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The Planet Saturn | Death of the Sun | Dual Evolution: Dawn of Godhood | Twofold Influence of Saturn | The Monad: a Composite Entity | The Peace of Death | Initiation is Self-Conferred
G. de P. — With reference to the planet Saturn, the statement is made that, physically speaking, it is the most ethereal known in the solar system, but that spiritually it is one of the least high. Now Saturn is an extremely interesting planet from more aspects than one: and merely to enter a caveat lest my inclusive remark in the pamphlet be taken too literally, I desire here to say that Saturn likewise from another standpoint, mainly connected with peregrinations of entities, functions as one of the most spiritual planets in the solar system. It seems like a contradiction. Actually it is a paradox. To speak of it as one of the most material merely means that it is one of the least evolved spiritually; yet it too has its high spiritual phase, aspect, or portion, and it is through this spiritual phase or portion that its spiritual functions in the solar system operate.
It is necessary to try to have a completely comprehensive grasp of facts. Thus, a planet like the moon is a grossly physical body, its physical portions being on the lowest cosmic plane, prithivi, our own present plane — therefore on the sixth and seventh subplanes of that plane counting downwards, or the first and second subplanes of prithivi counting upwards, just like our own physical bodies. Whereas the sun, that is that portion of the sun which with our physical eyes we receive sensory impressions of, is also on the plane of prithivi, but on the first and second subplanes thereof counting downwards; or on the two highest planes if you count upwards, the 6th and 7th.
Now then, when a grossly physical body dies, such as our physical bodies, or even more so the grossly physical body of a planet on this plane, it takes a long, long, long time for such a grossly physical corpse to disintegrate into its component atoms. Whereas the sun, composed of atoms on a much higher series of subplanes, has its disintegration proceed much faster when its death ensues.
You have an analogy in the human being. At the present time it takes a number of years for the physical body to disintegrate if buried, if its disintegration is not hastened in cremation. If left to itself it may take from seven to ten, or even many more years perhaps, for the gross physical body to fall apart in its component constituents, call them atoms if you wish. Even the bones may remain for centuries before they finally fall apart.
Just so is it with the physical body of the planet. Of course our moon is the kama-rupa of the moon that was, as the sthula-sarira or body of the moon decayed into its physical atoms aeons past. But when we humans were in our second race or even the beginning of the third root-race and were ethereal, when our bodies died subsequent decay, dissolution, or disintegration was very quick. Do you see what I mean?
A jellyfish, for example, does not take nearly the time to disintegrate that a human physical body does, or the body of a beast. It is so much more gelatinous, semi-astral.
That is the reason for the specific statement made by the Master that when the sun's term is reached, when a sun — at least a sun like our sun because there are various kinds of suns, and you see how careful one has to be in these things — when our sun or all suns of its class of ethereality dies, at its instant of death like the wink of an eye, like the passing of a shadow across the wall, the sun has passed on; in a higher sense has disappeared. But it nevertheless leaves behind it for a while its ethereally luminous garments. Of those garments the outermost luminous veil is what we see with our physical eyes; and although this luminous garment is really a body of light, it still is much more ethereal than what the hid or invisible grossest body of the sun was or is. Then this body or garment of light decays — I cannot say how long in human years, it may be 100 or 1,000 or 10,000, but as compared with a gross physical body like our earth or the moon that was, or Jupiter or Mars, the time of decay of its luminous garment is extremely short, almost instantaneous.
What happens? Actually at the moment of the sun's death, one of the most wonderful and majestic things in the course of the life history of a solar system takes place. There is a perfect outburst and outrushing, an explosion if you wish, of solar light filling what is the whole solar system with an incredible splendor. How long does it take? As fast as light can travel, and as fast as the slower moving grosser attributes of the sun composing this body will take to fill the confines of the solar system. The light travels faster, and these ethereal atoms travel more slowly. But if we were stationed, let us say, on some outlying sun, even in our galaxy, or on some planet, especially around such a sun in our galaxy, and could witness the majestic funeral pyre or death of our sun or our solar system, we should see it as a most wonderful flash, taking perhaps an hour, or one of our days, or a week, filling the confines of our solar system with splendor and then slowly dying down. The less spiritual the atoms of the luminous stuff are, the longer they take in the glowing, for the more greatly physical or material life force is there. The more spiritual atoms vanish like a flash. The sun is gone, but its luminous garment may take in our human years quite a period of time before utterly vanishing.
