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Jiva and Self-Generation



The Secret Doctrine, i 222

 The archaic Stanzas of Dzyan present a symbolic statement of the archetypal process of becoming throughout all planes and in all spheres of manifestation. It is none other than that through which the One becomes the many while remaining the One within the many. At the highest level of abstraction, surpassing both subtle and sensory perceptions, as well as all the conceptions of the materializing mind, the one pure Ray of primordial Light out of the absolute Darkness is said to multiply the smaller rays. This is a symbolic representation of the quintessential logic of differentiation, the logic of divine descent and manvantaric manifestation. There is in this fundamental logic a mirroring of the miraculous nature of birth on every plane. Gestation and growth on every plane is rooted in the universal solidarity of all life. That solidarity is much more than a physical fact or a psychic sentiment. It is a moral and metaphysical framework within which takes place all transformation of form and consciousness.

 The symbolic code language of Gupta Vidya contains the fundamental challenge of Divine Wisdom to modern thought. Through elaboration and ramification, modern thought has created a vast conceptual structure of explanation and thus unravelled many secondary processes of causation. Yet, at the same time, modern thought cannot explain so basic a phenomenon as how a foetus emerges and develops from a single minute cell. Despite all the popular cliches about the extension of life through genetic engineering, the fundamental mystery of the embryo remains. Similarly, modern thought has little to say about the metaphysical mystery of the One or the psychological mystery of the Ego. In all three, there is the same challenge. The mystery of the One is a challenge of metaphysics and meditation. In meditating, one gathers within oneself all the many rays, archetypally collected into the primary seven and then merged into one central invisible point. Through repeated effort, one can thus experience something of that state of consciousness which is prior to differentiation. This is an experience of the metaphysical Void, but it is different from the experience of deep sleep because one retains full self-consciousness.

 The challenge is to imagine what it would be like in the Divine Darkness, where there is no thing and no forms. Then one must imagine that within the germ of divine thought within the Divine Darkness there may arise one ray of ideational energy which contains the potentiality of the entire cosmos. From that one ray one must imagine an entire ordered array of progressive elaborations and manifestations. This is symbolized in the language of the Kabbalah by the phrase "thrones, powers and principalities". These refer to all the subtle hosts of invisible Nature. In meditation one must reach beyond all of them to the One. Then one will be able to accommodate all these thrones and powers and principalities, the manifold hierarchies involved in multiplication of the one ray, within the folds of hebdomadic and unitary life. Although this is a challenge to metaphysics, it can only be met through deep meditation.

 The mystery of the one Ego was intimated by Plato, who said that the human soul was a compound of the same and the other. This is the mystery of that which is different from, yet consubstantial with, that which it reflects. This mystery poses a profound challenge to one's deepest sense of "I-am-I" consciousness. At the root, "I-am-I" consciousness involves a total negation of all time and form, and of all identification with memories, sensations, expectations and anticipations. It can also abstract from all that exists in the realm of appearances and thus experience pure being, which is indivisible and universal. How, then, is "I-am-I" consciousness different from Deity itself? That is, one might say, the ultimate mystery of the Sphinx, the riddle that has to be unravelled by each human soul, not in sleep or dreams and not after death, but through intense reflection in waking consciousness. This abstraction of meaning from experience must be achieved through introspection, through identification with other hearts and minds and souls, and also through the intimate knowledge of all the life-atoms that ceaselessly circulate between all beings. The soul must acquire a working acquaintance with the pantheistic conception of Deity in Nature. To solve the problem of the Ego in its entirety is the fundamental challenge of meta-psychology.

 Both of these problems – the problem of the One in relation to the many and the problem of the same and the other in relation to the "I-am-I" consciousness – are replicated and reflected within the mystery of the embryo, the foetus and the germinal cell. H.P. Blavatsky posed the challenge to biological thought by asking

whether it seems unnatural, least of all "supernatural", to any one of us, when we consider that process known as the growth and development of a foetus into a healthy baby weighing several pounds – evolves from what? From the segmentation of an infinitesimally small ovum and a spermatozoon; and afterwards we see that baby develop into a six-foot man!

