as a Breath of the Absolute, the Monad can never know itself till it becomes
aware of, conscious of, others besides itself. Similarly, and it is a valid
correspondence, the organ of vision, the eye, can never see and know itself
directly. Only as a reflection in a mirror can the eye see itself - and the
Monad is, so to speak, all eye!—and there is no mirror for the Monad till
forms are prepared.
for contrasts, opposites, arises and the consequent breaking of the perfect
balance of the Plenum. This is described as a change in ‘rates of motion’
within absolute motion, which gives birth to the innumerable opposites of spirit-matter.
Yet these ‘opposites’ all are of the same source, just as, for example,
part of a volume of water may become violently energised as steam and part may
become rigidly static as ice; yet both are of water.
of the Monad is awareness of separateness, an individualized consciousness:
the vast evolutionary sweep into manifestation has this as its objective. During
the long early phases in which the forms essential to the awakening of the Monadic
consciousness slowly mature, it is the Solar Lords who are in charge. These
are drawn from the great hierarchies of earlier cycles. They pour forth streams
of Power and Light and Life ‘from within’ and carry the Monads outwards
into manifestation. [In The Secret Doctrine there are
more than four hundred references to the Orders of Devas, the Angels or Shining
Ones. Especially significant are those to be found on the following pages: Volume
I: II: 160; IV: 301; V: 325, 539.]
Solar Lords have as their design the ‘pattern in the heavens’, the
extended archetypal forms of the Divine Man, the Solar Logos. They are the Elohim
of Genesis, the creative Gods of myth and fable in every faith. [This
subject has been treated at length by the writer in an earlier essay, The
Star-Angel Lucifer appears to escort the human Monads into manifestation, sheaths
them in Adi and induces them to follow the involutionary sweep into incarnation
or embodiment. Rank on rank of devic workers, often termed Dhyanis in The
Secret Doctrine, build the worlds of form, ensouling these with the One
are said to act as ‘centres of force’, and from this term and another
phrase - that devas always work from within outwards - we can infer their mode
of activity. Operating from a centre, a field of energy is magnetically created
from centre to periphery. This method implies, in turn, a constant direction
of the pattern ‘from within’, workers at lower levels depending
upon their superiors for direction, rank on rank, through all the planes of
the universe, from the loftiest levels to the nature spirits of the physical
world. Hence, in the outermost world, the unseen agents work on predetermined
lines - 'on rails’, so to speak, and a clear distinction between devic
activities and those of men emerges. The devas work to rule, and from within
outwards, whereas man is free to succeed or fail and for long cycles is stimulated
chiefly from without.
Skill and Limitations of the Rupa-Devas
throughout the cycles of involution the devas are the form-builders. [The
Secret Doctrine, II: 172.] The Web - spun by Father-Mother
(Stanzas of Dzyan, III: 10) serves as the basic fabric upon which all
forms are built. [ For further description of the Web, see
Part II, page 26.] The fields of force within which all forms
are generated are themselves the magnetically assembled vehicles - the very
‘bodies' - of the higher devas. Under their direction, impulses from the
âtmic archetypes - Âtma, the One Reality’ [The
Secret Doctrine, I: 317.]—excite and activate the
rupa (body-building) devas and nature spirits.
Universe is . . . guided from within outwards.’ [ibid.,
I: 317.] Yet the form-building devas, though marvellously skilful,
have their limitations - and the early forms of the plant and animal kingdoms
on earth represent the limit of their unaided activities.
to this type of production, with which all are nowadays familiar, is television.
From a studio, radio waves are projected, which are caught and reproduced by
a tuned-in receiving set and focussed on a screen as pictures. The rupa-devas
are nature’s receiving sets. They pick up the impulses from the subtler
regions within and project the forms of trees, shrubs, flowers and creatures
as materialised pictures in the visible world. Another correspondence is that
of an artist’s hand - not itself a creator but a vital creative agent,
becoming ever more adept and skilful by repeated experience.
Lords direct such manifestation from within up to the level reached before
in previous cycles. Their routine, though vast and elaborate, is not therefore
creative in the sense of evoking a new product. It is all repetitive,
amazingly skilful and exquisitely finished, but stops at the level the forms
had previously attained under earlier human hierarchies. Hence the dictum of
The Secret Doctrine, ‘Nature fails to create being alone’,
[ibid, III: 313. The ‘divine Fashioners’ of this
reference refers to the demigods (advanced men) of previous cycles.]
and ‘Nature by herself fails’. Thus nature lacks initiative, is
wasteful and must be content with the survival of the fit. ‘Man . . .
the one free agent’ [The Mahatma Letters, p.57.]
is needed as creator - at the present time and for the future.
the mineral and vegetable kingdoms develop and continue their further evolution
through man!’ [The Secret Doctrine, I: 214.]
difference in the workings of nature and of man is especially emphasised in
a Master’s Letter in two statements already quoted, ‘Nature is destitute
of goodness or malice, she follows immutable laws’; and ‘Man is
the one free agent’. Here lies the solution of the age-old problem of
good and evil. Nature is supplied with the patterns to be followed and works
at these ruthlessly, though blindly. The devic world is a-moral, because obedient,
unquestioning, constantly performing a necessary function without choice. But
with the attainment of self-consciousness on the part of man, and the creative
activity of the ego-personality, there arises awareness of choice, of relationship,
and of freedom to do or not to do within a given field of activity. This is
a gift of the Monadic life. The link is by ‘the finest thread of Fohat’,
yet it endows man with the power of choice, for better or for worse, between
good and evil.
further statement that ‘Evil exists only for him who is its victim’
[The Mahatma Letters, page 56.] is
an obvious truism in this light, for rules, regulations, laws, governing family,
tribal or national conduct, all are of human origin. The rules may be wise or
cruel, ignorant or compassionate: all are man-made. There is no other
source. When such laws are broken by malice, fraud or aggression, there follows
- apparently - 'evil’ for the victimised and ‘good’ for the
victor. But the immutable law of equilibrium, the one law of the Plenum - karma
- will ensure adjustment and balance sooner or later. Human action alone is
the source of such ‘evil’.
the restoration of disturbed equilibrium, however slight or great the disturbance,
is assured by the absoluteness of the Plenum. Only by grasping this fact and
its omnipresent influence can karma be truly understood. The pressure exercised
is constant, unbending, implacable and just. It is the one and only law that
can be called divine - mercifully gently because infinitely patient - yet inexorable.
Commandments, rules and regulations, legislation concerning morals and human
relationships - all are made. It will be remembered: ‘I, the Lord, do
all these things’. “There is none else.’
of his letters St. Paul is reported as emphasising the same truth. ‘Without
the law, sin is dead’ [Romans vii, 8.]—a
view so profound that it seems completely to have escaped later-day theologians,
trapped apparently in allegory.
Secret Doctrine, 1889
from the Divine All of SPACE to the concentration of creative powers in an individualized
man demands millennia of time and a countless succession of diminishing cycles
of manifestation. This is the subject matter of The Secret Doctrine,
under the titles of Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis, as in the 1889, edition.
early periods man is in tutelage to the devas, who for thousands of millions
of years prepare the way, and lead the Monads through the kingdoms of nature.
