Secret Doctrine Series ~ Man, The Pale Shadow of God
MAN, THE PALE SHADOW OF GOD
Now, as everything proceeds cyclically, the evolution of man like everything else, the order in which he is generated is described fully in the Eastern teachings, whereas it is only hinted at in the Kabala. Says the Book of Dzyan with regard to primeval man when first projected by the "Boneless," the incorporeal Creator: "First, the Breath, then Buddhi, and the Shadow-Son (the Body) were 'CREATED.' But where was the pivot (the middle principle, Manas)? Man is doomed. When alone, the indiscrete (undifferentiated Element) and the Vahan (Buddhi) – the cause of the causeless – break asunder from manifested life" – "unless cemented and held together by the middle principle, the vehicle of the personal consciousness of JIVA"; explains the Commentary. In other words, the two higher principles can have no individuality on Earth, cannot be man, unless there is (a) the Mind, the Manas-Ego, to cognize itself, and (b) the terrestrial false personality, or the body of egotistical desires and personal Will, to cement the whole, as if round a pivot (which it is, truly), to the physical form of man. It is the Fifth and the Fourth principles 1 – Manas and Kama rupa – that contain the dual personality: the real immortal Ego (if it assimilates itself to the two higher) and the false and transitory personality, the mayavi or astral body, so-called, or the animal-human Soul – the two having to be closely blended for purposes of a full terrestrial existence. Incarnate the Spiritual Monad of a Newton grafted on that of the greatest saint on earth – in a physical body the most perfect you can think of – i.e., in a two or even a three-principled body composed of its Sthula Sarira, prana (life principle), and linga sarira – and, if it lacks its middle and fifth principles, you will have created an idiot – at best a beautiful, soul-less, empty and unconscious appearance. "Cogito – ergo sum" can find no room in the brain of such a creature, not on this plane, at any rate.
There are students, however, who have long ago understood the philosophical meaning underlying the allegory – so tortured and disfigured by the Roman Church – of the Fallen Angels. "The Kingdom of Spirits and spiritual action which flows from and is the product of Spirit Volition, is outside and contrasted with and in contradiction to the Kingdom of (divine) Souls and divine action." 2 As said in the text:
"Like produces like and no more at the Genesis of being, and evolution with its limited conditioned laws comes later. The Self-Existent 3 are called CREATIONS, for they appear in the Spirit Ray, manifested through the potency inherent in its UNBORN Nature, which is beyond time and (limited or conditioned) Space. Terrene products, animate and inanimate, including mankind, are falsely called creation and creatures: they are the development (evolution) of the discrete elements." (Commentary. xiv.)
"The Heavenly rupa (Dhyan Chohan) creates (man) in his own form; it is a spiritual ideation consequent on the first differentiation and awakening of the universal (manifested) Substance; that form is the ideal shadow of Itself: and this is THE MAN OF THE FIRST RACE."
To express it in still clearer form, limiting the explanation to this earth only, it was the duty of the first "differentiated Egos" – the Church calls them Archangels – to imbue primordial matter with the evolutionary impulse and guide its formative powers in the fashioning of its productions. This it is which is referred to in the sentences both in the Eastern and Western tradition –"the Angels were commanded to create." After the Earth had been made ready by the lower and more material powers, and its three Kingdoms fairly started on their way to be "fruitful and multiply," the higher powers, the Archangels or Dhyanis, were compelled by the evolutionary Law to descend on Earth, in order to construct the crown of its evolution – MAN. Thus the "Self-created" and the "Self-existent" projected their pale shadows; but group the Third, the Fire-Angels, rebelled and refused to join their Fellow Devas.
Hindu exotericism represents them all as Yogins, whose piety inspired them to refuse creating, as they desired to remain eternally Kumâras, "Virgin Youths," in order to, if possible, anticipate their fellows in progress towards Nirvana – the final liberation. But, agreeably to esoteric interpretation, it was a self-sacrifice for the benefit of mankind. The "Rebels" would not create will-less irresponsible men, as the "obedient" angels did; nor could they endow human beings with only the temporary reflections of their own attributes; for even the latter, belonging to another and a so-much higher plane of consciousness, would leave man still irresponsible, hence interfere with any possibility of a higher progress. No spiritual and psychic evolution is possible on earth – the lowest and most material plane – for one who on that plane, at all events, is inherently perfect and cannot accumulate either merit or demerit. Man remaining the pale shadow of the inert, immutable, and motionless perfection, the one negative and passive attribute of the real I am that I am, would have been doomed to pass through life on earth as in a heavy dreamless sleep; hence a failure on this plane. The Beings, or the Being, collectively called Elohim, who first (if ever) pronounced the cruel words, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever . . . " must have been indeed the Ilda-baoth, the Demiurge of the Nazarenes, filled with rage and envy against his own creature, whose reflection created Ophiomorphos. In this case it is but natural – even from the dead letter standpoint – to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he who was the "Harbinger of Light," bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton created by Jehovah, as alleged; and he who was the first to whisper: "in the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil" – can only be regarded in the light of a Saviour. An "adversary" to Jehovah the "personating spirit," he still remains in esoteric truth the ever-loving "Messenger" (the angel), the Seraphim and Cherubim who both knew well, and loved still more, and who conferred on us spiritual, instead of physical immortality – the latter a kind of static immortality that would have transformed man into an undying "Wandering Jew."
