Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Asuras and Suras
The Seven Embryonic Humanities
Manasaputras, Lunar Pitris, Animal Monads, etc.
The Forces of the Universe
Two important points are involved herein: — (a) Primarily in the Rig-Veda, the "Asuras" are shown as spiritual divine beings; their etymology is derived from asu (breath), the "Breath of God," and they mean the same as the Supreme Spirit or the Zoroastrian Ahura. It is later on, for purposes of theology and dogma, that they are shown issuing from Brahma's thigh, and that their name began to be derived from a, privative, and sura, god (solar deities), or not-a-god, and that they became the enemies of the gods. . . . — The Secret Doctrine, II, 59
In H. P. B.'s The Secret Doctrine you will frequently find what has been to so many, many hundreds of devoted students most confusing references to the names or rather classes of certain beings, entities like the Suras, the Asuras, the Maruts, etc., and I have often been asked if some evening in speaking in the Lodge here I would not try to throw a little light on just what these beings are, these Suras, and Asuras, and Maruts.
Has it ever occurred to you — it must have, because it is demonstrated on almost every page of her greatest book, The Secret Doctrine — that H. P. B. brought together a wealth of illustrative material from all the different religions and philosophies of the world in order to prove the universality of our God-Wisdom? To do this she had to use the technical names employed in these different philosophies and religions. Thus from Brahmanism were adduced Suras, Asuras, Maruts. From Buddhism, meaning precisely the same thing, she spoke of Dhyani-Chohans; or again from Brahmanism, Kumaras, Agnishwattas. All these names really refer to the same entities; but what are the distinctions now between Suras and Asuras and Maruts, and between Kumaras and Agnishwattas? This: when a monad is at the very beginning of its evolutionary course in the cosmic manvantara, the technical name given to it is Kumara, which is a Sanskrit term meaning virgin. It is virginal in the new manvantara. It has therein incurred no sin; it is unadulterated, pure monadic essence. When such a Kumara at the end of a cosmic manvantara, or two or three, according to its ability to evolve, has emanated forth from itself what is in it, has reached the bottom of the great sweep of evolving life and has risen on the ascending arc to the top of it, the same Kumara then is an Agnishwatta because it then has evolved fully forth from itself, mind, intellect, and has gained experience. Yet they are both monads, or rather it is the same thing: a monad beginning as a Kumara, or as I have often put it, an unself-conscious god-spark, ending as an Agnishwatta, "purified by fire," which is what Agnishwatta means, the fire of the spirit and of experience.
A Sura is a Kumara — a god. Because of their great purity, virginality in every sense of the word, Hindu mythology called them gods. Actually they are monads in so pure, as yet unevolved, a state, so undeveloped a state, that they are swept along, as it were, in the evolutionary Rivers of Life. When this Sura or Kumara has become an Agnishwatta, it is then an Asura. And Hindu mythology, or rather Brahmanical theology, with the same spirit behind it that you will find in Christian theology, says — and I will now use Christian language — "It has eaten of the Tree of Life, of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and it is no longer virginal and pure." That is the Christian theological way of explaining it. But leaving these dogmatic theologies of the religions aside, what actually are the facts? That from an unself-conscious god-spark, a Kumara — the Sura, the monad, the same thing — through suffering and experience in the lower realms of matter, in the different planes, has become an Agnishwatta. It has tasted of the fire and has become a self-conscious god, an Asura.
Asura really comes from Asu, the essential meaning of which in Sanskrit is 'to, breathe.' You will find it in other languages. The verbal root as, in Sanskrit meaning 'to be,' is the same essential idea. So the Asuras are not merely unself-conscious god-sparks swept along through the ages unself-consciously on the Rivers of Life. They are those who have gained self-consciousness; or, to use a Buddhist term meaning the same thing, they have become celestial Dhyanis, celestial Bodhisattvas, celestial Buddhas.
