As it would seem irrational to affirm that we already know all existing causes, permission must be given to assume, if need be, an entirely new agent.
Assuming, what is not strictly accurate as yet, that the undulatory hypothesis accounts for all the facts, we are called on to decide whether the existence of an undulating ether is thereby proved. We cannot positively affirm that no other supposition will explain the facts. Newton's corpuscular hypothesis is admitted to have broken down on interference; and there is, at the present day, no rival. Still, it is extremely desirable in all such hypotheses to find some collateral confirmation, some evidence aliunde, of the supposed Ether.... Some hypotheses consist of assumptions as to the minute structure and operations of bodies. From the nature of the case, these assumptions can never be proved by direct means. Their only merit is their suitability to express the phenomena. They are representative fictions.
Logic, by Alexander Bain, L.L.D., Part II, p. 133.
Ether—this hypothetical Proteus, one of the “representative fictions” of Modern Science, which, nevertheless, was so long accepted—is one of the lower “principles” of what we call Primordial Substance ( kâsha, in Sanskrit), one of the dreams of old, which has now again become the dream of Modern Science. It is the greatest, as it is the boldest, of the surviving speculations of ancient philosophers. For the Occultists, however, both Ether and the Primordial Substance are realities. To put it plainly, Ether is the Astral Light, and the Primordial Substance is kâsha, the Upâdhi of Divine Thought.
In modern language, the latter would be better named Cosmic Ideation, Spirit; the former, Cosmic Substance, Matter. These, the Alpha and the Omega of Being, are but the two facets of the one Absolute Existence. The latter was never addressed, or even mentioned, by any name in antiquity, except in allegory. In the oldest ryan race, the Hindû, the worship of the intellectual classes at no time ever consisted in an adoration of marvellous form and art, however fervent, as with the Greeks; an adoration, which led later on to anthropomorphism. But while the Greek philosopher adored form, and the Hindû sage alone “perceived the true relation of earthly beauty and eternal truth”—the uneducated of every nation understood neither, at any time.
They do not understand it even now. The evolution of the God-idea proceeds apace with man's own intellectual evolution. So true is it that the noblest ideal to which the religious spirit of one age can soar, will appear but a gross caricature to the philosophic mind in a succeeding epoch! The philosophers themselves had to be initiated into perceptive mysteries, before they could grasp the correct idea of the Ancients in relation to this most metaphysical subject. Otherwise—outside such Initiation—for every thinker there will be a “thus far shalt thou go and no farther” mapped out by his intellectual capacity, as clearly and as unmistakably as there is one for the progress of any nation or race in its cycle by the law of Karma. Outside of Initiation, the ideals of contemporary religious thought must always have their wings clipped, and remain unable to soar higher; for idealistic, as well as realistic, thinkers, and even free-thinkers, are but the outcome and the natural product of their respective environments and periods. The ideals of each are but the necessary results of their temperaments, and the outcome of that phase of intellectual progress to which a nation, in its collectivity, has attained. Hence, as already remarked, the highest flights of modern Western metaphysics have fallen far short of the truth. Much of current Agnostic speculation on the existence of the “First Cause” is little better than veiled Materialism—the terminology alone being different. Even so great a thinker as Mr. Herbert Spencer speaks of the “Unknowable” occasionally in terms that demonstrate the lethal influence of materialistic thought, which, like the deadly Sirocco, has withered and blighted all current ontological speculation.
For instance, when he terms the “First Cause” the “Unknowable,” a “power manifesting through phenomena,” and “an infinite eternal energy,” it is clear that he has grasped solely the physical aspect of the Mystery of Being—the Energies of Cosmic Substance only. The coeternal aspect of the One Reality, Cosmic Ideation, is absolutely omitted from consideration, and as to its Noumenon, it seems non-existent in the mind of the great thinker. Without doubt, this one-sided mode of dealing with the problem is due largely to the pernicious Western practice of subordinating Consciousness to Matter, or regarding it as a “bye-product” of molecular motion.