As narrated in King's "Gnostics," "Ilda-Baoth, whom several sects regarded as the God of Moses, was not a pure spirit, he was ambitious and proud, and rejecting the spiritual light of the middle space offered him by his mother Sophia-Achamoth, he set himself to create a world of his own. Aided by his sons, the six planetary genii, he fabricated man, but this one proved a failure. It was a monster, soulless, ignorant, and crawling on all fours on the ground like a material beast. Ilda-Baoth was forced to implore the help of his spiritual mother. She communicated to him a ray of her divine light, and so animated man and endowed him with a soul. And now began the animosity of Ilda-Baoth toward his own creature. Following the impulse of the divine light, man soared higher and higher in his aspirations; very soon he began presenting not the image of his creator Ilda-Baoth but rather that of the Supreme Being, the 'primitive man,' Ennoia. Then the Demiurgos was filled with rage and envy; and fixing his jealous eye on the abyss of matter, his looks envenomed with passion were suddenly reflected as in a mirror; the reflection became animate, and there arose out of the abyss Satan, serpent, Ophiomorphos – 'the embodiment of envy and cunning. He is the union of all that is most base in matter, with the hate, envy, and craft of a spiritual intelligence.' " This is the exoteric rendering of the Gnostics, and the allegory, though a sectarian version, is suggestive, and seems true to life. It is the natural deduction from the dead letter text of chapter iii. of Genesis.
Hence the allegory of Prometheus, who steals the divine fire so as to allow men to proceed consciously on the path of spiritual evolution, thus transforming the most perfect of animals on earth into a potential god, and making him free to "take the kingdom of heaven by violence." Hence also, the curse pronounced by Zeus against Prometheus, and by Jehovah-Il-da-Baoth against his "rebellious son," Satan. The cold, pure snows of the Caucasian mountain and the never-dying, singeing fire and flames of an extinguishable hell. Two poles, yet the same idea; the dual aspect of a refined torture: a fire producer – the personified emblem of "phosphoros" of the astral fire and light in the anima mundi – (that element of which the German materialist philosopher Moleschott said: "ohne phosphor kein gedanke," i.e., without phosphorus no thought), burning in the fierce flames of his terrestrial passions; the conflagration fired by his Thought, discerning as it now does good from evil, and yet a slave to the passions of its earthly Adam; feeling the vulture of doubt and full consciousness gnawing at its heart – a Prometheus indeed, because a conscious, hence a responsible entity. 4 The curse of life is great, yet how few are those men, outside some Hindu and Sufi mystics, who would exchange all the tortures of conscious life, all the evils of a responsible existence, for the unconscious perfection of a passive (objectively) incorporeal being, or even the universal static Inertia personified in Brahmâ during his "night's" rest. For, to quote from an able article by one 5 who, confusing the planes of existence and consciousness, fell a victim to it:
"Satan, or Lucifer, represents the active, or, as M. Jules Baissac calls it, the 'Centrifugal Energy of the Universe' in a cosmic sense. He is Fire, Light, Life, Struggle, Effort, Thought, Consciousness, Progress, Civilization, Liberty, Independence. At the same time he is pain, which is the Re-action of the pleasure of action, and death – which is the revolution of life – Satan, burning in his own hell, produced by the fury of his own momentum – the expansive disintegration of the nebulæ which is to concentrate into new worlds. And fitly is he again and again baffled by the eternal Inertia of the passive energy of the Kosmos – the inexorable 'I AM' – the flint from which the sparks are beaten out. Fitly is he . . . and his adherents . . . consigned to the 'sea of fire,' because it is the Sun (in one sense only in the Cosmic allegory), the fount of life in our system, where they are purified (disintegrated) and churned up to re-arrange them for another life (the resurrection); that Sun which, as the origin of the active principle of our Earth, is at once the Home and the Source of the Mundane Satan. . ." To demonstrate furthermore the accuracy of Baissac's general theory (in Le Diable et Satan) cold is known to have a 'Centripetal' effect. "Under the influence of cold everything contracts. . . . Under it life hybernates, or dies out, thought congeals, and fire is extinguished. Satan is immortal in his own Fire-Sea – it is only in the 'Nifl-heim' (the cold Hell of the Scandinavian Eddas) of the 'I AM' that he cannot exist. But for all that there is a kind of Immortal Existence in the Nifl-heim, and that existence must be painless and peaceful, because it is Unconscious and Inactive. In the Kingdom of Jehovah (if this God were all that the Jews and Christians claim for him) there is no Misery, no War, no marrying and giving in marriage, no change, no Individual Consciousness. 6 All is absorbed in the spirit of the most Powerful. It is emphatically a kingdom of Peace and loyal Submission as that of the 'Arch-Rebel' is one of War and Revolution. . . It (the former) is in fact what Theosophy calls Nirvana. But then Theosophy teaches that separation from the Primal Source having once occurred, Re-union can only be achieved by Will – Effort – which is distinctly Satanic in the sense of this essay."