What are the Maruts? They are one class of the Agnishwattas, Asuras. Thus in The Secret Doctrine, which often quotes from Brahmanical theology, when you read that often the Suras and the Asuras were battling together, you have a very interesting fact not only of human evolutionary history here, but of cosmical history. It is the same thought that runs back of the early Christian legends concerning the battle fought in Heaven between the spirits of Light and the spirits of Darkness. And of course in mediaeval theology any thing that thinks for itself, an Asura, is a spirit of Darkness. Do you catch it? That is why they are called the demons or the spirits of Darkness. Here is the gist of the Christian legends of the so-called 'Fallen Angels'; a descent of all the monads which have won self-conscious freedom in intellectual and spiritual growth and have become like unto us, Elohim.
You know in the Hebrew Bible — "Thou shall not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for if thou eatest of it thou shalt become like us." But that indeed is the whole purpose of evolution! That the monads may pass from the state of unself-conscious god-sparks to that of self-conscious, fully evolved gods, knowing their divinity and taking a self-conscious part in the cosmic work. These are the Asuras, the Maruts, the Agnishwattas. But naturally it always pleased the dogmatic priests — I do not mean the initiates but the dogmatic priests of theology — to keep the thinking faculty down; and yet it is man's saving. The thinking faculty, it is true, often leads man into error and into making grievous mistakes for which he has to pay with the very blood of his heart — As ye sow ye shall reap — but the end of it is illumination, experience, and pity, compassion. No man's heart has ever throbbed with understanding compassion over the sufferings of another which itself has never suffered. It takes suffering to make us pitiful to others who suffer the cleansing fires of sorrow and pain; and these come through the advancing evolution of man's mind, part of which is his ethical, his moral instinct. Were it possible, as the gods can, for us humans to see a Sura, a Kumara, we would see a starry, glorious being, spotlessly pure, radiant with the light of eternity, colorless, utter beautiful — but look in its eyes, there lacks a soul! Here lies the gist of the old European legend that the undine or the salamander, etc., must gain a soul before it can be saved. How true it is! The gaining of the soul is the story of the Kumara passing through the experience of the lives, building up the human soul to self-understanding of what life and nature mean, and emerging from it in soul a god.
And on the other hand you would see the Agnishwatta, just as beautiful, just as glorious, shining with the glory of eternity on it; but in its eyes the deep richness of garnered experience and infinite compassion, things which are only latent in the Kumara. The Kumara is the unself-conscious god-spark. The Agnishwatta is the same, become a self-conscious god.
. . . the Secret Doctrine postulates . . . the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe. . . . — The Secret Doctrine, II, 1
I have been asked to say something this evening in regard to the statement of H. P. B. in the second volume of The Secret Doctrine, to the effect that the 'Fathers' or Pitris in the beginning of human evolution on this Globe D in this Fourth Round began this evolution in seven different geographical zones simultaneously.
The statement refers to the fact that human evolution opened on this Globe D in this Fourth Round by the simultaneous appearance, on seven different parts of the land surrounding the North Pole, of seven embryonic 'humanities,' these seven 'humanities' being the appearance, or appearances, of the seven classes of Barhishads or Lunar Pitris. The Esoteric Doctrine, as thus becomes immediately obvious, teaches a polygenetic and not a monogenetic origin for mankind.
It is from these original seven astral embryonic humanities, forming the beginnings of the First Root-Race on this Globe in this Round, that all the later human races came. These seven primary origins of astral humanity occurred, or had their geographical zones, on what H. P. B. calls the Sacred Imperishable Land, the first continent, surrounding and including the North Pole and extending, like the leaves of a lotus, somewhat southwards from the Pole in seven different geographical extensions, or 'zones' as H. P. B. calls them.