From the early ages of the Fourth Race, when Spirit alone was worshipped and the Mystery was made manifest, down to the last palmy days of Grecian art, at the dawn of Christianity, the Hellenes alone had dared publicly to raise an altar to the “Unknown God.” Whatever St. Paul may have had in his profound mind, when declaring to the Athenians that this “Unknown,” which they ignorantly worshipped, was the true God announced by himself—that Deity was not “Jehovah,” nor was he “the maker of the world and all things.” For it is not the “God of Israel” but the “Unknown” of the ancient and modern Pantheist that “dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”480
Divine Thought cannot be defined, nor can its meaning be explained, except by the numberless manifestations of Cosmic Substance, in which the former is sensed spiritually by those who can do so. To say this, after having defined it as the Unknown Deity, abstract, impersonal, sexless, which must be placed at the root of every Cosmogony and its subsequent evolution, is equivalent to saying nothing at all. It is like attempting a transcendental equation of conditions, having in hand for deducing the true value of its terms only a number of unknown quantities. Its place is found in the old primitive symbolic charts, in which, as already shown, it is represented by a boundless darkness, on the ground of which appears the first central point in white—thus symbolizing coëval and coëternal Spirit-Matter making its appearance in the phenomenal world, before its first differentiation. When “the One becomes Two,” it may then be referred to as Spirit and Matter. To “Spirit” is referable every manifestation of Consciousness, reflective or direct, and of “unconscious purposiveness”—to adopt a modern expression used in Western philosophy, so-called—as evidenced in the Vital Principle, and Nature's submission to the majestic sequence of immutable Law. “Matter” must be regarded as objectivity in its purest abstraction, the self-existing basis, whose septenary manvantaric differentiations constitute the objective reality underlying the phenomena of each phase of conscious existence. During the period of Universal Pralaya, Cosmic Ideation is non-existent; and the variously differentiated states of Cosmic Substance are resolved back again into the primary state of abstract potential objectivity.
Manvantaric impulse commences with the reäwakening of Cosmic Ideation, the Universal Mind, concurrently with, and parallel to, the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance—the latter being the manvantaric vehicle of the former—from its undifferentiated pralayic state. Then, Absolute Wisdom mirrors itself in its Ideation; which, by a transcendental process, superior to and incomprehensible by human Consciousness, results in Cosmic Energy, Fohat. Thrilling through the bosom of inert Substance, Fohat impels it to activity, and guides its primary differentiations on all the seven planes of Cosmic Consciousness. There are thus Seven Protyles—as they are now called, whereas ryan antiquity named them the Seven Prakritis, or Natures—serving, severally, as the relatively homogeneous bases, which in the course of the increasing heterogeneity, in the evolution of the Universe, differentiate into the marvellous complexity presented by phenomena on the planes of perception. The term “relatively” is used designedly, because the very existence of such a process, resulting in the primary segregations of undifferentiated Cosmic Substance into its septenary bases of evolution, compels us to regard the Protyle of each plane as only a mediate phase assumed by Substance in its passage from abstract, into full objectivity. The term Protyle is due to Mr. Crookes, the eminent Chemist, who has given that name to pre-matter, if one may so call primordial and purely homogeneous substance, suspected, if not actually yet found, by Science in the ultimate composition of the atom. But the incipient segregation of primordial matter into atoms and molecules takes its rise subsequent to the evolution of our Seven Protyles. It is the last of these that Mr. Crookes is in search of, having recently detected the possibility of its existence on our plane.
Cosmic Ideation is said to be non-existent during pralayic periods, for the simple reason that there is no one, and nothing, to perceive its effects. There can be no manifestation of consciousness, semi-consciousness, or even “unconscious purposiveness,” except through a vehicle of Matter; that is to say, on this our plane, wherein human consciousness, in its normal state, cannot soar beyond what is known as transcendental metaphysics, it is only through some molecular aggregation, or fabric, that Spirit wells up in a stream of individual or sub-conscious subjectivity. And as Matter existing apart from perception is a mere abstraction, both of these aspects of the Absolute—Cosmic Substance and Cosmic Ideation—are mutually interdependent. In strict accuracy, to avoid confusion and misconception, the term “Matter” ought to be applied to the aggregate of objects of possible perception, and the term “Substance” to Noumena; for inasmuch as the phenomena of our plane are the creations of the perceiving Ego—the modifications of its own subjectivity—all the “states of matter representing the aggregate of perceived objects” can have but a relative and purely phenomenal existence for the children of our plane. As the modern Idealists would say, the coöperation of Subject and Object results in the sense-object, or phenomenon.
But this does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that it is the same on all other planes; that the coöperation of the two, on the planes of their septenary differentiation, results in a septenary aggregate of phenomena which are likewise non-existent per se, though concrete realities for the Entities of whose experience they form a part, in the same manner as the rocks and rivers around us are real from the stand-point of a Physicist, though unreal illusions of sense from that of the Metaphysician. It would be an error to say, or even conceive, such a thing. From the stand-point of the highest metaphysics, the whole Universe, Gods included, is an Illusion (Mâyâ). But the illusion of him who is in himself an illusion differs on every plane of consciousness; and we have no more right to dogmatize about the possible nature of the perceptive faculties of an Ego on, say, the sixth plane, than we have to identify our perceptions with, or make them a standard for, those of an ant, in its mode of consciousness. Cosmic Ideation focussed in a Principle, or Upâdhi (Basis), results as the consciousness of the individual Ego. Its manifestation varies with the degree of the Upâdhi. For instance, through that known as Manas, it wells up as Mind-Consciousness; through the more finely differentiated fabric (sixth state of matter) of Buddhi—resting on the experience of Manas as its Basis—as a stream of Spiritual Intuition.
