Theosophy – Esoteric Psychology


Esoteric Psychology.

“Know ye, ye are threefold in nature,
physical, astral and mental in one…

On Earth, man is in bondage,
bound by space and time to the earth plane.
Encircling each planet, a wave of vibration,
binds him to his plane of unfoldment.
Yet within man is the Key to releasement,
within man may freedom be found.”

— Emerald Tablet XV


Image quote: Helena Blavatsky; The Secret Doctrine.

Theosophy ~ “The Illogic of the Evolutionists,” from The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky




Instead of keeping to this, what does many a so-called man of science do in these days? He rushes into the domains of pure metaphysics, while deriding it. He delights in rash conclusions and calls it “a deductive law from the inductive law” of a theory based upon and drawn out of the depths of his own consciousness: that consciousness being perverted by, and honeycombed with, one-sided materialism. He attempts to explain the “origin” of things, which are yet embosomed only in his own conceptions. He attacks spiritual beliefs and religious traditions millenniums old, and denounces everything, save his own hobbies, as superstition. He suggests theories of the Universe, a Cosmogony developed by blind, mechanical forces of nature alone, far more miraculous and impossible than even one based upon the assumption of fiat lux out of nihil – and tries to astonish the world by such a wild theory; which, being known to emanate from a scientific brain, is taken on blind faith as very scientific and the outcome of SCIENCE.

Are those the opponents Occultism would dread? Most decidedly not. For such theories are no better treated by real (not empirical) Science than our own. Hæckel, hurt in his vanity by du Bois-Reymond, never tires of complaining publicly of the latter’s onslaught on his fantastic theory of descent. Rhapsodizing on “the exceedingly rich storehouse of empirical evidence,” he calls those “recognised physiologists” who oppose every speculation of his drawn from the said “storehouse” – ignorant men. “If many men,” he declares – “and among them even some scientists of repute – hold that the whole of phylogeny is a castle in the air, and genealogical trees (from monkeys?) are empty plays of phantasy, they only in speaking thus demonstrate their ignorance of that wealth of empirical sources of knowledge to which reference has already been made” (“Pedigree of Man,” p. 273).

We open Webster’s Dictionary and read the definitions of the word “empirical”: “Depending upon experience or observation alone, without due regard to modern science and theory.“This applies to the Occultists, Spiritualists, Mystics, etc., etc. Again, “an Empiric –One who confines himself to applying the results of his own observations” (only) (which is Hæckel’s case); “one wanting Science . . . . an ignorant and unlicensed practitioner; a quack; a CHARLATAN.”

No Occultist or “magician,” has ever been treated to any worse epithets. Yet the Occultist remains on his own metaphysical grounds, and does not endeavour to rank his knowledge,the fruits of his personal observation and experience, among the exact sciences of modern learning. He keeps within his legitimate sphere, where he is master. But what is one to think of a rank materialist, whose duty is clearly traced before him, who uses such an expression as this:

“The origin of man from other mammals, and most directly from the catarrhine ape, is a deductive law that follows necessarily from the inductive law of the THEORY OF DESCENT.” (“Anthropogeny,” p. 392).

A “theory” is simply a hypothesis, a speculation, and no law. To say otherwise is only one of the many liberties taken now-a-days by scientists. They enunciate an absurdity, and then hide it behind the shield of Science. Any deduction from theoretical speculation is no better than a speculation on a speculation. Now Sir W. Hamilton has already shown that the word theory is now used “in a very loose and improper sense” . . . . ” that it is convertible intohypothesis, and hypothesis is commonly used as another term for conjecture, whereas the terms ‘theory’ and ‘theoretical’ are properly used in opposition to the term practice andpractical.

But modern Science puts an extinguisher on the latter statement, and mocks at the idea. Materialistic philosophers and Idealists of Europe and America may be agreed with the Evolutionists as to the physical origin of man – yet it will never become a general truth with the true metaphysician, and the latter defies the materialists to make good their arbitrary assumptions. That the ape-theory theme 1 of Vogt and Darwin, on which the Huxley-Hæckelians have composed of late such extraordinary variations, is far less scientific – because clashing with the fundamental laws of that theme itself – than ours can ever be shown to be, is very easy of demonstration. Let the reader only turn to the excellent work on “Human Species” by the great French naturalist de Quatrefages, and our statement will at once be verified.

Moreover, between the esoteric teaching concerning the origin of man and Darwin’s speculations, no man, unless he is a rank materialist, will hesitate. This is the description given by Mr. Darwin of “the earliest ancestors of man.”

“They were without doubt once covered with hair; both sexes having beards; their ears were pointed and capable of movement; and their bodies were provided with a tail, having the proper muscles. Their limbs and bodies were acted on by many muscles which now only occasionally reappear in man, but which are still normally present in the quadrumana . . . . The foot, judging from the condition of the great toe in the fœtus, was then prehensile, and our progenitors, no doubt, werearboreal in their habits, frequenting some warm forest-clad land, and the males were provided with canine teeth which served as formidable weapons. . . .” 2

Darwin connects him with the type of the tailed catarrhines, “and consequently removes him a stage backward in the scale of evolution. The English naturalist is not satisfied to take his stand upon the ground of his own doctrines, and, like Hæckel, on this point places himself in direct variance with one of the fundamental laws which constitute the principal charm of Darwinism . . . ” And then the learned French naturalist proceeds to show how this fundamental law is broken. “In fact,” he says, “in the theory of Darwin, transmutations do not take place, either by chance or in every direction. They are ruled by certain laws which are due to the organization itself. If an organism is once modified in a given direction, it can undergo secondary or tertiary transmutations, but will still preserve the impress of the original. It is the law of permanent characterization, which alone permits Darwin to explain the filiation of groups, their characteristics, and their numerous relations. It is by virtue of this law that all the descendants of the first mollusc have been molluscs; all the descendants of the first vertebrate have been vertebrates. It is clear that this constitutes one of the foundations of the doctrine . . . . It follows that two beings belonging to two distinct types can be referred to a common ancestor, but the one cannot be the descendant of the other” (p. 106).

“Now man and ape present a very striking contrast in respect to type. Their organs . . . correspond almost exactly term for term: but these organs are arranged after a very different plan. In man they are so arranged that he is essentially a walker, while in apes they necessitate his being a climber . . . . There is here an anatomical and mechanical distinction . . . . A glance at the page where Huxley has figured side by side a human skeleton and the skeletons of the most highly developed apes is a sufficiently convincing proof.”

The consequence of these facts, from the point of view of the logical application of the law of permanent characterizations, is that man cannot be descended from an ancestor who is already characterized as an ape, any more than a catarrhine tailless ape can be descended from a tailed catarrhine. A walking animal cannot be descended from a climbing one.

1 The mental barrier between man and ape, characterized by Huxley as an “enormous gap, a distancepractically immeasurable“!is, indeed, in itself conclusive. Certainly it constitutes a standing puzzle to the materialist, who relies on the frail reed of “natural selection.” The physiological differences between Man and the Apes are in realitydespite a curious community of certain featuresequally striking. Says Dr. Schweinfurth, one of the most cautious and experienced of naturalists:
“In modern times there are no animals in creation that have attracted more attention from the scientific student than the great quadrumana (the anthropoids), bearing such a striking resemblance to the human form as to have justified the epithet of anthropomorphic being conferred on them. . . . But all investigation at present only leads human intelligence to a confession of its insufficiency; and nowhere is caution more to be advocated, nowhere is premature judgment more to be deprecated than in the attempt to bridge over theMYSTERIOUS CHASM which separates man and beast.” “Heart of Africa” i., 520.
2 A ridiculous instance of evolutionist contradictions is afforded by Schmidt (“Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism,” on page 292). He says, “Man’s kinship with the apes is not impugned by the bestial strength of the teeth of the male orang or gorilla.” Mr. Darwin, on the contrary, endows this fabulous being with teeth used as weapons!

The Secret Doctrine, ii 664–667
H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophy ~ from The Book of Dzyan, by H.P. Blavatsky



A moment’s thought shows that such a state can only be symbolized; to describe it, is impossible. Nor can it be symbolized except in negatives; for, since it is the state of Absoluteness per se, it can possess none of those specific attributes which serve us to describe objects in positive terms. Hence that state can only be suggested by the negatives of all those most abstract attributes which men feel rather than conceive, as the remotest limits attainable by their power of conception.

