The Secret Doctrine Vol I

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The Secret Doctrine Vol I

By H.P. Blavatsky

Summary of the Position

The reader has had the whole case presented to him from both sides, and it remains with him to decide whether its summary stands in our favour or not. If there were such a thing as a void, a vacuum in Nature, one ought to find it produced, according to a physical law, in the minds of helpless admirers of the “lights” of Science, who pass their time in mutually destroying their teachings. If ever the theory that “two lights make darkness” found its application it is in this case, where one-half of the “lights” imposes its forces and “modes of motion” on the belief of the faithful, and the other half opposes the very existence of the same. “Ether, Matter, Energy”—the sacred hypostatical trinity, the three principles of the truly unknown God of Science, called by them PHYSICAL NATURE!
Theology is taken to task and ridiculed for believing in the union of three persons in one Godhead—one God as to substance, three persons as to individuality; and we are laughed at for our belief in unproved and unprovable doctrines, in Angels and Devils, Gods and Spirits. And, indeed, that which made the Scientists win the day over Theology in the Great “Conflict between Religion and Science,” was precisely the argument that neither the identity of that substance, nor the triple individuality claimed—after having been conceived, invented, and worked out in the depths of Theological Consciousness—could be proved to exist by any scientific inductive process of reasoning, least of all by the evidence of our senses. Religion must perish, it is said, because it teaches “mysteries.” “Mystery is the negation of Common Sense,” and Science repels it. According to Mr. Tyndall, Metaphysics is “fiction,” like poetry. The man of Science “takes nothing on trust”; rejects everything “that is not proven to him,” while the Theologian accepts “everything on blind faith.” The Theosophist and the [pg 732]Occultist, who take nothing on trust, not even exact Science, the Spiritualist who denies dogma but believes in Spirits and in invisible but potent influences, all share in the same contempt. Very well, then; what we have to do now, is to examine for the last time whether exact Science does not act precisely in the same way as do Theosophy, Spiritualism, and Theology.
In a work by Mr. S. Laing, considered a standard book on Science, Modern Science and Modern Thought, the author of which, according to the laudatory review of the Times, “exhibits with much power and effect the immense discoveries of Science, and its numerous victories over old opinions, whenever they have the rashness to challenge conclusions with it,” we read as follows:
What is the material universe composed of? Ether, Matter, Energy.
We stop to ask, What is Ether? And Mr. Laing answers in the name of Science:
Ether is not actually known to us by any test of which the senses can take cognizance, but is a sort of mathematical substance which we are compelled to assume in order to account for the phenomena of light and heat.1143
And what is Matter? Do you know more about it than you do about the “hypothetical” agent, Ether?
In perfect strictness, it is true that chemical investigations can tell us ... nothing directly of the composition of living matter, and ... it is also in strictness true, that we know nothing about the compositions of any [material] body whatever as it is.1144
And Energy? Surely you can define the third person of the Trinity of your Material Universe? We can take the answer from any book on Physics:
Energy is that which is only known to us by its effects.
Pray explain, for this is rather hazy.
[In mechanics there is actual and potential energy: work actually performed, and the capacity for performing it. As to the nature of molecular Energy or Forces], the various phenomena which bodies present show that their molecules are under the influence of two contrary forces, one which tends to bring them together, and the other to separate them.... The first force ... is called molecular attraction ... the second force is due to the vis viva, or moving force.1145
Just so: it is the nature of this moving force, of this vis viva, that we want to know. What is it?
[pg 733]
“We do not know!” is the invariable answer. “It is an empty shadow of my imagination,” explains Mr. Huxley in his Physical Basis of Life.
Thus the whole structure of Modern Science is built on a kind of “mathematical abstraction,” on a Protean “Substance which eludes the senses” (Dubois Reymond), and on effects, the shadowy and illusive will-o'-the wisps of a something entirely unknown to, and beyond the reach of, Science. “Self-moving” Atoms! Self-moving Suns, Planets, and Stars! But who, then, or what are they all, if they are self-endowed with motion? Why then should you, Physicists, laugh at and deride our “Self-moving Archæus”? Mystery is rejected and scorned by Science, and as Father Felix has truly said:
She cannot escape it. Mystery is the fatality of Science.