Ibid., 222

 The mysteries of embryology are inseparable from those of cosmology. The philosophy of Gupta Vidya is fundamentally based upon the ultimate analogy in every process of manifestation between the most cosmic and the most atomic, between the divine and the human. Hence, the Stanzas of Dzyan, in depicting the origin of the cosmos, contain innumerable references to Hiranyagarbha – the cosmic egg. They speak of the primeval gestation within the waters of space, and explain how the entire spectrum of worlds emerges from a point in the germ to yield manifestation as we know it. These cosmological processes are truly difficult to comprehend, for they raise fundamental questions which cannot be answered merely through some pious reference to the heavens or through intellectual imagery. Unfortunately, this is all that pseudo-religious and pseudo-philosophic traditions have done, and they have therefore failed to answer the challenges of universal cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis. If one grasped the integrity of the universal processes that give rise both to Nature and Man, then one would understand that these questions are no easier to answer than parallel questions about the human body and physical birth. Since Deity, Man and Nature are philosophically inseparable, one cannot comprehend the origin of the cosmos, the origin of humanity or the birth of a single baby independently of each other. One needs to regain a sense of wonder that something so infinitesimally small as an initial germinal cell can give rise to a full-grown human being.

 H.P. Blavatsky proceeded to develop and sharpen the mysteries which embryology poses by crediting modern thought with an approximate understanding of

the atomic and physical expansion from the microscopically small into something very large, from the – to the naked eye – unseen, into the visible and objective. Science has provided for all this; and, I dare say, her theories, embryological, biological, and physiological, are correct enough so far as exact observation of the material goes. Nevertheless, the two chief difficulties of the science of embryology – namely, what are the forces at work in the formation of the foetus, and the cause of "hereditary transmission" of likeness, physical, moral or mental – have never been properly answered; nor will they ever be solved till the day when scientists condescend to accept the Occult theories.

Ibid., 222-223

 If, in other words, one wishes to give a systematic account of the process of immense expansion that goes on in the development of the foetus, one must have a knowledge of different planes and subplanes of matter, mind and consciousness. One must also develop an account of the interactions of these agencies and forces during the different stages of the development of the foetus, and give a philosophically coherent account of the processes of transmission of likeness, through which active forces promote actual growth. In commenting upon one of the more intuitive developments of nineteenth century biology, H.P. Blavatsky praised Professor Weissmann and his view of the ancestral germ-cell operating on the physical plane. She made a vital distinction between this physical plasm and a spiritual plasm. If one accepts the notion of an ancestral germinal cell which is through its very substance the agent of transmission over an immense period of time, then one must ask at what point man becomes endowed with that cell. Suggesting the metaphysical mystery of Jiva or cosmic life-energy, she stated:

 Complete the physical plasm...the "Germinal Cell" of man with all its material potentialities, with the "spiritual plasm", so to say, or the fluid that contains the five lower principles of the six-principled Dhyan – and you have the secret, if you are spiritual enough to understand it.

Ibid., 224

 Such fundamental questions cannot be answered on the basis of inductive methods and within the confining categories of modern thought. No experimental science, however systematic and complicated, can penetrate the ontology of the process of becoming. A poet or mystic, using metaphors, can often come much closer to invoking a sense of the mystery of that process, as, for example, when Rupert Brooke wrote, "Dateless and deathless...the intricate impulse works its will." Poetic intuition intimates something intrinsic and inherent to the life process, something that is extremely fertile, extremely complex and intelligent, yet unerringly precise. The vision of mystics and poets touches that which is beginningless and endless in life, that which eludes all categories, formulas and equations.

