Theosophical University Press Online Edition
In my last lecture I tried to trace the course of the first beginnings of cosmic evolution, and in doing so I indicated with a certain amount of definiteness the four main principles that operate in the infinite cosmos. I also enumerated the four principles that seemed to form the basis of the whole manifested solar system, and defined the nature of the four principles into which I have divided the constitution of man. I hope that you will bear in mind the explanations that I have given, because it is on a clear understanding of these principles that the whole Vedantic doctrine is explicable; and, moreover, on account of misconceptions introduced as regards the nature of these principles, the religious philosophies of various nations have become terribly confused, and inferences have been drawn from wrong assumptions, which would not necessarily follow from a correct understanding of these principles.
In order to make my position clear, I have yet to make a few more remarks about some of these principles. You will remember that I have divided the solar system itself into four main principles and called them by the names assigned to them in treatises on what may be called Tharaka Yoga. Tharam, or Pranava, is also the symbol of the manifested man. And the three Matras, without the Ardhamatra, symbolize the three principles, or the three manifestations of the original Mulaprakriti in the solar system. Sankhya Yoga, properly so called, mainly deals with these three principles and the evolution from them of all material organisms. I use the word material to indicate, not only the physical and astral organisms, but also organisms on the plane higher than the astral. Much of what lies on this plane also is in my opinion physical, though perhaps it may differ in its constitution from the known forms of matter on the ordinary objective plane. The whole of this manifested solar system is, strictly speaking, within the field of physical research. As yet we have only been surveying the superficies of the outward cosmos. It is that, and that alone, which physical science has, up to this time, reached. I have not the slightest doubt that in course of time physical science will be able to penetrate deep into the underlying basis, that corresponds to the Sutratma of our Vedantic writers.
It is the province of Sankhya philosophy to trace from the three component parts of Mulaprakriti, all the various physical manifestations. It must not, however, be supposed that I in any way authorize the way in which Sankhya philosophy, as at present understood, traces out the origin of these manifestations. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe that enquirers into physical science in the West, like Professor Crookes and others, will arrive at truer results than are contained in the existing systems of Sankhya philosophy known to the public. Occult science has, of course, a definite theory of its own to propound for the origin of these organisms, but that is a matter that has always been kept in the background, and the details of that theory are not necessary for the purpose of explaining the doctrines of the Bhagavad Gita. It will be sufficient for the present to note what the field of Sankhya philosophy is, and what it is that comes within the horizon of physical science.
We can form no idea as to the kind of beings that exist on the astral plane, and still less are we able to do so in the case of those beings that live on the plane anterior to the astral. To the modern mind, everything else, beyond and beside this ordinary plane of existence, is a perfect blank. But occult science does definitely formulate the existence of these finer planes of being, and the phenomena that now manifest themselves in the so-called spiritualistic seances will give us some idea of the beings living on the astral plane. It is well known that in most of our Puranas Devas are mentioned as existing in Swarga.
All the Devaganams mentioned in the Puranas are not in Swarga. Vasus, Rudras, Adityas and some other classes are no doubt Devas strictly so-called. But Yakshas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras and several other Ganams must be included amongst the beings that exist in the plane of the astral light.
These beings that inhabit the astral plane are called by the general name of elementals in our theosophical writings. But besides elementals, properly so-called, there are still higher beings, and it is to these latter that the name Deva is strictly applicable. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the word Deva means a god, and that because we have thirty-three crores of Devas, we therefore worship thirty-three crores of gods. This is an unfortunate blunder generally committed by Europeans. Deva is a kind of spiritual being, and because the same word is used in ordinary parlance to mean god, it by no means follows that we have and worship thirty-three crores of gods. These beings, as may be naturally inferred, have a certain affinity with one of the three component upadhis into which we have divided man.