This merely means that our solar system then, and spacially even beyond it, is simply filled with countless sun-particles, not of the sun itself which is a spiritual entity, but of its luminous garments — millions and billions and trillions and quadrillions of particles, call them atoms if you wish. It is a most convenient term when you are stumped to find the proper word, and it is a proper term to use too. And these atoms which thus slowly die out, and whose coherence is slowly destroyed, begin their peregrinations throughout the galaxy, to be reassembled at the time when our sun will reimbody itself.
Thus you see how a statement which is perfectly true, but which is not a complete statement because it is not possible or correct or right to make a complete statement, could later be seized upon by one who did not know the rules of communication, and as the Master often pointed out almost in exasperation, held up as instances of contradiction.
The sun, or rather its solar vehicle or body, disintegrates so rapidly because it is in evolutionary status a spiritual entity. I repeat: when its last pulse-beat has taken place, the sun has gone. Its luminous garments remain for a while. When a man dies, his death is equally instantaneous. With the last pulse of the heart, the last flash of consciousness in the brain, the true man is gone again like a flash; though the body still remains warm, and the magnetic link with the brain is still there, and the brain, still momentarily psychically connected with the departed ego, runs through its panoramic view of the last life for a brief — how long depending upon the man — moment, it may be an hour or two, or more. Then there remains the heavy physical body which if buried will take years to disintegrate. But when we had bodies of light, when we cast them off, their disintegration was a matter as we now say of a few hours. Then, all body had vanished.
I am searching for language which is not easy to find. The language I seek must give ideas, lead to a comprehension of extremely subtile facts in nature, which facts are utterly unknown in the Occident, and to which our brain-minds are insensitive, or rather which our brain-minds do not cognize; no more so than do our eyes cognize the wonders of the ultraviolet part of the solar spectrum, nor again those of the infrared.
Now then, I am going to tell you something as best I can or may which really does not belong to this degree, and yet I sense an appeal, and I think you are entitled to receive this help. It will remain with yourselves to take it because understanding it, or to reject it because it is incomprehensible to you, or does not appeal to you.
First, I would say there is no reason why any exception whatsoever should be made with regard to the earth. The earth is but one of the planetary family and follows all the laws, mutatis mutandis, that all other planets follow as regards concreting, or materializing, etherealizing, etc.
Now here is what I am desirous of stating, and bear with me, I beg of you, because I am hunting for words. With regard to the matter of density or grossness and materiality, these words should not be taken always as synonyms. Materiality is by no means the grossest principle, or rather matter is not; and this has been stated over and over again not only by myself, but by HPB. It is the fourth principle that is the grossest; but when you try to interchange grossness and density, you forget that grossness and density on this plane may often be the same, but they are not the same always on different planes.
Thus, the fourth round, the fourth planet, the fourth root-race, combine to make the maximum of grossness in evolution, because kamic. From three directions as it were, kama converges in three different ways, in the round, in the globe, in the race; and the fourth subrace of the fourth root-race on the fourth round on the fourth globe caps or is the climax of grossness.
Now here in this instance, it is my considered view, grossness and density may be used as synonyms or equivalents. It so happens that the meanings here conjoin to signify the same thing. When you use the word material or materiality in the strictly occult sense, this condition or phase will not be reached until the seventh round, which nevertheless will be far more ethereal than gross.
All evolution begins at the top, reaches its fourth phase or stage on the downward arc, then begins to rise out of the grossness and density thereafter, towards immaterialization, which is the word used and a wrong word, at any rate towards re-spiritualization. Matter becomes more spiritualized, and by the fact that spiritual powers of matter or prakriti serially appear. The first races were not as evolved as the later races; nor is the fifth race as evolved as shall be the sixth and seventh. The first races were much more spiritual than the third or the fourth, or than is the fifth, but will not be more spiritual than will be the sixth and the seventh.
