I have gone the whole round of Creation: I saw and I spoke! I, a work of God’s hand for that purpose, received in my brain And pronounced on the rest of His handwork — returned Him again His creation’s approval or censure: I spoke as I saw. I report, as a man may of God’s work — all ‘s love, yet all’s law. Now I lay down the judgeship He lent me. Each faculty tasked To perceive Him, has gained an abyss, where a dewdrop was asked. Have I knowledge? confounded it shrivels at Wisdom laid bare. Have I forethought? how purblind, how blank, to the Infinite Care! — Robert Browning
The reason why Heaven and Earth can last long is that they live not for themselves, and thus they are able to endure. — Lao Tzu
Without a good grounding in theoretical Theosophy, the basis for the conduct advocated by the Bhagavad-Gita, Narada Bhakti Sutra, Voice of the Silence, and other mystical texts cannot be readily grasped by the ordinary reader. Equally, without fathoming out two enigmatic verses in the Gita and the Bhagavata-Purana, the quintessence of The Secret Doctrine cannot be fully apprehended either.
Let’s see how Lord Krishna touches upon the heart of The One Infinite Life and Law, and Its triple finite manifestation on the plane of progression and rebirth. Since Compassion and Sacrifice are intrinsic to such exalted states of Benevolence, the same verses may also be viewed as the “mission statement” of an Avatar:
I produce myself among creatures, O son of Bharata, whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world; and thus I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness.
And “what is the most just thing” according to Pythagoras?
Enlightening is BP Wadia’s analysis of the triple LAW in the light of Lord Krishna’s affirmation to Prince Arjuna:
The manifested universe is called in The Secret Doctrine the Son of Necessity. Every microcosmos is a Son of Necessity. The rising of the Wave — the universe — in the Ocean of Absoluteness is under Law. . . . In the Circle of Infinity 2 arises, under and as Law, the Circle of Necessity 3 or finiteness. This Law has three aspects corresponding to the three in the Ever Concealed Unity — the Law of Karma (Action), of Cycles (Yugas) and of Yajna (Sacrifice-Compassion). . . . This threefold function of the One Law is not outside of man or the universe. It is within each.
In the Bhagavata-Purana Prahlada addresses Narasimha, a half-man halflion avataric appearance of Vishnu, with remarkable similarity:
. . . O All-powerful Lord! Incarnating Thyself as man, animal, fish, Rishi and celestial, in different Yugas (ages), Thou dost destroy the wicked and protect the worlds. Though Thou protectest the Dharma appropriate to every age, Thy presence is hidden in the age of Kali. Thou art therefore known as Triyuga, or one whose manifestations are confined to the three Yugas.
Yet, Sacrifice is not conspicuous in The Secret Doctrine. Of the space devoted in the Proem to the First Proposition, less than a quarter is given to the Second, the Law of Periodicity or Yugas-cycles. Karman-action and YajnaCompassion-Sacrifice, the other two aspects of the same Law, are not mentioned here — although Karman is linked with Yugas in the Anthropogenesis of the Third.