One organism has always a certain affinity with another organism composed of the same materials and existing on the same plane. As may naturally be expected, the astral body of man has affinity with the elementals, and the so-called karana sarira of man with the Devas. The ancient writers on Hindu philosophy have divided the cosmos into three lokas. The first is Bhuloka, the second Bhuvarloka, and the third Suvarloka. Bhuloka is the physical plane with which we are generally acquainted. Bhuvarloka is, strictly speaking, the astral plane. It is sometimes called Antariksham in the Upanishads. But this term is not to be understood as simply meaning the whole extent of the atmosphere with which we are acquainted. The word Antariksham is used, not in its general sense, but in a technical one belonging to the philosophical terminology adopted by the authors of the works in which it occurs. Suvarloka is what is generally known as Swargam. At any rate it is the Devachan of the theosophical writings. In this place, called Devachan by the Buddhists, and Swargam by the Hindus, we locate the higher orders of the so-called Devaganams.
There is one more statement I have to make with reference to the three Upadhis in the human being. Of these what is called the karana sarira is the most important. It is so, because it is in that that the higher individuality of man exists. Birth after birth a new physical body comes into existence, and perishes when earthly life is over. The astral body, when once separated from the karana sarira, may perhaps live on for some time, owing to the impulse of action and existence, already communicated to it during life, but, as these influences are cut off from the source whence they originally sprang, the force communicated, as it were, stands by itself, and sooner or later the astral organism becomes completely dissolved into its component parts. But karana sarira is a body or organism, which is capable of existing independently of the astral body. Its plane of existence is called Sutratma, because, like so many beads strung on a thread, successive personalities are strung on this karana sarira, as the individual passes through incarnation after incarnation. By personality I mean that persistent idea of self, with its definite associations, so far as those associations appertain to the experiences of one earthly incarnation.
Of course all the associations or ideas of mental states which a human being may experience are not necessarily communicated to the astral man, much less to the karana sarira. Of all the experiences of the physical man, the astral man, or the karana sarira beyond it, can only assimilate those whose constitution and nature are similar to its own. It is moreover but consistent with justice that all our mental states should not be preserved; as most of them are concerned merely with the daily avocations, or even the physical wants of the human being, there is no object to be gained by their continued preservation. But all that goes deep into the intellectual nature of man, all the higher emotions of the human soul and the intellectual tastes generated in man with all his higher aspirations, do become impressed almost indelibly on the karana sarira. The astral body is simply the seat of the lower nature of man. His animal passions and emotions, and those ordinary thoughts which are generally connected with the physical wants of man, may no doubt communicate themselves to the astral man, but higher than this they do not go.
This karana sarira is what passes as the real ego, which subsists through incarnation after incarnation, adding in each incarnation something to its fund of experiences, and evolving a higher individuality as the resultant of the whole process of assimilation. It is for this reason that the karana sarira is called the ego of man, and in certain systems of philosophy it is called the jiva.
It must be clearly borne in mind that this karana sarira is primarily the result of the action of the light of the Logos, which is its life and energy, and which is further its source of consciousness on that plane of Mulaprakriti which we have called Sutratma, and which is its physical or material basis.
Out of the combination of these two elements, and from the action of the energy of the light emanating from the Logos upon that particular kind of matter that constitutes its physical frame, a kind of individuality is evolved.
I have already said that individual existence, or differentiated conscious existence, is evolved out of the one current of life, which sets the evolutionary machine in motion. I pointed out that it is this very current of life that gradually gives rise to individual organisms as it proceeds on its mission. Furthermore it begins to manifest what we call conscious life, and, when we come to man, we find that his conscious individuality is clearly and completely defined by the operation of this force. In producing this result several subsidiary forces, which are generated by the peculiar conditions of time, space and environment, cooperate with this one life. What is generally called karana sarira is but the natural product of the action of those very forces that have operated to bring about this result. When once that plane of consciousness is reached in the path of progress that includes the voluntary actions of man, it will be seen that those voluntary actions not only preserve the individuality of the karana sarira, but render it more and more definite, as birth after birth further progress is attained: they thus keep up the continued existence of the jiva as an individual monad. So in one sense the karana sarira is the result of karmic impulses. It is the child of Karma as it were. It lives with it, and will disappear if the influence of Karma can be annihilated. The astral body on the other hand is, to a great extent, the result of the physical existence of man, as far as that existence is concerned with his physical wants, associations and cravings. We may therefore suppose that the persistence of the astral body after death will, under ordinary circumstances, be more or less proportionate to the strength of these emotions and animal passions.