 The substantial and independent nature of the life principle is one of the fundamental tenets of Gupta Vidya. Behind all the myriads upon myriads of phenomena of life in form subsists that which is prior, and also posterior, to all forms. The continuity of this life-essence is expressed in the concept of the sutratman or life-thread, the essence of which is like a ray originating or penetrating innumerable embodiments. It is also likened to a drop which is an integral part of a vast indivisible ocean of life-energy or Jiva. Universal Life at the macrocosmic level must be understood on its own – independent of function, independent of manifestation and independent of form. This marks a fundamental point of divergence between the methods of modern knowledge and the modes of Divine Wisdom. According to arcane science, life alone can understand life. One must experience through meditation what it is to give birth to an idea, to a current of ideation which can then produce a powerful electrical vibration in the Akasha. This process of abstraction in the unseen universe stirs up all that is latent and consubstantial with an authentically universal idea, and which can thereby work over immense periods of time through many minds and in many forms.

 To comprehend this brings one closer to the magic of Bodhisattvas and Mahatmas, as well as to the powers of creation, spontaneous generation and gestation that are inherent to Universal Life. Only in this way can one begin to apprehend something of the inexhaustible ocean of life. In order to begin to understand what it means to give birth to an idea, one might meditate upon the architectonic process of evolution from a minute germ into a foetus. To think deeply and profoundly about this would involve thinking about all the stages through which the foetus passes, by analogy with the cosmic process. Then, though one may not immediately approach the mystery of embryology or cosmology, one will begin to experience something of the logic of that process of becoming which the Stanzas of Dzyan put in terms of the one Ray multiplying the smaller rays. This is the universal and archetypal mode of the manifestation of life which precedes form and which survives the last atom of form. For the human being, that process must be intuited and experienced within the noetic mind before it can be understood in its reflected forms.

 Once one gains some experience of this inward process of life, then one can understand that seemingly familiar reflections of life on the gross physical plane are in fact profoundly mysterious, unfamiliar and wonderful. From an occult standpoint the gestation of the human physical foetus is almost totally misunderstood by contemporary biology. Since, for example, contemporary biology is completely ignorant of the processes of the involution of spirit into matter through successive rounds and globes of the earth chain, its observation that embryogenesis follows the lines of phylogenesis is inaccurate. Gupta Vidya is totally at odds with contemporary evolutionism and particularly with Darwinian and neo-Darwinian ideas. It holds that the human species is much older than all the fauna that have gone through so many transformations on the physical earth plane. Whilst agreeing that there is not a single animal today which exists as it did millions of years ago, it nonetheless holds that the human form is indeed identical to the human form that existed long before all the fauna of the mammalian kingdom came into existence. Further, there is that within the human form which is archetypal in a cosmic and divine sense.

 It is, not surprisingly, extremely difficult for contemporary human beings to understand the sanctity of the human form or to recognize the body as a divine temple. They are too engrossed in sense-perceptions and too engaged in the desacralization of the human body, which starts with the abuse of sex even before puberty. Yet the body is in truth the most divine phenomenon in the universe. If humanity knew this during the golden age of the Third Root Race, it certainly lost sight of it a long time ago.

 Yet the nature and development of the physical human form is inseparable from the inner growth of man. Pointing to the supercilious attitude of contemporary humanity to its own physical embodiment, H.P. Blavatsky remarked:

 If this physical phenomenon astonishes no one, except in so far as it puzzles the Embryologists, why should our intellectual and inner growth, the evolution of the human-spiritual to the Divine-Spiritual, be regarded as, or seem, more impossible than the other?

Ibid., 223-224

 If a foetus and eventually a human form can develop from a cell, why cannot human beings develop their subtle spiritual vestures in a similar manner? What is the nature of that spiritual germinal cell which can be energized by meditation and which can unfold to the full glory of human perfection? If one asks how a basis of continuity and transmission of physical life came to exist in man, one can also seek the origin and nature of that spiritual plasm within the universal history of the human race. This is connected with the mysteries of the embodiment in matter of the Dhyanis. It is not something which only took place long ago, but a continuing fact of manifested life. H.P. Blavatsky quoted from a work on occult embryology as follows:

 When the seed of t he animal ,an is cast into the soil of the animal woman, the seed cannot germinate unless it has been fructified by the five virtues (the fluid of, or the emanation from the principles) of the six-fold Heavenly man. Wherefore the Microcosm is represented as a Pentagon, within the Hexagon Star, the "Macrocosm".

