In the course of the oral instruction given to her students in London and recorded in Commander Bowen's notes (see Appendix A), Madame Blavatsky repeated many times that the study of The Secret Doctrine could not give a final and complete picture of the universe. It is meant, she said, to 'LEAD TOWARDS THE TRUTH'. As an aid to progressive understanding, she then outlined four basic ideas which the student should never lose from view. Being given spontaneously, these ideas are presented in simpler language than in the great works and may therefore serve as a preparation for some of the more complex phraseology of the fuller statements.
FOUR BASIC IDEAS
Observe the following rules:--
No matter what one may study in the SD, let the mind hold fast, as the basis of its ideation, to the following ideas:
(a) The FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF ALL EXISTENCE. This unity is a thing altogether different from the common notion of unity - as when we say that a nation or an army is united; or that this planet is united to that by lines of magnetic force or the like. The teaching is not that. It is that existence is ONE THING, not any collection of things linked together. Fundamentally there is ONE Being. The BEING has two aspects, positive and negative. The positive is Spirit, or CONSCIOUSNESS. The negative is SUBSTANCE, the subject of consciousness. This Being is the Absolute in its primary manifestation. Being absolute there is nothing outside it. It is ALL-BEING. It is indivisible, else it would not be absolute. If a portion could be separated, that remaining could not be absolute, because there would at once arise the question of COMPARISON between it and the separated part. Comparison is incompatible with any idea of absoluteness. Therefore it is clear that this fundamental ONE EXISTENCE, or Absolute Being, must be the Reality in every form there is.
The Atom, the Man, the God, are each separately, as well as all collectively, Absolute Being in their last analysis, that is their REAL INDIVIDUALITY. It is this idea which must be held always in the background of the mind to form the basis for every conception that arises from study of the SD. The moment one lets it go (and it is most easy to do so when engaged in any of the many intricate aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy) the idea of SEPARATION supervenes, and the study loses its value.
(b) The second idea to hold fast is that THERE IS NO DEAD MATTER. Every last atom is alive. It cannot be otherwise, since every atom is itself fundamentally Absolute Being. Therefore there is no such thing as "spaces" of Ether, or aakaasha, or call it what you like, in which angels and elementals disport themselves like trout in water. That's a common idea. The true idea shows every atom of substance, no matter of what plane, to be in itself a LIFE.
(c) The third basic idea to be held is that Man is the MICROCOSM. As he is so, then all the Hierarchies of the Heavens exist within him. But in truth there is neither Macrocosm nor Microcosm but ONE EXISTENCE. Great and small are such only as viewed by a limited consciousness.
(d) Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in the Great Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesizes all the others.
As is the Inner, so is the Outer; as is the Great, so is the Small; as it is above, so it is below; there is but ONE LIFE AND LAW; and he that worketh it is ONE. Nothing is Inner, nothing is Outer; nothing is GREAT, nothing is Small; nothing is High, nothing is Low, in the Divine Economy.
No matter what one takes as study in the SD, one must correlate it with those basic ideas.
How to Study Theosophy (see Appendix A)
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