THE ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE
In The Secret Doctrine we are told that Plato was not merely the greatest philosopher of Greece but also an Adept who belonged psychically, mentally and spiritually to the higher planes of evolution, a 'Fifth-rounder' in the Fourth Round, immensely higher than is our present humanity. He imparted spiritual truths through myths and allegories as his aim was both to awaken the Manas and to arouse the Buddhi of his hearers. In the ratiocinative climate of our own age, his myths have been often dismissed as mere poetic fantasies, and some have even suggested that they were employed to cover up deficiencies in his chain of reasoning. As a result his system of philosophy and political thought has not been properly grasped by his critics.
"Kosmos – the NOUMENON – has nought to do with the causal relations of the phenomenal World" (The Secret Doctrine, i 3). We are told by Shankaracharya that the knowledge of the absolute Spirit, like the effulgence of the sun, or like the heat in the fire, is naught else than the absolute Essence itself. The Dhyan-Chohans do for the universe what Plato's guardians do for the polis. "They are the Intelligent Forces that give to and enact in Nature her 'laws,' while themselves acting according to laws imposed upon them in a similar manner by still higher Powers" (The Secret Doctrine, i 38). Where the normal eye sees only blackness, the average mystic sees a grey twilight and the spiritual eye of the Initiate sees absolute Light. The One Being is the noumenon of all the noumena which must underlie phenomena and give them whatever shadow of reality they possess, but which we have not the senses or the intellect to cognize at present.
The Secret Doctrine, with its teaching about planes of reality and appropriate states of consciousness, generalizes at a metaphysical level the truth underlying the allegory of the cave. In The Voice of the Silence we are given the practical and ethical corollary of this metaphysical truth. We are made to realize the helpless condition of the hosts of souls who will not avail themselves of Maya, and we are firmly told: "Give up thy life, if thou wouldst live."
Hermes, February 1975