Many of the doctrines contained in the foregoing seven Stanzas and Commentaries having been studied and critically examined by some Western Theosophists, certain of the Occult Teachings have been found wanting from the ordinary stand-point of modern scientific knowledge. They seemed to encounter insuperable difficulties in the way of their acceptance, and to require reconsideration in view of scientific criticism. Some friends have already been tempted to regret the necessity of so often calling in question the assertions of Modern Science. It appeared to them—and I here repeat only their arguments—that “to run counter to the teachings of its most eminent exponents, was to court a premature discomfiture in the eyes of the Western World.”
It is, therefore, desirable to define, once and for all, the position which the writer, who does not in this agree with her friends, intends to maintain. So far as Science remains what in the words of Prof. Huxley it is, viz., “organized common sense”; so far as its inferences are drawn from accurate premisses, its generalizations resting on a purely inductive basis, every Theosophist and Occultist welcomes respectfully and with due admiration its contributions to the domain of cosmological law. There can be no possible conflict between the teachings of Occult and so-called exact Science, wherever the conclusions of the latter are grounded on a substratum of unassailable fact. It is only when its more ardent exponents, over-stepping the limits of observed phenomena in order to penetrate into the arcana of Being, attempt to wrench the formation of Kosmos and its living Forces from Spirit, and to attribute all to blind Matter, that the Occultists claim the right of disputing and calling in question their theories. Science cannot, owing to the very nature of things, unveil the mystery of the Universe around us. Science can, it is true, collect, classify, and generalize upon phenomena; but the Occultist, arguing from admitted metaphysical data, declares that the daring explorer, who would probe the inmost secrets of Nature, must transcend the narrow limitations of sense, and transfer his consciousness into the region of Noumena and the sphere of Primal Causes. To effect this, he must develop faculties which, save in a few rare and exceptional cases, are absolutely dormant, in the constitution of the off-shoots of our present Fifth Root-Race in Europe and America. He can in no other conceivable manner collect the facts on which to base his speculations. Is this not apparent on the principles of Inductive Logic and Metaphysics alike?
On the other hand, whatever the writer may do, she will never be able to satisfy both Truth and Science. To offer the reader a systematic and uninterrupted version of the Archaic Stanzas is impossible. A gap of 43 verses or shlokas has to be left between the 7th, already given, and the 51st, which is the subject of Book II, though the latter are made to run as from 1 onwards, for easier reading and reference. The mere appearance of man on Earth occupies an equal number of Stanzas, which minutely describe his primal evolution from the human Dhyân Chohans, the state of the Globe at that time, etc., etc. A great number of names referring to chemical substances and other compounds, which have now ceased to combine together, and are therefore unknown to the later offshoots of our Fifth Race, occupy a considerable space. As they are simply untranslatable, and would remain in every case inexplicable, they are omitted, along with those which cannot be made public. Nevertheless, even the little that is given will irritate every follower and defender of dogmatic materialistic Science who happens to read it.
In view of the criticism offered, it is proposed, before proceeding to the remaining Stanzas, to defend those already given. That they are not in perfect accord or harmony with Modern Science, we all know. But had they been as much in agreement with the views of modern knowledge as is a lecture by Sir William Thomson, they would have been rejected all the same. For they teach belief in conscious Powers and Spiritual Entities; in terrestrial, semi-intelligent, and highly intellectual Forces on other planes;790 and in Beings that dwell around us in spheres imperceptible, whether through telescope or microscope. Hence the necessity of examining the beliefs of materialistic Science, of comparing its views about the “Elements” with the opinions of the Ancients, and of analysing the physical Forces as they exist in modern conceptions, before the Occultists admit themselves to be in the wrong. We shall touch upon the constitution of the Sun and planets, and the Occult characteristics of what are called Devas and Genii, and are now termed by Science, Forces, or “modes of motion,” and see whether Esoteric belief is defensible or not. Notwithstanding the efforts made to the contrary, an unprejudiced mind will discover that under Newton's “agent, material or immaterial,”791 the agent which causes gravity, and in his personal working God, there is just as much of the metaphysical Devas and Genii, as there is in Kepler's Angelus Rector conducting each planet, and in the species immateriata by which the celestial bodies were carried along in their courses, according to that Astronomer.
In Volume II, we shall have to openly approach dangerous subjects. We must bravely face Science and declare, in the teeth of materialistic learning, of Idealism, Hylo-Idealism, Positivism and all-denying modern Psychology, that the true Occultist believes in “Lords of Light”; that he believes in a Sun, which—far from being simply a “lamp of day” moving in accordance with physical law, and far from being merely one of those Suns, which, according to Richter, “are sun-flowers of a higher light”—is, like milliards of other Suns, the dwelling or the vehicle of a God, and of a host of Gods.
In this dispute, of course, it is the Occultists who will be worsted. They will be considered, on the primâ facie aspect of the question, to be ignoramuses, and will be labelled with more than one of the usual epithets given to those whom the superficially judging public, itself ignorant of the great underlying truths in Nature, accuses of believing in mediæval superstitions. Let it be so. Submitting beforehand to every criticism in order to go on with their task, they only claim the privilege of showing that the Physicists are as much at loggerheads among themselves in their speculations, as these speculations are with the teachings of Occultism.