— Stanza 1, The Book of Dzyan, H.P. Blavatsky



IS Science against those who maintain that down to the Quaternary period the distribution of the human races was widely different from what it is now? Is Science against those who, further, maintain that the fossil men found in Europe – although having almost reached a plane of sameness and unity from the fundamental physiological and anthropological aspects which continues till this day – still differ, sometimes greatly, from the type of the now existing populations. The late Littre confesses it in an article published by him on the Memoir calledAntiquités Celtiques et Antediluviennes by Boucher de Perthes (1849) – in theRevue des Deux Mondes (March1, 1859). He says in it (a) that in these periods when the Mammoths, exhumed with the hatchets in Picardy, lived in the latter region, there must have been an eternal spring reigning over all the terrestrial globe 1; nature was the contrary of what it is now – thus leaving an enormous margin for the antiquity of those periods” and then adds: (b) “Spring, professor of the Faculty of Medicine at Liege, found in a grotto near Namur, in the mountain of Chauvaux, numerous human bones ‘of a race quite distinct from ours.‘”

Skulls exhumed in Austria offered a great analogy with those of African negro races, according to Littre, while others, discovered on the shores of the Danube and the Rhine, resembled the skulls of the Caribs and those of the ancient inhabitants of Peru and Chili. Still, the Deluge,whether Biblical or Atlantean, was denied. But further geological discoveries having made Gaudry write conclusively: “Our forefathers were positively contemporaneous with the rhinoceros tichorrhinus, thehippopotamus major“,and add that the soil called diluvial in geology “was formed partially at least after man’s apparition on earth” – Littre pronounced himself finally. He then showed the necessity, before “the resurrection of so many old witnesses,” of rehandling all the origins, all the durations, and added that there was AN AGE hitherto unknown to study “either at the dawn of the actual epoch or, as I believe, at the beginning of the epoch which preceded it.

The types of the skulls found in Europe are of two kinds, as is well known: the orthognathous and the prognathous, or the Caucasian and the negro types, such as are now found only in the African and the lower savage tribes. Professor Heer – who argues that the facts of Botany necessitate the hypothesis of an Atlantis – has shown that the plants of the Neolithic lake-villagers are mainly of African origin. How did the latter come to be in Europe if there was no former point of union between Africa and Europe? How many thousand years ago did the seventeen men live whose skeletons were exhumed in the Department of the Haute Garonne, in a squatting posture near the remains of a coal fire, with some amulets and broken crockery around them, and in company with the bearspelæus, the Elephas primigenius, the aurochs (regarded by Cuvier as a distinct species), the Megaceros hibernicus – all antediluvian mammals? Certainly at a most distant epoch, but not one which carries us further back than the Quaternary. A much greater antiquity for Man has yet to be proved. Dr. James Hunt, the late President of the Anthropological Society, makes it 9,000,000 years. This man of science, at any rate, makes some approach to our esoteric computation, if we leave the first two semi-human, ethereal races, and the early Third Race out of the computation.

The question, however, arises – who were these Palæolithic men of the European quaternary epoch? Were they aboriginal, or the outcome of some immigration dating back into the unknown past? The latter is the only tenable hypothesis, as all scientists agree in eliminating Europe from the category of possible “cradles of mankind.” Whence, then, radiated the various successive streams of “primitive” men?

The earliest Palæolithic men in Europe – about whose origin Ethnology is silent, and whose very characteristics are but imperfectly known, though expatiated on as “ape-like” by imaginative writers such as Mr. Grant Allen – were of pure Atlantean and “Africo”-Atlantean stocks. 2 (It must be borne in mind that by this time the Atlantis continent itself was a dream of the past.) Europe in the quaternary epoch was very different from the Europe of to-day, being then only in process of formation. It was united to N. Africa – or rather what is now N. Africa – by a neck of land running across the present Straits of Gibraltar – N. Africa thus constituting a species of extension of Spain, while a broad sea washed the great basin of the Sahara. Of the great Atlantis, the main bulk of which sank in the Miocene, there remained only Ruta and Daitya and a stray island or so. The Atlantean connections of the forefathers 3 of the Palæolithic cave-men are evidenced by the upturning of fossil skulls (in Europe) reverting closely to the West Indian Carib and ancient Peruviantype – a mystery indeed to all those who refuse to sanction the “hypothesis” of a former Atlantic continent to bridge the ocean (Cf. “Scientific and geological proofs of the reality of several submerged continents”). What are we also to make of the fact that while de Quatrefages points to that “magnificent race,” the TALL Cro-Magnon cave-men and the Guanches ofthe Canary Islands as representatives of one type – Virchow also allies the Basques with the latter in a similar way? Professor Retzius independently proves the relationship of the aboriginalAmerican dolichocephalous tribes and these same Guanches. The several links in the chain of evidence are securely joined together. Legions of similar facts could be adduced. As to the African tribes – themselves diverging offshoots of Atlanteans modified by climate and conditions – they crossed into Europe over the peninsula which made the Mediterranean an inland sea. Fine races were many of these European cave-men; the Cro-Magnon, for instance. But, as was to be expected,progress is almost non-existent through the whole of the vast period allotted by Science to the Chipped Stone-Age. 4 The cyclic impulse downwardsweighs heavily on the stocks thus transplanted – the incubus of theAtlantean Karma is upon them. Finally, Palæolithic man makes room for his successor – and disappears almost entirely from the scene. Professor Lefevre asks in this connection:

“Has the Polished succeeded the Chipped Stone-Age by an imperceptible transition, or was it due to an invasion of brachycephalous Celts? But whether, again, the deterioration produced in the populations of La Vezere was the result of violent crossings, or of a general retreat northwards in the wake of the reindeer, is of little moment to us.” He continues:

“Meantime the bed of the ocean has been upheaved, Europe is now fully formed, her flora and fauna fixed. With the taming of the dog begins the pastoral life. We enter on those polished stone and bronze periods, which succeed each other at irregular intervals, which even overlap one another in the midst of ethnical fusions and migrations. . . . The primitive European populations are interrupted in their special evolution and, without perishing, become absorbed in other races, engulfed . . . by successive waves of migration overflowing from Africa, possibly from a lost Atlantis [?? far too late by æons of years] and from prolific Asia . . . all FORERUNNERS OF THE GREAT ARYAN INVASION” (Fifth Race).


1 Scientists now admit that Europe enjoyed in the Miocene times a warm, in the Pliocene or later Tertiary, a temperate climate. Littre’s contention as to the balmy spring of theQuaternary – to which deposits M. de Perthes’ discoveries of flint implements are traceable (since when the Somme has worn down its valley many scores of feet) – must be accepted with much reservation. The Somme-valley relics are post-glacial, and possibly point to the immigration of savages during one of the more temperate periods intervening betweenminor ages of Ice.
2 “Whence they (the old cave-men) came, we cannot tell” (Grant Allen).
The palæolithic hunters of the Somme Valley did not originate in that inhospitable climate, but moved into Europe from some more genial region – (Dr. Southall, “Epoch of the Mammoth“, p. 315).
3 The pure Atlantean stocks – of which the tall quaternary cave-men were, in part, the direct descendants – immigrated into Europe long prior to the Glacial Period; in fact as far back as the Pliocene and Miocene times in the Tertiary. The worked Miocene flints of Thenay, and the traces of Pliocene man discovered by Professor Capellini in Italy, are witnesses to the fact. These colonists were portions of the once glorious race, whose cycle from the Eocene downwards had been running down the scale.
4 The artistic skill displayed by the old cave-men renders the hypothesis which regards them as approximations to the “pithecanthropus alalus” – that very mythical Hæckelian monster – an absurdity requiring no Huxley or Schmidt to expose it. We see in their skill in engraving a gleam of Atlantean culture atavistically re-appearing. It will be remembered that Donnelly regards modern European as a renaissance of Atlantean civilization. (“Atlantis,” pp. 237-264.)


