Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy by G. de Purucker

Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.


Chapter Thirty

The Interrelation of Gods, Monads, Atoms — a Key to the Doctrine of Evolution. Successive Emanations: Sheaths. Higher Beings Emanating and Clothing Themselves in Hosts of Lower Beings. Morality Based on the Structure of the Universe.

But the other medium, which is suspended from the Gods, though it is far inferior to them, is that of daemons, which is not of a primarily operative nature, but is subservient to, and follows the beneficent will of the Gods. It likewise unfolds into energy the invisible good of the Gods, being itself assimilated to it, and gives completion to its fabrications conformably to it. For it renders that which is ineffable in the good of the Gods effable, illuminates that which is formless in forms, and produces into visible reasons (or productive forms) that which in divine good is above all reason. Receiving also a connascent participation of things beautiful, it imparts and transfers it, in unenvying abundance, to the genera posterior to itself. These middle genera, therefore, give completion to the common bond of the Gods and souls, and cause the connexion of them to be indissoluble. They also bind together the one continuity of things from on high as far as to the end; make the communion of wholes to be inseparable; cause all things to have the best, and a commensurate mixture; in a certain respect, equally transmit the progression from more excellent to inferior natures, and the elevation from things posterior to such as are prior; insert in more imperfect beings order and measures of the communication which descends from more excellent natures, and of that by which it is received; and make all things to be familiar and coadapted to all, supernally receiving the causes of all these from the Gods. —Iamblichus, On the Mysteries, pp. 32-3

TO "KEEP ALIVE in man his spiritual intuitions," describes very well the work of the Theosophical Society in the world. But beyond that fine thought we must go if we are to understand and fully to put the teachings, which have been given us in trust, into our lives, and thereby to develop the moral, the ethical, sense which these teachings are first and foremost meant to develop and to make living in us, if we are to carry out the purpose and aim set before us.

Mere disquisitions on philosophic, religious, and scientific subjects impart nothing of permanent worth, are fruitless, bear no fruit, unless the spirit of the Lodge is behind them; and that Lodge-spirit cannot exist without the spiritual intuitions which exist in the core, in the central part, of every human being. You will notice that the entire tendency of our studies has been to develop the higher nature of us. These teachings of the esoteric philosophy have stood and will stand the test of time and of the human heart. Here is a fact, surely, for which we may give heartfelt thanks.

This evening we are approaching the end of the elementary studies which we have been briefly considering for the last two or three years; and soon it will be our duty to take up more concrete aspects of the ancient wisdom, or wisdom-religion; and, in fact, we have already approached these more detailed doctrines in our present subject — gods, monads, souls, atoms, and bodies. The necessity for a clear understanding of those former studies, which to some may appear somewhat abstract, is this: their reach into the realms of human thought as represented by religion, philosophy, and science, is immense; they form, as it were, the foundation stones upon which the ancient wisdom rests.

It will be remembered at our last study in The Secret Doctrine, volume I, page 107, we read the following: "every atom in the Universe has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Leibnitz, a Universe in itself, and for itself. It is an atom and an angel" — that is, a spiritual being. We are going to speak more plainly on this present subject than we have ever spoken before, and the reason for it is that the proper understanding of the doctrine of evolution — of development and growth — rests upon a correct vision of the real meaning and interrelation of these three: gods, monads, and atoms.

First, it will be remembered that in speaking of space, we rejected the idea that space was merely a container. Now this is not a mere abstraction of thought; it is an absolutely important thing to understand that all being is one immense organism, through which beats one universal heart, so to say. You see there immediately the basis of morals; there is no absolute emptiness, no absolute vacuum, anywhere; all beings are closely related and interchained in the strongest bonds of union: spiritual, divine, intellectual, mental, astral, physical. Nothing can exist without all other things; for the kosmos, deprived of a single atom, would crumble into impalpable dust. No metaphor this; it is an actuality.

Now a monad is often spoken of as descending into matter. This is a fashion of speaking, a method of speech. The monad itself does not "descend," no more than does a god drive our streetcars or blacken our boots. How, then, does the monadic influence extend itself throughout the different planes of nature, so that in ordinary parlance it is in fact correct to speak of the mineral monad, of the animal monad, of the astral monad, of the human monad, of the spiritual monad, of the divine monad? In the following way: but first — as an interpolation — concerning the monad, let me read something that H. P. Blavatsky says (The Secret Doctrine, II, 185-6):

The terms "mineral," "vegetable" and "animal" monad are meant to create a superficial distinction: there is no such thing as a Monad (jiva) other than divine, and consequently having been, or having to become, human. And the latter term has to remain meaningless unless the difference is well understood. The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond, or, to be correct, within the plane of primeval differentiation. It is divine in its higher and human in its lower condition — the adjectives "higher" and "lower" being used for lack of better words — and a monad it remains at all times, save in the Nirvanic state, under whatever conditions, or whatever external forms.

There you have the matter unequivocally stated.