The Secret Doctrine does not teach the descent of mankind from a single pair, i.e., from an Adam and an Eve, here using the exoteric language of the Hebrew Book of Genesis. This Hebrew account itself does not really refer to one man called 'Adam' and one woman called 'Eve,' originally a 'rib' in Adam's body, but is a generalized way of speaking of early mankind; and in strictness does not refer to what we call the First Root-Race but to the middle of the Third Root-Race on this Globe in this Round. The reference to the 'rib' is a reference to the separation of the androgynous humanity of that period into sex-humanity; and the word 'rib' is an inaccurate translation of the Hebrew word, which really signifies a 'side' or a 'part.' This Hebrew account reminds one of the mystical and quasi-historic narrative given by Plato in his Banquet, where the great Greek philosopher spoke of the mankind of the date which he had in mind as being of globular form, strong and mighty, but wicked in temperament and in ambition; so that Zeus, in order to curb their evil doing and to diminish their strength, cut these beings of globular shape into two, much as one would divide an egg with a hair.
Going back to the question, the student must remember that there are, strictly speaking, ten classes of the Pitris, three arupa or relatively formless, called the Agnishwatta- or Kumara-class, whom we may call solar spirits or beings; and the other seven, the rupa, or having form, were really the Lunar Pitris. The three highest of these seven classes were also relatively arupa, and four were distinctly rupa. It is these latter, the Lunar Pitris, who, coming to this Globe from the preceding Globe C of our planetary chain, appeared — when the time for human evolution on this Globe began — on the North Pole in their seven kinds or classes, awakening the sishtas of the humanities left on this Globe D when the preceding Round, ages and ages previously, had ended.
I would not speak, as the questioner does, of these seven astral humanities as seven 'races,' for this word 'races' is in this instance a bit confusing. I would liefer speak of them as seven embryonic astral mankinds, each one of these seven mankinds being the production of one of the seven classes of the Lunar Pitris. It was especially the four lowest classes of the seven Lunar Pitris which gave to these original mankinds their physical form.
Such then was the opening of the drama of present human evolution on this Fourth Globe D in this Fourth Round. From that time onwards, the seven embryonic astral humanities began their evolutionary development as the First Root-Race, and continued it, each on its own zone, until the time came for the appearance of the Second Root-Race. When the time for the Second Root-Race appeared, the seven original embryonic astral mankinds had mixed and had disappeared as separate individual 'humanities.' The First Root-Race then merged itself into the Second Root-Race — becoming the Second Root-Race. Even at this early date, i.e., that of the First Root-Race, and among the seven astral embryonic 'humanities' of that very early time, there were seven grades — or seven differences appeared — in evolutionary development from the lowest 'mankind' upwards to the highest or seventh 'mankind'; and this seventh or highest even then showed the beginnings of self-conscious and thinking Man.
It must be remembered that these seven embryonic astral 'humanities' were much more ethereal when they first appeared than was this Globe D on which they appeared, although indeed the Globe itself was then considerably more ethereal than now it is. Remember also that with the exception of the relatively few spoken of above who had attained a certain degree of self-consciousness, because belonging to the highest class of the Lunar Pitris, the great majority of these early seven astral mankinds were unself-conscious, and therefore what H. P. B. calls 'mindless.' They were indeed the astral 'shadows,' i.e., the more or less concreted astral bodies projected by the Lunar Pitris: embryonic men, but 'mindless' men, much as a child is mindless when first born, although of course the analogy is not very close here, but is nevertheless suggestive. The child is 'mindless'; its flesh is very tender and soft; its bones are not well hardened; and because it is mindless it lives in a dream-world, mentally and psychically. Just so were these seven embryonic astral mankinds.
Finally, the seven embryonic astral mankinds were actually the astral bodies of the seven classes of the Lunar Pitris, each class of which appeared in, or was attracted by karman to, its own geographical zone. They were mindless, boneless, skinless, and without internal organs as we now understand this word, and were in a state of consciousness which can be likened only to that of a heavy daydream; therefore likewise they had no moral sense, and in consequence there was no sin among them because no sin was committed: there was no mind to imagine sin and to do it. Morally, they were as irresponsible as the just born child. Remember carefully, however, that it was the lowest four classes of the Lunar Pitris which formed and shaped, by projecting their own Astral 'Shadows' or bodies, the then physical sariras of these earliest humanities.
