From PAGES 192 TO 200, Vol. I
THE ASTRAL LIGHT is not in its nature truth revealing or "good." Note 2. p. 197. "It stands in the same relation to Akasa and Anima Mundi as Satan stands to the Deity. They are one and the same things seen from two aspects." It may be said that the astral light is the next step above material concerns. It is the first field into which the seer steps in his progress, but it is dangerous because misleading, and misleading because it reverses all things, as well as being the chief reservoir for the bad or material deeds and thoughts of men. Because it is strange, new, and extraordinary, it influences those who see in it, since it presents images of a weird character, and just from its newness and vividness those who see in it are apt to consider it to be of consequence. It is to be studied but not depended upon. Somewhat as the brain has to accustom itself to the reversed imaged on the retina-turning it straight by effort-so the inner sense have to become accustomed to the reversals made by the Astral Light.
THE FALL INTO GENERATION is explained from p. 192 to p. 198, Stanza VI. Necessarily this raises the question "Why any fall whatever?" The author says: "It was the Fall of Spirit into generation, not the fall of mortal man." Hence if this be true, man has not fallen, but is, for this period of evolution, on the way upward. Spirit in order "to become a Self-Conscious Spirit must pass through every cycle of being culminating in its highest point on earth in Man. Spirit per se is an unconscious negative ABSTRACTION. Its purity is inherent, not acquired by merit; hence, to become the highest Dhyan Chohan it is necessary for each Ego to attain to full self-consciousness as a human, i.e., conscious Being, which is synthesized for us in Man." (192-193) So the question, why any fall if it was purely originally, is based on the assumption that to remain in a state of unconscious abstraction if better. This cannot, however, be so. When a period of evolutions begins, with spirit at one end of the pole and matter at the other, it is absolutely necessary for spirit to proceed through experience in matter in order that self-consciousness may be acquired. It is a "fall" into matter so far as the fact is concerned, but so far as the result and the object in view it is neither fall nor rise, but the carrying out of the immutable law of the nature of spirit and matter. We ignorantly call it a fall or a curse, because our lower consciousness does not see the great sweep of the cycles nor apprehend the mighty purpose entertained. Following the lines of the philosophy elsewhere laid down, we see that at the close of each grand period of evolution some Egos will have failed to attain the goal, and thus some spirit-if we may say-is left over to be again at a new period differentiated into Egos who shall, helped by Egos of the past now become Dhyan Chohans, once more struggle upward. Such is the immense and unending struggle.
STATES AND PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS in Kosmos and Man. p. 192, 2nd and 3d para. It is here stated that of the seven planes of consciousness three are above the entire chain of globes to which the earth belongs, and that the earth is in the lowest of the lower four. But in man, as said here, there are seven states of consciousness which correspond to these seven cosmical planes. He is to "attune the three higher states in himself to the three higher planes in Kosmos." Necessarily he must have in him centres or seats of energy correspondingly, and, as the author points out, he must awaken those seats to activity, to life, before he can attune them to the higher planes. They are dormant, asleep as it were.
FIRST AND SEVENTH GLOBES of the chain are in the Archetypal plane. Page 200, note to diagram. That is, that on the first globe of the chain -A-the whole model of the succeeding globes is made or laid down, and upon that evolution proceeds up to the 7th, where, all having reached the highest stage of perfection after seven rounds, the complete model is fully realized. This is distinctly hinted in the note, for she says: "not the world as it existed in the Mind of the Deity, but a world made as a first model to be followed and improved upon by the worlds which succeed it physically-though deteriorating in purity." The reader will remember that in another place it is plainly said that on Globe A man appears, but that in the second round the process changes. If we assume, as we must, conscious Beings at work in the scheme of evolution, they have to create the mental model, as it were, of the whole planetary chain, and this has to be done at the time of the first globe. The plan is impressed on all the atoms or particles which are to take part in the evolution, and is preserved intact in that plane. The seventh globe is the receiver of the entire result of evolution is each round, and transfers it once more to Globe A, where it proceeds as before, and again the whole mass of evoluting beings is impressed with the original plan. This is repeated for every round.
