Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy by G. de Purucker

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

Chapter Thirty-Two

Out of the Invisible into the Visible. From the Visible into the Invisible. The Magnum Opus.

5. This (universe) existed in the shape of Darkness, unperceived, destitute of distinctive marks, unattainable by reasoning, unknowable, wholly immersed, as it were, in deep sleep.

6. Then the divine Self-existent (Svayambhu, himself) indiscernible, (but) making (all) this, the great elements and the rest, discernible, appeared with irresistible (creative) power, dispelling the darkness.

. . .

19. But from minute body (-framing) particles of these seven very powerful Purushas springs this (world), the perishable from the imperishable.

20. Among them each succeeding (element) acquires the quality of the preceding one, and whatever place (in the sequence) each of them occupies, even so many qualities it is declared to possess.

21. But in the beginning he assigned their several names, actions, and conditions to all (created beings), even according to the words of the Veda.

22. He, the Lord, also created the class of the gods, who are endowed with life, and whose nature is action; and the subtile class of the Sadhyas, and the eternal sacrifice.

. . .

51. When he whose power is incomprehensible, had thus produced the universe and me, he disappeared in himself, repeatedly suppressing one period by means of the other.

52. When that divine one wakes, then this world stirs; when he slumbers tranquilly, then the universe sinks to sleep.

53. But when he reposes in calm sleep, the corporeal beings whose nature is action, desist from their actions and mind becomes inert.

54. When they are absorbed all at once in that great soul, then he who is the soul of all beings sweetly slumbers, free from all care and occupation.

. . .

57. Thus he, the imperishable one, by (alternately) waking and slumbering, incessantly revivifies and destroys this whole movable and immovable (creation).— The Laws of Manu (The Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxv)

A FAR-SEEING hope and a bright peace abide in the hearts of all faithful students; in those at least who have learned to perceive that behind the mask of visible things there is a splendor of life and consciousness which is theirs for the taking; and also that it depends upon themselves entirely to what extent they may advance along the pathway which ascends ever upwards and onwards along the luminous arc, upon which we, as a race, have been and are now marching ever since the middle part of the fourth root-race.

The Mystery Schools of antiquity made the one great aim and object of their studies and initiatory ceremonies the bringing forth into actuality in each candidate or initiant of his immortal nature, of that part of him which belongs to, or rather is the offspring of, the inner monad; that which in fact makes him a conscious part of the buddhic hierarchy, of the Hierarchy of Compassion. It is the union of the personal man with these higher principles of his own nature that produces the living Christ, or the fully Awakened One called the Buddha. It was the object of initiation, as said, not merely to make man conscious of this higher life within him, of these splendors within, but also to enable him to become ready and fit to teach others of that life which he himself felt within himself. That was the main object and aim of all the Mystery Schools the world over, however much they may have differed in forms and in the words in which they clothed their thoughts. It was, in other words, to make each initiant or candidate a living follower and example of the Silent Watcher.

Now there are many Silent Watchers, as has been pointed out. The Silent Watcher, in fact, is the hierarch or supreme hierarchical Head of any one particular hierarchy of the numberless hierarchies in the kosmos; the one spoken so inspiringly of by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine is the chief of the dhyani-buddhas governing this fourth round on this planet.

It would seem a curious thing to refer to in this connection; and yet it seems a necessary thing to do, to speak of the different vagaries of thought, quasi-philosophic, quasi-scientific, quasi-religious, which are being spread abroad in the world today.

Many are the teachings of theosophy, which are now so familiar and beautiful, which in the beginning were not easily received by many in the world because they were strange and conflicted with the prejudices — religious, scientific, and other — that men had at the time.

How many people objected to the teaching of reincarnation when it was first promulgated! What did someone once say to the present speaker: "I do not want to be reborn a cab horse; I do not want to be reborn a flea; I am a man!" Obviously, there was here no objection to the doctrine of reincarnation which teaches no such metempsychosis as that; the objection was to his own prejudices, and he did not know it.

Similar is the case with some of the doctrines which will have to be developed and unfolded in our studies here. I will not say that among ourselves these teachings will meet with misunderstanding; but among others they may meet with objectors; the root-thoughts or bases of them may be misunderstood at first, and the objectors may not wait for time and reflection to confer an understanding of them. Meanwhile, let us remember that the utmost vigorous exercise of the intuitional and of the intellectual powers of each student is absolutely necessary, and is actually demanded. We take nothing on blind faith; but while that is the fact, on the other hand there likewise remains for us the duty to cultivate the spiritual and meditative faculty within our being, the immortal part of our natures.