Companions, I have been asked a question which I feel will be very hearty meat for new students of Theosophy, but old students will understand. It is the question of who are the Manasaputras, who are the Agnishwattas, who are the Lunar Pitris or Barhishads as they are sometimes called, and just what is the difference between the animal soul in the human being and the animal soul in the animal or the beast. I thought I had been over these things two or three times, but evidently not! Then, as I was pondering how I could make my own thoughts, things that I have learned, more clear to my brothers here, someone showed me a paragraph in H. P. B.'s marvelous Secret Doctrine, in Volume II, and I thought to myself: Before I say what I have to say tonight to the Lodge, I will read this, preceding it with a sentence from page 79.
The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas Hence, as the higher 'Pitris or Dhyanis' had no hand in his physical creation, we find primeval man, issued from the bodies of his spiritually fireless progenitors, described as aeriform, devoid of compactness, and MINDLESS. He had no middle principle to serve him as a medium between the highest and the lowest, the spiritual man and the physical brain, for he lacked Manas. The Monads which incarnated in those empty SHELLS, remained as unconscious as when separated from their previous incomplete forms and vehicles. There is no potentiality for creation, or self-Consciousness, in a pure Spirit on this our plane, unless its too homogeneous, perfect, because divine, nature is, so to say, mixed with and strengthened by, an essence already differentiated.
And then again on page 81:
Between man and the animal — whose Monads (or Jivas) are fundamentally identical — there is the impassable abyss of Mentality and Self-consciousness. What is human mind in its higher aspect, whence comes it, if it is not a portion of the essence — and, in some rare cases of incarnation, the very essence — of a higher Being: one from a higher and divine plane?
The Lunar Pitris or the Barhishads, to use a Hindu name by which they are sometimes called, were those beings who on the moon, when we were all there and it was a living planet, were the animal monads of the lunar men; and the Agnishwatta-Pitris, the Solar Pitris, because under the direct governing inspiration of the sun, yet lunar also because they came from the moon, were the thinking, intellectual men on the moon-chain. But when they had reached the culmination of their spiritual and intellectual evolution on the moon, at the end of the moon's seventh or last Round, they left it no longer as mere men but as Manasaputras, Sons of Mind, pure intellectual Dhyanis, spirits of intellect and spirits of thought; and it was these who became or were the Manasaputras who inspired humanity on this chain, on this earth that is, during what we call the Third Root-Race. We are now in the Fifth Root-Race.
And what were the beings that they inspired, called variously Barhishads or Lunar Pitris, pitris being a Sanskrit word which means fathers or progenitors? Who were they whom these Manasaputras, or the men who were men on the moon, inspired — who were these Lunar Pitris, these mindless ones, senseless in the intellectual meaning, but who were yet purely human and not animal at all, belonging to the human kingdom? These Lunar Pitris were those animal monads of the men on the moon who had attained human status when the last Round on the moon ended. To attain human status merely means having entered the very lowest ranks of the human kingdom. The Lunar Pitris, then, as they appear on our globe, were the animal monads in the human constitution of those who were men on the moon; and those thinking intellectual men on the moon at the end of the moon's Seventh Round, the highest evolution attainable then, reached the point of the Dhyanis, the Manasaputras, and became our Manasaputras here on this earth.
The men on the moon had not only the divine monad and the spiritual monad, but they had an intellectual monad, the human monad, and then they had the animal nature or the animal monad; and they had physical bodies. They were fully complete men as we are septenary entities; but each portion of the constitution of the men on the moon was itself evolving, just as at present our minds are evolving just as well as our moral intuitions are evolving. There is no contradiction. It is natural, it is the way Mother Nature works. She does not evolve only a part of the constitution of her children. She evolves all her parts contemporaneously, all evolving at the same time. But, I repeat, the Lunar Pitris were what we now would call our lower quaternary, that is, the animal, the human animal nature of us. Those were the Lunar Pitris, called the Lunar Fathers because they were the animal monads in the lunar men; and those lunar men who became Manasaputras — that is Dhyanis — at the end of the moon evolution, were our own Manasaputras or higher egos.