[The Secret Doctrine, vide Table III: 79]
spark hangs from the Flame by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through
the worlds ... a stone ... a plant...animal...Man, the Thinker ...[Stanzas
of Dzyan, VII.]
of matter and of forms is slow and endlessly repetitive. During all of this
phase the Monad is dependent upon his Devic Elders who direct the processes
of his embodiment. From the immeasurable ‘Absolute Motion’ of the
Plenum to the comparatively static state of a physical globe and a physical
body, the Monad is led in successive cycles. And the object of this whole vast
process of involution is given in the simple statement:
through a vehicle of matter does consciousness arise, a physical basis being
necessary to focus a ray.’ [The Secret Doctrine, I:
conceive something of the magnitude of this task from a few current astronomical
From Diffusion to Stability
science reveals that the nebulae in far space - wheeling spiral vortices of
huge dimensions - consist of the subtlest visible ‘material’. Whirling
clouds of glowing gas, some brilliant, some dimly luminous; multitudes of great
celestial pin-wheels; vast bubbles of cool gas made to glow by stars forming
near their centres; twin nebulae in double spirals - these are some of the attempted
are enormous. The great nebula in Libra, for example, is visible to us as it
was over 30,000 years ago - for it is said to take that time for its
light to reach us. Some are so large, as is the nebula in Orion, that light
traveling from one side to the other would take twenty-five years to cross,
and some are far greater even than this. These glowing, wheeling clouds seem
to be the very genesis of ‘matter’. They may well be, in truth,
celestial chakras transforming, converting, the Power of the Plenum into the
media for manifestation - transforming energy into mass! [‘Light
Condenses into Form.’ (The Secret Doctrine, I, 140) ]
the nebulae, minor vortices more closely knit become stars. Slowly, galaxies,
constellations, and smaller groupings follow and, finally, the comparatively
isolated star, a sun, with its planetary condensations. This process of slowing
down may be traced step by step. From the far-flung, wide-spaced nebulae of
glowing gas to the tightly woven intensity of condensation we know as physical
matter, hierarchies of experts must have directed, and still direct, this dynamic
and ordered achievement.
From Circumference to Centre
with the condensation of matter, occult science traces concentrations of psychic
energy from widespread consciousness on the largest scale to the small and separated
group soul. Stage by stage the concentrations proceed to the end-on achievement,
in the forms of the kingdoms of nature at our own planetary level. Group-souls
are widely inclusive in the mineral kingdom; those of the plant kingdom are
still extensive but much smaller. The groupings become less and less in volume
in the animal kingdom, until in the domestic animals closely associated with
man, there may be as few as three or four entities embraced in one group soul.
Finally, an individual astral-mental soul having been achieved in the animal
kingdom, the Monad is able to individualize also the creative triangle of âtma-buddhi-manas,
knitting these together with a flash of power from the very Plenum Itself -
and individualized man arrives. Thus Man, the true Man, is born. Using this
higher triad as its conscious anchorage, a ray of the Monad can then act directly
upon, become incarnate in, a ‘vehicle of matter’.
Goal of Involution: ‘A Physical Basis to Focus a Ray’
of matter from its genesis of wide-flung violence to the close-knit stability
of a physical planet and the elaboration of a physical body for man, appear
to be the goal of the whole involutionary process. In-volutionary because
the ‘absolute motion’ of the Plenum is still there —inturned.
Thus for the Monad there is prepared on a physical planet at the extreme
limit of its opposite pole, a body of the same attributes as itself.
atom contains in itself the creative energy of the Divine Breath.’
[The Secret Doctrine, I : 77.]
Monad can take possession and express itself in such a form, an imperishable
body fit for immortality may be brought to birth. The head and tail of the symbolic
of the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine, published in 1889, gives an
abundance of occult information concerning the origin and growth of worlds,
The second volume treats similarly of the origin of man as Monad, his awakening
to self-consciousness - and of a glorious and conscious immortality that he
the prodigal wealth of detail given there emerges a revolutionary view both
of the Cosmos and of man. So far from being a humble material-bound product
of stellar extrusion, a physical planet represents the very zenith of creative
ingenuity. And the physical body of a human being is an amazingly well-organized
and efficient mechanism, itself vitally active, and prepared to be the master
or the slave of the Monad who grasps it. The physical basis thus prepared by
the devic hosts enables the Monad to ‘focus a ray’ of the Plenum
through the sense-organs and objectively to see and act upon the physical world
around. With a mind that - potentially - can ‘embrace the universe’
[Stanzas of Dzyan, IV.] the Monad can
begin to know itself.
final passage in The Secret Doctrine, as published in 1889, another
volume - the third - was promised, if among Theosophists the way was cleared
for its intelligent reception. It is stated that this third volume was intended
to be of a practical nature - meaning presumably that it would treat of the
application of the occult teachings to the present critical cycle. This intention
indeed is abundantly proved by the material contained in the many letters, articles,
instructions, etc., left in somewhat scattered profusion and later assembled
in a third posthumous book. Following therefore the lead given, our study will
continue with an appraisal of the intended volume as indicated in the papers
therein published. [Volume III of Third Edition; Volume V of
current Adyar Edition.]
Task - and the Technique
- 'Absolute Motion ' - is in perfect equilibrium prior to manifestation. The
Monad, with self-consciousness born amid the opposites of spirit-matter, must
achieve a upâdhi (a vehicle of matter, a body) of the same perfect
state of balance - to win conscious, individual immortality. This is the mighty
task pictured. Instruction and many hints are given.
difficulty is to attain harmonious relationship of the personal bodies and the
higher Self - for these bodies are as tools to a craftsman. This indeed is a
sound illustration. In becoming expert in the use of tools an apprentice will
spend years; without them he cannot ply his trade, whatever it be. Having acquired
the skill he is then free and able to use any similar tools available anywhere
- the skill needed is in himself, not in them. Higher Self and lower self, causal
body and personality, are in similar relationship and the goal is attained when
the spiritual ego is free to use skillfully any ‘personal’ tools
he may need on the outer planes. Yet to achieve this goal, as we all know, is
a task that is strenuous and exacting. To reach harmony between the inner and
the outer self is, however, to travel far on the road to the goal. The Bhagavad-gÃ®tÃ¢
describes this attainment with utter clarity:
whom a stone and gold are the same...who regards impartially friends and foes,
strangers, neutrals, foreigners and relatives, also the righteous and the unrighteous
- he excelleth.’
is overcome by those whose mind remains balanced. The Eternal is balanced.’
[ Books V and VI.]
mind remains balanced - is the comment that the student finds repeatedly in
Madame Blavatsky’s instructions. Our immediate instrument is the mind,
a clear, quiet mind that can mirror spiritual principles and visualize their
at first ‘knows itself not’. To see and know oneself, a mirror is
needed. Hence the mental mirror, the important personal tool, with which the
Monad is equipped:
mind may be compared to a lens in the form of a sphere ... capable of giving
a three-dimensional image inside itself of every external object.’ [Patanjali’s
Yoga Sûtras, I: 41, Stephen’s translation.]
sense-organs supply the mind with their pictures of the external world and hence
the mind, as a mirror, may allow the Monad to see and know itself. The accurate
reproduction of external conditions within oneself is part of the process of
‘becoming’. ‘The aspirant must become the path.’ The
sense organs are expert in this. For example: I see a landscape. The scene is
imprinted on the retina of the eye and conveyed to the brain and thence projected
on the screen of the mind in perspective, the landscape is thus produced in
my mind - and I see it there. Obviously, I have in part become the landscape.