Ibid., 224

Thus, there is actually involved in the birth of a physical human being that which is quite independent of physical procreation and physical passion. It involves the cosmic hierarchies, the divine elements within the invisible theogony of the universe that constitute the Dhyani Buddhas.

 Some of the Dhyani Buddhas are involved with the lower principles and hence with the physical processes of gestation and conception. Others have much higher functions in relation to universal life. All are relevant to the life of the microcosm within the macrocosm, the pentagon within the hexagonal star. All are somehow reflected in the process of embryogenesis and involved in the unfoldment of consciousness that takes place throughout the life cycle of the human being. In fact, there is no point in the experience of any human being that does not involve the hosts of Dhyanis. This may be understood by grasping the fact that life as an abstract universal essence is present in all its potency in every one of its differentiations. Again quoting from the same source, H.P. Blavatsky continued:

 "The functions of Jiva on this Earth are of a five-fold character. In the mineral atom it is connected with the lowest principles of the Spirits of the Earth (the six-fold Dhyanis); in the vegetable particle, with their second – the Prana (life); in the animal, with all these plus the third and the fourth; in man, the germ must receive the fruition of all the five. Otherwise he will be born no higher than an animal"; namely, a congenital idiot. Thus in man alone the Jiva is complete. As to his seventh principle, it is but one of the Beams of the Universal Sun. Each rational creature receives only the temporary loan of that which has to return to its source; while his physical body is shaped by the lowest terrestrial lives, through physical, chemical, and physiological evolution.


 It is crucial that Jiva not be narrowed down to its aspects on the lower planes of manifestation. It is true that there is life in the infusoria, the bacteria and the minutiae of every atomic point in manifestation. Hence the doctrine that every microscopic form is composed of billions upon billions of "lives". There is also life in each of the seven kingdoms. There is life in the elemental kingdom composed of sylphs, salamanders, undines and gnomes – the elementals connected with the elements below the mineral. There is life in the stone and in rock, and there is life in the vegetable kingdom, marked by the emergence of sensation on a subtler plane than the cohesion characteristic of the mineral kingdom. In what may be thought of as an analogue to vision, there is the osmosis by plants of light. The light that a plant receives from the midnight sky and in the early hours of the dawn, the light it receives from the moon and the sun, are all different aspects of Jiva in relation to the vegetable kingdom. The same life process is at work in complex and diverse ways throughout the animal kingdom.

 Other aspects of Jiva cannot be equated with anything that comes out of the entire process from below, up to and through the animal kingdom. Otherwise, the human form would be nothing more than a Frankenstein monster. There is nothing in contemporary knowledge that can remotely imagine what it is that makes such a fundamental distinction between a living animal form and a living human being. There is nothing, in fact, in contemporary knowledge which can distinguish even between a living body and a robot or automaton, so impoverished are its conceptions of life and motion. The assumption of a vital essence or principle is not, in itself, sufficient for such distinctions, since the life-fluid or Paracelsian Liquor Vitae differs between the animal and the human kingdoms. That aspect of Jiva which circulates in the human body sustaining its vitality is a gift of the higher Dhyanis, a flow of noumenal, self-conscious intelligence. Because this distinctively human vitality is not directly involved in physical manifestation, it is virtually unknown to human beings. Yet it can be recognized through its absence, or when there is a danger of losing it. It is that which vitalizes, brings to birth and releases the spiritual will. It is that which lights up the creative energy of the higher imagination and that which belongs to the power of ideation and intention. It is that power of the human monad capable of impressing desire with a form and with an intelligence. It is that life which is given by the power of ideas, and hence it is connected over the long process of history with what is called education.