Now what are the animals — the animals on the moon and the animals here on earth? They are monads evolving in the animal kingdom, just as we humans are monads evolving in the human kingdom, and just as the three classes of the Dhyanis are monads evolving in those three classes of Dhyanis. When the monad of a beast through evolutionary unfoldment or growth passes slowly through the ages all the different steps or stages of the animal kingdom towards the top, it finally reaches the very tip-top point of the animal kingdom, and the animal monad then is on the verge of becoming humanized, which merely means that the animal monad then has unwrapped from within itself all that it needs of the animal part, and is in the process of unwrapping from within itself, not from outside, the beginning of the human characteristics; for every monad is in essence divine, and therefore contains all within itself. So when we speak of an animal monad, this is but a fashion of speaking. What we mean is a monad, in itself a divine thing, which because it has as yet not unwrapped from itself more than the animal, is evolving in the animal kingdom. That is as simple as can be. A monad of a flower is in essence a divinity, as divine as my monad is or yours, or the monad of the highest god. But the monad has as yet unwrapped only the flower part of itself. It has thrown forth from itself only the flower part, the plant part. As that same monad advances and grows and unwraps from within itself, it will leave the plant kingdom and enter the animal kingdom at the lowest range thereof, and slowly progress up through the animal kingdom towards the very highest therein; and only when it reaches the top of the animal kingdom is it on the verge of manifesting forth from within itself the human part locked up within itself. It then leaves the animal kingdom which can teach it nothing more and enters the very lowest range of the human kingdom. Evolution therefore, you see, is on invisible planes. It is from within outwards. There is no other evolution. The very word shows it, evolvere, a Latin word meaning to unfold, to unwrap, what is there to be unfolded and unwrapped.
The monad, then, rises up from the animal kingdom when it can learn no more and enters into the very lowest of the human, not as an animal, as a monad, and it rises up through the human kingdom, rising imbodiment after imbodiment, a little higher, and a little higher, until it reaches a nobler human stage; and still evolves and rises through the human kingdom, passes out through the lower animal human into the human, and then enters a spiritual human, and then when it has reached the topmost spiritual point in the human kingdom, it enters the lowest rank of the lowest of the Dhyan.
So the monad passes as a pilgrim through each of the kingdoms, but as it comes into the human kingdom it does not displace the animal monad of the humans. It is the monad that enters the human kingdom, and builds its sevenfold constitution, just as we do, as we are. There is no displacement at all.
When the time came when these Lunar Pitris — the astral beings not yet condensed, like a wisp of light if you wish, astral stuff through the inherent natural forces of growth had developed a vehicle that could sustain the fire of mind, then the egos from the moon, the Manasaputras, the Agnishwattas, descended into and set on fire with divine flame those lunar parts of our constitution, and man became fully man. Then he was a complete entity, no longer a divine monad unable to express itself in physical bodies.
So we humans were now composed of a divine monad, a spiritual, a human, and an animal monad, imbodied in one. When our own earth shall have passed through its Seventh Round, then the men on this earth here now, those of us who make the grade, will become the Agnishwattas, the Manasaputras for the child of this earth chain, the next chain; and our animal monads, our animal parts, our lower quaternaries at the end of the Seventh Round on earth, will have raised themselves to the status and stature of humanity, of manhood, the animal monad, mind you. And it is these animal monads thus become men just made, or men just clothed, who in the next chain, child of this earth-chain, will be the Lunar Pitris of that next chain, child of this chain, and will be inflamed then and there with the intellectual fire which we shall give to them.
Now here is one very beautiful thing, which I noticed when I read the extract from H. P. B., and it is so beautiful I want her own words: "Between man and the animal — whose Monads (or Jivas) are fundamentally identical — there is the impassable abyss of Mentality and Self-consciousness. What is human mind in its higher aspects, whence comes it, if it is not a portion of the essence — [this is what I meant] and, in some rare cases of incarnation, the very essence — of a higher Being."