The same art of ‘becoming’ applies to emotional and purely mental
experiences - and all may be repeatedly enjoyed or suffered in memory. Thus,
with a physical basis, the Monadic Ray possesses a mirror by means of which
it can focus and see the external world, its own creations, and itself. Such
reproductions have gone on for lives and the personal self is weighted with
their small, poignant patterns. We all possess in our personal vehicles mirrors
that reproduce the external, and the aspirant is advised that these same mirrors
can respond, intuitively, to the light within - and hence register the archetypal
designs of the Ideal World. For this the will is needed to ‘inhibit
the modifications of the thinking principle’.[Patanjali,
I: 2.] The last and loftiest function of the ‘physical
basis’ (the dense physical body) may then be envisaged - a matrix for
the ‘Mind-Born Son’.
Physical Body - An Occult Matrix
and mastery of the mind by the will is greatly assisted, indeed only becomes
possible for man on this planet, by virtue of the stability of the physical
body. Although endowed with this stable quality of inertia, the assistance given
is complicated by the vigorous elemental life of the body itself. Moreover,
body-building rûpa devas are active in its welfare and sustenance. Incarnation
- as the descent into the physical body is called - is therefore repeatedly
necessary because of the magnitude and delicacy of the monadic task. With reference
to this The Secret Doctrine says:
highest adept put into a new body has to struggle against it and subdue it -
and finds its subjection difficult.’ [The Secret Doctrine,
a coat of mail it serves as a protective sheath for the subtle form. In early
human periods it shields human consciousness from too close, and hence confusing,
contact with the inner worlds, and in later incarnations it acts as a fulcrum
to stabilize the upreaching interior life.
past the midpoint of our major cycle, and are living in the fifth root race
of the Fourth Round. During this present era, the fifth root race period of
the occupation of this globe, definite advances may be made that correspond
to the later work of the Fifth Round. Preparation for the creative activity
that lies ahead for our Hierarchy is invited and available. From Patanjali onwards
our fifth root race has had its marching orders - for those who choose to follow
a ‘discipline’. Saints and yogis have experimented with methods
of clarifying the mind and presenting it as ‘a pure offering’. Madame
Blavatsky has left a series of cogent instructions for the aspirant - such as
the well-known Golden Stairs:
clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual
religions there is unanimity at least on this point: that the way of holiness,
of wholeness and fitness for future service, is through purification of the
even this attainment, beyond even the capacity to image in purity the archetypal
patterns of the Divine Mind, there lies open for purified man a yet further
possibility. In the last volume of The Secret Doctrine there are a few
hints scattered concerning the ‘mind-born’ body of immortality.
It is said that there is a body that may be built from fire and light, from
the serpent-fire of the terrestrial furnace and the pure celestial light of
buddhi. [See The Occult Laboratories further on- in
this document ]
Inward Holy Body’
well be a later Round before the state of the hermaphrodite Adept is reached
on earth, ‘by the majority of the future mankind’ [The
Secret Doctrine, III, 444.] but that future is foreshadowed
during this fifth race, here and now. When the ‘acme of physical development’
has been reached, the perfected physical body is destined to serve as the matrix
for an ‘alone begotten’ celestial body of immortality. This is the
task of the adept in human existence, lofty beings as yet rare in our Hierarchy,
but prototypes for those to follow.
of the process of bringing to birth the ‘Mind-born son of Will and Yoga’
are veiled in the occult symbols of the Mystery Drama: the birth, testing, trials
and death of the terrestrial body (the physical) and a resurrection or, rather,
the birth, of the celestial body of everlasting life. Here the drama lends itself
to the personal interpretation by the literal minded and fanatic, who read the
dramatized story as an historical event. But such phrases as ‘I and my
Father are one’, ‘No man cometh unto the Father but by me’,
are readily understood as referring to the relationship of Monad and the One
Life of the Plenum, for they signify both the way and the goal for all mankind.
Kathopanishad, in which the mystery of death is deeply explored, yields enlightening
phrases in regard to the nature of the ‘body’ that is born through
such mystical death. It is designated the dwarf purusha, small in stature but
immense in power, and is of the atomic essence, uncompounded. Elsewhere it is
written of as the fivefold atomic vehicle of the high Adept, who can from his
control of each of its atoms produce at will a necessary vehicle of activity
on any of the five planes.
of that substance the bodies of Gods are formed.’ [The
Secret Doctrine, II, 246.]
this in mind we can contemplate the statements in The Secret Doctrine
relating to the birth of
inward holy body from fire and light like pure silver.’ [ibid.
IV: 212. In Volume V the student will find further references on 518, 553, 561,
565, 566.] and the more intimate pronouncement of the Hermetic
philosophy, ascribed to Hermes-Aphrodite:
I see within myself the uncompounded vision brought to birth, I know that I
have passed through myself into a body that will never die. I have been born
in Mind. That is the way-of-birth of the Immortal Gods.’
work of our humanity thus emerges in view and it remains for us to justify our
title of the Fourth Creative Hierarchy.
Creative Work of Our Hierarchy
as units of the One Life, are introduced into the worlds of form under the supervision
and care of the devic hosts - and clothed in vehicles of matter. The many cycles
of constructive work by the devas, recapitulating on ever denser levels the
workings of previous cycles, result at long last in the building of a physical
planet cradled in a chain of subtler planets, with a physical body for mankind,
balanced and responsive - for man to train as he will.
that final success the devas complete their preparatory task, towards the end
of the third root-race on our earth. So far do the devas take our humanity -
awakening Monads - during their wonderfully skilled labours. Thence our Hierarchy
takes over although still assisted by an Elder Humanity from Venus. And now
in the middle of the fifth root-race, it is for us to take up the full burden,
reflect the Inner Light, and bring into manifestation the Ideal World as patterned
in archetypes on the plane of âtma.
consciousness can tough and respond to those archetypal plans and create, with
the further help of the devas, the Grand Temple of a united Planetary Chain.
[See ‘The Earth Chain’, further on in this document.]
Hence the occult designation of mankind as a Creative Hierarchy. It is
during the fifth, sixth and seventh Rounds that the sevenfold chain of globes
blends into one globe, thus returning, with the harvests and manifestation,
to the One.
the last three Rounds, the Earth gradually returns to its first etherial form;
it is spiritualised, so to say.’ [The Secret Doctrine,
inclusive view that emerges from this study of The Secret Doctrine places
our human Hierarchy on a veritable pinnacle of responsibility and of immeasurable
vision is of such magnitude and splendour that it will be as incredible to the
‘multitude’ as St. John’s frank declaration of man as ‘the
first and the last’. Therein is its protection, hidden but effective,
until the occult truths of inspired allegory are embraced. We may here perhaps
remind ourselves of the warning that personal self-worship is the hazard of
occult knowledge for, if indulged, it is a sure way to perdition. Yet in The
Idyll of the White Lotus a Master is reported as saying that the future
of man is of a glory and splendour that have no limit. And in The Secret
Doctrine we find both caution and promise:
entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience.’
[ibid., I: 167.]
order to become a divine fully conscious God - even the highest - the spiritual
primeval intelligence must pass through the human stage.’ [The
Secret Doctrine, I, 167.]
Mind-born Sons, the Rishis...were all men...in other worlds and preceding manvantaras.’
