IN THE SECRET DOCTRINE
From PAGES 192 TO 200, Vol. I
THE ASTRAL LIGHT is not in its nature truth revealing or "good."
Note 2. p. 197. "It stands in the same relation to
Akasa and Anima Mundi as Satan stands to the Deity. They
are one and the same things seen from two aspects."
It may be said that the astral light is the next step above material
concerns. It is the first field into which the seer steps in
his progress, but it is dangerous because misleading, and misleading
because it reverses all things, as well as being the chief reservoir
for the bad or material deeds and thoughts of men. Because it
is strange, new, and extraordinary, it influences those who see
in it, since it presents images of a weird character, and just
from its newness and vividness those who see in it are apt to
consider it to be of consequence. It is to be studied but not
depended upon. Somewhat as the brain has to accustom itself to
the reversed imaged on the retina-turning it straight by effort-so
the inner sense have to become accustomed to the reversals made
by the Astral Light.
THE FALL INTO GENERATION is explained from p. 192 to p.
198, Stanza VI. Necessarily this raises the question "Why
any fall whatever?" The author says: "It was the Fall
of Spirit into generation, not the fall of mortal man."
Hence if this be true, man has not fallen, but is, for this period
of evolution, on the way upward. Spirit in order "to become
a Self-Conscious Spirit must pass through every cycle of being
culminating in its highest point on earth in Man. Spirit per
se is an unconscious negative ABSTRACTION. Its purity is
inherent, not acquired by merit; hence, to become the highest
Dhyan Chohan it is necessary for each Ego to attain to full self-consciousness
as a human, i.e., conscious Being, which is synthesized
for us in Man." (192-193) So the question, why any
fall if it was purely originally, is based on the assumption
that to remain in a state of unconscious abstraction if better.
This cannot, however, be so. When a period of evolutions begins,
with spirit at one end of the pole and matter at the other, it
is absolutely necessary for spirit to proceed through experience
in matter in order that self-consciousness may be acquired. It
is a "fall" into matter so far as the fact is concerned,
but so far as the result and the object in view it is neither
fall nor rise, but the carrying out of the immutable law of the
nature of spirit and matter. We ignorantly call it a fall or
a curse, because our lower consciousness does not see the great
sweep of the cycles nor apprehend the mighty purpose entertained.
Following the lines of the philosophy elsewhere laid down, we
see that at the close of each grand period of evolution some
Egos will have failed to attain the goal, and thus some spirit-if
we may say-is left over to be again at a new period differentiated
into Egos who shall, helped by Egos of the past now become Dhyan
Chohans, once more struggle upward. Such is the immense and unending
STATES AND PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS in Kosmos and Man. p.
192, 2nd and 3d para. It is here stated that of the seven
planes of consciousness three are above the entire chain of globes
to which the earth belongs, and that the earth is in the lowest
of the lower four. But in man, as said here, there are seven
states of consciousness which correspond to these seven
cosmical planes. He is to "attune the three higher
states in himself to the three higher planes in Kosmos."
Necessarily he must have in him centres or seats of energy correspondingly,
and, as the author points out, he must awaken those seats to
activity, to life, before he can attune them to the higher planes.
They are dormant, asleep as it were.
FIRST AND SEVENTH GLOBES of the chain are in the Archetypal
plane. Page 200, note to diagram. That is, that on the
first globe of the chain -A-the whole model of the succeeding
globes is made or laid down, and upon that evolution proceeds
up to the 7th, where, all having reached the highest stage of
perfection after seven rounds, the complete model is fully realized.
This is distinctly hinted in the note, for she says: "not
the world as it existed in the Mind of the Deity, but
a world made as a first model to be followed and improved upon
by the worlds which succeed it physically-though deteriorating
in purity." The reader will remember that in another place
it is plainly said that on Globe A man appears, but that in the
second round the process changes. If we assume, as we must, conscious
Beings at work in the scheme of evolution, they have to create
the mental model, as it were, of the whole planetary chain, and
this has to be done at the time of the first globe. The plan
is impressed on all the atoms or particles which are to take
part in the evolution, and is preserved intact in that plane.
The seventh globe is the receiver of the entire result of evolution
is each round, and transfers it once more to Globe A, where it
proceeds as before, and again the whole mass of evoluting beings
is impressed with the original plan. This is repeated for every
THE THREE HIGHER PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS spoken of in third
note to diagram on page 200 as being inaccessible to human
consciousness as yet, does not involve a contradiction. For the
attuning of our three higher states of consciousness to
the three higher planes is possible, although attainment
to those planes is impossible for ordinary human consciousness.