It was pointed out at our last meeting that when the thrill of life in the boundless All first occurs in cyclical duration, the primordial beings issue forth as what are called the gods, and that these gods, as the ages passed, during the progressive manvantaric periods, sent forth from themselves, or cast forth from themselves, or cast out from themselves, or gave birth to, less beings — less meaning inferior, of less divinity, or less sublimity, less grandeur — and these beings are the monads. In exactly the same way the monads sent forth from themselves (or gave birth from themselves to) the souls; and, please understand, just as the monad was in the god, so was the soul in the monad. These entities remained latent in the monads as karmic fruitage from the previous maha-manvantara. Just as the life remains in the seed when cast forth from the plant, and sends forth its green blade in the springtime; so, when the manvantaric thrill passes over these spaces, after the long pralayic rest, the gods send forth the monads, and the monads send forth the souls, and the souls send forth the atoms. And the atoms similarly send forth from themselves our vehicles, our bearers, our bodies.

circle with a dot

Let us see if we can illustrate this by a diagram. Let us take an immense circle to represent the boundless All, which of course is merely a representation for space; then place a point in its center. This point represents the first germ of the kosmic life. This point also has its meaning in the sense of a kosmic seed. Now it is not one point only in the kosmos that springs into activity, but innumerable such points, such seeds. The number is limitless, practically; and each one of such points represents an individuality from the previous maha-manvantara. But these points as represented in the diagram are symbols; and the one stands diagrammatically for all. If you please, this point in the quasi-infinitude of a hierarchy, of a universe, is the beginning of that hierarchy, and it represents the god of that hierarchy. This god itself is a synthetic aggregation of multitudinous other gods, as man's body is an aggregation, a synthesis, of multitudinous less or inferior lives.

Now this god clothes itself in its emanations, in its pranic aura, if you like; it sends forth from itself pranic or vital effluvia, and thus it clothes itself in garments, in sheaths of vitality, flowing forth from itself, and these sheaths or garments are its "clothing." Any such god naturally casts its own individuality into its sheath, into its clothing: seven degrees or states of it; its individuality is its swabhava, an important idea to which we have drawn your attention and on which we have laid emphasis. The swabhava of an entity is its individuality, the characteristic of it, the essentiality of what it is, as contrasted with some other swabhava. In ordinary language we may call it individuality. That which makes a rose bring forth always a rose, and not a lily; that which makes a man bring forth always a man and not some other sort of entity; that which makes a god a god and not a monad is its swabhava. This is a Sanskrit compound meaning self-generation, self-pouring out, the pouring out of that which is within and, therefore, derivatively, its individual and own characteristic. Please remember in this connection that always more within, infinitely, boundlessly, more within, are the vast states of consciousness living on the equally vast fields of the spaces of space; the possibilities to be evolved in a man's evolution, and the eternities through which he has passed, and the lives which he has lived through in the past, are endless.

But passing on. This god sends forth its sheaths, and these sheaths consist of less (or inferior) beings. If the god is a primordial entity let us call these latter primal. As man clothes himself in physical flesh, so the god clothes itself in a garment or body, and this garment or body is composed, if you like, of atoms divine. Now these divine atoms are the monads. Compared with the god they are the mere clothing of it, just as the synthesis, the aggregation, of physical lives which compose a man's body and which form his physical "coat of skin" or clothing are, as it were, the physical monads or the atoms of the man himself. Similarly, let us, then, advance a point farther. The germ, the seed, the point above mentioned, let us now call a monad — one of the almost infinite number of monads in each god, forming the clothing of each god, the sheaths, the garments of light, that in which a god lives, which it has sent forth from itself, its outpouring of individual life.

Similarly acts the monad as did its father-god; and its sheath and its clothing are the souls, as yet latent, most of them, but some forming the more active part in which it manifests at any one particular time. The same course of action occurs with the soul. The soul clothes itself in atoms, the emanations from itself and the outpouring of its own vitality, its own prana. And then the atoms pour forth from themselves the effluvium of physical-astral life, and these vital effluvia form the physical body of man, his astral body and his physical body.

So you see just what H. P. Blavatsky means by saying that an atom is an "atom and an angel" or a soul. Through all these hosts of beings streams the flow of the self, entering into every one, forming in fact the very root of its being, not however the personalized entity or the ego, but the impersonal self, that which is the same in you and in me; the same in the inhabitants of distant stellar spaces, as it is in us: the one self, limitless, boundless, the ideation of selfhood. Remember that the ego is the sense of "I am I," not "you"; and here immediately the conception of personality enters in. But it is in raising the personality into impersonality, the ego into divinity, the corruptible into the incorruptible, that consists the whole effort and purpose and aim of the divine part of evolution; and that divine part, that particular activity, is that of the higher range of the luminous arc, of the buddhic hierarchy, of which the summit is the dhyani-buddhas, the buddhas of contemplation; and the material on which they work is these other monads, souls, atoms, which form the matter-side of nature, called the shadowy arc.