[ibid., I: 167.]
majority of the future Mankind will be composed of Glorious Adepts.’ [ibid.,III:
of the future may be thought to be too remote to be of value. I would claim
that, so far from being academic, it is intensely practical for all those who
can comprehend and understand. It offers the solution to a multitude of problems.
It over-rides the separative bigotry of religions - a prolific cause of emotional
dispute - and emphasises the divine brotherhood of man. In her last published
work H.P.B charged Theosophists to clear the way of prejudice and superstition
and assist with vigour the germination of truth.
the enquiry of our title, ‘Whence Come the Gods?’—for our
Planetary Chain they come not only from the successful humanity of previous
cycles, but the Gods of the future are even now among the members of our own
Creative Hierarchy and its companion Hierarchies of this Chain.
- The Divine Plenum
Eternal Parent, awakening from the slumber of eternities, is the theme of the
first Stanza of Dzyan. Another vast cycle of manifestation is here envisaged
- for the awakening is of Parabrahman, the One Reality, Boundless Space, the
and energy, says The Secret Doctrine, is of one homogeneous absolute
and omnipresent Essence...an all-inclusive Kosmos, infinite Space. In ‘Him’
indeed we live and move and have our being, though ‘He' - the Divine Plenum
(neuter)—is not a God but Parabrahman - ALL. [The
Secret Doctrine, I: 73-81.]
Withins and the Without
Secret Doctrine speaks of the Plenum as ‘an eternal within, within
two other withins’ [ibid., II: 396.]—a
somewhat cryptic saying. The ‘eternal within’ is the Plenum - Space,
unmanifest while in slumber. For our universe, the Adi and Anupadaka planes
- Sanskrit terms that mean first, and parentless - may be said to be the two
other ‘withins’. The Adi plane is the highest and first of the seven
planes and the Adi atom provides for the parentless Monad ‘ the most tenuous
vesture compatible with objectivity’. Thus, ‘the eternal within’
is the Plenum of unmanifest Space, and the Adi plane and the Monads - units
of the Breath - represent the other two ‘withins’.
the terms within and without are often used as being more suitable than above
and below, and their aptness will be clear to all who are familiar with radio
broadcasting. Speech, music and pictures on the air flow around and about us
nowadays continually, but are unheeded unless a radio receiving-set is tuned
in. All such wave-lengths are ‘within’ and must be transformed to
those ‘without’ to which our sense-organs can respond. The receiving-set
is an artificial chakram that does precisely that - it links within and
properties of Space are such that vast numbers of finer wave-lengths are farther,
and still farther, within, constituting the varying fields of force called the
subtler planes, which lie around and about us here and now. These inner extensions
of matter, as H.P.B called them, must not be confused with a fourth dimension;
a misnomer itself though plausibly convenient to use. There are but three dimensions
and to speak of a fourth is as inaccurate as to describe the sun as rising or
setting. [The Secret Doctrine, I, 295, 296.]
‘the slumber of eternities’, the Plenum is in equilibrium, balanced;
in unison, poised. After awakening, every variation in the field of absolute
motion, any change whatever, means obviously a difference in rates of motion,
and therefore friction. Hence arise opposites and the distinction between spirit
and matter. Opposites are a property of motion.
is eternal in the unmanifested, and periodical in the manifest.’ [ibid.,
equilibrium of the One Life of the Plenum can be divided and broken into many
lives only by the creation of form-structures. Friction accompanies the birth
of forms, and when the Breath functions through forms and is limited by these,
the differing rates of motion give rise to an awareness of living. Thus consciousness
is born - the offspring of friction. The Monad, a focussed unit of the Breath,
thus gradually awakens amid the play of the opposites to a knowledge of itself.
Web: ‘This Web is The Universe’
medium for form-building, the means whereby the One may become Many, is a necessity.
Thus, the third Stanza of Dzyan:
spin a Web, whose upper end is fastened to Spirit...and the lower one to its
shadowy end, Matter; and this Web is the Universe, spun out of the Two Substances
made in One.’
sense, it may be asked, can the Web be the universe? The answer seems
to be that it is a necessity for the building of forms in the same sense, to
name a very simple correspondence, that paper is a necessity for the writing
of a letter. Strictly speaking, the letter itself is of language symbols traced
in ink, but these need and must have the support of the paper. The paper carries
the letter and, reasonably enough, we speak of the carrier as being the
letter. Similarly, the Web, though strictly speaking not a form itself, serves
to separate the One Life into many and then carries the forms.
example of the use made of a web to break one into many is provided by the modern
spectroscope. In this instrument, made for the analysis of light, a plate is
used on which some thousands of fine lines have been cut, side by side, within
the narrow spacing of one inch. A light-ray, striking this, is deflected by
the web of parallels and is displayed as a long spectrum - a multitude of lines
and colours. The web of straight lines, called a grating, is by way of being
a two-dimensional copy of the three-dimensional Web of the Universe. Like the
strings of a harp which create and sustain the sound-waves of music though not
themselves sound, the Web is the medium and supporting carrier of the vibrations
what we know as forms. That which we call material, therefore, is motion that
is caused by the play of the Breath.
modes of motion may be traced. Thought moves as do electric pulses through wire;
emotions are wave-like and undulatory; physical matter is shaped in rings and
spirals. These latter units are probably those that are hardened by Fohat.
[Stanza III, Various diagrams illustrating the structure of
the Web will be found in the writer’s book, The Web of the Universe.]
shapes, whether of thought pulses, astral waves, or physical spirals, play through
the Web as waves through water, wind flowing over grass or corn, or as the circling
lights of a pictorial advertisement - moves forward, though all appear so to
do. The forms carried similarly by the Web are all built by motion and vary
in an infinite complexity. The means are thereby afforded for every conceivable
mode of manifestation - from the content of the humblest planet to the glories
of the loftiest of stellar manifestation.
Web, described above, that unites the globes of a Planetary Chain and cradles
the physical planet, is probably local to Chains. From other hints given, also
concerning trinities, two further Webs ‘within’ may be assumed centred
in Sirius (and many others of the same rank), and in the Pleiades for the Galaxy.
These may be surmised to extend in curved and may be spiral interlacings.
Pleiades, Alcyone especially, is the centre of our Galaxy: it is the focus from
and in which the Divine Breath works incessantly.’ [The
Secret Doctrine, IV: 121.]
its creation till its transcendence, the Web serves as a radio network linking
all life, in the worlds of form, at the mid-mental level. In its rectangular
mesh we may perceive, too, the secret of harmonic spacings and rhythms, the
positional and related orbits of planets in the solar system and electrons in
atoms, the cause of quanta (units) of energy, and geometric patterns in simple
work on ‘a mathematical and geometrical scale of progression.’ [The
Secret Doctrine, IV: 492.]
creations are at the highest and subtlest of regions, known to us as the Adi
and Anupadaka planes: these are ‘the two other withins’ as stated
above and may be designated the first and second creations. In addition to being
the birth-place of Monads, about to begin their journey through the forms of
the Web, the Adi plane is the domain of the Architects, Designers and Builders
of worlds, who have made the journey successfully in other Systems of Chains
and returned to ‘the within’. It is the realm, too, of the ministers
of the Solar Lord, [The Sun is the centre of our planetary
universe - though far larger and more inclusive universes obviously extend beyond.
In view however of the principle of correspondences, we may assume that the
same interior relationships apply to all.] His shaktis -
great creative centres of force, the Devic Dhyanis.
two planes of ‘the within’ are described as of light, and the planes
of ‘the without’, carried by the Web are described as of Life.