The attempt has to be made so as to come into harmony in ourselves
with those planes, so that the potentialities may be made active
and development of new faculties made possible.
From PAGES 200 TO 212, Vol. I
FUNCTION OF COMETS. Comets are the wanderers who, in the great
struggle and rush of matter in any place where a system of worlds
is to come into existence, act as aggregators or collectors of
the cosmic matter until at last sufficient collections are made
to cause the beginning of globes. Italics on p. 201, V.I.
CYCLES. There is always much discussion respecting this vast
and interesting subject, not only in theosophical circles but
outside as well. Indeed, the discussion was begun ages before
our T.S. was formed. It will hardly be finished in our life.
The dispute or difficulty has not been as to whether there are
cycles governing men and affairs, for the most materialistic
are wont to talk of the cycles of recurrence of diseases, wars,
and the like, but about when any cycle begins, and especially
the larger ones. One of the Moon's cycles is known, and that
of the great sidereal vault is approximated, but when we come
to such as the latter there is considerable vagueness as to what
was the state of things 25,000 years ago. On p. 202 of Vol.
I, the hint is given that the fundamental basis controlling
number and ground-work of the cycles is laid in the very beginning
of the cosmic struggle anterior to the aggregation of matter
into globes and suns, for (at foot p. 202) "This
is the basic and fundamental stone of the secret cycles...The
assertion that all the worlds (stars, planets, etc.), as soon
as a nucleus of primordial substance in the laya (undifferentiated)
state is informed by the freed principles of a just deceased
sidereal body-becomes first comets, and then suns, to cool down
to inhabitable worlds, is a teaching as old as the Rishis."
Now in each system to "struggle" is different from
every other, a different proportion arises, and, the percentage
of loss or remainder being variable, the cyclic bases in each
system differ from others. It is very plain, then, that our present-day
scientists can know nothing of these original differences and
must remain ignorant of the true cycles. Only the eagle eye of
the high Adept can see these numbers as they are written upon
the great screen of time, and in the whispers that reach us from
the ancient mysteries can be found the information we are seeking.
Who shall hear aright?
THE VERY BEGINNING. Definitely as to the very beginning of
manifestation-not of this little system of ours, but of the one
vast whole-it is not possible nor permissible to speak. But a
hint of seductive nature is thrown out on p. 203, 3d para., where,
taking us back to the first act in the great drama of which our
puny play is but a short sentence, H.P.B. says that the secret
science declares that when the one great all has been thrown
out into manifestation seven special differentiations of IT appear,
and from those seven all the countless fires, suns, planets,
and stars are lighted and go forth. So that, although in various
systems of worlds the cycles and the numbers and bases may differ
and be any whole number or fractional number, the great and perfect
number is still seven. But no man now among us can understand
that great seven when it includes all numbers the mind
may reach by chance or by calculation.
From PAGES 212 TO 252, Vol. I
From p. 212 to 221 the reader can for himself find
all that the author of the Secret Doctrine desired to
give out in those pages.
WHAT ARE ELEMENTALS? In describing the groups of the Hierarchies
the 6th and 7th groups are touched on at p. 221, where
it is said that elementals are a part of the numberless side
groups "shot out like the boughs of a tree form the first
central group of the four." And they are all subject to
Karma (19th line, p. 221), which they have to work out
during every cycle. As it is said, lower on the page, "A
Dhyan Chohan has to become" such, it must follow that even
a Dhyan Chohan was once at work in the planes of being where
elementals are, and from that rose up to the higher place; this
must be under the laws of evolution, of Karma, of Reincarnation.
MAN'S GREAT DESTINY. Following the argument hinted at about
elemental, on p. 221, it is said that the celestial Hierarchy
of this Manvantara will be transferred in the next cycle of life
to higher, superior worlds, in order to make room for a new hierarchy,
of the same order, which will be composed of the elect ones of
our own human race. Such is our destiny, and such the path up
which we climb; and when that point is reached, we must work
still on for the benefit of those below us. This is the basis
of altruism, and without altruism the consummation cannot be
THAT HIGH SPIRITS WORK ON EARTH in bodies of men, while those
spirits are still in the highest spheres, see V.I. p. 233-234
and notes, also note p. 235. On p. 235 it is
clearly explained that the author does not mean that which is
called among the spiritualists "control" of mediums
by a spirit but the actual continuance of the status and function
of the incarnated spirit in the supersensous regions, while actually
using as its own and working in a mortal envelope on earth. So
that, according to her, there are certain persons on this earth,
living and working as ordinary human beings and members of society,
whose informing divine part is so immeasureably high in development
that they as such high beings have a definite status and function
in the "supersensous regions." We should say-assuming
the correctness of the author's statement-that she herself was
such a case, and that "H.P.B." whether hourly in the
day or night when all around was still had a "status and
function" in other spheres where she consciously carried
on the work of that high station, whatever it was. There were
many events in her daily life know to those who were intimate
with her that this hint may ravel, or at least shed much light
upon. And in one of her letters this sentence appears-in substance-"The
difference between you and me is that your are not conscious
except at day, while I am conscious day and night, and have much
to do and to endure in both of these existences from which you,
being thus half-conscious, are happily saved."