This refers to a wondrous marvel in human evolution. It is this: Among the Manasaputras who came and who gave us mind — because they were we ourselves, our intellectual and spiritual selves — there were certain very superior individuals, entities who on the moon itself in the last or Seventh Lunar Round, were already Dhyanis. They guided, strange paradox, the work of our own Agnishwattas, guided the work of our own intellectual awakening, for they, these entities — how many were there? a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand, I know not — chose certain human vehicles when we had received our minds from the Manasaputras. They entered into the selected human bodies and permanently illuminated them their lives long. It was mutual. There was the offer of a response awaiting the imbodiment of a divinity. The divinity incarnated; and these were the great Teachers of mankind, imbodied gods, men who gave themselves to furnish, to be, the vehicles so that these unutterably grand egos could use them, these men, in order to work among mankind. Then were started the first Mystery Schools, composed of these beings gathered together. Then were struck the keynotes which have run down the ages since those far gone times, keynotes which we now call innate ideas of the human spirit, keynotes of light, keynotes of order, keynotes of intuition, keynotes of truth. They gave men light, they taught those early men the arts and sciences — humans who had just received the intellectual fire from their own egos, from the moon — taught them the arts and sciences, taught them the seasons, taught them to look at the universe around them and to consider its marvels with wonder and reverence, taught them astronomy, taught them chemistry, taught them government; and then when their work was done, mayhap it was one life of the recipient, mayhap twain or more, when this work was done, supernal, grand, they returned to their own sublime spheres. But they still wait for us compassionately and understandingly. Do you know what they were on the moon? They were the Mahatmans on the moon become gods when the moon men became dhyanized.
To thoroughly comprehend the idea underlying every ancient cosmology necessitates the study, in a comparative analysis, of all the great religions of antiquity; as it is only by this method that the root idea will be made plain. Exact science — could the latter soar so high, while tracing the operations of nature to their ultimate and original sources — would call this idea the hierarchy of Forces. The original, transcendental and philosophical conception was one. But as systems began to reflect with every age more and more the idiosyncrasies of nations; and as the latter, after separating, settled into distinct groups, each evolving along its own national or tribal groove, the main idea gradually became veiled with the overgrowth of human fancy. While in some countries the FORCES, or rather the intelligent Powers of nature, received divine honours they were hardly entitled to, in others — as now in Europe and the civilized lands — the very thought of any such Force being endowed with intelligence seems absurd, and is proclaimed unscientific. . . . — The Secret Doctrine, I, 424
I wonder how many of us really know what we mean when we speak of the 'Forces of the Universe.' You will be sure to be wrong if you think that by using the term 'Forces of the Universe,' we mean to signify the so-called scientific energies of the world. We do not. Why? Because the energies of science are soulless, without life, without intelligence, working haphazard, fortuitously, which means by chance; and how on earth these big-brained men can reconcile harmony, symmetry, mathematical perfection, in the Universe, with chance, is something utterly beyond me to attempt to explain! I do not think they have thought about it.
When we speak of 'Forces of the Universe,' we mean living beings, as much alive as we humans are alive. Just as any one of you is a living being, a composite entity, with an inner life, with a spirit, a soul, and all your inner faculties working through a physical vehicle or sheath; just exactly so is there a supreme divinity, a hierarch, who is the informing principle of our Galaxy or Home-Universe. But he or it is only one of a host of others informing other similar galaxies in frontierless infinitude. The gods are infinite in number; and we are embryo-gods. If you want to understand the universe, try to understand yourself, because you copy the universe. The universe repeats itself in every one of its atoms, which means in every one of its composite elements, in every one of its building bricks.
Just as man is informed by the divinity within or above him both; so is the universe informed by the divinity within or above it — both. And just as man is more than one, as he is a whole host of entities, all deriving their essence and being from his inmost heart of hearts, his divine monad, just exactly so are all the forces of the universe derived from the cosmic divine entity.
Take my body as an instance. It is alive, as your bodies are. It is alive because it is formed of living things, living cells. In the first place, these cells are formed of aggregates of atoms, which if they were dead would produce a dead aggregate; but the fact that they produce a living aggregate is a proof that they themselves live, are alive. The atoms, therefore, are alive, and they are alive because the building-bricks composing them are alive: the electrons and protons.