The language of the French preacher is ours, and we quote it in Isis Unveiled. Who—he asks—who of you, men of Science:
Has been able to penetrate the secret of the formation of a body, the generation of a single atom? What is there, I will not say at the centre of a sun, but at the centre of an atom? Who has sounded to the bottom the abyss in a grain of sand? The grain of sand, gentlemen, has been studied four thousand years by science; she has turned and returned it; she divides it and subdivides it; she torments it with her experiments; she vexes it with her questions to snatch from it the final word as to its secret constitution; she asks it, with an insatiable curiosity: “Shall I divide thee infinitesimally?” Then suspended over this abyss, science hesitates, she stumbles, she feels dazzled, she becomes dizzy, and in despair says: “I DO NOT KNOW.”
But if you are so fatally ignorant of the genesis and hidden nature of a grain of sand, how should you have an intuition as to the generation of a single living being? Whence in the living being does life come? Where does it commence? What is the life principle?1146
Do the men of Science deny all these charges? By no means: for here is a confession of Tyndall, which shows how powerless is Science, even over the world of Matter.
The first marshalling of the atoms, on which all subsequent action depends, baffles a keener power than that of the microscope.... Through pure excess of complexity, and long before observation can have any voice in the matter, the most highly trained intellect, the most refined and disciplined imagination, retires in bewilderment from the contemplation of the problem. We are struck dumb by an astonishment which no microscope can relieve, doubting not only the [pg 734]power of our instrument, but even whether we ourselves possess the intellectual elements which will ever enable us to grapple with the ultimate structural energies of nature.
How little is known of the material Universe, indeed, has now been suspected for years, on the very admissions of these men of Science themselves. And now there are some Materialists who would even make away with Ether—or whatever Science calls the infinite Substance, the noumenon of which the Buddhists call Svabhâvat—as well as with Atoms, too dangerous both on account of their ancient philosophical, and their present Christian and theological, associations. From the earliest Philosophers, whose records passed to posterity, down to our present age—which, if it denies Invisible Beings in Space, can never be so insane as to deny a Plenum of some sort—the Fulness of the Universe has been an accepted belief. And what it was said to contain, one learns from Hermes Trismegistus (in Dr. Anna Kingsford's able rendering), who is made to say:
Concerning the void ... my judgment is that it does not exist, that it never has existed, and that it never will exist, for all the various parts of the universe are filled, as the earth also is complete and full of bodies, differing in quality and in form, having their species and their magnitude, one larger, one smaller, one solid, one tenuous. The larger ... are easily perceived; the smaller ... are difficult to apprehend, or altogether invisible. We know only of their existence by the sensation of feeling, wherefore many persons deny such entities to be bodies, and regard them as simply spaces,1147 but it is impossible there should be such spaces. For if indeed there should be anything outside the universe ... then it would be a space occupied by intelligible beings analogous to its [the universe's] Divinity.... I speak of the genii, for I hold they dwell with us, and of the heroes who dwell above us, between the earth and the higher airs; wherein are neither clouds nor any tempest.1148
And we “hold” it too. Only, as already remarked, no Eastern Initiate would speak of spheres “above us, between the earth and the airs,” even the highest, as there is no such division or measurement in Occult speech, no above, as no below, but an eternal within, within two other withins, or the planes of subjectivity merging gradually into that of terrestrial objectivity—this being for man the last one, his own [pg 735]plane. This necessary explanation may be closed here by giving, in the words of Hermes, the belief on this particular point of the whole world of Mystics:
There are many orders of the Gods; and in all there is an intelligible part. It is not to be supposed they do not come within the range of our senses; on the contrary, we perceive them, better even than those which are called visible.... There are then Gods, superior to all appearances; after them come the Gods whose principle is spiritual; these Gods being sensible, in conformity with their double origin, manifest all things by a sensible nature, each of them illuminating his works one by another.1149 The supreme Being of heaven, or of all that is comprehended under this name, is Zeus, for it is by heaven that Zeus gives life to all things. The supreme Being of the sun is light, for it is by the disk of the sun that we receive the benefit of the light. The thirty-six horoscopes of the fixed stars have for supreme Being, or prince, him whose name is Pantomorphos, or having all forms, because he gives divine forms to divers types. The seven planets, or wandering spheres, have for supreme Spirits Fortune and Destiny, who uphold the eternal stability of the laws of Nature throughout incessant transformation and perpetual agitation. The ether is the instrument or medium by which all is produced.1150
This is quite philosophical and in accordance with the spirit of Eastern Esotericism: for all the Forces, such as Light, Heat, Electricity, etc., are called the “Gods”—Esoterically.