In the Hindu books and teachings there is a reference to this
when they speak of high gnanees-that is, persons full
of knowledge and spiritual power-being attracted to this earth
by certain acts and at certain times i the history of nation,
race, or city.
LOSS OF THE SOUL. The possibility of the abandonment of the
body by the soul is outlined on page 234, V. I, thus:
"The soul could free itself from and quit the tabernacle
[of the body] for various reasons, such as insanity, spiritual
and physical depravity, etc." And at the end of the note
on p. 235 it is hinted broadly that such freeing of the soul
from the body, leaving the latter to run out its course, is not
confined to the case of those who are insane or depraved, but
may occur with those who make great advance in knowledge and
such consequent alteration in the constitution of the soul, as
it we, that they no longer can dwell on earth, using the old
body. It does not appear, however, that this subject is carried
any further than this hint, found, as is so usual with H.P.B.,
in a note. In this the words are: "For the occurrence is
found to take place in wicked materialists as well as in persons
'who advance in holiness and never turn back.'" From
my knowledge of her methods I regard this note as a deliberate
reverse of sentence, in which the object of it is found in the
words which are used in the underlined part.
THE NECESSITY FOR INDIVIDUAL EFFORT. This is very emphatically
put, and in precisely the style of H.P.B., in the 3d paragraph
on page 244, in the parallelisms, where Atma is spoken
of. Here she shows that Atma is not subject to change
or improvement, but is the "ray of light eternal which shines
upon and through the darkness of matter-when the latter is
willing." [Italics are mine. (WQJ)] If matter, in the
human being, the personal self, the body, and the astral body,
with passions and desires, is not willing to be fully informed
by the Spirit, then Atma will not shine through it because
it cannot, in as much as matter then does not submit itself to
the Divine behests. The willingness can only be shown by individual
effort toward goodness and purification. It would seem that this
ought to do away with that negation and supineness indulged in
by even theosophists who talk of "not interfering with Karma."
ONLY THREE DIMENSIONS OF MATTER. The "fourth dimension"
is combatted on pages 251-252 et seq.: "So long as
there are foot-rulers within the resources of Kosmos, to apply
to matter, so long will they be able to measure it in three ways
and no more."
From PAGES 252 TO 260, Vol. I
ORDER OF THE ELEMENTS ESOTERICALLY is, Fire, air, water,
earth. (2nd para.). Counting up from the earth, the
order for the elementals, or the nature spirits in the elements,
is: earth elementals, water elementals, air elementals, fire
elementals. And it has always been said that those of the fire
are the wisest and most distant so far as cognition of or by
us is concerned, that the airy ones are also wise, and those
of the water dangerous. Those of the earth have been described
by seers in the form of gnomes sometimes seen by clairvoyant
miners in the depths under us, and of this class also are those
that have given rise to the superstition among the Irish respecting
FIRE IN THE PRECEDING ROUNDS. She says (p. 253), "For
all we know, FIRE may have been pure AKASA, the first
Matter of the Magnum Opus of the Creators and 'Builders,'..."
The phrase "For all we know" is sometimes to be translated
"Thus it was."
THE FIFTH ELEMENT IN THE FIFTH ROUND. This, as said before
in these notes, will be "The gross body of Akasa"...
(257) and "will, by becoming a familiar fact of Nature
to all men, as air is familiar to us now, cease to be as at present
WHAT IS THE SIXTH SENSE TO BE? In the first paragraph of
page 258 she says that at first there will be a partial
familiarity with a characteristic of matter to be known then
as permeability, which will be perceived when certain new senses
have been developed, and after that this singular characteristic
will be fully known, as it will be developed concurrently with
the sixth sense. We may therefore argue that she means to describe
the sixth sense as one which will (among other things)give to
us the power to permeate matter with ourselves. Let some one
else now carry this idea further, as it is no doubt correct.
