GNOSIS, GOOD AND EVIL
The God of the Theologians is simply an imaginary power, un loup garou as d'Holbach expressed it - a power which has never yet manifested itself. Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery. Pantheistic we may be called - agnostic NEVER. If people are willing to accept and to regard as God our ONE LIFE immutable and unconscious in its eternity, they may do so and thus keep to one more gigantic misnomer. But then they will have to say with Spinoza that there is not, and that we cannot conceive, any other substance than God; or as that famous and unfortunate philosopher says in his fourteenth proposition, " praeter Deum neque dari neque concipi potest substantia" - and thus become Pantheists. . . . When we speak of our One Life we also say that it penetrates, nay is the essence of every atom of matter; and that therefore it not only has correspondence with matter but has all its properties likewise, etc. - hence is material, is matter itself. . . .
Our reasons may be briefly summed up thus:
1. We deny the absurd proposition that there can be, even in a boundless and eternal universe, two infinite eternal and omnipresent existences.
2. Matter we know to be eternal, i.e., having no beginning (a) because matter is Nature herself (b) because that which cannot annihilate itself and is indestructible exists necessarily - and there fore it could not begin to be, nor can it cease to be (c) because the accumulated experience of countless ages and that of exact science show to us matter (or nature) acting by her own peculiar energy, of which not an atom is ever in an absolute state of rest, and therefore it must have always existed, i.e., its materials ever changing form, combinations and properties, but its principles or elements being absolutely indestructible. . . .
3. Intelligence as found in our Dhyan Chohans is a faculty that can appertain but to organized or animated being - however imponderable or rather invisible the materials of their organizations. Intelligence requires the necessity of thinking; to think one must have ideas; ideas suppose senses which are physical material, and how can anything material belong to pure spirit? If it be objected that thought cannot be a property of matter, we will ask the reason why? We must have an unanswerable proof of this assumption, before we can accept it. . . .
We do not bow our heads in the dust before the mystery of mind - for we have solved it ages ago. Rejecting with contempt the theistic theory, we reject as much the automaton theory, teaching that states of consciousness are produced by the marshalling of the molecules of the brain; and we feel as little respect for that other hypothesis - the production of molecular motion by consciousness. Then what do we believe in? Well, we believe in the much laughed at phlogiston (see article "What is Force and What is Matter?" Theosophist, September), and in what some natural philosophers would call nisus, the incessant though perfectly imperceptible (to the ordinary senses) motion or efforts one body is making on another - the pulsations of inert matter - its life. The bodies of the Planetary Spirits are formed of that which Priestley and others called phlogiston and for which we have another name - this essence in its highest seventh state forming that matter of which the organisms of the highest and purest Dhyanis are composed, and in its lowest or densest form (so impalpable yet that science calls it energy and force) serving as a cover to the Planetaries of the first or lowest degree. . . .
Evil has no existence per se and is but the absence of good and exists but for him who is made its victim. It proceeds from two causes, and no more than good is it an independent cause in nature. Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called Evil in Nature. The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself from Nature. Humanity, then, alone is the true source of evil. . . .
Read the Mahavagga and try to understand, not with the prejudiced Western mind but the spirit of intuition and truth what the Fully Enlightened one says in the first Khandhaka. Allow me to translate it for you.
At the time the blessed Buddha was at Uruvela on the shores of the river Neranjara as he rested under the Bodhi tree of wisdom after he had become Sambuddha, at the end of the seventh day having his mind fixed on the chain of causation he spoke thus: "From Ignorance spring the samkharas of threefold nature - productions of body, of speech, of thought. From the samkharas springs consciousness, from consciousness springs name and form, from this spring the six regions (of the six senses, the seventh being the property of but the enlightened); from these springs contact from this sensation; from this springs thirst (or desire, kama, tanha); from thirst attachment, existence, birth, old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair. Again by the destruction of ignorance, the samkharas are destroyed, and their consciousness, name and form, the six regions, contact, sensation, thirst, attachment (selfishness), existence, birth, old age, death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair are destroyed. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering."
Knowing this the Blessed One uttered this solemn utterance:
When the real nature of things becomes clear to the meditating Bhikshu, then all his doubts fade away since he has learnt what is that nature and what its cause. From ignorance spring all the evils. From knowledge comes the cessation of this mass of misery, and then the meditating Brahmana stands dispelling the hosts of Mara like the sun that illuminates the sky.
Meditation here means the superhuman (not supernatural) qualities, or arhatship in its highest of spiritual powers.