The Secret Doctrine, ii 737–741
H. P. Blavatsky


    Having dealt almost exclusively with the question of the origin of Man in the foregoing criticism of Western Evolutionism, it may not be amiss to define the position of the Occultists with regard to the differentiation of species. The pre-human fauna and flora have been already generally dealt with in the Commentary on the Stanzas, and the truth of much of modern biological speculation admitted, e.g., the derivation of birds from reptiles, the partial truth of “natural selection,” and the transformation theory generally. It now remains to clear up the mystery of the origin of those first mammalianfauna which M. de Quatrefages so brilliantly endeavours to prove as contemporary with the Homo primigenius of the Secondary Age.

The somewhat complicated problem relating to the “Origin of Species” –  more especially of the varied groups of fossil or existing mammalian fauna – will be rendered less obscure by the aid of a diagram. It will then be apparent to what extent the “Factors of Organic Evolution,” relied upon by Western biologists, 1 are to be considered as adequate to meet the facts. The line of demarcation between etherospiritual, astral and physical evolution must be drawn. Perhaps, if Darwinians deigned to consider the possibility of the second process, they would no longer have to lament the fact that “we are referred to conjecture and inference for the origin of the Mammals”!! (The Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism, p. 268, by Professor O. Schmidt.) At present the admitted chasm between the systems of reproduction of the oviparous vertebrates and mammalia, constitutes a hopeless crux to those thinkers who, with the Evolutionists, seek to link all existing organic forms in a continuous line of descent.

Let us take – exempli gratia – the case of the ungulate mammals. “In no other division,” it is said, “do we possess such abundant fossil material.” So much progress has been made in this direction, that in some instances the intermediate links between the modern and Eocene ungulates have been unearthed; a notable example being that of the complete proof of the derivation of the present one-toed horse from the three-toed Anchitherium of the old Tertiary. This standard of comparison between Western Biology and the Eastern doctrine could not, therefore, be improved upon. The pedigree here utilized, as embodying the views of scientists in general, is that of Schmidt based on the exhaustive researches of Rutimeyer. Its approximate accuracy – from the standpoint of evolutionism – leaves little to be desired:



The midway point of evolution. Science comes to a standstill. “The root to which these two families lead back IS UNKNOWN” (Schmidt).


No. I. represents the realm explored by Western Evolutionists, the area in which climatic influences, “natural selection,” and all the other physical causes of organic differentiation are present. Biology and palæontology find their province here in investigating the many physical agencies which contribute so largely, as shown by Darwin, Spencer and others, to the segregation of species. But even in this domain the sub-conscious workings of the Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom are at the root of all the “ceaseless striving towards perfection,” though its influence is vastly modified by those purely material causes which de Quatrefages terms the “milieux” and Spencer the “Environment.”

The “midway point of evolution” is that stage where the astral prototypes definitely begin to pass into the physical, and thus become subject to the differentiating agencies now operative around us. Physical causation supervenes immediately on the assumption of “coats of skin” – i.e., the physiological equipment in general. The forms of Men and mammalia previous to the separation of sexes 2 are woven out of astral matter, and possess a structure utterly unlike that of the physical organisms, which eat, drink, digest, etc., etc., etc. The known physiological contrivances in organisms were almost entirely evolved subsequently to the incipient physicalization of the 7 Root-Types out of the astral – during the “midway halt” between the two planes of existence. Hardly had the “ground-plan” of evolution been limned out in these ancestral types, than the influence of the accessory terrestrial laws, familiar to us, supervened, resulting in the whole crop of mammalian species. Æons of slow differentiation were, however, required to effect this end.

No. II. represents the domain of the purely astral prototypes previous to their descent into (gross) matter. Astral matter, it must be noted, is fourth state matter, having, like our gross matter, its own “protyle.” There are several “protyles” in Nature, corresponding to the various planes of matter. The two sub-physical elemental kingdoms, the plane of mind (manas, the fifth state matter), as also that of Buddhi (sixth state matter), are each and all evolved from one of the six “protyles” which constitute the basis of the Object-Universe. The three “states,” so-called of our terrestrial matter, known as the “solid,” “liquid,” and “gaseous,” are only, in strict accuracy, SUB-states. As to the former reality of the descent into the physical, which culminated in physiological man and animal, we have a palpable testimony in the fact of the so-called spiritualistic “materializations.”

In all these instances a complete temporary mergence of the astral into the physical takes place. The evolution of physiological Man out of the astral races of early Lemurian age – the Jurassic age of Geology – is exactly paralleled by the “materialization” of “spirits” (?) in the seance-room. In the case of Professor Crookes’ “Katie King,” the presence of a physiological mechanism – heart, lungs, etc. – was indubitably demonstrated!!

This, in a way, is the ARCHETYPE of Goethe. Listen to his words: “Thus much we should have gained . . . all the nine perfect organic beings . . . (are) formed according to an archetype which merely fluctuates more or less in its very persistent parts and, moreover, day by day, completes and transforms itself by means of reproduction.” This is a seemingly imperfect foreshadowing of the occult fact of the differentiation of species from the primal astral root-types. Whatever the whole posse comitatus of “natural selection,” etc., etc., may effect, the fundamental unity of structural plan remains practically unaffected by all subsequent modifications. The “Unity of Type” common, in a sense, to all the animal and human kingdoms, is not, as Spencer and others appear to hold, a proof of the consanguineity of all organic forms, but a witness to the essential unity of the “ground-plan” Nature has followed in fashioning her creatures.

To sum up the case, we may again avail ourselves of a tabulation of the actual factors concerned in the differentiation of species. The stages of the process itself need no further comment here, being the basic principles underlying organic development, than to enter on the domain of the biological specialist.


1 The Darwinian theory has been so strained, that even Huxley was forced at one time to deprecate its occasional degeneration into “fanaticism.” Oscar Schmidt presents a good instance of a thinker who unconsciously exaggerates the worth of an hypothesis. He admits (“The Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism,” p. 158), that “natural selection” ” is in some cases . . . inadequate, . . . in others . . . not requisite, as the solution of the formation of species is found in other natural conditions.” He also asserts the “intermediate grades are . . . wanting, which would entitle us to infer with certainty the direct transition from unplacental to placental mammals” (p. 271); that “we are referred entirely to conjecture and inference for the origin of the mammals” (p. 268); and the repeated failures of the framers of “hypothetical pedigrees,” more especially of Hæckel. Nevertheless he asserts on p. 194, that “what we have gained by the Doctrine of Descent based on the theory of selection is the KNOWLEDGE of the connection of organisms as ‘consanguineous beings.’ ” Knowledge in the face of the above-cited concessions, is, then, the synonym for conjecture and theory only?
2 Bear in mind, please, that though the animals – mammalians included – have all been evolved after and partially from man’s cast-off tissues, still, as a far lower being, the mammalian animal became placental and separated far earlier than man.

The Secret Doctrine, ii 734–737
H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophy ~ AS ABOVE, SO BELOW – Part I ~ by Sri Raghavan Iyer

as above

    Thus is repeated on Earth the mystery enacted, according to the Seers, on the divine plane. The ‘Son’ of the immaculate Celestial Virgin (or the undifferentiated cosmic protyle, Matter in its infinitude) is born again on Earth as the Son of the terrestrial Eve – our mother Earth, and becomes Humanity as a total – past, present, and future – for Jehovah or Jod-he-vau-he is androgyne, or both male and female. Above, the Son is the whole KOSMOS; below, he is MANKIND.

The Secret Doctrine, i 60

The mystery of immaculate conception is inherently inseparable from the magic of the Tetraktis, which, Pythagoras taught, is too sacred to be spoken of and should rather be the subject of profound meditation over a lifetime. “The triad or triangle becomes Tetraktis, the Sacred Pythagorean number, the perfect Square, and a 6-faced cube on Earth.” The Tetraktis is incarnated by the enlightened being, the Initiate, who is more than Atma-Buddhi-Manas. If the Initiate were only Atma-Buddhi-Manas, he would be on so high a plane of universal consciousness that he would hardly be able to incarnate. The Initiate is Atma-Buddhi-Manas plus the visualized essence extracted from all the lower principles and planes so as to serve as a stable focus for the immortal Triad in space and time. The Initiate permanently synthesizes individuation and universalization. The universal principles are brought together through Buddhi in an individuated, perfected instrument, which exemplifies the Tetraktis. This exalted condition is founded upon the metaphysical axiom in all spiritual growth that the higher one ascends, the more one’s sense of being is essentially a mode of participation in cosmic principles.