The pure Object apart from consciousness is unknown to us, while living on the plane of our three-dimensional world, for we know only the mental states it excites in the perceiving Ego. And, so long as the contrast of Subject and Object endures—to wit, so long as we enjoy our five senses and no more, and do not know how to divorce our all-perceiving Ego from the thraldom of these senses—so long will it be impossible for the personal Ego to break through the barrier which separates it from a knowledge of “things in themselves,” or Substance.
That Ego, progressing in an arc of ascending subjectivity, must exhaust the experience of every plane. But not till the Unit is merged in the All, whether on this or any other plane, and Subject and Object alike vanish in the absolute negation of the Nirvânic State—negation, again, only from our plane—not until then, is scaled that peak of Omniscience, the Knowledge of Things-in-themselves, and the solution of the yet more awful riddle approached, before which even the highest Dhyân Chohan must bow in silence and ignorance—the Unspeakable Mystery of that which is called by the Vedântins, Parabrahman.
Therefore, such being the case, all those who have sought to give a name to the Incognizable Principle have simply degraded it. Even to speak of Cosmic Ideation—save in its phenomenal aspect—is like trying to bottle up primordial Chaos, or to put a printed label on Eternity.
What, then, is the “Primordial Substance,” that mysterious object of which Alchemy was ever talking, and which was the subject of philosophical speculation in every age? What can it be finally, even in its phenomenal pre-differentiation? Even that is the All of manifested Nature and—nothing to our senses. It is mentioned under various names in every cosmogony, referred to in every philosophy, and shown to be, to this day, the ever grasp-eluding Proteus in Nature. We touch and do not feel it; we look at it without seeing it; we breathe it and do not perceive it; we hear and smell it without the smallest cognition that it is there; for it is in every molecule of that which, in our illusion and ignorance, we regard as Matter in any of its states, or conceive as a feeling, a thought, an emotion. In short, it is the Upâdhi, or Vehicle, of every possible phenomenon, whether physical, mental, or psychic. In the opening sentences of Genesis, and in the Chaldean Cosmogony; in the Purânas of India, and in the Book of the Dead of Egypt; everywhere it opens the cycle of manifestation. It is termed Chaos, and the Face of the Waters, incubated by the Spirit, proceeding from the Unknown, whatever that Spirit's name may be.
The authors of the Sacred Scriptures in India go deeper into the origin of the evolution of things than does Thales or Job, for they say:
From Intelligence [called Mahat, in the Purânas], associated with Ignorance [Îshvara, as a personal deity], attended by its projective power, in which the quality of dulness [tamas, insensibility] predominates, proceeds Ether—from ether, air; from air, heat; from heat, water; and from water, earth with everything on it.
“From This, from this same Self, was the Ether produced,” says the Veda.481
It thus becomes evident that it is not this Ether—sprung at the fourth remove from an emanation of “Intelligence, associated with Ignorance”—which is the high Principle, the deific Entity worshipped by the Greeks and Latins under the name of “Pater, Omnipotens Æther,” and “Magnus Æther,” in its collective aggregate. The septenary gradation, and the innumerable sub-divisions and differences, made by the Ancients between the powers of Ether collectively—from its outward fringe of effects, with which our Science is so familiar, up to the “Imponderable Substance,” once admitted as the “Ether of Space,” but now about to be rejected—have been ever a vexing riddle for every branch of knowledge. The Mythologists and Symbologists of our day, confused by this incomprehensible glorification on the one hand, and degradation on the other, of the same deified Entity and in the same religious systems, are often driven to the most ludicrous mistakes. The Church, firm as a rock in each and all of her early errors of interpretation, has made of Ether the abode of her Satanic legions. The whole Hierarchy of the “Fallen” Angels is there; Cosmocratores, the “World Bearers,” according to Bossuet; Mundi Tenentes, the “World Holders,” as Tertullian calls them; Mundi Domini, “World Dominations,” or rather Dominators; the Curbati, or “Curved,” etc.; thus making of the stars and celestial orbs in their courses—Devils!
For it is thus that the Church has interpreted the verse: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.”482 Further, St. Paul mentions the spiritual malices (“wickedness,” in English texts), in the Air—spiritualia nequitiæ cœlestibus—the Latin texts giving various names to these “malices,” the innocent “Elementals.” But the Church is right this time, though wrong in calling them all Devils. The Astral Light, or lower Ether, is full of conscious, semi-conscious and unconscious entities; only the church has less power over them than over invisible microbes or mosquitoes.
The difference made between the seven states of Ether—itself one of the Seven Cosmic Principles, whereas the Æther of the ancients is Universal Fire—may be seen in the injunctions by Zoroaster and Psellus, respectively. The former said: “Consult it only when it is without form or figure”—absque formâ et figurâ—which means, without flames or burning coals. “When it has a form, heed it not”; teaches Psellus, “but when it is formless, obey it, for it is then sacred fire, and all it will reveal thee shall be true.”483 This proves that Ether, itself an aspect of kâsha, has in its turn several aspects or “principles.”