This, indeed, must be so, since the Esoteric Teachings in Egypt and India were identical. And, therefore, the personification of Fohat, synthesizing all the manifesting Forces in Nature is a legitimate result. Moreover, as will be shown later, the real and Occult Forces in Nature only now begin to be known—and even in this case, by heterodox, not orthodox, Science,1151 though their existence, in one instance at any rate, is corroborated and certified by an immense number of educated people, and even by some official men of Science.
The statement, moreover, in Stanza VI—that Fohat sets in motion the primordial World-Germs, or the aggregation of Cosmic Atoms and Matter, “some one way, some the other way,” in the opposite direction—looks orthodox and scientific enough. For there is, at all events, in support of this position, one fact fully recognized by Science, and it is this. The meteoric showers, periodical in November and [pg 736]August, belong to a system moving in an elliptical orbit around the Sun. The aphelion of this ring is 1,732 millions of miles beyond the orbit of Neptune, its plane is inclined to the Earth's orbit at an angle of 64° 3´, and the direction of the meteoric swarm moving round this orbit is contrary to that of the Earth's revolution.
This fact, recognized only in 1833, shows it to be the modern rediscovery of what was very anciently known. Fohat turns with his two hands in contrary directions the “seed” and the “curds,” or Cosmic Matter; in clearer language, is turning particles in a highly attenuated condition, and nebulæ.
Outside the boundaries of the Solar System, it is other Suns, and especially the mysterious Central Sun—the “Abode of the Invisible Deity” as some reverend gentlemen have called it—that determines the motion and the direction of bodies. That motion serves also to differentiate the homogeneous Matter, round and between the several bodies, into Elements and Sub-elements unknown to our Earth, and these are regarded by Modern Science as distinct individual Elements, whereas they are merely temporary appearances, changing with every small cycle within the Manvantara, some Esoteric works calling them “Kalpic Masks.”
Fohat is the key in Occultism which opens and unriddles the multiform symbols and allegories in the so-called mythology of every nation; demonstrating the wonderful Philosophy and the deep insight into the mysteries of Nature, contained in the Egyptian and Chaldean as well as in the Âryan religions. Fohat, shown in his true character, proves how deeply versed were all those prehistoric nations in every Science of Nature, now called the physical and chemical branches of Natural Philosophy. In India, Fohat is the scientific aspect of both Vishnu and Indra, the latter older and more important in the Rig Veda than his sectarian successor; while in Egypt, Fohat was known as Toom issued of Noot,1152 or Osiris in his character of a primordial God, creator of heaven and of beings.1153 For Toom is spoken of as the Protean God who generates other Gods and gives himself the form he likes; the “Master of Life, giving their vigour to the Gods.”1154 He is the overseer of the Gods, and he “who creates spirits and gives them shape and [pg 737]life”; he is “the North Wind and the Spirit of the West”; and finally the “Setting Sun of Life,” or the vital electric force that leaves the body at death; wherefore the Defunct begs that Toom should give him the breath from his right nostril (positive electricity) that he might live in his second form. Both the hieroglyph, and the text of chapter xlii in the Book of the Dead, show the identity of Toom and Fohat. The former represents a man standing erect with the hieroglyph of the breaths in his hands. The latter says:
I open to the chief of An (Heliopolis). I am Toom. I cross the water spilt by Thot-Hapi, the lord of the horizon, and am the divider of the earth [Fohat divides Space and, with his Sons, the Earth into seven zones]....
I cross the heavens; I am the two Lions. I am Ra, I am Aam, I eat my heir.1155.... I glide on the soil of the field of Aanroo,1156 given me by the master of limitless eternity. I am a germ of eternity. I am Toom, to whom eternity is accorded.
The very words used by Fohat in the XIth Book, and the very titles given him. In the Egyptian Papyri the whole Cosmogony of the Secret Doctrine is found scattered about in isolated sentences, even in the Book of the Dead. Number seven is quite as much insisted upon and emphasized therein as in the Book of Dzyan. “The Great Water [the Deep or Chaos] is said to be seven cubits deep”—“cubits” standing here of course for divisions, zones, and principles. Therein, “in the great Mother, all the Gods, and the Seven Great Ones are born.” Both Fohat and Toom are addressed as the “Great Ones of the Seven Magic Forces,” who, “conquer the Serpent Apap” or Matter.1157
No student of Occultism, however, ought to be betrayed, by the usual phraseology used in the translations of Hermetic Works, into believing that the ancient Egyptians or Greeks spoke of, and referred, monk-like, at every moment in conversation, to a Supreme Being, God, [pg 738]the “One Father and Creator of all,” etc., in the way found on every page of such translations. No such thing indeed; and those texts are not the original Egyptian texts. They are Greek compilations, the earliest of which does not go beyond the early period of Neo-Platonism. No Hermetic work written by Egyptians—as we may see by the Book of the Dead—would speak of the one universal God of the Monotheistic systems; the one Absolute Cause of all, was as unnameable and unpronounceable in the mind of the ancient Philosopher of Egypt, as it is for ever Unknowable in the conception of Mr. Herbert Spencer. As for the Egyptian in general, as M. Maspero well remarks, whenever he
Arrived at the notion of divine Unity, the God One was never “God” simply. M. Lepage-Renouf very justly observed that the word Nouter, Nouti, “God” had never ceased to be a generic name to become a personal one.