I will now give you an analogy. Consider the seven principles of man from atman to physical body. Evolution begins at the beginning with a stir, so to speak, with motion in atman. Evolution casts a veil around the atmic monad, which veil we call buddhi. The principles of buddhi unfold and give birth to manas. Its inherent or intrinsic properties in their turn unfold and give rise to kama. All these of course were all latent in atman, but not manifested. We have at this point reached the grossest, most dense, phase of all evolution. We then pass on down to what is popularly called, because it really is a fall, to the pranas, the linga-sarira and the material or physical body.
Now, why is it that the fourth is the most dense of all, whether of races, globe or chain, or human being? Because it has the kama principle most strongly operative, whose characteristic is desire, spiritual and gross; and desire involves intense attraction, and the life-atoms during the fourth phase are always densely compacted because they are hungry for each other, which causes them to condense, to concrete.
Thus the first race was very ethereal, but not at all highly evolved. Its child, the second race, was less ethereal and somewhat more evolved. The third race was still less ethereal, but somewhat more evolved. Likewise so the fourth. The fifth race is more ethereal than the fourth, because beginning the ascending arc, but more evolved than the fourth in intellect. The sixth will be still more ethereal than the fifth, but more spiritual than intellectual, because though intellect will be still more evolved than during the fifth, it will be topped by the buddhi principle. And finally, the seventh race will round out the evolution in what might be called a physical body which then no longer will be a dense flesh body because of its proximity to the fourth, but will be a body of light — very much less gross and dense than would be a body of gross fourth race flesh, for instance.
I am trying to explain why you should not confuse matter properly used, or prakriti, with inherent grossness.
This has its application also in the moral sphere of man's life, and in the intellectual sphere. The grossest portions of man's thinking and feeling are not in his pranas nor his linga-sarira nor in his body. They are in his image-building brain-mind and in his desires and emotions; in other words, in the kama and the kama-manas. Thus sin is not of the flesh, of the body, which is a mistake of religionists always. The sin of wrong action is in the kama-manasic part of our nature, not yet even fully developed during this fourth round. Thus you see the human races during races first, second, and third, were more spiritual, less mental, less gross, than the fourth. The fifth, sixth, and seventh will be less gross because becoming steadily more ethereal on account of ascending slowly the upward arc; yet they will be approaching the seventh principle, the sthula-sarira.
I will put the whole truth in another fashion, still hunting words to clothe these thoughts. Perfect evolution means perfect completion. Every entity or monadic entity is septenary on all the seven principles according to the plane the monad is living on. But that monad is not a completed entity, a perfected entity, until every one of the seven principles has reached its seventh degree or highest of evolution. Thus race one, although living in what we may call a portion of the atman of the constitution, was a very imperfectly evolved entity. Then root-race number two evolved, in addition to that portion of the atman belonging to the first race, a certain aspect of the buddhi, and therefore was somewhat more complete in evolution than was root-race number one. Race number three carried the evolution still farther on. Mind began to come, to function. The fourth race likewise.
It is not enough for a man to have a phase of the atman, a phase of the buddhi, and a phase of the manas, if he be without desire, without yearnings, and without aspiration and without feeling. Kama must come forth. Then the ascent begins. Mind proper begins to take the place, but in the new sense on the ascending arc, through what we may call the pranas becoming impregnate with mental power working to refine the linga- and the sthula-sariras. And so the process continues to completion through the fifth, sixth, and seventh or last race on this round, and on a larger scale during the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds of our globe and of our chain.
Thus in the seventh round you have a fully complete man, and therefore a god-man. Every principle is fully perfected — not as we are now, relatively fourth roundly perfected in our four higher principles and involved in our three lower principles; but relatively perfected in all seven principles, and therefore a complete human being. You now see, I hope, what is meant when it is stated that the grossest, called most material principle — a wrong usage of the word material — but the most gross principle is the fourth. The most gross phase of evolution is the fourth. The grossest phase in the human moral and emotional sense is the fourth.