Now let us enquire what, constituted as man is, are the rules to which he is generally subject, and the goal towards which all evolution is progressing. It is only after this has been determined, that we shall be in a position to see whether any special rules can be prescribed for his guidance, that are likely to render his evolutionary progress more rapid than it would otherwise be.
What happens in the case of ordinary men after death is this. First, the karana sarira and the astral body separate themselves from the physical body: when that takes place, the physical body loses its life and energy. Yesterday I tried to explain the connection between the three bodies and the energy of life acting within them, by comparing the action of this life to the action of a sunbeam falling successively on three material objects. It will be seen from this comparison, that the light reflected on to the astral body, or rather into the astral body, is the light that radiates from the karana sarira. From the astral body it is again reflected onto the sthula sarira, constitutes its life and energy, and develops that sense of ego that we experience in the physical body. Now it is plain that, if the karana sarira is removed, the astral body ceases to receive any reflection. The karana sarira can exist independently of the astral body, but the astral body cannot survive the separation of the karana sarira. Similarly the physical body can go on living so long as it is connected with the astral body and the karana sarira; but, when these two are removed, the physical body will perish. The only way for the life current to pass to the physical body is through the medium of the astral body. The physical body is dissolved when separated from the astral body, because the impulse that animated it is removed. As the karana sarira is on the plane of Devachan, the only place to which it can go on separation from the physical body is Devachan, or Swargam; but in separating itself from the astral body it takes with it all those impulses, that were accumulated by the karma of the man during his successive incarnations.
These impulses subsist in it, and perhaps it does enjoy a new life in Devachan — a life unlike any with which we are acquainted, but a life quite as natural to the entity that enjoys it as our conscious existence seems to be to us now. These impulses give rise to a further incarnation, because there is a certain amount of energy locked up in them, which must find its manifestation on the physical plane. It is thus karma that leads it on from incarnation to incarnation.
The natural region of the astral body is the Bhuvarloka, or astral plane. To the astral plane it goes, and there it is detained. It very rarely descends into the physical plane, for the simple reason that the physical plane has no natural attraction for it. Moreover it necessarily follows that, just as the karana sarira cannot remain on the physical plane, the astral body cannot remain there either. This astral body loses its life impulse when the karana sarira is separated from it. When once its source of life and energy is thus removed from it, it is naturally deprived of the only spring of life that can enable it to subsist. But astral matter being of a far finer constitution than physical matter, energy once communicated to it subsists for a longer time than when communicated to physical matter. When once separated from the astral body, the physical body dies very rapidly, but in the case of the astral body some time is required before complete dissolution can take place, because the impulses already communicated to it still keep the particles together, and its period of post-mortem existence is proportionate to the strength of those impulses. Till this strength is exhausted the astral body holds together. The time of its independent existence on the astral plane will thus depend on the strength of its craving for life and the intensity of its unsatisfied desires. This is the reason why, in the case of suicides and those who die premature deaths, having at the time of death a strong passion or a strong desire that they were unable to satisfy during life, but on the fulfilment of which their whole energy was concentrated, the astral body subsists for a certain length of time, and may even make desperate efforts for the purpose of descending into the physical plane to bring about the accomplishment of its object. Most of the spiritualistic phenomena are to be accounted for upon this principle, and also upon the principle that many of the phenomena exhibited at seances are really produced by elementals (which naturally subsist on the astral plane) masquerading as it were in the garb of elementaries or pisachas.