Light; below Life...the former is ever immutable, the latter manifests under
countless differentiations.’ [The Secret Doctrine,
Light of the Plenum enters the Web at all levels. Within the forms therein created,
it functions as the Life side. For three vast cycles and so on to the fourth,
the rupa devas skillfully build the form side, the bodies of the kingdoms of
nature - mineral, plant, animal, human - under the supervision of their Superiors
and the inspiration of the Dhyânis. The Monads of our hierarchy pass in
succession through them, arrested for a while at some points but ever gaining
experience and expanding in consciousness. At the midway point in the fourth
cycle of any Chain, that is during its fourth Round and fourth globe, the human
Monad of that Chain normally attains self-consciousness, and a measure of responsibility
for the future of that globe. Then if he exercises his newly-won powers wisely,
there is the possibility of achieving conscious immortality through the
building of an atomic body, the body used by the Gods.
is of the Plenum and therefore of the Light, all-powerful but, as such, ‘knows
itself not’. On attaining the dual-mind in man, the monadic ray at this,
the very dawn of self-awareness, finds itself between the ‘above’
and the ‘below’, and insecure. This balanced, unbiased condition
of consciousness still knows nothing of good and evil; such qualities are non-existent.
is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws...Evil has
no existence per se and is but the absence of good.’ [The
Mahatma Letters, page 56.]
the monadic ray, reaching self-consciousness in man, is ‘naturally’
innocent, for his absolute freedom of choice is the bequest of the Plenum. The
Monad, by virtue of its origin, is also gifted with a perfect balance of attributes.
Limitations in the exercise of will are due to the protective veils, the bodies,
that he wears - and are well worth their limiting effect, for the will, in ignorance,
can destroy as readily as it may build. The determinist, with his ‘irresistible
logic of cause and effect’, fails to trace causes to their root-source
in the Causeless Cause, the One Reality, the Divine Plenum. Therein and therein
alone is the foundation of freewill, and freedom. With the awakening, however,
of freewill, at the midway point of human evolution, and the lure of the new
selfhood gained through the personal bodies with their keen taste for sensation,
the incarnate monadic ray is as prone to lose itself in the shadows of matter
as to find the light of wisdom and immortality.
innocence of the newly-born self can win knowledge only through experience gained
amid opposites: and the clamour of the bodies for sensation forces the pace
to the very borders of the without.
ground provided by a physical planet, and the personal vehicle through which
the Monad operates, are exacting and proactive. The mind, the emotions, the
physical body itself - the necessary vehicle of dense matter - are all formed
of elemental essence, living and vigorous, all thrusting outwards, ‘downwards’,
toward the mineral kingdom. Sensual pleasure, possessions, self-centredness
are of their life - and legitimate and proper for them. Hence the lure
and temptations to indulge to which the monadic ray is subjected - for it is
perfectly free to pursue them if it chooses. Yet the tendencies of the personality
towards self-indulgence must be controlled because, to ensure immortality, the
Monad, itself perfectly balanced, must build a unique, perfectly balanced body
it became atomic ... a substance not subject to the qualities of matter, from
which it is quite different...out of that substance the bodies of the Gods...are
formed.’ [The Secret Doctrine, II: 240.]
of atomic essence that the imperishable body is built, of uncompounded atomic
composition only - a task to be achieved on a physical planet and demanding
the perfect co-operation of Monad and ego-personality.
it is essential that knowledge and experience of the without be acquired at
first-hand, before such a body may be built, there is great danger in the process,
for if pursued too far it leads eventually to the loss, maybe the annihilation,
of the personality. Knowledge of good and evil, the pearl, is of great price
only if it be lifted from the depths.
exercise of freewill, the risk attending an exclusive pursuit of sensation is
terribly real - because it is based and founded on that very freedom of action
which is the birthright of every human being. The monadic ray, though awake
and self-conscious, is still of the neuter, unbiased, Breath. The risk and the
dangers are emphasised in The Secret Doctrine and The Mahatma Letters:
potency for evil is as great in man - aye, greater - than the potentiality for
good...the origin of every evil is in human action, in man whose
intelligence makes him the one free agent in Nature.’ [The
Mahatma Letters, pp. 57, 130.]
drones...who refuse to become co-workers perish by millions.’ [The
Secret Doctrine, V: 501.]
all-embracing majestic economy of the Solar System, a safeguarding provision
is made by the creation of that which may be called a celestial laboratory.
and Celestial Laboratories
The workings of a laboratory are by way of analysis
and the production maybe of something new: the function of the two laboratories,
terrestrial and celestial, at the poles of manifestation appear to have the
same purpose though on a planetary scale. The reason is obvious when one contemplates
the One Reality, the Plenum - Space, described in the proem to The Secret
Doctrine as Absolute Motion in perfect balance, a perfection of equilibrium.
Manifestation means the disturbance of that balanced state and the one immutable
law of the Plenum operates in ever striving to restore that disturbed equilibrium.
[The pressure towards a restoration of balance we call - karma.]
The nether pole, at mid-physical, appears to be
situate at the centre of physical planets, and constitutes the terrestrial laboratory.
The Secret Doctrine describes this centre as Atala, no place, [The
Secret Doctrine, V: 542, 543.] but says little beyond corresponding
it with âtma. This, however, is significant enough for it implies an enormous
and terrific tension between the high-powered frequencies of âtma and
the distorted tangled reliquae of those ‘who refuse to become co-workers’.
[ibid., V: 501.] It may be inferred that the
central regions of physical planets constitute a nether pole of manifestation
wherein mass is transformed into energy - with a bias to strengthen the life
of the elemental kingdoms. One may well deduce that this is the great Star-Angel
Lucifer's province. His ‘angels of darkness’ generate and foster
a driving urge in the essence of the elemental kingdoms - first, second and
third - to descend towards and into the stability of the mineral-form. The powerful
bias towards materiality was needed to induce, persuade, entice, tempt, the
free and the balanced Monad to extend its ray and taste of the pleasures of
focussed sensation - and sensuality. And the personal bodies of man are built
of this very essence!
The momentum imparted downwards up to the third
and fourth root-races, though still efficient, is now being gradually countered
and a balance restored through the workings of a celestial laboratory said to
be at the mid-âtmic level. Since the early fifth root race period on this
earth, man can consciously use this source of energy. Of this, considerable
more is told in the description of the third creation.
A definition of the Sanskrit terms
avatma, or âtma, implies that the plane so-named serves as a bridge-like
medium, a crossover. It is in this sense that âtma (lower âtma)
may be regarded as the site of third creation, called the organic. Broadly speaking,
it may be said that thereon the subjective forces of the within are linked to
the objective field of the without, and hence to the forms of the Web.
The Third Creation
In the third creation, a special task is undertaken
by very highly advanced men [Advanced Men (Nirmânakâyas),
Adepts, who sacrifice their own immediate further progress by staying, often
in incarnation, to help struggling humanity.] and the great
Dhyânis, that of endowing a part of the Breath with a certain quality.
By some process of spiritual alchemy, a specific bias is imparted; and the modified
Breath then pervades the Web to the mental level, no further, and is known as
buddhi. By the joyous sacrifice of those who operate the âtmic
laboratory, the quality with which the neutral Breath is inspired is goodness.