The Sun is Matter, and the Sun is Spirit. Our ancestors, the “Heathen,” like their modern successors, the Parsîs, were, and are, wise enough in their generation to see in it the symbol of Divinity, and at the same time to sense within, concealed by the physical symbol, the bright God of Spiritual and Terrestrial Light. Such belief can be regarded as a superstition only by rank Materialism, which denies Deity, Spirit, Soul, and admits no intelligence outside the mind of man. But if too much wrong superstition bred by “Churchianity,” as Laurence Oliphant calls it, “renders a man a fool,” too much scepticism makes him mad. We prefer the charge of folly in believing too much, to that of a madness which denies everything, as do Materialism and Hylo-Idealism. Hence, the Occultists are fully prepared to receive their dues from Materialism, and to meet the adverse criticism which will be poured on the author of this work, not for writing it, but for believing in that which it contains.
Therefore the discoveries, hypotheses, and unavoidable objections which will be brought forward by the scientific critics must be anticipated and disposed of. It has also to be shown how far the Occult Teachings depart from Modern Science, and whether the ancient or the modern theories are the more logically and philosophically correct. The unity and mutual relations of all parts of Kosmos were known to the Ancients, before they became evident to modern Astronomers and Philosophers. And even if the external and visible portions of the Universe, and their mutual relations, cannot be explained in Physical Science, in any other terms than those used by the adherents of the mechanical theory of the Universe, it does not follow that the Materialist, who denies that the Soul of Kosmos (which appertains to Metaphysical Philosophy) exists, has the right to trespass upon that metaphysical domain. That Physical Science is trying to, and actually does, encroach upon it, is only one more proof that “might is right”; it does not justify the intrusion.
Another good reason for these Addenda is this. Since only a certain portion of the Secret Teachings can be given out in the present age, the doctrines would never be understood even by Theosophists, if they were published without any explanations or commentary. Therefore they must be contrasted with the speculations of Modern Science. Archaic Axioms must be placed side by side with Modern Hypotheses, and the comparison of their value must be left to the sagacious reader.
On the question of the “Seven Governors”—as Hermes calls the “Seven Builders,” the Spirits which guide the operations of Nature, the animated atoms of which are the shadows, in their own world, of their Primaries in the Astral Realms—this work will, of course, have every Materialist against it, as well as the men of Science. But this opposition can, at most, be only temporary. People have laughed at everything unusual, and have scouted every unpopular idea at first, and have then ended by accepting it. Materialism and Scepticism are evils that must remain in the world so long as man has not quitted his present gross form to don the one he had during the First and Second Races of this Round. Unless Scepticism and our present natural ignorance are equilibrated by Intuition and a natural Spirituality, every being afflicted with such feelings will see in himself nothing better than a bundle of flesh, bones, and muscles, with an empty garret inside, which serves the purpose of storing his sensations and feelings. Sir Humphrey Davy was a great Scientist, as deeply versed in Physics as any theorist of our day, yet he loathed Materialism. He says:
I heard with disgust, in the dissecting-rooms, the plan of the Physiologist, of the gradual secretion of matter, and its becoming endued with irritability, ripening into sensibility, and acquiring such organs as were necessary, by its own inherent forces, and at last rising into intellectual existence.
Nevertheless, Physiologists are not those who should be most blamed for speaking of that only which they can see by, and estimate on the evidence of, their physical senses. Astronomers and Physicists are, we consider, far more illogical in their materialistic views than are even Physiologists, and this has to be proved. Milton's
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
has become with the Materialists only
... Prime cheerer, light,
Of all material beings, first and best.
For the Occultists it is both Spirit and Matter. Behind the “mode of motion,” now regarded as the “property of matter” and nothing more, they perceive the radiant Noumenon. It is the “Spirit of Light,” the first-born of the Eternal pure Element, whose energy, or emanation, is stored in the Sun, the great Life-Giver of the Physical World, as the hidden concealed Spiritual Sun is the Light- and Life-Giver of the Spiritual and Psychic Realms. Bacon was one of the first to strike the key-note of Materialism, not only by his inductive method—renovated from ill-digested Aristotle—but by the general tenor of his writings. He inverts the order of mental Evolution when saying:
The first creation of God was the light of the sense; the last was the light of the reason; and his Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of the Spirit.
It is just the reverse. The light of Spirit is the eternal Sabbath of the Mystic or Occultist, and he pays little attention to that of mere sense. That which is meant by the allegorical sentence, “Fiat Lux,” is, when esoterically rendered, “Let there be the ‘Sons of Light’,” or the Noumena of all phenomena. Thus the Roman Catholics rightly interpret the passage as referring to Angels, but wrongly as meaning Powers created by an anthropomorphic God, whom they personify in the ever thundering and punishing Jehovah.
These beings are the “Sons of Light,” because they emanate from, and are self-generated in, that infinite Ocean of Light, whose one pole is pure Spirit lost in the absoluteness of Non-Being, and the other pole, the Matter in which it condenses, “crystallizing” into a more and more gross type as it descends into manifestation. Therefore Matter, though it is, in one sense, but the illusive dregs of that Light whose Rays are the Creative Forces, yet has in it the full presence of the Soul thereof, of that Principle, which none—not even the “Sons of Light,” evolved from its Absolute Darkness—will ever know. The idea is as beautifully, as it is truthfully, expressed by Milton, who hails the holy Light, which is the
... Offspring of Heaven, first-born,
Or of th' Eternal coëternal beam;
... Since God is Light,
And never but in unapproached Light
Dwelt from Eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
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