Apply this explanation, which I have never dared to utter so clearly before, to the planets. You will thus see why Venus is in its seventh round, and though more material or prakritic than our earth is nevertheless more ethereal in the other sense as she is in her seventh round. She is in the ethereal part of prithivi, in the spiritual part of the prithivi, although prithivi is the lowest of the prakritis. Very simple, but extraordinary to those who have not the key. Thus the seventh race man will be living, as far as the fourth round limitations will permit it, when the seventh race is ended, in the seventh phase of all his principles in so far as the fourth round will allow it.
In the seventh round before our earth dies, men will no longer be humans or men, but dhyani-chohans, god-men, glorious buddhas. Living in the topmost principle of the prithivi of the seventh globe, the topmost globe according to the septenary system, and in the seventh phase of their own principles, they will have bodies of light. Everything will be at its topmost notch — "tops." But mark you, this perfection is reached after running through all principles, perfecting each one, giving each one its proper place of and in perfection, and ending, using the human seven principles as an analogy, with the physical body.
Consider the sun: I will utter a strange paradox. It is incomparably grosser than our earth is. Yet it is the dwelling of a god. It must have this grossness to rule its kingdom which contains planes of beings and spheres incomparably grosser than our earth. The sun's body is what our eyes see or think they see; at any rate what our eyes sense. It is matter in the sixth and seventh degrees of prithivi counting upwards, in the buddhi and atman of prithivi. But what the astronomers see, and what our eyes really see, is possibly the third, more closely the fourth and fifth counting upwards, what we may call the kama and the manas; in other words, the cloak or veil surrounding that golden sun which to our physical eyes is utterly invisible, as invisible as empty space, yet an inexpressibly glorious mass or ball or auric egg — call it what you wish — of simply incomprehensibly immense spiritual and intellectual as well as vital force. All that we see of the sun is its lower garments, the play of its vitality working in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh counting upwards of prithivi. And I mention the fourth and the fifth, the two lower spoken of because what the astronomers see through the telescope is actually the condensed or concrete, and therefore slightly visible, parts of the prithivi of the sun's body. Do I make my meaning clear? The sun actually we do not see. What we see is a reflection. I don't mean a reflection from something far off in a different part of space. I mean we see the body of the sun which is a reflection of its soul within the sun, just as a man's physical body is a reflection or projection of his soul. Do you catch the thought?
Thus then, evolution proceeds from the topmost, from principle one to principle seven, continuously. To call it a straight line would give you a wrong picture. You would immediately think of a straight line on a blackboard, a straightway evolutionary run or course or rise. Every principle in its turn is brought forth and evolved, beginning with the highest and ending with the lowest. At the culmination man has become a fully complete entity, because every principle then has reached its highest or seventh stage or substage of unfolding growth, of evolution. Man then is a god. His so-called sthula-sarira — which then will be a misnomer, only called so because of our present fourth round bodies — but his seventh principle or outermost clothing, his body, would be practically a light which to our present eyes would be almost blinding. It would be prithivi in its first or highest phase. I am only now for the instant speaking of the body, the body of light, body of radiation.
Take the case of the planets upon which I touched a moment ago. The reason why Saturn is the most ethereal, even more ethereal than Uranus, the most ethereal of the planets of the solar system, is because, of the ancient seven sacred planets it is the least close to the sun, in a sense then the youngest. As the planets considered as individuals grow older, they approach the sun. Coincidently their prakritis evolve more strongly, partly to protect them against the sun which otherwise would simply annihilate them, and partly because such is evolution's course. Both comprise the way of procedure. Thus Venus is grosser and more prakritic and more material in the proper sense than is earth, Mercury than is Venus. Yet Mercury, corresponding to our principles, is buddhi. Venus is higher manas. Our Earth is kama-manas. Mars is kama, strange paradox, following of course in this instance the line of the human principles.