Let us now take up the study which we temporarily closed at our last meeting — gods, monads, and atoms, as regards their respective work in the building of a world, in the building of a cosmos, and in the building of man. We refer not only to his body of flesh, but this noble doctrine includes also the why and the how, yea, and the when of his descent through spiritual spheres into incarnation and his existences in those spheres. Let us read first from The Secret Doctrine, volume II, page 267:

The doctrine teaches that the only difference between animate and inanimate objects on earth, between an animal and a human frame, is that in some the various "fires" are latent, and in others they are active. The vital fires are in all things and not an atom is devoid of them. But no animal has the three higher principles awakened in him; they are simply potential, latent, and thus non-existing. And so would the animal frames of men be to this day, had they been left as they came out from the bodies of their Progenitors, whose shadows they were, to grow, unfolded only by the powers and forces immanent in matter.

Out of the invisible into the visible, from the deeps of inmost space, when the time comes, the life-wave sends forth its flowings into the exterior and into the outer spheres, making for itself as it advances, creating for itself, through the beings which represent that wave, its own garments, which kosmically are its planes, its worlds. These several stages of evolution or progression, as before said, are (1) the gods, whose garments are (2) the monads, whose garments are (3) the souls, whose garments are (4) the atoms, whose garments are (5) bodies. Refer the order to worlds, and the doctrine is true. Refer the order to man, and the doctrine is true. Refer the order to the elemental, mineral, vegetable, beast, and human kingdoms of this earth, and the doctrine is again analogically true. Stage by stage, degree by degree, as the living wave advances, it projects from itself at each stage, it casts forth from itself at each stage, innumerable entities inferior to itself, which form its vehicles, which we may also call its garments, its bodies, or its planes and its worlds. Each god of the great host, for instance, from within itself produces multitudes of monads; each monad produces from within itself multitudes of souls; each soul produces from within itself multitudes of atoms; and these clothe themselves in vehicles of matter, or bodies, and all run through their long evolutionary course. Then, when the lowest point of the great round of life has been reached, the upward cycle begins: there is a reentering of the vital forces, a gathering up, a gathering withinwards, of the hosts of beings; the visible passes back by degrees into the invisible, plus the growth and experiences gained during the journey by each individual entity. Each one has advanced one plane upwards in its evolution; each one has gone so many milestones farther along the path; and, finally, the life-wave enters the divinity from which it went forth, but nobler, higher, in every respect. It began its long evolutionary course after its equally long pralayic sleep, obeying the karmic impulses awakening it to a new life period; and now having completed it, it is once more ready to issue forth again to form a new manvantara, and in order to do this, once again develops from within itself new planes, new elements, new principles, new hosts of beings as it did before, but now nobler, ever new ones going forth, growing ever higher and higher in grandeur and power. Such is a general outline of the evolutionary course.

You know the old saying: "As it is above, so it is below." That saying is found in an ancient writing said to have been engraved on an emerald table; according to the legend, it was called the "Emerald Table of Hermes," and is undoubtedly based on one of the ancient Hermetic teachings. I will quote the first few lines of it:

True, without error, certain most true; that which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, for performing the marvels of the Kosmos. As all things are from the [Primordial] One, by the mediation of One [the Logos — that is to say, the host of Dhyan-chohans], so all things arose out of this One Thing by evolving . . .

And that "One Thing" is the summit of any hierarchy, the divinity already spoken of in giving the general outline of the evolutionary procession.