Now, that is what we mean when we speak of the forces of the universe. In the last analysis we mean gods, living gods which express themselves in the manner that we have some conception of when we look at the starry sky, or look at the sun in the daytime, or consider the world around us, and all the actions that take place there, the growing plants and beasts and rocks. They are all alive.
What is an earthquake? Something that happens fortuitously, by chance? To believe that is simply symptomatic either of intellectual laziness, or lack of intellectual penetration. I don't believe there is a single chance action in Infinity. I cannot reconcile chance with law, because chance means the negation of law, and law means order, symmetry, harmony, mathematical relations. The universe is alive because it is infilled with living things, with gods. The physical universe is the body of the god, as my body is the body of me. The idea has nothing to do whatsoever with the modern scientific theory of energies. Scientists are now even discarding the term 'forces.' It is too mysterious, too superstitious.
The way to handle these scientific thinkers is to pin them down to facts. Don't let your minds be led away by talk. Demand an explanation of why you are a living being. Don't be satisfied with talk about chemical action and reaction. It does not mean anything. Show me any chemical compound that man can make in the laboratory that moves and thinks and feels! And here we are, living and moving and thinking and feeling, demonstrating that everything we do, that every thought we think, that every feeling we have, is consciousness. This is so much so that the greater scientific thinkers today are talking about consciousness as being the fundamental essence of the universe, coming at last to admit it. What does that mean? That these so-called energies that they keep in one compartment of their brains are simply examples of what they keep in the other watertight compartments of their brains — consciousness, consciousnesses.
The very fact that the universe is formed of aggregates of individuals is a proof of polytheism, which means simply that the universe is infilled with gods; and any universe has at its head a supreme Divinity; as man, a microcosm or small universe, has at its head his own divine hierarch, his essential, fundamental Self. But any such universe is only one among an infinitude of others. That is what we mean by the forces of the universe. I call them gods, because gods they are. When the sun rises tomorrow morning, look at Father-Sun, and remember that that brilliant divinity is a living being, the source of your own being in one sense, and that you are in your essence equally great, because both are manifestations of an indwelling divinity, the spirit of boundless infinity, the essence of boundless infinity, expressing a portion of itself in that sun, in those stars, in the planets, and all the entities that infill space, high, low, intermediate.
The only reason that science has been misled from seeing the truth in the past has been the fact that men were miseducated in religion for hundreds of years, fed not on truth — although the Christian religion is founded on truth — but on men's ideas about truth, theologians' ideas as to Reality. Then when men began to think and began to investigate the universe around them, they found that those ideas could not be harmonized with what they found to be the facts of the universe. So they lost confidence in all religious thought. They did not know of any other religious philosophies or philosophical religions that they had any respect for: And instead of thinking for themselves, each man following his own intuition, the spirit of the living god within his breast, they said: "That will introduce all kinds of anarchy into scientific thought. Cling to the only things we know to be facts, the facts of the physical universe." Because they could not find a soul within living flesh (and in fact they did not know what they were looking for), they said: "Man is but an animate mechanism." But what is an animate mechanism, a living machine? Explain it. Those are mere words.
We are living in the life-sphere, the fohatic sphere, the pranic sphere, of the divinity of our solar system, which divinity is the fountain-head of all the Christs and Buddhas that the human race from time to time brings forth. All movements of the world that we see around us: the earthquakes, the meteorological phenomena, rains, lightning, moving of clouds, thunder-storms, hail-storms, sunny, bright days, and over-clouded days — all are movements of the vital essence of the planetary spirit working in and with the co-operation of the solar spirit or divinity, as that solar spirit or divinity moves within the life-sphere of an entity still greater, the galactic divinity, which in its turn moves within the life-sphere of a divinity still vaster — all precisely as the living cells which make a man's body live and move and have their being within his body, which is the vehicle of the holy presence which his spirit is, the god, the hierarch, of his constitution. It is a wonderful thought, and fills man's mind with reverence for the symmetry and harmony and majesty and beauty of the universe. It makes him reverent, it makes him respect his fellow-men; for what the human race has brought forth in the matter of great men once, it will reproduce many times.