I will add one more thought, Companions, and I ask you to try to understand this. I do not think I have ever spoken as plainly as this before, because I have felt that I would be wrongly understood, and I am carrying load enough as it is without having the karma of misleading my brothers. The sun we are protected against. There is an old Hindu saying, never understood in the West, and yet full of occult wisdom, that the gods live on men. The sun would annihilate us as a planet, as planets, not deliberately but as automatically as fire burns, as goodness refines a man, as automatically as that morals are based on the principles of harmony in the universe. It could not be otherwise. But we are protected by our own earth's auric egg, and by the various auric eggs of the other planets, each one having its own auric egg. This is an akasic veil which not even a sun can penetrate, provided that the planets keep their distance, which they do. It is not the god in the sun which will be the great devourer. It will be the automatic action of nature, like the bite of an asp, or the burning of a caustic, or the goodness which raises and saves. And furthermore each planet, our earth included, is surrounded by a perfect — the Master calls it a continent — a perfect shell of cosmic stuff, cosmic dust, meteorites, astral stuff, all which protects us against the fearful force of the sun. I say fearful because we would simply vanish, the planets in the entire solar system would vanish like a puff of smoke, if they were not protected.
Now this continent above our heads and surrounding the earth actually is attracted karmically by the earth's auric egg. All these things that are attracted have been parts of its former bodies in other earth imbodiments. The moon is not alone the holder of all the former earth-stuff. A certain amount of karmic stuff, of life-atoms, is also attracted by the immense magnetism of this continent over our heads. It is a continent. It is scores and scores and scores of miles thick. I believe myself that it partly accounts for what we call the blueness of the atmosphere on a clear day, and for the sun's rays reaching us in the beneficent godlike way in which Father Sun does touch his children with his light and aid. This meteoric continent or veil surrounding the earth like a shell is likewise the cause of our climatic and meteorological disturbances. Storms of all kinds, windstorms, electric storms, rainstorms, snowstorms, the heat of summer and the cold of winter, are very largely brought about by interaction between this continent over our heads and the earth's own electrovital magnetism working up and against it and against this meteoric shell surrounding our earth. What is called the earth's heat does not come from the sun, at least a small portion only comes from the sun, and that not in the direct form of heat, but rather as radiation, which when reaching our earth immediately begins to act electrically and magnetically, electromagnetically, electrovitally, to stir up things on the earth. The reason that the sunrays warm us and feel grateful in the cold winter and oppressive in summer, is because on passing through the air and on our skins they are like a current of electricity. Electricity is not hot, nor is it cold, but it starts vibratory activity in whatever it touches or passes through, and this to our senses we feel as heat, warmth, light, comfort; or if it be summertime oppressive heat from which many people die.
Another thought, Companions: all entities in the solar system, Father Sun and all his family of planets, visible and invisible, are essentially divinities. Their essential inner desire and hope and yearnings are for harmony, self-forgetfulness for the common good. And notice that were any planet — this may sound a little funny or quaint, but it will illustrate my point — were any planet to become wicked in the sun's kingdom, in other words self-sufficient and self-assertive, egoistic in other words, and attempt to refuse to obey the harmonious laws of the solar kingdom whereby all things are held in harmony and peace and for the common good, that planet would be instantly broken in its career. The power of the sun, if the obstreperousness became too great, would simply annihilate it. It would at the worst vanish. Reimbody itself to be sure, because the monad of a planet is just as high as the monad of a sun. But so far as the planet's vehicles are concerned, its gross body, its material body, its vital force, and its linga-sarira or its astral light, would be simply annihilated; for nothing which is below the third principle from the top can safely approach or oppose the sun. Even a dhyani-chohan cannot approach the sun in any body lower than its manasic body. Call it the mayavi-rupa if you wish. It is so in man. Only this would be sufficiently spiritual, sufficiently powerful, not to neutralize or fight the sun, but to become one with it, and therefore safe. Do you understand that?
Nature never punishes any of her children who live with her and work with her and help her, for these she regards as collaborators in the cosmic labor, in the cosmic work; and as HPB so beautifully phrases it in The Voice of the Silence, work on with nature, for then she will regard thee as one of her own masters and herself will make obeisance. There is the thought. And why? It is not that the monad of nature bows down humbly before your monad. It means that your monad recognizes its oneness with nature, and all the lower forms of nature recognize the mastery, the mastery of your monad, cooperating with nature's own monad.