Turning to the Zoroastrian faith, we find the following verses in an ancient work (which modern scholars, for reasons best known to themselves, try to bring down to late times, but which unquestionably contains very archaic thought) called The Desatir, in the chapter called "The Book of Shet the Prophet Zirtusht," Zirtusht being one of the forms of the name which in English is called Zoroaster, following the Greco-Latin form:

29. Know, O My Friend! that the essence of the Self-existent is one, and without limits or conditions.

30. Being is like light; and light becometh visible. [Mark that!]

35. Whatsoever is on earth is the reflection and the shadow of something that is in the [spiritual] World-Sphere.

36. While that resplendent something remaineth in its native condition, it is well also with its shadow.

37. When that resplendent thing removeth away from its shadow, life removeth to a distance.

38. Again, that light [that resplendent thing] is the shadow of something still more resplendent than itself [note the hierarchical teaching here];

39. And so on up to Me, who am the Light of Lights [the hierarchical head].

It probably has occurred to every thoughtful mind that if man has within himself a quasi-divine monad, and seated within that divine monad a divinity, a god, it is strange that our consciousness of this unity with the divine through this monadic link is not stronger in us than it is today. The Christians speak of their guardian angel, and so do the Mohammedans; and other peoples, such as the Greeks, spoke as did Socrates of the daimon, the guardian self; but why is it that our conscience is not stronger and more vocal than it is? Why is it that we have to work and struggle inwardly to get this interior illumination consciously, which, even according to the Christian teachings, must be "taken by violence"? Is the reason not here? Man is composite; he is a complex, a compound being, and lives on different planes, and these planes are the seven elements of nature; and the seven elements of nature are its seven principles, and the seven principles of man can otherwise be called man's seven elements.

The monad lives in its own world, in its own logoic activity, with its quasi- or semi-divine powers in full action, far more self-conscious on its own plane than you are or I am on this our plane of consciousness. And similarly with the god within us, seated within the monad.

But further, you will remember that in discussing the teaching referring to the Silent Watcher, we pointed out that it was based on the fact of the many and the One — how man and the universe are both, respectively, many and one, many in the lower nature, and one in the higher. Now, then, please note carefully the following: our consciousness is no higher than it is because we are (each of us) a person; and it is the raising of this person, of this personal self, of this personal soul, into the impersonality and individuality of the monad, that is the great work, the magnum opus, of life. Here is the answer in brief to the question propounded above. The purpose of all initiatory ceremonies — to put the answer in another form, the aim of all initiatory teachings of the ancient Mystery Schools — was the evocation of the higher self, of this inner being; and it is possible to do it. A strong and indomitable will is the first requisite. Purity of life is the second, mental purity above everything else. And absolute loyalty and devotion to the teachings of the esoteric wisdom and to the teacher, is the third; and these three principles of life and conduct are true raja-yoga; and this "kingly union" is the union with the god within, our divine self. When this union takes place, then you have what the Greeks called in their ancient Mysteries, theopneusty, the breathing into the personal of the impersonal essence.

Yet preceding this stage or degree of initiation, the second or intermediate, there came the first of these initiations, the actual and real meeting face to face with the god within, your own higher ego-self; and this degree was called theophany, a Greek compound word meaning the "appearance of a god" — i.e., of that god which is within you, your own inner self. Further, when the two preceding unions were achieved, when the high degrees of theopneusty and theophany had been won, there came a third and last stage, which the Greeks called theopathy, a Greek compound word meaning "suffering a god," "enduring a god" — a meaning later to be more fully explained. Such an initiate became even in life an evolved Christos, or as the Buddhists call it, an Awakened One, a Buddha, the awakening to the living buddhic entity within the man, the last stage of human knowledge possible on this earth on this round, the fourth. Very few indeed are they who attain to this supreme stage of incarnate wisdom! Such a one was the Lord Buddha, Gautama Sakyamuni, Prince of Kapilavastu. He it is, we are told, who today as a nirmanakaya forms the summit (or Silent Watcher) of the hierarchy of sages forming the Great Brotherhood, living among them invisible to those of lower degree and visible to those of higher degree; in what the Buddhists of the north call the sacred land of Sambhala, that mysterious locality which is placed north of the Himalayas, and not so far from what is called the desert of Gobi or Shamo. And that wondrous thing, that wondrous entity, that wondrous being, which was in H. P. Blavatsky and worked through her, came from Sambhala — came from this hierarchy. I do not here refer merely to the woman, to the physical body; no, nor even to the personality born in Russia; but to that wonderful thing who incarnated in that body, and who left part of "herself" behind there and who went forth into the world crippled psychically, obeying in this respect an archaic law, which was the cause of so much misunderstanding about her. This entity did its work in the world at the proper cyclic time for its appearance among men: the opening of a new Messianic cycle.