 It is the central thread of the slow, painful and imperfect process of soul instruction. Though liable to inversion and corruption, it remains the central process of unfoldment through which alone there can be a release of what would otherwise remain a merely latent potential within humanity. Life in this higher sense is inseparable from the power to choose and to reflect, the capacity to concentrate and connect. This power of synthesis is so crucial, even in its physical reflection at the level of the limbic system in the brain, that even a small amount of damage to that part of the physical vesture can result in paranoia or schizophrenia. Millions upon millions of people alive today experience an intense splitting of the thought process. They cannot anymore connect or coordinate; they cannot show full awareness of beginnings, middles and endings. Instead, they are merely involved in an immense proliferation of images without control or coordination.

 Paradoxically, awareness of and participation in Jiva, or life in this highest sense, can only be increased by non-manifestation. That is why people cannot understand it. On the one hand, without sleep the human body would die. It is only in sleep and the quietude of the sensory apparatus, especially the lower physical senses, that the spiritual senses have any chance at all in the ordinary human being. It is only through sleep that there is a real osmosis, a connection, with the higher vestures. Without sleep there would be death. The physical form is the product of inward vitality or Jiva, and not the reverse. Therefore,

The animal tissues,...from the moment of the birth of the Entity, are regulated, strengthened, and fed by it. It descends in a larger supply to vegetation in the Sushumna sun-ray which lights and feeds the moon, and it is through her beams that it pours its light upon, and penetrates man and animal, more during their sleep and rest, than when they are in full activity.

Ibid., 537

 Without this process of inward nourishment and restoration through sleep, there would be no resistance to the intense excitation of nervous energy, connected with the vital fluid, which ultimately comes from the Spiritual Sun and is therefore, on its lower plane, extremely destructive if uncontained. Where there is no discipline or no shielding of that energy, it gives rise to extreme fatigue and drains all human life.

 This is called nervous excitation, but no one, except Occultists, knows the reason of such nervous perturbation or explains the primary causes of it. The "principle of Life" may kill when too exuberant, as also when there is too little of it. But this principle on the manifested (or our) plane is but the effect and the result of the intelligent action of the "Host" – collectively, Principle – the manifesting LIFE and LIGHT. It is itself subordinate to, and emanates from the ever-invisible, eternal and Absolute ONE LIFE in a descending and a re-ascending scale of hierarchic degrees – a true septenary ladder, with SOUND (or the Logos) at the upper end and the Vidyadharas (the inferior Pitris) at the lower.

Ibid., 539

 To be able to release the higher Jiva, one must become extremely calm and quiet, capable of sitting for hours doing nothing – not even thinking in any strenuous sense – but receiving. One must be wide awake, attuning oneself to the Spiritual Sun, to the regents of the sacred planets, and to the spirits of the elements – to the spirit of fire, of air, of water and of earth, and above all of Ether-Akasha. Only when one becomes a man of silence, a man of meditation capable of remaining still and wide awake while abstracted from even the subtlest sensations, can one come any closer to experiencing what The Voice of the Silence calls ALL-THOUGHT. Only by mastering the mind can one intelligently guide through the fifth principle, or Manas, the second principle of the universal soul, the vital force in Nature which circulates through man. When one has mastered these inferior potencies, one can experience the subtle fiery substance of Akasha, Nature's infinite library. Through introspection and silence, through oceanic calm, one can increase one's spiritual life-energy, which is the highest Jiva. To do this is to emulate those Vidyadharas who are esoterically the hierarchy that endows man, in the Third Root Race, with self-consciousness. These Siddhas are beings "affluent in devotion" and exemplars of the highest and holiest communion with the Logos.