It would seem that both the matter-characteristic and the power
in man are being here and there exhibited, or else some of the
phenomena seen at spiritualistic seances could never have happened;
but alas! we need not look for aid there so long as the beloved
"spirits from the summerland" continue to hold sway
over their votaries.
THE EARTH IN ITS EARLY PERIODS. Some students have thought
that this globe in its early times when, following the statements
in Esoteric Buddhism, the human life-wave and so on had
not come, there was no life on it, supposing in a vague way that
there was, say in the fire-mist time, a mass of something devoid
of life. This is contradicted and explained on page 258 in
the second para. for: "Thus Occultism disposes of the
so-called Azoic age of Science, for it shows that there never
was a time when the Earth was without life upon it." This
is asserted for no matter what form or sort of matter, thus,
"Wherever there is an atom of matter, a particle or a molecule,
even in its most gaseous condition, there is life in it, however
latent and unconscious."
OF SPIRIT AND MATTER. In the commentary on p. 258 the
author plainly writes, "Spirit is the first differentiation
of (and in ) SPACE; and Matter the first differentiation of Spirit."
This is a clear statement of what she desired to teach respecting
spirit and matter, and as in other places it is said that spirit
and matter are the opposite poles of the One-the Absolute-an
agreement has to be made between the two. There is no real disagreement,
since it is evident that differentiation must proceed in a definite
order, from which it results that there must be always one state,
plane, place, power, and idea in nature that is above and different
from and beyond all others. And when we go beyond spirit, the
highest we may speak of is the Absolute, which is the container
of the next two-spirit and matter, the latter following the first
in order of differentiation. These are said to be coeternal,
and, indeed, are so, as far as our minds are concerned, for the
reason that we cannot grasp either the first or the second differentiation
of the Absolute. But because this doctrine of the coeternalness
of spirit and matter has been taught, there never being the one
without the other also present, some students have fallen into
a materialistic view, probably because matter is that which being
near to us is most apparent, and others, remaining somewhat vague,
do not define the doctrine at all. Spirit and matter are coeternal
because they exist together in the Absolute, and when the first
differentiation spoken of above takes place, so does the second
immediately. Hence, except when we are dealing with metaphysics,
they must be regarded as the two poles of the one Absolute. And
the Bhagavad Gita does not support the contrary, for it
only says there is no spirit without also matter, as it is dealing
through the words of Krishna with things as they are after
the differentiation has taken place.
There is another class of theosophists who speak of the "superpersonal
god," asserting at the same time that they do not mean "a
personal God," and they are opposed by still another class
who point to the well-known denial by H.P.B. of the existence
of a personal god. It is in the sentence quoted that both of
these may come to an agreement, for the believers in the superpersonal
deity can without doubt find support in the lines on p. 258.
For if spirit is the first, then matter is a grade below it,
however fine and imperceptible that distinction may be.
If further we say, as many of us do, that the great inherent
ideas of man were given to him by the first great teachers whose
descendants and pupils the Adepts are, then we here also see
how it is that there is such a wide and universal belief in a
God. It must also be the origin of that universal optimism which
may be found also in the ranks of the theososphists, who, while
for present days are pessimistic, must be called the greatest
optimists on the face of the earth. There are many other matters
in this sentence. Many a student has puzzled his head very often
in trying to discover from where come the impulse and the plan
as well as the idea of perfection, for it must as a first thing
reside somewhere, whether abstractly or concretely. Perhaps it
is here; those students can look here at any rate.
A MYSTERIOUS PRINCIPLE MENTIONED. After going for a little
space into the formation of this globe by the first builders,
she speaks (page 259) of a certain akasic principle
to which no name is given but left in hiatus. But in the note
on that page we see, and I am violating nothing in referring
to it, that very clearly it is pointed out that the primordial
substance of which she then writes "is the body of those
Spirits themselves, and their very essence." Now in
many places in her writings, and also in those of other knowing
ones through all time, this primordial substance is said to be
one that , once controlled, gives him who has power over it the
most transcendent abilities, -sway alike over mind and matter.
She and all of us are quite safe in speaking of it, since
there are but few indeed who will see anything in it at all.
Yet the few can have the hint if they never got it before. This,
however, should always remain as a hint, and there ought to be
no attempt to make it clear to science, for nothing will be gained
except ridicule and maybe worse.
March, May, June
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