All the ancient nations deified Æther in its imponderable aspect and potency. Virgil calls Jupiter, Pater Omnipotens Æther, and the “Great Æther.”484 The Hindûs have also placed it among their deities, under the name of kâsha, the synthesis of Ether. And the author of the Homœomerian System of philosophy, Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ, firmly believed that the spiritual prototypes of all things, as well as their elements, were to be found in the boundless Æther, where they were generated, whence they evolved, and whither they returned—an Occult teaching.
It thus becomes clear that it is from Æther, in its highest synthetic aspect, once anthropomorphized, that sprang the first idea of a personal Creative Deity. With the philosophical Hindûs the Elements are tâmasa, i.e., “unenlightened by intellect, which they obscure.”
We have now to exhaust the question of the mystical meaning of Primordial Chaos and of the Root-Principle, and show how they were connected in the ancient philosophies with kâsha, incorrectly translated Ether, and also with Mâyâ, Illusion, of which Îshvara is the male aspect. We shall speak further on of the Intelligent Principle, or rather of the invisible immaterial properties, in the visible and material elements, that “sprang from the Primordial Chaos.”
For “what is the primordial Chaos but Æther?”—it is asked, in Isis Unveiled. Not the modern Ether; not such as is recognized now, but such as was known to the ancient philosophers long before the time of Moses—Æther, with all its mysterious and occult properties, containing in itself the germs of universal creation. The Upper Æther, or kâsha, is the Celestial Virgin and Mother of every existing form and being, from whose bosom, as soon as “incubated” by the Divine Spirit, are called into existence Matter and Life, Force and Action. Æther is the Aditi of the Hindûs, and it is kâsha. Electricity, magnetism, heat, light, and chemical action are so little understood even now, that fresh facts are constantly widening the range of our knowledge. Who knows where ends the power of this protean giant—Æther; or whence its mysterious origin? Who, we mean, that denies the Spirit that works in it, and evolves out of it all visible forms?
It will be an easy task to show that the cosmogonical legends all over the world are based on a knowledge among the Ancients of those sciences, which have, in our days, allied themselves in support of the doctrine of evolution; and that further research may demonstrate that these Ancients were far better acquainted with the fact of evolution itself, embracing both its physical and spiritual aspects, than we are now.
With the old philosophers, evolution was a universal theorem, a doctrine embracing the whole, and an established principle; whereas our modern evolutionists are enabled to present us merely with speculative theoretics; with particular, if not wholly negative theorems. It is idle for the representatives of our modern wisdom to close the debate and pretend that the question is settled, merely because the obscure phraseology of the Mosaic ... account clashes with the definite exegesis of “Exact Science.”485
If we turn to the Ordinances of Manu, we find the prototype of all these ideas. Mostly lost, to the Western world, in their original form, disfigured by later interpolations and additions, they have, nevertheless, preserved quite enough of their ancient spirit to show its character.
“Removing the darkness, the Self-existent Lord [Vishnu, Nârâyana, etc.] became manifest; and, wishing to produce beings from his Essence, created, in the beginning, water alone. In that he cast seed. That became a Golden Egg.”
Whence this Self-existent Lord? It is called This, and is spoken of as “Darkness, imperceptible, without definite qualities, undiscoverable, unknowable, as if wholly in sleep.” Having dwelt in that Egg for a whole Divine Year, he “who is called in the world Brahmâ,” splits that Egg in two, and from the upper portion he forms the heaven, from the lower the earth, and from the middle the sky and “the perpetual place of waters.”486
Directly following these verses, however, there is something more important for us, as it entirely corroborates our Esoteric teachings. From verse 14 to 36, evolution is given in the order described in the Esoteric Philosophy. This cannot be easily gainsaid. Even Medhâtithi, the son of Virasvâmin, and the author of the Commentary, the Manubhâsya, whose date, according to the western Orientalists, is 1,000 a.d., helps us with his remarks to the elucidation of the truth. He shows himself either unwilling to give out more, because he knew what had to be kept from the profane, or else he was really puzzled. Still, what he does give out makes the septenary principle in man and Nature plain enough.
Let us begin with Chapter I of the Ordinances, or “Laws,” after the Self-existent Lord, the Unmanifesting Logos of the Unknown “Darkness,” becomes manifested in the Golden Egg. It is from this Egg, from
11. “That which is the undiscrete [undifferentiated] Cause, eternal, which is and is not, from It issued that Male who is called in the world Brahmâ.”
Here, as in all genuine philosophical systems, we find even the “Egg,” or the Circle, or Zero, Boundless Infinity, referred to as “It,”487 and Brahmâ, the first Unit only, referred to as the “Male” God, i.e., the fructifying Principle. It is [circle split by vertical line], or 10 (ten), the Decad. On the plane of the Septenary, or our World, only, it is called Brahmâ. On that of the Unified Decad, in the realm of Reality, this male Brahmâ is an Illusion.