Remember that on every occasion when you see the action of a natural force, you are seeing the automatic workings of the vitality of our own particular planetary, or it may be solar, divinity. The only reason we cannot connect it with the human emotions and human thoughts that are familiar to us, is because its action is on a cosmic scale, so far beyond our understanding that we can only see, as it were, a small portion of it. The small portion of the web or pattern of our minds cannot take in the rest, and therefore we see what we think is purely mechanical action.
I will illustrate this: An entity living on an electron, helping to form one of the atoms of my body, would have no understanding or conception of my raising my hand, or of a movement of my leg, and even less of my intent when I speak; nevertheless all the interrelated forces giving my body life affect every molecule, every atom, every electron, in my body, destroy millions of them, bring millions of them into birth. In precisely the same way the gods, the Forces of Nature, have a range of action so vast and an intellect so far-reaching, and a vitality whose sweep is so all-inclusive, and a time-period — there is the key — so immense, that our understandings cannot take it in; and we search, as the scientists have done, looking for human consciousness in the movements of the planets and the suns, looking for human actions or causes, like human functions, in earthquakes and thunder-storms and the lightning-bolt. The scale is too vast, just as the scale of my speaking, my walking, the raising of my hand, is too vast for an inhabitant on an electron of one of the atoms of my body to comprehend. It perceives it, if at all vaguely, as an affection of matter.
As the great Greek Pythagoras said of the Music of the Spheres, the planets chiming and choiring together in celestial harmony as they circle around the sun: the march is too great for human ear to take it in, because the human ear has been builded by evolution to take "in only a very short range of sound; and to right and to left of that range is virtual infinitude. The vibrations on either side, our ears are utterly incognisant of; and the same with our organ of sight. How small a fraction of the rays which produce vision in our optics, how small a fraction of the entire range of vibration, are we conscious of through the eye!
To illustrate again the vast range in which the universe is builded: There are certain stars in which matter, and therefore the consequent play of energies and forces, is so tremendously dense, that it is a million times denser than anything we can produce or find in our laboratories. And in either direction also, in the fields of cosmic space, there are nebulae so tenuous and ethereal, that they are a million times less dense, in other words a million times more tenuous, than the most tenuous stuff that we can know or produce in our physical laboratories. A million times a million makes a trillion — a million millions; and we have one trillionth of this scale which we can investigate in our chemical laboratories — physical matter, gas, etc. Think of it, one in a trillion! Enormous density on one hand, tremendous tenuity, ethereality on the other hand. And matter as we know it on this earth in all its forms occupies just a tiny fraction; and that is our entire range of investigation.
Now then, that is what I mean by a scale so vast that our human minds cannot take it in. The intellect cognises that these extremes exist. Very good. Then let your thought go out into those extremes. Remember that they are as much a portion of the universe as is this little bit which we can test in the laboratory. Remember that we know of only one portion in a trillion; and then be modest! Outside of anything else, it has always seemed an amazing thing to me that it has only recently come to be recognised that man is an integral part of the universe in which he lives and moves and has his being, and from which he derives everything that he is. Theologians and scientists and philosophers alike have always in some inexplicable way based their intellectual researches on the utterly preposterous foundation that man was something essentially different from the universe; and this false concept runs throughout all the terms of our thought: subject, object.
This is an example of the Great Heresy, because it misleads you at every turn — the disjoining of or ungearing of yourself in your thought and feeling from the universe in which you live, of which you are a component, inseparable part. Man cannot ever know an object if that object is essentially different from himself. There cannot be any union. He can only know what he himself is or becomes. True knowledge, true wisdom, comes when, to use the ridiculous phrase of Occidental philosophy (though the deduction drawn is true): "the subject becomes identified with the object," and finds itself to be not twain but one.