Atma-Buddhi-Manas cannot incarnate in personal consciousness as long as its dominant concerns are almost entirely bound up with pleasure and pain, fame and shame, gain and loss. These evanescent if hectic preoccupations bind together the skandhas and colour the composite vestures, producing an illusory panorama which people commonly call life, but which is viewed by the Adept as the night of nescience.

The only way one can activate the higher faculties is by a conscious and continuous attunement to universal principles. Atman is an unconditionally universal essence, while Buddhi is connected with Mahabuddhi and Manas derives from Mahat. The Mahatma is one whose mind has become “like a becalmed and boundless ocean” – the ocean of cosmic ideation – and whose heart has become the hebdomad, the Dhyan Chohanic heart that pulses at the core of all manifestation. The uninitiated cannot understand this owing to the tenacious sense of separateness that attaches to the personality but which is entirely inapplicable to the Adept. The Adept cannot be sundered from the whole of Nature, but is truly, as in Leonardo’s diagram, the man within the man, the enlightened cosmic man that overbroods man as a unit and whose unity is mirrored in that unit. The Atma-Buddhi-Manas of the Adept is necessarily inseparable from the Atma-Buddhi-Manas of individual human beings. The Adept is verily the spiritual soul of all humanity.

Human beings represent varying degrees of self-consciousness in inverse proportion to their personal attachment to the limited modes of life available in the world of sensation. Like assertive adolescents, they are engrossed in the Mahamaya, partly because they wholly identify with name and form and pant with thirst for embodied life and an ever-present fear of pain and deprivation. Yet, while the human condition is characterized by avidya, all individuals are fundamentally light-rays from the same luminous source. They are most likely to experience their essential humanity in deep sleep, where even those who are demons by day become like little children. According to the Upanishadic teachings, all phenomenal distinctions disappear in deep sleep. There is no father and no mother; there is no husband and no wife, no brother and no sister, no enemy and no friend; there is neither young nor old, neither male nor female. The distinctions that people make entirely disappear in sushupti. During deep sleep the soul is able to speak its own language, what Erich Fromm called “the forgotten language”, which was once known as the language of the gods. This is the language of unconditioned consciousness in which our pristine humanity comes into its own. Human beings are most assured when they are least deluded. The Mahatma is totally free from all delusion and can fathom the secret heart, the pulsing reverberation of the whole of humanity that gives its forward impulse to evolution.

When spiritual knowledge becomes conscious awareness, wisdom through use, Gupta Vidya becomes Paramarthasatya. Paramartha is the ultimate comprehension of Satya, the truth of all things, of Sat, pure being, the ideal universe. Paramarthasatya is consummate comprehension of the noumenal universe that does not manifest but is the Divine Ground spoken of by mystics, which is latent in Hiranyagarbha, the divine bosom, and animated by Mahat, divine thought. The mystery of immaculate conception has to do with the paradox that the most fully incarnated being is also the least incarnated. While this is too enigmatic to reduce to discursive logic, it is intuitively clear that the more complete the incarnation, the less is the being involved in incarnation in the sense of attachment to so-called living. The paradox is deeply enshrined in the mystery of the immaculate conception:

    The Primordial Substance had not yet passed out of its precosmic latency into differentiated objectivity, or even become the (to man, so far,) invisible Protyle of Science. But, as the hour strikes and it becomes receptive of the Fohatic impress of the Divine Thought (the Logos, or the male aspect of the Anima Mundi, Alaya) – its heart opens. It differentiates, and the THREE (Father, Mother, Son) are transformed into four. Herein lies the origin of the double mystery of the Trinity and the immaculate Conception.

The Secret Doctrine, i 58

At the dawn of manifestation, Mulaprakriti, the Germ, which is the Father-Mother potentially and the point in every atom, is latent in cosmic substance. When the Germ is awakened by the descending ray, Divine Thought becomes the inseminating force which activates the sleeping energy within every life-atom. Then the three become the four through the transformation of the primordial Triad in a pure state of Parabrahmic latency into a creative Logos that lights up and makes Mulaprakriti radiant. It thereby becomes Daiviprakriti. also known as Brahma Vach, Divine Wisdom, the Verbum, the Word, the Light of the Logos. This gives rise to the manifest universe. The same idea is found in Aryasanga ‘s Precepts for Yoga in a metaphorical form, indicating that absolute Unity may not be comprehensible to the individual unless that absolute Unity is seen in relation to primordial, indestructible matter and also in relation to eternal duration:

    If thou wouldest believe in the Power which acts within the root of a plant, or imagine the root concealed under the soil, thou hast to think of its stalk or trunk and of its leaves and flowers. Thou canst not imagine that Power independently of these objects. Life can be known only by the Tree of Life.

The Secret Doctrine, i 58

To visualize the invisible Root, it is easier to think as well of the massive trunk and its many branches. This is a cosmic analogue to something that can be actualized within the human constitution, as suggested by Bhavani Shankar in his Commentary on the Gita. It is veiled in the sacred teaching of the lotus, which is “the product of heat (fire) and water (vapour or Ether)”. Lotus plants are phanerogamous, containing in their seeds complete representations, as prototypes, of the future plant. The lotus is a representation in the vegetable kingdom of a sacred macrocosmic mystery, which is why the spiritual centres in the human constitution have from the most ancient times been compared to lotuses. Bhavani Shankar speaks of the thousand-petalled lotus in the brain, which is also referred to in the Bhagavad Gita and which symbolizes the radiance and the richness of the energy-field that is latent in human beings. The Guru can activate the spiritual seed in the disciple who is ready. This would also have a bearing upon the mystery of the caduceus. When a disciple has reached a moment of ripeness in inward development, it is possible for active Buddhi, or what is called in The Voice of the Silence, Kundalini, that mysterious energy which flows through two alternating currents intertwined, to become a reality. Thus a creative fusion of consciousness can be attained wherein the Third Eye may open, the eye for which there is no past, present or future, the eye of spiritual vision, of universal wisdom and of inner enlightenment, the eye of Shiva, the eye of Dangma.

Hermes, April 1980
Raghavan Iyer



Theosophy ~ Quotes from The Secret Doctrine by HP Blavatsky ~ THE OCCULT AND THE MODERN DOCTRINES

alchemical weird   Those purely secondary causes of differentiation, grouped under the head of sexual selection, natural selection, climate, isolation, etc., etc., mislead the Western Evolutionist and offer no real explanation whatever of the “whence” of the “ancestral types” which served as the starting point for physical development. The truth is that the differentiating “causes” known to modern science only come into operation after the physicalization of the primeval animal root-types out of the astral. Darwinism only meets Evolution at its midway point – that is to say when astral evolution has given place to the play of the ordinary physical forces with which our present senses acquaint us. But even here the Darwinian Theory, even with the “expansions” recently attempted, is inadequate to meet the facts of the case. The underlying physiological variation in species – one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary – is a sub-conscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a REFLECTION of the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom. 1 A not altogether dissimilar conclusion has been arrived at by so well known a thinker as Ed. von Hartmann, who, despairing of the efficacy of unaided Natural Selection, regards evolution as intelligently guided by the UNCONSCIOUS (the Cosmic Logos of Occultism). But the latter acts only mediately through FOHAT, or Dhyan-Chohanic energy, and not quite in the direct manner which the great pessimist describes.

It is this divergence among men of Science, their mutual, and often their self-contradictions, that gave the writer of the present volumes the courage to bring to light other and older teachings – if only as hypotheses for future scientific appreciation. Though not in any way very learned in modern sciences, so evident, even to the humble recorder of this archaic clearing, are the said scientific fallacies and gaps, that she determined to touch upon all these, in order to place the two teachings on parallel lines. For Occultism, it is a question of self-defence, and nothing more.