14. “From Self ( tmanah) he created Mind, which is and is not; and from Mind, Ego-ism [Self-Consciousness] (a), the ruler (b), the Lord.”
(a) The Mind is Manas. Medhâtithi, the commentator, justly observes here that it is the reverse of this, and shows already interpolation and rearranging; for it is Manas that springs from Ahamkâra or (Universal) Self-Consciousness, as Manas in the microcosm springs from Mahat, or Mahâ-Buddhi (Buddhi, in man). For Manas is dual. As shown and translated by Colebrooke, “Mind, serving both for sense and action, is an organ by affinity, being cognate with the rest”;488 “the rest” here meaning that Manas, our Fifth Principle (the fifth, because the body was named the first, which is the reverse of the true philosophical order), is in affinity both with tmâ-Buddhi and with the lower Four Principles. Hence, our teaching: namely, that Manas follows tmâ-Buddhi to Devachan, and that the Lower Manas, that is to say, the dregs or residue of Manas, remains with Kâma Rûpa, in Limbus, or Kâma Loka, the abode of the “Shells.”
(b) Medhâtithi translates this as “the one conscious of the I,” or Ego, not “the ruler,” as do the Orientalists. Thus also they translate the following shloka:
16. “He also, having made the subtile parts of those six [the great Self and the five organs of sense], of unmeasured brightness, to enter into the elements of self (âtmamâtrâsu), created all beings.”
When, according to Medhâtithi, it ought to read mâtrâbhih instead of âtmamâtrâsu, and thus would read:
“He having pervaded the subtile parts of those six, of unmeasured brightness, by elements of self, created all beings.”
The latter reading must be the correct one, since He, the Self, is what we call tmâ, and thus constitutes the seventh principle, the synthesis of the “six.” Such is also the opinion of the editor of the Mânava Dharma Shâstra, who seems to have intuitionally entered far deeper into the spirit of the philosophy than has the translator, the late Dr. Burnell; for he hesitates little between the text of Kullûka Bhatta and the commentary of Medhâtithi. Rejecting the tanmâtra, or subtile elements, and the âtmamâtra of Kullûka Bhatta, he says, applying the principles to the Cosmic Self:
“The six appear rather to be the manas plus the five principles of ether, air, fire, water, earth; ‘having united five portions of those six with the spiritual element [the seventh] he (thus) created all existing things;’ ... âtmamâtra is therefore the spiritual atom as opposed to the elementary, not reflexive ‘elements of himself’.”
Thus he corrects the translation of verse 17:
“As the subtile elements of bodily forms of this One depend on these six, so the wise call his form Sharîra.”
And he adds that “elements” mean here portions, or parts (or principles), which reading is borne out by verse 19, which says:
“This non-eternal (Universe) arises then from the Eternal, by means of the subtile elements of forms of those seven very glorious Principles (Purusha).”
Commenting upon which emendation of Medhâtithi, the editor remarks: “the five elements plus mind [Manas] and self-consciousness [Ahamkâra]489 are probably meant; ‘subtile elements,’ as before [meaning] ‘fine portions of form’ [or principles].” Verse 20 shows this, when saying of these five elements, or “fine portions of form” (Rûpa plus Manas and Self-Consciousness) that they constitute the “Seven Purusha,” or Principles, called in the Purânas the “Seven Prakritis.”
Moreover, these “five elements,” or “five portions,” are spoken of in verse 27 as “those which are called the atomic destructible portions,” and which are, therefore, “distinct from the atoms of the Nyâya.”
This creative Brahmâ, issuing from the Mundane or Golden Egg, unites in himself both the male and female principles. He is, in short, the same as all the creative Protologoi. Of Brahmâ, however, it could not be said, as of Dionysos, “πρωτ?γονον διφυ? τρ?γονον βακχε?ον ?νακτα ?γριον ?ρρητ?ν κρ?φιον δικ?ρωτα δ?μορφον”—a lunar Jehovah, Bacchus truly, with David dancing nude before his symbol in the ark—because no licentious Dionysia were ever established in his name and honour. All such public worship was exoteric, and the great universal symbols were distorted universally, as those of Krishna are now by the Vallabâchâryas of Bombay, the followers of the “infant” God. But are these popular Gods the true Deity? Are they the apex and synthesis of the sevenfold creation, man included? Impossible! Each and all are one of the rungs of that septenary ladder of Divine Consciousness, Pagan as Christian. Ain Suph is said to manifest through the Seven Letters of the Name of Jehovah who, having usurped the place of the Unknown Limitless, was given by his devotees his Seven Angels of the Presence—his Seven Principles. But, indeed, they are mentioned in almost every school. In the pure Sânkhya philosophy Mahat, Ahamkâra and the five Tanmâtras are called the Seven Prakritis, or Natures, and are counted from Mahâ-Buddhi, or Mahat, down to Earth.490
Nevertheless, however disfigured by Ezra for Rabbinical purposes is the original Elohistic version, however repulsive at times is even the esoteric meaning in the Hebrew scrolls, far more so indeed than its outward veil or cloaking may be—once the Jehovistic portions are eliminated, the Mosaic Books are found full of purely Occult and priceless knowledge, especially in the first six chapters.