When responded to, buddhi makes for righteousness and its goal of immortality.
Buddhi is therefore called wisdom.
‘The third creation ... termed the organic
creation ... begins with buddhi ... abounding with the quality of goodness.’
[The Secret Doctrine, II: 172, 173.]
As archetypal forms are concealed
in the Ideal World (âtma), [ibid., II: 95.]
and buddhi is said to be the vehicle of âtma, [ ibid.,
I: 178, etc.] the influence of buddhi is idealistic and inspiring.
The change that is thus effected in the Breath,
its modification and endowment, is of the greatest significance. As an emanation
of the Plenum the Breath is in equilibrium: though all-powerful, it is neutral.
The specific bias that is imparted is towards benevolence. Though we may know
little or nothing of the means whereby this poignant change is made, it is obvious
that no addition can be made to a Plenum: the modification must be a diversion
or deletion of part.
A correspondence with that of sunlight will be
familiar to all. Nothing can be added to that light but, with a screen-filter,
part of the light can be diverted and the rays of a single colour are allowed
to pass. The sunlight has then been modified and specialised. In some similar
way, we can surmise, the Breath is modified and informed by the spirit of âtma.
[ ibid., II: 291.] The enigmatic phrase that
‘buddhi is neither a discrete nor an indiscrete quantity but partakes
of the nature of both’ [The Secret Doctrine, II:
172.] is clarified. The Breath, homogeneous and indiscrete,
becomes modified on the plane of âtma and issues as buddhi, discrete and
Mirrored in âtma are the archetypes of the
plan of the Earth-Chain. Contact with buddhi, therefore, through the higher
mind, inspires a vision of the future. Buddhi illumines those who respond to
its influence. Man alone, with the attainment of self-consciousness, can do
this in full creative awareness. And, abounding in the quality of goodness,
buddhi makes for right living, right behaviour, for righteousness - and leads
to the mastery of the personal ego. [ibid.,I: 187.]
Though it may appear that we treat here of that
which is transcendental and may seem academic - the broad principles of the
vast Solar economy may be stated quite simply and plainly, however involved
and intricately complex are their workings.
The Light of the unmanifest and the Life of the
many in the manifest is of the Plenum, the One Reality. The Breath of the Plenum
permeates the Web of the Life of its forms and - still homogeneous and a continuum
in itself - 'destitute of goodness or malice’, functions under immutable
law. Through the cycles of involution and evolution on and up to the awakening
of the higher mind and self-consciousness, the human Monad is subject to this
same immutable law, and is innocently unaware of any distinction between good
and evil. With the awakening to self-consciousness, however, the monadic ray
plays through into activity as the Breath itself, with freedom and selfhood
won. Nevertheless under the veils of forms the birthright of freedom of the
will may be overwhelmed amid the strains of the environment and the claims of
the elemental life in the bodies worn. The temptations of personal acquisitiveness
and sensual experience are severe to an extreme.
The Function of Buddhi
Hence the unique value of the third creation, which
begins with buddhi, and results in considerable measure in the modification
of the Breath so that it ‘abounds in goodness’. Moral and ethical
behaviour arise in human consciousness by contact with buddhi - though this
may be of the slightest. Every Avatar of the Gods, every sage, saint and great
teacher of mankind, founding a philosophy or religious system that fosters neighbourliness
and love of one’s fellows, has spread the light of buddhi. The True source,
fount and origin of that which we call spiritual inspiration and illumination
- all is of that reservoir of wisdom. And man, the one free agent in Nature,
possessed of mind, alone can respond consciously to buddhi.
‘The function of buddhi? On this plane it
has none, unless it is united with manas, the conscious Ego.’
[The Secret Doctrine, V: 494.]
‘Buddhi becomes conscious by the accretions
it gets from manas.’ [ibid., I: 289.]
‘Manas is the upâdhi (vesture)
of buddhi.’ [ibid., I: 163.]
The choice before every human being, in the long
run, is between a self-incurred dispossession of his birthright and hardly won
consciousness, on the one hand, and a self-won immortality, on the other.
Assistance in the choice is abundantly offered
but the decision and acceptance of the decision by oneself is a necessity because
based on the fact of freewill and the consequent freedom of human action.
At-one-ment, made vicariously by another,
is a vain and cruel delusion. Advice that is given in moral admonition, in the
confessions and analyses of the different branches of psychotherapy, may be
of real value if voluntary sought and voluntarily accepted - but vicarious shrivings
and absolutions given by another are as valueless as a life-belt to a fish.
Man, by virtue of his status, is free to ignore the wisdom offered and ultimately
vanish in oblivion, or to accept its guidance and inspiration and achieve immortality.
of every generation and among all people have intuitively sensed the inspiration
of buddhi - compassionate love - when with open mind and aspiration this celestial
reservoir of righteousness is sought. Interpretations of its nature and functions,
many and various, are made depending naturally on the status of the individual
thrilled with the contact. Vishnu, the Buddha, the Christ, Mahomet - it matters
of course not at all who speaks, however strong the tendency is to claim the
source to be one’s own ‘God’. A popular religious term for
the reservoir of unlimited goodness is The Treasury of Merit, and another,
The Grace of the Compassionate - and the latter is very appropriate.
The Earth Chain
Planetary Chain Problem
The birth and growth of Planetary Chains, with
their teaming life waves of nature’s kingdoms, have ever been something
of a mystery. The descriptive references in the literature of occultism are
fragmentary and much of it is symbolic. The first information given was in Mr.
Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism, based on the original Mahatma Letters,
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, pp 93-96.]
and in other early publications. These references, in their totality, reveal
a glimpse of little more than a frame outlining certain principles of creative
manifestation. Indeed it is clearly stated that fuller details were purposely
Among the eleven Stanzas of Dzyan omitted, there
is one which gives a full description of the formation of the Planetary Chains,
one after another. [The Secret Doctrine, I: 207.]
The terms - rounds, strings, rings, globes - adopted
in the early days to express unfamiliar concepts, have led to confusion not
because of inaccuracy so much as for their implications of separateness. In
the ‘Letters’ it was pointed out several times that the terms used
Mistakes arising from ... confusion of terms that
I had to learn from you - since it is you who are the author of
‘rounds' - 'rings'. [The Mahatma Letters, p.181.]
A serious misunderstanding of terms
also led to the inclusion of the planets Mars and Mercury among the globes of
our Chain. ‘A great mistake’, Madame Blavatsky called it. Their
inclusion has been inferred from an answer to a somewhat ill-defined query of
A.P. Sinnett’s. Both the question and the Master’s reply turn on
the meaning of ‘our system of worlds’. [ibid.,
pp. 148, 176.] Mr. Sinnett took the affirmative answer to apply
to our terrene Chain. Madame Blavatsky insisted that by the world ‘system’
a much wider view has been envisaged, and adds:
The writer, feeling sure that the speculation about
Mars and Mercury was a mistake, applied to the Teachers... for an explanation
... [In the answer is the following] Both
Mars and Mercury are septenary Chains ... independent of the earth’s sidereal
lords and superiors. [The Secret Doctrine, I: 219.]