THE THREE HIGHER PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS spoken of in third note to diagram on page 200 as being inaccessible to human consciousness as yet, does not involve a contradiction. For the attuning of our three higher states of consciousness to the three higher planes is possible, although attainment to those planes is impossible for ordinary human consciousness. The attempt has to be made so as to come into harmony in ourselves with those planes, so that the potentialities may be made active and development of new faculties made possible.
From PAGES 200 TO 212, Vol. I
FUNCTION OF COMETS. Comets are the wanderers who, in the great struggle and rush of matter in any place where a system of worlds is to come into existence, act as aggregators or collectors of the cosmic matter until at last sufficient collections are made to cause the beginning of globes. Italics on p. 201, V.I.
CYCLES. There is always much discussion respecting this vast and interesting subject, not only in theosophical circles but outside as well. Indeed, the discussion was begun ages before our T.S. was formed. It will hardly be finished in our life. The dispute or difficulty has not been as to whether there are cycles governing men and affairs, for the most materialistic are wont to talk of the cycles of recurrence of diseases, wars, and the like, but about when any cycle begins, and especially the larger ones. One of the Moon's cycles is known, and that of the great sidereal vault is approximated, but when we come to such as the latter there is considerable vagueness as to what was the state of things 25,000 years ago. On p. 202 of Vol. I, the hint is given that the fundamental basis controlling number and ground-work of the cycles is laid in the very beginning of the cosmic struggle anterior to the aggregation of matter into globes and suns, for (at foot p. 202) "This is the basic and fundamental stone of the secret cycles...The assertion that all the worlds (stars, planets, etc.), as soon as a nucleus of primordial substance in the laya (undifferentiated) state is informed by the freed principles of a just deceased sidereal body-becomes first comets, and then suns, to cool down to inhabitable worlds, is a teaching as old as the Rishis."
Now in each system to "struggle" is different from every other, a different proportion arises, and, the percentage of loss or remainder being variable, the cyclic bases in each system differ from others. It is very plain, then, that our present-day scientists can know nothing of these original differences and must remain ignorant of the true cycles. Only the eagle eye of the high Adept can see these numbers as they are written upon the great screen of time, and in the whispers that reach us from the ancient mysteries can be found the information we are seeking. Who shall hear aright?
THE VERY BEGINNING. Definitely as to the very beginning of manifestation-not of this little system of ours, but of the one vast whole-it is not possible nor permissible to speak. But a hint of seductive nature is thrown out on p. 203, 3d para., where, taking us back to the first act in the great drama of which our puny play is but a short sentence, H.P.B. says that the secret science declares that when the one great all has been thrown out into manifestation seven special differentiations of IT appear, and from those seven all the countless fires, suns, planets, and stars are lighted and go forth. So that, although in various systems of worlds the cycles and the numbers and bases may differ and be any whole number or fractional number, the great and perfect number is still seven. But no man now among us can understand that great seven when it includes all numbers the mind may reach by chance or by calculation.
From PAGES 212 TO 252, Vol. I
From p. 212 to 221 the reader can for himself find all that the author of the Secret Doctrine desired to give out in those pages.
WHAT ARE ELEMENTALS? In describing the groups of the Hierarchies the 6th and 7th groups are touched on at p. 221, where it is said that elementals are a part of the numberless side groups "shot out like the boughs of a tree form the first central group of the four." And they are all subject to Karma (19th line, p. 221), which they have to work out during every cycle. As it is said, lower on the page, "A Dhyan Chohan has to become" such, it must follow that even a Dhyan Chohan was once at work in the planes of being where elementals are, and from that rose up to the higher place; this must be under the laws of evolution, of Karma, of Reincarnation.
MAN"S GREAT DESTINY. Following the argument hinted at about elemental, on p. 221, it is said that the celestial Hierarchy of this Manvantara will be transferred in the next cycle of life to higher, superior worlds, in order to make room for a new hierarchy, of the same order, which will be composed of the elect ones of our own human race. Such is our destiny, and such the path up which we climb; and when that point is reached, we must work still on for the benefit of those below us. This is the basis of altruism, and without altruism the consummation cannot be reached.