You know the warning about "false Christs" which is given in the Christian Gospels: in Matthew, chapter 24, verses 23, 24, and 25, and in Mark, chapter 13, verses 21, 22, and 23. They are practically the same in sense and words, and they evidently are both — Mark and Matthew — taken from a former, earlier, Christian Gospel, possibly the so-called Gospel "according to the Hebrews," of which scholars know, but which they have never yet found. At any rate, the writer of the above warning spoke truly when, using the alleged words of Jesus, he said in substance: "Many shall come after me, teaching false Christs, who will try to lead you astray, saying 'Lo, here he is!' and 'Lo, there he is!' Believe it not." These words are not necessarily of solely Christian application: it is the warning against imposture contained in them that we quote. They could apply equally well to Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, ancient Americans, Scandinavians, to any people living anywhere in the world, for the warning could apply to all. Why? Because there are in fact cyclic crises or periods when real "saviors" of men do appear, as also "false prophets" and "false Christs." They come always whenever the time is ripe. After every period of 2,160 years, the length of the Messianic cycle, there comes a recrudescence of spiritual faith into the world at times of material growth and spiritual decadence; in those times that Plato calls the barren periods, a Messenger "comes" from Sambhala, and gives his doctrine to men and establishes it, and then passes. And instantly copyists, or perhaps false disciples, those who perhaps are seeking prominence for themselves, or who are deceived, or who perhaps are even misled by their own prejudices, by the weaknesses of their own human minds — let us put it in the most charitable way possible — begin making sects, begin preaching "false Christs," begin to make an appeal to the wonder-loving appetite of the people. And a new sect is born, and either dies out or lives on for a time, and the world is priest-ridden and man-hierarchy ridden for another series of centuries, until by his own spiritual vigor and his mental strength man frees himself again; and after turbulence and achings of the heart there comes a new real light, a new real Christos, a new light from the Hierarchy of Compassion. It is the working of the same old appeal to men's spiritual inner fires, by the spiritual dhyanis who incarnated primarily in the third root-race on this planet in this round as the manasaputras, and who thereby saved us from aeons of animality and unspeakable degradation, and untold ages of lightless wandering.

There is the situation. We must follow either the "right hand" or the "left," as the ancient Buddhists said. "Keeping the link unbroken" means following the right-hand path. Each one of us as individuals has the choice. None other can choose for us. All the teacher can do is to appeal and to teach. Each one of us has his conscience, which he must follow, and with which no interference is ever tolerated. But mark you, be sure that the path you choose is the path of conscience and wisdom. Be sure you are not led along the left-hand path by wiles and guile of many kinds.

These are old and trite sayings, but they have always a proper application. Their truth is not lessened by the fact that we are all familiar with them.

At our next meeting we shall have to undertake more definitely the study of how the life-wave passes into imbodiments, making its own vehicles by projection from itself — by bringing forth from within its own focus of vitality — innumerable inferior entities, giving them forth as man gives forth his thoughts; and then in future studies show how the life-wave passes down the shadowy arc into ever grosser manifestation, until the critical period is reached, when the ascending cycle of the luminous arc begins. We shall have to refer more fully to the old Greek and Roman philosophic school, the Stoic, and show how true were their teachings regarding the evolution of the elements, these elements following each other down into manifestation, each giving form to each. For in this teaching we may find a proper understanding of how the kosmos is built, and how man is constructed, and the why and the how of his evolution, and why he is here on earth now and not elsewhere, either farther along the path or not so far.

All these are matters which are directly connected with the scientific researches of our own day, for modern scientific discovery is making great strides forward, and will sooner or later need guidance, or it too will take the left-hand path. H. P. Blavatsky has told us plainly that it is through the Theosophical Movement that will come the light which is to enlighten the world and guide the footsteps of man on the path along the luminous arc; and it is our duty to aid in this noble work with all our strength. And if we do not understand our own philosophy properly and rightly, so that we can meet others and talk with them convincingly, we are failing in our duty. But those of us who have an indomitable will and who have awakened the inner Christos within, even to such a small extent that we can see even something of that wonderful light within which gives us far-seeing hope and abiding peace; those of us who have felt it even in slight degree, will realize that in it and nowhere else on this earth, nor in any other sphere, visible or invisible, lies the path, the ancient path, the small, old path of which the Upanishads speak, that leads to the heart of the universe.

Chapter 33

Table of Contents