WHERE AM "I'?
Question — Where on earth am I in this wilderness of swabhavas and individualities and I's and inner gods? Who am I and where am I? I am sevenfold, I have seven atmans or divinities cooperating to make me what I am, as chemical elements co-operate to make an entity; but which parts of this compound are that part of me which co-operate to say "I', that little unimportant part of me which is so aggressive? What part of me is I, and what part is not?
G. de P. — Man is all his sevenfold being, from the divine downwards through all intermediate stages, even to the body. All is the individual, so to speak. We may express it perhaps to our minds as a pillar of glory, a column of light extending from divinity to the physical man. Now, where our center of consciousness at any one time may be, I take it that is the part we for that time speak of as our I. The beast has it down here; we humans have it a bit higher; the Masters have it somewhat higher still; the Buddhas and Christs still higher, the divinities on a still higher stage of the scale. All the sevenfold being is himself, so to speak, and his I is that point upon which he dwells in conscious selfhood at the time.
Of course this does not change the other fact that just because there are several monads in man, so there are several actual monadic I's or egos. But this is another story.
Question — I have found a great deal of misunderstanding about the Theosophical and indeed the Buddhist teaching of Nirvana. Could you please state something rather direct about your view of Nirvana that I could show my friends?
G. de P. — Yes, the Occident is full of misunderstandings about this subject of Nirvana. They think it is simply the idea that after all beings have evolved through a manvantara and have individually attained Nirvana, they as beings, and therefore ex hypothesi all Nature, then sink back into a dead uniform identity of consciousness.
This is absolutely and wholly wrong. One might as well ask oneself: What is the use of all the evolutionary effort of the Universe, and of its enormous multitudes of individuals, if they merely issue from homogeneity to fall back into it again? Nirvana is not one uniform thing or state for every monad. Nirvana means a state in which all the lower is washed out, or rather risen above, by the evolving armies of monads; but each monad, because it has gained individuality, reaches the Nirvanic condition of cosmic freedom as a god-entity, and every monad from the standpoint of individuality is therefore more strongly individualized than it was in the beginning of its cosmic evolution as an un-self-conscious god-spark, although of course Nirvana as a generalizing term means the attainment of the spiritual condition by all.
Take Devachan as an instance. Devachan does not mean that every excarnate monad has the same, the identical same, the absolutely identic, visions and dreams. Not at all! And just so is it with Nirvana. Nirvana means the washing out, or rather the rising above, all the differentiated and therefore crippling elements of the lower spheres. The process is the same for all; but the Nirvana is unique for each Jivanmukta or freed monad.
ANDROGYNOUS AND HERMAPHRODITE
Question — My study of The Secret Doctrine and other of H. P. Blavatsky's writings leads me to infer that her use of the words "androgynous" and "hermaphrodite" has reference more to the duality of spirit and matter in the universe, rather than to a duality of sexes, masculine and feminine. Is this right?
G. de P. — Yes, quite right. Used by Theosophy, and as a rule by H. P. B., the word "androgynous" does not mean "double-sexed," except when very distinctly imbodied beings are referred to. When it is used of entities of spirit, things obviously, entities obviously, which have no sex — for sex is but a passing phase of our earth evolution, for us and the beasts and the plants — it is used only to signify what in philosophy is called duality, the dual characteristic of manifested nature. This is sometimes called the positive and negative, sometimes the feminine and masculine, these latter two words being borrowed from human life, not meaning that one side of the universe is actually male and the other actually female, which would be utterly ludicrous, but merely meaning that at a certain point, at manifestation in fact, duality supervenes. That is all it means.
Of course when we refer to imbodied beings, then it is perfectly proper to speak of mankind as androgynous, double-sexed, of which the as yet vestigial organs remaining in the physical frame are remnants out of that hoary past. So androgynous, when used of the Universe, signifies only the duality of spirit and matter, consciousness and vehicle, spirit and substance — using any pairs of words you like. And this androgynous or dual character of all the manifested worlds began indeed with Cosmic Buddhi or Maha-Buddhi; but actually only began to show itself on the plane where Fohat especially works, which is the plane of Cosmic Kama. Above that the two rays from the one ascend to reunite; and you have an example in yourselves: the individual ego, or the individual spirit, during its imbodiments breaks up into the septenary constitution, one side of which you may call spirit, and the other side, the vehicular; one side consciousness and the other side vehicle; one side you may call will and the other side consciousness. It does not matter what you call them: duality is there.
But duality springs forth from the Atman, the fundamental basic egoity or Monad in the human being, and the human being simply copies in his constitution and structure what the universe is. According to the axiom of Hermes: "As it is above, so is it here below." Study here below what you see, thereby gaining a key to knowing the Divine. The Divine reflects itself in its distant offsprings in its distant vehicles — the imbodied Universe as in man. The Atman reflects itself in the man feebly because of our imperfectly evolved vehicles; and evolution consists not in a growth of these spiritual realities to something greater, so much as a perfecting of the vehicles, such as mind, through which the divine ray passes so that these vehicles may continuously, as evolution proceeds in its refining and unfolding powers — so that the divine ray may ever shine forth in larger and greater splendor. That is what all evolution means: from within outwards. Just as the seed brings forth the plant, the plant the bud, the bud the flower, and the flower the seed: the seed, the plant, the bud, the flower, the seed, the plant, the bud, the flower. Nature repeats herself ceaselessly. She reimbodies, reimbodies, reimbodies.
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