T Subba Row in his opening lecture on the “Philosophy of the BhagavadGita,” delivered at the Anniversary Convention of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, December 1886,1 points out that:
The Bhagavad-Gita starts from certain premises, which are not explained at length — they are simply alluded to here and there, and quoted for the purpose of enforcing the doctrine, or as authorities, and Krishna does not go into the details of the philosophy which is their foundation. . . . This philosophy I cannot gather or deduce from the Bhagavad-Gita itself; but I can show that the premises with which it starts are therein indicated with sufficient clearness.
The Bhagavad-Gita may be looked upon as a discourse addressed by a Guru to a chela who has fully determined upon the renunciation of all worldly desires and aspirations, but yet feels a certain despondency, caused by the apparent blankness of his existence.
Krishna is the Guru or Teacher; Arjuna, the chela or pupil.
Vyasa 4 looked upon Arjuna as man, or rather the real monad in man; and upon Krishna as the Logos, or the spirit that comes to save man,5 continues the erudite analyst of the Gita, who had more knowledge than a dozen Orientalists.
The three fundamental propositions of The Secret Doctrine are not theoretical, impractical ideas. They are cognitive keys to the faculties of the soul. The arresting dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna appeals to the higher mind. Informed mind awakens intuition, which is spiritual knowledge.
The Secret Doctrine’s propositions will now be matched, where possible, with selections from the Bhagavad-Gita.
Proposition 1. Cosmogenesis
Secret Doctrine Bhagavad Gita The Secret Doctrine establishes . . . (a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought — in the words of Mandukya Upanishad, “unthinkable and unspeakable.” [verse 7]
There is one absolute reality, which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being. This Infinite and Eternal Cause . . . is the rootless root of “all that was, is, or ever shall be.” It is . . . devoid of all attributes and is essentially without any relation to manifested, finite Being. It is “Be-ness” rather than Being (in Sanskrit, Sat), and is beyond all thought or speculation.1
I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be.2 . . . There is no existence for that which does not exist, nor is there any non-existence for what exists. Learn that He by whom all things were formed is incorruptible, and that no one is able to effect the destruction of IT, which is inexhaustible.3 . . . for it is indivisible, inconsumable, incorruptible, . . . eternal, universal, permanent, immovable; . . . inconceivable, and unalterable.4 All this universe is pervaded by me in my invisible form; all things exist in me, but I do not exist in them. Nor are all things in me; behold this my divine mystery: myself causing things to exist and supporting them all but dwelling not in them.5 There are two kinds of beings in the world, the one divisible, the other indivisible; the divisible is all things and the creatures, the indivisible is called Kutastha, or he who standeth on high unaffected. But there is another spirit designated as the Supreme Spirit — Paramatma — which permeates and sustains the three worlds.6
This “Be-ness” is symbolised in the Secret Doctrine under two aspects
. . . . [a] absolute abstract Space, representing bare subjectivity, the one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception, or conceive of by itself
. . . . [b] absolute abstract Motion representing Unconditioned Consciousness
. . . . Consciousness is inconceivable to us apart from change, and motion best symbolises change, its essential characteristic. This latter aspect of the one Reality, is also symbolised by the term “The Great Breath,” a symbol sufficiently graphic to need no further elucidation. Thus, then, the first fundamental axiom of the Secret Doctrine is this metaphysical ONE ABSOLUTE — BE-NESS — symbolised by finite intelligence as the theological Trinity.1
Understand that all things are in me even as the mighty air which passes everywhere is in space.2
There is nothing . . . in the three regions of the universe which it is necessary for me to perform, nor anything possible to obtain which I have not obtained; and yet I am constantly in action.
Proposition 2. One Law for All
Further, the Secret Doctrine affirms: (b) The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically “the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing,” called “the manifesting stars,” and the “sparks of Eternity.” “The Eternity of the Pilgrim” is like a wink of the Eye of SelfExistence (Book of Dzyan).
“The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb, flux and reflux.” 1
This second assertion of the Secret Doctrine is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe.2
I produce myself among creatures . . . 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.3
I now draw in and now let forth; I am death and immortality; I am the cause unseen and the visible effect.4
Proposition 3. Anthropogenesis
Secret Doctrine Bhagavad Gita
Moreover, the Secret Doctrine teaches: (c) The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or “Necessity”) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term.1
Brahman the Supreme is the exhaustless. Adhyatma is the name of my being manifesting as the Individual Self. Karma is the emanation, which causes the existence and reproduction of creatures.2
There dwelleth in the heart of every creature . . . the Master — Ishvara — who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve mounted upon the universal wheel of time.3
In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle — or the OVER-SOUL — has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by selfinduced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha).
Being born again he comes in contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body, and from that time he struggles more diligently towards perfection. For even unwittingly, by reason of that past practice, he is led and works on. Even if only a mere enquirer, he reaches beyond the word of the Vedas. But the devotee who, striving with all his might, obtaineth perfection because of efforts continued through many births, goeth to the supreme goal.
The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.1
For those who worship me, renouncing in me all their actions, regarding me as the supreme goal and meditating on me alone, if their thoughts are turned to me, I presently become the saviour from this ocean of incarnations and death.
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