But do not ever make the mistake, Companions, after listening to talk of this kind that I have been trying to give to you, do not ever make the mistake and fancy that any human being is sufficiently wise to condemn nature. If you were a dhyani-chohan or a buddha, that might be a different thing. Do not ever make the mistake of saying that you have a right to judge someone else in the way not only individuals but nations do. You will be all wrong. The sooner the law of brotherhood and of impartial justice and right at any cost is understood, the sooner earth will be the heaven that it ought to be even today. Men always find excuses to allow themselves to follow their pet hobbies or foibles. For there is hypocrisy in all of us. It springs from our kama or desire, from egoism. "We are superior to the others. We have a right to take the lives of others"; and how wrong the whole system is, is shown by the fact that it is actually recognized in our systems of modern jurisprudence that twelve men, here following the English system which was adopted in this country, know enough to take the life of another human being. Of course, on the other hand, organized society must protect itself against evil or selfishness; and the wisest nations, the most civilized and the kindliest, are those which are slowly instituting the abolition of the death penalty, and allowing no distortion of the principle here enunciated to blind their eyes to the higher laws of social morality. We theosophists ought to face facts. Society has to protect itself; and the wisest of peoples are meeting such problems as those presented by evildoers by imprisonment, not the imprisonment of angry revenge, no matter how horrible the crime may have been, but the imprisonment of restraint and education; and this is indeed human because it is so utterly humane.
The old Mosaic doctrine of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth tells us what utterly impartial nature does. It does not mean that that is a copy for man to follow, because as I have tried to point out on a number of occasions, man is higher than the nature he sees around him, for what he sees around him is the lowest principles of inner nature. We men are already beginning to live in the lower part of our monad, in the manasic parts, and therefore are much higher than the external nature around us. We have evolved conscience, fellow-feeling, a sense of justice, kindliness, and these are growing in us. Why? And I now return to the beginning, the cycle is re-entering its commencement: because the evolution of man has reached the point where the lower principles are beginning to vibrate in harmony with the upper. The fourth or middle principle has been passed. The pranas now are beginning to feel the higher vibrational frequencies in the human constitution, and are beginning to permeate the linga-sarira and the body, so that even the brain now is becoming permeable to the inner light.
It is a comforting reflection to remember that long ahead as it may be, already the first glimpses of the coming dawn are reaching us, the first rays of the aurora of the new day. Godhood is before us, and the blessings that accompany it, when men will be Buddhas and Christs.
Every one of the globes of our chain is — not exactly formed, at least not physically builded if you think the word formed implies that — but influenced in its construction, or influenced so far as its construction went, solely by dominating currents from Saturn, or by influences from the other globes of the other sacred planetary chains. My meaning is this: that every globe of the planetary chain is under the supervision rather than the guidance of an astral spiritual influence or power of one of the other sacred planetary chains. In addition to Saturn, our globe D is, has been, and will be under, not so much the formative influence but the affecting influence of a dead planet — not so much directing but impulsing upon us. Do I make my meaning clear? As when you do not guide a person, but your influence around him has a strong effect upon him, even though he makes up his mind himself which way to follow.
The moon is this dead planet which has greatly influenced our globe; and in all the ancient religious philosophies or religions which knew these esoteric teachings, you will find the same references about the moon and about the influences of other planetary chains on ours. As for instance, Judaism has always proudly claimed that its own particular tribal divinity is Jehovah, who is the Saturn influence, or the Saturn divinity or god. And thereby hangeth a long, long, tale of confused occultism and of exoteric speculation, and into all this I do not care to enter.