THAT HIGH SPIRITS WORK ON EARTH in bodies of men, while those spirits are still in the highest spheres, see V.I. p. 233-234 and notes, also note p. 235. On p. 235 it is clearly explained that the author does not mean that which is called among the spiritualists "control" of mediums by a spirit but the actual continuance of the status and function of the incarnated spirit in the supersensous regions, while actually using as its own and working in a mortal envelope on earth. So that, according to her, there are certain persons on this earth, living and working as ordinary human beings and members of society, whose informing divine part is so immeasureably high in development that they as such high beings have a definite status and function in the "supersensous regions." We should say-assuming the correctness of the author's statement-that she herself was such a case, and that "H.P.B." whether hourly in the day or night when all around was still had a "status and function" in other spheres where she consciously carried on the work of that high station, whatever it was. There were many events in her daily life know to those who were intimate with her that this hint may ravel, or at least shed much light upon. And in one of her letters this sentence appears-in substance-"The difference between you and me is that your are not conscious except at day, while I am conscious day and night, and have much to do and to endure in both of these existences from which you, being thus half-conscious, are happily saved."
In the Hindu books and teachings there is a reference to this when they speak of high gnanees-that is, persons full of knowledge and spiritual power-being attracted to this earth by certain acts and at certain times i the history of nation, race, or city.
LOSS OF THE SOUL. The possibility of the abandonment of the body by the soul is outlined on page 234, V. I, thus: "The soul could free itself from and quit the tabernacle [of the body] for various reasons, such as insanity, spiritual and physical depravity, etc." And at the end of the note on p. 235 it is hinted broadly that such freeing of the soul from the body, leaving the latter to run out its course, is not confined to the case of those who are insane or depraved, but may occur with those who make great advance in knowledge and such consequent alteration in the constitution of the soul, as it we, that they no longer can dwell on earth, using the old body. It does not appear, however, that this subject is carried any further than this hint, found, as is so usual with H.P.B., in a note. In this the words are: "For the occurrence is found to take place in wicked materialists as well as in persons "who advance in holiness and never turn back."" From my knowledge of her methods I regard this note as a deliberate reverse of sentence, in which the object of it is found in the words which are used in the underlined part.
THE NECESSITY FOR INDIVIDUAL EFFORT. This is very emphatically put, and in precisely the style of H.P.B., in the 3d paragraph on page 244, in the parallelisms, where Atma is spoken of. Here she shows that Atma is not subject to change or improvement, but is the "ray of light eternal which shines upon and through the darkness of matter-when the latter is willing." [Italics are mine. (WQJ)] If matter, in the human being, the personal self, the body, and the astral body, with passions and desires, is not willing to be fully informed by the Spirit, then Atma will not shine through it because it cannot, in as much as matter then does not submit itself to the Divine behests. The willingness can only be shown by individual effort toward goodness and purification. It would seem that this ought to do away with that negation and supineness indulged in by even theosophists who talk of "not interfering with Karma."
ONLY THREE DIMENSIONS OF MATTER. The "fourth dimension" is combatted on pages 251-252 et seq.: "So long as there are foot-rulers within the resources of Kosmos, to apply to matter, so long will they be able to measure it in three ways and no more."
From PAGES 252 TO 260, Vol. I
ORDER OF THE ELEMENTS ESOTERICALLY is, Fire, air, water, earth. (2nd para.). Counting up from the earth, the order for the elementals, or the nature spirits in the elements, is: earth elementals, water elementals, air elementals, fire elementals. And it has always been said that those of the fire are the wisest and most distant so far as cognition of or by us is concerned, that the airy ones are also wise, and those of the water dangerous. Those of the earth have been described by seers in the form of gnomes sometimes seen by clairvoyant miners in the depths under us, and of this class also are those that have given rise to the superstition among the Irish respecting the fairies.
FIRE IN THE PRECEDING ROUNDS. She says (p. 253), "For all we know, FIRE may have been pure AKASA, the first Matter of the Magnum Opus of the Creators and "Builders,"..." The phrase "For all we know" is sometimes to be translated "Thus it was."
THE FIFTH ELEMENT IN THE FIFTH ROUND. This, as said before in these notes, will be "The gross body of Akasa"... (257) and "will, by becoming a familiar fact of Nature to all men, as air is familiar to us now, cease to be as at present hypothetical."