It is "Satanic" from the standpoint of orthodox Romanism, for it is owing to the prototype of that which became in time the Christian Devil – to the Radiant Archangels, Dhyans-Chohans, who refused to create, because they wanted Man to become his own creator and an immortal god – that men can reach Nirvana and the haven of heavenly divine Peace.
To close this rather lengthy comment, the Secret Doctrine teaches that the Fire-Devas, the Rudras, and the Kumâras, the "Virgin-Angels," (to whom Michael and Gabriel, the Archangels, both belong), the divine "Rebels" – called by the all-materializing and positive Jews, the Nahash or "Deprived" – preferred the curse of incarnation and the long cycles of terrestrial existence and rebirths, to seeing the misery (even if unconscious) of the beings (evolved as shadows out of their Brethren) through the semi-passive energy of their too spiritual Creators. If "man's uses of life should be such as neither to animalize nor to spiritualize, but to humanize Self," 7 before he can do so, he must be born human not angelic. Hence, tradition shows the celestial Yogis offering themselves as voluntary victims in order to redeem Humanity – created god-like and perfect at first – and to endow him with human affections and aspirations. To do this they had to give up their natural status and, descending on our globe, take up their abode on it for the whole cycle of the Mahayuga, thus exchanging their impersonal individualities for individual personalities – the bliss of sidereal existence for the curse of terrestrial life. This voluntary sacrifice of the Fiery Angels, whose nature was Knowledge and Love, was construed by the exoteric theologies into a statement that shows "the rebel angels hurled down from heaven into the darkness of Hell" – our Earth. Hindu philosophy hints at the truth by teaching that the Asuras hurled down by Siva, are only in an intermediate state in which they prepare for higher degrees of purification and redemption from their wretched condition; but Christian theology, claiming to be based on the rock of divine love, charity, and justice of him it appeals to as its Saviour – has invented, to enforce that claim paradoxically, the dreary dogma of hell, that Archimedean lever of Roman Catholic philosophy.
As to Rabbinical Wisdom – than which there is none more positive, materialistic, or grossly terrestrial, as it brings everything down to physiological mysteries – it calls these Beings, the "Evil One;" and the Kabalists – Nahash, "Deprived," as just said, and the Souls, that have thrown themselves, after having been alienated in Heaven from the Holy One, into an abyss at the dawn of their very existence, and have anticipated the time when they are to descend on earth. (Zohar iii., 61, C.)
And let me explain at once that our quarrel is not with the Zohar and the Kabala in their right interpretation – for the latter is ours – but only with the gross, pseudo-esoteric explanations of the later, and especially those of the Christian Kabalists.
1 The history of Prometheus, Karma, and human consciousness, is found further on. 2 "New Aspects of Life." 3 Angelic, Spiritual Essences, immortal in their being because unconditioned in Eternity; periodical and conditioned in their Manvantaric manifestations. 4 The Fourth, and the Fifth from below beginning by the physical body; the Third and the Fourth, if we reckon from Atma. 5 By an Englishman whose erratic genius killed him. The son of a Protestant clergyman, he became a Mahomedan, then a rabid atheist, and after meeting with a master, a Guru, he became a mystic; then a theosophist who doubted, despaired; threw up white for black magic, went insane and joined the Roman Church. Then again turning round, anathematized her, re-became an atheist, and died cursing humanity, knowledge, and God, in whom he had ceased to believe. Furnished with all the esoteric data to write his "War in Heaven," he made a semi-political article out of it, mixing Malthus with Satan, and Darwin with the astral light. Peace be to his – Shell. He is a warning to the chelas who fail. His forgotten tomb may now be seen in the Mussulman burial ground of the Joonagad, Kathiawar, in India. 6 The author talks of the active, fighting, damning Jehovah as though he were a synonym of Parabrahm! We have quoted from this article to show where it dissents from theosophic teachings; otherwise it would be quoted someday against us, as everything published in the Theosophist generally is. 7 Explaining the Kabala, Dr. H. Pratt says, "Spirit was to man (to the Jewish Rabbin, rather?) a bodiless, disembodied, or deprived, and degraded being, and hence was termed by the ideograph Nahash 'Deprived;' represented as appearing to and seducing the human race – men through the Woman. . . . In the picture from this Nahash, this spirit was represented by a serpent, because from its destitution of bodily members, the Serpent was looked upon as a deprived and depraved and degraded creature" ("New Aspects," p. 235). Symbol for symbol there are those who would prefer that of the serpent – the symbol of wisdom and eternity, deprived of limbs as it is – to the Jod – the poetical ideograph of Jehovah in the Kabala – the god of the male symbol of generation.
H. P. Blavatsky The Secret Doctrine, ii 241 -247