I need not, however, enter further into this branch of the subject, as it has but a very remote bearing upon the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita with which I am concerned. Suffice it to say, that what has been stated is all that ordinarily takes place at the death of a man, but there are certain kinds of karma which may present exceptions to the general law. Suppose, for instance, a man has devoted all his life to the evocation of elementals. In such a case either the elementals take possession of the man and make a medium of him, or, if they do not do that completely, they take possession of his astral body and absorb it at the time of death. In the latter case the astral body, associated as it is with an independent elemental being, will subsist for a considerable length of time. But though elemental worship may lead to mediumship — to irresponsible mediumship in the majority of cases — and may confuse a man's intellect, and make him morally worse than he was before, these elementals will not be able to destroy the karana sarira. Still it is by no means a desirable thing, that we should place ourselves under the control of elementals.
There is another kind of worship, however, which a man may follow, and which may lead to far more serious results. What may happen to the astral body, may also happen to the karana sarira. The karana sarira bears the same relation to the Devas in Swargam that the astral body does to the elementals on the astral plane. In this Devaloka there are beings, or entities, some vicious and some good, and, if a man who wishes to evoke these powers were to fix his attention upon them, he might in course of time attract these powers to himself, and it is quite possible that when the force generated by the concentration of his attention upon these beings attains a certain amount of strength, the karana sarira may be absorbed into one of these Devas, just as the astral body may be absorbed into an elemental. This is a far more serious result than any that can happen to man in the case of elemental worship, for the simple reason that he has no more prospect of reaching the Logos.
The whole of his individuality is absorbed into one of these beings, and it will subsist as long as that being exists, and no longer. When cosmic pralaya comes it will be dissolved, as all these beings will be dissolved. For him there is no immortality. He may indeed have life for millions of years, but what are millions of years to immortality? You will recollect that it is said in Mr. Sinnett's book, that there is such a thing as immortality in evil. This statement, as it stands, is no doubt an exaggeration. What Mr. Sinnett meant to say was, that, when those who follow the left-hand path evoke certain powers which are wicked in their nature, they may transfer their own individualities to those powers, and subsist in them until the time of cosmic pralaya. These would then become formidable powers in the cosmos, and would interfere to a considerable extent in the affairs of mankind, and even prove far more troublesome, so far as humanity is concerned, than the genuine powers themselves on account of the association of a human individuality with one of these powers. It was for this reason that all great religions have inculcated the great truth, that man should not, for the sake of gain or profit, or for the acquisition of any object, however tempting for the time being, worship any such powers, but should wholly devote his attention and worship to the one true Logos accepted by every true and great religion in the world, as that alone can lead a man safely along the true moral path, and enable him to rise higher and higher, until he lives in it as an immortal being, as the manifested Eswara of the cosmos, and as the source, if necessary, of spiritual enlightenment to generations to come.
It is towards this end, which may be hastened in certain cases, that all evolution is tending. The one great power, that is as it were guiding the whole course of evolution, leading nature on towards its goal, so to speak, is the light of the Logos. The Logos is as it were the pattern, and emanating from it is this light of life. It goes forth into the world with this pattern imprinted upon it, and, after going through the whole cycle of evolution, it tries to return to the Logos whence it had its rise. Evolutionary progress is effected by the continual perfecting of the Upadhi, or organism through which this light works. In itself it has no need of improvement. What is perfected, is neither the Logos, nor the light of the Logos, but the Upadhi or physical frame through which this light is acting. I have already said that it is upon the purity and nature of this Upadhi, that the manifested clearness and refulgence of the Logos mainly depends. As time goes on, man's intelligence on the spiritual, astral and physical planes will become more and more perfect, as the Upadhis are perfected, until a certain point is reached when he will be enabled to make the final attempt to perceive and recognise his Logos, unless he chooses to wilfully shut his eyes, and prefers perdition to immortality. It is towards this end that nature is working.