WHAT IS THE SIXTH SENSE TO BE? In the first paragraph of page 258 she says that at first there will be a partial familiarity with a characteristic of matter to be known then as permeability, which will be perceived when certain new senses have been developed, and after that this singular characteristic will be fully known, as it will be developed concurrently with the sixth sense. We may therefore argue that she means to describe the sixth sense as one which will (among other things)give to us the power to permeate matter with ourselves. Let some one else now carry this idea further, as it is no doubt correct. It would seem that both the matter-characteristic and the power in man are being here and there exhibited, or else some of the phenomena seen at spiritualistic seances could never have happened; but alas! we need not look for aid there so long as the beloved "spirits from the summerland" continue to hold sway over their votaries.
THE EARTH IN ITS EARLY PERIODS. Some students have thought that this globe in its early times when, following the statements in Esoteric Buddhism, the human life-wave and so on had not come, there was no life on it, supposing in a vague way that there was, say in the fire-mist time, a mass of something devoid of life. This is contradicted and explained on page 258 in the second para. for: "Thus Occultism disposes of the so-called Azoic age of Science, for it shows that there never was a time when the Earth was without life upon it." This is asserted for no matter what form or sort of matter, thus, "Wherever there is an atom of matter, a particle or a molecule, even in its most gaseous condition, there is life in it, however latent and unconscious."
OF SPIRIT AND MATTER. In the commentary on p. 258 the author plainly writes, "Spirit is the first differentiation of (and in ) SPACE; and Matter the first differentiation of Spirit." This is a clear statement of what she desired to teach respecting spirit and matter, and as in other places it is said that spirit and matter are the opposite poles of the One-the Absolute-an agreement has to be made between the two. There is no real disagreement, since it is evident that differentiation must proceed in a definite order, from which it results that there must be always one state, plane, place, power, and idea in nature that is above and different from and beyond all others. And when we go beyond spirit, the highest we may speak of is the Absolute, which is the container of the next two-spirit and matter, the latter following the first in order of differentiation. These are said to be coeternal, and, indeed, are so, as far as our minds are concerned, for the reason that we cannot grasp either the first or the second differentiation of the Absolute. But because this doctrine of the coeternalness of spirit and matter has been taught, there never being the one without the other also present, some students have fallen into a materialistic view, probably because matter is that which being near to us is most apparent, and others, remaining somewhat vague, do not define the doctrine at all. Spirit and matter are coeternal because they exist together in the Absolute, and when the first differentiation spoken of above takes place, so does the second immediately. Hence, except when we are dealing with metaphysics, they must be regarded as the two poles of the one Absolute. And the Bhagavad Gita does not support the contrary, for it only says there is no spirit without also matter, as it is dealing through the words of Krishna with things as they are after the differentiation has taken place.
There is another class of theosophists who speak of the "superpersonal god," asserting at the same time that they do not mean "a personal God," and they are opposed by still another class who point to the well-known denial by H.P.B. of the existence of a personal god. It is in the sentence quoted that both of these may come to an agreement, for the believers in the superpersonal deity can without doubt find support in the lines on p. 258. For if spirit is the first, then matter is a grade below it, however fine and imperceptible that distinction may be.
If further we say, as many of us do, that the great inherent ideas of man were given to him by the first great teachers whose descendants and pupils the Adepts are, then we here also see how it is that there is such a wide and universal belief in a God. It must also be the origin of that universal optimism which may be found also in the ranks of the theosophists, who, while for present days are pessimistic, must be called the greatest optimists on the face of the earth. There are many other matters in this sentence. Many a student has puzzled his head very often in trying to discover from where come the impulse and the plan as well as the idea of perfection, for it must as a first thing reside somewhere, whether abstractly or concretely. Perhaps it is here; those students can look here at any rate.
A MYSTERIOUS PRINCIPLE MENTIONED. After going for a little space into the formation of this globe by the first builders, she speaks (page 259) of a certain akasic principle to which no name is given but left in hiatus. But in the note on that page we see, and I am violating nothing in referring to it, that very clearly it is pointed out that the primordial substance of which she then writes "is the body of those Spirits themselves, and their very essence." Now in many places in her writings, and also in those of other knowing ones through all time, this primordial substance is said to be one that , once controlled, gives him who has power over it the most transcendent abilities, -sway alike over mind and matter.
She and all of us are quite safe in speaking of it, since there are but few indeed who will see anything in it at all. Yet the few can have the hint if they never got it before. This, however, should always remain as a hint, and there ought to be no attempt to make it clear to science, for nothing will be gained except ridicule and maybe worse.