So far, the “Secret Doctrine” has concerned itself with metaphysics, pure and simple. It has now landed on Earth, and finds itself within the domain of physical science and practical anthropology, or those branches of study which materialistic Naturalists claim as their rightful domain, coolly asserting, furthermore, that the higher and more perfect the working of the Soul, the more amenable it is to the analysis and explanations of the zoologist and the physiologist alone. (Hæckel on “Cell-Souls and Soul-Cells.“) This stupendous pretension comes from one, who, to prove his pithecoid descent, has not hesitated to include among the ancestors of man the Lemuridæ, which have been promoted by him to the rank of Prosimiæ, indeciduate mammals, to which he very incorrectly attributes a decidua and a discoidal placenta. 2 For this Hæckel was taken severely to task by de Quatrefages, and criticised by his own brother materialists and agnostics, as great, if not greater, authorities than himself, namely, by Virchow and du Bois-Reymond. 3

Such opposition notwithstanding, Hæckel’s wild theories are, to this day, called scientific and logical by some. The mysterious nature of Consciousness, of Soul, Spirit in Man being now explained as a mere advance on the functions of the protoplasmic molecules of the lively Protista, and the gradual evolution and growth of human mind and “social instincts” toward civilization having to be traced back to their origin in the civilization of ants, bees, and other creatures, the chances left for an impartial hearing of the doctrines of archaic Wisdom, are few indeed. The educated profane is told that “the social instincts of the lower animals have, of late, been regarded as being clearly the origin of morals, even of those of man” (!) and that our divine consciousness, our soul, intellect, and aspirations have “worked their way up from the lower stages of the simple cell-soul” of the gelatinous Bathybius – (See Hæckel’s “Present Position of Evolution” Notes)and he seems to believe it. For such men, the metaphysics of Occultism must produce the effect that our grandest orchestral and vocal oratorios produce on the Chinaman: a sound that jars upon their nerves.

Yet, are our esoteric teachings about “angels,” the first three pre-animal human Races, and the downfall of the Fourth, on a lower level of fiction and self-delusion than the Hæckelian “plastidular,” or the inorganic “molecular Souls of the Protista“? Between the evolution of the spiritual nature of man from the above Amœbian Souls, and the alleged development of his physical frame from the protoplastic dweller in the Ocean slime, there is an abyss which will not be easily crossed by any man in the full possession of his intellectual faculties. Physical evolution, as modern Science teaches it, is a subject for open controversy; spiritual and moral development on the same lines is the insane dream of a crass materialism.

Furthermore, past as well as present daily experience teaches that no truth has ever been accepted by the learned bodies unless it dovetailed with the habitual preconceived ideas of their professors. “The crown of the innovator is a crown of thorns” – said G. St. Hilaire. It is only that which fits in with popular hobbies and accepted notions that as a general rule gains ground. Hence the triumph of the Hæckelian ideas, notwithstanding their being proclaimed by Virchow, du Bois-Reymond, and others as the “testimonium paupertatis of natural Science.”

Diametrically opposed as may be the materialism of the German Evolutionists to the spiritual conceptions of Esoteric philosophy, radically inconsistent as is their accepted anthropological system with the real facts of nature – the pseudo-idealistic bias now colouring English thought is almost more pernicious. The pure materialistic doctrine admits of a direct refutation and appeal to the logic of facts. The idealism of the present day, not only contrives to absorb, on the one hand, the basic negations of Atheism, but lands its votaries in a tangle of unreality, which culminates in a practical Nihilism. Argument with such writers is almost out of the question. Idealists, therefore, will be still more antagonistic to the Occult teachings now given than even the Materialists. But as no worse fate can befall the exponents of Esoteric Anthropo-Genesis than being openly called by their foes by their old and time-honoured names of “lunatics” and “ignoramuses,” the present archaic theories may be safely added to the many modern speculations, and bide their time for their full or even partial recognition. Only, as the existence itself of these “archaic theories” will probably be denied, we have to give our best proofs and stand by them to the bitter end.

In our race and generation the one “temple in the Universe” is in rare cases – within us; but our body and mind have been too defiled by both Sin and Science to be outwardly now anything better than a fane of iniquity and error. And here our mutual position – that of Occultism and Modern Science – ought to be once for all defined.

We, Theosophists, would willingly bow before such men of learning as the late Prof. Balfour Stewart, Messrs. Crookes, Quatrefages, Wallace, Agassiz, Butlerof, and several others, though we may not agree, from the stand-point of esoteric philosophy, with all they say. But nothing could make us consent to even a show of respect for the opinions of other men of science, such as Hæckel, Carl Vogt, or Ludwig Buchner, in Germany; or even of Mr. Huxley and his co-thinkers in materialism in England – the colossal erudition of the first named, notwithstanding. Such men are simply the intellectual and moral murderers of future generations; especially Hæckel, whose crass materialism often rises to the height of idiotic naivetes in his reasonings. One has but to read his “Pedigree of Man, and Other Essays” (Aveling’s transl.) to feel a desire, in the words of Job, that his remembrance should perish from the earth, and that he “shall have no name in the streets.” Hear him deriding the idea of the origin of the human race “as a supernatural (?) phenomenon,” as one “that could not result from simple mechanical causes, from physical and chemical forces, but requires the direct intervention of a creative personality . . . ”

1 The”principle of perfectibility“of Nägeli; von de Baer’s “striving towards the purpose“; Braun’s “Divine breath as the inward impulse in the evolutionary history of Nature”; Professor Owen’s “tendency to perfectibility, etc.,” are all veiled manifestations of the universal guiding FOHAT, rich with the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic thought.

2 Vide infra, M. de Quatrefages’ expose of Hæckel, in § ii., “The Ancestors Mankind is offered by Science.”

3 Strictly speaking du Bois-Reymond is an agnostic, and not a materialist. He has protested most vehemently against the materialistic doctrine, which affirms mental phenomena to be merely the product of molecular motion. The most accurate physiological knowledge of the structure of the brain leaves us “nothing but matter in motion,” he asserts; “we must go further, and admit the utterly incomprehensible nature of the psychical principle which it is impossible to regard as a mere outcome of material causes.”


The Secret Doctrine, ii 648–652
H. P. Blavatsky



Theosophy ~ H.P. Blavatsky’s “Diagram Of Meditation”


Not long before she died H.P.B. dictated to a Mr Sturdy, one of the members of her Inner Group, the material for what has now become known as her Meditation Diagram.  This has been reproduced in The Theosophist before but perhaps a repetition of its inclusion as part of this article is justified.

This Diagram if used intently and persistently can yield some very significant results, the chief of which is the reorientation of attention from the personal to the impersonal self, even to the liberation of consciousness from the limitations of personal mind thinking and from the identification of consciousness with the personality.

Geoffrey Farthing (1909-2004), prominent English Theosophist and founder of the Blavatsky Trust – One of his books is “Deity, Cosmos & Man – An Outline of Esoteric Science,” a clear explanatory introduction to the teachings of Theosophy.
Geoffrey Farthing (1909-2004), prominent English Theosophist and founder of the Blavatsky Trust – One of his books is “Deity, Cosmos & Man – An Outline of Esoteric Science,” a clear explanatory introduction to the teachings of Theosophy.

The Diagram of Meditation is really in two parts.

(1) To start, H.P.B. says, ‘First conceive of UNITY by Expansion in Space and infinite in Time (either with or without self-identification)’. Here again we have a technique which is ‘consciousness-raising’ in itself. It relates us to the cosmic ‘whole’ and lifts our attention out of the realms of limitation. If we imagine ourselves ‘.. in Space and infinite in Time’, we cease to be in relation with anything we normally know or can conceive of. Space here does not relate to physical 3-D extension but to subjective space, that space ‘we’ (as a unit of bare subjectivity) are in when we close our eyes. Normally we fill it with mind images and thought symbols, but in this instruction we are to think of Unity, in the abstract, by expansion in space. This removes our attention, from the familiar to the ‘boundless’. It is a way of helping us realize the ‘inner divine man’ as the point of reference for all experience and mental activity. In this exercise that point of consciousness becomes our inner Self, our real single Self as opposed to the multitude of ‘selves’ which make up our personality.

We are then told to ‘meditate logically and consistently on this (Unity, etc.) in reference to states of consciousness’. Normally these are the four: waking, dreaming, deep sleep and the transcendental state of Turiya. This exercise must be done to be appreciated. There is much information on the states in Subba Rao’s Esoteric Writings, pp 133 (fn), and 311 (an interesting explanation).

All that he says can be summarised as follows, the four states are:-
1) Jagrat – the normal Waking State
2) Swapna – Dreaming
3) Sushupti – Dreamless Sleep
4) Turiya – Transcendental Conscious Union with one’s Ego.