I have pointed out the fact that there are certain cases which may cause a disturbance in the general progress, and I have mentioned the causes that may facilitate that progress. All the initiations that man ever invented were invented for the purpose of giving men a clear idea of the Logos, to point out the goal, and to lay down rules by which it is possible to facilitate the approach to the end towards which nature is constantly working.
These are the premises from which Krishna starts. Whether by express statements, or by necessary implications, all these propositions are present in this book, and, taking his stand on these fundamental propositions, Krishna proceeds to construct his practical theory of life.
In stating this theory I have not made any reference to particular passages in the Bhagavad Gita. By constantly turning to the detached passages in which these propositions are expressed or implied, I should have only created confusion, it therefore seemed better to begin by stating the theory in my own language, in order to give you a connected idea of it as a whole. I do not think it will be allowed by every follower of every religion in India, that these are the propositions from which Krishna started. The theory has been misunderstood by a considerable number of philosophers, and, in course of time, the speculations of the Sankhyas have introduced a source of error, which has exercised a most important influence on the development of Hindu philosophy. There is not however the slightest doubt in my own mind, that what I have said includes the basis of the real Vedantic philosophy. Having but little time at my command I have thought it unnecessary to cite authorities: had I done so it would have taken me not three days, but three years, to explain the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita. I shall leave it to you to examine these propositions and to carefully ascertain how far they seem to underlie, not merely Hinduism, but Buddhism, the ancient philosophies of the Egyptians and the Chaldeans, the speculations of the Rosicrucians, and almost every other system having the remotest connection with occultism from times long antecedent to the so-called historic periods.
I will now turn to the book itself:
Krishna is generally supposed to be an Avatar. This theory of Avatars plays a very important part in Hindu philosophy; and, unless it is properly understood, it is likely that great misconceptions will arise from the acceptance of the current views regarding this Avatar. It is generally supposed that Krishna is the Avatar of the one great personal God who exists in the cosmos. Of course those who hold this view make no attempt to explain how this one great personal God succeeded in setting up an intimate connection with the physical body of Krishna, constituted as the physical body of every man is, or even with the personality, or human individuality, that seems to be precisely similar to that of any other human being. And how are we to explain the theory of Avatars, as generally stated, with reference to the view of this particular Avatar to which I have referred? This view is without any support. The Logos in itself is not the one personal God of the cosmos. The great Parabrahmam behind it is indeed one and niramsa, undifferentiated and eternally existing, but that Parabrahmam can never manifest itself as any of these Avatars. It does, of course, manifest itself in a peculiar way as the whole cosmos, or rather as the supposed basis, or the one essence, on which the whole cosmos seems to be superimposed, the one foundation for every existence. But it can manifest itself in a manner approaching the conception of a personal God, only when it manifests itself as the Logos. If Avatars are possible at all, they can only be so with reference to the Logos, or Eswara, and not by any means with reference to what I have called Parabrahmam. But still there remains the question, what is an Avatar? According to the general theory I have laid down, in the case of every man who becomes a Mukta there is a union with the Logos. It may be conceived, either as the soul being raised to the Logos, or as the Logos descending from its high plane to associate itself with the soul. In the generality of cases, this association of the soul with the Logos is only completed after death — the last death which that individual has to go through.
But in some special cases the Logos does descend to the plane of the soul and associate itself with the soul during the life-time of the individual; but these cases are very rare. In the case of such beings, while they still exist as ordinary men on the physical plane, instead of having for their soul merely the reflection of the Logos, they have the Logos itself. Such beings have appeared. Buddhists say, that in the case of Buddha there was this permanent union, when he attained what they call Para-nirvana nearly twenty years before the death of his physical body. Christians say, that the Logos was made flesh, as it were, and was born as Christ — as Jesus — though the Christians do not go into a clear analysis of the propositions they lay down. There are, however, certain sections of Christians, who take a more philosophical view of the question, and say that the divine Logos associated itself with the man named Jesus at some time during his career, and that it was only after that union he began to perform his miracles and show his power as a great reformer and saviour of mankind.