Read by the aid of the Kabalah, one finds a matchless temple of Occult truths, a well of deeply concealed beauty, hidden under a structure, the visible architecture of which, notwithstanding its apparent symmetry, is unable to stand the criticism of cold reason, or to reveal the age of its hidden truth, for it belongs to all the ages. There is more Wisdom concealed under the exoteric fables of the Purânas and Bible than in all the exoteric facts and science in the literature of the world, and more Occult true Science, than there is of exact knowledge in all the academies. Or, in plainer and stronger language, there is as much esoteric wisdom in some portions of the exoteric Purânas and Pentateuch, as there is of nonsense and of designedly childish fancy, when read only in the dead-letter and murderous interpretations of the great dogmatic religions, and especially of their sects.
Let anyone read the first verses of Genesis and reflect upon them. There, “God” commands another “God,” who does his bidding—even in the cautious English Protestant authorized translation of King James I.
In the “beginning”—the Hebrew language having no word to express the idea of eternity491—“God” fashions the Heaven and the Earth; and the latter is “without form and void,” while the former is in fact not Heaven, but the “Deep,” Chaos, with darkness upon its face.492
“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters,” or the Great Deep of the Infinite Space. And this Spirit is Nârâyana, or Vishnu.
“And God said, Let there be a firmament....” And “God,” the second, obeyed and “made the firmament.” “And God said let there be light.” And “there was light.” Now the latter does not mean light at all, but, as in the Kabalah, the androgyne Adam Kadmon, or Sephira (Spiritual Light), for they are one; or, according to the Chaldean Book of Numbers, the secondary Angels, the first being the Elohim, who are the aggregate of that “fashioning” God. For to whom are those words of command addressed? And who is it who commands? That which commands is the Eternal Law, and he who obeys, the Elohim, the known quantity acting in and with x, or the coëfficient of the unknown quantity, the Forces of the One Force. All this is Occultism, and is found in the archaic Stanzas. It is perfectly immaterial whether we call these “Forces” the Dhyân Chohans, or the Auphanim as Ezekiel does.
“The one Universal Light, which to man is Darkness, is ever existent,” says the Chaldean Book of Numbers. From it proceeds periodically the Energy, which is reflected in the Deep, or Chaos, the store-house of future Worlds, and, once awakened, stirs up and fructifies the latent Forces, which are the ever present eternal potentialities in it. Then awake anew the Brahmâs and Buddhas—the co-eternal Forces—and a new Universe springs into being.
In the Sepher Yetzirah, the Kabalistic Book of Creation, the author has evidently repeated the words of Manu. In it, the Divine Substance is represented as having alone existed from the eternity, boundless and absolute; and as having emitted from itself the Spirit.493 “One is the Spirit of the living God, blessed be Its name, which liveth for ever! Voice, Spirit, and Word, this is the Holy Spirit.”494 And this is the Kabalistic abstract Trinity, so unceremoniously anthropomorphized by the Christian Fathers. From this triple One emanated the whole Kosmos. First from One emanated number Two, or Air (the Father), the creative Element; and then number Three, Water (the Mother), proceeded from Air; Ether or Fire completes the Mystic Four, the Arbo-al.495 When the Concealed of the Concealed wanted to reveal Himself, he first made a Point [the Primordial Point, or the first Sephira, Air, or Holy Ghost,] shaped into a sacred Form, [the Ten Sephiroth, or the Heavenly Man,] and covered it with a rich and splendid Garment, that is the World.496
“He maketh the Wind His messengers, flaming Fire His servants”;497 says the Yetzirah, showing the cosmical character of the later euhemerized Elements, and that Spirit permeates every atom in Kosmos.
Paul calls the invisible Cosmic Beings the “Elements.” But now the Elements are degraded into, and limited to, atoms of which nothing is known so far, and which are only “children of necessity,” as is Ether also. As we said in Isis Unveiled:
The poor primordial Elements have long been exiled, and our ambitious Physicists run races, to determine who shall add one more to the fledgling brood of the sixty and odd elementary substances.
Meanwhile there rages a war in modern Chemistry about terms. We are denied the right to call these substances “chemical elements,” for these are not “primordial principles of self-existing essences, out of which the universe was fashioned,” according to Plato. Such ideas associated with the word “element” were good enough for the old Greek Philosophy, but Modern Science rejects them; for, as Mr. William Crookes says: “they are unfortunate terms,” and experimental Science will have “nothing to do with any kind of essences except those which it can see, smell, or taste. It leaves others to the metaphysicians....” We must feel grateful even for so much!