 To intuit and assimilate their presence in oneself, one must learn to sit in the silence of one's own meditation, without projects or pencils, pens or tape recorders, icons or insignia. All apparatus must go. One must simply reflect, beginning with a bija sutra, a sacred mantram. Then one can commune with all those beings in evolution who are wealthy in the power of adoration. They are those who so rejoice and adore others above and beyond them that through that adoration they release divine Eros in the highest sense, the power of divine adoration and worshipful prostration. Through the thrill of that inward adoration and mental prostration, the opposite of the self-made man's crude conceit, it is possible to tap and release spiritual energy. That energy comes out of communion with the collective hosts of light-beings who are involved in endowing human beings with the highest vital energies and powers.

 It is in this sense that Jiva is complete only in man. And yet even this Jiva is independent of the highest Atmic light connected with the seventh principle, which may be likened to one of the rays or beams of the Central Spiritual Sun. The ultimate spiritual origin of life is intimated in the cryptic code language called Sanskrit by Jivatman, which suggests the whole of the universe in a single word. If one truly understood the many dimensions of Jiva and the many hierarchies to which it is connected, and if one also understood something about spiritual life and the Spiritual Sun, one would be able to understand the Atman as perpetual motion, and to grasp the continuity between the radiations of the Central Spiritual Sun and the pulsations at the heart of the solar system.

"The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its brain is hidden behind the (visible) Sun. From thence, sensation is radiated into every nerve-centre of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein.... The planets are its limbs and pulses.... "The Sun in abscondito being thus the storehouse of our little Kosmos, self-generating its vital fluid, and ever receiving as much as it gives out", and the visible Sun only a window cut into the real Solar palace and presence, which reflects, however, faithfully the interior work.
 Thus, there is a regular circulation of the vital fluid throughout our system, of which the Sun is the heart – the same as the circulation of the blood of the human body – during the manvantaric solar period, or life.

Ibid., 541

 The mystery of the Jivatman encompasses the mystery of the cosmos, the Ego and the embryo. It is the most powerful motor of spiritual energy, tapped by yogins through the power of vows upheld intact over lifetimes of meditation. It is the essence of immortal life which may be drawn upon through penance, through tapas, through true repentance and through compassion. It is the living essence of the Kwan-Yin Pledge, one with the spiritual life-energy and spiritual will, the spiritual plasm of occult cosmology. It is altogether beyond terrestrial perception and the seeming reality of animal existence. It is beyond the ethereality of the lesser gods. It is that which is ever present and primordial, indestructible and omnipotent. It is the fluid in Akasha, the very energy that circulates in the highest beings in manifestation, released through renunciation and devotion, sacrifice and meditation. It is, in essence, immortal life in spirit, the mystical Logos permeating the cosmos, and the divine Presence in every human heart.

Hermes, June 1984
by Raghavan Iyer


Let us use with care those living messengers called words.

JIVA (Sk.). Life, as the Absolute; the Monad also or Atma-Buddhi.

JIVANMUKTA (Sk.). An Adept or Yogi who has reached the ultimate state of holiness and separated himself from matter; a Mahatma, or Nirvanee, a "dweller in bliss" and emancipation. Virtually one who has reached Nirvana during life.

JIVATMA (Sk.). The ONE Universal Life, generally; but also the Divine Spirit in man.

WILL. In metaphysics and occult philosophy, Will is that which governs the manifested universes in eternity. Will is the one and sole principle of abstract eternal MOTION, or its ensouling essence. "The will", says Van Helmont, "is the first of all powers.... The will is the property of all spiritual beings and displays itself in them the more actively the more they are freed from matter." And Paracelsus teaches that "determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain." Like all the rest, the Will is septenary in its degrees of manifestation. Emanating from the one, eternal, abstract and purely quiescent Will (Atma in Layam), it becomes Buddhi in its Alaya state, descends lower as Mahat (Manas), and runs down the ladder of degrees until the divine Eros becomes, in its lower, animal manifestation, erotic desire. Will as an eternal principle is neither spirit nor substance but everlasting ideation. As well expressed by Schopenhauer in his Parerga, "In sober reality there is neither matter nor spirit."

Normal View