The influence of Saturn is not all evil. It may be evil, it may be good. Every one of the sacred planets has influences of many kinds, running the entire scale of the seven principles, so that Saturn has a divine influence, a spiritual, an intellectual, a psychical, an astral, and a physical. But all these influences are Saturn influences, stamped with the Saturn swabhava, the Saturn magnetism so to speak; and consequently a Saturn influence like a Jovian influence, a Jupiter influence, or a Mars influence, or Venus, may be good or bad, depending upon the individual and the time upon which it impinges. The Jews had been under the Saturn influence under the Mosaic dispensation, not a very high influence, although it had its high aspect, and there is a paradox right there. The effort of Jesus the Avatara who came amongst them — "My message is to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" — was to try to lead them out to a new age, beginning from the Saturn influence into a new influence. That is why he is represented mystically by the early primitive Christians, not the later theologians, as coming into Jerusalem riding on an ass, thereby showing his domination of the symbol of Saturn, and on the foal of an ass. (Cf. The Esoteric Tradition, 3rd & rev. ed., p. 607 et seq.) So much was this fact recognized that when Antiochus Epiphanes is said to have entered the Holy of Holies, which was strictly forbidden to anyone excepting the Jewish high priest, legend goes that what he saw there was something forbidden by Jewish law — that is, a figure sculptured or carven, what the Jews call an idol. The legend states that what he saw in the Holy of Holies in the temple was the figure of a golden ass, emblem of Saturn. Just as when the Egyptians employed the cow's head or bull's head, they merely meant the Moon; or when the Greeks used the emblems of a horse or horses, they meant the Sun, and so forth.
The Golden Age of Saturn is a Latin and Greek story, which does not belong to the Jewish cycle of teaching. The Greeks, and the Romans who borrowed from the Greeks, spoke of the original Kronian age, the age of Kronos or Saturn as one of innocence, and this has reference to typically esoteric teaching even concerning the planets; because in the peregrination of the monads, Saturn opens the peregrination before the Sun is reached, and closes it after the Sun is left behind. To the Greek mind, the Golden Age of Saturn meant the age of innocence, the beginning of life, like the golden age of a human life which is a happy childhood, no anxieties, no worries, no sorrows, no griefs, because the mind is not yet developed in the child to understand these, and grow enlarged and magnified by them; for all sorrows greatly help us if we take them aright. They are all karmic. But the child does not know this. Its little sorrows are beginning to open its mind.
That is what the Greeks meant by the Saturnian age, the childhood of the race, Saturn in Greek mythology being one of the very first in time and space of the divine beings after whom came Jupiter — trouble, or rather mind if you wish, came into the world, but understanding consciousness, understanding happiness and sorrow, grief and joy, the knowledge of right and wrong, the perplexities afflicting us when we try to walk the path beautiful. We need mind today, including our conscience and our consciousness. But the Greeks and Romans also said that in the future we shall again close the cycle by re-ascending to Saturn on our evolutionary peregrinations, and close this grand cycle of evolution no longer as innocent children, but as demigods, or indeed gods. There is a great deal more that could be said, but remember that the Greek and Latin stories of the Saturn cycle belong to their racial characteristic and need of occult teaching and thought.
The Jews would have understood this perfectly, only they did not happen to adopt that line of thought. Jehovah to them was the Saturn tribal or national or racial god; and the philosophers among the Jews always essayed to ascend in their thoughts and minds to the spiritual regions of Saturn, the Saturnian calm, reflective contemplating wisdom, of which Saturn in its highest aspects is an emblem; rather than the slow, cold, heavy, concrete aspects of Saturn. These same qualities are recognized in astrology.
It is a proof again of the old rule that one should not advance too rapidly. The line is the line of karmic destiny. Now make out of that what you can. Furthermore, consider the monad as unitary. It is a spiritual unit. Yet even the spiritual monad is actually a composite entity. It is the cosmic seed out of which the tree of cosmic life grows, its roots upwards; its branches, branchlets, twigs, leaves, fruits, below. Eventually out of such a seed come all the issues of cosmic life, and if there were but one infinitely homogeneous essence in the monad, there could not be this dispersing into the manifold, incredibly numerous, innumerable planes, beings, hierarchies of the manifested universe. The very fact that heterogeneity issues from what we call homogeneity shows that heterogeneity with all its innumerable branches was locked up in the homogeneous monadic essence, streaming through that homogeneous monadic essence as the life stream of a tree issues forth from the apparently, and to us actually, homogeneous seed. Do I make my meaning clear? Therefore back even of the spiritual monad there lies an infinity of cosmic destinies, so that every line issuing forth from the monad follows its own karmic predestined course, and thus runs down from the spiritual through all the intervening planes and hierarchies to attain its tip or ending, so to speak, when the unrolling emanational unfolding or evolving process reaches its term or end.