The Vedanta Philosophy teaches as much as Occult Philosophy that our Monad during its life on earth as a Triad (7th, 6th and 5th principles) has, besides the condition of pure intelligence, three conditions, namely waking, dreaming and sushupti – a state of dreamless sleep – from the standpoint of terrestrial conceptions; of real, actual, soul life – from the occult standpoint, while man is either dreamlessly profoundly asleep or in a trance state, the Triad (spirit, soul, mind) enters into perfect union with the para-atma, the supreme universal soul. The Turiya state is a kamaless one and cannot be obtained by the Yogi unless the Higher Triad is separated from the Lower Quaternary (see S.D.III, 540). The higher spiritual consciousness is described in C.W.XII, 711.

(2) The second part of the Diagram of Meditation consists of important aids prefaced by ‘Then the normal state of our consciousness must be moulded by:-’. Then there are two headings: ‘Acquisitions’ and ‘Deprivations’ summarised briefly in what follows. Under ‘Acquisitions’ there are three main elements: i) ‘Perpetual presence in imagination in all space and time’; ii) Continued attempt at attitude of mind to all existing things, which is neither love, hate nor indifference’; iii) ‘The perception in all embodied beings of limitation only’. For meditation purposes these are extended and illustrated. Time spent in meditation on the ‘Acquisitions’ establishes a point of view (centre of awareness) which becomes distinct from whatever one is thinking about. The content of our thought becomes objective to us, as subject, the point of awareness. These Acquisitions, she says, are completed by the thought ‘I am all Space and Time.’

In the middle leg of Acquisitions, H.P.B. refers to the six virtues set out in verses 207 to 213 of The Voice of the Silence. For would-be meditators there is no better material for contemplation than that little book. In the Preface to it H.P.B. explains that the treatises she selected for translation from the original, ‘will best suit the few real mystics in the Theosophical Society, and (which) are sure to answer their needs’. Much of what she says about the practice of meditation she prefaces with the necessity for high morality and purity, the theme of much of the book.

Under the heading of ‘Deprivations’ we are instructed to steadily deny reality to: i) Separations and meetings, explained as association with places, times and forms; ii) The distinction, friend and foe; iii) Possessions; iv) Personality; v) Sensation. Each of these is illustrated and explained for meditation purposes, in a very illuminating and meaningful way.

A note summarizes the importance of our reviewing the ‘Deprivations’ in the light of ‘the inner divine man’. Our unit of consciousness (now free in space and time and the conditioning of the personality) is the nearest most of us will be able to get to ‘the inner divine man’ to begin with. The note says, we should cultivate the perpetual imagination – without self delusion – of ‘I am without’; the recognition of their being the source of bondage, ignorance and strife. ‘Deprivation’ is completed by the meditation ‘I am without attributes’.

An immediate difficulty arises when we think about these ‘Deprivations’ and identify ourselves with them. This note helps correct that attitude and see that we ourselves as freed units of consciousness, i.e. our inner divine selves, do not have these attributes. We are ‘deprived’ of them. We, our proper Selves, are never so conditioned, hence the injunction to meditate with the words ‘I am without attributes’. To start with and to realize the truth of this can be somewhat frightening. However, if we succeed, we have entered into a state of real freedom which can never again be lost completely. Yet somehow or other our real identity has not been lost although we then could not say what precisely we were. In other words we now, as ‘inner divine Beings’, have broken the habitual identity in consciousness with our personalities. A note on the Diagram says, ‘There is no risk of self-delusion if the personality is deliberately forgotten’.

Having achieved this initial stage of liberation we have to train our lower selves in the practice of the virtues, and H.P.B. says that now there will be ‘greater ease’ in practising them. Quoting The Voice of the Silence, the virtues (Paramitas) are i) Charity and love immortal; ii) Harmony in word and act; iii) Patience sweet; iv) Indifference to pleasure and pain; v) Dauntless energy; vi) Dhyana, whose golden gate once opened leads the Narjol (a saint or adept) towards the realm of Sat eternal and its ceaseless contemplation; vii) Prajna, the key to which makes of man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva. This is the end result of all meditation and spiritual development.

H.P. BlavatskyIt may be a long time before most of us can achieve, to a significant degree, the sixth and seventh virtues but the first five have some immediate reality for us and the persistent practice of them certainly changes us and our lives greatly to their benefit: then all those with whom we associate, and our environment, benefit accordingly.

There are many references in the classical H.P.B. literature to Hatha Yoga and mostly they are warnings against its practice. For example,

Pranayama … without the previous acquisition of or at least full understanding of the two higher senses, of which there are seven … pertains to the lower yoga [Hatha Yoga]. The Hatha so-called was and still is discountenanced by the Arhats. It is injurious to the health and alone can never develop into Raja Yoga.
[S.D.I, 95 (orig. ed.), 121 (3rd ed.), 157 (4th ed.)]

Again the two highest tattvas were ignored by exoteric yoga philosophy and Hatha Yoga, but these two are the chief factors in Raja Yoga. No spiritual or intellectual phenomena of a high nature can take place without them, they being the Adi tattva (first Logos, corresponding to Atma) and Anupadaka tattva (second Logos, corresponding to Buddhi). The other tattvas mentioned are Akasa (as Ether), Vayu (Air), Tejas (Fire), Apas (Water) and Prithivi (Earth). Note that akasa is Ether and corresponds to mind, Tejas is luminosity in the atmosphere. Another warning, ‘the Hatha Yogi uses powers only on the material plane’, and then there is a dissertation on the use of will power which specifically states that it does not involve the suppression of breath (see S.D.III, 503, C.W.XII, 616).

There is further instruction by H.P.B. to her Inner Group (see end of S.D.III, which is also in ‘The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky’ reconstructed by H.J. Spierenburg), most of it of an advanced and technical nature not touched on here.

~ from Geoffrey Farthing’s article “HPB on Meditation and Yoga” in “The Theosophist,” December 1992 (

* For less complex information about the Raja Yoga of Theosophy and its practical and perpetual application in everyday life, please see the article “The Esoteric Raja Yoga of Theosophy” on this site at


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If one turns to those wells of information, “The Natural Genesis” and the Lectures of Mr. Gerald Massey, the proofs of the antiquity of the doctrine under analysis become positively overwhelming. That the belief of the author differs from ours can hardly invalidate the facts. He views the symbol from a purely natural standpoint, one perhaps a trifle too materialistic, because too much that of an ardent Evolutionist and follower of the modern Darwinian dogmas. Thus he shows that “the student of Böhme’s books finds much in them concerning these Seven Fountain Spirits and primary powers, treated as seven properties of nature in the alchemistic and astrological phase of the mediæval mysteries;” 1 and adds:

“The followers of Böhme look on such matter as divine revelation of his inspired Seership. They know nothing of the natural genesis, the history and persistence of the Wisdom 2 of the past (or of the broken links), and are unable to recognise the physical features of the ancient Seven Spirits beneath their modern metaphysical or alchemist mask. A second connecting link between the Theosophy of Böhme and the physical origins of Egyptian thought, is extant in the fragments of Hermes Trismegistus. 3 No matter whether these teachings are called Illuminatist, Buddhist, Kabalist, Gnostic, Masonic, or Christian, the elemental types can only be truly known in their beginnings. 4 When the prophets or visionary showmen of cloudland come to us claiming original inspiration, and utter something new, we judge of its value by what it is in itself. But if we find they bring us the ancient matter which they cannot account for, and we can, it is natural that we should judge it by the primary significations rather than the latest pretensions. 5 It is useless for us to read our later thought into the earliest types of expression, and then say the ancients meant that. 6 Subtilized interpretations which have become doctrines and dogmas in theosophy have now to be tested by their genesis in physical phenomena, in order that we may explode their false pretensions to supernatural origin or supernatural knowledge. 7

But the able author of the “Book of the Beginnings” and of “The Natural Genesis“does – very fortunately, for us – quite the reverse. He demonstrates most triumphantly our Esoteric (Buddhist) teachings, by showing them identical with those of Egypt. Let the reader judge from his learned lecture on “The Seven Souls of Man.” 8 Says the author:

   “The first form of the mystical SEVEN was seen to be figured in heaven by the Seven large stars of the great Bear, the constellation assigned by the Egyptians to the Mother of Time, and of the Seven Elemental Powers.”