While these very definite statements rule out Mars and Mercury as globes of
our Chain, there is a possible and likely reason for the references in Man,
Whence, How and Whither, pp 7, 85, 92. The relationship of the three planets
Mars, Venus and Mercury to the earth has been - and still is - close, particularly
that of the Regent of Venus and our human Hierarchy. The influence of Venus
is in the promotion of mind, especially its higher aspect. And the influence
of ‘fiery bodied Mars’ and the ‘occult and mysterious’
planet Mercury, in their relation to our humanity, is said to be concerned with
the desire nature of the personality and the spiritual principle of buddhi,
respectively. ‘As to Mars, Mercury and the “four other planets”
they bear a relation to the earth of which no Master or high occultist will
ever speak, much less explain their nature.’ (The Secret Doctrine,
I: 217.) The naming, in symbolism, of a planet to indicate a phase of growth
that groups of our own people have lived and worked on Mars for several lives
before incarnation in the fourth race on earth. Special courses on Mercury as
possible - and believed to be now actually in process. The faulty interpretation
of the words ‘our systems of worlds’ is at least understandable.
In her earlier comments on the misunderstanding, Madame Blavatsky added the
following: ‘If it is argued that certain expressions in the Teacher’s
letters were liable to mislead, the answer comes: Amen, so they were. The author
of Esoteric Buddhism understood it well when he wrote, “such are
the traditional modes of teaching, by provoking perplexity”. (The Secret
Doctrine, I: 218.)
In consequence, therefore, of our ignorance of
the background of knowledge that lies behind many statements in The Secret
Doctrine, and also of our western tendency to literalism and separate thinking,
the globes of a Chain have been regarded as separate and independent, circling
the sun in different orbits and each apparently on one plane only. The view
serves as a useful introduction to a complicated subject, but is very incomplete.
It is like learning the bass part of a choral symphony first: the part has its
place but, to appreciate its contribution, the symphony must be heard in its
entirety. The word Chain itself implies a close linking of parts.
The attempt here is to bring together from scattered
sources, and to review, the information available regarding the Planetary Chains
and the human constitution, for these are declared to be closely related and
‘to correspond curiously’. By so doing their relationship may be
clarified. In occultism the significance of correspondence is repeatedly stressed
and the application here has the promise of simplifying a cryptic subject.
The study has been undertaken the more willingly
because the writer, long ago, put on record a brief outline of the passage of
the life-waves from world to world according to all authorities. While the emphasis
placed on the phases of growth and development is correct, as there stated,
the mode of display suggests a separateness in structure that may mislead. Hence
this further presentation is supplementary to the earlier. [Chains
and Rounds, a small pamphlet.]
Earth and Its Companions
As we have already noted, the information regarding
the growth of our Planetary Chain has been obscure and often confused, giving
rise to controversies regarding its composition. This is presumably because
of the profound significance of its structure. Perhaps for this reason, in introducing
to western students the subject of a group of interpenetrating globes, of which
the earth is one, the simplest method was adopted.
Little more was given than the naming of the four
planes occupied by the seven Chains of the Earth Scheme, and the sweep of the
lifewave around them, as in Figure I.
The diagram illustrates forcefully the number and
vastness of the cycles needed to achieve the necessary physical basis for the
Monad. The small group of seven globes marked No. 4 constitute our Earth Chain,
with the earth as its densest member - and represents the goal of the whole
involuntary sweep. In the Chart on page 39, seven letters - A to G - are used
to distinguish these globes, the letter D representing the earth.
‘Growth and development’ of such a
group implies continual and progressive change, and this is as true of Planetary
Chains as it is of a human body's growth from infancy to maturity. Hence an
illustration or a diagram can never depict more than a momentary phase of growth.
Yet though more information was given in later works, the same general view
of the group of globes has usually been presented.
However a somewhat subtler and more comprehensive
view can be deduced from the explanatory commentaries of The Secret Doctrine,
and the following exposition is founded upon these.
The chain of globes to which our earth belongs
exists in three fields of energy. In the classic literature these are named
the mental world, the astral and the physical, the mental and physical being
each divided into subtler and denser levels. The seven globes of our Chain are
said to exist as follows: A and G in lower-mental matter, B and F on the astral
level, C and E on the etheric or subtle physical level, while the dense physical
globe, D, our earth, is a single globe standing alone. ‘The earth has
no sister globe.’ [The Secret Doctrine, I: 234.
With reference to a diagram (page 225) it is stated that the figures are applicable
mutatis mutandis to rounds, globes and races and adds ‘the fourth
member of a series occupies a unique position’.]
The globes are so described, however, that it is
evident on thoughtful reading that each successive globe, as it is formed, emerges
in close contact with the previous manifestation. So that in our Earth Chain,
while A and G are of mental material only, in the manifested world, B and F
are mental and astral, C and E are mental, astral and etheric, while D is linked
with all three types of matter, lower mental, astral and two types of physical.
Yet the total fields of activity of each of the different types of matter differ
in size as well as in quality, so that the subtler types extend beyond as well
as penetrate the denser.
As the Chain becomes denser, the globes develop
in sequence, all arising from a common centre, though not all, as noted, are
of the same substance. [The Secret Doctrine, I: 207,
208.] The sequences of the seven globes are shown in the following
Stanza VI describes this same succession:
[ibid., I: 196]
‘First one manifested, six concealed; Two
manifested, five concealed; Three manifested, four concealed .... Lastly Seven
Small Wheels revolving; one giving birth to the other.’
The chart above merely indicated the succession
of globes, and applies to the first four Chains, and similarly to the first
four Rounds of our own Earth cycle. In the sequence of Rounds the successive
emphasis upon the mental, astral, etheric and physical aspects of the globes
again recapitulates the earlier work of the Chains.
The mental field, or Globe A, the first to manifest,
is naturally based upon the Web of the Universe, shared by all the Chains of
our Solar System. It fills the entire field of the projected Chain, and has
the Ring-pass-not of the Chain for its periphery. The mental globe is the foundation
upon and in which all others exist. The astral field (Globe B) is at first composed
of two planes only, astral and mental, but later it becomes closely involved
with the denser levels. The subtle physical globe is at first interwoven with
the three fields, mental, astral and etheric, and then acts as the interior
matrix for the formation of dense physical matter. Finally the dense physical
globe emerges, interlocked with all four levels. In these divisions or fissions
and new births, the vital stimulating principle is supplied from the corresponding
globe of the previous Chain. [The Ancient Wisdom, by
Annie Besant, chapter XII.]
Our Earth Chain is thus a reincarnation of the
preceding Chains of our Scheme of Planets, and especially of its immediate predecessor,
the Moon Chain. Hence within its all-inclusive magnetic field, from its beginning,
the subtle globes of that Chain, with their unabsorbed planetary skandas represented
by seed vortices, were present, and were successively awakened into activity.
The history of our present Earth Chain, with its globes and Rounds, may therefore
be taken as dating from the very beginning of the Scheme. The proximity of the
moon itself - a relic of the preceding Chain, is an indication that the area
occupied by the Earth Chain in relation to the sun is approximately the same
as that of its predecessor. [The Secret Doctrine, I:
It should be added that, while the recapitulations
in the Rounds follow the pattern of the preceding Chains, they are naturally
on a more advanced spiral.
Fortunately, in a Master’s letter, quoted
in The Secret Doctrine, and already referred to in this article, a description
is given concerning the inter-relationship of the seven globes of our Chain:
‘The Globes which overshadow our Earth...are
in coadunition but not in consubstantiality with our Earth.’ [ibid.,
Coadunition is a botanical term for branchings
from the same point on a shrub or tree, such as a number of leaves. The few
allusions in The Mahatma Letters (see page 95) to ellipses and the epicycloid
form (wheels within wheels) afford a clue to this picture of related pairs of
globes as they exist in the successive Chains of a Scheme. It would appear that
the group of seven planets composing our Chain branch from a common point, are
closely related, and are assembled successively.
