Theosophy | THE EYE OF WISDOM – I

The idea of Eternal Non-Being, which is the One Being, will appear a paradox to anyone who does not remember that we limit our ideas of being to our present consciousness of existence; making it a specific instead of a generic term. An unborn infant, could it think in our acceptation of the term, would necessarily limit its conception of being, in a similar manner, to the intrauterine life which alone it knows; and were it to endeavour to express to its consciousness the idea of life after birth (death to it), it would, in the absence of data to go upon, and of faculties to comprehend such data, probably express that life as “Non-Being which is Real Being.” In our case the One Being is the noumenon of all noumena which we know must underlie phenomena, and give them whatever shadow of reality they possess, but which we have not the senses or the intellect to cognize at present. . . . Alone the Initiate, rich with the lore acquired by numberless generations of his predecessors, directs the “Eye of Dangma” toward the essence of things in which no Maya can have any influence.

The Secret Doctrine, i 45

 Beyond the range of all maya, and beyond all but the most exalted conceptions of the divine dialectic, lies the highest possible state of supreme noetic vision, the state of the opened Eye of Dangma, spoken of so beautifully in magnificent metaphors in the Stanzas of Dzyan. Beneath this level of pristine consciousness, all ideas of being reflect an inevitable limitation, owing to one’s sense of present existence and awareness of specific circumstances. For us, to be a being is to be a being at a particular time and a particular place, or for a certain period of time in a certain place in this world. The all-enveloping nature of this mayavic limitation of consciousness is brought home by the metaphor of the unborn infant in the womb. Each of us is like this to a greater or lesser degree, and, like the infant in the womb, were it to express its conception of being, we are not directly able to formulate the true nature or causal ground of our being, especially with reference to the larger life of beings outside the self-limiting context of our narrow consciousness. Further, if we contemplate the possibility of being born into a larger and richer world, we can only see the process of that birth itself as equivalent to death — the end of life as we seemingly know it. For typical human beings, then, who think that they have been born once into this world of illusion, the prospect of becoming dwijas, or twice-born, can only be described as a passage into non-being. Nevertheless, the veil of maya is not so impenetrable to the human will and spirit that we cannot cultivate a deepening intuition that this birth — which seems death to the lower nature — is the solemn path of initiation into real Being.

 In our case, and depending upon our degrees of philosophic detachment, we may be vaguely or acutely aware that all the beings we seem to know, including ourselves, are merely shadowy phenomenal representations of noumenal realities, and even of a single supreme Noumenon. Through devotion and tapaswe may learn to sift through the dross of phenomenal experience, thereby quickening the dormant powers of Buddhi-Manas which alone can bring us to the threshold of birth into true life in spirit. Having inverted what we did and knew, what we felt and were as babies, we can learn as fallen adults, like the miner looking for gold.

The impalpable atoms of gold scattered through the substance of a ton of auriferous quartz may be imperceptible to the naked eye of the miner, yet he knows that they are not only present there, but that they alone give his quartz any appreciable value; and this relation of the gold to the quartz may faintly shadow forth that of the noumenon to the phenomenon. The miner knows what the gold will look like when extracted from quartz, whereas the common mortal can form no conception of the reality of things separated from the Maya which veils them, and in which they are hidden.

Ibid., i 45

 In other words, there is not only gold in the hills, but there is gold in every grain of dust, in every atom, in every moment of time if only we would know it. The fact that more human beings do not know this at this point of human evolution is not primarily because of universal ignorance, but more because of avoidable perversity. Where human beings grow up turning their eyes away from what is golden in other human beings — in their acts, in their words and in their lives — it is scarcely surprising that they should develop a peculiar and fatal fascination with dross.

 Hence the vital importance of directing one’s thought, aspiration and devotion towards the ideal of the perfected Sage, who carries with him the inheritance of countless generations of distilled wisdom and directs the faultless Eye of Dangma towards the essence of things where maya casts no shadows. If human beings mired in illusion and a false sense of their own being are to gain what The Voice of the Silence calls ‘the right perception of existing things’ and ‘the knowledge of the non-existent’, then they must seek for Him who will give them birth in the Hall of Wisdom. It is there that the teachings of Gupta Vidya in relation to the twelvefold chain of the nidanas, the chain of dependent origination governing birth and death, and also the four Noble Truths of Buddha have their greatest but most secret meaning. There are secret truths contained within all uttered truths, within the doctrine of the nidanas, and within the four truths. There are secrets within secrets, worlds within worlds. If seekers of wisdom are like miners of gold, they must have some idea what they are looking for, but at the same time they must freely and openly admit their ignorance, recognizing that the true teachings and their accredited custodians are their sole saving grace.

 All true wisdom comes from using the teachings given in the best way one can, and it is virtually fruitless instead to attempt to distill wisdom from the world of empirical unrealities. Certainly if every time divine wisdom is available, it avails little or nothing to so many human beings, even those who come into direct contact with it, it is because they have somehow convinced themselves otherwise without evidence or reason. They falsely suppose that a mere accumulation of worldly experience for its own sake, randomly gathered in the passage of events and from the opinions of others, will somehow add up to wisdom. In the totality of things that happen to a human being gripped by avidya — who is mostly an automaton, acting like a robot most of the time, a creature of habit at best, and moved by drives which produce guilt and repression — there is nothing remotely comparable to what may be found in consciously chosen experience as a means of testing and applying, apprehending, discovering and rediscovering one single sacred spiritual truth intimated by the authentic teachings of the Brotherhood of Sages.

 The wise are those who, when they receive such teaching, become almost from the beginning deaf and blind to everything else, and see all else only in relation to that which is sacred. They make the very best experiments they can as early as possible, therefore garnering the lessons of life and become unacknowledged but self-dependent sources of inner wisdom. Tested by experience and enriched by human pain and suffering, they become endowed with the light and the lustre, the beneficence and the benediction, of true compassion in their conscious ideation in meditation, let alone in their outward utterances and external deeds. As dauntless and detached learners, they make the fields of their experience the basis of Gandhian experiments in truth. Whilst understanding that the Absolute is the ultimate basis of all life and experience, but is wholly untouched by it, they shun the false and cowardly notion all human difficulties arise merely through maya. Illusion is not really the problem, because the whole world is caught up in a transcendental divine process of which is maya is a necessary part. Maya is inseparable from Ishvara in the sum total of everything that exists in the realm of conditioned existence, and to miss this is to fall prey to a sense of pseudo-detachment that has nothing to do with true spirituality.

Raghavan Iyer
The Gupta Vidya II

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



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






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

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

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

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

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

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

Ibid., 222

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

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

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

Ibid., 222-223

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

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

Ibid., 224

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

Hermes, June 1984
by Raghavan Iyer



Let us use with care those living messengers called words.

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

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

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

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

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