Whether this union took place as a special case in the case of Jesus, or whether it was such a union as would take place in the case of every Mahatma or Maharishi when he becomes a Jivanmukta, we cannot say, unless we know a great deal more about him than what the Bible can teach us. In the case of Krishna the same question arises. Mahavishnu is a god, and is a representative of the Logos; he is considered as the Logos by the majority of Hindus. From this it must not however be inferred that there is but one Logos in the cosmos, or even that but one form of Logos is possible in the cosmos. For the present I am only concerned with this form of the Logos, and it seems to be the foundation of the teachings we are considering.
There are two views which you can take with reference to such human Avatars, as, for instance, Rama, Krishna, and Parasurama. Some Vaishnavites deny that Buddha was an Avatar of Vishnu. But that was an exceptional case, and is very little understood by either Vaishnavites or Buddhists. Parasurama's Avatar will certainly be disputed by some writers. I believe that, looking at the terrible things he did, the Madwas thought that, in the case of Parasurama, there was no real Avatar, but a mere over-shadowing of the man by Mahavishnu. But, setting aside disputed cases, we have two undisputed human Avatars — Rama and Krishna.
Take for instance the case of Krishna. In this case two views are possible. We may suppose that Krishna, as an individual, was a man who had been evoluting for millions of years, and had attained great spiritual perfection, and that in the course of his spiritual progress the Logos descended to him and associated itself with his soul. In that case it is not the Logos that manifested itself as Krishna, but Krishna who raised himself to the position of the Logos. In the case of a Mahatma who becomes a Jivanmukta, it is his soul, as it were, that is transformed into the Logos. In the case of a Logos descending into a man, it does so, not chiefly by reason of that man's spiritual perfection, but for some ulterior purpose of its own for the benefit of humanity. In this case it is the Logos that descends to the plane of the soul and manifests its energy in and through the soul, and not the soul that ascends to the plane of the Logos.
Theoretically it is possible for us to entertain either of these two views. But there is one difficulty. If we are at liberty to call that man an Avatar who becomes a Jivanmukta, we shall be obliged to call Suka, Vasishta, Thurvasa and perhaps the whole number of the Maharishis who have become Jivanmuktas Avatars; but they are not generally called Avatars. No doubt some great Rishis are enumerated in the list of Avatars, given for instance in Bhagavad, but somehow no clear explanation is given for the fact that the ten Avatars ordinarily enumerated are looked upon as the Avatars of Mahavishnu, and the others as his manifestations, or beings in whom his light and knowledge were placed for the time being; or, for some reason or other, these others are not supposed to be Avatars in the strict sense of the word. But, if these are not Avatars, then we shall have to suppose that Krishna and Rama are called Avatars, not because we have in them an instance of a soul that had become a Jivanmukta and so become associated with the Logos, but because the Logos descended to the plane of the soul, and, associating itself with the soul, worked in and through it on the plane of humanity for some great thing that had to be done in the world. I believe this latter view will be found to be correct on examination. Our respect for Krishna need not in any way be lessened on that account. The real Krishna is not the man in and through whom the Logos appeared, but the Logos itself. Perhaps our respect will only be enhanced, when we see that this is the case of the Logos descending into a human being for the good of humanity. It is not encumbered with any particular individuality in such a case, and has perhaps greater power to exert itself for the purpose of doing good to humanity — not merely for the purpose of doing good to one man, but for the purpose of saving millions.