This “Primordial Substance” is called by some Chaos. Plato and the Pythagoreans named it the Soul of the World, after it had been impregnated by the Spirit of that which broods over the Primeval Waters, or Chaos. It is by being reflected in it, say the Kabalists, that the brooding Principle “created” the phantasmagoria of a visible, manifested Universe. Chaos before, Ether after this “reflection,” it is still the Deity that pervades Space and all things. It is the invisible, imponderable Spirit of things, and the invisible, but only too tangible, fluid that radiates from the fingers of the healthy magnetizer, for it is Vital Electricity—Life itself. Called in derision, by the Marquis de Mirville, the “Nebulous Almighty,” it is to this day termed by the Theurgists and Occultists the “Living Fire”; and there is not a Hindû who practises at dawn a certain kind of meditation but knows its effects. It is the “Spirit of Light” and Magnes. As truly expressed by an opponent, Magus and Magnes are two branches growing from the same trunk and shooting forth the same resultants. And in this appellation of “Living Fire” we may also discover the meaning of the puzzling sentence in the Zend Avesta: there is “a Fire that gives knowledge of the future, science and amiable speech”; that is to say, which develops an extraordinary eloquence in the sibyl, the sensitive, and even some orators. Writing upon this subject, in Isis Unveiled, we said:
The Chaos of the ancients, the Zoroastrian Sacred Fire, or the Atash-Behram of the Parsîs; the Hermes-fire, the Elmes-fire of the ancient Germans; the Lightning of Cybele; the Burning Torch of Apollo; the Flame on the altar of Pan; the Inextinguishable Fire in the temple on the Acropolis, and in that of Vesta; the Fire-flame of Pluto's helm; the brilliant Sparks on the caps of the Dioscuri, on the Gorgon's head, the helm of Pallas, and the staff of Mercury; the Egyptian Ptah-Ra; the Grecian Zeus Cataibates (the Descending) of Pausanias; the Pentecostal Fire-tongues; the Burning Bush of Moses; the Pillar of Fire of Exodus, and the Burning Lamp of Abram; the Eternal Fire of the “bottomless pit”; the Delphic oracular vapours; the Sidereal Light of the Rosicrucians; the kâsha of the Hindû Adepts; the Astral Light of Éliphas Lévi; the Nerve-Aura and the Fluid of the Magnetists; the Od of Reichenbach; the Psychod and Ectenic Force of Thury; the “Psychic Force” of Sergeant Cox, and the atmospheric magnetism of some Naturalists; galvanism; and finally, electricity—all these are but various names for many different manifestations or effects of the same mysterious, all-pervading Cause, the Greek Archæus.
We now add—it is all this and much more.
This “Fire” is spoken of in all the Hindû Sacred Books, as also in the Kabalistic works. The Zohar explains it as the “White Hidden Fire, in the Risha Havurah,” the White Head, whose Will causes the fiery fluid to flow in 370 currents in every direction of the Universe. It is identical with the “Serpent that runs with 370 leaps” of the Siphrah Dtzenioutha, the Serpent, which, when the “Perfect Man,” the Metatron, is raised, that is to say, when the Divine Man indwells in the animal man, becomes three Spirits, or tmâ-Buddhi-Manas, in our Theosophical phraseology.
Spirit, then, or Cosmic Ideation, and Cosmic Substance—one of whose “principles” is Ether—are one, and include the Elements, in the sense St. Paul attaches to them. These Elements are the veiled Synthesis standing for Dhyân Chohans, Devas, Sephiroth, Amshaspends, Archangels, etc. The Ether of Science—the Ilus of Berosus, or the Protyle of Chemistry—constitutes, so to speak, the rude material, relatively, out of which the above-named Builders, following the plan traced out for them eternally in the Divine Thought, fashion the Systems in the Kosmos. They are “myths,” we are told. No more so than Ether and the Atoms, we answer. The two latter are absolute necessities of Physical Science, and the Builders are as absolute a necessity of Metaphysics. We are twitted with the objection: You never saw them. And we ask the Materialists: Have you ever seen Ether, or your Atoms, or, again, your Force? Moreover, one of the greatest Western Evolutionists of our modern day, co-“discoverer” with Darwin, Mr. A. R. Wallace, when discussing the inadequacy of Natural Selection alone accounting for the physical form of Man, admits the guiding action of “higher intelligences” as a “necessary part of the great laws which govern the material Universe.”498
These “higher intelligences” are the Dhyân Chohans of the Occultists.
Indeed, there are few myths in any religious system worthy of the name, but have a historical as well as a scientific foundation. “Myths,” justly observes Pococke, “are now proved to be fables, just in proportion as we misunderstand them; truths, in proportion as they were once understood.”