Thus then, the monad to us is homogeneous. All issues forth from it, all again will be reabsorbed or withdrawn back into it when pralaya opens. But all these different individualities must have been lying latent there in order that they might issue forth therefrom. Therefore it shows us that the monad is not merely a channel, a laya-center, through which streams — and thereafter branches out into the infinitely multiplying fashion of manifested life — whatever there is of manifested life, but that the monad itself is an entity.
Consider your own spiritual monad: you are unfolded in all your six principles beneath it, from it. Consider what these six principles have unfolded into: a microcosm. Yet when a monad, this monad, your monad or mine, was formerly in its nirvana, it was to us completely homogeneous. Everything was withdrawn, indrawn, updrawn, back into it. All therefore returns to the bosom of the monad — a thought which you will also find in the Jewish thinking and in the Christian system adopted from it — sleeping in the bosom of Brahma.
I have often thought, Companions, that the expression of ineffable peace and a joy which is too spiritual almost to be perceived on the faces of the dying, and yet it is perceived, is because the brain reflects some feeble glimmers of what the inner self is experiencing at death, and the brain reacts upon the nerves and the muscles. The inner peace shines out, however faintly, on the faces of those who are passing out. Everyone who has been at the side of those who die has seen this, everyone with the perceiving eye. It has often been spoken of. There is a moment just at death when the panorama takes place and equivalently the higher part of the nature rushes to meet its own spiritual prototype, its own self, above, higher; and all along the stream of consciousness, this ananda as the Sanskritists say, this bliss, is shed down even into the brain.
In a smaller degree the same thing takes place in dreamless sleep, in sushupti as they call it. It is actually to the brain unconsciousness, because the brain cannot catch the vibrations, it is too coarse and dull, too gross. Therefore the brain is unconscious, and we who live in the brain so much are therefore also unconscious.
But to the inner nature what is to us unconsciousness is the most intense consciousness — there is a paradox again. And that to me is one of the best things about sleep. Outside of its refreshing the body, allowing it to recuperate from the ordinary muscular, intense molecular strain of the day, the inner nature has a few fugitive moments, as it seems to it, of the most perfect happiness, wisdom, vision, rest, rest in the sense of spiritual activity. And there is another paradox.
When one has gone ahead to the point where he is ready to receive more, he will know it himself. Otherwise he is not ready to receive it. Now that may sound a little cruel, and a little paradoxical. But what will you? Would you attempt to teach the higher mathematics to the unformed mind of a child? I don't wish to be uncomplimentary. I know there are many here who know along their own certain lines a dozen times more than I do along those lines. I am talking of general principles. Now the child must first learn the basis of things, his mind must expand. Then when he finds he has developed a love for mathematics, he himself will be teaching himself as all children do, as we all do ourselves in occultism. Initiation is always self-conferred, and all the teacher does is to point the way, and the pitfalls, and give the warnings and sometimes to give the magic touch of that which will free the stumbling block in the mind of the querent.
Now I can tell when any one of the companions is ready to go farther on, not only by what they say, but sometimes by what they do not say. Simple. I know in my life I have half a dozen times had to wait years and struggle to reach a certain point. Then when I reached there, I knew from the inward burst of illumination that I was ready to receive, and I received.
In initiation it is absolutely necessary that the neophyte receive no protection. He must prove his worth. He is warned, warned of the terrible danger he is going into. But he is not allowed to try unless there is a chance, and a good chance, and then he is freed, and he leaves, he goes. His body is watched over, is protected; in every way possible he is taught, he is coached, he is instructed, he is warned, he is examined and re-examined in every way, help given to him as far as can be; but when the actual test comes, who can understand but the understander? Who can fail but the failer?
The teacher cannot go through the initiation for the neophyte, he must do it himself. He must prove his worth; and it would be utterly monstrous and wrong if it were otherwise. The whole system of occult thought and teaching and initiation would be just a fraud, a fake. Neophytes realize the danger too. And anyone who knows will understand the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane when he prayed to his Father in Heaven, his higher self, or rather his spiritual self within him, the god within him, "O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." That tells a lot, just those words.