Just so, for the Hindus place in the great Bear their seven primitive Rishis and call this constellation the abode of the Saptarishi, Riksha and Chitra-Sikhandinas. But whether it is only an astronomical myth or a primordial mystery, having a deeper meaning than it bears on its surface, is what their adepts claim to know. We are also told that “the Egyptians divided the face of the sky by night into seven parts. The primary Heaven was seven-fold.” So it was with the Aryans. One has but read the Purânas about the beginnings of Brahmâ, and his “Egg” to see it. Have the Aryans taken the idea from the Egyptians?  “The earliest forces,” proceeds the lecturer, “recognized in nature were reckoned as seven in number. These became seven elementals, devils (?) or later, divinities. Seven properties were assigned to nature, as matter, cohesion, fluxion, coagulation, accumulation, station, and division and seven elements or souls to man.

All this was taught in the esoteric doctrine, but it was interpreted and its mysteries unlocked, as already stated, with seven, not two, or at the utmost, three keys; hence the causes and their effects worked in invisible or mystic as well as psychic nature, and were made referable to metaphysics and psychology as much as to physiology. “The principle of seveningas the author says – “was introduced, and the number seven supplied a sacred type that could be used for manifold purposes; and it was so used. For “the seven Souls of the Pharaoh are often mentioned in the Egyptian texts. . . . Seven Souls or principles in man were identified by our British Druids. . . . . The Rabbins also ran the number of souls up to seven; so, likewise, do the Karens of India. . . .”

And then, the author tabulates the two teachings – the Esoteric and the Egyptian, – and shows that the latter had the same series and in the same order.

(Esoteric) Indian                                                    Egyptian
1.  Rupa, body or element of form.        1.   Kha, body.
2.  Prana, the breath of life.                     2.   Ba, the Soul of Breath.
3.  Astral body.                                           3.   Khaba, the shade.
4.  Manas–or Intelligence. 9                    4.  Akhu, Intelligence or Perception.
5.  Kama–rupa, or animal soul.              5.  Seb, ancestral Soul.
6.  Buddhi, Spiritual Soul.                       6.   Putah, the first intellectual father.
7.  Atma, pure spirit. . . .                          7.   Atmu, a divine or eternal soul.

Further on, the lecturer formulates these seven (Egyptian) souls, as (1) The Soul of Blood – the formative; (2)The Soul of Breath – “that breathes“; (3)The Shade or Covering Soul – “that envelopes“; (4) The Soul of Perception – “that perceives;” (5)The Soul of Pubescence “that procreates“; (6) The Intellectual Soul – “that reproduces intellectually“; and (7) The Spiritual Soul – “that is perpetuated permanently.

From the exoteric and physiological standpoint this may be very correct; it becomes less so from the esoteric point of view. To maintain this, does not at all mean that the “Esoteric Buddhists” resolve men into a number of elementary Spirits, as Mr. G. Massey, in the same lecture, accuses them of maintaining. No “Esoteric Buddhist” has ever been guilty of any such absurdity. Nor has it been ever imagined that these shadows “become spiritual beings in another world,” or “seven potential spirits or elementaries of another life.” What is maintained is simply that every time the immortal Ego incarnates it becomes, as a total, a compound unit of Matter and Spirit, which together act on seven different planes of being and consciousness. Elsewhere, Mr. G. Massey adds:  “The seven souls (our “Principles”) are often mentioned in the Egyptian texts. The moon god, Taht-Esmun, or the later sun god, expressed the seven nature-powers that were prior to himself, and were summed up in him as his seven souls (we say “principles”) . . . . The seven stars in the hand of Christ in the Revelation, have the same significance,” etc.

And a still greater one, as these stars represent also the seven keys of the Seven Churches or the SODALIAN MYSTERIES, cabalistically. However, we will not stop to discuss, but add that other Egyptologists have also found out that the septenary constitution of man was a cardinal doctrine with the old Egyptians. In a series of remarkable articles in the “Sphinx” (Munich) Herr Franz Lambert gives incontrovertible proof of his conclusions from the “Book of the Dead” and other Egyptian records. For details the reader must be referred to the articles themselves, but the following diagram, summing up the author’s conclusions, is demonstrative evidence of the identity of Egyptian psychology with the septenary division in “Esoteric Buddhism.”

1 The Natural Genesis, Vol. I, pp 318-319.

2 Yet there are some who may know something of these, even outside the author’s lines, wide as they undeniably are.

3 This connecting link, like others, was pointed out by the present writer nine years before the appearance of the work from which the above is quoted, namely, in Isis Unveiled, a work full of such guiding links between ancient, mediæval, and modern thought, but, unfortunately, too loosely edited.

4 Ay; but how can the learned writer prove that these “beginnings” were precisely in Egypt, and nowhere else, and only 50,000 years ago?

5 Precisely, and this is just what the Theosophists do. They have never claimed, “original inspiration,” not even as mediums, but have always pointed, and do now point, to the “primary signification” of the symbols, which they trace to other countries older even than Egypt; significations, moreover, which emanate from a hierarchy (or hierarchies, if preferred) of living wise men, mortals, notwithstanding that Wisdom, who reject every approach to supernaturalism.

6 But where is the proof that the ancients did not mean precisely that which the Theosophists claim? Records exist for what they say, just as other records exist for what Mr. G. Massey says. His interpretations are very correct, but equally one-sided. Surely nature has more than one physical aspect,for astronomy, astrology, and so on, are all on the physical, not the spiritual plane.

7 It is to be feared that Mr. Massey has not succeeded. We have our followers as he has his followers, and materialistic Science steps in and takes little account of both his and our speculations!

8 The fact that this learned Egyptologist does not recognise in the doctrine of the “Seven Souls,” as he terms our principles, or “metaphysical concepts,” but “the primitive biology or physiology of the Soul,” does not invalidate our argument. The lecturer touches on only two keys, those that unlock the astronomical and the physiological mysteries of esotericism, and leaves out the other five. Otherwise he would have promptly understood that what he calls the physiological divisions of the living Soul of man, are regarded by Theosophists as also psychological and spiritual.

9 This is a great mistake made in the Esoteric enumeration. Manas is the fifth, not the fourth, and Manas corresponds precisely with Seb, the Egyptian fifth principle, for that portion of Manas, which follows the two higher principles, is the ancestral soul; indeed, the bright, immortal thread of the higher Ego, to which clings the Spiritual aroma of all the lives or births.


The Secret Doctrine, ii 630–633
H. P. Blavatsky


Sri Raghavan Iyer ~ THE ZERO PRINCIPLE – II


  Before one can begin to understand the possibilities of universal self-consciousness, one must grasp in principle and at a simpler level what is logically involved in the transcendence of any pair of opposites. Take, for example, any two points and draw intersecting lines through them that meet at an apex. Then draw a third line horizontally connecting the two original points. In relation to these two points on the base line – which is analogous to substance – the apex represents that which enables one to transcend a particular field, which is represented by the enclosed triangle formed by the three points. This is a simple enough idea but it must be applied to those five pairs of opposites, cited by the Maha Chohan, which are so perplexing to human beings. To take the simplest, consider pain and pleasure. Most human beings are stuck in the basement of human evolution, wrestling with the pain-pleasure principle. Yet it is possible to overcome the oscillation of the two opposites and to move to a point of balance, indifference or neutralization between them. If one is really willing to think it out, one will be amazed to discover the degree to which one can neutralize one’s propensity towards pleasurable sensations and thereby one’s corresponding aversion to painful sensations.

Moving to the moral plane, the neutralization and transcendence of egotism and altruism is the toughest challenge for those high souls truly struggling in spiritual mountain climbing. As soon as these souls take birth, they are burdened with the obligation and the temptation of taking on the karma of others, the problem of wise non-interference. They are also stuck with the principle of self-assertion for the sake of self-preservation. Though a difficult dichotomy, this is, in principle, no different from any other pair of opposites. Ethical dichotomy, having to do with right and wrong, must be understood in terms of metaphysical distinctions between good and evil. These, in turn, have their application in all relationships, social, political and otherwise, which give rise to the dichotomy of liberty and despotism. It is possible, with each of these dichotomies, to find a mode of neutralization. One may take as a starting point the simplest mode of neutralization, which is to find the mid-point between the extremes. In Buddhist terms one should seek out the Middle Way. If one can discover a moderating principle within oneself, one may begin to moderate one’s preoccupation with right or wrong, good or evil, pleasure or pain, one’s tendency to dominate or to be submissive. By continually engaging in self-correction, guided by the principle of the Middle Way, one may avoid both pitfalls and extremes.