There are two dark passages in Mahabharata, which will be found very hard nuts for the advocates of the orthodox theory to crack. To begin with Rama. Suppose Rama was not the individual monad plus the Logos, but in some unaccountable manner the Logos made flesh. Then, when the physical body disappeared there should be nothing remaining but the Logos — there should be no personality to follow its own course. That seems to be the inevitable result, if we are to accept the orthodox theory. But there is a statement made by Narada in the Lokapala Sabha Varnana, in Mahabharata, in which he says, speaking of the court of Yama, who is one of the Devas, that Dasaratha Rama was one of the individuals present there. Now, if the individual Rama was merely a Maya — not in the sense in which every human being is a Maya, but in a special sense, — there is not the slightest reason why he should subsist after the purpose for which this Maya garb was wanted was accomplished. It is stated in Ramayana, that the Logos went to its place of abode when Rama died, yet we find in Mahabharata Dasaratha Rama mentioned together with a number of other kings, as an individual present in Yamaloka, which, at the highest, takes us only up to Devachan. This assertion becomes perfectly consistent with the theory I have laid down, if that is properly understood. Rama was an individual, constituted like every other man. Probably he had had several incarnations before, and was destined, even after his one great incarnation, to have several subsequent births. When he appeared as Rama Avatar, it was not the latent individual manifesting itself, it was not Rama's soul transformed into the Logos, or rather Rama himself as Jivanmukta, that did all the great deeds narrated in the Ramayana — allegorical as it is, — but it was the Logos, or Mahavishnu, that descended to the plane of the soul and associated itself for the time being with a particular soul for the purpose of acting through it. Again, in the case of Krishna there is a similar difficulty to be encountered. Turn for instance to the end of the Mousala Parva in the Mahabharata, where you will find a curious passage. Speaking of Krishna's death, the author says that the soul went to heaven — which corresponds to Devachan, — where it was received with due honors by all the Devas. Then it is said, that Narayana departed from that place to his own place, Narayana being the symbol of the Logos. Immediately after there follows a stanza describing the existence of Krishna in Swar-gam, and further on we find that when Dharmaraja's soul went into Swargam, he found Krishna there. How are these two statements to be reconciled? Unless we suppose that Narayana, whose energy and wisdom were manifested through the man Krishna, was a separate spiritual power manifesting itself for the time being through this individual, there is no solution of the difficulty. Now from these two statements we shall not be far wrong in inferring that the Avatars we are speaking of, were the manifestations of one and the same power, the Logos, which the great Hindu writers of old called Mahavishnu. Who then is this Mahavishnu? Why should this Logos in particular, if there are several other Logoi in the universe, take upon itself the care of humanity, and manifest itself in the form of various Avatars; and, further, is it possible for every other adept, after he becomes associated with the Logos, to descend as an Avatar in the same manner for the good of humanity?
A clear discussion of these questions will lead us into considerations that go far down into the mysteries of occult science, and to explain which clearly I should have to take into account a number of theories that can only be communicated at the time of initiation. Possibly some light will be thrown upon the subject in the forthcoming "Secret Doctrine;" but it would be premature for me to discuss the question at this stage. It will be sufficient for me to say, that this Mahavishnu seems to be the Dhyan Chohan that first appeared on this planet when human evolution commenced during this Kalpa, who set the evolutionary progress in motion, and whose duty it is to watch over the interests of mankind until the seven Manwantaras, through which we are passing, are over.
It may be that this Logos itself was associated with a Jivanmukta, or a great Mahatma of a former Kalpa. However that may be, it is a Logos, and as such only it is of importance to us at present. Perhaps in former Kalpas, of which there have been millions, that Logos might have associated itself with a series of Mahatmas, and all their individualities might have been subsisting in it; nevertheless it has a distinct individuality of his own. It is Eswara, and it is only as a Logos in the abstract that we have to consider it from present purpose. This explanation, however, I have thought it necessary to give, for the purpose of enabling you to understand certain statements made by Krishna, which will not become intelligible unless read in connection with what I have said.