Compassion-Sacrifice has always been paramount in the writings of HP Blavatsky though not always phrased in a manner that we are accustomed to or expect to hear. The following is a collection of one hundred forty-two qualifying epithets and descriptive statements, where Divine Love or “One for All,” and Devotional Love or “All for One” are implicit:
Absolute Being and Non-Being, Absolute Root of All, Absolutely Boundless, Absoluteness, Abstract Light penetrating all, Abyss, Agape, Alaya’s Self, Aletheia-Truth, All is One, All plus Universal Mind, Altruism, Arche, Argo, Ark, Beneficence, Benevolence, Bhakti-Devotion, Boundless, Brotherhood, Brotherly Love, Cause of the “Great Architect,” Causeless Cause, Central point from which all emerges and around and toward which all gravitates, Changeless Law, Chaos, Charity, Chastity, Chrestos in humiliation, Clemency, Compassion itself, Dedication, Deity itself, Dhyani-Chohans of sentient life, Dianoia-Ennoia, Disinterestedness, Divine substance-principle, Essence plus Spirit of the Universe, Eternal, Eternal Egg, Eternal Harmony, Eternal Intelligence-Wisdom, Ever-acting Cause, Ever-concealed Spiritual Fire, Ever-periodically recurring, Forbearance, Forgiveness, Fraternal feeling, Fundamental Principle, Generosity, Gentleness, Goodness, Goodwill, Grace, Harmony itself, Heart, Homogeneity, Humaneness, Humanity, Immutable, Immutably Infinite, Impersonal Reality, Infinite, Infinite Expansion, Intelligent, Jivatman, Kindness, Knowledge of the Higher Soul or Spiritual Self, Latent in every atom, Life Principle, Love itself, Love of humanity, Love of mankind, Loving-kindness, Martyrdom, Mercy, Monad, MotherMatter, Natural Law, Neith, Never-erring Law, Nirguna, Nous, Nux, Omnipresent Reality, Parabrahman, Parentless, Perfect equilibrium, Perpetually Reasoning Divinity, Philaletheia, Pity, Privation, Probity, Purity, Radical Cause, Rendering good for evil, Renunciation, Repression of the physical senses, Resignation, Rootless Root, Ruling Principle, Sacrifice itself, Self-abnegation, Self-analysing reflection, Self-denial, Self-existent, Self-immolation, Selflessness, Self-sacrifice, Surrender, Sympathy, Temperance, Tenderness, The Fundamental Law in Theosophy, The Good, The Great Law, The Law of Brotherhood, The Law of Compassion-Sacrifice, The Law of Laws, The Lawgiver of the Universe, The Monarch of the Universe, The One, The One and Only Reality, The One Existence, The One Life, The One Reality, The Operating Law, The Spirit of Truth, The Supreme One, Tolerance, True Philanthropy, True Philosophy, Unbound, Unconscious Deity, Uncreated, Universal Law, Universal Over-Soul, Universe itself, Unselfishness, Without attributes, Worship of Truth, Yajna.
In 1888, the year The Secret Doctrine was published, Blavatsky wrote:
If there is one thing that Lucifer proposes to preach and enforce throughout the next year, more than any other subject, it is — CHARITY; unrelenting charity toward the shortcomings of one’s neighbour, untiring charity with regard to the wants of one poorer than oneself. Charity is the scope of all theosophical teachings, the synthesis of all and every virtue. . . . how true and great these words of the eminent American poet, Joaquin Miller:
“ALL YOU CAN HOLD IN YOUR COLD DEAD HAND, IS WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN AWAY . . . ” 1
Colton and Bacon echo Miller’s reason:
Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness when bequeathed by those who, even alive, would part with nothing.1
He that defers his charity until he is dead is, if a man weighs it rightly, rather liberal of another man’s than of his own.
The colossal task that the Masters of Wisdom and Blavatsky undertook to compare “several dozens of philosophies and over half-a-dozen of worldreligions” 3 is another manifestation of Compassion in action. The Secret Doctrine is their deed. No sooner does one begin going through it page by page, that gratitude for our Watchers and Guardians sweeps over the heart, empathy motivates mercy, and the feeling of kinship for all beings becomes as natural as breathing.
Divine Love is what makes the Great Heart throb when “the Seventh Eternity Thrills through Infinitude.” 4 That is why The Secret Doctrine’s first premise is the most important: because Universal Sympathy, Impersonal Love, and Respect for all that lives are more dear to the Spiritual Heart than anything else. Right conduct cannot be exacted. Neither canons nor commandments can bring out humaneness. Otherwise, with so many of them and so often repeated, our planet would have been a better place for all to live. But because it is Selfishness that dulls insight, it is up to us to remove this impediment “by studying and assimilating [Theosophy’s] eternal verities” 5 and by selfless conduct. Not by divine intervention but through unfaltering devotion to each other we can honour the Wisdom of Love.
You will best honour God by making your mind like unto Him, and this you can do by virtue alone. For only virtue can draw the soul upward to that which is akin to it.
The Gordian knot of the Second Proposition of The Secret Doctrine will now be unravelled by examining the three aspects of The One LAW from ethical and philosophical perspectives — according to the Gita and in the light of Theosophy.
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