You will remember that all these things have been alluded to by us before; but tonight remember this one important point, that the monad does not "descend into matter." It casts forth from itself its life, as the sun pours forth its vitality in rays; and its life manifests first as a monadic entity of inferior grade, as a soul; and the soul in its turn pours forth its vitality, manifesting in almost innumerable atoms. The monad itself is but one of innumerable others, emanated, cast forth, breathed forth, if you like to use an Oriental metaphor, from Brahma, the god, the summit of our hierarchy.

As said, these garments or sheaths of light are those monadic entities which must, during the course of evolutionary progress, become denser, darker, thickened, with the passage of time, until the ultimate result is the last energy, the last expenditure of the divine or monadic force as manifested in the physical body. When equilibrium between matter and spirit is finally reached, when the lowest point in that kalpa, i.e., in that Day of Brahma, in that period of seven rounds, has been reached, then step in upon the scene the manasaputras, the sons of mind, entities from the buddhic hierarchy, from the luminous are of evolving nature, those who had been men before in former kalpas, and who have watched over us, under the guidance of the Silent Watcher, their supreme Head, ever since our present kalpa or manvantara began, aeons ago.

The monad, in one sense, may be called the active god of the hierarchy; or, in man's especial case, man's divine ego, sheathed in its garments of light composed of inferior monadic entities called souls; and the soul may be called an inferior monad, part of the sheaths or the garments of the monad proper. These respective garments are cast forth, somewhat as the tree puts forth its leaves, its branches, its stems, its fruits. Similarly the atoms are born from the pranic or vital essence of the souls, and they form our bodies. So we see that every man, in his inmost essence — that is, inmost for the hierarchy to which he belongs — is a divine being, a god; and his spiritual nature is the monad; and his soul-nature is the ego, that particular entity hovering between the pit and the sun, which must be raised from personality into impersonality, because in the soul resides that particular part of the psychological processes of intellection which makes a man self-conscious, a self-conscious being, capable of the ideation of individualized being.

What wonderful thoughts are these! How they do uplift the soul! Man feels his native divinity, his interior spiritual strength; he feels the power of divinity within his own heart, the power for goodness and truth. And how small, how insignificant, how unworthy, seem those things that lie apart from the path of duty, of right!

How many have been hungry for truth, and have searched for it, and yet have found only the husks of a pseudo-esotericism? But they also should have it. Human beings, they have a right to it; but they are not going to get it unless they "work for it," for such is the archaic law. These teachings have formed the reward, the reward of those who have been faithful.

There is one subject which for certain reasons must now be touched upon briefly. It is a subject which has been deliberately avoided by me hitherto for obvious reasons; I refer to the matter of sex. At our present stage of study, it is necessary then to point out that man at a certain former period of his evolution was without sex, was sexless, and also that in the next coming root-race, the sixth root-race, he will be without sex as we now understand it. Sex is but a passing phase in evolutionary development, and has no more value in one sense, to man, than an evil dream has to a man under certain conditions. Nature has followed that line, as it were, under protest, through the evildoing involved in our past karma, as the only way by which souls can find incarnation at present; but as the race grows in spiritual strength and in spiritual knowledge, and looks with closer self-analysis into its own inner being, children will come into the world without fathers; and from being at first an unheard of phenomenon, and presumably to be called a portent or a prodigy when it first appears, this procedure of generation will become the natural course of things in the sixth root-race. Our present sexually separated men and women, the present method of generation of human beings, of animals, and of some plants, will, in those far distant times of the future, be no more.

In conclusion: you have heard of the ancient Mysteries, and of the doctrine of the "virginal birth." Beginning with the fourth degree or stage of initiation, the future was outlined in the ancient Mysteries to the candidate both by teaching and more especially by causing the candidate himself to pass through what was to come to pass in the future ages of racial development; that is to say, the initiant had to go through, to live through, what the race was to live through for the next two root-races. Previous to the fourth degree, he was taught what the race had already been through, with allusions to the future. When we read, therefore, of the "virgin birth" of Christ, for instance, it is true that this has its religious explanation, its philosophical explanation, its mystical explanation, etc.; but it has also its physiological explanation. You will remember what H. P. Blavatsky says about the seven keys which belong to and open each one of these inmost sevenfold mysteries, of which two were held as particularly secret: the physiological, and the spiritual. The physiological key to this aspect of the Mystery-teaching was, as said, that the initiant had to symbolize in his person and had to pass through or live through what was coming; and he was therefore said, in view of the future racial action along the lines of generation, to have been "born from a virgin."

It is a comforting thing, especially in the present stage of the world when humanity is doing its best to throw off the shackles of Atlantean and Lemurian sin (if we may use this word), i.e., to throw off the horrible karma which holds the world in its evil grip, to know the causes which brought it to be. This gives us knowledge and power to stem this stream of human sin and misery. And, finally, those who will not accept the truth and work with the Law, certainly, as Jesus might have said, will not "sit at my table with me when I partake of the wine of the spirit in the House of my Father." "Those who have ears to hear and to understand, let them hear" — and be wise!


Chapter 31

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