Every God was the “one living and unique God” with them. Their
Monotheism was purely geographical. If the Egyptian of Memphis proclaimed the Unity of Phtah to the exclusion of Ammon, the Thebeian Egyptian proclaimed the unity of Ammon to the exclusion of Phtah [as we now see done in India in the case of the Shaivas and the Vaishnavas]. Ra, the “One God” at Heliopolis is not the same as Osiris, the “One God” at Abydos, and can be worshipped side by side with him, without being absorbed by him. The one God is but the God of the nome or the city, Nouter Nouti, and does not exclude the existence of the one God of the neighbouring town or nome. In short, whenever we are speaking of Egyptian Monotheism, we ought to speak of the Gods One of Egypt, and not of the One God.1158
It is by this feature, preëminently Egyptian, that the authenticity of the various so-called Hermetic Books, ought to be tested; and it is totally absent from the Greek fragments known under this name. This proves that a Greek Neo-Platonic, or perhaps a Christian hand, had no small share in the editing of such works. Of course the fundamental Philosophy is there, and in many a place—intact. But the style has been altered and smoothed in a monotheistic direction, as much, if not more than that of the Hebrew Genesis in its Greek and Latin translations. They may be Hermetic works, but not works written by either of the two Hermes—or rather, by Thot Hermes, the directing Intelligence of the Universe1159 or by Thot his terrestrial incarnation called Trismegistus, of the Rosetta stone.
But all is doubt, negation, iconoclasm and brutal indifference, in our [pg 739]age of a hundred “isms” and no religion. Every idol is broken save the Golden Calf.
Unfortunately, no nation or nations can escape their Karmic fate, any more than can units and individuals. History itself is dealt with by the so-called historians as unscrupulously as legendary lore. For this, Augustin Thierry has made the amende honorable, if one may believe his biographers. He deplored the erroneous principle that made all the would-be historiographers lose their way, and each presume to correct tradition, “that vox populi which nine times out of ten is vox Dei”; and he finally admitted that in legend alone rests real history; for he adds:
Legend is living tradition, and three times out of four it is truer than what we call History.1160
While Materialists deny everything in the Universe, save Matter, Archæologists are trying to dwarf Antiquity, and seek to destroy every claim of Ancient Wisdom by tampering with Chronology. Our present-day Orientalists and historical writers are to Ancient History that which the white ants are to the buildings in India. More dangerous even than those Termites, the modern Archæologists—the “authorities” of the future in the matter of Universal History—are preparing for the history of past nations the fate of certain edifices in tropical countries. As said Michelet:
History will tumble down and break into atoms in the lap of the twentieth century, devoured to its foundations by her annalists.
Very soon, indeed, under their combined efforts, it will share the fate of those ruined cities in both Americas, which lie deeply buried under impassable virgin forests. Historical facts will remain concealed from view by the inextricable jungles of modern hypotheses, denials and scepticism. But very happily actual History repeats herself, for she proceeds, like everything else, in cycles; and dead facts, and events deliberately drowned in the sea of modern scepticism, will ascend once more and reappear on the surface.
In Volume II, the very fact that a work with pretensions to Philosophy, which is also an exposition of the most abstruse problems, has to be commenced by tracing the evolution of mankind from what are regarded as supernatural beings—Spirits—will arouse the most malevolent criticism. Believers in, and the defenders of, the Secret Doctrine, [pg 740]however, will have to bear the accusation of madness and worse, as philosophically as for long years already the writer has done. Whenever a Theosophist is taxed with insanity, he ought to reply by quoting from Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes:
By opening so freely their lunatic asylums to their supposed madmen, men only seek to assure each other that they are not themselves mad.
[Transcriber's Note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected.]



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