These lessons are examples of work which has been done by the Branch in Sioux City, Iowa, and they have been sent to THE PATH by Miss Bandusia Wakefieid who is their author. They are printed in the hope that other Branches may find them as useful as they proved at Sioux City, and also with the view of giving out lessons of the same kind from the General Secretary's office if the plan seems good. As Miss Wakefieid says, the Branch prepared itself by some previous study. Lesson 3 was also sent, but lack of space forbids its appearance in this issue. Branches are asked to communicate with the General Secretary about this matter and to report results if any. There is no doubt that the T. S. at Sioux City will be glad to aid any Branch in the study in advance of anything that the Gen. Sec. may do.
The plan pursued was that the questions were given out in advance of the answers, and the members of the Branch asked to learn the Slokas and try to find answers to the questions. After they had done what they could the Answers were given them, not as conclusive, but as aids. [ Ed.]
S. D.=The Secret Doctrine.
I. U.=Isis Unveiled.
T. B. L.=Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge.
V. S.=The Voice of the Silence.
W. G.=The Working Glossary.
1. Of what do the Stanzas of the first volume of the Secret Doctrine treat? [S. D., I., pp 13 and 151. T. B. L., 2. p. 6.] Define Pralaya Maha-Pralaya, Manvantara, and Maha-Manvantara. [W. G.]
2. How may these Stanzas be interpreted? [T. B. L., 2, p. 6.]
3. What is the first of the three fundamental propositions which the Secret Doctrine teaches? [S. D. I., p. 14.]
4. Under what aspects is the Causeless Cause, or the Absolute, symbolized? [S D. I., pp. 14 and 43.]
5. Absolute abstract motion is symbolized by what term? [S. D. I., p. 14.]
6. Does this ever cease? [S. D. I., p. 55.]
7. What is the second fundamental proposition of the Secret Doctrine? [S.D. I. p. 17.]
8. What is the third fundamental proposition of the Secret Doctrine? [S. D. I., p. 17].
9. Why is the pilgrimage of every soul through the cycle of Incarnation said to be obligatory? [S. D. I. p., 17.]
10. Of what does the first stanza treat? [S. D. I., p. 21.]
Define Sloka. [I. U. I., p. 585. Five years of Theosophy, pp. 567. Theos., Rel., and Occult Science, p. 374.]
11. What is the first Sloka of the first Stanza?
Ans. — The Eternal Parent, wrapped in her ever invisible robes, had slumbered once again for seven eternities.
12. What one word is used to symbolize the Eternal Parent? [S. D. I. p.35.]
13. In what sense is this word used? [S. D., I. pp. u and 14.]
14. What other terms refer to the same thing or different aspects of it? [S. D. I., pp. 17, 48, 256,332, 458, 460, 534.]
15. What are the "invisible robes"? [S. D. I, p., 35.]
16. Why is the feminine used in referring to the Eternal Parent? [T. B. L. I., p. 4-]
17. When is space, or the Eternal Parent, called "Mother," and when "Father-Mother"? [S. D. I, p.18.]
18. What is meant by the "Seven Eternities"? [S. D. I., p. 53.]
19. What is Sloka 2 of Stanza 1?
Ans, — Time was not, for it lay asleep in the infinite bosom of duration.
20. What is time? [S. D. I., pp. 37, 43, 44. L. IX. p. 146.]
21. What is the difference between time and duration? [T. B. L. I., p.10, 11.]
22. Why was time not? [S. D, I. p. 37.]
23. What is Sloka 3 of Stanza 1?
Ans. — Universal Mind was not, for there were no Ah-hi to contain it.
24. What is meant by "mind"? [S. D. I., p. 38.]
25. What is meant by saying "Universal Mind was not"?
26. In what sense is it during Pralaya? [S. D. I., p. 38.]
27. Why is it not manifest?
28. What is the vehicle of manifestation called in the Sloka?
29. What are the Ah-hi? [S. D. I, p. 38.]
Review Lesson I.
ANSWERS TO LESSON I.
1. The Stanzas of the first Volume of "The Secret Doctrine" treat mostly of the evolution of our own Solar System after a Solar Pralava.