This teaching of Buddha is accessible to all human beings. It is always possible for anyone to slow down, to cut down, to moderate. But in doing so one must avoid any tendencies to become passive, escapist or vague. To fall into these traps is not to follow the Middle Way but merely to flee reality. Thus, while remaining fully engaged in the field of dharma, one must also learn to moderate. One should begin with an appreciation of the principle of the Middle Way – lying between the extremes of unedifying self-indulgence and equally unedifying self- mortification. Then through meditation one must go beyond this initial point of departure, taking advantage of the teaching of the Aryan eightfold path as a bridge between metaphysics and ethics. One must, in practice, come to experience through meditation neutral states. The entire cycle of the eightfold path, beginning in right views and concluding in right meditation, requires a continual process of formation and dissolution of perspectives and assumptions. Whatever one’s present mode of perception of the Dharma, whatever one’s present practice of the Dharma, one must be prepared both to affirm and negate this framework. Only so can one pass through a neutral condition to a renewed and regenerated understanding of the Dharma. Whilst this will be understood at first in terms of one’s solemn perspective and strenuous actions, owing to the salvationist tendency to project the idea of a path outside oneself, in time there will dawn a sobering realization that in fact this process of formation and neutralization is occurring within one’s faculties of perception, within the substance of one’s vestures.

It is not easy to master this mature understanding of the path, wherein there is no external travelling and the aspirant becomes one with the path itself. There is no room for haste or pretense. Rather, one should approach the task a day at a time. Those who attempt to jump ahead at the start, because they know nothing better, will quickly despair and abandon the path. That opens up the even worse risk of making judgements about the path and about those who authentically are attempting to follow it. Anyone finding himself or herself in this self-begotten predicament should immediately stop engaging in such self-destructive behaviour and try to make a fresh beginning. They should get back to the basics, find a different rhythm, follow it out each day and each week, learn to act incrementally as Nature does. Then they may discover that though the process of enlightenment and self-transcendence is slow, it is authentic. There will be moments of exhilaration and joy, moments of freedom and beautiful insight, as well as moments of pure love and true compassion. Above all, there will be moments of true selflessness when, in thinking of other beings, one reduces oneself to a zero. One’s eventual goal must be to thread one’s life together out of such moments, learning how, through daily meditation and right mental posture, one can be of service to humanity.

If this is the immediate and existential meaning of the teaching regarding transcendence as well as the significance of the zero principle, the ultimate metaphysical meaning of the idea lies in the unfathomable bosom of the unmanifest. The mysterious neutral axis within the cosmos and within man, around which coil the diverse powers of dual manifestation, is also a luminous thread leading to the core of the mystery of the individuality. By discovering the more and more abstract aspects of the zero within Nature and Man, one may draw closer and closer to the universal basis of spiritual immortality. All the hosts of spiritual monads on all the many planes of existence in the manifested cosmos derive from a single hebdomadic Logoic source. Preceding the differentiations of consciousness and form in the solar and terrestrial worlds, that fount of immortality radiates through seven centres from one eternity to another.


         The seven Laya centres are the seven Zero points, using the term Zero in the same sense that Chemists do, to indicate a point at which, in Esotericism, the scale of reckoning of differentiation begins. From the Centres – beyond which Esoteric philosophy allows us to perceive the dim metaphysical outlines of the ‘Seven Sons’ of Life and Light, the Seven Logoi of the Hermetic and all other philosophers – begins the differentiation of the elements which enter into the constitution of our Solar System.

  The Secret Doctrine, i 138–139


At this level the degrees of plenitude, self-sufficiency and self-regeneration connected with the laya principle are so profound that they have no comprehensible analogue within human life. This is the realm of Initiates. Nevertheless, every human being, as an immortal ray of the Central Spiritual Sun, has the opportunity and privilege of meditating upon the idea of Fohat, which is an emanation of the Seven Sons of Light. Whatever plane of self-consciousness a being inhabits, it is always helpful to a group of monads held together by an irresistible ideal and an overarching transcendental vision of the good to come together and strengthen their collective capacity to reduce themselves to zeros in the service of their common ideal. Training in this magical power of transmission is the essential meaning of the Sangha. When people come together, truly forgetting themselves and united by the magnetic attraction of the good, they emulate and serve in some small measure the Teachers of Humanity, the great galaxy of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The highest beings learn to do this ceaselessly, invoking the Fohatic principle which is present potentially at every point in space. Even at the level of ordinary, unenlightened human beings, it is possible to take advantage of the zero principle at some elementary level. The integrity of human nature itself assures that every human being can mirror the transcendental beneficence of the highest beings. Ultimately, all the potentiality of the zero, of shunyata or the void, is present throughout the plenum. The void is the plenum. All of Nature stands as an open invitation to every group of human beings to take conscious advantage of the Fohatic potential that exists everywhere throughout the body of Nature, but which is most powerful in the realm of ideation, the realm of Mahat, universal mind or Aether-Akasha. This is an invaluable lesson for any group of pilgrim souls to learn if they would constitute themselves true helpers of the servants of humanity in the coming decades and in the dawn of the Aquarian Age. In all relationships – in one’s household, at work and in the greater society – one may participate in the unfoldment of the ascending cycle that will stretch right into the next century.

To ally oneself truly with other human beings on behalf of the cause of humanity is to touch upon a much greater richness in human nature than can ever be experienced otherwise. Apart from the activation of the germ of spiritual self-consciousness, human beings are mostly semi-conscious, unconscious in relation to themselves and the potential in humanity. Once one learns to neutralize the lower self to some degree, thus transcending the opposites at a preliminary level, one will immediately discover what a fruitful diversity there is within oneself, between any two human beings, much less amongst larger groups. One will begin to see the profound importance of the plane of mentality – the plane of intellection – which is broader in its scope than any other plane. One will also begin to grasp the grandeur and magnitude of the vast inheritance of all human beings over eighteen million years.

Access to the plane of Chit – the vast and inexhaustible realm of boundless possibilities – inevitably depends upon self-conscious assimilation of the Law of Sacrifice. Within the planes of manifest existence there is a continual giving and receiving between all atoms, monads and beings. One may view all of this in terms of a calculus that seeks to measure how much one is getting in relation to how much one is giving. But the arithmetic of the marketplace is not easily applied to human affairs; moral calculus is tricky. It would be most unwise to perform this moral arithmetic inefficiently and on behalf of one’s ego. When human beings edit, forget and fall prey to ingratitude, they generate a tragic inversion of the principles of karma and justice. They think that whatever good they experience is self-generated, whilst whatever is bad comes from outside. In the end this amounts to a denial of the compassion at the core of the cosmos. In effect, by becoming obsessed with personal ratios of giving and receiving, one cuts oneself off entirely from the well-spring of one’s own true being. Instead of succumbing to such a tragic fate, it is far healthier and much more human to learn to enjoy giving generously and wisely at all times. By stepping outside the realm of petty calculation, one becomes a creative participant in the universal wisdom-sacrifice, the jnana yajna, of the cosmos.

Each breath is a sign of involvement in the Great Sacrifice. Each thought is itself a part of that sacrifice. How, then, can human beings impose some narrow view, whether egotistic or bilateral, upon the boundless stream of universal sacrifice? Instead of ensnaring oneself in the unnecessary tensions of a pseudo-sense of justice, which is merely a noisy mass of humbug that will leave, at death, an ugly rupa, one should reduce oneself to a zero. No amount of self-inflation and fearful grasping, no adherence to concretized images of oneself and one’s possessions – physical, mental or even spiritual – can contribute one iota to one’s well being as a soul. It is not prudence but folly that leads human beings to store up treasures in the realm of manifestation. From instant to instant the entire cosmos passes through a neutral point, a metaphysical zero point, and instantly and effortlessly it is regenerated in all its vastness. If the universe itself continually depends upon the mystery of All and Nothing within the Zero, there can be no greater wisdom for human beings than to cooperate self-consciously with the zero principle. Living from day to day and moment to moment in calm assurance of the ontologically boundless plenty of the Great Sacrifice, the neophyte can learn to rest upon the bosom of the infinite waters of Truth.


Hermes, February 1986
Raghavan Iyer


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