The most distinct and the one prevailing idea, found in all ancient teaching, with reference to Cosmic Evolution and the first “creation” of our Globe with all its products, organic and inorganic—strange word for an Occultist to use!—is that the whole Kosmos has sprung from the Divine Thought. This Thought impregnates Matter, which is co-eternal with the One Reality; and all that lives and breathes evolves from the Emanations of the One Immutable, Parabrahman-Mûlaprakriti, the Eternal One-Root. The former of these, in its aspect of the Central Point turned inward, so to say, into regions quite inaccessible to human intellect, is Absolute Abstraction; whereas, in its aspect as Mûlaprakriti, the Eternal Root of all, it gives one at least some hazy comprehension of the Mystery of Being.
Therefore, it was taught in the inner temples that this visible Universe of Spirit and Matter is but the concrete Image of the ideal Abstraction; it was built on the Model of the first Divine Idea. Thus our Universe existed from eternity in a latent state. The Soul animating this purely spiritual Universe is the Central Sun, the highest Deity Itself. It was not the One who built the concrete form of the idea, but the First-Begotten; and, as it was constructed on the geometrical figure of the dodecahedron,499 the First-Begotten “was pleased to employ 12,000 years in its creation.”The latter number is expressed in the Tyrrhenian Cosmogony,500 which shows man created in the sixth millennium. This agrees with the Egyptian theory of 6,000 “years,”501 and with the Hebrew computation. But it is the exoteric form of it. The secret computation explains that the “12,000 and the 6,000 years” are Years of Brahmâ, one Day of Brahmâ being equal to 4,320,000,000 years. Sanchuniathon, in his Cosmogony,502 declares that when the Wind (Spirit) became enamoured of its own principles (Chaos), an intimate union took place, which connection was called Pothos (ποθος), and from this sprang the seed of all. And the Chaos knew not its own production, for it was senseless; but from its embrace with the Wind was generated Môt, or the Ilus (Mud).503 From this proceeded the spores of creation and the generation of the Universe.504
Zeus-Zên (Æther), and Chthonia (Chaotic Earth) and Metis (Water), his wives; Osiris—also representing Æther, the first emanation of the Supreme Deity, Amun, the primeval source of Light—and Isis-Latona, the Goddess Earth and Water again; Mithras,505 the rock-born God, the symbol of the male Mundane Fire, or the personified Primordial Light, and Mithra, the Fire-Goddess, at once his mother and his wife—the pure element of Fire, the active or male principle, regarded as light and heat, in conjunction with Earth and Water, or matter, the female, or passive, element of cosmical generation—Mithras who is the son of Bordj, the Persian mundane mountain,506 from which he flashed out as a radiant ray of light; Brahmâ, the Fire-God, and his prolific consort; and the Hindû Agni, the refulgent Deity from whose body issue a thousand streams of glory and seven tongues of flame, and in whose honour certain Brâhmans to this day maintain a perpetual fire; Shiva, personated by Meru, the mundane mountain of the Hindûs, the terrific Fire-God, who is said in the legend to have descended from heaven, like the Jewish Jehovah, “in a pillar of fire”; and a dozen other archaic double-sexed Deities—all loudly proclaim their hidden meaning. And what could be the dual meaning of these myths but the psycho-chemical principle of primordial creation; the First Evolution, in its triple manifestation of Spirit, Force and Matter; the divine correlation, at its starting point, allegorized as the marriage of Fire and Water, the products of electrifying Spirit—the union of the male active principle with the female passive element—which become the parents of their tellurian child, Cosmic Matter, the Prima Materia, whose Soul is Æther, and whose Shadow is the Astral Light!507
But the fragments of the cosmogonical systems that have reached us are now rejected as absurd fables. Nevertheless, Occult Science—which has survived even the Great Flood that submerged the Antediluvian Giants and with them their very memory, save the record preserved in the Secret Doctrine, the Bible and other Scriptures—still holds the Key to all the world problems.
Let us, then, apply this Key to the rare fragments of long-forgotten Cosmogonies, and by means of their scattered portions endeavour to reestablish the once Universal Cosmogony of the Secret Doctrine. The Key fits them all. No one can seriously study ancient philosophies without perceiving that the striking similitude of conception in all of them, in their exoteric form very frequently, and in their hidden spirit invariably, is the result of no mere coincidence, but of a concurrent design; and that, during the youth of mankind, there was but one language, one knowledge, one universal religion, when there were no churches, no creeds or sects, but when every man was a priest unto himself. And, if it is shown that already in those early ages which are shut out from our sight by the exuberant growth of tradition, human religious thought developed in uniform sympathy in every portion of the globe; then, it becomes evident that that thought, born under whatever latitude, in the cold North or the burning South, in the East or West, was inspired by the same revelations, and that man was nurtured under the protecting shadow of the same Tree of Knowledge.
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