"The first Stanzas treat of the awakening from Maha-Pralaya, and are not concerned with the Solar System alone." [Tr. B, L. 2. p. 6.] "Sloka4 of Stanza VI. ends that portion of the Stanzas which relates to the Universal Cosmogony after the last Maha- Pralaya." [S. D. I, p 151.]
Pralaya is a state of rest or dissolution, where all is in a condition of latency or potentiality. Maha means great, and a Maha Pralaya is a great period of this character.
A Manvantara is a period of evolution or "reconstructive activity on the objective planes of the universe intervening between two pralayas."
A Maha Manvantara is a great period of this character, including a number of smaller manvantaras and pralayas.
2. These Stanzas "may be interpreted on seven different planes, the last reflecting, by the universal law of correspondences and analogy, in its most differentiated, gross, and physical aspect, the process which takes place on the first or purely spiritual plane." [Tr. B. L., 2, p. 26.]
3. The Secret Doctrine teaches as the first of three fundamental propositions that the Causeless Cause of all is "an Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, Immutable Principle" which "transcends the power of human conception." [S. D. I., p. 14.]
4. It is symbolized under the aspect of "Absolute Abstract Space representing bare subjectivity," and "Absolute Abstract Motion representing unconditioned consciousnsss." [ S. D. I., p. 14.] Duration is also an aspect of the Absolute. [S. D. I., p. 43].
5. Absolute Abstract Motion is symbolized by the term: "The Great Breath." [S. D. I., p. 14.]
6. "The Great Breath" never ceases, not even during Prayala. [S. D. I. p. 55]
7. The second fundamental proposition of the Secret Doctrine "is the absolute universality of the law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow." [S. D. I., p. 17.] We have illustrations of this law in the succession of day and night, winter and summer, sleeping and waking, etc.
8. As the third fundamental proposition, "the Secret Doctrine teaches the fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term." [S. D.I., p. 17.]
9. This pilgrimage is said to be obligatory, because in order to attain independent conscious existence it is necessary that "the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Principle, or the Over-Soul," should pass "through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara," and acquire "individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts." [S. D. I., p. 17.]
10. The first Stanza describes in symbols "the state of the One All during Pralaya, before the first flutter of re-awakening manifestation." [S. D. I., p. 21.]
11. A Sloka is a distich, or a couple of poetic lines making complete sense, not in the translation but in the original stanzas. [I. U. I., p. 585.]
[Stanza 1, Sloka 1.] The Eternal Parent, wrapped in her ever invisible robes, had slumbered once again for seven eternities.
12. The Eternal Parent is symbolized by "Space."
13. The word is not here used in its ordinary meaning, but in the sense of "Absolute Abstract Space representing bare subjectivity."
14. The following terms are also used as synonymous with "The Eternal Parent" or with each other: Akasa, Mulaprakriti, Universal Soul, Over-Soul, Sixth Principle of the Universe, Aditi, Pradhana, Ether [of the ancient Greek philosophers], Alaya, Waters, Great Deep, Celestial Virgin Mother, and Primordial Ocean of Space. [See S. D. 1., pp. 17, 48, 256, 332, 458, 460, & 534.]
15. "The 'Robes' stand for the noumenon of undifferentiated Cosmic-Matter. It is not matter as we know it, but the spiritual essence of matter, and is co-eternal and even one with Space in its abstract sense." [S. D. I., p. 35] Hence the "invisible robes" are but an aspect of the Eternal Parent. This "mystic root of all matter" the Hindus call Mulaprakriti. "It is the Soul, so to say, of the One infinite Spirit." It is the source from which Akasa radiates." [S. D. I., p. 35.]
16. "Though it is impossible to define the Causeless Cause, yet once that we speak of the first something that can be conceived, it has to be treated as a feminine principle. In all Cosmogonies, the first differentiation was considered feminine." [T. B. I., p. 4.]It is sexless, but has in it the latent potentiality of both sexes.
17. "Space is called 'Mother' before Cosmic activity, and 'Father- Mother' at the first stage of re-awakening." [S. D. I., p. 18.]
18. By "Seven eternities" is meant seven periods of rest equalling the seven periods of activity. " 'Seven Eternities' is made to apply both to the Maha-Kalpa or the (great) Age of Brahma and to the Solar Pralaya and subsequent resurrection of our Planetary System on a higher plane." [S. D. I, p. 53]
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