The phrase in the Stanzas ‘One
giving birth to the other’, when coupled with a shloka of Stanza III
- 'Father-Mother spin a Web’, reveals the method of reproduction of globes
to be the same as the reproduction of cells. ‘As above so below.’
In a small publication of the Stanzas of Dzyan with brief comments, probably
from notes left by H.P.B, the term ‘seven small wheels’ are said
to be our Chain of seven globes and ‘the student is advised to consider
the microscopic processes of cell development and the web which is spun’.
[1908 Edition, page 31.] The diagram illustrates
this cell division process (Figure II.
Those familiar with the processes
of propagation by fission will appreciate the relevance of this suggestion.
‘Separation (of the nucleus) into two parts heralds the inception of cell
division. As the two attractive spheres separate they appear to draw out the
intervening cytoplasm into a spindle of fine fibrils ...The tangle of fine threads
has resolved itself into a number of readily distinguishable filaments.’
[Reference as for the diagram, page 942.]
As the spheres separate and the two separate nuclei assume control, the result
is a double cell, which may continue to be joined or may separate completely.
In unicellular plants and animalculae, cell division results in complete separation,
the development of two individuals; in the case of higher forms, the cells remain
attached and the multicellular form emerges.
Thus it would seem from the comments and parallels
presented that the sequential appearance of the globes of a Chain may be presumed
to occur very much as a cell divides. The one planet (lower mental) in the first
Chain, for example, dividing like a cell, the two resulting mental globes would
remain attached as in Figure II.
of the two would then compose a generative centre (Vesica Piscis) [The
Vesica Piscis: In Euclidean geometry the first problem is to describe an equilateral
triangle upon a finite strait line. Two circles are drawn with the given line
as a common radius, as in Figure III. Within the interlaced circles two more
radii, all of course of equal length, form the equilateral triangle. The ovoid
formed by interlaced circles of equal diameter is known as the Vesica Piscis
and is regarded as the classical symbol of generation and creative life. The
Vesica serves to illustrate many aspects of creation, even at the highest
levels, in the terms of both life and form.
The geometric figure symbolizes
this brilliantly. The circles represent the division of the One into duality.
A trinity appears, the Breath and Spirit and Matter. The overlap of the circles
implies interaction in the Vesica, the symbol of regeneration, of new
birth, and therein the Breath is aroused into awareness, into consciousness.]
for the conception and birth of a third planet, the astro-mental, as in Figure
in its turn, divides and later gives birth to the fifth planet (astral-mental-etheric).
With the division of this etheric planet, towards the end of the third Chain,
there is a six-cell formation, six globes surrounding a central sphere destined
to be the final, centralised planet, its core being of physical matter at its
densest. The six surrounding planets ‘overshadow our earth’ and
their assembly is symbolically shown in the interlaced triangles of the Theosophical
Seal (Figure IV).
following diagrammatic illustration is an attempt at the representation of the
Planetary Chain of Globes with the central globe, the Earth, cradled in the
three-dimensional Web within the three Vesicas.
The Seven Globes of our Planetary Chain with a Common Centre - in Coadunition
first globe - lower-mental - divides into two, as a cell does, but these remain
interlocked, forming a ‘Vesica’ between them (A and G). The second
globe - astral- behaves similarly but at right-angles (B and F). The third globe
- physical etheric - again divides at right-angles C and E). And finally globe
D, our Earth, emerges supported within three vesicas. Imagine the Circles to
be Spheres and, further, that a dual C and E are in front of and behind D.
In Figure V the seven globes of the Chain are depicted
as three duals and the unique fourth, in their relative positions and association
in this the Fourth Round. The globes C and E must be imagined as behind and
in front of the middle of the figure, in the third dimension of space.
All are now assembled and the physical globe D
appears suspended within the three Vesicas of the surrounding dual-globes -
the Vesicas themselves forming a perfect octahedron in form. [The
central figure of the Platonic solids is the eight-sided figure, the octahedron,
most easily visualised as two pyramids with their square bases joined.]
Globe D thus is enabled to provide the stable foundation for the support and
future growth of the Chain, even to its maturity.
‘Our Earth, as the visible representative
of its invisible superior fellow-globes...has to live, as have the others, through
seven Rounds. During the first three, it forms and consolidates, during the
fourth it settles and hardens, during the last three, it gradually returns to
its first etherial form: it is spiritualised, so to say.’ [The
Secret Doctrine, I: 213,]
The paired spheres are not alike;
they are not duplicates. This distinctive difference is suggested in Madame
Blavatsky’s own grouping of the globes, for in one of her many diagrams
[ibid., 208.] the second of each pair is
placed at a higher level. The terms ‘shadowy’ for the descending
arc A-B-C and ‘luminous’ for the ascending arc E-F-G, used in The
Mahatma Letters, [page 95.] apply equally
to the circuits of the globes in a great Round and to the minor circuits by
individuals between incarnations.
The fourth circuit of the globes, the fourth Round,
is being made now. Within the field of our Planetary Chain, we have now reached
or are just beyond the turning point not only of the present Round but also
of the whole vast cycle of the Chain, and a basic radical change is occurring
in the direction and course of the Life. On the broad scale of the macrocosm,
the changeover from involution to evolution amounts practically to a reversal.
The path of return has begun.
During the building and division of the globes
on the three earlier Chains, a concentration of activity occurred on each in
succession. And when the lifewave passed on, the globe vacated is said to lapse
into obscuration. This, however, seems to be merely a comparatively short period
of reduced activity, of quiescence.
‘ “Obscurations” are not Pralayas...they
last in a proportion of one to ten.’ [The Mahatma
Letters, page 177.]
From the turning point onwards and henceforth,
as the globes are vivified on the remainder of this Round and later, they will
all of them tend more and more to continue in activity, from the physical globe
to the mental, right up to the seventh Round of consummation. Awakenings overtake
obscurations. At the consummation of the seventh Round, when the whole Earth
Chain becomes equilbrised, to use Madame Blavatsky’s term, the physical
globe is perfected. Its subtle but still physical form is retained until the
very end of the cycle. Its function might be described perhaps as the Chain’s
catalyst - and it remains as the perfected Egg, containing the seeds of the
The retention of the physical structure of the
fourth globe, our earth, till the final Round of the Chain is well founded.
[The Secret Doctrine, I: 213.] Its
great value is due to its comparatively stable qualities, to its prithevi
tattva, its measure of vibration. It appears to contribute to the vast field
of the Chain a foundation of stability. The term Round itself becomes inappropriate,
as life - in terms of human consciousness, spiritually illumined, transcends
many of its formal limitations and moves from an interest in analysis and structure
to synthesis and living values. Consciousness can then retain the clarity of
physical contacts even while its centre of direction, within its harmonised
vestures, recedes to subtler levels. Correspondingly, the worlds of the etheric,
astral and mental planes become successively balanced and in equilibrium.
On the forthgoing path, the worlds awaken and stimulate
consciousness. On the returning path, the worlds obey. In macrocosm and microcosm
the separate aspects of the One tend towards harmony and union.